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ISAIAH
The Gospel To Israel
Book 2

LESSON  NINETEEN
Isaiah 40:9 - 41:13


Isaiah 40:9
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(9) Ascend a lofty mountain, O herald of joy to Zion; O herald of joy to Jerusalem – raise it, have no fear; announce to the cities of Judah: Behold your God!

O thou that brings glad tidings to Zion, go up on the high mountain; lift up thy voice with strength, thou that brings glad tidings to Jerusalem; lift it up, fear not; say unto the cities of Juda, Behold your God!

Get ye up on a high mountain, ye prophets that bring good tidings to Zion: lift up your voice with strength, ye that bear good tidings to Jerusalem; lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of the house of Judah. The kingdom of your God is revealed.

From the NKJV
(9)  O Zion, you who bring good tidings, get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, you who bring good tidings, lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!"

The prophet accordingly now takes, as his standpoint, the time when Jehovah will already have come.
Zion-Jerusalem herself is called an evangelistess:  the personification as a female renders this probable at the outset,  and it is placed beyond all doubt by the fact,  that it is the cities of  Judah (the daughters of Zion-Jerusalem) that are to be evangelized.  The prophet's standpoint here is in the very midst of  the Parousia. When Jerusalem shall have her God in the midst of  her once more,  after He has broken up His home there for so long a time;  she is then,  as the restored mother-community,  to ascend a high mountain,  and raising her voice with fearless strength,  to bring to her daughters the joyful news of  the appearance of  their God.

Adam Clarke renders it:
"O daughter, that bringest glad tidings to Zion."
That the true construction of  the sentence is this,  which makes Zion the receiver,  not the publisher,  of  the glad tidings.  For the office of announcing and celebrating such glad tidings as are here spoken of,  belongs peculiarly to the women.  On occasion of  any great public success,  a signal victory,  or any other joyful event,  it was usual for the women to gather together,  and with music,  dances,  and songs,  to publish and celebrate the happy news.

Thus after the passage of the Red Sea,  Miriam,  and all the women,  with timbrels in their hands,  formed a chorus,  and joined the men in their triumphant song,  dancing,  and throwing in alternately the refrain or burden of  the song (Exodus 15:20-21).
So Jephthah's daughter collected a chorus of  virgins,  and with dances and songs came out to meet her father,  and to celebrate his victory  (Judges 11:34).
After David's conquest of Goliath,  "all the women came out of the cities of  Israel singing and dancing to meet Saul,  with tabrets,  with joy,  and with instruments of music."  (1 Samuel 18:6-7)
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

Hitherto Jerusalem has been in despair,  bowed down under the weight of  the punishment of  her sins,  and standing in need of consolation.  But now that she has Jehovah with her again,  she is to lift up her voice with the most joyful confidence,  without further anxiety,  and to become,  according to her true vocation,  the messenger of  good tidings to all Judaea.

The high mountain
It was not uncommon in ancient times,  when a multitude were to be addressed,  or a proclamation to be made,  for the crier to go into a mountain,  where he could be seen and heard.

Thus Jotham,  addressing the men of  Shechem,  is said to have gone and  "stood on the top of mount Gerizim,  and lifted up his voice."  (Judges 9:7)
And Jesus,  when delivering what is commonly referred to as "the sermon on the mount" went "up on a mountain."  (Matthew 5:1)
The sense is,  that the messengers of  the joyful news to Zion were to make themselves distinctly heard by all the inhabitants of  the city,  and of  the land.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(9)  Climb up a high mountain, messenger to Zion! Raise your voice powerfully, messenger to Jerusalem! Raise it; do not be afraid! Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”
See Note in lesson 15 on the Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

Isaiah 40:10
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(10) Behold, the Lord God comes in might, and His arm wins triumph for Him; see, His reward is with Him, His recompense before Him.

Behold the Lord! The Lord is coming with strength, and his arm is with power: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

Behold the Lord God (Elohim) reveals himself with strength, and the strength of his mighty arm rules before him: behold, the reward of them that perform his command (Memra) is with him; for all their works are revealed before him.

From the NKJV
(10)  Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.

The prophet goes back from the standpoint of  the fulfillment to that of  the prophecy.
The Lord GOD (Adonai Yahweh)  will come in the essence,  strength,  and energy of a strong one;  and this is still further defined by the participial,  circumstantial clause,  "His arm shall rule for Him" (brachio suo ipsi dominante).  It is His arm that rules for Him,  i.e.,  that either brings into subjection to Him,  or else overthrows whatever opposes Him.

Psalms 89:10
You have broken Rahab in pieces, as one who is slain;  You have scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.   (NKJV)
Isaiah 63:5
I looked, but there was no one to help, and I wondered that there was no one to uphold; therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me.   (NKJV)
Jeremiah 32:17
Ah, Lord GOD (Adonai Yahweh)! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.   (NKJV)

Jehovah brings with Him the penal reward of the enemies of His people, and also the gracious reward of the faithful of His people, whom He will compensate for their previous sufferings with far exceeding joys (see Isa 62:11).
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The Lord God shall come with a strong hand -

(1) He shall reign in defiance of all opposition
His arm shall rule,  shall overrule for him,  for the fulfilling of his counsels,  to his own glory;  for he is his own end.
(2) He shall recompense to all according to their works, as a righteous Judge
His reward is with him;  he brings along with him,  as a returning prince,  punishments for the rebels and preferments for his loyal subjects.
(3) He shall proceed and accomplish his purpose:
His work is before him,  that is,  he knows perfectly well what he has to do,  which way to go about it,  and how to compass it.  He himself knows what he will do.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(10)  Look, the Lord God comes with power and his arm rules for him. Look, his payment is with him, and his reward before him.

Isaiah 40:11
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(11) Like a shepherd He pastures His flock: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them in His bosom; gently He drives the mother sheep.

He shall tend his flock as a shepherd, and he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and shall soothe them that are with young.

Like a shepherd that feedeth his flock, he gathereth the lambs in his arm, and carries the tender ones in his bosom; those that give suck he leadeth.

From the NKJV
(11)  He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.

The prophet dwells upon this,  the redeeming side not the judicial,  as he proceeds to place the image of  the good shepherd by the side of  that of  the Lord Jehovah.

The flock is His people now dispersed in a foreign land.
The love with which He tends this flock is shown, by way of example, in His conduct towards the young lambs that have not long been born.
Such as cannot keep pace with the flock he takes in his arms, and carries in the bosom of his dress
The mothers he does not overdrive. (See at Ps 23:2), lets them go gently alone, because they require care.

Psalm 23:2
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;  He leads me beside the still waters.     (NKJV)

With this loving picture the prologue in verses 1-11 is brought to a close.
It stands at the head of  the whole,  like a divine inauguration of  the prophet,  and like the quintessence of  what he is commanded to proclaim. Nevertheless it is also an integral part of  the first address.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(11)  Like a shepherd he pastures his flock; he gathers the lambs in his arms, carries them near his heart, and gently leads the nursing sheep.

Isaiah 40:12-66:24
Exhortations: Promissory and Prophetic

Isaiah 40:12-31 God’s Controversy with the Nations Vanity of Idols
Isaiah 41:1-42:16 Messiah’s Anointing and Mission
Isaiah 42:17-45:15 Jehovah’s Controversy with Israel
Isaiah 45:16-47:15 God’s Controversy with the Nations Vanity of Idols
Isaiah 48:1-22 Jehovah’s Controversy with Israel
Isaiah 49:1-66:24 Messiah’s Mission the Triumph

These chapters form a group corresponding with Isaiah chapters 1-5;  and,  like them,  consist of   exhortations and prophecies.  At the same time,  they are set in contrast with chapters 1-5,  being Promissory instead of  Reprehensory.

Isaiah 40:12
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(12) Who measured the waters with the hollow of His hand, and gauged the skies with a span, and meted earth’s dust with a measure, and weighed the mountains with a scale and the hills with a balance?

Who has measured the water in his hand, and the heaven with a span, and all the earth in a handful? Who has weighed the mountains in scales, and the forests in a balance?

Who hath said these things? The Eternal One saith, and doeth, before whom all the waters of the world are counted as a drop in the hollow of the hand, and the expanse of the heavens as if they had been adjusted with a span, and the dust of the earth as if it had been measured in a measure, and the mountains as if thy had been weighed and the hills, verily as in a balance.

From the NKJV
(12)  Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure?  Weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?

