Isaiah 48:14
All you, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them has declared these things? The LORD has loved him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans.
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(14) All ye, assemble yourselves.—The challenge is addressed as before (Isaiah 43:9) to the worshippers of idols.

The Lord hath loved him.—Better, He whom the Lord loveth will do his pleasure. The context leaves it uncertain whether the “pleasure” and the “arm” are those of Cyrus or Jehovah. The latter seems to give a preferable meaning. There is, perhaps, an allusive reference to the idea implied in the name of the great king of Israel (David, “beloved,” or “darling”). Cyrus was to be even as a second David, beloved of the Lord.

Isaiah 48:14-15. All ye assemble yourselves and hear — Ye Jews, to whom he addressed his speech, (Isaiah 48:12,) and to whom he continues to speak; which among them hath declared these things — Which of the gods, whom any of you have served, or do now serve? The prophet gives a general challenge to the idols and their worshippers, to bring proof that ever such a remarkable turn of providence as that of the Jews’ restoration was foretold by any of the heathen oracles. The Lord hath loved him — Namely, Cyrus; that is, he hath done him this favour, this honour, to make him an instrument of the redemption of his people, and therein a type of the great Redeemer, God’s beloved Son. He will do his pleasure on Babylon — Cyrus shall execute what the Lord hath appointed for the destruction of Babylon, and the deliverance of God’s people. And his arm shall be on the Chaldeans — He shall smite and subdue them. I, even I, have spoken, &c. — Both the prediction and the execution of this great work are to be ascribed to me only. The idols had no hand therein. He shall make his way prosperous — I will give him good success in his undertaking.48:9-15 We have nothing ourselves to plead with God, why he should have mercy upon us. It is for his praise, to the honour of his mercy, to spare. His bringing men into trouble was to do them good. It was to refine them, but not as silver; not so thoroughly as men refine silver. If God should take that course, they are all dross, and, as such, might justly be put away. He takes them as refined in part only. Many have been brought home to God as chosen vessels, and a good work of grace begun in them, in the furnace of affliction. It is comfort to God's people, that God will secure his own honour, therefore work deliverance for them. And if God delivers his people, he cannot be at a loss for instruments to be employed. God has formed a plan, in which, for his own sake, and the glory of his grace, he saves all that come to Him.All ye, assemble yourselves and hear - Ye Jews who are in Babylon, gather together, and listen to the assurance that God is able to protect you, and that he will certainly restore you to your own country.

Which among them - Who among the pagan?

Hath declared these things? - The things relating to the destruction of Babylon, and the rescue of his people. This is an appeal similar to that which God has often made, that he alone can predict future events. None of the astrologers, soothsayers, or diviners of Babylon had been able to foretell the expedition and the conquests of Cyrus, and the capture of the city. If they had been able to foresee the danger, they might have guarded against it, and the city might have been saved. But God had predieted it a hundred and fifty years before it occurred, and this demonstrated, therefore, that he alone was God.

The Lord hath loved him - Lowth renders this, 'He whom Jehovah hath loved will execute his will on Babylon.' The Septuagint renders it, 'Loving thee, I will execute thy will against Babylon.' There can be no doubt that it refers to Cyrus, and that the meaning is, that he whom Yahweh had loved would accomplish his will on Babylon. It does not necessarily mean that Yahweh was pleased with his moral character, or that he was a pious man (compare the notes at Isaiah 41:2); but that he was so well pleased with him as an instrument to accomplish his purposes, that he chose to employ him for that end.

He will do his pleasure on Babylon - He will accomplish all his desire on that city; that is, he will take, and subdue it. The word 'his' here, may refer either to Cyrus or to Yahweh. Probably it means that Cyrus would do to Babylon what would be pleasing to Yahweh.

And his arm - The arm is a symbol of strength, and is the instrument by which we execute our purposes.

14. among them—among the gods and astrologers of the Chaldees (Isa 41:22; 43:9; 44:7).

Lord … loved him; he will, &c.—that is, "He whom the Lord hath loved will do," &c. [Lowth]; namely, Cyrus (Isa 44:28; 45:1, 13; 46:11). However, Jehovah's language of love is too strong to apply to Cyrus, except as type of Messiah, to whom alone it fully applies (Re 5:2-5).

his pleasure—not Cyrus' own, but Jehovah's.

All ye; ye Jews, to whom he addressed his speech, Isaiah 48:12, and continueth his speech, Isaiah 48:16,17, &c. Assemble; I challenge you all to answer what I have said before, and am now going to say again.

