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Bel bows down, Nebo stoops,

their idols are on beasts and cattle;

these things you carry are loaded

as burdens on weary animals.


They stoop, they bow down together;

they cannot save the burden,

but themselves go into captivity.



Listen to me, O house of Jacob,

all the remnant of the house of Israel,

who have been borne by me from your birth,

carried from the womb;


even to your old age I am he,

even when you turn gray I will carry you.

I have made, and I will bear;

I will carry and will save.



To whom will you liken me and make me equal,

and compare me, as though we were alike?


Those who lavish gold from the purse,

and weigh out silver in the scales—

they hire a goldsmith, who makes it into a god;

then they fall down and worship!


They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it,

they set it in its place, and it stands there;

it cannot move from its place.

If one cries out to it, it does not answer

or save anyone from trouble.



Remember this and consider,

recall it to mind, you transgressors,


remember the former things of old;

for I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is no one like me,


declaring the end from the beginning

and from ancient times things not yet done,

saying, “My purpose shall stand,

and I will fulfill my intention,”


calling a bird of prey from the east,

the man for my purpose from a far country.

I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;

I have planned, and I will do it.



Listen to me, you stubborn of heart,

you who are far from deliverance:


I bring near my deliverance, it is not far off,

and my salvation will not tarry;

I will put salvation in Zion,

for Israel my glory.


8. Remember this. This verse may be explained in two ways, either that the Lord addresses the Jews, or that he addresses the Gentiles. Men who otherwise are not well instructed in the Law are led into mistakes, because they extinguish that knowledge which God kindles in their hearts; for there is no person who has not some seed of religion implanted in him by nature, but men choke it by their unbelief, or corrupt and debase it by their inventions. On this account we might extend it to the whole human race. But I am more disposed to adopt a different opinion, which is also demanded by the context; for the Prophet will soon afterwards add what does not apply to any but the Jews, whom he calls transgressors, because, having been vanquished by a slight temptation, they revolted from the true God, as if captivity ought to have obliterated from their hearts all the benefits which he had bestowed on them. Since, therefore, they had shaken off the true religion, he sharply rebukes their ingratitude in having been so easily led away to sinful inventions.

Return to the heart. 218218     “Bring (it) again to mind.” — Eng. Ver. By giving them this injunction he means that they are not of sound understanding. Others render it, “Recall.” This is feeble and inappropriate, and, a little before, he had bid them remember, and will immediately repeat the same thing. Now, therefore, he rather bids them “return to the heart,” because forgetfulness of God’s benefits was a sort of madness.

Blush. Others render it, “Act a manly part,” and derive the word from איש, (ish.) Others derive it from אשיש, (ashish,) which means “a foundation;” as if he had said, “Take courage, do not despair of my assistance.” But I rather agree with Jerome, who derives it from אש, (esh;) for it is more appropriate, when their disgrace has been exposed, to “be ashamed” than to assume manly courage; though I leave it to every person to form his own judgment. He therefore means that they blush for their madness, ingratitude, and wickedness, so as to return to God. 219219     “The verb התאששו (hithshteshu) is a ἅπαξ λεγόμενον, and admits of several different explanations. Joseph Kimchi derived it from אש (esh,) fire, and explained it to mean, ‘Be inflamed or reddened,’ that is, ‘blush.’ So the Vulgate, confundamini (be confounded.) The Targum and Jarchi understand it to mean, ‘Fortify or strengthen yourselves,’ and connect it with אששים, (ashishim,) foundations. (Isaiah 16:7.) Bochart derives it from איש, (ish,) a man, and identifies it with the ἀνδρίζεσθε, of 1 Corinthians 16:13.” — Alexander.

9. Remember the former things. This is an explanation of the preceding statement; for he expresses more fully what he formerly meant, that is, that God hath testified of himself by sufficiently numerous proofs, and hath shewed what is his nature and greatness; and that not merely for two or three days, or for a few years, but at all times; for he had continued his benefits, and had incessantly bestowed his grace upon them. Hence he infers that the manifestations of his divinity, being so clear, ought to prevent them from giving their hearts to another.

That I am God. In this passage the particle כי (ki) does not signify for, but that, and introduces a clause which explains what goes before. Besides, as we have formerly explained, God wishes not only that he may be acknowledged, but that he alone may be acknowledged; and therefore he wishes to be separated from all the gods which men have made for themselves, that we may fix our whole attention on him; because, if he admitted any companion, his throne would fall or shake; for either there is one God or there is none at all.

10. Declaring from the beginning. He now explains more fully in what manner he wishes the Jews to remember the past time, namely, that they were taught by constant predictions, as far as was necessary for their advantage. But from this preface he immediately makes a transition to the hope of deliverance.

My counsel shall stand. We ought not to wonder that he repeats this so frequently, because it is very hard to persuade men of the truth of it. The people were not only slow to believe, but even obstinate; and therefore he reminds them that they had learned long ago, and not on one occasion only, how safe it is to place their confidence in God. Nor is it only his foreknowledge that is here extolled by him, but he says that he has testified by his prophets what he had decreed. Even the prophecies would have no certainty or solidity, if the same God who declares that this or that thing shall happen had not the events themselves in his power. At the same time, he states that he speaks according to truth and brings forward his decrees in all the prophecies, that the Jews may not hesitate to place a firm reliance, as soon as the prophets have spoken. But as I have already explained these subjects more largely, I now give nothing more than a brief view of them.

