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God the Creator and Redeemer


Hear this, O house of Jacob,

who are called by the name of Israel,

and who came forth from the loins of Judah;

who swear by the name of the L ord,

and invoke the God of Israel,

but not in truth or right.


For they call themselves after the holy city,

and lean on the God of Israel;

the L ord of hosts is his name.



The former things I declared long ago,

they went out from my mouth and I made them known;

then suddenly I did them and they came to pass.


Because I know that you are obstinate,

and your neck is an iron sinew

and your forehead brass,


I declared them to you from long ago,

before they came to pass I announced them to you,

so that you would not say, “My idol did them,

my carved image and my cast image commanded them.”



You have heard; now see all this;

and will you not declare it?

From this time forward I make you hear new things,

hidden things that you have not known.


They are created now, not long ago;

before today you have never heard of them,

so that you could not say, “I already knew them.”


You have never heard, you have never known,

from of old your ear has not been opened.

For I knew that you would deal very treacherously,

and that from birth you were called a rebel.



For my name’s sake I defer my anger,

for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,

so that I may not cut you off.


See, I have refined you, but not like silver;

I have tested you in the furnace of adversity.


For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,

for why should my name be profaned?

My glory I will not give to another.



Listen to me, O Jacob,

and Israel, whom I called:

I am He; I am the first,

and I am the last.


My hand laid the foundation of the earth,

and my right hand spread out the heavens;

when I summon them,

they stand at attention.



Assemble, all of you, and hear!

Who among them has declared these things?

The L ord loves him;

he shall perform his purpose on Babylon,

and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans.


I, even I, have spoken and called him,

I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way.


Draw near to me, hear this!

From the beginning I have not spoken in secret,

from the time it came to be I have been there.

And now the Lord G od has sent me and his spirit.



Thus says the L ord,

your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:

I am the L ord your God,

who teaches you for your own good,

who leads you in the way you should go.


O that you had paid attention to my commandments!

Then your prosperity would have been like a river,

and your success like the waves of the sea;


your offspring would have been like the sand,

and your descendants like its grains;

their name would never be cut off

or destroyed from before me.



Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea,

declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it,

send it forth to the end of the earth;

say, “The L ord has redeemed his servant Jacob!”


They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;

he made water flow for them from the rock;

he split open the rock and the water gushed out.



“There is no peace,” says the L ord, “for the wicked.”


10. Lo, I have tried thee. The Lord shews that he exercises such moderation in chastising his people, that he makes provision for their salvation. Formerly he had said that he had spared or would spare them, because he had regard to his glory. He now declares that he does indeed lay stripes upon them, but of such a nature as to be serviceable to them; for it is for the purpose of “proving and trying” that he chastises them, and we “prove” that which we do not wish to be lost. Since therefore he has this end in view, it follows that he makes provision for our salvation. Besides, it is by way of anticipation that he mentions the “trial,” lest any one should object that God’s forbearance did not, at all appear amidst such severe afflictions. The Prophet therefore comes forward early to meet this objection, and points out that, although God does not permit his people altogether to go free, yet he deals gently with them.

And not like silver. He adds that he does not “try us like silver,” because we should be altogether consumed; for “silver” contains something that is pure, but in us nothing will be found but chaff; and even if God did not make us “silver,” we should be reduced, like chaff or stubble, to ashes and to nothing. Chastisement itself would undoubtedly bring out nothing that is pure. Accordingly, in the very “trial” the Lord considers what we can endure, so as not to proceed beyond measure; and, at the same time, by the secret influence of his Spirit, he makes those punishments to be profitable to us which would otherwise have been destruction.

I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. To “choose” means here to “distinguish.” We “choose” that which we desire to preserve and defend, as he formerly said in the same sense,

“to choose the good and refuse the bad.” (Isaiah 7:15.)

By this word, therefore, he shews how wide is the difference between the punishment which is inflicted on good men and that which wicked men endure, and which ends in their destruction. We, on the other hand, though the Lord bums and pierces us, are accepted by him; and he retains his kindness toward us in the midst of afflictions, and even causes us to come out of them more fully tried, and to be to him a sacrifice of good savor. In a word, he means that God, even when he appears to abandon his people to destruction, is still gracious to them.

