Isaiah 45:4
For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) For Jacob my servant . . .—The words “servant” and “elect” show that the prophet speaks of the ideal Israel, the true Ecclesia, rather than of the nation as such outwardly, though this also, as including the other, shared in the outward blessings of the election. Essentially, the words declare that the world’s history is ordered with a view to the true Eeclesia.

Called thee by thy name.—Either as predicting the actual name of Koresh, or as giving the titles of “Messiah” and “shepherd.” The surname clearly refers to these.

Though thou hast not known me.—Better, when thou didst not know me, either as referring to a time prior to the recognition by Cyrus of Jehovah as the God of heaven (Ezra 1:1-2), or, possibly, prior to his birth (comp. Isaiah 49:1; Jeremiah 1:5).

Isaiah 45:4-6. For Jacob my servant’s sake, &c. — The prophet here gives us the reasons why God showed such favour to a prince, who had been addicted to the superstition of his country, and ignorant of the true God, that he prospered all his undertakings, and gave success to all his endeavours. It was, 1st, For Israel’s sake: For Israel, mine elect, I have even called thee, &c. — I have called thee to this honour, and that by name; not for thy own sake, but for Israel’s sake: therefore, neither despise them, though a poor and despised people, nor be puffed up in a great opinion of thyself. I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me — I knew and called thee, when thou didst neither know nor think of me; nay, when thou hadst no being. I girded thee, &c. — I made thee strong and active, and fitted and disposed thee for these great and warlike enterprises. It was, 2d, For the sake of all nations; that they might be convinced of the true divinity and almighty power of the God of Israel. That they may know from the rising of the sun, &c., that I am the Lord, &c. — That all nations may know it by my foretelling these things so long before, and by the wonderful success that I shall give thee, and by my overruling thy heart and counsels, to the deliverance of my people. Or, as Lowth explains it, “My interposing so visibly in behalf of my own people, and returning their captivity by such unexpected means, will convince the heathen part of the world that I am the only true God.”

45:1-4 Cyrus is called God's anointed; he was designed and qualified for his great service by the counsel of God. The gates of Babylon which led to the river, were left open the night that Cyrus marched his army into the empty channel. The Lord went before him, giving entrance to the cities he besieged. He gave him also treasures, which had been hidden in secret places. The true God was to Cyrus an unknown God; yet God foreknew him; he called him by his name. The exact fulfilment of this must have shown Cyrus that Jehovah was the only true God, and that it was for the sake of Israel that he was prospered. In all the changes of states and kingdoms, God works out the good of his church.For Jacob my servant's sake - (see the note at Isaiah 42:19). The statement here is, that God had raised up Cyrus on account of his own people. The sentiment is common in the Bible, that kings and nations are in the hand of God; and that he overrules and directs their actions for the accomplishment of his own purposes, and especially to protect, defend, and deliver his people (see the note at Isaiah 10:5; compare Isaiah 47:6).

I have surnamed thee - On the meaning of the word 'surname,' see the notes at Isaiah 44:5. The reference here is to the fact that he had appointed him to accomplish important purposes, and had designated him as his 'shepherd' Isaiah 44:28, and his 'anointed' Isaiah 45:1.

Though thou hast not known me - Before he was called to accomplish these important services, he was a stranger to Yahweh, and it was only when he should have been so signally favored of heaven, and should be made acquainted with the divine will in regard to the deliverance of his people and the rebuilding of the temple Ezra 1:1-3, that he would be acquainted with the true God.

4. (See on [799]Isa 41:8; [800]Isa 43:14).

surnamed—that is, designated to carry out My design of restoring Judah (see on [801]Isa 44:5; [802]Isa 44:28; [803]Isa 45:1). Maurer here, as in Isa 44:5, translates, "I have addressed thee by an honorable name."

hast not known me—previous to My calling thee to this office; after God's call, Cyrus did know Him in some degree (Ezr 1:1-3).

I have even called thee by thy name; I have called thee to this honour, and that by name; not for thy sake, but for Israel’s sake; therefore do not despise them, thou wilt find them a poor and enslaved people, neither be puffed up into a great opinion of thyself.

I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me; I knew and called thee by thy name, when thou didst neither know nor think of me; nay, when thou hadst no being.

For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name,.... Not so much for the sake of Cyrus, and to do honour to him, was it that he so long before he was born called him by his name; but to assure the people of the Jews, the Lord's chosen people, and who were his servants, of the certainty of their deliverance, their deliverer being mentioned by name; and it was for their sakes, and not his, that he called him, and raised him up to do such great things as he did, that he might deliver them from their captivity: and it is for the sake of God's elect, whom he has chosen to holiness and happiness, to serve him, and be with him for ever, that he has called Christ, of whom Cyrus was a type, and sent him into the world, to be the Saviour and Redeemer of them:

I have surnamed thee; not only called him by his name, Cyrus, but surnamed him his "shepherd", and "his anointed", Isaiah 44:28,

though thou hast not known me; as yet not being born; and when he was, and was grown up, he was ignorant of the true God; and though, upon sight of the above prophecy, and under an immediate influence and impression, he acknowledged the God of Israel to be the God of heaven yet it does not appear that he left the Pagan idolatry; for Xenophon (k) relates, that when he found his end was near, he took sacrifices, and offered them to Jupiter, and the sun, and the rest of the gods; and gave them thanks for the care they had taken of him; and prayed them to grant happiness to his wife, children, friends, and country.

(k) Cyropaedia, l. 8. c. 45.

For Jacob my servant's {f} sake, and Israel my elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.