Jehovah,  and He alone,  has given to all these their proper quantities,  their determinate form,  and their proportionate place in the universe.  How very little can a man hold in the hollow of  his hand!

But what Jehovah measures with the hollow of  His hand,  and with His span,  is nothing less than the waters beneath and the heavens above.  He carries a scoop,  in which there is room for all the dust of which the earth consists,  and a scale on which He has weighed the great colossal mountains.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The object in this and the following verses to Isaiah 40:26,  is to show the greatness,  power,  and majesty of  God,  by strong contrast with his creatures,  and more especially with idols.  Perhaps the prophet designed to meet and answer an implied objection:  that the work of  deliverance was so great that it could not be accomplished.  The answer was that:

God had made all things
He was infinitely great
He had entire control over all the nations
He could,  therefore,  remove all obstacles out of  the way
And He could accomplish his great and gracious purposes
By man it could not be done;  nor had idol-gods any power to do it;  but the Creator and upholder of  all could effect this purpose with infinite case.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(12)  Who has measured the waters of the sea. The waters in his palm? Marked out the heavens with his compass and measured out the dust of the earth in a measuring bowl? Weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?

Isaiah 40:13, 14
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(13) Who has plumbed the mind of the Lord, what man could tell Him His plan?

Who has known the mind of the Lord? And who has been his counselor, to instruct him?

Who hath directed the Holy Spirit in the mouth of all the prophets? Is it not the Lord? And to the righteous who perform his command (Memra) hath he made known the things of his good pleasure.

(14) Whom did He consult, and who taught Him, guided Him in the way of right? Who guided Him in knowledge and showed Him the path of wisdom?

Or with whom has he taken counsel, and he has instructed him? Or who has taught him judgment, or who has taught him the way of understanding;

Those that sought him hath he made to understand wisdom, and taught them the way of judgment, and given to their sons the law, and made known to their sons’ sons the way of understanding.

From the NKJV
(13)  Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or as His counselor has taught Him?
(14)   With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice?
Who taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding?

"The Spirit of Jehovah"  is the Spirit which moved upon the waters at the creation,  and by which chaos was reduced to order.

The 1st Question vs 12 Indicates the Omnipotence of Jehovah -  Absolute Might
The 2nd Question vs 13, 14 Indicates the Omniscience of Jehovah -  Absolute Wisdom

In reply to the questions in verses 13, 14, which are essentially one,  Israel must acknowledge that its God is the possessor of absolute might, and also of absolute wisdom.

Romans 11:33-36
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

"For who has known the mind of the LORD?
Or who has become His counselor?
Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?"
For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.     (NKJV)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(13)  Who has directed the spirit of the Lord or as his counselor has taught him? (Refers to spirit in 1Q1sa. Refers to the Lord in MT.)   (14)  With whom did he consult, to instruct him and guide him in the ways of justice? Or taught him knowledge or showed him the ways of wisdom?

Isaiah 40:15
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(15) The nations are but a drop in a bucket, reckoned as dust on a balance; the very coastlands He lifts like motes.

Since all the nations are counted as a drop from a bucket, and as the turning of a balance, and shall be counted as spittle?

Behold, the nations are as a drop from a bucket, and as the dust of the balance are they counted; behold, the coastlands are as the fine dust that flies about.

From the NKJV
(15)  Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.

From His exaltation as Creator,  the prophet now proceeds to His exaltation as Governor of  the world.
Upon Jehovah,  the King of  the world,  does the burden rest of  ruling over the whole human race,  which is split up into different nations;  but the great masses of  people over whom Jehovah rules are no more burden to Him than a drop hanging upon a bucket is a burden to the man who carries it,  no more than the weight in a balance is perceptibly increased or diminished by a grain of  sand that happens to lie upon it  (shachaq - from shâchaq - to grind to powder).

The islands,  those fragments of  firm ground in the midst of  the ocean,  upon which the heathen world was dispersed (Gen 10),  are to Him who carries the universe like the small particle of  dust (daq (OT:1851) from daaqaq (OT:1854),  to crush or pulverize),  which is lifted up (by the slightest breath of wind).

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(15)  Look, the nations are like a drop from a bucket and are considered but dust on the balance. Look, he even lifts up the islands like powder.

Isaiah 40:16
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(16) Lebanon is neither fuel enough, nor its beasts enough for sacrifice.

And Libanus is not enough to burn, nor all beasts enough for a whole-burnt offering:
And the trees of Lebanon will not suffice to burn, and the beasts therein are not enough for a burnt offering.
From the NKJV
(16)  And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering.

By the side of  this vanishing diminutiveness on the part of  man as contrasted with Jehovah,  everything by which man could express his adoration of  the exalted One comes incomparably short of  His exaltation.
There is not enough wood to sustain the fire,  nor a sufficient supply of  sacrificial animals to be slaughtered,  and to ascend in fire.

Lebanon
The expression here refers to the trees or the cedars of  Lebanon.
It is probable that the word Lebanon here is not used in the limited sense in which it is sometimes employed,  to denote a single mountain,  or a single range of mountains,  but includes the entire ranges lying north of  Palestine,  and which were comprehended under the general name of  Libanus.
The idea here is,  that all these ranges of  mountains,  abounding in magnificent trees and forests,  would not furnish fuel sufficient to burn the sacrifices which would be an appropriate offering to the majesty and glory of  God.

Beasts
As the mountains of  Lebanon were extensive forests,  they would abound with wild animals.
All those animals,  if offered in sacrifice,  would not be an appropriate expression of  what was due to God.

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(16)  Lebanon is not sufficient fuel, nor are its beasts a sufficient burnt offering.

Isaiah 40:17
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(17)  All nations are as naught in His sight; He accounts them as less than nothing.

And all the nations are as nothing, and counted as nothing.

As for all the nations their works are as nothing; they are counted as a consummation and destruction before him.

From the NKJV
(17)  All nations before Him are as nothing, and they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.

Less than nothing
A strong hyperbolic expression denoting the utter insignificance of the nations as compared with God.

Verses 12-17 set forth the incomparable majesty of  Jehovah as the infinitely great and wise Creator.

According to pagan mythology the gods of the heathen were spawned by pre-existent matter.
But this God of revelation was eternally pre-existent before creation, and remains transcendent above his creation, utterly unapproachable in wisdom and profundity of thought.
This sets the scene for the exposure of idolatry (vv. 18-20) in all its pitiful absurdity.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

The scope of  verses 13-17 is to show what a great and glorious being the Lord Jehovah is,  who is Israel's God and Savior.  The purpose is:

1. To encourage his people that were captives in Babylon to hope in him,  and to depend upon him for deliverance,  though they were ever so weak and their oppressors ever so strong.
2. To engage them to cleave to him,  and not to turn aside after other gods;  for there are none to be compared with him.
3. To possess all those who receive the glad tidings of  redemption by Christ with a holy awe and reverence of God.

Let us see how great our God is,  and fear before him;  for:

vs 12 His Power is Unlimited
 
1. He has a vast reach
2. He has a vast strength
vs 13, 14 His Wisdom is Unsearchable
 
1. He has all wisdom
2. He has all knowledge
vs 15, 17 His Greatness is Incomparable
 
1. All the nations are as nothing in comparison to Him
2. They are as Less than Nothing in comparison to Him
vs 16 His Holiness and Honor is Infinite
 
1. All the trees of the hills of  Lebanon are not sufficient for sacrifice
2. All the animals of the hills of  Lebanon are not sufficient for sacrifice

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(17)  All the nations are as nothing to him, and he considers them as nothingness and chaos.


Isaiah 40:18
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(18)  To whom, then, can you liken God, what form compare to Him?

To whom have ye compared the Lord? And with what likeness have ye compared him?

And how do ye think to contend before God, and what is the likeness that ye set before him?

From the NKJV
(18)  To whom then will you liken God?  Or what likeness will you compare to Him?

The conclusion - that God is therefore the matchless Being,  shapes itself into a question,

which is addressed not to idolaters,  but to the Israelites
who needed to be armed against the seductive power of  idolatry,  to which the majority of  mankind had yielded.

Since he is so great,  what can resemble him?
What form can be made like him?
God is great and glorious,  and worthy of  the confidence of  his people.

This idea he illustrates by a reference to the attempts which had been made to make a representation of  him,  and by showing how vain those efforts were.
He therefore states the mode in which the images of  idols were usually formed,  and shows how absurd it was to suppose that they could be any real representation of  the true God.
It is possible that this was composed in the time of Manasseh, when idolatry prevailed to a great extent in Judah, and that the prophet intended in this manner incidentally to show the folly and absurdity of it.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(18)  To whom will you compare me – God? or what likeness will you compare to me?

