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
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
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
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
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).