The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Isaiah 45

Isa 45:1

HIS ANOINTED: "All through the OT this exalted title is used only of Messiah or a king reigning in Jerusalem. It is almost impossible to believe that a prophet of the LORD would give this high dignity to a pagan monarch" (WIsa 395).

TO CYRUS: See Lesson, Isaiah's "Cyrus".

WHOSE RIGHT HAND I TAKE HOLD OF: A play on name of Hezekiah. The 2nd Moses (Isa 44:28; Num 12:7) is also a 2nd David (Isa 45:1; 2Sa 7:18-20).

TO STRIP KINGS OF THEIR ARMOR: The KJV has "to loose the loins of kings", but this has no verbal connection with Dan 5:6 (KJV: "joints of his loins were loosed", but NIV: "his legs gave way"), where very different Heb words are used. The idea here is plainly: swords unbuckled and laid aside.

TO OPEN DOORS...: The temple doors could now be safely opened. And the gates of the city could be flung open to receive the released captives, coming home: cp Isa 26:1,2; 40:4.

Isa 45:2

I WILL GO BEFORE YOU AND WILL LEVEL THE MOUNTAINS: Cp Isa 40:4: captives returning from Babylon/Assyria.

BREAK DOWN GATES: "Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies" (Gen 22:17): First, Hezekiah with the Assyrians; and then, Christ with death and the grave (Rev 1:18).

Isa 45:3

TREASURES OF DARKNESS: Treasures which had been hidden in subterranean passages under the Temple, etc -- in anticipation of the Assyrian conquest of Jerusalem -- were now brought out to public display again.

(NT) "All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col 2:3). God, "rich in mercy" (Eph 2:4).

THE GOD OF ISRAEL, WHO SUMMONS YOU BY NAME: The same thing is said of Jacob-Israel in Isa 49:1,3.

Isa 45:4

THOUGH YOU DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE ME: Or, simply, "when you did not know me".

Isa 45:5

I AM THE LORD, AND THERE IS NO OTHER: Repeated in vv 6,14,18,21,22; 42:8; 43:3,11; 44:8; 46:9. In ct v 1.

THOUGH YOU HAVE NOT ACKNOWLEDGED ME: A ref, not to the religion of this Anointed ("Cyrus"?), but to his birth. Sb idea: "when you were too young to acknowledge Me!" // refs: Isa 7:14; 49:1.

Isa 45:6

FROM THE RISING OF THE SUN TO THE PLACE OF ITS SETTING: From east to west throughout the region, kings and nations now knew that the God of Israel was the One true God, and capable of vindicating and protecting His special people (2Ch 32:23).

I AM THE LORD, AND THERE IS NO OTHER: To apply or speak such words to an idolater like Cyrus (v 1; Isa 45:28) would be ridiculous.

Isa 45:7

// Gen 1:3-5. Spiritual relevance: light/dark = good/evil; firmament = righteousness coming upon the earth; herbs/grass/trees = salvation springing up out of the earth (resurrection!).

See Lesson, Angels of evil?

By parallel, light = prosperity, and darkness = disaster.

DARKNESS: That is, lies in the mouth of prophets: 2Ch 18:22.

Isa 45:8

Vv 8-17: Righteousness -- for Jews and Gentiles. // Isa 55:9-11. The marvelous Year of Jubilee in Hezekiah's reign, when God sent copious rains and a great natural fruitfulness to Judah (2Ki 19:29,30).

By parallel, rain = righteousness, and earth = people.

SALVATION SPRING UP: Holy Spirit conception.

RIGHTEOUSNESS GROW WITH IT: Holy Spirit resurrection.

GROW: Heb "tzamach" -- related to the Messiah, the Branch (tzamach) in Isa 4:2; Jer 23:5; 33:15; Zec 3:8; 6:12. As also in Isa 44:4.

Isa 45:9

WHAT ARE YOU MAKING?: Jewish challenge to God's right to fashion Gentiles in their mold (cp Rom 9:20,21).

'HE HAS NO HANDS': That is, 'He is a god who does nothing.'

To this Paul comments: "But who are you, O man [the Jew], to talk back to God? 'Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?" ' [Isa 45:9] Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay [the same kind of human nature, no better in Jews than in Gentiles] some pottery [even Gentiles!] for noble purposes and some [even Jews!] for common use?"

Isa 45:10

Figure of mother and children in Isaiah: Isa 8:3,4; 11:8; 26:17,18; 28:9; 45:10,11; 46:3,4; 49:15,20-23; 54:1; 60:16; 66:11-13.

Isa 45:13

Not about Cyrus at all. In Isa 48:15 this is applied to "Jacob-Israel" (cp Isa 48:12).

RAISE UP: "Awaken" = resurrection. (Note: "Cyrus" = simply "him" in text!)

CYRUS: This name is not in original at all, but is presupposed from elsewhere.

IN MY RIGHTEOUSNESS: Cp the same words in Isa 41:12.

I WILL MAKE ALL HIS WAYS STRAIGHT: Cp Isa 40:3: "Make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God." (Could this reasonably be applied to the pagan Cyrus?)

AND SET MY EXILES FREE: Those who fled to Egypt to escape the Assyrians (Isa 18-20) may now return in peace. A new "exodus".

(NT) The fullest realization in Christ -- the true "heir" -- releasing the captives of death (Act 2:24; Eph 4:8; Zec 9:11).

BUT NOT FOR A PRICE OR REWARD: A redemption without price (Rom 3:24,25; cp Psa 44:12).

Isa 45:14

EGYPT... CUSH... SABEANS...: The nations bring tribute to Israel (Isa 18:7; 23:18; 60:5-14; 61;6) because Jehovah has exalted Israel (Isa 49:7; 60:10; 61:9); and this proves Him to be the true God (Isa 40:5; 44:3-5; 48:20; 49:7; 52:10; 59:17; 61:9). These words were never true of Cyrus in any way, but they are clearly applicable to God's glorifying of Israel (Isa 49:23; 60:9-16). It is easy to apply these words to Israel in the time of Hezekiah, but not at all to the restoration from the later Babylonian captivity.

SURELY GOD IS WITH YOU, AND THERE IS NO OTHER, THERE IS NO OTHER GOD: Not only do the Gentiles bring their wealth, but they also bring their devotion and worship!

Isa 45:18

Vv 18-25: Unto God every knee shall bow. The earth intended as eternal habitation of the righteous. Behind creation was intelligence, purpose, form, and planning!

TO BE EMPTY: "Tohu", without form, sw Gen 1:2.

Isa 45:20

A new courtroom scene. The witnesses this time: enlightened Gentiles (not blind Jews!). Ct Isa 43:8,10.

Isa 45:22

TURN TO ME AND BE SAVED: 'Turn and look at me... and be saved': Num 21:8; Heb 12:2; Joh 3:14-16.

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