Isaiah 45:23
I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
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(23) I have sworn by myself.—The highest conceivable form of asseveration (Genesis 22:16; Jeremiah 22:5; Hebrews 6:13).

Unto me every knee shall bow.—The faith of Israel becomes the religion of mankind, though, from the prophet’s standpoint, Israel does not lose its distinctive nationality. We note the application of the words to the Christ in Philippians 2:10; Romans 14:11.

Isaiah 45:23. I have sworn by myself — Which is the highest and most solemn oath possible, Hebrews 6:13; and therefore signifies that the matter, thus confirmed, is of extraordinary importance. The word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness — It is what I will faithfully perform. And shall not return — Namely, unto me void, or without effect, as this phrase is more fully delivered, Isaiah 55:11. It is a metaphor taken from ambassadors, who sometimes return to their princes without any success in their business. That unto me every knee shall bow — Not only the Jews, but all nations shall worship me, and submit to my laws: which is signified by the bowing of the knee, a posture of reverence and subjection, and by one eminent part of God’s worship, swearing by his name. Surely shall one say — Or, shall he say, each or every one of these, who, he now declared, should bow their knees to God, &c. In the Lord — Hebrew, Jehovah. By, or from God alone, or the Messiah, who is the true Jehovah as well as man; have I righteousness — To justify me from all things, from which I could not be justified by the law of Moses. See Acts 13:39. This plainly points us to the Messiah, whose very name is the Lord our righteousness, Jeremiah 23:6; and whose great business it was to bring in everlasting righteousness, Daniel 9:24; and who of God is made unto us righteousness, 1 Corinthians 1:30. And strength — Support and assistance to bear all my burdens, overcome all my enemies, and perform all my duties. The sense is, The Gentiles shall expect and obtain from Christ both justification, or forgiveness of sins by his blood, and sanctification by his Spirit. Even to him shall men come — The Gentiles shall come to Christ, either, 1st, By constraint, or necessity, to be judged by him at the last day: or, 2d, Willingly by prayer to seek, and by faith to receive, righteousness and strength from him. Coming to Christ is put for believing on him, Matthew 11:28; John 5:50, and John 6:35-37, and elsewhere. And, or, but, all that are incensed against him — All his implacable enemies shall be brought to shame and punishment.

45:20-25 The nations are exhorted to draw near to Jehovah. None besides is able to help; he is the Saviour, who can save without the assistance of any, but without whom none can save. If the heart is brought into the obedience of Christ, the knee will cheerfully obey his commands. To Christ men shall come from every nation for blessings; all that hate his cause shall be put to shame, and all believers shall rejoice in him as their Friend and Portion. All must come to him: may we now come to him as the Lord our Righteousness, walking according to his commandments.I have sworn by myself - This verse contains a fuller statement of the truth intimated in the previous verse, that the benefits of salvation should yet be extended to all the world. It is the expression of God's solemn purpose that all nations should yet be brought to acknowledge him, and partake of the benefits of the true religion. The expression, 'I have sworn by myself,' denotes a purpose formed in the most solemn manner, and ratified in the most sacred form. God could swear by no greater Hebrews 6:13, Hebrews 6:16; and this, therefore, is the most solemn assurance that could be possibly given that the purpose which he had formed should be executed. To swear by himself is the same as to swear by his life, or to affirm solemnly that the event shall as certainly occur as that he exists. The same idea is often expressed by the phrase, 'as I live.' See a parallel declaration in Numbers 14:21 : 'But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord' (compare Numbers 14:28; Isaiah 49:18; Jeremiah 22:24; Ezekiel 5:11; Ezekiel 14:16, Ezekiel 14:18, Ezekiel 14:20; Zephaniah 2:9; Romans 14:11). This passage is quoted by Paul in Romans 14:11, where the phrase, 'I have sworn by myself' is rendered, 'as I live, saith the Lord,' showing that they are equivalent expressions.

The word is gone out of my mouth - The Septuagint renders this, 'Righteousness shall proceed from my mouth, my words shall not return.' Lowth renders it, 'Truth is gone forth from my mouth; the word, and it shall not be revoked.' Jerome, 'The word of righteousness has gone forth from my mouth, and shall not return.' Rosenmuller accords with the interpretation a of Lowth. Probably the correct translation is 'righteousness' (that is, the righteous sentence, or purpose, where the word צדקה tsedâqâh is used in the sense of truth, see Isaiah 45:19), has gone out of my mouth, the word (that is, the promise), and it shall not return.' In this construction the י (y) before לא lo' has the force of a relative pronoun, and is to be referred to דבר dâbâr, 'the word.' The sense is, that God had spoken it, and that all which he has spoken shall certainly be fulfilled. The fact that the declaration has once passed his lips, is full proof that the purpose shall be accomplished. This is not to be understood of any promise which he had made before, but it is a solemn declaration which he now makes by the prophet.

