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ISAIAH
The Gospel To Israel
Book 3

LESSON  TWENTY TWO
Isaiah 44:1 - 45:13

Isaiah 44:1-4
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(1)  But hear, now, O Jacob My servant, Israel whom I have chosen!

But now hear Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen.

And now hear O Jacob my servant; and Israel in whom I am well pleased.

(2)  Thus said the Lord, your Maker, your Creator who has helped you since birth: fear not, My servant Jacob, Jeshurun whom I have chosen,

Thus saith the Lord God that made thee, and he that formed thee from the womb; Thou shalt yet be helped: fear not, my servant Jacob; and beloved Israel, whom I have chosen.

Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and appointed thee from the womb; he will support thee, fear not, my servant Jacob, and Jeshurun in whom I am well pleased.

(3)  even as I pour water on thirsty soil, and rain upon dry ground, so will I pour My spirit on your offspring, My blessing upon your posterity.

For I will give water to the thirsty that walk in a dry land: I will put my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessings upon thy children:

For as waters are poured upon a thirsty land, and flow down over the dry ground, so will I pour my holy spirit upon thy sons and my blessing upon thy sons’ sons.

(4)  And they shall sprout like grass, like willows by watercourses.

and they shall spring up as grass between brooks and as willows on the banks of running water.

And the righteous shall grow up tender and delicate as blades of grass, as a tree that sendeth forth its roots by streams of water.

From the NKJV
(1)  "Yet hear me now, O Jacob My servant, and Israel whom I have chosen.   (2)   Thus says the LORD who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you:  'Fear not, O Jacob My servant; and you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.  (3)   For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring;   (4)   They will spring up among the grass like willows by the watercourses.'

The prophet cannot bear to dwell any longer upon this dark picture of their state of punishment;  and light of the promise breaks through again.

In contrast with

the cheerem (the setting apart for destruction)
there is here presented the promise of the pouring out of the Spirit and of blessing
In contrast with
the gidduuphiim (blasphemies)
there is the promise of general eagerness to come and honor Israel and its God

Israel as a nation and all the individuals within it are,  as the chosen servant of Jehovah,  the direct formation of Jehovah Himself from the remotest point of their history.

Jeshurun
Jewish commentators agree that it is derived from yashar (OT:3474),  and signifies upright.
In the same manner,  Israel,  as a people,  is called mªshulaam (OT:7999)perfectIsaiah 42:19.
They were taught of God,  and abundantly furnished with the means of rectitude and perfection in his service and worship.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

From the very beginning - from the womb - Yahweh had appointed Israel to be his peculiar people, bestowing upon her the title of Jeshurun, Upright One (Deuteronomy 32:15; 33:5,26) - a token of her eventual conversion to Gospel holiness.

Circumstances in the reign of Manasseh may have seemed to indicate a complete and permanent departure from the faith.
But God here explicitly predicts that future Israel was to receive the Living Water and the Holy Spirit himself poured out upon them (pre-eminently at Pentecost, Acts 2).
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

Israel was His chosen people - His "set apart" people.
They were called Jeshurun,

not because of what they were in the flesh,
but because of what they were to Yahweh,
and because of what they would become.
Likewise, the believers of today are called Saints  (set apart ones),
not because of our natural, fleshly perfection,
but because of the perfection of Christ,
and because of what we are in Him,
and because of what we can become through Him.

In verse 3, the blessings to be expected are assigned as the reason for the exhortation to be of good cheer. Water is promised in the midst of drought, and the Spirit and blessing of God,  just as in Joel the promise of rain is first of all placed in contrast with drought;  and this is followed by the promise of the far surpassing antitype, namely, the outpouring of the Spirit.

ruach Spirit - Breath
It began at Pentecost (Acts 2:16);  but the kingdom was then rejected (Acts 28:25, 26),  by Israel,  and the promise is now in abeyance.  I like what Peter said about us,  the Gentiles,  receiving this experience.
Acts 2:39
For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is to and for you and your children, and to and for all that are far away, [even] to and for as many as the Lord our God invites and bids to come to Himself. [Isa 57:19; Joel 2:32.]
Acts 11:15
When I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as He did on us at the beginning.
Acts 11:17, 18
If then God gave to them the same Gift [equally] as He gave to us when we believed in (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on) the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I and what power or authority had I to interfere or hinder or forbid or withstand God?
When they heard this, they were quieted and made no further objection. And they glorified God, saying, Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance unto [real] life [after resurrection].     (AMP)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(1)  But now hear, Jacob my servant and Israel whom I have chosen:   (2)   Thus says the Lord who made you, and formed you from the womb, who will help (he will help MT) you: Do not fear, Jacob my servant and Jeshurun whom I have chosen.   (3)   For I will pour water upon thirsty ground and streams on parched land. Just so will I pour my spirit upon your descendants and my blessing upon your posterity.   (4)   They (And they MT.) will spring up like (among MT) that which grows in the green grass, like willows by watercourses.
See Note in lesson 15 on the Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

Isaiah 44:5
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(5)  One shall say, “I am the Lord’s,” another shall use the name of “Jacob,” another shall make his arm “Of the Lord” and adopt the name of “Israel.”

One shall say, I am God’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall write with his hand, I am God’s, and shall call himself by the name of Israel.

One shall say, I am one of the fearers of the Lord; and another shall pray in the name of Jacob; and another shall present his offering before the Lord, and draw near in the name of Israel.

From the NKJV
(5)  One will say, 'I am the LORD's'; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; another will write with his hand, 'The LORD's,' and name himself by the name of Israel.

When Jehovah has thus acknowledged His people once more,  the heathen,  to whose gidduuphiim (blasphemies) Israel has hitherto been given up,  will count it the greatest honor to belong to Jehovah and His people.

One will declare himself to belong to Jehovah
Another will call with the name of Jacob

according to the analogy of the phrase h' bªsheem (OT:8034) qaaraa' (OT:7121) make it the medium and object of solemn exclamation;
A third will write with his hand
yaadow (OT:3027), an acc. of more precise definition,  "To Jehovah,"  thereby attesting that he desires to belong to Jehovah, and Jehovah alone.
And name himself by the name of Israel
The name Israel becomes a name or title of honor among the heathen.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Will write with his hand - in solemn and public covenant,

pledging himself to God's service Nehemiah 9:38
before "witnesses" Hebrews 12:1
after the manner of a civil contract Jeremiah 32:10,12,44
So the Christian in the sacraments.
Hebrew, yiktob.  Literally,
shall fill his hand with letters in honor of Yahweh Exodus 32:15;   Ezekiel 2:10
shall write upon his hand I am Yahweh's Isaiah 49:16;   Revelation 13:16

alluding to the punctures with ink on the hand, whereby a soldier marked himself as bound to his commander;

and whereby the Christians used to mark themselves with the name of Christ

(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(5)  One will say, “I am the Lord’s,” and another will go by the name of Jacob, and another will have inscribed on his hand, “the Lord’s,” and adopt the name of Israel.



Ch. 44:6-23
Fifth Prophecy
The Ridiculous gods of the Nations;
and the God of Israel, Who Makes His People to Rejoice


THERE  IS  NO  OTHER  GOD

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Isaiah 44:6 & 7
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(6)  Thus said the Lord, the King of Israel, their redeemer, the Lord of Hosts: I am the first and I am the last, and there is no god but Me.

Thus saith God the King of Israel and the God of hosts that delivered him; I am the first, and I am hereafter: beside me there is no God.

Thus saith the Lord, the King of Israel, and his savior the Lord of hosts; I am He, I am He that is from of old; yea, the everlasting ages are mine, and beside me there is no God.

(7)  Who like Me can announce, can foretell it – and match Me thereby? Even as I told the future to an ancient people, so let him foretell coming events to them.

Who is like me? Let him stand, and call, and declare, and prepare for me from the time that I made man for ever; and let them tell you the things that are coming before they arrive.

And who is there as I who shall proclaim it, and shall declare it, and set it in order before me, since I appointed the people that is from everlasting? And the things that are coming, and that are about to come let them declare to us.

From the NKJV
(6)  "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: 'I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God.   (7)   And who can proclaim as I do?  Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me, since I appointed the ancient people.  And the things that are coming and shall come, let them show these to them.

The King of Israel. Note this title (1) in connection with

the Old Testament Manifestation of the kingdom
the Gospels Proclamation of the kingdom by the Son of God
(Matthew 27:42; Mark 15:32; John 1:49; 12:13)
All were rejected by Israel,  and the kingdom therefore is now in abeyance.

His Redeemer: i.e. his Kinsman-Redeemer.

