Isa 45:1-25. The Subject of
the Deliverance by Cyrus Is Followed Up.
These seven verses should have been appended to previous chapter, and
the new chapter should begin with Isa 45:8, "Drop down," &c. [Horsley]. Reference to the deliverance by Messiah
often breaks out from amidst the local and temporary details of the
deliverance from Babylon, as the great ultimate end of the
1. his anointed—Cyrus is so called as
being set apart as king, by God's providence, to fulfil His
special purpose. Though kings were not anointed in Persia, the
expression is applied to him in reference to the Jewish custom
of setting apart kings to the regal office by anointing.
right hand … holden—image from
sustaining a feeble person by holding his right hand (Isa 42:6).
subdue nations—namely, the Cilicians,
Syrians, Babylonians, Lydians, Bactrians, &c.; his empire extended
from Egypt and the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, and from Ethiopia
to the Euxine Sea.
loose … girdle loins—that is,
the girdle off the loins; and so enfeeble them. The loose outer
robe of the Orientals, when girt fast round the loins, was the emblem
of strength and preparedness for action; ungirt, was indicative of
feebleness (Job 38:3; 12:21); "weakeneth the strength of the
mighty" (Margin), "looseth the girdle of the strong."
The joints of (Belshazzar's) loins, we read in Da 5:6, were loosed during the siege by
Cyrus, at the sight of the mysterious handwriting on the palace walls.
His being taken by surprise, unaccoutred, is here foretold.
to open … gates—In the revelry
in Babylon on the night of its capture, the inner gates, leading from
the streets to the river, were left open; for there were walls along
each side of the Euphrates with gates, which, had they been kept shut,
would have hemmed the invading hosts in the bed of the river, where the
Babylonians could have easily destroyed them. Also, the gates of the
palace were left open, so that there was access to every part of the
city; and such was its extent, that they who lived in the extremities
were taken prisoners before the alarm reached the center of the palace.
2. crooked … straight—(Isa 40:4), rather, "maketh mountains plain"
[Lowth], that is, clear out of thy way
all opposing persons and things. The Keri reads as in Isa 45:13, "make straight"
gates of brass—(Ps 107:16). Herodotus (1.179) says, Babylon had a hundred
massive gates, twenty-five on each of the four sides of the city, all,
as well as their posts, of brass.
bars of iron—with which the gates were
3. treasures of darkness—that is, hidden
in subterranean places; a common Oriental practice. Sorcerers pretended
to be able to show where such treasures were to be found; in opposition
to their pretensions, God says, He will really give hidden treasures to
Cyrus (Jer 50:37; 51:13). Pliny
(Natural History,, 33:3) says that Cyrus obtained from the
conquest of Asia thirty-four thousand pounds weight of gold, besides
golden vases, and five hundred thousand talents of silver, and the
goblet of Semiramis, weighing fifteen talents.
that thou mayest know—namely, not
merely that He was "the God of Israel," but that He was Jehovah, the
true God. Ezr 1:1, 2
shows that the correspondence of the event with the prediction had the
desired effect on Cyrus.
which call … thy name—so long
before designate thee by name (Isa 43:1).
4. (See on Isa 41:8; Isa 43:14).
surnamed—that is, designated to carry
out My design of restoring Judah (see on Isa
44:5; Isa 44:28; 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).
5. (Isa 42:8; 43:3, 11;
girded thee—whereas "I will loose (the
girdle off) the loins of kings" (Isa 45:1), strengthening thee, but
enfeebling them before thee.
though … not known me—(Isa 45:4). God knows His elect
before they are made to know Him (Ga 4:9; Joh 15:16).
6. From the rising to the setting of the sun,
that is, from east to west, the whole habitable
world. It is not said, "from north to south," for that
would not imply the habitable world, as, "from east to
west" does (Ezr 1:1,
&c.). The conquest of Jerusalem by Babylon, the capital of the
world, and the overthrow of Babylon and restoration of the Jews by
Cyrus, who expressly acknowledged himself to be but the instrument in
God's hands, were admirably suited to secure, throughout the world, the
acknowledgment of Jehovah as the only true God.