11. For my own sake. He repeats the same statement which he had formerly made, but adds a question, such as Hebrew writers are wont to employ, when they speak of what is absurd, “Is it possible that my name should be profaned?”

And I will not give my glory to another. This second clause is added for the purpose of exposition; and therefore Isaiah, by multiplying the forms of expression, now adorns that which he had formerly expressed in a few words, and elevates his style. Nor is it a mere explanation of the former statement, but rather an adornment in order to confirm it the more. By these words he means that men do all that lies in their power to “profane the name of God,” and to convey “his glory to another,” but that the Lord, by his wonderful providence, meets this evil, and causes his glory to remain unabated. Although, therefore, by our fault we abandon the glory of God, yet he will preserve it, while he shall be our protector. Hence we derive wonderful consolation, that God connects our salvation with his own glory, as we have already pointed out on other passages.

I will not give. That is, “I will not suffer my glory to be taken from me.” This would have happened, if the God of Israel had been mocked on account of the ruin and destruction of the people; as wicked men, when the people of God were oppressed, were wont to taunt them with blasphemies of this sort, “Where is their God?” (Psalm 79:10.) Moses also assigned a familar reason why the Lord was unwilling to destroy the whole nation. “Lest perhaps,” says he, “their enemies should claim it for themselves, and say, It is our lofty hand, and not the Lord, that hath done all this.” (Deuteronomy 32:27.) And indeed, when the Lord, by exhibiting tokens of his anger, strikes terror into believers, there remains no refuge but this, that he will remember his adoption, so as not to expose his sacred name to the curses of wicked men. Nor did the Prophet, by these words, merely exhort his people to gratitude, that they might acknowledge that it was exclusively through the grace of God that they were preserved; but he held out to believers a ground of supplication, and a shield by which they might resist despair. 235235     “Mais pareillement a mis une priere en la bouche, et un bouclier au bras des fideles pour resister a la tentation.” “But at the same time put a prayer into the mouth, and a shield on the arms, of believers, for resisting temptation.”

12. Hearken to me, O Jacob. We have formerly explained the reason why the Lord declares his eternity. It is, that we may know that he is always like himself, and that we may not measure him by our capacity. He bids us “hearken to him;” because we are led into errors and are carried away by false opinions, in consequence of refusing to lend our ears to him.

And Israel, my called. When he says that “Israel has been called by him,” he indirectly contrasts this statement with the reprobation mentioned by him at the beginning of the chapter; for he shewed that the Jews falsely assumed this name, and idly gloried in it, inasmuch as they did not prove themselves to be true Israelites. Here, on the contrary, he affirms that “Israel is his called.” Just as if a father, in rebuking his son, should call him a bastard, and yet should afterwards acknowledge him to be his son, so the Lord shews that the Jews are so greatly degenerated that he might justly reject them, but that, although they do not deserve so high an honor as to belong to his family, still he pays regard to his calling, which no ingratitude or wickedness of men can set aside.

I, even I. In this passage the particle אף (aph,) even, denotes continuance; for he lays down nothing else than that God is always like himself, and does not, like men, undergo change or alter his counsel. (Romans 3:3, 4; 11:29.) On this account he says that he is the first and the last. 236236     That is, his nature is eternal, he depends on none, he is the beginning and end of all things, as in Isaiah 41 4; 44:6.” — Rosenmuller. But here it ought also to be observed, that Isaiah does not speak of God’s eternal essence, but applies this doctrine to our use, that we may know that he will be to us the same that he has always been, and next, that we may remember to distinguish him from idols, lest our understandings, led away by extravagant inventions, should fall off from the fear of him.

13. Surely my hand hath founded the earth. Here the Prophet explains more clearly what he meant in the preceding verse. After having spoken of God’s constant and unvarying will toward us, he likewise praises God’s power as manifested by the works which we daily behold. In these works the Lord may be said to present himself to our view; and, coming forth from his sanctuary, he approaches to us by means of them.