The Lord of hosts - Yahweh tsªbaa'owt

A new pledge of redemption is given,  and a fresh exhortation to trust in Jehovah;  the wretchedness of the idols and their worshippers being pointed out,  in contrast with Jehovah,  the only speaking and acting God.
The fact that His deity,  which rules over not only the natural world,  but history as well,  is thus without equal and above all time,  is now proved by Him from the fact that He alone manifests Himself as God and that by the utterance of prophecy.

Again he points to the testimony of fulfilled predictions as a type of evidence of divine authority no man-invented religion can ever produce.  To this fulfillment of prophecy,  the Jewish nation stands as witness,  furnishing verification to all the world that

only Jehovah is God
and there is no security in any but him.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

The ancient People
The everlasting Nation.
The nation of Israel is everlasting,  like the Covenant.

Note and compare the twelve everlasting things that are found in the book of Isaiah:

1. (9:6) Father "unto us a Child is born ... and His name will be called ... Everlasting Father"
2. (24:5; 55:3; 61:8) Covenant "I will make an everlasting covenant with you"
3. (26:4) Strength "For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength"
4. (33:14) Burnings "Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?"
5. (35:10; 51:11; 61:7) Joy "Everlasting joy shall be theirs"
6. (40:28) God "The everlasting God, the LORD (Yahweh)"
7. (45:17) Salvation "Israel shall be saved ... with an everlasting salvation"
8. (54:8) Kindness "with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you"
9. (55:13) Sign "it shall be to the LORD ... for an everlasting sign"
10. (56:5; 63:12) Name "I will give them an everlasting name"
"To make for Himself an everlasting name"
11. (60:15 Excellency "I will make you an eternal excellence"
12. (60:19, 20) Light "the LORD will be to you an everlasting light"

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(6)  Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and its redeemer, the Lord of hosts is his name: I am the first and I am the last, and apart from me there is no God.   (7)   Who is like me? Let him proclaim and announce it and set it in order for himself, making them an ancient people. And the future let him say; what is to come let them declare to them.

Isaiah 44:8
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(8)  Do not be frightened, do not be shaken! Have I not from of old predicted to you? I foretold, and you are My witnesses. Is there any god, then, but Me? “There is no other rock; I know none!”

Hide not yourselves, nor go astray: have ye not heard from the beginning, and have not I told you? Ye are witnesses if there is a God beside me.

Fear ye not, neither be dismayed: have I not announced to thee of old, and declared it? And ye are witnesses before me. Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no one that is strong except he to whom strength has been given from before me.

From the NKJV
(8)  Do not fear, nor be afraid; have I not told you from that time, and declared it?  You are My witnesses.  Is there a God besides Me?  Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.

Of course,  none of the heathen gods could in any way answer to the challenge.  So much the more confident might Israel be,  seeing that it had quite another God than they.

It was not of the heathen deities that they were directed not to be afraid,  as in Jer 10:5 (Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, nor can they do any good.),  but rather the great catastrophe coming upon the nations,  of which Cyrus was the instrument.  Prophecies before the captivity had foretold the conquest of Babylon by Medes and Elamites,  and the deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian bondage;  and even these prophecies themselves were like a spirit's voice from the far distant past,  consoling the people of the captivity beforehand,  and serving to support their faith.

On the ground of such well-known self-manifestations,  Jehovah could well ask,  "Is there a God beside me?"  -  a virtual denial in the form of an interrogation,  to which the categorical denial,  "There is no rock (i.e., no ground of trust, Isa 26:4; 17:10), I know of none (beside me)," is attached.
(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

(8)  Do not be in awe. Do not be afraid. Have I not declared to you of old? I announced it. You are my witnesses. Is there a god besides me? I know that there is no other rock.



Isaiah 44:9-20
Idolaters Are Their Own Witnesses
Ignorance

  Isaiah 44:9-11 Idolaters Their stupidity
 
Isaiah 44:12-17 The smith and the carpenter
  Isaiah 44:18-20 Idolaters Their stupidity
IDOLATRY  IS  FOOLISHNESS

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Isaiah 44:9-11
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(9)  The makers of idols all work to no purpose; And the things they treasure can do no good, as they themselves can testify. They neither look nor think, and so they shall be shamed.

But they that framed false gods did not then hearken; and they that graved images are all vain, performing their own desires, which shall not profit them, but they shall be ashamed

The makers of images are all of them naught, and they who serve them which profit them not; yea, they are witnesses against themselves, that they neither see, nor know, that they may be put to shame.

(10)  Who would fashion a god or cast a statue that can do no good?

that form a god, and all that grave worthless things:

Who hath made an idol, or molten an image that it may not profit?

(11)  Lo, all its adherents shall be shamed; they are craftsmen, are merely human. Let them all assemble and stand up! They shall be cowed, and they shall be shamed.

And all by whom they were made are withered: yea, let all the deaf be gathered from among men, and let them stand together; and let them be ashamed and confounded together:

Behold, all they that serve them shall be ashamed, and the workmen who have made them are of men: let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; they shall be dismayed and ashamed together.

From the NKJV
(9)  Those who make an image, all of them are useless, and their precious things shall not profit; they are their own witnesses; they neither see nor know, that they may be ashamed.   (10)   Who would form a god or mold an image that profits him nothing?   (11)   Surely all his companions would be ashamed; and the workmen, they are mere men.  Let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; yet they shall fear, they shall be ashamed together.

The heathen gods are so far from being a ground of trust,  that all who trust in them must discover with alarm how they have deceived themselves.

Those who make an image
The KJV has: "They that make a graven image"
A graven image is one that is cut,  or sculptured out of wood or stone,  in contradistinction from one that is molten,  which is made by being cast.  Here it is used to denote an image,  or an idol-god in general.
God had asserted in the previous verses his own divinity,  and he now proceeds to show,  at length,  the vanity of idols,  and of idol-worship.  This same topic was introduced in Isaiah 40:18-20,  but it is here pursued at greater length,  and in a tone and manner far more sarcastic and severe.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

It is a pernicious work that they have thus had done for them. And what of the makers themselves?
They are numbered among the men.  So that they who ought to know that they themselves are made by God,  become makers of gods themselves.
What an absurdity!  Let them crowd together,  the whole guild of god-makers,  and draw near to speak to the works they have made.  All their eyes will soon be opened with amazement and alarm.
(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

(9)  Now, all forming of  (those who form MT)  images is nothing, and the things they value will not profit. Their own witnesses do not see; they do not know. So they will be put to shame.   (10)   Who would fashion a god or cast an image that is useless?   (11)   Certainly, all associated with it will be put to shame. The artisans, they are only human. Let them all gather together and stand up. Then let them be in awe. They will be put to shame together.

Isaiah 44:12 & 13
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(12)  The craftsman in iron, with his tools, works it over charcoal and fashions it by hammering, working with the strength of his arm. Should he go hungry, his strength would ebb; should he drink no water, he would grow faint.

For the artificer sharpens the iron; he fashions the idol with an axe, and fixes it with an awl, and fashions it with the strength of his arm: and he will be hungry and weak, and will drink no water.

The smith makes an axe out of iron, and kindles a fire in the coals, and makes it strong with hammers, and maketh it by his strength: so that if he that maketh it be hungry and eat not, there will be no strength in him; and if he be thirsty and drink no water, he will be faint.

(13)  The craftsman in wood measures with a line and marks out a shape with a stylus; he forms it with scraping tools, marking it out with a compass. He gives it a human form, the beauty of a man, to dwell in a shrine.

The artificer having chosen a piece of wood, marks it out with a rule, and fits it with glue, and makes it as the form of a man, and as the beauty of a man, to set it up in the house.

The carpenter marks it out the wood with a line; he saws it off according to the measuring-line; he cuts it out with a knife, and holds it fast in a vice, and fashions it in the likeness of a man, according to the beauty of a woman that dwell in a house.

From the NKJV
(12)  The blacksmith with the tongs works one in the coals, fashions it with hammers, and works it with the strength of his arms.  Even so, he is hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint.
(13)  The craftsman stretches out his rule, he marks one out with chalk; he fashions it with a plane, he marks it out with the compass, and makes it like the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man, that it may remain in the house.

Acts 7:41
And they made a calf in those days,  and offered sacrifice unto the idol,  and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.    (KJV)

The prophet now conducts us into the workshops.
The blacksmith -  “The smith was more or less a sacred person, and the iron foundry was an annex of heathen temples.”  Mounds of scoriae and iron slag are found near many heathen temples. Ref. Prof. Sayce in The Proceeding of the Society of Biblical Archaeology (1911).
Note the contrast exhibited (apparently on purpose) in 1 Kings 6:7.
1 Kings 6:7
And the house,  when it was in building,  was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither:  so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house,  while it was in building.    (KJV)

Verse 12 describes how the smith constructs an idol of iron.
Verse 13 describes how the carpenter makes one of wood.