7. form … create—yatzar, to
give "form" to previously existing matter. Bara, to "create"
from nothing the chaotic dark material.
light … darkness—literally
1:1-3), emblematical also,
prosperity to Cyrus, calamity to Babylon and the nations
to be vanquished [Grotius] …
Isaiah refers also to the Oriental belief in two coexistent, eternal
principles, ever struggling with each other, light or good, and
darkness or evil, Oromasden and Ahrimanen. God, here, in
opposition, asserts His sovereignty over both [Vitringa].
create evil—not moral evil
1:13), but in contrast to
"peace" in the parallel clause, war, disaster (compare Ps 65:7; Am
8. Drop—namely, the fertilizing rain
skies—clouds; lower than the
righteousness—that is, the dews of the
Holy Spirit, whereby "righteousness" shall "spring up." (See latter end
of the verse).
earth—figuratively for the hearts
of men on it, opened for receiving the truth by the Holy
them—the earth and the heavens. Horsley prefers: "Let the earth open, and
let salvation and justice grow forth; let it bring them
forth together; I the Lord have created him" (Isa 45:13). Maurer
translates, "Let all kinds of salvation (prosperity) be fruitful"
72:3, 6, 7). The revival of
religion after the return from Babylon suggests to the prophet the
diffusion of Messiah's Gospel, especially in days still future;
hence the elevation of the language to a pitch above what is applicable
to the state of religion after the return.
9. Anticipating the objections which the Jews
might raise as to why God permitted their captivity, and when He did
restore them, why He did so by a foreign prince, Cyrus, not a Jew
40:27, &c.), but mainly
and ultimately, the objections about to be raised by the Jews against
God's sovereign act in adopting the whole Gentile world as His
spiritual Israel (Isa 45:8,
referring to this catholic diffusion of the Gospel), as if it
were an infringement of their nation's privileges; so Paul expressly
quotes it (Ro 9:4-8, 11-21).
Let … strive—Not in the
Hebrew; rather, in apposition with "him," "A potsherd
among the potsherds of the earth!" A creature fragile and
worthless as the fragment of an earthen vessel, among others equally
so, and yet presuming to strive with his Maker! English Version
implies, it is appropriate for man to strive with man, in opposition to
thy … He—shall thy work say
of thee, He … ?
10. If it be wrong for a child, born in less
favorable circumstances, to upbraid his parents with having given him
birth, a fortiori, it is, to upbraid God for His dealings with
us. Rather translate, "a father … a woman." The
Jews considered themselves exclusively God's children and were angry
that God should adopt the Gentiles besides. Woe to him who says to one
already a father, Why dost thou beget other children? [Horsley].
11. Ask … command—Instead of
striving with Me in regard to My purposes, your wisdom is in prayer to
ask, and even command Me, in so far as it is for My
glory, and for your real good (Mr 11:24; Joh 16:23,
13, latter part of the verse;
sons—(Isa 54:13; Ga 3:26).
work of my hands—spiritually (Eph 2:10); also literal Israel (Isa 60:21). Maurer translates, instead of "command," Leave it
to Me, in My dealings concerning My sons and concerning the work of
My hands, to do what I will with My own. Lowth reads it interrogatively, Do ye presume to
question Me and dictate to Me (see Isa 45:9, 10)? The same sense is given, if the words
be taken in irony. But English Version is best.
12. The same argument for prayer, drawn from
God's omnipotence and consequent power, to grant any request, occurs in
I, even my hands—so Hebrew
41:2), "Thou … thy
hand" (both nominatives, in apposition).
13. him—Cyrus, type of Messiah, who
redeems the captives of Satan "without money and without price" (Isa 55:1), "freely" (gratuitously) (Isa 52:3; 61:1; Zec 9:11; Ro 3:24).
in righteousness—to fulfil My
righteous purpose (see on Isa 41:2; Isa 42:6; Jer 23:6).
14. The language but cursorily alludes to
Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba, being given to Cyrus as a ransom in lieu of
Israel whom he restored (Isa 43:3),
but mainly and fully describes the gathering in of the Gentiles to
Israel (Ac 2:10, 11; 8:27-38), especially at Israel's future
2:2; 14:1, 2; 19:18-22; 60:3-14; 49:23; Ps 68:31; 72:10, 11).
labour—wealth acquired by labor (Jer 3:24).
Sabeans … of stature—the men of
Meroe, in Upper Egypt. Herodotus (3.30)
calls the Ethiopians "the tallest of men" (see on Isa 18:2; 1Ch 11:23).
thee—Jerusalem ("my city," Isa 45:13).
in chains—(Ps 149:8). "The saints shall judge the world"
6:2) and "rule the nations
with a rod of iron" (Zec 14:12-19; Re 2:26, 27). The "chains," in the case of the
obedient, shall be the easy yoke of Messiah; as "the sword of
the Spirit" also is saving to the believer, condemnatory to the
unbeliever (Joh 12:48; Heb 4:12; Re 19:15).
God is in thee—(Jer 3:19).
