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Cyrus, God’s Instrument


Thus says the L ord to his anointed, to Cyrus,

whose right hand I have grasped

to subdue nations before him

and strip kings of their robes,

to open doors before him—

and the gates shall not be closed:


I will go before you

and level the mountains,

I will break in pieces the doors of bronze

and cut through the bars of iron,


I will give you the treasures of darkness

and riches hidden in secret places,

so that you may know that it is I, the L ord,

the God of Israel, who call you by your name.


For the sake of my servant Jacob,

and Israel my chosen,

I call you by your name,

I surname you, though you do not know me.


I am the L ord, and there is no other;

besides me there is no god.

I arm you, though you do not know me,


so that they may know, from the rising of the sun

and from the west, that there is no one besides me;

I am the L ord, and there is no other.


I form light and create darkness,

I make weal and create woe;

I the L ord do all these things.



Shower, O heavens, from above,

and let the skies rain down righteousness;

let the earth open, that salvation may spring up,

and let it cause righteousness to sprout up also;

I the L ord have created it.



Woe to you who strive with your Maker,

earthen vessels with the potter!

Does the clay say to the one who fashions it, “What are you making”?

or “Your work has no handles”?


Woe to anyone who says to a father, “What are you begetting?”

or to a woman, “With what are you in labor?”


Thus says the L ord,

the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:

Will you question me about my children,

or command me concerning the work of my hands?


I made the earth,

and created humankind upon it;

it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,

and I commanded all their host.


I have aroused Cyrus in righteousness,

and I will make all his paths straight;

he shall build my city

and set my exiles free,

not for price or reward,

says the L ord of hosts.


Thus says the L ord:

The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Ethiopia,

and the Sabeans, tall of stature,

shall come over to you and be yours,

they shall follow you;

they shall come over in chains and bow down to you.

They will make supplication to you, saying,

“God is with you alone, and there is no other;

there is no god besides him.”


Truly, you are a God who hides himself,

O God of Israel, the Savior.


All of them are put to shame and confounded,

the makers of idols go in confusion together.


But Israel is saved by the L ord

with everlasting salvation;

you shall not be put to shame or confounded

to all eternity.



For thus says the L ord,

who created the heavens

(he is God!),

who formed the earth and made it

(he established it;

he did not create it a chaos,

he formed it to be inhabited!):

I am the L ord, and there is no other.


I did not speak in secret,

in a land of darkness;

I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,

“Seek me in chaos.”

I the L ord speak the truth,

I declare what is right.


Idols Cannot Save Babylon


Assemble yourselves and come together,

draw near, you survivors of the nations!

They have no knowledge—

those who carry about their wooden idols,

and keep on praying to a god

that cannot save.


Declare and present your case;

let them take counsel together!

Who told this long ago?

Who declared it of old?

Was it not I, the L ord?

There is no other god besides me,

a righteous God and a Savior;

there is no one besides me.



Turn to me and be saved,

all the ends of the earth!

For I am God, and there is no other.


By myself I have sworn,

from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness

a word that shall not return:

“To me every knee shall bow,

every tongue shall swear.”



Only in the L ord, it shall be said of me,

are righteousness and strength;

all who were incensed against him

shall come to him and be ashamed.


In the L ord all the offspring of Israel

shall triumph and glory.


13. I have raised him up. He now continues the subject on which he had entered in the beginning of the chapter; for, having undertaken to soothe their affliction, which was exceedingly sharp and severe, Isaiah holds out the hope of deliverance, and stretches out his hand to them, that they may look for an absolutely certain redemption. Though you think that you are ruined, yet the Lord will protect you against destruction. Why the reproof which we have seen was intermingled with it, may be easily gathered from the event itself; for, if Isaiah had not abruptly made this digression, the Jews, in their vehement impatience, would have been hurried into despair.

In righteousness. This means “justly and truly,” and must be understood relatively; for it assigns the reason why God determined to raise up Cyrus, that is, because he is a faithful guardian of his Church, and does not disappoint his worshippers. Some explain it, “in justice,” that is, in order that he may punish the Babylonians; and others, “that he may reign justly;” but the Prophet meant nothing of this sort. But in the Scriptures, “righteousness” often signifies fidelity, (Psalm 5:8; 22:31), because the Lord manifests his “righteousness” by fulfilling his promises and defending his servants. The “righteousness” of God shines brightly in giving a display of exalted and perfect rectitude by saving his people; for, although there is no work of God on which a mark of righteousness is not engraven, yet a much more clear and striking proof is seen in the salvation of the Church. The meaning therefore is, that he “raised up” Cyrus, in order to manifest his “righteousness” in him, whom he has appointed to lead and conduct in bringing back his people.

He shall build my city. Jerusalem is meant, which he calls “his city,” because he wished that there the remembrance of his name should be preserved, and because he had consecrated it in a peculiar manner to himself. In like manner God himself had declared,

“Wherever I shall cause my name to be recorded, I will come to thee, and will bless thee.” (Exodus. 20:24.)

Now, there was no other city which he had appointed for sacrifices and vows, and for calling on his name; and, therefore, also it is called (Psalm 46:4, 5) “The city of God, the holy tabernacle of the Most High, for God is in the midst of her;” and in another place it is said, “This is my rest for ever and ever.” (Psalm 132:14.) Now, Cyrus did not build this city with his own hand, but by royal edicts forbade any one to hinder the rebuilding of it, and likewise supplied the people with provisions and money. (2 Chronicles 36:23; Ezra 1:2; 6:3.)

And shall release my captivity, not for a price, that is, “for nothing.” This was uncommon; for, if captives are released by a conqueror, either a price is demanded, or harsh conditions are imposed on them; but Cyrus did nothing of that kind. Hence it follows that this deliverance took place by the will of God, and not by the will of man. The word “captivity” is here used as a collective noun, denoting “captives.”

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