Isa 48:1-22. The Things That
Befall Babylon Jehovah Predicted Long before, lest Israel Should
Attribute Them, in Its "Obstinate" Perversity, to
Strange Gods (Isa 48:1-5).
1. the waters of Judah—spring from the
fountain of Judah (Nu 24:7; De 33:28; Ps 68:26; Margin). Judah has
the "fountain" attributed to it, because it survived the ten tribes,
and from it Messiah was to spring.
swear by … Lord—(Isa 19:18;
mention—in prayers and praises.
not in truth—(Jer 5:2; Joh
2. For—Ye deserve these reproofs; "for"
ye call yourselves citizens of "the holy city" (Isa 52:1), but not in truth (Isa
48:1; Ne 11:1; Da 9:24); so
the inscription on their coins of the time of the Maccabees. "Jerusalem
3. former—things which have happened in
time past to Israel (Isa 42:9; 44:7, 8; 45:21; 46:10).
suddenly—They came to pass so
unexpectedly that the prophecy could not have resulted from mere human
4. obstinate—Hebrew, "hard"
9:27; Eze 3:7,
iron sinew—inflexible (Ac 7:51).
brow brass—shameless as a harlot (see
Jer 6:28; 3:3; Eze 3:7, Margin).
5. (See on Isa 48:1; Isa 48:3).
6. Thou, &c.—So "ye are my
witnesses" (Isa 43:10).
Thou canst testify the prediction was uttered long before the
fulfilment: "see all this," namely, that the event answers to the
declare—make the fact known as a proof
that Jehovah alone is God (Isa 44:8).
new things—namely, the deliverance
from Babylon by Cyrus, new in contradistinction from former
predictions that had been fulfilled (Isa 42:9; 43:19). Antitypically, the prophecy has in
view the "new things" of the gospel treasury (So 7:13; Mt 13:52; 2Co 5:17; Re 21:5). From this point forward, the
prophecies as to Messiah's first and second advents and the restoration
of Israel, have a new circumstantial distinctness, such as did
not characterize the previous ones, even of Isaiah. Babylon, in this
view, answers to the mystical Babylon of Revelation.
hidden—which could not have been
guessed by political sagacity (Da 2:22, 29; 1Co 2:9, 10).
7. Not like natural results from existing
causes, the events when they took place were like acts of
creative power, such as had never before been "from the
even before the day when—rather [Maurer], "And before the day (of their
occurrence) thou hast not heard of them"; that is, by any human
acuteness; they are only heard of by the present inspired
8. heardest not—repeated, as also
"knewest not," from Isa 48:7.
from that time—Omit "that." "Yea, from
the first thine ear did not open itself," namely, to obey
them [Rosenmuller]. "To open the ear"
denotes obedient attention (Isa 50:5);
or, "was not opened" to receive them; that is, they were not
declared by Me to thee previously, since, if thou hadst been
informed of them, such is thy perversity, thou couldst not have been
kept in check [Maurer]. In the former
view, the sense of the words following is, "For I knew that, if I had
not foretold the destruction of Babylon so plainly that there could be
no perverting of it, thou wouldst have perversely ascribed it to idols,
or something else than to Me" (Isa 48:5). Thus they would have relapsed into
idolatry, to cure them of which the Babylonian captivity was sent: so
they had done (Ex 32:4).
After the return, and ever since, they have utterly forsaken idols.
wast called—as thine appropriate
appellation (Isa 9:6).
from the womb—from the beginning of
Israel's national existence (Isa 44:2).
9. refrain—literally, "muzzle"; His
wrath, after the return, was to be restrained a while, and then,
because of their sins, let loose again (Ps 78:38).
for thee—that is, mine anger
10. (See on Isa
with silver—rather, "for
silver." I sought by affliction to purify thee, but thou wast not as
silver obtained by melting, but as dross [Gesenius]. Thy repentance is not complete: thou art
not yet as refined silver. Rosenmuller
explains, "not as silver," not with the intense heat needed to
melt silver (it being harder to melt than gold), that is, not with the
most extreme severity. The former view is better (Isa 1:25; 42:25; Eze 22:18-20, 22).
chosen—or else [Lowth], tried … proved: according to Gesenius, literally, "to rub with the
touchstone," or to cut in pieces so as to examine (Zec
13:9; Mal 3:3; 1Pe 1:7).