Isaiah 40:19
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(19) The idol? A woodworker shaped it, and a smith overlaid it with gold, forging links of silver.

Has not the artificer made an image, or the goldsmith having melted gold, gilt it over, and made it a similitude?

Behold, the carpenter maketh an image, and the smith plates it with gold, and the smith fastens silver chains to it.

From the NKJV
(19)  The workman molds an image, the goldsmith overspreads it with gold, and the silversmith casts silver chains.

Least of all can an idol bear comparison with Him.
The object,  which is here placed first as the theme in the accusative (lit. the image hewn out),  denotes in this instance an idol generally.

Idols were frequently overlaid with gold or silver. Those which were in the temples of the gods were probably commonly made in this way, and probably those also which were made for private use, as far as it could be afforded.

Silver chains - an ornament lavishly worn by the rich,  and so transferred to their idols.
Egyptian relics show that idols were suspended in houses by chains.

Acts 17:29
...we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone,  something shaped by art and man's devising.     (NKJV)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(19)  The idol? – a craftsman made the image, (casts MT.)  and a smith with gold and hammered it out and cast silver chains;

Isaiah 40:20
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(20) As a gift, he chooses the mulberry a wood that does not rot – then seeks a skillful woodworker to make a firm idol, that will not topple.

For the artificer choose out a wood that will not rot, and will wisely enquire how he shall set up his image and that so that it should not be moved.

He falleth a fir tree, he chooses wood that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a skilful carpenter to set up an image that shall not be moved.

From the NKJV
(20)  Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution chooses a tree that will not rot; he seeks for himself a skillful workman to prepare a carved image that will not totter.

Impoverished - too poor to make a costly oblation - so he chooses a block of wood that will not rot.

A wooden image,  which is planed at the bottom,  and made heavier below than above,  to prevent its falling over with every shock,  is to be a god!  The thing carries its own satire,  even when described with the greatest seriousness.
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(20)  The poor person an offering, wood that will not rot, and chooses a skillful artisan and seeks  (a skillful artisan).  To set up an image that will not topple.

Isaiah 40:21
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(21)  Do you not know? Have you not heard? Have you not been told from the very first? Have you not discerned how the earth was founded?

Will ye not hear? Has it not been told you of old? Have ye not known the foundations of the earth?

Have ye not known? Have ye not heard? Hath not the work of the orders of creation been announced to you from the beginning? Will ye not understand so as to fear before him who created the foundations of the earth?

From the NKJV
(21)  Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  Has it not been told you from the beginning?  Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

Having thus depicted in a few strokes the infatuation of  idolatry,  the prophet addresses the following question to such of  the Israelites as are looking at it with longing eye,  even if  they have not already been deluded by it.

We have here four questions.  The absolute being of  God,  which is above all created things,  is something which may be either inferred by rational observance or learned by tradition.

Have you not known? -  Did you not understand?
By the very light of nature?
Has it not been told you? -  Did you not hear?
Has it not been told you by your fathers and teachers, according to the constant tradition received from their ancestors and predecessors, even from the beginning?

When Israel failed to acknowledge the absolute distinctness and unequalled supremacy of  Jehovah their God,  they hardened themselves against the knowledge which it might acquire even in a natural way,  and shut their ears against the teaching of  revelation and tradition,  which had come down from the very beginning of  history.

Job 38:4-6
(4)  Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Declare to Me, if you have and know understanding.
(5)  Who determined the measures of the earth, if you know? Or who stretched the measuring line upon it?
(6)  Upon what were the foundations of it fastened, or who laid its cornerstone.     (AMP)

Romans 1:20-22
(20)  For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes,  that is,  His eternal power and divinity,  have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks).  So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification], [Ps 19:1-4.]
(21)  Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.
(22)  Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].     (AMP)


For further information on just how God did create all things, please see my study in Genesis.
Paul the Learner

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(21)  Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  Have you not been told from the beginning?  Have you not understood from the foundations of  the Earth?

Isaiah 40:22
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(22)   It is He who is enthroned above the vault of the earth, so that its inhabitants seem as grasshoppers; who spread out the skies like gauze, stretched them out like a tent to dwell in.

It is he that comprehends the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants in it are as grasshoppers; he that set up the heaven as a chamber, and stretched it out as a tent to dwell in:

Who caused the Shekinah of his glory to dwell in the mighty height, and all the inhabitants of the earth are counted as grasshoppers before him; who stretched out the heavens as a small thing, and spread them out like a glorious tent for the house of his Shekinah:

From the NKJV
(22)  It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.

The prophet now proceeds to describe the God whom both His works and word proclaim.
The participles which follow are predicates of  the subject,  which filled the consciousness of  the prophet as well as that of  every believer.

He,  the manifested and yet unknown,  is He who has for His throne the circle of  the heavens,  which arches over the earth,  and to whom from His inaccessible height men appear as diminutive as grasshoppers;  He who has spread out the blue sky like a thin transparent garment (dooq, a thin fabric,  like daq, fine dust, in v. 15),  and stretched it out above the earth like a tent for dwelling in.

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(22)  He is the one who dwells above the disk of the earth, whose inhabitants are like grasshoppers. He is the one who stretches the skies like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.

Isaiah 40:23, 24
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(23)  He brings potentates to naught, makes rulers of the earth as nothing.

He that appoints princes to rule as nothing, and has made the earth as nothing.

Who giveth up rulers to weakness, and maketh the judges of the earth as nothing.

(24) Hardly are they planted, hardly are they sown, hardly has their stem taken root in earth, when He blows upon them and they dry up, and the storm bears them off like straw.

For they shall not plant, neither shall they sow, neither shall their root be fixed in the ground: he has blown upon them, and they are withered, and a storm shall carry them away like sticks.

Though they increase though they multiply, though their children grow up in the land; yet he will send his anger against them, and they shall be dismayed, and his Memra shall scatter them, as the whirlwind the chaff.

From the NKJV
(23)  He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless.
(24)  Scarcely shall they be planted, scarcely shall they be sown, scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, when He will also blow on them, and they will wither, and the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.

There is nothing so high and inaccessible in the world,  that He cannot bring it to nothing,  even in the midst of  its most self-confident and threatening exaltation.

Roozeniim (the princes) are solemn persons
these He gives up to annihilation
Shoopheliim (the judges) are the highest judicial and administrative power
these He gives up to uselessness

A layer or seed excites the hope of  blossom and fruit,  more especially when it has taken root;  but nothing more is needed than a breath of  Jehovah,  and it is all over with it  (the verb nâshaph is used in this verse,  where plants with stems are referred to;  a verb with a softer labial,  nâshabh,  was employed above in connection with grass and flowers).  A single withering breath lays them at rest;  and by the power of  Jehovah there rises a stormy wind,  which carries them away like light dry stubble.

Vitringa supposes that wicked rulers are particularly intended here, and that the idea is, that the wicked princes that persecuted his people should be entirely extinct on the earth. He refers particularly to Pharaoh, Antiochus Epiphanes, Nero, Domitian, Decius, Gallus, Galerius, Maxenus, Maximus, and some others, as instances of this kind, whose families soon became extinct.

The Images

The Tree Although they were great and mighty,  like the tree that sends out far-spreading branches,  and strikes its roots deep,  yet God would so utterly destroy them that they should have no posterity,  and their family become extinct.  Princes and kings are often compared to lofty and majestic trees of the forest.
The Seed This refers to them under the image of grain that is sown.
Their family and name should be annihilated,  and should not spring up in a future generation.  The same image occurs in Nahum 1:14,  in respect to the king of Assyria: 'The Lord hath given commandment concerning thee, that no more of thy name be sown;'  that is,  that thy name and family should become entirely extinct.
The Stump Their stock - referring to the stump of a tree.
When a tree is cut down,  the roots often still live,  and send up shoots,  or suckers,  that grow into trees.  Posterity is often,  in the Scriptures,  compared to such suckers or shoots from old and decayed trees.  The meaning here is,  that as when a tree falls and dies without sending up any shoots,  so princes should die.  They should have no descendants;  no one of  their family should sit on their thrones.
The Stubble Trees,  and shrubs,  and plants are dried up before that poisonous and fiery wind - the simoom - and so it would be with the princes before the blast of  Yahweh.  All life is gone,  and now even the stubble,  that useless bit of flesh,  is no more.

