This is what the LORD says to Cyrus His anointed, whose right hand I have grasped to subdue nations before him, to disarm kings, to open the doors before him, so that the gates will not be shut:
Cyrus is neither chosen for his character, nor said [in the Isaiah passages] to be endowed with one. But that he is there, and that he does so much, is due simply to this, that God had chosen him. What he is endowed with is force, push, swiftness, irresistibleness. He is, in short, not a character, but a tool; and God makes no apology for using him but this, that he has the qualities of a tool. Now, we cannot help being struck with the contrast of all this, the Hebrew view of Cyrus, with the well-known Greek view of him. To the Greeks he is first and foremost a character.
I. THE REASON OF THE DIVINE FAVOR TO CYRUS. Cyrus is the only king out of Israel who bears the title of Jehovah's anointed. He is solemnly set apart as an instrument to perform an important public service in the cause of Jehovah. It does not necessarily imply the piety of Cyrus. For the purposes of Jehovah he is upheld, "grasped by the right hand," that he may subdue nations before him - from the Euxine to Egypt, from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean. The girdles of mighty kings will be unloosed before him. See this said of Belshazzar (Daniel 5:6); then were the "two-leaved gates" of Babylon left open, amidst the revelry, and the conqueror broke in unopposed (Herod., 1:191). The treasures of the city are laid open before him.
1. The object was that he might acknowledge Jehovah. "He hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth" (Ezra 1:2). "Son of Cambyses, Heaven favours you manifestly, or you could not thus have risen superior to fortune" (Herod., 1:124; cf. 205). None but the Omniscient could have known the person and the name of him who was to conquer Babylon and deliver his people
2. The next object was the deliverance of the chosen people. "The fates of the empires and kingdoms of the world are divinely disposed of with a view to the Church." But all the progress and prosperity of true religion are summed up in the knowledge of Jehovah: that he is the sole God; that he is the Creator and the providential Ruler of the world. The alternation of day and night is Jehovah's ordinance. So also is that of peace and war, success and misfortune, good and evil. This is pure monotheism, opposed alike to pantheism and to dualism. That the world may be converted to true religion is the final and all-comprehensive object.
II. SONG OF PRAISE. "The appearance of the shepherd of Jehovah, and the thought of the blessings of which he is to be the medium, inspires the prophet with a joyous strain of psalmody." The form of the expression is borrowed from the Eastern religions, the fertility of the earth being due to the impregnating influence of Heaven (Psalm 85:11; Hosea 2:21, 22). Righteousness, in the sense of salvation (Isaiah 51:5, 6, 8; Isaiah 56:1; Isaiah 59:17; Isaiah 61:10, 11; Isaiah 62:1), descends upon the souls of men. And they will break forth into "fruits of righteousness" to the glory of God. Prepared for repentance and the reception of the truth from the Holy Spirit, they will be, even as the earth is, made mellow and adapted for the reception of seed by rain and dew. "A Church smiles under the influence of a revival of religion, and society puts on the aspect of loveliness like the earth after abundant showers.' - J.
Thus saith the Lord to His anointed.
The name of Cyrus is written Kuras in Babylonian cuneiform, Kurush in Old Persian. Ctesias stated on the authority of Parysatis, the wife of the Persian king Ochus, that her younger son was named Cyrus from the sun, as the Persians called the sun Kupos
80; Plut. Artax.
1). In Zend, however, the sun is hware
, which could not take the form Kupos
in Old Persian, though in modern Persian it is khur, khir
, and kher
The classical writers have given extraordinary accounts of his birth and rise to power All these versions have been shown to be unhistorical by contemporaneous cuneiform inscriptions. The most important of these are(1) a cylinder inscription of Nabonidus, the last king of the Babylonian Empire, from Abu Habba (Sippara);(2) an annalistic tablet written shortly after the conquest of Babylonia by Cyrus;(3) a proclamation of Cyrus of the same date... The proclamation of Cyrus shows that he was not a Zoroastrian like Darius and Xerxes, but that as he claimed to be the successor of the Babylonian kings, so also he acknowledged the supremacy of Bel-Merodaeh the supreme Babylonian god. Hence the restoration of the Jewish exiles was not due to any sympathy with monotheism, but was part of a general policy. Experience had taught him the danger of allowing a disaffected population to exist in a country which might be invaded by an enemy; his own conquest of Babylonia had been assisted by the revolt of a part of its population; and he therefore reversed the policy of deportation and denationalisation which had been attempted by the Assyrian and Baby-Ionian kings. The exiles and the images of their gods were sent back to their old homes; only in the case of the Jews, who had no images, it was the sacred vessels of the temple which were restored.