Which among them hath declared these things? which of the gods whom any of you have served or do still hanker after? The Lord hath loved him, to wit, Cyrus, who might easily be understood out of the foregoing context, in which he is frequently mentioned. The pronoun is put for the noun, as is usual both in Scripture and in other authors. Now God loved Cyrus, not with a special, and everlasting, and complacential love, for he was a heathen, and had some great vices as well as virtues; but with that general love and kindness which God hath for all his creatures, as is observed, Psalm 145:9; and moreover with that particular kind of love which God hath for such men as excel others in any virtues, as Cyrus did; in which sense Christ loved the young man, Mark 10:21; and with a love of good-will and beneficence. God had such a kindness for him, as to make him a most glorious and victorious general and king, and the great instrument for the deliverance of his own people; which was a singular honour and advantage to him, and might have been far greater, and extended to the eternal salvation of his soul, if he had not wanted a heart to use the price which God hereby put into his hand. And as anger being ascribed to God is not meant of the affection, for such passions are inconsistent with the perfection of God’s nature, but of the effect; so the love of God, when it is applied in Scripture to such persons as Cyrus, is not so much to be understood of an inward affection, as of the outward effects of it; and so this love is explained in the following words, by that prosperous success which God gave him against the Chaldeans.

He will do his pleasure on Babylon; Cyrus shall execute that I have appointed him to do for the destruction of Babylon, and for the redemption of my people; which was in itself a good work; and therefore this is added as the reason why God loved him.

His arm shall be on the Chaldeans; he shall smite and subdue them. All ye assemble yourselves, and hear,.... That is, the people of the Jews, Jacob and Israel his called, before addressed; who are bid to gather together, and draw nigh, that they might hear what the Lord had to say to them:

which among them hath declared these things? that are future, that concern the redemption and salvation of Israel? which of all the idols among the nations, or of the priests and soothsayers among them, whom the Jews were prone to listen to, that could foretell things to come, such as these the Lord had said should be?

the Lord hath loved him; not Israel, as the Targum; but Cyrus, whom the Lord loved as a man, as he does all his creatures; and whom he distinguished from others, by bestowing excellent qualifications on him; and whom he raised to great dignity, and gave him great honour, by using him as an instrument in his hand for the deliverance of his people; and who was a type of Christ, the dear Son of God's love, in whom he is always well pleased.

He will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans; either he shall do as he pleases with Babylon, and with his army destroy the Chaldeans; or he shall do the pleasure of God on Babylon, and destroy the inhabitants of it, and deliver his people from it. This is also true of Christ, who will do his pleasure on mystical Babylon, destroy antichrist, and all the antichristian states, with his mighty arm and power, with the breath of his mouth, and with the brightness of his coming.

All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; who among them hath declared these things? The LORD hath loved {r} him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans.

(r) Meaning, Cyrus, whom he had chosen to destroy Babylon.

14. All ye] The summons is addressed, not as in ch. Isaiah 41:1-4 &c. to the nations, but to the people of Israel; the gods of the heathen are referred to in the words which among them &c.

The Lord hath loved him] is to be construed as a relative sentence: he whom Jehovah loveth shall perform etc. A new title, similar to those in Isaiah 44:28, Isaiah 45:1, Isaiah 46:11, is here bestowed upon Cyrus (comp. “my friend” of Abraham in Isaiah 41:8). his pleasure] see on Isaiah 42:21.