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(12)   The ironworker prepares a tool with the coals and hammer, and fashions it, working by the strength of his arm. Yes, if he were hungry, he would have no strength. If he were to drink no water, he would become faint.    (13)   The woodworker stretches it out with a line; he traces its shape with a stylus. He fashions it with planes and shapes it with a compass. He makes it like a human figure, with human beauty, to dwell in a shrine.

Isaiah 44:14-17
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(14)  For his use he cuts down cedars; he chooses plane trees and oaks. He sets aside trees of the forest; or plants firs, and the rain makes them grow.

He cuts wood out of the forest, which the Lord planted, even a pine tree, and the rain made it grow,

He goeth to cut down cedars, and takes a holm tree and an oak, and layeth hold of one of the trees of the forest; he hath planted a fir tree and the rain makes it grow.

(15)  All this serves man for fuel: He takes some to warm himself, and he builds a fire and bakes bread. He also makes a god of it and worships it, fashions an idol and bows down to it!

that it might be for men to burn: and having taken part of it he warms himself; yea, they burn part of it, and bake loaves thereon; and of the rest they make for themselves gods, and they worship them.

And it is for a man to burn, and he takes thereof, and warms himself; yea, he hath kindled it, and baked bread; yea, he hath made it an idol, and worshipped it; he hath molten it into an image, and prayed to it.

(16)  Part of it he burns in a fire: on that part he roasts meat, he eats the roast and is sated; he also warms himself and cries, “Ah, I am warm! I can feel the heat!”

Half thereof he burns in the fire, and with half of it he bakes loaves on the coals; and having roasted flesh on it he eats, and is satisfied, and having warmed himself he says, I am comfortable, for I have warmed myself, and have seen the fire.

He hath burnt part thereof in the fire; on part thereof hath he eaten flesh; he hath roasted roast, and satisfied himself; yea, he hath warmed himself, and said, Aha I am warm, I have seen the fire:

(17)  Of the rest he makes a god – his own carving! He bows down to it, worships it; he prays to it and cries, “Save me, for you are my god!”

And the rest he makes a graven god, and worships, and prays, saying, Deliver me; for thou art my God.

and the rest of it he hath made into an idol, even an image; he hath worshipped, and paid homage to it, and prayed to it, and said, Deliver me; for thou art my god.

From the NKJV
(14)  He cuts down cedars for himself, and takes the cypress and the oak; he secures it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a pine, and the rain nourishes it.
(15)  Then it shall be for a man to burn, for he will take some of it and warm himself; yes, he kindles it and bakes bread; indeed he makes a god and worships it; he makes it a carved image, and falls down to it.   (16)   He burns half of it in the fire; with this half he eats meat; he roasts a roast, and is satisfied. He even warms himself and says,  "Ah! I am warm, I have seen the fire."
(17)  And the rest of it he makes into a god, his carved image.  He falls down before it and worships it,
prays to it and says, "Deliver me, for you are my god!"

The prophet now traces the origin of the idols still further back. Their existence or non-existence ultimately depends upon whether it rains or not.

In the previous verses, the prophet had described

(Isaiah 44:12) the formation of an axe with which the work was to be done
(Isaiah 44:13) and the laying out, and carving of the idol
In this verse he proceeds to describe
(Isaiah 44:14) the material of which the idol was made
(Isaiah 44:15-17) and the different purposes to which that material was applied
The object is to show the amazing stupidity of those who should worship a god made of the same material from which they made a fire to warm themselves, or to cook their food.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The repeated 'ap (OT: 639) (yea or yes)  lays emphasis upon the fact,  that such different things are done with the very same wood.

It is used for warming,
and for the preparation of food,
as well as for making a god.

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(14)  He cuts down cedars and takes a holm tree [or an o]ak. He secures for himself trees from the forest. He plants a fir tree, and the rain makes it grow.   (15)    He divides it up for humans to burn. He takes part of it and warms himself. He kindles a fire and bakes bread. Or perhaps he constructs a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and bows down to it.   (16)   Half of it he burns in the fire, and over that half is meat so he may eat. He sits by its coals, warms himself, (eats meat he roasted as a roast and is sated. He also warms himself MT) and says, “Ah, I am warm in from of the fire.”   (17)   The remainder of it he makes into a god. To blocks of wood he bows down to it and worships, prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god.”

Isaiah 44:18 & 19
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(18)  They have no wit or judgment: their eyes are besmeared, and they see not; their minds and they cannot think.

They have no understanding to perceive; for they have been blinded so that they should not see with their eyes, nor perceive with their heart.

They know not, neither do they understand: for their eyes are stopped up that they cannot see, nor understand with their hearts.

(19)  They do not give thought, they lack the wit and judgment to say: “Part of it I burned in a fire; I also baked bread on the coals, I roasted meat and ate it – should I make the rest an abhorrence? Should I bow to a block of wood?”

And one has not considered in his mind, nor known in his understanding, that he has burnt up half of it in the fire, and baked loaves on the coals thereof and has roasted and eaten flesh, and of the rest of it he has made an abomination, and they worship it.

And he doth not call to mind, and there is no knowledge, nor understanding to say, Part of it have I burnt in the fire; yea, I have also baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I worship useless wood?

From the NKJV
(18)  They do not know nor understand;  for He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand.   (19)   And no one considers in his heart, nor is there knowledge nor understanding to say, "I have burned half of it in the fire, yes, I have also baked bread on its coals; I have roasted meat and eaten it; and shall I make the rest of it an abomination?  Shall I fall down before a block of wood?"

So irrational is idolatry;  but yet,  through self-hardening,  they have fallen under the judgment of hardness of heart (Isa 6:9-10),  and have been given up to a reprobate mind (Rom 1:28).
Romans 1:22-32
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into

an image made like corruptible man —
and birds
and four-footed animals
and creeping things.
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who
exchanged the truth of God for the lie,
and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator,
who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions.
For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.
Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful,
and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with
all unrighteousness,
sexual immorality,
wickedness,
covetousness,
maliciousness;
full of envy,
murder,
strife,
deceit,
evil-mindedness;
they are whisperers,
backbiters,
haters of God,
violent,
proud,
boasters,
inventors of evil things,
disobedient to parents,
undiscerning,
untrustworthy,
unloving,
unforgiving,
unmerciful;
who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.     (NKJV)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(18)  They do not know. They do not understand. For their eyes are smeared, they cannot see; and their minds, they cannot think.   9190   No one gives it any thought; there is no knowledge or understanding to think to think,  “Half of it I burned in the fire. I also baked food on its coals. And I roasted meat and ate it. And the rest of it I will make into abominations?  Will I bow down to blocks (a block MT) of wood?”

Isaiah 44:20
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(20)  He pursues ashes!  A deluded mind has led him astray, and he cannot save himself; He never says to himself, “The thing in my hand is a fraud!”

Know thou that their heart is ashes, and they err, and no one is able to deliver his soul: see, ye will not say, there is a lie in my right hand.

Behold his idol, part of it is ashes; his foolish heart hath deceived him that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, hath not my right hand wrought a lie?

From the NKJV
(20)  He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside; and he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?"

He who makes ashes,  i.e.,  things easily scattered,  perishable,  and worthless,  the object of his effort and striving,  has been led astray from the path of truth and salvation by a heart overpowered by delusion;  he is so certain,  that he does not think of saving his soul,  and it never occurs to him to say,  "Is there not a lie in my right hand?"  All that belongs to idolatry is sheqer - a fabrication and a lie.

Feeds on ashes
In Hosea 12:1,  'Ephraim feedeth on wind,'  it means to strive after something vain or unprofitable;  to seek that which will prove to be vain and unsatisfactory.
So here it means,  that in their idol-service they would not obtain that which they sought.
It would be like a man who sought for food,  and found it to be dust or ashes;  and the service of an idol compared with what man needed,  or compared with the true religion,  would be like ashes compared with nutritious and wholesome diet.
This graphic description of the effect of idolatry is just as true of the ways of sin,  and of the pursuits of the world now.  It is true of the frivolous and the fashionable;  of those who seek happiness in riches and honors;  of all those who make this world their portion,  that they are feeding on ashes-they seek that which is vain,  unsubstantial,  unsatisfactory,  and which will yet fill the soul itself with disgust and loathing.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

A lie in my right hand
The right hand is the instrument of action.
A lie is a name often given to an idol as being false and delusive.

Psalms 144:7-8 & 11
Rescue me ... from the hand of foreigners, whose mouth speaks lying words, and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

Psalms 20:6
Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand.

Psalms 44:3
For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, nor did their own arm save them; but it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, because You favored them.

Isaiah 41:10
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.'

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(20)  He tends ashes. A deceived mind has turned him from the way. It cannot his life, (1Q1sa. (Word is missing?).  It does not save his life nor does he say, “There is a lie in my right hand.”