To Greek literature Cyrus was the prince pre-eminent, — set forth as the model for education in childhood, self-restraint in youth, just and powerful government in manhood. Most of what we read of him in Xenophon's Cyclopaedia
is, of course, romance; but the very fact that, like our own king Arthur, Cyrus was used as a mirror to flash great ideals down the ages, proves that there was with him native brilliance and width of surface as well as fortunate eminence of position. He owed much to the virtue of his race.
()We have vividly described to us the victories of Cyrus; in his whirlwind career, subduing the nations before him, loosing the loins of kings (that whole troop of vassal empires enumerated by Xenophon), and opening before him the hundred brazen gates of Babylon (also minutely described by Herodotus, as guarding alike the approaches to the river and the temple of Belus), and cutting in sunder the bars of iron. The spoil amassed on that occasion was probably unexampled in the annals of war; for besides the enormous wealth of palatial Babylon itself, it included the fabulous riches of Croesus, king of Lydia, who brought waggon-load after waggon-load to lay at the feet of the conqueror. The aggregate was computed to be equivalent to upwards of a hundred and twenty-six millions of our money. Well, therefore, might the prophet here chronicle, among the predestined exploits of this mighty prince (ver. 3), "the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places."
()The monarchs of eastern nations were accustomed to wear girdles about their loins, which were considered as giving strength and firmness to their bodies; and, being richly decorated, served as badges of royal dignity. When, therefore, God declares that He would deprive them of their girdles and loose their loins, the expression imports that He would divest them of their power and majesty, and reduce them to a mean and contemptible condition.
()1. For the enlargement of His Church, God often selects special instruments. In setting into motion a whole system of agencies this is almost uniformly the case. We recognise the fact all along the history of the Church. We see men raised up with peculiar gifts and clothed with peculiar powers to effect certain great works. The text gives us a remarkable illustration of this method of Divine procedure. In the bosom of the Church itself there are two still more remarkable examples of this law; the two men who bore the largest part in the inauguration and establishment of the chief dispensations. Moses and Paul were not indifferent characters; nor were their training and position like that of the multitude. They stand out boldly in history as men of peculiar natural gifts and attainments. Their early discipline exalted their intrinsic power; while their relation to the people among whom their work was to be performed, and to the science of the age in which they lived, imparted special qualifications for their great mission, it is not that the human is thus exalted above the Divine, but simply that the Divine uses that kind and measure of humanity which are best fitted to accomplish its purposes.
2. It is just as certain that the great Sovereign chooses particular nations to effect certain parts of His work in the final triumph of the Gospel, as that He chooses certain individuals for some special operation "This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth My praise." His sovereignty reaches back of the immediate work. It chooses according to the character of the nation; it reaches to the antecedent training and the natural characteristics which combine to prepare the nation most fully for the work; nay, this sovereignty in its far-reaching wisdom has been busy all along the history of the people in so ordering the moulding influences under which characters and position are attained, that when the time comes for them to enter into His special work, they will be found all ripe for His purpose. This nation, to whom the passage before us refers, is a marked illustration of this thought. The Jew was designed to be the conservator of the Word of God. He was chosen for this purpose. The object was not propagation, but conservation. The race by nature and education had just those qualities which fitted it for this work. Its wonderful tenacity of impression, its power to hold what once had fairly been forced into it by Divine energy, like the rock hardened around the crystal, belongs to its nature, reveals itself after Providence had shattered the nation, in that granite character which, under the fire of eighteen centuries, remains unchanged. At every step of the progress of Christianity since, illustrations multiply of the truth that God forms nations to His work, and chooses them because of their fitness to accomplish certain parts of that work. The Greek with his high mental culture and his glorious language — fit instrument through which the Divine Word breathed His life-giving truth; the Roman sceptred in power over the whole realm of civilisation, and undesignedly constructing the great highway for the Church of Jesus; the German, with his innate freedom of spirit, nourishing the thoughtful souls whose lofty utterances awoke, whose wondrous power disenthralled a sleeping and captive Church.