and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans] A preposition has dropped out or must be supplied from the preceding clause; and then we may either render as E.V. (in which case “his arm” would most naturally mean the arm, i.e. the might, of Cyrus); or thus: “and (he will perform) His arm (Jehovah’s mighty judgement) on the Chaldæans” (Dillmann). But although “arm” is a symbol of might, it could hardly be used alone of judgement. The LXX. (“to destroy the seed of the Chaldeans”) obviously read zera‘ instead of zěrô‘ô; and this is probably the better text. Render simply and (on) the seed of the Chaldæans.Verse 14. - All ye, assemble yourselves. "Once more the nations are challenged to say which of their deities has foretold the work that the Lord has willed to perform on Babylon" (Kay) (see above, Isaiah 43:9). If none has done so, will not Israel see and acknowledge the superiority of Jehovah to such blind deities? The Lord hath loved him. It had not been previously declared in so many words that Jehovah "loved" Cyrus; but it had been sufficiently indicated by the way in which he was spoken of in Isaiah 44:28 and Isaiah 45:1-5. God "loves" all who "in an honest and good heart" seek according to their lights to do his will and serve him faithfully. Nebuchadnezzar is called his "servant" (Isaiah 25:9; Isaiah 27:6; Ezekiel 29:18, 20), Cyrus (in Isaiah 45:1) his "anointed." It is but going one step further to call the latter his "loved one." He will do his pleasure; i.e. "God's pleasure," not his own (see Isaiah 44:28). His arm shall be on the Chaldeans. The Hebrew is very harsh, and perhaps requires emendation; but the meaning can scarcely be other than that expressed in our version. But in order to determine exactly what "the former things" were, which Jehovah had foretold in order that Israel might not ascribe them to this idol or the other, we must add Isaiah 48:6-8 : "Thou hast heard it, look then at it all; and ye, must ye not confess it? I give thee new things to hear from this time forth, and hidden things, and what thou didst not know. It is created now, and not long ago; and thou hast not heard it before, that thou mightest not say, Behold, I knew it. Thou hast neither heard it, nor known it, nor did thine ear open itself to it long ago: for I knew thou art altogether faithless, and thou art called rebellious from the womb." The meaning of the question in Isaiah 48:6 is very obvious: they must acknowledge and attest, even thou against their will (Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 44:8), that Jehovah has foretold all that is now confirmed by the evident fulfilment. Consequently the "former things" are the events experienced by the people from the very earliest times (Isaiah 46:9) down to the present times of Cyrus, and more especially the first half or epoch of this period itself, which expired at the time that formed the prophet's standpoint. And as the object of the prediction was to guard Israel against ascribing to its idols that which had taken place (which can only be understood of events that had occurred in favour of Israel), the "former things" must include the preparation for the redemption of Israel from the Babylonian captivity through the revolution brought to pass by Cyrus. Hence the "new things" will embrace the redemption of Israel with its attendant circumstances, and that not merely on its outward side, but on its spiritual side as well; also the glorification of the redeemed people in the midst of a world of nations converted to the God of Israel, and the creation of a new heaven and a new earth; in short, the New Testament aeon (compare עם לברית, lxx εἰς διαθήκην γένους, Isaiah 42:6), with the facts which contribute to its ultimate completion (f. Isaiah 42:9). The announcement and realization of these absolutely new and hitherto secret things (cf., Romans 16:25) take place from this time forward; Israel has not heard of them "before today" (compare מיּום, "from this day forward," Isaiah 43:13), that it may not lay claim to the knowledge conveyed to it by prophecy, as something drawn from itself. This thought is carried to a climax in Isaiah 48:8 in three correlated sentences commencing with "yea" (gam). פּתח signifies patescere here, as in Isaiah 60:11 (Ewald, 120, a). Jehovah had said nothing to them of this before, because it was to be feared that, with their faithlessness and tendency to idolatry, which had run through their entire history, they would only abuse it. This is strange! On the one hand, the rise of Cyrus is spoken of here as predicted from of old, because it belonged to the "former things," and as knowable through prophecy - a statement which favours the opinion that these addresses were written before the captivity; and, on the other hand, a distinction is drawn between these "former things" and certain "new things" that were intentionally not predicted before the expiration of these "former things," which certainly seems to preclude the possibility of their having been composed before the captivity; since, as Ruetschi observes, if "the older Isaiah had predicted this, he would have acted in direct opposition to Jehovah's design." But in actual fact, the dilemma in which the opponents of the authenticity of these prophecies find themselves, is comparatively worse than this. For the principal objection - namely, that a prophet before the captivity could not possibly have known or predicted anything concerning Cyrus - cannot be satisfactorily removed by attributing these prophecies to a prophet of the time of the captivity, since they expressly and repeatedly affirm that the rise of Cyrus was an event foreknown and predicted by the God of prophecy. Now, if it is Isaiah who thus takes his stand directly in the midst of the captivity, we can understand both of these: viz., the retrospective glance at previous prophecies, which issued in the rise of Cyrus that prepared the way for the redemption from Babylon, since, so far as the prophet was concerned, such prophecies as Isaiah 13-14:23; Isaiah 21:1-10, and also Isaiah 11:10-12 (Micah 4:10), are fused into one with his present predictions; and also the prospective glance at prophecies which are now first to be uttered, and events which are now fore the first time about to be accomplished; inasmuch as the revelations contained in these prophecies concerning Israel's pathway through suffering to glory, more especially so far as they grew out of the idea of the "servant of Jehovah," might really be set down as absolutely new to the prophet himself, and never heard of before. Meanwhile our exposition is not affected by the critical question; for even we most firmly maintain, that the prophet who is speaking here has his standpoint in the midst of the captivity, on the boundary line of the condition of suffering and punishment and its approaching termination.
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