That unto me every knee shall bow - To bow or bend the knee, is indicative of homage or adoration; and the idea is, that all should yet acknowledge him to be God (see the note at Romans 14:11). The ancient mode of offering adoration, or of paying homage, was to place the knee on the ground, and then slowly to incline the body until the head touched the earth. This is practiced now in eastern countries (compare Genesis 41:43; 1 Kings 19:18; 2 Chronicles 6:13; Matthew 27:29; Romans 11:4; Philippians 2:10; Ephesians 3:14). The obvious and proper signification of this is, that the time would come when God would be everywhere acknowledged as the true God. It refers therefore to the future period of glory on the earth, when all people shall have embraced the true religion, and when idolatry shall have come to an end.

Every tongue shall swear - This expression is evidently taken from the practice of taking an oath of allegiance to a sovereign, and here means that all would solemnly acknowledge him to be the true God, and submit themselves to his government and will. See the phrase explained in the the note at Isaiah 19:18. That this refers to the Messiah and his times, is apparent from the fact that it is twice referred to by the apostle Paul, and applied by him to the Lord Jesus and his religion Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10. It is a glorious promise which remains yet to be fulfilled, and there is no promise in the Bible more certain than that this earth shall yet be filled with the knowledge of the true God.

23. sworn by myself—equivalent to, "As I live," as Ro 14:11 quotes it. So Nu 14:21. God could swear by no greater, therefore He swears by Himself (Heb 6:13, 16).

word … in righteousness—rather, "the truth (see on [815]Isa 45:19) is gone forth from My mouth, the word (of promise), and it shall not return (that is, which shall not be revoked)" [Lowth]. But the accents favor English Version.

tongue … swear—namely, an oath of allegiance to God as their true King (see on [816]Isa 19:18; [817]Isa 65:16). Yet to be fulfilled (Zec 14:9).

I have sworn by myself, which is the highest and most solemn oath that is possible, Hebrews 6:13, and therefore signifies that the matter here sworn is of an extraordinary importance.

The word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness; it is not a vain word rashly uttered, and afterwards never remembered nor observed, but what I sincerely speak, and will most faithfully and infallibly perform.

Shall not return, to wit, unto me void, or without effect, as this phrase is more fully delivered, Isaiah 55:11. It is a metaphor from ambassadors, who sometimes return to their princes without any success in their business.

Unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear; not only the Jews, but a people of all nations, shall worship me, and submit to my laws; which is signified by an outward act, the bowing of the knee, Which is a posture of reverence and subjection; and by one eminent part of God’s worship, which is swearing by his name.

I have sworn by myself,.... Christ being the true God, he could swear by no greater, Hebrews 6:13, this shows that what follows, and is here sworn unto, is of great importance, and strictly true, and would certainly be accomplished:

the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness; both what goes before, that such that look unto him shall be saved; and also what follows, concerning the subjection of every creature to him; this was what he had resolved in his mind, and declared in his word, by promise and prophecy, should be; and as it was agreeably to truth and justice, it should certainly, and in faithfulness, be performed, and shall not return void and without effect, but be exactly and punctually accomplished:

that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear; that is, everyone, or at least the generality of mankind, shall be subject to Christ, embrace his Gospel, submit to his ordinances, profess his name, and serve and worship him; this will be when the fulness of the Gentiles is brought in, and the Jews are converted: the apostle quotes this passage, and applies it to the judgment day, when all, whether they will or not, shall confess that Christ is God, which he so often asserts in this context; see Romans 14:10.

I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in {a} righteousness, and shall not return, That to me every {b} knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

(a) That is, that the thing which I have promise will be faithfully performed.

(b) The knowledge of God and the true worshipping will be through all the world, Rom 14:11, Phil 2:10 by which he signifies that we must not only serve God in heart, but declare the same also by outward profession.

23. By myself have I sworn] Cf. Genesis 22:16; Jeremiah 22:5; and see Hebrews 6:13. The form of Jehovah’s oath by Himself is given in ch. Isaiah 49:18, “as I live, saith Jehovah.”

the word is gone out &c.] Or, as R.V. marg.: righteousness is gone forth from my mouth, a word which (lit. “and it”) shall not return (cf. ch. Isaiah 55:10 f.).

righteousness here means that which shall be verified,—a word to which the deed will correspond.

every knee shall bow (in homage, 1 Kings 19:18), every tongue shall swear (fealty, ch. Isaiah 19:18)]. The reading “confess” is substituted for “swear” in some codices of the LXX., as in Romans 14:11, Php 2:10-11.