And my right hand hath measured, or, hath upheld the heavens. Whether we translate טפחה (tippechah,) “Hath measured,” or, “Hath upheld,” the meaning will be the same; and we need not give ourselves much trouble about the interpretation of the word. By the word “measure” is denoted God’s amazing wisdom in having adjusted on all sides, with such exact proportion, the vast extent of the heavens, so that it is neither nearer to the earth nor farther from it than is advantageous for preserving order, and that in this prodigious expanse there is nothing jarring or unseemly. If we prefer the word “uphold,” this also is an extraordinary commendation of the wisdom and power of God, in “upholding” the huge mass of the heavens in continual motion, so that it neither totters nor leans more to one side than to another.

When I call them, they stand up, or, shall stand up together. This latter clause, in which he says that all things are ready at, his command, is attended by some greater difficulty; for it may refer either to the first creation or to the continual government of the world. If we refer it to the first creation, the future יעמדו (yagnamdu,) they shall stand, will be put for a preterite. “As soon as the Lord commanded them to appear, they instantly obeyed;” as the Psalmist says, “He spake, and they were done.” (Psalm 33:9.) But if we adopt this meaning, the word equally, which he adds, may appear not to agree well with the history of the creation as related by Moses; for heaven and earth were not created and beautified at one moment, but at first everything was shapeless and confused, and afterwards the Lord reduced them to order. (Genesis 1:2-6.) The answer is easy; for the Prophet means nothing more than that the Lord, by the mere expression of his will, created all things, and gave to heaven and earth their form, so that they immediately obeyed his command.

Yet I willingly extend it to the continual government of the world; as if he had said, “Heaven and earth yield to the authority of the Lord and obey his voice, and those bodies which are at the greatest distance from each other move of their own accord with astonishing harmony, as if they were carried about by the same motion of a wheel. Though heaven is separated from the earth by a wide space, yet the voice of the Lord is everywhere heard, he needs no messengers to convey his will, but by the slightest expression he executes everything at the very moment.” Is there any prince who has his servants everywhere rendering to him instant obedience? Certainly not. Thus, the power of God is infinite, is diffused far and wide, and extends to every part of the world, as Scripture declares, (Psalm 47:2,) and as we learn by the instructions of faith.

14. Assemble, all of you, and hear. There can be no doubt that the Prophet addresses the Jews, though here he utters nothing that ought not to be acknowledged by all. But because unbelieving and irreligious men have no ears, on this account he does not invite them to “hear.” We know that the Jews enjoyed this privilege above other nations, that God revealed himself to them. (Psalm 147:19, 20; Romans 3:2.) “God is known in Judea,” says the Psalmist,: his name is great in Israel.” (Psalm 126:1.) So much the less excusable was either their slothfulness or their obstinacy, in paying scarcely any regard to their own prosperity. Whence arose their great levity or proneness to revolt, but from their undervaluing or despising the inestimable treasure of heavenly doctrine? They therefore deserved to be sharply and severely rebuked by the Prophet, who now exclaims against them, indirectly remarking that they wickedly and perversely agree among themselves to cast into the shade the grace of God.

Who among them foretelleth those things? Here God appears to permit the Jews to bring forward publicly any objection which they can make, as those who trust to the goodness of their cause venture to taunt their adversaries: “Produce thy arguments; if thou possessest any acuteness, shew it.” Of his own accord, therefore, he makes an attack upon them, and gives them permission to shew, if they can find any argument to that effect, that such things were foretold by the gods of the Gentiles. We may also extend it to the diviners and augurs, who claimed for themselves the knowledge of future events, and who could not at all foresee such things. With the same view he will repeat what follows in the next verse, “It is I, it is I who have spoken.” The object of the whole is to shew that the Jews waver, and even fall away, in consequence of not estimating sufficiently how extraordinary a blessing it is to learn from the sacred mouth of God all that is necessary for their salvation.