PeopleCyrus, Isaiah, Jacob
PlacesCush, Egypt, Jerusalem
TopicsAnointed, Armor, Cyrus, Doors, Gates, Held, Hold, Kings, Nations, Open, Says, Shut, Strip, Subdue, Thus
Outline1. God calls Cyrus for his church's sake
5. By his omnipotence he challenges obedience
20. He convinces the idols of vanity by his saving power
Dictionary of Bible ThemesIsaiah 45:1
1115 God, purpose of
1265 hand of God
1320 God, as Saviour
5219 authority, human institutions
5257 civil authorities
6641 election, responsibilities
7160 servants of the Lord
7967 spiritual gifts, responsibility
7735 leaders, political
LibraryHidden and Revealed
'Verily thou art a God that hidest Thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.... I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye Me in vain: I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.'--ISAIAH xlv, 15,19. The former of these verses expresses the thoughts of the prophet in contemplating the close of a great work of God's power which issues in the heathen's coming to Israel and acknowledging God. He adores the depth of the divine …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Sovereignty and Salvation
"Ere since by faith I saw the stream His flowing wounds supply, Redeeming love has been my theme, And shall be till I die." I shall never forget that day, while memory holds its place; nor can I help repeating this text whenever I remember that hour when first I knew the Lord. How strangely gracious! How wonderfully and marvelously kind, that he who heard these words so little time ago for his own soul's profit, should now address you this morning as his hearers from the same text, in the full and …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 2: 1856
The Solar Eclipse
I shall note this morning, in addressing you, that since the Lord creates darkness as well as light; first of all, eclipses of every kind are part of God's way of governing the world; in the second place, we shall notice that since God creates the darkness as well as the light, we may conclude beyond a doubt that he has a design in the eclipse--in the darkness as well as the light; and then, thirdly, we shall notice that as all things that God has created, whether they be light or whether they be …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858
"Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth."--Is. xlv. 22. Mechthild of Hellfde, 1277. tr., Emma Frances Bevan, 1899 Wilt thou, sinner, be converted? Christ the Lord of glory see By His own denied, deserted, Bleeding, bound, and scourged for thee. Look again, O soul, behold Him On the cross uplifted high; See the precious life-blood flowing, See the tears that dim His eye. Love has pierced the heart that brake, Loveless sinner, for thy sake. Hearken till thy heart is broken To His …
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen and Others (Second Series)
The Eve of the Restoration
'Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 2. Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and He hath charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3. Who is there among you of all His people? his God …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Jehovah-Shammah: a Glorious Name for the New Year
THESE words may be used as a test as well as a text. They may serve for examination as well as consolation, and at the beginning of a year they may fulfill this useful double purpose. In any case they are full of marrow and fatness to those whose spiritual taste is purified. It is esteemed by the prophet to be the highest blessing that could come upon a city that its name should be, "JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH, The Lord is there." Even Jerusalem, in its best estate, would have this for its crowning blessing: …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 37: 1891
The Eternity and Unchangeableness of God.
Exod. iii. 14.--"I AM THAT I AM."--Psal. xc. 2.--"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God."--Job xi. 7-9.--"Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea." This is the chief point of saving knowledge, …
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning
Of Four Things which Bring Great Peace
"My Son, now will I teach thee the way of peace and of true liberty." 2. Do, O my Lord, as Thou sayest, for this is pleasing unto me to hear. 3. "Strive, My Son, to do another's will rather than thine own. Choose always to have less rather than more. Seek always after the lowest place, and to be subject to all. Wish always and pray that the will of God be fulfilled in thee. Behold, such a man as this entereth into the inheritance of peace and quietness." 4. O my Lord, this Thy short discourse …
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ
Covenanting According to the Purposes of God.
Since every revealed purpose of God, implying that obedience to his law will be given, is a demand of that obedience, the announcement of his Covenant, as in his sovereignty decreed, claims, not less effectively than an explicit law, the fulfilment of its duties. A representation of a system of things pre-determined in order that the obligations of the Covenant might be discharged; various exhibitions of the Covenant as ordained; and a description of the children of the Covenant as predestinated …
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting
A Plain Description of the Essence and Attributes of God, Out of the Holy Scripture, So Far as Every Christian must Competently Know, and Necessarily Believe, that Will be Saves.