(f) Not for anything that is in you, or for your worthiness.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. The remainder of the section announces Jehovah’s purpose in raising up Cyrus, which is twofold: (1) the liberation and exaltation of His Servant Israel (Isaiah 45:4), and (2) that His Godhead may be acknowledged throughout the world (Isaiah 45:6). These two motives are inseparable, since it is only through Israel that the character of Jehovah can be made known to the nations. Hence great as the mission of Cyrus is, he is still but the instrument, while Israel is the goal of the Divine activity (Duhm).

I have surnamed thee] i.e. bestowed on thee such honourable appellations as “My Shepherd,” “My Anointed.” See on ch. Isaiah 44:5.

though thou hast not known me] Delitzsch and others somewhat strangely take this to mean “before thou hadst being.” But the words present no difficulty in their natural sense, which is that Cyrus entered on his career of conquest ignorant of the true God who made his way prosperous.

Verse 4. - For Jacob my servant's sake. This second motive is, in a certain sense, the main one. Cyrus is raised up, especially, to perform God's pleasure with respect to Judah and Jerusalem (Isaiah 44:26-28). Jacob, his Church, is more important in God's eyes than any individual. No doubt his Church is maintained, in part, that it may be "a light to lighten the Gentiles;" but it is not maintained solely: or even mainly, for this end. Its welfare is an end in itself, and would be sought by God apart from any further consequence. Israel mine elect (comp. Isaiah 41:8; Isaiah 44:1). I have surnamed thee; i.e. "given thee designations of honour," e.g. "my anointed" (ver. 1); "my shepherd" (Isaiah 44:28); "he who shall do all my pleasure" (Isaiah 44:28). Though thou hast not known me; rather, though thou didst not know me. Cyrus's honours, his titles, his mention by name, etc., were accumulated upon him before his birth, when he knew nothing of God, when, therefore, he had in no way merited them. Thus all was done, not for his sake, but lot the sake of Israel. Isaiah 45:4A second and third object are introduced by a second and third למען. "For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I called thee hither by name, surnamed thee when thou knewest me not. I Jehovah, and there is none else, beside me no God: I equipped thee when thou knewest me not; that they may know from the rising of the sun, and its going down, that there is none without me: I Jehovah, and there is none else, former of the light, and creator of the darkness; founder of peace, and creator of evil: I Jehovah am He who worketh all this." The ואקרא which follows the second reason assigned like an apodosis, is construed doubly: "I called to thee, calling thee by name." The parallel אכנּך refers to such titles of honour as "my shepherd" and "my anointed," which had been given to him by Jehovah. This calling, distinguishing, and girding, i.e., this equipment of Cyrus, took place at a time when Cyrus knew nothing as yet of Jehovah, and by this very fact Jehovah made known His sole Deity. The meaning is, not that it occurred while he was still worshipping false gods, but, as the refrain-like repetition of the words "though thou hast not know me" affirms with strong emphasis, before he had been brought into existence, or could know anything of Jehovah. The passage is to be explained in the same way as Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed thee in the womb, I knew thee" (see Psychol. pp. 36, 37, 39); and what the God of prophecy here claims for Himself, must not be questioned by false criticism, or weakened down by false apologetics (i.e., by giving up the proper name Cyrus as a gloss in Isaiah 44:28 and Isaiah 45:1; or generalizing it into a king's name, such as Pharaoh, Abimelech, or Agag). The third and last object of this predicted and realized success of the oppressor of nations and deliverer of Israel is the acknowledgement of Jehovah, spreading over the heathen world from the rising and setting of the sun, i.e., in every direction. The ah of וּממּערבה is not a feminine termination (lxx, Targ., Jer.), but a feminine suffix with He raphato pro mappic (Kimchi); compare Isaiah 23:17-18; Isaiah 34:17 (but not נצּה in Isaiah 18:5, or מוּסדה in Isaiah 30:32). Shemesh (the sun) is a feminine here, as in Genesis 15:17, Nahum 3:17, Malachi 4:2, and always in Arabic; for the west is invariably called מערב (Arab. magrib). In Isaiah 45:7 we are led by the context to understand by darkness and evil the penal judgments, through which light and peace, or salvation, break forth for the people of God and the nations generally. But as the prophecy concerning Cyrus closes with this self-assertion of Jehovah, it is unquestionably a natural supposition that there is also a contrast implied to the dualistic system of Zarathustra, which divided the one nature of the Deity into two opposing powers (see Windischmann, Zoroastrische Studien, p. 135). The declaration is so bold, that Marcion appealed to this passage as a proof that the God of the Old Testament was a different being from the God of the New, and not the God of goodness only. The Valentinians and other gnostics also regarded the words "There is no God beside me" in Isaiah, as deceptive words of the Demiurugs. The early church met them with Tertullian's reply, "de his creator profitetur malis quae congruunt judici," and also made use of this self-attestation of the God of revelation as a weapon with which to attack Manicheesism. The meaning of the words is not exhausted by those who content themselves with the assertion, that by the evil (or darkness) we are not to understand the evil of guilt (malum culpae), but the evil of punishment (malum paenae). Undoubtedly, evil as an act is not the direct working of God, but the spontaneous work of a creature endowed with freedom. At the same time, evil, as well as good, has in this sense its origin in God - that He combines within Himself the first principles of love and wrath, the possibility of evil, the self-punishment of evil, and therefore the consciousness of guilt as well as the evil of punishment in the broadest sense. When the apostle celebrates the glory of free grace in Romans 9:11., he stands on that giddy height, to which few are able to follow him without falling headlong into the false conclusions of a decretum absolutum, and the denial of all creaturely freedom.
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