ISRAEL  IS  NOT  FORGOTTEN

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Isaiah 44:21 & 22
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(21)  Remember these things, O Jacob for you, O Israel, are My servant: I fashioned you, you are My servant – O Israel, never forget Me.

Remember these things, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant; I have formed thee to be my servant: and do thou, Israel, not forget me.

Remember these things O Jacob; and Israel, for thou art my servant: I have fashioned thee to be a servant ministering before me: O Israel, thou shalt not forget my fear,

(22)  I wipe away your sins like a cloud, your transgressions like mist – Come back to Me, for I redeem you.

For behold, I have blotted out as a cloud thy transgressions, and thy sin as darkness: turn to me, and I will redeem thee.

I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions, and as a passing cloud all thy sins: return to my service; for I have delivered thee.

From the NKJV
(21)  "Remember these, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you, you are My servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me!   (22)   I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins.  Return to Me, for I have redeemed you."

The second half of the prophecy commences with verse 21.
The thing to which the former were blind - namely,  that idolatry is a lie - Jacob (Israel) was to have firmly impressed upon its mind

The duty is expressed in two words: Remember and Return

1. "Remember these"
Remember what you have been told of the folly of idolatry,  and let the convictions you are now under be ready to you whenever you are tempted to that sin.
Remember that you are my servant, and therefore must not serve other masters.
2. Return unto me
It is the great concern of those who have turned away from God to hasten their return to him; and this is that which he calls them to when they are in affliction, and when he is returning to them in a way of mercy.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)
As in the counsel to Ephesus, Revelation 2:4-5
Revelation 2:5
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works.    (NKJV)

The words  "and Israel,"  which are attached,  are a contract for  "and remember this, O Israel.”
In the reason assigned,  the tone rests upon my in the expression  "my servant,"  and for this reason "servant to me"  is used interchangeably with it.  Israel is the servant of Jehovah,  and as such it was formed by Jehovah;  and therefore reverence was due to Him,  and Him alone.

This Jehovah clears away,  just as when His wind sweeps away the clouds,  and restores the blue sky again.  Thus does God's free grace now interpose at the very time when Israel thinks He has forgotten it,  blotting out Israel's sin,  and proving this by redeeming it from a state of punishment.
What an evangelical sound the preaching of the Old Testament evangelist has in this passage also!

Forgiveness and redemption are not offered on condition of conversion,  but the mercy of God comes to Israel in direct contrast to what its works deserve,  and Israel is merely called upon to reciprocate this by conversion and renewed obedience.  The perfects denote that which has essentially taken place.  Jehovah has blotted out Israel's sin,  inasmuch as He does not impute it any more,  and thus has redeemed Israel.  All that yet remains is the outward manifestation of this redemption,  which is already accomplished in the counsel of God.
(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

(21)   Remember these things, Jacob, Israel, for you are my servant. I have formed you; you are a servant to me. Israel, you must not mislead me. (you will not be forgotten by me. 4Q1sa (b) and MT.)    (22)   I have blotted out your transgression like a cloud and your sins like mist. Return to me; for I have redeemed you.

Isaiah 44:23
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(23)  Shout, O heavens, for the Lord has acted; Shout aloud, O depths of the earth! Shout for joy, O mountains, O forests with all your trees! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, has glorified Himself through Israel.

Rejoice, ye heavens; for God has had mercy upon Israel: sound the trumpet, ye foundations of the earth: ye mountains shout with joy, ye hills, and all the trees therein: for God has redeemed Jacob and Israel shall be glorified.

Sing praises, O ye heavens, for the Lord hath wrought salvation for his people. Shout for joy, ye foundations of the earth; exult, ye mountains with a song; O forest, and all the trees therein; for the Lord hath delivered Jacob, and will glorify himself in Israel.

From the NKJV
(23)  Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it!  Shout, you lower parts of the earth; break forth into singing, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it!  For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel.

There is already good ground,  therefore,  for exuberant rejoicing.   All creation is to rejoice in the fact that Jehovah has completed what He purposed,  that He has redeemed His people,  and henceforth will show Himself glorious in them.

The heavens on high are to exult;  also the depths of the earth,  i.e.,  not Hades,  which would be opposed to the prevailing view of the Old Testament  (Ps 66:1  "Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!"),  but the interior of the earth,  with its caves,  its pits,  and its deep abysses;  and the mountains and woods which rise up from the earth towards heaven - all are to unite in the exultation of the redeemed:  for the redemption that is being accomplished in man will extend its effects in all directions,  even to the utmost limits of the natural world.

Revelation 5:13
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.    (KJV)

Here is a promise of mercy for the nation that stands for God's truth.  The many and grievous sins of the Israel  would be canceled out,  and they might come to God for forgiveness,  since he would act for their redemption (in appointing Messiah as their atonement).  At these Gospel tidings the angels of heaven would sing with joy,  and also the OT saints who in Sheol awaited Christ's resurrection.  Even the nonhuman creation,  which eagerly awaits the  "manifestation of the sons of God"  (Romans 8:19),  would share in this triumphal rejoicing.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(23)  Shout, heavens, for the Lord has done it. Shout aloud, depths of the Earth. Burst out with singing, mountains, forest, and every tree in it. For the Lord has redeemed Jacob and will glorify himself in Israel.

Isaiah 44:24-45:15
Jerusalem Restored

  Isaiah 44:24-26- Jehovah’s attributes
 
Isaiah 44:-26, 27 Jerusalem Rebuilding
Isaiah 44:28-45:5 Cyrus
Isaiah 45:6-10 Sovereignty
  Isaiah 45:11, 12 Jehovah’s attributes
 
Isaiah 45:13- Cyrus
Isaiah 45:-13, 14 Jerusalem Rebuilding
Isaiah 45:15 Inscrutability

Isaiah 44:24-45
Sixth Prophecy
Cyrus,  the Anointed of Jehovah,  and Deliverer of Israel

 
JUDAH  WILL  BE  RESTORED

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Isaiah 44:24-28
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(24)  Thus said the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: It is I, the Lord, who made everything, who alone stretched out the heavens and unaided spread out the earth;

Thus saith the Lord that redeems thee, and who formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that performs all things: I stretched out the heaven alone, and established the earth.

Thus saith the Lord that delivered thee, and that formed thee from the womb. I am the Lord, the maker of all things; I suspended the heavens by my Memra; I established the earth by my might;

(25)  Who annul the omens of diviners, and make fools of the augurs; who turn sages back and make nonsense of their knowledge;

Who else will frustrate the tokens of those that have divining spirits, and prophecies from the heart of man? Turning the wise back, and making their counsel foolishness;

frustrating the signs of the diviners, and confounding the soothsayers, turning the wise men backwards, and bringing their knowledge into contempt:

(26)  But confirm the word of My servant and fulfill the prediction of My messengers. It is I who say of Jerusalem, “It shall be inhabited,” and of the towns of Judah, “They shall be rebuilt; and I will restore their ruined places.”

and confirming the word of his servant, and verifying the counsel of his messengers: who says to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Idumaea, Ye shall be built, and her desert places shall spring forth.

that confirms the word of his servants, the righteous, and performs the counsel of his messengers; that saith of Jerusalem, She shall be inhabited, and of the cities of the house of Judah, They shall be built, and I will raise up the waste places thereof:

(27)  [I,] who said to the deep, “Be dry; I will dry up your floods,”

Who says to the deep, Thou shalt be dried up, and I will dry up the rivers.

that saith of Babylon, It shall be laid waste, and I will dry up the rivers thereof:

(28)  Am the same who says of Cyrus, “He is My shepherd; He shall fulfill all My purposes! He shall say of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be rebuilt,’ and to the Temple: ‘You shall be founded again.’”

Who bids Cyrus be wise, and he shall perform all my will: who says to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built, and I will lay the foundation of my holy house.

that saith of Cyrus that he will give to him the kingdom, and he shall perform all my pleasure, and that saith of Jerusalem, She shall be built, and the temple founded.

From the NKJV
(24)  Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and He who formed you from the womb:
"I am the LORD, who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;   (25)   Who frustrates the signs of the babblers, and drives diviners mad; Who turns wise men backward, and makes their knowledge foolishness;   (26)   Who confirms the word of His servant, and performs the counsel of His messengers; Who says to Jerusalem, 'You shall be inhabited,' to the cities of Judah, 'You shall be built,' and I will raise up her waste places;   (27)   Who says to the deep, 'Be dry! and I will dry up your rivers';   (28)   Who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, saying to Jerusalem, "You shall be built," and to the temple, "Your foundation shall be laid."'

The promise takes a new turn here, acquiring greater and greater specialty. It is introduced as the word of Jehovah, who first gave existence to Israel, and has not let it go to ruin.

