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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.


21. Tell ye. He again challenges all those who might have annoyed the Jews and shaken their faith by their taunts; for he always keeps this object in view, to fortify the faith of the people against all the assaults of the Gentiles. Amidst temptations so numerous and so severe, there was danger lest the Jews should sink under their terrible afflictions, if there had not been powerful arguments on the other side to induce them still to worship and trust the true God; and therefore he permits heathens to produce and bring forward everything that they can find in support of their cause.

Let them also take counsel together. These words are added, in order to inspire greater confidence; for the Prophet means, as we have already said, that they will gain nothing, though they “take counsel” among themselves and enter into a conspiracy. Yet, perhaps, he intended also to make it evident that there is nothing but groundless pretense and falsehood in all that infidels contrive for excusing their errors. Whatever then may be the gaudy ostentation with which they plume themselves on their inventions, the Prophet shews that the word of God will be abundantly strong to support the faith of believers. He challenges them to a strict examination, in order to compare with the Law and the prophets all that infidels boast of as having been foretold by their idols. I cheerfully admit what is generally believed, that the Prophet speaks of the redemption of the people; but as the overthrow of the Babylonian monarchy was likewise connected with it, I think that it is also included.

Who hath proclaimed this from the beginning? Because there is a repetition of the same statement, מקדם (mikkedem) and מאז (meaz) mean the same thing; as if he had said, “from the beginning,” or, “from of old;” for this prophecy was published long before the event happened. Hence believers might with certainty conclude that God had spoken.

And a savior. To foreknowledge he adds power, as in a former passage. Yet he likewise describes for what purposes he exerts his power, that is, for “saving” his people.

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