Table of Contents
Introduction to Isaiah 41:1-6
As we continue reading through Isaiah, it is interesting how Scholars argue over the authenticity of these scriptures again. Scholars appear to be more interested in stating the Isaiah text is not original as opposed to anything else. Here the claim is that chapters 41-46 are all not original but were considered individual units and joined together later. Again, when we actually have a look at the book of Isaiah and read it for ourselves, we discover how there are interesting features about the text that speaks contrary to the doubt that is encouraged by these faithless scholars. Take for example the following passages, Isaiah 41:4–7, 41:23–26, 43:10–13, 44:6–20, 45:20–21, and 46:3–11. Let’s have a brief look at these Scriptures and see what we can learn.
ספר ישעיהו פרק מא
ד מִֽי־פָעַ֣ל וְעָשָׂ֔ה קֹרֵ֥א הַדֹּרֹ֖ות מֵרֹ֑אשׁ אֲנִ֤י יְהוָה֙ רִאשֹׁ֔ון וְאֶת־אַחֲרֹנִ֖ים אֲנִי־הֽוּא׃ ה רָא֤וּ אִיִּים֙ וְיִירָ֔אוּ קְצֹ֥ות הָאָ֖רֶץ יֶחֱרָ֑דוּ קָרְב֖וּ וַיֶּאֱתָיֽוּן׃ ו אִ֥ישׁ אֶת־רֵעֵ֖הוּ יַעְזֹ֑רוּ וּלְאָחִ֖יו יֹאמַ֥ר חֲזָֽק׃ ז וַיְחַזֵּ֤ק חָרָשׁ֙ אֶת־צֹרֵ֔ף מַחֲלִ֥יק פַּטִּ֖ישׁ אֶת־הֹ֣ולֶם פָּ֑עַם אֹמֵ֤ר לַדֶּ֨בֶק֙ טֹ֣וב ה֔וּא וַיְחַזְּקֵ֥הוּ בְמַסְמְרִ֖ים לֹ֥א יִמֹּֽוט׃ ס
41:4 Who hath wrought and done it, Calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, And with the last; I am he. 41:5 The isles saw it, and feared; The ends of the earth were afraid, Drew near, and came. 41:6 They helped every one his neighbour; And every one said to his brother, Be of good courage. 41:7 So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, And he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, Saying, It is ready for the sodering: And he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved. (KJV)
ספר ישעיהו פרק מא
כג הַגִּ֨ידוּ֙ הָאֹתִיֹּ֣ות לְאָחֹ֔ור וְנֵ֣דְעָ֔ה כִּ֥י אֱלֹהִ֖ים אַתֶּ֑ם אַף־תֵּיטִ֣יבוּ וְתָרֵ֔עוּ וְנִשְׁתָּ֖עָה וְנִרְאֶ֥ יַחְדָּֽו׃ כד הֵן־אַתֶּ֣ם מֵאַ֔יִן וּפָעָלְכֶ֖ם מֵאָ֑פַע תֹּועֵבָ֖ה יִבְחַ֥ר בָּכֶֽם׃ כה הַעִירֹ֤ותִי מִצָּפֹון֙ וַיַּ֔את מִמִּזְרַח־שֶׁ֖מֶשׁ יִקְרָ֣א בִשְׁמִ֑י וְיָבֹ֤א סְגָנִים֙ כְּמֹו־חֹ֔מֶר וּכְמֹ֥ו יֹוצֵ֖ר יִרְמָס־טִֽיט׃ כו מִֽי־הִגִּ֤יד מֵרֹאשׁ֙ וְנֵדָ֔עָה וּמִלְּפָנִ֖ים וְנֹאמַ֣ר צַדִּ֑יק אַ֣ף אֵין־מַגִּ֗יד אַ֚ף אֵ֣ין מַשְׁמִ֔יעַ אַ֥ף אֵין־שֹׁמֵ֖עַ אִמְרֵיכֶֽם׃
