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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.


14. Thus saith Jehovah. He still speaks of the restoration which was afterwards effected under the conduct of Cyrus; but we must keep in remembrance what we formerly remarked, that those promises must be extended farther; for it includes the whole time which followed, down to the coming of Christ. Whoever shall duly consider and weigh this Prophet’s ordinary style will find in his words nothing extravagant, and will not look upon his language as exaggerated.

The labor of Egypt, the merchandise of Ethiopia. The Prophet alludes to the expenses which Cyrus contributed for building and adorning the temple. (Ezra 6:8) At that time was fulfilled what he says, that “the labor of Egypt” and “the merchandise of Ethiopia” came to the Jews; for “Egypt and Ethiopia” were tributaries and subjects of the king of Persia. From those tributes the temple of Jerusalem was rebuilt. But as that restoration was only the prelude to that which was accomplished by Christ, so likewise the homage which foreign nations rendered to the people of God was only the beginning of that homage which various nations rendered to the Church of God, after Christ had been revealed to the world.

Now, under the name of “Egypt, Ethiopia, and the Sabeans,” who flourished at that time, he includes also the rest of the nations. It is as if he had said, “You are now oppressed by the tyranny of foreign nations, but the time shall one day come when they shall be subject to you.” This was not immediately fulfilled, but only at the time when Christ, by his coming, subdued their flinty and hitherto untameable hearts, so that they mildly submitted to the yoke that was laid upon them. But the Lord redeemed his people from Babylon, in order that he might preserve some Church till the coming of Christ, to whose authority all nations should be subject; and therefore we need not wonder, if the Prophet, when speaking of the return of the people, directs his discourse at the same time to God’s end and design, and makes it to be one redemption.

In chains they shall pass over. When he says that the Israelites shall be victorious over all the nations, this depends on the mutual relation between the Head and the members. Because the Only-begotten Son of God unites to himself those who believe in him, so that they are one with him, it frequently happens that what belongs to him is attributed to

“the Church, which is his body and fullness.”
(Ephesians 1:23.)

In this sense also government is ascribed to the Church, not so as to obscure by haughty rule the glory of her Head, or even to claim the authority which belongs to him, or, in a word, so as to have anything separate from her Head; but because the preaching of the gospel, which is committed to her, is the spiritual scepter of Christ, by which he displays his power. In this respect no man can bow down submissively before Christ, without also obeying the Church, so far as the obedience of faith is joined to the ministry of doctrine, yet so that Christ their Head alone reigns, and alone exercises his authority.

Surely 202202     “Seulement.” “Only.” God is in thee. He relates what will be said by those who shall make respectful entrearies to the Church. They will acknowledge that “God is in her.” Some translate אך (ach) only, which I do not object to, and even acknowledge to be well adapted to express the Prophet’s meaning; yet it will not be inappropriate to explain it affirmatively, Surely God is in thee

And there is none besides God. 203203     “N’y en a point d’autre que Dieu.” “There is no other than God.” He explains the manner in which foreign nations shall be subject to the Jews; that is, by acknowledging that there is no other God than He whom the Jews worshipped. If it be objected, that this has nothing to do with the Jews, who are now alienated from the Church, I reply, The gospel nevertheless proceeded from them, and was diffused throughout the whole world; and thus we acknowledge Jerusalem to be the fountain from which pure doctrine flowed. (Psalm 76:2; Luke 24:47.) In ancient times there undoubtedly were none but the Jews who understood who is God, and what is the proper manner of worshipping him; the rest were devoted to trifles and delusions, and worshipped their own inventions. Hence also Christ, addressing the Samaritan woman, says, “We know what we worship.” (John 4:22.) Justly, therefore, is it here said, “God is in thee,” because other nations were ignorant of God. Yet as there is an implied contrast, I cheerfully admit the adverb only, so as to be a testimony of the repentance of the Gentiles, when they are satisfied with the one God and forsake their idols.

The meaning may be thus summed up, “They who formerly were haughty, and with lofty brow despised the Church, shall submit to her, when it shall be known that she is the sanctuary of the true God,” for, as we have said, when God extols his Church, he does not relinquish his own authority. And this is a Sign of true conversion, that we do not worship a God whom we have imagined, but him who is acknowledged in the Church. We ought also to observe this encomium pronounced on the Church, “God is in thee;” for, as we formerly quoted, “God is in the midst of her,” because he hath chosen her to be his habitation. (Psalm 46:5.) If we are the people of God, and are subject to his doctrine which bringeth salvation, it follows that he will assist, us; because he does not wish to forsake his people; for this promise is perpetual, and ought not to be viewed as referring solely to that time.

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