24, 25 express the faith of the religious community of the future.

Surely, shall one say, in the Lord &c.] Better: Only in Jehovah, shall one say, &c. The R.V. gives a different turn to the thought by including the word for “to me” in the parenthesis (“shall one say to me” [marg. “of me”]); while the A.V. treats it as part of the main sentence (“there is to me,” i.e. “I have”). On the former view righteousness and strength are divine attributes; on the latter they are blessings bestowed by Jehovah on men. The rendering of A.V. is preferable, although it is opposed to the Hebr. accents.

righteousness] lit. “righteousnesses,” the idea being intensified by the plural. It is often used of the mighty acts of Jehovah, the individual instances in which His righteous character is manifested (1 Samuel 12:7; Mi. Isaiah 6:5; Psalm 71:15 ff. &c.); here in like manner it must denote the experiences through which a right relation to God is verified. The parallelism with “strength” shews that it is almost identical with salvation or victory (see on ch. Isaiah 41:2 and Isaiah 46:13).

even to him … ashamed] to him shall one come &c.; or, to him shall come with shame all that were incensed (Isaiah 41:11) against him. The verb “be ashamed” seems merely to be a qualification of “shall come.”

Verse 23. - I have sworn by myself (comp. Genesis 22:17; Jeremiah 22:5; Jeremiah 49:15). "God swears "by himself," because he can swear by no greater" (Hebrews 6:13). He condescends, for man's sake, to confirm in this way promises that are exceedingly precious (see the Homiletics on Isaiah 14:24). The word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness. So Dr. Kay and Mr. Cheyne (comp. ver. 19, "I the Lord speak righteousness"). And shall not return; i.e. shall not be withdrawn or retracted. God's gifts and promises are "without repentance." Every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. This universal turning to God belongs to the final Messianic kingdom, prophesied in Isaiah 2:2-4; Isaiah 11:6-9; Isaiah 35:1-10; Isaiah 65:17-25; Isaiah 66:18-23; and also by Daniel (Daniel 7:9-14) and St. John the Divine (Revelation 21:1-4). The entire destruction of God's enemies is to take place previously (Revelation 19:17-21). Isaiah 45:23It is in accordance with this holy loving will that the cry is published in Isaiah 45:22 : "Turn unto me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth; for I am God, and none else." The first imperative is hortatory, the second promising (cf., Isaiah 36:16 and Isaiah 8:9): Jehovah desires both, viz., the conversion of all men to Himself; and through this their salvation, ad this His gracious will, which extends to all mankind, will not rest till its object has been fully accomplished. Isaiah 45:23 "By myself have I sworn, a word has gone out of a mouth of righteousness, and will not return, That to me every knee shall bend, every tongue swear." Swearing by Himself (see Genesis 22:16), God pledges what He swears with His own life (compare Romans 14:11, "as I live"). Parallel to נשׁבּעתּי בּי is the clause ישׁוּב ולא דּבר צדק מפּי יצא. Here Rosenmller connects דבר צדקה together as if with a hyphen, in the sense of a truth-word (Jerome, justitiae verbum). But this is grammatically impossible, since it would require צדקה דּבר; moreover, it is opposed both to the accents, and to the dagesh in the Daleth. Hitzig's rendering is a better one: "Truth (lxx δικαιοσύνη), a word that does not return," - the latter being taken as an explanatory permutative; but in that case we should require לא for ולא, and tsedâqâh is not used in the sense of truth anywhere else (compare tsaddı̄q, however, in Isaiah 41:26). On the other hand, צדקה might be equivalent to בצדקה "in righteousness;" cf., Isaiah 42:25, חמה equals בּהמה), if it were not incomparably more natural to connect together צדקה מפי as a genitive construction; though not in the sense in which הגבורה מפי is used in post-biblical writings - namely, as equivalent to "out of the mouth of God" (see Buxtorf, Lex. Chald. Col. 385) - but rather in this way, that the mouth of God is described attributively as regulated in its words by His holy will (as "speaking righteousness, Isaiah 45:19). A word has gone forth from this mouth of righteousness; and after it has once gone forth, it does not return without accomplishing its object (Isaiah 55:11). What follows is not so much a promising prediction (that every knee will bend to me), as a definitive declaration of will (that it shall or must bend to me). According to Isaiah 19:18; Isaiah 44:5, "to me" is to be regarded as carried forward, and so to be supplied after "shall swear" (the Septuagint rendering, ὀμεῖται @85 τὸν Θεόν, is false; that of Paul in Romans 14:11, ἐξομολογήσεται τῷ Θεῷ, is correct; and in this case, as in others also, the Cod. Al. of the Sept. has been corrected from the New Testament quotations).
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