Thus says the LORD
And who is speaking?  It is Yahweh - He is

Our Redeemer
Our Creator
The Creator of all things, both in the heavens and in the earth
As to the unbelieving world - He
Foils the signs of false prophets
Makes fools of diviners
Turns the learning of the wise into nonsense
As to His people - He will
Confirm the word of His servants
Fulfill the predictions of His messengers
As to Jerusalem - He says
It will be inhabited
The towns of Judah will be built
Their ruins will be restored
As to Babylon - He will
Dry up her streams
As to Cyrus - He says
Cyrus will accomplish all that Yahweh wishes him to accomplish

In verse 27 the prophecy moves back from the restoration of Jerusalem and the cities of Judah to the conquest of Babylon.  The expression calls to mind the drying up of the Red Sea (Isa 51:10; 43:16);  but here it relates to something future,  namely,  to the drying up of the Euphrates,  which Cyrus turned into the enlarged basin of Sepharvaim,  so that the water sank to the depth of a single foot,  and men could  "go through on foot"  (Herod. i. 191).

The Euphrates,  in the middle of the summer,  from the melting of the snows on the mountains of Armenia, overflows the country.  In order to diminish the inundation,  and to carry off the waters,  two canals were made by Nebuchadnezzar a hundred miles north of the city;

the first on the eastern side called Naharmalca, or the Royal River, by which the Euphrates was let into the Tigris;
the other on the western side,  called Pallacopas, or Naharaga,  by which the redundant waters were carried into a vast lake,  forty miles square,  contrived,  not only to lessen the inundation, but for a reservoir,  with sluices, to water the barren country on the Arabian side.
Cyrus, by turning the whole river into the lake by the Pallacopas,  laid the channel,  where it ran through the city,  almost dry;  so that his army entered it,  both above and below,  by the bed of the river,  the water not reaching above the middle of the thigh.  By the great quantity of water let into the lake,  the sluices and dams were destroyed;  and being never repaired afterwards,  the waters spread over the whole country below,  and reduced it to a morass,  in which the river is lost.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

Who says of Cyrus
This is the first time in which Cyrus is expressly named by Isaiah  (and that 150 years before the time when, in 550 BC,  he began his reign),  though he is often referred to.

This is the passage which is said by Josephus to have induced Cyrus to send back the Jews to their native land:  "Accordingly,  when Cyrus read this,  and admired the divine power, an earnest desire and ambition seized upon him to fulfill what was so written"  (Jos. Ant. xi. I, 2).

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(24)  Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer and the one who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord who made everything, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth unassisted;   (25)   who frustrates the omens of the idle talkers and makes diviners mad, who turns the sages back and renders their knowledge foolish;    (26)   who confirms the word of his servant and brings to fruition the counsel of his messengers; who says of Jerusalem, “It will be inhabited,” and of the cities of Judah, “They will be rebuilt, and I will raise up their ruins;”   (27)   who says to the deep, “Be dry; I will dry up your rivers;”   (28)   who says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd and will carry out everything I desire,” saying of Jerusalem. “It will be rebuilt,” and of my temple, “Your foundation will be laid again.”



CYRUS  -  GOD'S  INSTRUMENT

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Isaiah 45:1-3
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(1)  Thus said the Lord to Cyrus, His anointed one – whose right hand He has grasped, treading down nations before him, ungirding the loins of kings, opening doors before him and letting no gate stay shut:

Thus saith the Lord God to my anointed Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, that nations might be obedient before him; and I will open doors before him and cities shall not be closed.

Thus saith the Lord to his Anointed One, to Cyrus whose right hand I have holden, to deliver nations before him, and the loins of kings will I loose; to open the doors before him, and the gates shall not be shut.

(2)  I will march before you and level the hills that loom up; I will shatter doors of bronze and cut down iron bars.

I will go before thee and will level mountains: I will break to pieces brazen doors, and will burst iron bars.

My Memra shall go before thee, and I will trample down walls; I will break in pieces the doors of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.

(3)  I will give you treasures concealed in the dark and secret hoards – so that you may know that it is I the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by name.

And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, I will open to thee hidden, unseen treasures, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord thy God, that call thee by name, am the God of Israel.

And I will give thee treasures of darkness and hidden riches, that thou mayest know that I am the Lord who has called thee by thy name, even the God of Israel.

From the NKJV
(1)  "This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of  to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut:   (2)    I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.   (3)    I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

His anointed
The word 'anointed' is that which is usually rendered  "Messiah" Maashiyach (OT:4899), and here is rendered by the Septuagint, too christoo mou [Kuroo] - `To Cyrus, my Christ,' i.e, my anointed.
It properly means  "the anointed,"  and was a title which was commonly given to the kings of Israel,  because they were set apart to their office by the ceremony of anointing,  who hence were called hoi christoi Kuriou  - `The anointed of the Lord'.
There is no evidence that the Persian kings were inaugurated or consecrated by oil,  but this is an appellation which was common among the Jews,  and is applied to Cyrus in accordance with their usual mode of designating kings.  It means here that God had solemnly set apart Cyrus to perform an important public service in his cause.
It does not mean that Cyrus was a man of piety,  or a worshipper of the true God,  of which there is no certain evidence,  but that his appointment as king was owing to the arrangement of God's providence,  and that he was to be employed in accomplishing his purposes.
The title does not designate holiness of character, but appointment to an office.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Subdue nations before him
Fourteen Nations Conquered by Cyrus

1. Cilicia
2. Syria
3. Paphlagonia
4. Cappadocia
5. Phrygia
6. Lydia
7. Caria
8. Phoenicia
9. Arabia
10. Babylonia
11. Assyria
12. Bactria
13. Sacae
14. Maryandines

Strip kings of their armor
Also translated by the KJV and  NASB: loose the loins of kings
The loose outer robe,  when girt fast round the loins,  was the emblem of strength and preparedness for action; ungirt was indicative of feebleness.
The joints of Belshazzar's loins,  we read in Daniel 5:6,  were loosed,  during the siege by Cyrus,  at the sight of the mysterious handwriting on the palace walls.  His being taken by surprise, unaccoutred,  is here foretold.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Gates will not be shut
Herodotus, i., sec. 179, says,  Babylon had 100 massive gates,  25 on each of the four sides of the city,  all,  as well as their posts,  of brass,  and they were fastened with bars of iron.
The idea here is that the two doors or double gates of the streets running down to the Euphrates were open,  so the Medes and Persians could enter unhindered.  Besides the immense brass gates there were walls running along the banks of the river to protect the city from an enemy trying to enter it by the river channel.  Had those gates in the walls been closed,  the enemy would have been bottled up in the channel and easily destroyed.  Only God could have foreseen such an event 150 years before it happened.

Treasures - Riches
Pliny gives the following account of the wealth taken by Cyrus in Asia.

"When Cyrus conquered Asia,  he found thirty-four thousand pounds weight of gold,  besides golden vessels and articles in gold;  and leaves, a plane, and vine tree, by which victory he carried away fifteen thousand talents of silver;  and the cup of Semiramis,  the weight of which was fifteen talents.  The Egyptian talent,  according to Varro,  was eighty pounds."
This cup was the crater,  or large vessel,  out of which they filled the drinking cups at great entertainments. Evidently it could not be a drinking vessel,  which,  according to what Varro and Pliny say,  must have weighed 1,200 pounds!
The gold and silver estimated by weight in this account,  being converted into pounds sterling,  amount to one hundred and twenty-six million two hundred and twenty-four thousand (126,224,000) pounds sterling. (Brerewood, De Ponderibus, cap.)

Fourteen Things about Cyrus

1. (Isaiah 41:2; Isaiah 45:13) God would raise him up
2. (Isaiah 41:2) God would call him
3. (Isaiah 41:2) God would make him ruler over kings
4. (Isaiah 41:2) God would give nations to him to destroy
5. (Isaiah 45:1) God would hold his right hand
6. (Isaiah 41:2; Isaiah 45:1) God would subdue nations before him
7. (Isaiah 45:1) God would loose the loins of kings
8. (Isaiah 45:1) God would open the two leaved gates before him
9. (Isaiah 45:2) God would be before him
10. (Isaiah 45:2) God would make crooked places straight
11. (Isaiah 45:2) God would break the gates of brass
12. (Isaiah 45:2) God would cut the bars of iron in sunder
13. (Isaiah 45:3) God would give him the treasures and riches of Babylon
14. (Isaiah 45:3) God would direct all his ways

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(1)   Thus says the Lord to his anointed, Cyrus, whose right hand I have strengthened to subdue nations before him, as I expose the loins of kings, to open the doors before him and gates they cannot keep shut:   (2)   I myself will go before you, and he will make the mountains evel. I will shatter bronze doors, cut through iron bars.   (3)   I will give you concealed treasures and secret riches hidden away, so that you will know that I, the Lord, who call you by name, am the God of Israel.