11. how should my name—Maurer, instead of "My name" from Isa 48:9, supplies "My glory" from the next
clause; and translates, "How (shamefully) My glory has been profaned!"
In English Version the sense is, "I will refrain (Isa 48:9, that is, not utterly destroy thee), for
why should I permit My name to be polluted, which it would be, if the
Lord utterly destroyed His elect people" (Eze 20:9)?
not give my glory unto another—If God
forsook His people for ever, the heathen would attribute their
triumph over Israel to their idols; so God's glory would be
given to another.
12-15. The Almighty, who has founded heaven
and earth, can, and will, restore His people.
the first … last—(Isa 41:4;
13. spanned—measured out (Isa 40:12).
when I call … stand up
together—(Isa 40:26; Jer 33:25). But it is not their creation so much
which is meant, as that, like ministers of God, the heavens and
the earth are prepared at His command to execute His decrees
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
15. brought—led him on his way.
he—change from the first to the third
person [Barnes]. Jehovah shall
make his (Cyrus') way prosperous.
16. not … in secret—(Isa 45:19). Jehovah foretold Cyrus' advent, not
with the studied ambiguity of heathen oracles, but plainly.
from the time, &c.—From the moment
that the purpose began to be accomplished in the raising up of Cyrus I
sent me—The prophet here speaks,
claiming attention to his announcement as to Cyrus, on the ground of
his mission from God and His Spirit. But he speaks not in his own
person so much as in that of Messiah, to whom alone in the fullest
sense the words apply (Isa 61:1; Joh 10:36). Plainly, Isa 49:1, which is the continuation of the
forty-eighth chapter, from Isa 48:16,
where the change of speaker from God (Isa 48:1, 12-15) begins, is the language of Messiah.
14, 18, shows that the Spirit
combined with the Father in sending the Son: therefore "His Spirit" is
nominative to "sent," not accusative, following it.
17. teacheth … to profit—by
affliction, such as the Babylonish captivity, and the present
long-continued dispersion of Israel (Heb 12:10).
18. peace—(Ps 119:165). Compare the desire expressed by
the same Messiah (Mt 23:37; Lu 19:42).
river—(Isa 33:21; 41:18), a river flowing from God's throne is
the symbol of free, abundant, and ever flowing blessings from
Him (Eze 47:1; Zec 14:8; Re 22:1).
prosperity; the parent of "peace" or national prosperity;
therefore "peace" corresponds to "righteousness" in the parallelism
19. sand—retaining the metaphor of "the
like the gravel thereof—rather, as the
Hebrew, "like that (the offspring) of its (the sea's) bowels";
referring to the countless living creatures, fishes, &c., of the
sea, rather than the gravel [Maurer].
Jerome, Chaldee, and
Syriac support English Version.
his name … cut off—transition
from the second person, "thy," to the third "his." Israel's name was
cut off "as a nation" during the Babylonish captivity; also it is so
now, to which the prophecy especially looks (Ro 11:20).
20. Go … forth … end of the
earth—Primarily, a prophecy of their joyful deliverance from
Babylon, and a direction that they should leave it when God opened the
way. But the publication of it "to the ends of the earth" shows it has
a more world-wide scope antitypically; Re 18:4 shows that the mystical Babylon is
redeemed … Jacob—(Isa 43:1;
21. Ezra, in describing the return, makes no
mention of God cleaving the rock for them in the desert [Kimchi]. The circumstances, therefore, of the
deliverance from Egypt (Ex 17:6; Nu 20:11; Ps 78:15;
105:41) and of that from
Babylon, are blended together; the language, while more immediately
referring to the latter deliverance, yet, as being blended with
circumstances of the former not strictly applicable to the latter,
cannot wholly refer to either, but to the mystic deliverance of
man under Messiah, and literally to the final restoration of
22. Repeated (Isa 57:21). All the blessings just mentioned
48:21) belong only to the
godly, not to the wicked. Israel shall first cast away its wicked
unbelief before it shall inherit national prosperity (Zec 12:10-14; 13:1, 9; 14:3,
14, 20, 21). The sentiment
holds good also as to all wicked men (Job 15:20-25,