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(23)  Who brings princes to nothing, who makes the judges of the earth like a void.    (24)   Scarcely are they planted, scarcely are they sown, scarcely have their stalk taken root in the earth, and then he blows on them they wither, and the whirlwind carries them away like stubble.

Isaiah 40:25
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(25)  To whom, then, can you liken Me, To whom can I be compared? – says the Holy One.

Now then to whom have ye compared me, that I may be exalted?  Saith the Holy One.

And to whom will ye liken me, and compare me?  Saith the Holy One.

From the NKJV
(25)  "To whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal?"  says the Holy One.

The thought of verse 18 now recurs like a refrain.
The Holy One asks this, and can ask it, because as such He is also exalted above the whole world.

verse 18 El The Ugaritic term for "god" or the "Chief God"
verse 25 The Holy One Sacred, holy  — Absolute
Not only is there none greater - there is none His equal!

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(25)  To whom will you compare me that I should be similar? Says the Holy One.

Isaiah 40:26
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(26)  Lift high your eyes and see: Who created these? He who sends out their host by count, Who calls them each by name: because of His great might and vast power, not one fails to appear.

Lift up your eyes on high, and see, who has displayed all these things? Even he that brings forth his host by number: he shall call them all by name by means of his great glory, and by the power of his might: nothing has escaped thee.

Lift up your eyes to the height and see, so that ye may fear before him who created these; who brought forth the hosts of the heavens by number: he calleth them all by their names; by the multitude of his mighty acts, and for that he is strong in power, not one is missing from his rank.

From the NKJV
(26)  Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:  Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

We have here the same interchange which occurs in every prophetic book from Deuteronomy downwards,  and in which the divine fullness of  the prophets is displayed.
The answer does not begin with hamowtsiy' (OT:3318),  in the sense of  "He who brings them out has created them;"  but the participle is the predicate to the subject of which the prophet's soul is full:

Jehovah  -  it is He  who brings out the army of  stars upon the plane of  heaven,  as a general leads out his army upon the field of  battle,  and that by number,  counting the innumerable stars,  those children of  light in amour of  light,  which meet the eye as it looks up by night.

The finite verb  yiqªraa' (OT: 7121) denotes that which takes place every night.
He calls them all by name:  this He does on account of  the greatness and fullness of  His might,  and as strong in power, because He is so.

Job 38:31-33
(31)  Can you bind the chains of [the cluster of stars called] Pleiades, or loose the cords of [the constellation] Orion?
(32)  Can you lead forth the signs of the zodiac in their season? Or can you guide [the stars of] the Bear with her young?
(33)  Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule upon the earth?    (AMP)

The call addressed to the stars that are to rise is the call of  the Almighty,  and therefore not one of  all the innumerable host remains behind.
'iysh (OT:376) -  individualizes;
ne`ªdaar (OT:5737) - missing - as in Isa 34:16,  suggests the idea of  a sheep that is missed from the flock through staying behind.

After the questions in verses. 18 and 25 a third start is made to demonstrate the incomparable nature of  Jehovah.

The second part of  the address closes here,  having demonstrated the folly of  idolatry from the infinite superiority of  God;  and from this the third part deduces consolation for Israel in the midst of its despair.

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(26)  Raise your eyes heavenward and see: Who has created these?  He who draws out their host by number, who calls them all by name, by his great might and his powerful strength, and not one is missing.

Isaiah 40:27
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(27) Why do you say, O Jacob, why declare, O Israel, “My way is had from the Lord, My cause is ignored by my God?”

For say not thou, O Jacob, and why hast thou spoken, Israel, saying, My way is hid from God, and my God has taken away my judgment, and has departed?

Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from before the Lord, and my judgment is removed from before my God?

From the NKJV
(27)  Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel:
"My way is hidden from the LORD, and my just claim is passed over by my God"?

Such of the Israelites are required first of  all to be brought to a consciousness of  the folly of  idolatry are not called Israel at all,  because they place themselves on a part with the gooyiim.  But now the prophet addresses those of  little faith,  who nevertheless desire salvation;  those who are cast down,  but not in utter despair.

O Jacob - supplanter
A name often given to the Jews as the descendants of  Jacob, and his rebellious and devious nature.

O Israel - he will rule as God
The name Israel was given to Jacob because he had power to prevail as a prince with God (Genesis 32:28);  and it became the common name by which his descendants were known.\

The name Jacob stands here at the head, as in Isa 29:22, as being the more exquisite name, and the one which more immediately recalled their patriarchal ancestor.

My way is hidden from the LORD
They fancied that Jehovah had completely turned away from them in wrath and weariness.
The phrase, 'is hid,' means that God is ignorant of  it,  or that he does not attend to it;  and the complaint here is,  that God had not regarded them in their calamities,  and would not interpose to save them.
They are represented as being deprived of their liberty;  and they here complain that God disregarded their cause,  and that he did not come forth to deliver them from their oppressions and their trials.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(27)  Why do you say, Jacob, and claim, Israel, “My way is ignored by the Lord, and my case is passed over by my God?”

Isaiah 40:28
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(28)  Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is God from of old, creator of the earth from end to end, He never grows faint or weary, His wisdom cannot be fathomed.

And now, hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard? The eternal God, the God that formed the ends of the earth, shall not hunger, nor be weary, and there is no searching of his understanding.

Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard? An everlasting God is the Lord, who created the foundations of the earth, not with labor and not with toil; there is no end to his understanding.

From the NKJV
(28)  Have you not known?  Have you not heard?   The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.

The groundlessness of  such despondency is set before them in a double question.
Those who are so desponding ought to know,  if not from their own experience,  at least from information that had been handed down,  that Jehovah,  who created the earth from one end to the other,  so that even Babylonian was not beyond the range of  His vision or the domain of  His power,  was an eternal God - a God eternally the same and never varying,  who still possessed and manifested the power which He had displayed in the creation.  Israel had already passed through a long history,  and Jehovah had presided over this,  and ruled within it;  and He had not so lost His power in consequence,  as to have now left His people to themselves.

He does not grow faint,  as a man would do,  who neglected to take the repeated nourishment requisite to sustain the energy of  his vital power.
He does not become weary,  like a man who has exhausted his capacity for work by over-exertion.
His people were to know that His course was pure tebhuunâh or understanding,  which was in the possession of  infallible criteria for determining the right point of  time at which to interpose with His aid.

Everlasting God (Elohim), The Lord (Yahweh)
He is himself an almighty God.

He must needs be so,  for he is the everlasting God,  even Jehovah.
He was from eternity;  he will be to eternity.
Therefore with him there is no deficiency,  no decay.
He has his being of himself.
Therefore all his perfections must needs be boundless.
He is without beginning of  days or end of  life.
Therefore with him there is no change.
He is also the Creator of the ends of  the earth, that is, of the whole earth and all that is in it from end to end.
He therefore is the rightful owner and ruler of all,  and must be concluded to have an absolute power over all and an all-sufficiency to help his people in their greatest straits.
Doubtless he is still as able to save his people as he was at first to make the world.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(28)  Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the eternal God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint, he does not grow weary, and his understanding is unfathomable.

Isaiah 40:29
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(29) He gives strength to the weary, fresh vigor to the spent.

He gives strength to the hungry, and sorrow to them that are not suffering.

He giveth wisdom to the righteous that faint for the words of his law; and to them that have no strength he increases riches.

From the NKJV
(29)  He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.

Jehovah is so far from becoming faint,  that it is He who gives strength to the fainting.

Not only does HE not faint, but he gives power to those who do faint.
Not only does He GIVE strength, but He INCREASES strength.

2 Corinthians 12:9
And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(29)  The one who gives might to the faint will make power abound in those without strength.

Isaiah 40:30, 31
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(30) Youths may grow faint and weary, and young men stumble and fall;

For the young men shall hunger, and the youths shall be weary, and the choice men shall be powerless:

And the youths that are guilty shall be faint and weary, and the ungodly young men shall utterly stumble:

(31) But they who trust in the Lord shall renew their strength as eagles grow new plumes: they shall run and not grow weary, they shall march and not grow faint.

but they that wait on God shall renew their strength; they shall put forth new feathers like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not hunger.

but they that have waited for the salvation of the Lord shall be gathered from among their exiles, and shall increase their strength, and shall be renewed in their youth as the young feathers that come up on the wings of eagles: they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

From the NKJV
(30)  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall,   (31)   but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength;  they shall mount up with wings like eagles,  they shall run and not be weary,  they shall walk and not faint.