Isaiah 45:4-7
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(4)  For the sake of My servant Jacob, Israel My chosen one, I call you by name, I hail you by title, though you have not known Me.

For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel mine elect, I will call thee by thy name, and accept thee: but thou hast not known me.

For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel my chosen, yea, I have called thee by thy name; I have fashioned thee, though thou hast not known how to worship before me.

(5)  I am the Lord and there is none else; beside Me, there is no god. I engird you, though you have not known Me.

For I am the Lord God, and there is no other God beside me; I strengthened thee, and thou hast not known me.

I am the Lord, and there is none else; and beside me there is no God: I have supported thee, though thou hast not known how to worship before me:

(6)  So that thy may know, from east to west, that there is none but Me. I am the Lord and there is none else,

That they that come from the east and they that come from the west may know that there is no God but me. I am the Lord God, and there is none beside.

that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me; I am the Lord, and there is none else.

(7)  I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe – I the Lord do all these things.

I am he that prepared light, and formed darkness; who make peace, and create evil: I am the Lord God that does all these things.

Who formed the light, and created darkness, that maketh peace, and created evil: I the Lord do all these things.

From the NKJV
(4)  For Jacob My servant's sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.
5 I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me,   (6)   that they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other;   (7)   I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.'

I have named you - Cyrus was the additional name divinely given.
His Persian name is said to have been Agradates (Ref. Strabo, xv. 3, 6).

For Jacob My servant's sake
It was that the Israel of God might be released,  Cyrus knew not God as the God of Israel.
Having been trained up in the worship of idols,  the true God was to him an unknown God.  But,  though he knew not God,  God not only knew him when he came into being,  but foreknew him,  and bespoke him for his shepherd.  He called him by his name,  Cyrus, he surnamed him and called him his anointed.
And why did God do all this for Cyrus?  Not for his own sake,  be it known to him;  whether he was a man of virtue or no is questioned.
Xenophon indeed,  when he would describe the heroic virtues of an excellent prince,  made use of Cyrus's name,  and many of the particulars of his story,  in his Cyropaedia;  but other historians represent him as haughty,  cruel,  and bloodthirsty.
The reason why God preferred him was for Jacob his servant's sake.

Cyrus is preferred only that Israel may be released
He shall have a kingdom only that God's people may have their liberty
He shall receive power only that people may know that there is only one true God - Yahweh
In all this Cyrus was a type of Christ,  who was made victorious over principalities and powers,  and entrusted with unsearchable riches,  for the use and benefit of God's servants,  his elect.
When he ascended on high he led captivity captive,  took those captives that had taken others captives,  and opened the prison to those that were bound.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Light ... Darkness
Peace ... Calamity

An opinion that contradicts the clearest evidence of our reason,  which plainly leads us to the acknowledgment of one only Supreme Being,  infinitely good as well as powerful.
With reference to this absurd opinion,  held by the person to whom this prophecy is addressed,  God,  by His prophet,  in the most significant terms,  asserts his omnipotence and absolute supremacy:
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

Jehovah is the Creator and Sustainer of the physical universe,  and of the moral law as well.  The evil He creates is the antithesis of peace.  But since the opposite of peace is not sin or moral evil,  it is obvious that physical evil,  or the calamitous consequences of wrongdoing are here intended.
Nowhere does the Scripture ascribe to God the creation or authorship of sin; this originates only from the free moral agency of created beings.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

I form the light, which is grateful and pleasing, and
I create darkness, which is grievous and unpleasing.
I make peace (put here for all good) and
I create evil, not the evil of sin (God is not the author of that), but the evil of punishment.
(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

(4)   For Jacob my servant’s sake, Israel my chosen, I have called you, and he has established you with a name,  though you did not know me.   (5)   I am the Lord, and there is none else besides me; and there are no gods. (there is none else; besides me there are no gods MT) I will help you, though you did not know me,   (6)   so that they may know from east to west that there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.   (7)   I form light and create darkness; I make goodness (well-being MT) and create evil. I am the Lord, who does all these things.

Isaiah 45:8
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(8)  Pour down, O skies, from above! Let the heavens rain down victory! Let the earth open up and triumph sprout, yes, let vindication spring up: I the Lord have created it.

Let the heaven rejoice from above, and let the clouds rain righteousness: let the earth bring forth, and blossom with mercy, and bring forth righteousness likewise: I am the Lord that created thee.

Let the heavens minister from above, and let the clouds flow with goodness; let the earth open, and let the dead live and let righteousness be revealed together: I the Lord have created them.

From the NKJV
(8)  Rain down, you heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness; let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together.  I, the LORD, have created it.

In the prospect of this ultimate and saving purpose of the mission of Cyrus,  viz.,  the redemption of Israel and the conversion of the heathen,  heaven and earth are now summoned to bring forth and pour down spiritual blessings in heavenly gifts,  according to the will and in the power of Jehovah,  who has in view a new spiritual creation.

The result of the deliverance from the captivity shall be that righteousness shall be abundant.
During the captivity

they had been far away from their native land; the temple was destroyed;
the fire had ceased to burn on the altars;
the praises of God had ceased to be celebrated in his courts;
and all the means by which piety had been nourished had been withdrawn.
This state of things was strikingly similar to the earth when the rain is withheld,  and all verdure droops and dies.  But after the return from the exile, righteousness would abound under the re-establishment of the temple service and the means of grace.  Nor can there be any doubt,  I think,  that the mind of the prophet was also fixed on the prevalence of religion which would yet take place under the Messiah,  whose coming would be one of the results of the return from the exile,  and of whose advent,  that return would be so strikingly emblematic.
The language in the verse is figurative,  and very beautiful.  The idea is,  that
peace,  prosperity,  and righteousness start up like the fruits of the earth when it is well watered with the dews anti rains of heaven;
the land and world would be clothed in moral loveliness;
that the fruits of salvation would be abundant everywhere.
That there was a partial fulfillment of this on the return to the land of Canaan,  there can be no doubt.  The Jews were,  for a time at least,  much more distinguished for piety than they had been before.
Idolatry ceased;
the temple was rebuilt;
the worship of God was re-established;
the nation enjoyed unaccustomed prosperity.
But there is a richness and fullness in the language which is not met by anything that occurred in the return from the exile;  and it doubtless receives its entire fulfillment only under that more important deliverance of which the return from Babylon was but the emblem.  As referred to the Messiah,  and to His reign,  may we not regard it as descriptive of the following things?
The prevalence and diffusion of the knowledge of salvation under his own preaching and that of the apostles.
Religion was revived throughout Judea,  and spread with vast rapidity throughout almost the whole of the known world.  It seemed as if the very heavens shed down righteousness on all lands,  and the earth,  so long barren and sterile,  brought forth the fruits of salvation.  Every country partook of the benefits of the descending showers of grace,  and the moral world put on a new aspect - like the earth after descending dews and rains.
It is beautifully descriptive of a revival of religion like that on the day of Pentecost.
In such scenes,  it seems as if the very heavens  'poured down'  righteousness.  A church smiles under its influence like parched and barren fields under rains and dews,  and society puts on an aspect of loveliness like the earth after copious showers.  Salvation seems to start forth with the beauty of the green grass,  or of the unfolding buds,  producing leaves and flowers and abundant fruits.  There cannot be found anywhere a more beautiful description of a genuine revival of pure religion than in this verse.
It is descriptive, doubtless, of what is yet to take place in the better days which are to succeed the present, when the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth.
All the earth shall be blessed, as if descending showers should produce universal fertility,  and every land,  now desolate,  barren,  sterile,  and horrid by sin,  shall become  'like a well-watered garden' in reference to salvation.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(8)  Shout out, skies above and clouds, and let righteousness stream down. (Sprinkle, skies above, and let the clouds stream down righteousness MT)  The one who says to the earth, “Let salvation blossom, and let righteousness sprout forth.” (let the earth open up, let them bear the fruit of salvation, and let righteousness sprout forth together. I the Lord have created it 4Q1)

Isaiah 45:9 & 10
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(9)   Shame on him who argues with his Maker, though naught but a potsherd of earth! Shall the clay say to the potter, “What are you doing?  Your work has no handles”?

What excellent thing have I prepared as clay of the potter? Will the ploughman plough the earth all day? Shall the clay say to the potter, what art thou doing that thou dost not work, nor hast hands? Shall the thing formed answer him that formed it?

Woe to him that thinks to rise up against the words of his Creator, and trusts that the images of the potter that are made from the dust of the ground will profit him: is it possible that the clay should say to him the makes it, Thou hast not made me? And thy work, He hath no hands?

(10)   Shame on him who asks his father, “What are you begetting?” Or a woman, “What are you bearing?”

As though one should say to his father, what wilt thou beget me? And to his mother, what art thou bringing forth?

Woe to him that saith to a father, what begettest thou? And to a woman, With what travaileth thou?