15. God that hidest thyself—Horsley, after Jerome, explains this as the confession of Egypt,
&c., that God is concealed in human form in the person of
Jesus. Rather, connected with Isa 45:9, 10, the prophet, contemplating the
wonderful issue of the seemingly dark counsels of God, implies a
censure on those who presume to question God's dealings (Isa 55:8, 9;
De 29:29). Faith still
discerns, even under the veil, the covenant-keeping "God of Israel, the
Saviour" (Isa 8:17).
16. ashamed—"disappointed" in their
expectation of help from their idols (see on Isa
42:17; Psalm 97. 7).
17. in the Lord—(Isa 45:24, 25), contrasted with the idols which
cannot give even temporary help (Isa 45:16); in Jehovah there is
everlasting salvation (Isa 26:4).
not … ashamed—opposed to the
doom of the idolaters, who, in the hour of need, shall be "ashamed"
(see on Isa 45:16).
18. (See on Isa
not in vain, he formed it to be
inhabited—Therefore, Judah, lying waste during the Babylonish
captivity, shall be peopled again by the exiles. The Jews, from this
passage, infer that, after the resurrection, the earth shall be
inhabited, for there can be no reason why the earth should then
exist in vain any more than now (2Pe 3:13).
19. not … secret—not like the
heathen oracles which gave their responses from dark caverns, with
studied obscurity (Isa 48:16).
Christ plainly quotes these words, thereby identifying Himself with
Jehovah (Joh 18:20).
I said not … Seek … in
vain—When I commanded you to seek Me (Jehovah did so, Isa 45:11, "Ask Me," &c.), it was not in
order that ye might be sent empty away (De 32:47). Especially in Israel's time of trial,
God's interposition, in behalf of Zion hereafter, is expressly stated
as about to be the answer to prayer (Isa 62:6, 7-10; Ps
102:13-17, 19-21). So in the
case of all believers, the spiritual Israel.
righteousness—that which is veracious:
not in the equivocal terms of heathen responses, fitly symbolized by
the "dark places" from which they were uttered.
right—true (see on Isa 41:26).
20. escaped of the nations—those of the
nations who shall have escaped the slaughter inflicted by Cyrus. Now,
at last, ye shall see the folly of "praying to a god that cannot save"
45:16). Ultimately, those
that shall be "left of all the nations which shall come against
Jerusalem" are meant (Zec 14:16).
They shall then all be converted to the Lord (Isa 66:23, 24; Jer 3:17; Zec 8:20-23).
21. Challenge the worshippers of idols (Isa 41:1).
take counsel together—as to the best
arguments wherewith to defend the cause of idolatry.
who … from that time—(Isa 41:22,
23; see on Isa 44:8). Which of the idols has done what God hath,
namely, foretold, primarily as to Cyrus; ultimately as to the final
restoration of Israel hereafter? The idolatry of Israel before Cyrus'
time will have its counterpart in the Antichrist and the apostasy,
which shall precede Christ's manifestation.
just … and …
Saviour—righteous in keeping His promises, and
therefore a Saviour to His people. Not only is it not
inconsistent with, but it is the result of, His righteousness,
or justice, that He should save His redeemed (Isa 42:6, 21; Ps 85:10, 11; Ro 3:26).
22. Look … and be ye saved—The
second imperative expresses the result which will follow obedience to
the first (Ge 42:18);
ye shall be saved (Joh 3:14, 15). Nu 21:9: "If a serpent had bitten any man, when
he beheld the serpent of brass he lived." What so simple as a
look? Not do something, but look to the Saviour (Ac 16:30,
31). Believers look by faith,
the eye of the soul. The look is that of one turning (see
Margin) to God, as at once "Just and the Saviour" (Isa 45:21), that is, the look of conversion
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,
word … in righteousness—rather,
"the truth (see on 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 Isa
19:18; Isa 65:16). Yet to be fulfilled
24. Rather, "Only in Jehovah shall men
say of me (this clause is parenthetical), is there
righteousness" (which includes salvation, Isa 45:21, "a just God and a
Saviour," Isa 46:13),
strength—namely, to save.
shall men come—Those who have set
themselves up against God shall come to Him in penitence for the past
ashamed—(Isa 45:16; Isa 54:17; 41:11).
25. all … Israel—the spiritual
2:29) and the literal Israel,
that is, the final remnant which shall all be saved (Isa
45:17; Ro 11:26).
justified—treated as if they
were just, through Christ's righteousness and death (Jer 23:5).
glory—literally, "sing" in His praise
(Jer 9:24; 1Co 1:31).