11. Calling a bird or a thought from the east. After having spoken of God’s foreknowledge and power, the Prophet applies to his own purpose the general statement which he had made. He intended to comfort the Jews, and to shew that they were not led into captivity in such a manner as to leave no hope of deliverance; and therefore he adds a specific instance, and promises that Cyrus shall come, though it appeared to be incredible.

The word עיט (ait,) which I have translated thought, is translated by the greater part of interpreters a bird; and this is the true signification of the word. But as we may learn from Daniel 2:14, that it sometimes denotes counsel, (for the insertion of a letter in the noun עיט is customary among the Chaldee writers,) I choose rather to follow this interpretation, which is approved by some Hebrew writers. Yet it is possible that he alludes to a bird, 220220     “By a bird of prey is here meant the Eagle; for the Greek word ἀετός is derived from עיט (ait.) There can be no doubt that he means Cyrus, who, in a former passage, (Isaiah 41:25,) is said to have been called by Jehovah ‘from the East,’ that is, from Persia, which lay to the east of Judea. In other passages also, (as in Jeremiah 49:22; Ezekiel 17:3,) kings and princes are compared to eagles, because, in the opinion of the ancients, the eagle is the king of birds. Thus also Cyrus is represented under the image of a ‘bird of prey,’ chiefly on account of the astonishing swiftness with which he rode in his expeditions from Persia into very distant countries, and on account of the violence with which he flew upon his enemies and seized them as his prey. There may also be an allusion to the circumstance, that Cyrus ordered a golden eagle, with outstretched wings, laid on a long spear, to be carried before him as his military standard; for so Xenophon describes it. Ην δὲ αὐτῷ σημεῖον ἀετὸς χρυσοῦς ἐπὶ δόρατος μακροῦ ἀνατεταμένος, καὶ νῦν δὲ τοῦτο ἔπι σημεῖον τῳ Περσῶν βασιλεῖ διαμένει ‘And his standard was a golden eagle stretched on a long spear, and even now this continues to be the standard of the king of Persia.’ (Xen. Cyrop. 7.)” — Rosenmuller. as if he had said that his purpose would be sudden; and I do not deny that he alludes to the swiftness of the approach of Cyrus.

The man of my counsel. When he again calls Cyrus “the man of his counsel,” this is a repetition very frequent among Hebrew writers; and hence also it is evident that, in the former clause, the noun עית (ait) is put for “thought” or “decree.” Now, he calls him “the man of counsel,” because he executes the Lord’s decree.

Yet if it be thought preferable to translate it bird, I do not debate about it. The metaphor is beautiful; for the approach of Cyrus was so sudden and unexpected, that he seemed to fly like “a bird.” He suddenly invaded Babylon and took it by storm, even when the Babylonians imagined that every entrance was closed against him. It may also be said, if this interpretation of the word be approved, that Isaiah alludes to auguries, to which the Babylonians were greatly addicted. Accustomed to practice judicial astrology, they observed the flight and chattering of birds, and looked upon this as a certain knowledge of future events; but the Lord threatens that he will send “a bird” which they had not foreseen. But I prefer the former exposition, namely, that he alludes to the swiftness of Cyrus, and declares that no roads shall be shut against him, and that no fortresses shall hinder him from entering immediately into Babylon.

When he says from the east, this not only relates to the certainty of the promise, but is intended to inform us that no distance or length of time can retard the work of God; and accordingly, in the second clause, it is added by way of explanation, from a distant country Let us learn from this what is the purpose to which we ought to apply all that we read in Scripture concerning the foreknowledge and power of God; for those statements are not made in order to keep us in suspense, but that we may apply them to our own use. Now, he makes an implied contrast between the counsel of God and our thoughts; for he delivers his people in such a manner that the reason of the deliverance cannot be comprehended by men. Thus, although that which God promises appears to be incredible, yet he says that he will easily open up a way, that we may not measure by our capacity his unsearchable counsels.

I have thought. Others render it I have formed; but in this passage it appears to be more appropriate to view יצר (yatzar) as signifying “to think.” He confirms what he formerly said, that this hath been determined by him, and therefore shall be steadfast and unalterable.

I have spoken, and will accomplish. These words mean, that he has predicted nothing in vain, and that this prediction, which he has commanded to be published, ought to be regarded as fulfilled. To establish our faith in himself was the object of the one clause, and in the other he connects his thoughts with the preached word. This ought to be carefully observed; for we are distracted by a variety of thoughts, and we doubt if God has spoken sincerely, and suspect that he is like us, that is, that he is a hypocrite or dissembler. But he declares that nothing proceeds from him but what he formerly determined in his counsel. 221221     “En son conseil.” so that the preaching of the word is nothing else than a sure testimony of his hidden counsel, which he commands to be revealed to us. As soon therefore as the Lord hath spoken any word, we ought; to be certain of its accomplishment.

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