Although no creature can define what God is, because he is incomprehensible (Psal. cxliii. 3) and dwelling in inaccessible light (1 Tim. vi. 16); yet it has pleased his majesty to reveal himself to us in his word, so far as our weak capacity can best conceive him. Thus: God is that one spiritual and infinitely perfect essence, whose being is of himself eternally (Deut. i. 4; iv. 35; xxxii. 39; vi. 4; Isa. xlv. 5-8; 1 Cor. viii. 4; Eph. iv. 5, 6; 1 Tim. ii. 5; John iv. 24; 2 Cor. iii. 17; 1 Kings …
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety
The Unity of God
Q-5: ARE THERE MORE GODS THAN ONE? A: There is but one only, the living and true God. That there is a God has been proved; and those that will not believe the verity of his essence, shall feel the severity of his wrath. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.' Deut 6:6. He is the only God.' Deut 4:49. Know therefore this day, and consider it in thy heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath, there is none else.' A just God and a Saviour; there is none beside …
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity
Spiritual Hunger Shall be Satisfied
They shall be filled. Matthew 5:6 I proceed now to the second part of the text. A promise annexed. They shall be filled'. A Christian fighting with sin is not like one that beats the air' (1 Corinthians 9:26), and his hungering after righteousness is not like one that sucks in only air, Blessed are they that hunger, for they shall be filled.' Those that hunger after righteousness shall be filled. God never bids us seek him in vain' (Isaiah 45:19). Here is an honeycomb dropping into the mouths of …
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12
Thy Name: My Name
'I have called thee by thy name.'--ISAIAH xliii. 1. 'Every one that is called by My name.'--ISAIAH xliii. 7. Great stress is laid on names in Scripture. These two parallel and antithetic clauses bring out striking complementary relations between God and the collective Israel. But they are as applicable to each individual member of the true Israel of God. I. What does God's calling a man by his name imply? 1. Intimate knowledge. Adam naming the creatures. Christ naming His disciples. 2. Loving friendship. …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
The Extent of Messiah's Spiritual Kingdom
The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever! T he Kingdom of our Lord in the heart, and in the world, is frequently compared to a building or house, of which He Himself is both the Foundation and the Architect (Isaiah 28:16 and 54:11, 12) . A building advances by degrees (I Corinthians 3:9; Ephesians 2:20-22) , and while it is in an unfinished state, a stranger cannot, by viewing its present appearance, form an accurate judgment …
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2
Justification, strictly speaking, consists in God's imputing to His elect the righteousness of Christ, that alone being the meritorious cause or formal ground on which He pronounces them righteous: the righteousness of Christ is that to which God has respect when He pardons and accepts the sinner. By the nature of justification we have reference to the constituent elements of the same, which are enjoyed by the believer. These are, the non-imputation of guilt or the remission of sins, and second, …
Arthur W. Pink—The Doctrine of Justification
The Theology of St. Hilary of Poitiers.
This Chapter offers no more than a tentative and imperfect outline of the theology of St. Hilary; it is an essay, not a monograph. Little attempt will be made to estimate the value of his opinions from the point of view of modern thought; little will be said about his relation to earlier and contemporary thought, a subject on which he is habitually silent, and nothing about the after fate of his speculations. Yet the task, thus narrowed, is not without its difficulties. Much more attention, it is …
St. Hilary of Poitiers—The Life and Writings of St. Hilary of Poitiers
Gifts and Talents.
"And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him."--Judges iii. 10. We now consider the Holy Spirit's work in bestowing gifts, talents, and abilities upon artisans and professional men. Scripture declares that the special animation and qualification of persons for work assigned to them by God proceed from the Holy Spirit. The construction of the tabernacle required capable workmen, skilful carpenters, goldsmiths, and silversmiths, and masters in the arts of weaving and embroidering. Who will furnish Moses …
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit
Putting God to Work
"For from of old men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen a God beside thee who worketh for him that waiteth for him."--Isaiah 64:4. The assertion voiced in the title given this chapter is but another way of declaring that God has of His own motion placed Himself under the law of prayer, and has obligated Himself to answer the prayers of men. He has ordained prayer as a means whereby He will do things through men as they pray, which He would not otherwise do. Prayer …
Edward M. Bounds—The Weapon of Prayer
Extent of Atonement.
VI. For whose benefit the atonement was intended. 1. God does all things for himself; that is, he consults his own glory and happiness, as the supreme and most influential reason for all his conduct. This is wise and right in him, because his own glory and happiness are infinitely the greatest good in and to the universe. He made the atonement to satisfy himself. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." …
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology
Messiah's Innocence vindicated
He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people was he stricken. L et not plain Christians be stumbled because there are difficulties in the prophetical parts of the Scriptures, and because translators and expositors sometimes explain them with some difference, as to the sense. Whatever directly relates to our faith, practice, and comfort, may be plainly collected from innumerable …
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1
Nature of Covenanting.
A covenant is a mutual voluntary compact between two parties on given terms or conditions. It may be made between superiors and inferiors, or between equals. The sentiment that a covenant can be made only between parties respectively independent of one another is inconsistent with the testimony of Scripture. Parties to covenants in a great variety of relative circumstances, are there introduced. There, covenant relations among men are represented as obtaining not merely between nation and nation, …
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting
LinksIsaiah 45:1 NIV
Isaiah 45:1 NLT
Isaiah 45:1 ESV
Isaiah 45:1 NASB
Isaiah 45:1 KJV
Isaiah 45:1 Bible Apps
Isaiah 45:1 Parallel
Isaiah 45:1 Biblia Paralela
Isaiah 45:1 Chinese Bible
Isaiah 45:1 French Bible
Isaiah 45:1 German Bible
Isaiah 45:1 Commentaries