Utterly fall - Note the Figure of  Speech Epizeuxis,  for this emphasis. Hebrew meaning here is  “they fall, they fall.”
Mount up…run…walk - Note the Figure of  Speech, Catabasis,  to call attention (by Application) to the progress of  experience found in grace.

Faith is all that is needed to ensure a participation in the strength (`aatsªmaah (OT: 6109) [Abundance, strength] after the form chaakªmaah (OT: 2451)) [Skilful, wisdom],  which He so richly bestows and so powerfully enhances.

Even youths,  even young men in the early bloom of  their morning of  life (bachuuriim, youths),  succumb to the effects of  the loss of  sustenance or over-exertion,  and any outward obstacle is sufficient to cause them to fall.

"Even though this may happen,  it is different with those who wait for Jehovah,"  i.e.,  those who believe in Him;  for the Old Testament applies to faith a number of  synonyms denoting trust,  hope,  and longing,  and thus describes it according to its inmost nature,  as fiduciary and as hope,  directed to the manifestation and completion of  that which is hoped for.

The proper rendering therefore is,  "they cause their wings to rise, or lift their wings high, like the eagles."  Their course of  life,  which has Jehovah for its object,  is as it were possessed of  wings.  They draw from Him strength upon strength;  running does not tire them,  nor do they become faint from going ever further and further.(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The Youths shall

Faint ya`aph to tire  (as if from wearisome flight)
Weary yaga` to be exhausted, to tire, to toil
Fall kasha to totter or waver (through weakness of the legs, especially the ankle)
by implication to falter, stumble, faint or fall : cast down, be decayed, (cause to) fail, (cause, make to) fall,  feeble,  be overthrown, (cause to) stumble,  utterly, be weak.
But those who wait on Yahweh shall
Renew chalaph to spring up, pierce or change : go on forward, grow up, renew, sprout
Strength koach to be firm; vigor, might, powerful, strength, substance, wealth
Mount up `alah to ascend, be high or active (mount); figuratively - exalt, excel, increase, recover, restore, (make to) rise (up), scale, set (up), shoot forth (up), (begin to) spring (up), stir up, take away (up), work
And those who wait on the Yahweh shall not be
Weary yaga` be exhausted, tire, or toil
Faint ya`aph tire (as if from wearisome flight), faint or be weary

Wings as eagles
"They shall put forth fresh feathers like the molting eagle."
It has been a common and popular opinion that the eagle lives and retains his rigor to a great age;  and that,  beyond the common lot of  other birds,  he molts in his old age,  and renews his feathers,  and with them his youth.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

Psalms 103:5
Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

In this chapter we have:

(v. 1-2) Orders given to preach and publish the glad tidings of redemption
(v. 3-5) These glad tidings introduced by a voice in the wilderness, which gives assurance that all obstructions shall be removed
(v. 6-8) Though all creatures fail and fade, the word of God shall be established and accomplished
(v. 9-11) A joyful prospect given to the people of God of the happiness which this redemption should bring along with it
(v. 12-17) The sovereignty and power of that God magnified who undertakes to work out this redemption
(v. 18-26) Idols therefore triumphed over and idolaters upbraided with their folly
(v. 27-31) A reproof given to the people of God for their fears and despondencies, and enough said, in a few words, to silence those fears
And we,  through patience and comfort of  this scripture,  may have hope.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(30)  Even youths faint and grow weary and young men collapse,   (31)   but those who wait for the Lord will renew their strength. Then they will ascend with wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will march and not faint.


ISRAEL  ASSURED  OF  GOD'S  HELP

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Note:  Now we come to my favorite part of all Scripture, lifting up the Lord Jesus Christ,  as He said  ‘If I be lifted up I will draw all men to Me.’  Everything else is only commentary on the history of God’s dealing first with Israel and then the Church.
Paul the Learner

Isaiah 41:1-42:17
Messiah's  Anointing  and  Mission
     
  Isaiah 41:1-29 Types
  Isaiah 42:1-17 Antitype

Isaiah 41:1-20   Abraham and Israel

Isaiah 41:1 Islands Jehovah’s call
Isaiah 41:2, 3 Type Abraham
Isaiah 41:4 Jehovah the Doer
Isaiah 41:5-7 Islands Answer to Jehovah’s call
Isaiah 41:8-19 Type Israel
Isaiah 41:20 Jehovah the Doer

John 5:39
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  (KJV)

Luke 24:24-27
Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.  (KJV)

Luke 24:32
And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?  (KJV)

Second Prophecy Chapter 41
The God of  the World's History,  and of  Prophecy

Jehovah comes forward here,  and speaking in the tone in which He already began to speak in Isa 40:25,

Invites the idolatrous nations to contend with Him
Declares the raising up of the conqueror from the east to be His work
Adduces this as the sign that He has been the Author and Guider of the world's history from the beginning
But what if the question should be asked on the part of  the nations,  with what right does He do this?
The acts of the conqueror prove themselves to be a work of  the God who is exalted above the idols,  from the fact that
They bring destruction to the idolatrous nations
They bring the long-desired redemption to the people of  Jehovah

Isaiah 41:1
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(1) Stand silent before Me, coastlands, and let nations renew their strength. Let them approach to state their case; let us come forward together for argument.

Hold a feast to me, ye islands: for the princes shall renew their strength: let them draw nigh and speak together: then let them declare judgment.

Give ear unto my Memra, ye coastlands, and let the kingdoms increase their strength; let them come near; then let them speak: let us draw near together to judgment.

From the NKJV
(1)  Keep silence before Me, O coastlands, and let the people renew their strength!  Let them come near, then let them speak; let us come near together for judgment.

The words are addressed to the whole of  the heathen world,  and first of  all to the inhabitants of  the western islands and coasts.  This was the expression commonly employed in the Old Testament to designate the continent of  Europe,  the solid ground of  which is so deeply cut,  and so broken up,  by seas and lakes,  that it looks as if it were about to resolve itself into nothing but islands and peninsulas.

Keep silence before me
The idea is,  that the pagan nations were to be silent while God should speak,  or with a view of  entering into an argument with him respecting the comparative power of  himself and of  idols to defend their respective worshippers.  The argument is stated in following verses,  and preparatory to the statement of  that argument,  the people are exhorted to be silent.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Coastlands
'iy - probably a habitable spot (as desirable); dry land, a coast, an island :- country, isle, island.

This word properly means islands,  and is so translated here by the  Vulgate,  the Septuagint, t he Chaldee,  the Syriac,  and the Arabic.
But the word also is used to denote maritime countries;  Countries that were situated on seacoasts,  or the regions beyond sea.
The word is applied,  therefore,
to the islands of  the Mediterranean
to the maritime coasts
any lands or coasts far remote, or beyond sea
Here it is evidently used in the sense of distant nations or lands;  the people who were remote from Palestine,  and who were the worshippers of idols.
The argument is represented as being with them,  and they are invited to prepare their minds by suitable reverence for God for the argument which was to be presented.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Dake says:
God here spoke to the islands  (coastal lands of Palestine, Egypt, Asia Minor, etc.)  to be silent and come near to judgment,  for Cyrus was coming from the east to overthrow them.

Rev 20:11-15   The Last Trial
(11)  Then I saw a great white throne and the one Who was seated upon it, from Whose presence and from the sight of Whose face earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.
(12)  I [also] saw the dead, great and small; they stood before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is [the Book] of Life. And the dead were judged (sentenced) by what they had done [their whole way of feeling and acting, their aims and endeavors] in accordance with what was recorded in the books.
(13)  And the sea delivered up the dead who were in it, death and Hades (the state of death or disembodied existence) surrendered the dead in them, and all were tried and their cases determined by what they had done [according to their motives, aims, and works].
(14)  Then death and Hades (the state of death or disembodied existence) were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
(15)  And if anyone's [name] was not found recorded in the Book of Life, he was hurled into the lake of fire.
(AMP)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(1)  Be silent before me, coastlands, and let the peoples renew their strength. Let them come near then speak together; let us approach for a ruling.

Isaiah 41:2
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(2)  Who has roused a victor from the East, summoned him to His service? Has delivered up nations to him, and trodden sovereigns down? Has rendered their swords like dust, their bows like wind-blown straw?

Who raised up righteousness from the east, and called it to his feet, so that it should go? Shall appoint it an adversary of Gentiles, and shall dismay kings, and bury their swords in the earth, and cast forth their bows and arrows as sticks?

