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Print Version Main Index : Commentaries : Wesley's Notes : Isaiah Index : Chapter 41

Isaiah, Chapter 41
Chapter 40 | Chapter 42
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Bible Version
Cross Reference
Matthew Henry
JFB Commentary
Wesley's Notes
Geneva Study Bible
View Isaiah 41 in the note window.

God called Cyrus, and was with him, the nations idolatrous, ver. 1 - 8. Israel encouraged by promises of safety and deliverance, ver. 9 - 20. The vanity of idols, ver. 21 - 24. Redemption by Christ, ver. 25 - 29.

1: Keep silence - Attend diligently to my plea. Islands - By islands he means countries remote from Judea, inhabited by the idolatrous Gentiles. Renew - Strengthen themselves to maintain their cause against me; let them unite all their strength together. Near - Unto me that we may stand together, and plead our cause, and I will give them free liberty to say what they can on their own behalf.

2: Who - Was it not my work alone? Raised - Into being and power, stirring up his spirit, and strengthening him to the work. The man - Cyrus. The east - Persia was directly eastward, both from Judea and from Babylon. He was raised up by God in an eminent manner. And although these things were yet to come; yet the prophet speaks of them as if they were already past. And by this instance he pleads his cause against the Gentiles; because this was an evident proof of God's almighty power, and of the vanity of idols, which eminently appeared in the destruction of the Babylonians, who were a people mad upon their idols. Called him - To march after him, and under God's banner against Babylon.

3: Pursued - Went on in the pursuit with ease and safety. Even - Through unknown paths.

4: Calling - Them out of nothing, giving them breath and being: disposing and employing them as he sees fit. From the beginning - All persons and generations of mankind from the beginning of the world. I - Who was before all things even from eternity, and shall be unto eternity.

5: The isles - Even remote countries. Saw - Discerned the mighty work of God in delivering his people, and overthrowing their enemies. Feared - Lest they should be involved in the same calamity. Came - They gathered themselves together.

7: Fastened it - To the wall or pillar.

9: Thou - Thou Israel, whom I took to myself, and brought hither in the loins of thy father Abraham, from a remote country. Called thee - From the midst of many great persons among whom he lived in Chaldea. Chosen - I have chosen thee and thy seed through all generations.

11: Confounded - Because the mischief which they contrived against thee shall fall upon themselves.

13: Will hold - Will enable thee to vanquish all thine enemies.

14: Thou worm - Who art weak in thyself, and trodden under foot by thy proud enemies.

15: An instrument - Such as were usual in those times and places. The mountains - The great and lofty potentates of the world.

16: Fan - When thou hast beaten them as small as chaff. In the Holy One - For to him, thou shalt ascribe thy victory.

18: In high places - Upon the mountains where by the course of nature there are no rivers. The dry land - Their people who are like a dry and barren wilderness. I will abundantly water with my blessings.

19: The box tree - Trees which are both useful and pleasant to the eye, and giving a good shadow to the traveller. But what particular trees these Hebrew words signify, is not certainly known.

22: Them - The idols. Former things - Such things as should shortly come to pass. The latter end - Whether the events answer to their predictions.

23: Do good - Protect your worshippers whom I intend to destroy, and destroy my people whom I intend to save. That - That I and my people may be astonished, and forced to acknowledge your godhead.

24: Your work - Your operations are like your beings: there is no reality in your beings, nor efficacy in your actions.

25: Raised - Cyrus, might be said to come from the north, because he was a Mede by his mother, as he was a Persian by his father; or because a great part of his army was gathered out of Media, which was northward, in reference to Judea, and because Darius the Mede was joined with him in this expedition. Proclaim - This Cyrus did in express, emphatical terms,(Ezr 1:1,2). As on mortar - Treading them down, as easily as a man treads down mortar.

26: Who - Which of your idols could foretel such things as these from the beginning of the world unto this day? Before - time - Before the things come to pass. Righteous - His cause is good: he is a God indeed. Heareth - Because you are dumb and cannot speak.

27: The first - I who am the first, do and will foretel to my people things to come. Them - I also represent future things as if they were present. By them he means things which are to come. One - Messengers, who shall foretel the good tidings of their deliverance from captivity.

28: For - I looked to see if I could find any man that could foretel future events. No man - Not any, of the idols; for the word man is sometimes used by the Hebrews of brute creatures, and even of lifeless things. No counsellor - Though these idols were often consulted, yet none of them were able to give any solid and certain advice concerning future things.

29: Behold - This is the conclusion of the dispute, but under these he comprehends all images whatsoever. Wind - Empty and unsatisfying things. Confusion - Confused and useless things, like that rude heap in the beginning of God's creation, of which this very word is used,(Ge 1:2).

Chapter 40 | Chapter 42
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