Jehovah hath loved him, and he shall execute his pleasure on Babylon. He points out a single instance, that God had now deigned to foretell to them the end of their captivity in Babylon. Cyrus is not named by him as the dispenser of this favor, but, as if he were speaking of a man who was known and ascertained, he says, without mentioning the name, that God has chosen him to take Babylon by force. The word loved is not employed in an absolute sense, but πρὸς τὶ; with reference to a particular object; and therefore it is limited to the successful result of the expedition. In like manner Saul, with reference to a particular object, was dear to God, so that he reigned for a time, and was even endued with the gift of prophecy. (1 Samuel 10:10.) The case is different with believers, whom God has embraced with an unchangeable love, and whom he never permits to fall away from him. He intimates that Cyrus will take Babylon by force, in consequence of having undertaken this work by God’s appointment and direction, not indeed intentionally on his part, but in such a manner as God makes even the ignorant and blind to go where he pleases, or compels them against their will to yield obedience; for the Prophet does not applaud Cyrus for voluntary obedience, but rather magnifies the providence of God, by which he leads all men to execute his counsel.

And his arm. 237237     “‘And his arm shall be seen (or shall be visible) in the land of the Babylonians.’ Here he speaks of Cyrus.” — Jarchi.
“Others, without supplying ב, (beth,) suppose that this phrase contains an aposiopesis, and read the words thus: ‘And his arm the Babylonians,’ that is, ‘And his arm (shall strike or shall make war upon) the Babylonians.’ Koeher, thinking that in the words וזרועו כשדים (uzerogno kassedim) there is no ellipsis, explains them to mean, ‘And the Babylonians his arm,’ that is, they shall be his supporters. ‘For,’ adds he, ‘their aid was of no small consequence, if what Xenophon (Cyroped. 4:24; 5:11) has recorded about Gobryas and Gadates, who were Babylonians, be true. Thus, allies, friends, and any one that assists another, are accounted to be his arm.’” Rosenmuller.
Some read the word “arm” in the nominative, and others in the accusative case; but it makes little difference as to the meaning. Arm may here be taken for “work,” and in a metaphorical sense; and thus the passage will read more smoothly. “He will execute his counsel on Babylon, his work on the Babylonians;” for we know that it is a distinguishing peculiarity in the style of the prophets to join together “the work of the Lord” and his “counsel.” Indirectly he reproaches the Jews with their ingratitude in refusing to believe the promises of God, though he points out the event, as it were, with the finger, and speaks in a very different manner from that in which either diviners or false gods are accustomed to speak. In a word, he wishes to convince the Jews that, the taking of Babylon by storm shall be “the work of the Lord,” under whose direction Cyrus shall execute it, in order that the Church may at length be delivered.

15. Therefore he shall prosper in his way. He again reminds the Jews of the predictions, and claims for God this honor, that, by foretelling the event in due time, he has removed all doubt; and next he adds, that all that had been foretold shall be accomplished. Accordingly, in the repetition of the pronoun, It is I, it is I who have spoken, there is a double emphasis; first, tlmt none but the God of Israel hath spoken about future and hidden events, and secondly, that, because he is faithful and never deceives, all the events which he has foretold shall undoubtedly take place. Accordingly, in the last clause of the verse I consider the copulative ו (vau) to mean therefore. Here Isaiah has two objects in view; first, that the captive Jews may expect deliverance, and secondly, that, after having been delivered, they may acknowledge God to be the author of so valuable a blessing, and may not imagine that it took place either by the assistance of men or by chance.

Surely I have called him, I have conducted him. He declares that everything shall go prosperously with Cyrus, because Jehovah “hath called him;” not that he deserved so high a favor, or obtained it by his own industry or power, but because the Lord was pleased to employ the agency of Cyrus in delivering his people. As to his calling him beloved in the preceding verse, and now saying that he has been “called and conducted,” I explained a little before that this cannot refer to the love of God, by which he adopts us to be his children and calls us to himself; for in this sense Cyrus was not “beloved” or “called.” Though he was endowed with great virtues, yet he was stained by very great vices, ambition and the lust of power, avarice, cruelty, and other vices; and his lamentable end shewed what kind of person he was. The Prophet therefore means that God was favorable to Cyrus, so as to bestow upon him an external blessing, but not so as to adopt him, and to impart to him that grace which he bestows on the elect. We must consider the reason why he calls him by these names. It is because he makes use of the agency of Cyrus for delivering the Church, as we have already explained.

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