Who brought Abraham in truth? He brought him to his place; he delivered nations before him, and crushed kings; he cast the slain before his sword as the dust, as chaff did he pursue them before his bow.

From the NKJV
(2)  "Who raised up one from the east?  Who in righteousness called him to His feet?  Who gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings?  Who gave them as the dust to his sword, as driven stubble to his bow?

Note - the Targum identifies The righteous man from the east as Abraham.
Compare Cyrus raised up from the north, v. 25.

Keil & Delitzsch say:  The sentence governed by  "who"  (mii)  ends at leragloo (at his foot);  at the same time,  all that follows is spoken with the echo of  the interrogative accent.  The person raised up is Cyrus,  who is afterwards mentioned by name.

The coming one first approaches gradually within the horizon of  the prophet's ideal present;  and it is only little by little that the prophet becomes more intimately acquainted with a phenomenon which belongs to so distant a future, and has been brought so close to his own eyes. Jehovah has raised up the new great hero "from the east" (mimmizrâch),  and,  according to v. 25,  "from the north" also.

Both of these were fulfilled:

From the East vs 2 Persia - east of  Babylon
Cyrus was a Persian belonging to the clan of Achaemenes (Hakhâmanis), which stood at the head, of the tribe, or of the Pasargadae.
From the North vs 25 Media - north of  Babylon
He was the son of Cambyses;
according to nearly all the ancient accounts,  he was connected with the royal house of  Media;
after Astyages was dethroned,  he became head and chief of  the Medes as well as of  the Persians

This verse is justly descriptive of the victorious career of Cyrus.

Gave the nations before him
Among the nations whom he subdued,  were the Armenians,  the Cappadocians,  the Lydians,  the Phrygians,  the Assyrians,  the Babylonians,  comprising a very large portion of  the world,  known at that time.  Cyrus subdued, according to Xenophon,  all the nations lying between the Euxine and Caspian seas on the north,  to the Red Sea on the south,  and even Egypt,  so that his own proclamation was true:  'Yahweh, God of heaven, hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth' (Ezra 1:2).
Made him rule over kings
As the kings of  Babylon, of  Lydia, of  Cappadocia,  who were brought into subjection under him,  and acknowledged their dependence on him.
Dust to his sword
Cyrus himself said: Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind, I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets.
Stubble to his bow
So it is said of the nations before Cyrus, implying that they were utterly scattered.
The bow was one of the common weapons of war, and the inhabitants of the East were distinguished for its use.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

He was to come as God's anointed servant,  a type of  Christ,  the Liberator of  God's people from bondage. Isaiah stresses the evidential value of  the coming fulfillment of  these predictions regarding Cyrus' irresistible triumph under the blessing of  God.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(2)  Who has roused victory from the east and summoned it to his path and delivers nations before him and brings down kings, and makes their swords like dust, their bows like wind-driven chaff?

Isaiah 41:3
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(3)  He pursues them, he goes on unscathed; no shackle is placed on his feet.

And he shall pursue them; the way of his feet shall proceed in peace.

He pursued them, he passed on in peace; the length of the journey tired him not.

From the NKJV
(3)  Who pursued them, and passed safely by the way that he had not gone with his feet?

The ASV, NIV RSV, TLB, Today's English Version, and Young's Literal Translation all translate this in the present tense:
He pursues them and moves on unscathed, by a path his feet have not traveled before.   (NIV)

That is,  he followed them uninjured;  they had no power to rally,  he was not led into ambush,  and he was safe as far as he chose to pursue them.

Had not gone
By a way that he had not been accustomed to march;  in an unusual journey;  in a land of strangers.
Cyrus had passed his early years on the east of  the Euphrates.
In his conquests he crossed that river,  and extended his march beyond even the river Halys to the western extremity of  Asia,  and even to Egypt and the Red Sea.  The idea here is,  that he had not traveled in these regions until he did it for purposes of  conquest - an idea which is strictly in accordance with the truth of history.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(3)  And he pursues them and travels on safely, by a way that his feet had not known.

Isaiah 41:4
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(4)  Who has wrought and achieved this? He who announced the generations from the start – I, the Lord, who was first and will be with the last as well.

Who has wrought and done these things? He has called it who called it from the generations of old; I God, the first and to all futurity,

(4)  Who hath said these things? The Eternal One saith and doeth, He who set in order the generations from of ole. I the Lord created the world from the beginning; yea, the everlasting ages are mine, and beside me there is no god.

From the NKJV
(4)  Who has performed and done it, calling the generations from the beginning?
"I, the LORD, am the first; and with the last I am He."

The first, and the last. Occurs three times in the book of  Isaiah,  and three times in the book of  Revelation
Isaiah Revelations
Isaiah 41:4
I, the LORD, am the first; and with the last I am He.
Isaiah 44:6
I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God.
Isaiah 48:12
I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last.
   
Revelations 1:17
I am the First and the Last.
Revelations 2:8
These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life.
Revelations 22:13
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.

The great fact of  the present time,  which not one of  the gods of  the heathen can boast of  having brought to pass,  is now explained.  Jehovah is its author. It is He who "from the beginning,"  i.e.,  ever since there has been a human history,  has called into existence the generations of  men through His authoritative command.

And this is no other than Jehovah,  who can declare of  Himself,  in contrast with the heathen and their gods,  who are of  yesterday,  and to-morrow will not be:  I am Jehovah,  the very first,  whose being precedes all history;  and with the men of  the latest generations yet to come "I am it."

They are both included,  without any distinction in the assertion.

He is this - God throughout all ages
He is through all ages - the Being who is ever the same in this His deity
It is the full meaning of the name Jehovah which is unfolded here;  for God is called Jehovah
As the absolute I
The absolute free Being
Pervading all history
Yet above all history
He who is Lord of His own absolute being
Revealing which He is purely self-determined
In a word, as the unconditionally free and unchangeably eternal personality.

Genesis 3:13, 14
Moses said to God,  “When I come to the Israelites and say to them  ‘The God of  your fathers has sent me to you,’  and they ask me,  ‘What is His name?’  What shall I say to them?”
And God said to Moses,  “Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh."
(“I Am That I Am;”  “I Am Who I Am;”  "I Will Be What I Will Be ;”).   (The Torah)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(4)  Who has acted and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord, the first and with the last. I am he.

Isaiah 41:5-7
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(5)  The coastlands look on in fear, the ends of earth tremble. They draw near and come;

The nations saw, and feared; the ends of the earth drew nigh, and came together,

The coastlands saw, and shall fear they that are in the ends of the earth shall tremble; they shall draw near and come.

(6)  Each one helps the other, Saying to his fellow, “Take courage!”

every one judging for his neighbor and that to assist his brother: and one will say,

They shall support every one his neighbor, and each one shall say to his brother, Be of good courage.

(7)  The woodworker encourages the smith; he who flattens with the hammer [Encourages] him who pounds the anvil. He says of the riveting, “It is good!” And he fixes it with nails that it may not topple.

the artificer has become strong, and the coppersmith that smites with the hammer, and forges also: sometimes he will say, It is a piece well joined: they have fastened them with nails; they will fix them, and they shall not be moved.

Shall they not be ashamed of their works, which the carpenter with the smith maketh strong, the wielder of the hammer with him who beats smooth with the mallet? At the right time he says of the soldering, it is ready, and strengthens it with nails that it may not be moved.

From the NKJV
(5)  The coastlands saw it and feared, the ends of the earth were afraid; they drew near and came.    (6)   Everyone helped his neighbor, and said to his brother, "Be of good courage!"    (7)   So the craftsman encouraged the goldsmith; he who smoothes with the hammer inspired him who strikes the anvil, saying, "It is ready for the soldering"; then he fastened it with pegs, that it might not totter.

We have here a description of the effects which the victorious course of  Cyrus had begun to produce in the heathen world.  The play upon the words wªyiyraa'uw (OT: 3372)...raa'uw (OT: 7200)  pairs together both seeing and fearing.  The perfect with the aorist following in v. 5b places the following picture upon the stage: They have approached and drawn near (from all directions) to meet the threatening danger; and how?

Everything is in confusion,  from the terror that prevails;  and the gods from which they expect deliverance are not made till now,  the workmen stimulating one another to work.