From the NKJV
(9)   "Woe to him who strives with his Maker!  Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth!
Shall the clay say to him who forms it, 'What are you making?'  Or shall your handiwork say, 'He has no hands'?    (10)    Woe to him who says to his father, 'What are you begetting?'  Or to the woman, 'What have you brought forth?'"

The promise is now continued,  and increases more and more in the distinctness of its terms;
but just as in Isa 29:15-21,  it opens with a reproof of that dastardly attitude which goes so far to complain of the ways of Jehovah.

The comparison drawn between a man as the work of God and the clay-work of a potter suggested itself all the more naturally,  inasmuch as the same word yootseer  (his Maker) was applied to God as Creator,  and also to a potter (figulus).
The word cheres  (potsherd) signifies either a shred,  or fragment of earthenware (Isa 30:14),  or an earthenware vessel.

In the passage before us,  where the point of comparison is not the fragmentary condition,  but the earthen character of the material ('adâmâh),  the latter is intended:

the man,  who complains of God,  is nothing but a vessel of clay,
and,  more than that,  a perishable vessel among many others of the very same kind.

The questions which follow are meant to show the folly of this complaining.  Can it possibly occur to the clay to raise a complaint against him who has it in hand,  that he has formed it in such and such a manner,  or for such and such a purpose (compare Rom 9:20)?

Romans 9:20-21
But indeed,  O man, who are you to reply against God?  Will the thing formed say to him who formed it,  "Why have you made me like this?"   Does not the potter have power over the clay,  from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?     (NKJV)

The question is addressed to the maker:  Can the thing made by thee,  O man,  possibly say in a contemptuous tone,  "He has no hands?"  -  a supposition the ridiculous absurdity of which condemns it at once;  and yet it is a very suitable analogy to the conduct of the man who complains of God.

In verse 10 a woe is denounced upon those who resemble a man who should say to his own father,  what children dost thou beget?  or to a wife,  What dost thou bring forth?
This would be the rudest and most revolting attack upon an inviolably tender and private relation;  and yet Israel does this when it makes the hidden providential government of its God the object of expostulation.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

It is the part of folly to subject God's dealing to man's criticism or condemnation.

All human understanding of the issues of right and wrong has originated in him as Creator,
and therefore can never surpass him in excellence or validity.
A child may not properly call his parents to an accounting, as if he possessed judicial authority over them. How much less may a man be critical of God!
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(9)  Woe to the one who contends with his makers, being just a potsherd among the potsherds of the Earth. Woe to the one who says (Will clay say MT) [to] the one who [f]orms him, “What are you doing?” or “Your work has no human hands?”   (10)   Woe to the one who says to a father, “What are you begetting?” Or to a woman, [“What are you] bearing?”

Isaiah 45:11 & 12
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(11)  Thus said the Lord, Israel’s Holy One and Maker:  Will you question Me on the destiny of My children, Will you instruct Me about the work of My hands?

For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, who has formed the things that are to come, Enquire of me concerning my sons, and concerning the works of my hands command me.

Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and he that formed him; the things that are about to come do ye ask from before me? Concerning my people and concerning the work of my might will ye command me?

(12)  It was I who made the earth and created man upon it; My own hands stretched out the heavens, and I marshaled all their host

I have made the earth, and man upon it: I with my hand have established the heaven; I have given commandment to all the stars.

I have made the earth by my Memra, and created man upon it; I have suspended the heavens by my might, and established all their hosts.

From the NKJV
(11)  Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:  "Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons; and concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.   (12)    I have made the earth, and created man on it.  I — My hands — stretched out the heavens, and all their host I have commanded.

The names by which He calls Himself   ("Holy One of Israel"  "Maker")  express his absolute blamelessness, and His absolute right of supremacy over Israel and all creation.

The NIV translates verse 11:
This is what the LORD says  —  the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:
Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands?

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)

Colossians 1:16-17
For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.    (NKJV)

Concerning the work of my hands - In regard to what I do.
Barnes says:
This is read as a question by Lowth; 'And do ye give me directions concerning the work of my hands?'
According to this interpretation,  God would reprove them for presuming to give him direction about what he should do,  in accordance with the sentiment in Isaiah 45:9-10.  This interpretation also is adopted by Vitringa, Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and some others.  Grotius renders it,  'Hinder, if you can, my doing what I will with them. Thus you will show what you can do, and what I can do.'  Rosenmuller supposes it to mean, 'Commit my sons, and the work of my hands to me: suffer me to do with my own what I will.'
It seems to me,  however,  that the word  'command '  is here to be taken rather as indicating the privilege of his people to present their desires in the language of fervent and respectful petition;  and that God here indicates that he would,  so to speak,  allow them to direct him;  that he would hear their prayers,  and would conform the events of his administration to their wishes and their welfare.
This is the most obvious interpretation;  and this will perhaps suit the connection as well as any other.  Instead of complaining,  and opposing his administration (Isaiah 45:9-10),  it was their privilege to come before him and spread out their needs,  and even to give direction in regard to future events,  so far as the events of his administration would bear on them,  and he would meet their desires.  Thus interpreted,  it accords with the numerous passages of the Bible which command us to pray; and with the promises of God that he will lend a listening ear to our cries.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The meaning is:  If ye would have any information or satisfaction concerning the future  ("things to come,"  Isa 41:23; 44:7),  about which ye can neither know nor determine anything of yourselves,  inquire of me.
The fault-finders in Israel were to leave the people of whom Jehovah was the Maker,  in the hands of Him who has created everything,  and on whom everything depends.
(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)  Thus says the Lord, the creator of the signs: Question me concerning my children, and concerning the work (the Holy One of Israel and its creator: (About) the things to come question me; concerning my children and the work MT. In 1Q1sa, after Lord a later scribe added the Holy One of Israel above the line.) [of my hands co]mmand me? (12)  I myself made the earth and humanity I created upon it. My own hand stretched out the skies; I commanded all [their host].

Isaiah 45:13
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(13)  It was I who roused him for victory and who level all roads for him. He shall rebuild My city and let My exiled people go without price and without payment – said the Lord of Hosts.

I have raised him up to be a king with righteousness, and all his ways are right: he shall build my city, and shall turn the captivity of my people, not for ransoms, nor for rewards, saith the Lord of hosts.

I will bring him quickly in truth, and I will prepare all his ways: he shall build my city, and shall let the exiles of my people go free, not for price, and not for riches, saith the Lord of hosts.

From the NKJV
(13)   I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways; he shall build My city and let My exiles go free, not for price nor reward," says the LORD of hosts.

He who created all things,  and called all things into existence,  had also raised up this Cyrus,  whose victorious career had increased the anxieties and fears of the exiles,  instead of leading them to lift up their heads,  because their redemption was drawing nigh.

All the anxieties of the exiles are calmed by the words "in righteousness,"  which trace back the revolutions that Cyrus was causing to the righteousness of Jehovah,  i.e.,  to His interposition,  which was determined by love alone,  and tended directly to the salvation of His people,  and in reality to that of all nations.

He shall build My city
Nehemiah rebuilt only the walls. See Nehemiah 7:4
The city was not rebuilt until after the return under Zerubbabel,  and the emancipation by Cyrus.
Nehemiah 7:4
Now the city was large and spacious, but the people in it were few, and the houses were not rebuilt.   (NKJV)

And they are fully quieted by the promise,  which is now expressed in the clearest and most unequivocal words,  that Cyrus would build up Jerusalem again,  and set the captivity free,  and that without redemption with money (Isa 52:3  "You have sold yourselves for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.")  -  a clear proof that Jehovah had not only raised up Cyrus himself,  but had put his spirit within him,  i.e.,  had stirred up within him the resolution to do this.  This closes the first half of our sixth prophecy.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

CYRUS

Decree
This edict recorded in 2 Chron 36:22-23 and Ezra 1:2-3 gave permission to the Hebrew captives to go back to Palestine to rebuild their Temple.

"Thus says Cyrus king of Persia,  'The Lord,  the God of heaven,  has given me all the kingdoms of the earth,  and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem,  which is in Judah.  Whosoever there is among you of all His people,  may his God be with him!  Let him go up to Jerusalem . . . and rebuild the house of the Lord.'"
(From The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright(c) 1988.)