The chârâsh,  who casts the image,  encourages the tsooreeph,  whose task it is to provide it with the plating of  gold and silver chains (Isa 40:19),  to work more bravely
The man who smoothes with the hammer (pattishinstrumentalis)  does the same to the man who smites the anvil.
The latter finds the soldering all right,  by which the gold plates of  the covering are fastened together,  so as to give to the golden idol a massive appearance.
He is the last into whose hands it comes;  and nothing more is wanting,  than that he should forge upon the anvil the nails with which it is fastened,  to prevent it from falling.
To such foolish, fruitless proceedings have the nations resorted when threatened with subjugation by Cyrus.

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(5)  The coastlands have seen and are afraid. The ends of the earth, together; (tremble MT.) they have drawn near and come.  (6)   They all help their neighbor. They Say to each other, “Take heart.”   (7)   The carpenter encourages the smith, and the one who smoothes with the hammer encourages the one who strikes the anvil. He says of the soldering, “It is good,” and reinforces it with nails, so that it cannot loosen.

Isaiah 41:8-19
Type - Israel

Isaiah 41:8-10 Encouragement “Fear not.”
Isaiah 41:11, 12 Ascendancy
Isaiah 41:13, 14 Encouragement “Fear not.”
Isaiah 41:15-19 Victory

Isaiah 41:8-10
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(8)  But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, seed of Abraham My friend –

But thou, Israel, art my servant Jacob, and he whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraam, whom I have loved:

But thou Israel my servant, Jacob in whom I am well pleased, the seed of Abraham my friend:

(9)  you whom I drew from the ends of the earth and called from its far corners, To whom I said: You are My servant; I chose you, I have not rejected you, –

whom I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth, and from the high places of it I have called thee, and said to thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and I have not forsaken thee.

thou whom I have brought near from the families of the earth, and chosen from the kingdoms, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant, I am well pleased with thee and will not cast thee away:

(10)  Fear not, for I am with you, be not frightened, for I am your God; I strengthen you and I help you, I uphold you with My victorious right hand.

Fear not; for I am with thee: wander not; for I am thy God, who have strengthened thee; and I have helped thee, and have established thee with my just right hand.

fear thou not, for my Memra shall support thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will support thee; yea, I will take hold of thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

From the NKJV
(8)  "But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham My friend.   (9)   You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest regions, and said to you, 'You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away:   (10)   Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'

The proof adduced by Jehovah of His own deity closes here.
But instead of our hearing whether the nations,  with which He has entered upon the contest,  have any reply to make,  the address turns to Israel,  upon which deliverance dawns from that very quarter,  from which the others are threatened with destruction.

Whereas the nations,  which put their trust in idols that they themselves had made,  were thrown into alarm,  and yielded before the world-wide commotions that had originated with the eastern conqueror,  Israel,  the nation of  Jehovah,  might take comfort to itself.

The reason,  which precedes the comforting assurance in verse 10,  recalls the intimate relation in which Jehovah had placed Himself towards Israel,  and Israel towards Himself.  The leading thought,  "servant of Jehovah,"  which is characteristic of chapters 40-46,  and lies at the root of  the whole spirit of  these addresses,  more especially of  their Christology,  we first meet with here and that in a popular sense.
It has both an objective and a subjective side.

On the one hand,  Israel is the servant of  Jehovah by virtue of  a divine act;  and this act - its election and call - was an act of  pure grace,  and was not to be traced,  as the expression  "I have chosen and not despised thee'  indicates,  to any superior excellence or merit on the part of  Israel.
On the contrary,  Israel was so obscure that Jehovah might have despised it;  nevertheless He had anticipated it in free unmerited love with this stamp of  the character indelibly of  a servant of  Jehovah.
On the other hand,  Israel was the servant of  Jehovah,  inasmuch as it acted out what Jehovah had made it,  partly in reverential worship of  this God,  and partly in active obedience.

The divine act of choosing and calling is dated from Abraham.

From a Palestinian point of view,  Ur of Chaldaea,  within the old kingdom of  Nimrod,  and Haran in northern Mesopotamia,  seemed like the ends and corners of  the earth.
Israel and the land of  Israel were so inseparably connected,  that whenever the origin of  Israel was spoken of,  the point of  view could only be taken in Palestine.
To the far distant land of  the Tigris and Euphrates had Jehovah gone to fetch Abraham,  "the friend of God."
This calling of  Abraham was the furthest terminus a quo of  the existence of  Israel as the covenant nation;  for the leading of  Abraham was providentially appointed with reference to the rise of  Israel as a nation.
And when Jehovah adopted Abraham as His servant,  and called him "My servant" (Gen 26:24),  Israel,  the nation that was coming into existence in Abraham,  received both the essence and name of a  "servant of Jehovah."
Inasmuch then as, on looking back to its past history, it would not fail to perceive that it was so thoroughly a creation of divine power and grace, it ought not to be fearful, and look about with timidity and anxiety; for He who had presented Himself at the very beginning as its God, was still always near.

In the expression  "by the right hand of my righteousness,"
the justice or righteousness is regarded pre-eminently on its brighter side,  the side turned towards Israel;
but it is also regarded on its fiery side,  or the side turned towards the enemies of  Israel.
It is the righteousness which aids the oppressed congregation against its oppressors.

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(8)  But you, Israel my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, seed of Abraham my friend,   (9)   you whom I encouraged at the ends of the earth and called from its corners and said to you, “You are my servant. I have chosen you, and I have not rejected you.”   (10)   Do not fear, for I am with you. I indeed hold you up with my vindicating right hand.

Isaiah 41:11-13
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(11)  Shamed and chagrined shall be all who contend with you; they who strive with you shall become as naught and shall perish.

Behold, all thine adversaries shall be ashamed and confounded; for they shall be as if thy were not: and all thine opponents shall perish.

Behold, all the nations shall be ashamed and confounded that were incensed against thee; they that strive with thee in judgment shall be as nothing and shall perish.

(12)  You may seek, but shall not find those who struggle with you; less than nothing shall be the men who battle against you.

Thou shalt seek them, and thou shalt not find the men who shall insolently rage against thee: for they shall be as if they were not, and they that war against thee shall not be.

Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contend with thee: the men that were incensed against thee to make war with thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of naught.

(13)  For I the Lord am your God, who grasped your right hand, who say to you: Have no fear; I will be your help.

For I am thy God, who holdeth thy right hand, who saith to thee,

For I the Lord thy God will take hold of thy right hand; I who said to thee, Fear not, my Memra shall support thee.

From the NKJV
(11)  "Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish.   (12)  You shall seek them and not find them —  those who contended with you.  Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a nonexistent thing.   (13)   For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.'

With the exclamation heen (behold) the eyes of  Israel are now directed to the saving interposition of  Jehovah in the immediate future.

That they may depend upon his presence with them as their God, and a God all-sufficient for them in the worst of times.    It is promised:

1. That God will silence their fears,
He has said it again and again in his word, and has there provided sovereign antidotes against fear: but he will go further; he will by his Spirit say it to their hearts, and make them to hear it, and so will help them.
2. That though their enemies be now very formidable, insolent, and severe, yet the day is coming when God will reckon with them and they shall triumph over them.
3. That their enemies shall be quite ruined and undone
They shall be as nothing and as a thing of nought, or as that which is gone and has failed.
Those that were formidable shall become despicable.
Those that fancied they could do any thing shall be able to bring nothing to pass.
Those that made a figure in the world,  and a mighty noise,  shall become mere ciphers and be buried in silence.
4. That God will strengthen their hands.
5. That God will remove their fear.
6. That God will help them.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(11)   Look!  All who are incensed at you will be disgraced and put to shame. Those who contend with you will all die. (will become nothing and be ashamed 1Q1sa (b) will become nothing and die MT.)   (12)   Those who quarrel with you will be nothing, (You will seek but not find those who quarrel with you MT.) and non-existent those who fight you.   (13)   For I am the Lord your God, who strengthens your right hand, who says to you, “Do not be afraid. I will help you.”


LESSON  19  FROM  THE  AMPLIFIED  VERSION

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Isaiah 38:1 - 41:13 - from the Amplified Version

38:1     IN THOSE days King Hezekiah of Judah became ill and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, came to him and said, Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live. [2 Kings 20:1-11; 2 Chronicles 32:24-26.]
(2)    Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord
(3)    And said, Remember [earnestly] now, O Lord, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in faithfulness and in truth, with a whole heart [absolutely devoted to You], and have done what is good in Your sight. And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
(4)    Then came the word of the Lord to Isaiah, saying,
(5)    Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add to your life fifteen years.
(6)    And I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city [Jerusalem].
(7)    And this will be the sign to you from the Lord that the Lord will do this thing that He has spoken:
(8)    Behold, I will turn the shadow [denoting the time of day] on the steps or degrees, which has gone down on the steps or sundial of Ahaz, backward ten steps or degrees. And the sunlight turned back ten steps on the steps on which it had gone down.
(9)    This is the writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness:
(10)  I said, In the noontide and tranquility of my days I must depart; I am to pass through the gates of Sheol (the place of the dead), deprived of the remainder of my years.
(11)  I said, I shall not see the Lord, even the Lord, in the land of the living; I shall behold man no more among the inhabitants of the world.
(12)  My [fleshly] dwelling is plucked up and is removed from me like a shepherd's tent. I have rolled up my life as a weaver [rolls up the finished web]; [the Lord] cuts me free from the loom; from day to night You bring me to an end.
(13)  I thought and quieted myself until morning. Like a lion He breaks all my bones; from day to night You bring me to an end.
(14)  Like a twittering swallow or a crane, so do I chirp and chatter; I moan like a dove. My eyes are weary and dim with looking upward. O Lord, I am oppressed; take my side and be my security [as of a debtor being sent to prison].
(15)  But what can I say? For He has both spoken to me and He Himself has done it. I must go softly [as in solemn procession] all my years and my sleep has fled because of the bitterness of my soul.
(16)  O Lord, by these things men live; and in all these is the life of my spirit. O give me back my health and make me live!
(17)  Behold, it was for my peace that I had intense bitterness; but You have loved back my life from the pit of corruption and nothingness, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back.
(18)  For Sheol (the place of the dead) cannot confess and reach out the hand to You, death cannot praise and rejoice in You; they who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness [to Your promises; their probation is at an end, their destiny is sealed].
(19)  The living, the living — they shall thank and praise You, as I do this day; the father shall make known to the children Your faithfulness and Your truth.
(20)  The Lord is ready to save (deliver) me; therefore we will sing my songs with [my] stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the house of the Lord.
(21)  Now Isaiah had said, Let them take a cake of figs and lay it for a plaster upon the boil, that he may recover.
(22)  Hezekiah also had said, What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?

39:1     AT THAT time Merodach-baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent [messengers with] letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he had heard that he had been sick and had recovered. [2 Kings 20:12-19.]
(2)    And Hezekiah was glad and welcomed them and showed them the house of his spices and precious things — the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious ointment, all the house of his armor and his jewels, and all that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his house nor in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.
(3)    Then came Isaiah the prophet to King Hezekiah and said to him, What did these men say? From where did they come to you? And Hezekiah said, They came to me from a far country, even from Babylon.
(4)    Then Isaiah said, What have they seen in your house? And Hezekiah answered, They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them.
(5)    Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord of hosts:
(6)    Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and that which your predecessors have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord.
(7)    And some of your own sons who are born to you shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.
(8)    Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good. And he added, For there will be peace and faithfulness [to His promises to us] in my days.

40:1      COMFORT, COMFORT My people, says your God.
(2)    Speak tenderly to the heart of Jerusalem, and cry to her that her time of service and her warfare are ended, that [her punishment is accepted and] her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received [punishment] from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
(3)    A voice of one who cries: Prepare in the wilderness the way of the Lord [clear away the obstacles]; make straight and smooth in the desert a highway for our God! [Mark 1:3.]
(4)    Every valley shall be lifted and filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked and uneven shall be made straight and level, and the rough places a plain.
(5)    And the glory (majesty and splendor) of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it. [Luke 3:5,6.]
(6)    A voice says, Cry [prophesy]! And I said, What shall I cry? [The voice answered, Proclaim:] All flesh is as frail as grass, and all that makes it attractive [its kindness, its goodwill, its mercy from God, its glory and comeliness, however good] is transitory, like the flower of the field.
(7)    The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely [all] the people are like grass.
(8)    The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. [James 1:10,11; 1 Peter 1:24,25.]
(9)    O you who bring good tidings to Zion, get up to the high mountain. O you who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, Behold your God! [Acts 10:36; Romans 10:15.]
(10)  Behold, the Lord God will come with might, and His arm will rule for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him. [Revelation 22:7,12.]
(11)  He will feed His flock like a shepherd: He will gather the lambs in His arm, He will carry them in His bosom and will gently lead those that have their young.
(12)  Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, marked off the heavens with a [nine-inch] span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?
(13)  Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has taught Him? [Romans 11:34.]
(14)  With whom did He take counsel, that instruction might be given Him? Who taught Him the path of justice and taught Him knowledge and showed Him the way of understanding?
(15)  Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket and are counted as small dust on the scales; behold, He takes up the isles like a very little thing.
(16)  And all Lebanon's [forests] cannot supply sufficient fuel, nor all its wild beasts furnish victims enough to burn sacrifices [worthy of the Lord].
(17)  All the nations are as nothing before Him; they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and emptiness (waste, futility, and worthlessness).
(18)  To whom then will you liken God? Or with what likeness will you compare Him? [Acts 17:29.]
(19)  The graven image! A workman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts silver chains for it.
(20)  He who is so impoverished that he has no offering or oblation or rich gift to give [to his god is constrained to make a wooden offering, an idol; so he] chooses a tree that will not rot; he seeks out a skillful craftsman to carve and set up an image that will not totter or deteriorate.
(21) [You worshipers of idols, you are without excuse.] Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? [These things ought to convince you of God's omnipotence and of the folly of bowing to idols.] Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? [Romans 1:20,21.]
(22)  It is God Who sits above the circle (the horizon) of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; it is He Who stretches out the heavens like [gauze] curtains and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in,
(23)  Who brings dignitaries to nothing, Who makes the judges and rulers of the earth as chaos (emptiness, falsity, and futility).
(24)  Yes, these men are scarcely planted, scarcely are they sown, scarcely does their stock take root in the earth, when [the Lord] blows upon them and they wither, and the whirlwind or tempest takes them away like stubble.
(25)  To whom then will you liken Me, that I should be equal to him? says the Holy One.
(26)  Lift up your eyes on high and see! Who has created these? He Who brings out their host by number and calls them all by name; through the greatness of His might and because He is strong in power, not one is missing or lacks anything.
(27)  Why, O Jacob, do you say, and declare, O Israel, My way and my lot are hidden from the Lord, and my right is passed over without regard from my God?
(28)  Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint or grow weary; there is no searching of His understanding.
(29)  He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]. [2 Corinthians 12:9.]
(30)  Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted;
(31)  But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. [Hebrews 12:1-3.]

41:1      LISTEN IN silence before Me, O islands and regions bordering on the sea! And let the people gather and renew their strength [for the argument; let them offer their strongest arguments]! Let them come near, then let them speak; let us come near together for judgment [and decide the point at issue between us concerning the enemy advancing from the east].
(2)    Who has roused up one [Cyrus] from the east, whom He calls in righteousness to His service and whom victory meets at every step? He [the Lord] subdues nations before him and makes him ruler over kings. He turns them to dust with the sword [of Cyrus], and to driven straw and chaff with his bow. [Ezra 1:2.]
(3)    He [Cyrus] pursues them and passes safely and unhindered, even by a way his feet had not trod and so swiftly that his feet do not touch the ground.
(4)    Who has prepared and done this, calling forth and guiding the destinies of the generations [of the nations] from the beginning? I, the Lord — the first [existing before history began] and with the last [an ever-present, unchanging God] — I am He.
(5)    The islands and coastlands have seen and fear; the ends of the earth tremble. They draw near and come;
(6)    They help every one his neighbor and say to his brother [in his tiresome idol making], Be of good courage!
(7)    So the carpenter encourages the goldsmith, and he who smoothes [the metal] with the hammer [encourages] him who smites the anvil, saying of the soldering, That is good! And he fastens it with nails so that it cannot be moved.
(8)    But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham My friend, [Hebrews 2:16; James 2:23.]
(9)    You whom I [the Lord] have taken from the ends of the earth and have called from the corners of it, and said to you, You are My servant — I have chosen you and not cast you off [even though you are exiled].
(10)  Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice. [Acts 18:10.]
(11)  Behold, all they who are enraged and inflamed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; they who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish.
(12)  You shall seek those who contend with you but shall not find them; they who war against you shall be as nothing, as nothing at all.
(13)  For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; I am the Lord, Who says to you, Fear not; I will help you!

(End of  Lesson 19)


  

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