History

Inscriptions The famous cylinder of Cyrus found by Hormuzd Rassam in the nineteenth century is in remarkable agreement with the royal edict as set forth in the Bible.
"From . . . Ashur and Susa, Agade, Ashnunnak, Zamban, Meturnu, Deri, with the territory of the land of Gutium, the cities on the other side of the Tigris, whose sites were of ancient found-the gods, who dwell in them, I brought back to their places and caused them to dwell in a habitation for all time. All their inhabitants I collected and restored them to their dwelling places . . . may all the gods whom I brought into their cities pray daily before Bel and Nabu for long life for me"
(R. W. Rogers, Cuneiform Parallels to the Old Testament [1912], p. 383).
  This royal edict shows that Cyrus reversed the inhumane policy of displacing whole populations, as practiced by Assyrian and Babylonian conquerors. Thus his clemency and religious toleration with regard to the Jewish captives are readily understood. Further, it is clear how the Hebrew prophet sang of Cyrus as the deliverer whom Jehovah would raise up.
  Although the Hebrew prophet spoke of the great conqueror as anointed by the Lord for the particular task of restoring the Jewish captives,  Cyrus claimed to be commissioned by the god Marduk.  The famous inscription of the victor,  preserved on a clay cylinder,  contains the amazing story of triumphs of one who plainly saw himself as a man of destiny and gives background to the prophetic message of the Hebrew seer.
"Marduk . . . sought a righteous prince,  after his own heart,  whom he took by the hand,  Cyrus,  king of Anshan,  he called by name,  to lordship over the whole world he appointed him . . . to his city Babylon he caused him to go . . . his numerous troops in number unknown,  like the water of a river,  marched armed at his side.  Without battle and conflict he permitted him to enter Babylon.  He spared his city Babylon a calamity.  Nabunaid,  the king,  who did not fear him,  he delivered into his hand"
(Rogers, op. cit., p. 381)
The End Cyrus was slain in battle 530 BC and buried in a still extant tomb at Pasargadae.
In the small burial chamber a golden sarcophagus received Cyrus's body.
Plutarch (A.D. 90) says the tomb bore this inscription:
"O man,  whosoever thou art and whencesoever thou comest,  for I know that thou wilt come,  I am Cyrus and I won for the Persians their empire.  Do not,  therefore,  begrudge me this little earth which covers my body."
(From The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(13)  I have aroused him with righteousness,  and I will make all his paths smooth.  It is he who will rebuild [my city] and free my [ex]iles,  not for price nor reward,  says the Lord of hosts.



LESSON  22  FROM  THE  AMPLIFIED  VERSION

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Isaiah 44:1 - 45:13 - from the Amplified Version

44:1      YET NOW hear, O Jacob, My servant and Israel, whom I have chosen.
(2)    Thus says the Lord, Who made you and formed you from the womb, Who will help you: Fear not, O Jacob, My servant, and you Jeshurun [the upright one — applied to Israel as a type of the Messiah], whom I have chosen.
(3)    For I will pour water upon him who is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground. I will pour My Spirit upon your offspring, and My blessing upon your descendants. [Isaiah 32:15; 35:6,7; Joel 2:28; John 7:37-39.]
(4)    And they shall spring up among the grass like willows or poplars by the watercourses.
(5)    One will say, I am the Lord's; and another will call himself by the name of Jacob; and another will write [even brand or tattoo] upon his hand, I am the Lord's, and surname himself by the [honorable] name of Israel.
(6)    Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God. [Revelation 1:17; 2:8; 22:13.]
(7)    Who is like Me? Let him [stand and] proclaim it, declare it, and set [his proofs] in order before Me, since I made and established the people of antiquity. [Who has announced from of old] the things that are coming? Then let them declare yet future things.
(8)    Fear not, nor be afraid [in the coming violent upheavals]; have I not told it to you from of old and declared it? And you are My witnesses! Is there a God besides Me? There is no [other] Rock; I know not any.
(9)    All who make graven idols are confusion, chaos, and worthlessness. Their objects (idols) in which they delight do not profit them, and their own witnesses (worshipers) do not see or know, so that they are put to shame.
(10)  Who is [such a fool as] to fashion a god or cast a graven image that is profitable for nothing?
(11)  Behold, all his fellows shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen, [how can they make a god?] they are but men. Let them all be gathered together, let them stand forth; they shall be terrified, they shall be put to shame together.
Isaiah 44:12-20
(12)  The ironsmith sharpens and uses a chisel and works it over the coals; he shapes [the core of the idol] with hammers and forges it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint.
(13)  The carpenter stretches out a line, he marks it out with a pencil or red ocher; he fashions [an idol] with planes and marks it out with the compasses; and he shapes it to have the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, that it may dwell in a house.
(14)  He hews for himself cedars, and takes the holm tree and the oak and lets them grow strong for himself among the trees of the forest; he plants a fir tree or an ash, and the rain nourishes it.
(15)  Then it becomes fuel for a man to burn; a part of it he takes and warms himself, yes, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. [Then out of the remainder, the leavings] he also makes a god and worships it! He [with his own hands] makes it into a graven image and falls down and worships it!
(16)  He burns part of the wood in the fire; with part of it he [cooks and] eats flesh, he roasts meat and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, Aha! I am warm, I have seen the fire!
(17)  And from what is left [of the log] he makes a god, his graven idol. He falls down to it, he worships it and prays to it and says, Deliver me, for you are my god!
(18)  They do not know or understand, for their eyes God has let become besmeared so that they cannot see, and their minds as well so that they cannot understand.
(19)  And no one considers in his mind, nor has he knowledge and understanding [enough] to say [to himself], I have burned part of this log in the fire, and also I have baked bread on its coals and have roasted meat and eaten it. And shall I make the remainder of it into an abomination [the very essence of what is disgusting, detestable, and shamefully vile in the eyes of a jealous God]? Shall I fall down and worship the stock of a tree [a block of wood without consciousness or life]?
(20)  That kind of man feeds on ashes [and finds his satisfaction in ashes]! A deluded mind has led him astray, so that he cannot release and save himself, or ask, Is not [this thing I am holding] in my right hand a lie?
Isaiah 44:21-28
(21)  Remember these things [earnestly], O Jacob, O Israel, for you are My servant! I formed you, you are My servant; O Israel, you shall not be forgotten by Me.
(22)  I have blotted out like a thick cloud your transgressions, and like a cloud your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.
(23)  Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it; shout, you depths of the earth; break forth into singing, you mountains, O forest and every tree in it! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and He glorifies Himself in Israel.
(24)  Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and He Who formed you from the womb: I am the Lord, Who made all things, Who alone stretched out the heavens, Who spread out the earth by Myself [who was with Me]? —
(25)  [I am the Lord] Who frustrates the signs and confounds the omens [upon which the false prophets' forecasts of the future are based] of the [boasting] liars and makes fools of diviners, Who turns the wise backward and makes their knowledge foolishness, [1 Corinthians 1:20.]
(26)  [The Lord] Who confirms the word of His servant and performs the counsel of His messengers, Who says of Jerusalem, She shall [again] be inhabited, and of the cities of Judah, They shall [again] be built, and I will raise up their ruins,
(27)  Who says to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up your rivers,
(28)  Who says of Cyrus, He is My shepherd (ruler), and he shall perform all My pleasure and fulfill all My purpose — even saying of Jerusalem, She shall [again] be built, and of the temple, Your foundation shall [again] be laid.

45:1    THUS SAYS the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held to subdue nations before him, and I will unarm and ungird the loins of kings to open doors before him, so that gates will not be shut.
(2)    I will go before you and level the mountains [to make the crooked places straight]; I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut asunder the bars of iron.
(3)    And I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, Who calls you by your name.
(4)    For the sake of Jacob My servant, and of Israel My chosen, I have called you by your name. I have surnamed you, though you have not known Me.
(5)    I am the Lord, and there is no one else; there is no God besides Me. I will gird and arm you, though you have not known Me,
(6)    That men may know from the east and the rising of the sun and from the west and the setting of the sun that there is no God besides Me. I am the Lord, and no one else [is He].
(7)    I form the light and create darkness, I make peace [national well-being] and I create [physical] evil (calamity); I am the Lord, Who does all these things.
(8)    Let fall in showers, you heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness [the pure, spiritual, heaven-born possibilities that have their foundation in the holy being of God]; let the earth open, and let them [skies and earth] sprout forth salvation, and let righteousness germinate and spring up [as plants do] together; I the Lord have created it.
(9)    Woe to him who strives with his Maker! — a worthless piece of broken pottery among other pieces equally worthless [and yet presuming to strive with his Maker]! Shall the clay say to him who fashions it, What do you think you are making? or, Your work has no handles? [Romans 9:20.]
(10)  Woe to him [who complains against his parents that they have begotten him] who says to a father, What are you begetting? or to a woman, With what are you in travail?
Isaiah 45:11-12
(11)  Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Would you question Me about things to come concerning My children, and concerning the work of My hands [would you] command Me?
(12)  I made the earth and created man upon it. I, with My hands, stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.
(13)  I will raise [Cyrus] up in righteousness [willing in every way that which is right and proper], and I will direct all his ways; he will build My city, and he will let My captives go, not for hire or for a bribe, says the Lord of hosts.
 

(End of  Lesson 22)


 

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