41:23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, That we may know that ye are gods: Yea, do good, or do evil, That we may be dismayed, and behold it together. 41:24 Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: An abomination is he that chooseth you. 41:25 I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come: From the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: And he shall come upon princes as upon morter, And as the potter treadeth clay. 41:26 Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? And beforetime, that we may say, He is righteous? Yea, there is none that sheweth, yea, there is none that declareth, Yea, there is none that heareth your words. (KJV)
ספר ישעיהו פרק מא
י אַתֶּ֤ם עֵדַי֙ נְאֻם־יְהוָ֔ה וְעַבְדִּ֖י אֲשֶׁ֣ר בָּחָ֑רְתִּי לְמַ֣עַן תֵּ֠דְעוּ וְתַאֲמִ֨ינוּ לִ֤י וְתָבִ֨ינוּ֙ כִּֽי־אֲנִ֣י ה֔וּא לְפָנַי֙ לֹא־נֹ֣וצַר אֵ֔ל וְאַחֲרַ֖י לֹ֥א יִהְיֶֽה׃ ס יא אָנֹכִ֥י אָנֹכִ֖י יְהוָ֑ה וְאֵ֥ין מִבַּלְעָדַ֖י מֹושִֽׁיעַ׃ יב אָנֹכִ֞י הִגַּ֤דְתִּי וְהֹושַׁ֨עְתִּי֙ וְהִשְׁמַ֔עְתִּי וְאֵ֥ין בָּכֶ֖ם זָ֑ר וְאַתֶּ֥ם עֵדַ֛י נְאֻם־יְהוָ֖ה וַֽאֲנִי־אֵֽל׃ יג גַּם־מִיֹּום֙ אֲנִ֣י ה֔וּא וְאֵ֥ין מִיָּדִ֖י מַצִּ֑יל אֶפְעַ֖ל וּמִ֥י יְשִׁיבֶֽנָּה׃ ס
43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, And my servant whom I have chosen: That ye may know and believe me, And understand that I am he: Before me there was no God formed, Neither shall there be after me. 43:11 I, even I, am the LORD; And beside me there is no saviour. 43:12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, When there was no strange god among you: Therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God. 43:13 Yea, before the day was I am he; And there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it? (KJV)
ספר ישעיהו פרק מא
ו כֹּֽה־אָמַ֨ר יְהוָ֧ה מֶֽלֶךְ־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל וְגֹאֲלֹ֖ו יְהוָ֣ה צְבָאֹ֑ות אֲנִ֤י רִאשֹׁון֙ וַאֲנִ֣י אַחֲרֹ֔ון וּמִבַּלְעָדַ֖י אֵ֥ין אֱלֹהִֽים׃ ז וּמִֽי־כָמֹ֣ונִי יִקְרָ֗א וְיַגִּידֶ֤הָ וְיַעְרְכֶ֨הָ֙ לִ֔י מִשּׂוּמִ֖י עַם־עֹולָ֑ם וְאֹתִיֹּ֛ות וַאֲשֶׁ֥ר תָּבֹ֖אנָה יַגִּ֥ידוּ לָֽמֹו׃ ח אַֽל־תִּפְחֲדוּ֙ וְאַל־תִּרְה֔וּ הֲלֹ֥א מֵאָ֛ז הִשְׁמַעְתִּ֥יךָ וְהִגַּ֖דְתִּי וְאַתֶּ֣ם עֵדָ֑י הֲיֵ֤שׁ אֱלֹ֨והַּ֙ מִבַּלְעָדַ֔י וְאֵ֥ין צ֖וּר בַּל־יָדָֽעְתִּי׃ ט יֹֽצְרֵי־פֶ֤סֶל כֻּלָּם֙ תֹּ֔הוּ וַחֲמוּדֵיהֶ֖ם בַּל־יֹועִ֑ילוּ וְעֵדֵיהֶ֣ם הֵ֗ׄמָּׄהׄ בַּל־יִרְא֛וּ וּבַל־יֵדְע֖וּ לְמַ֥עַן יֵבֹֽשׁוּ׃ י מִֽי־יָצַ֥ר אֵ֖ל וּפֶ֣סֶל נָסָ֑ךְ לְבִלְתִּ֖י הֹועִֽיל׃ יא הֵ֤ן כָּל־חֲבֵרָיו֙ יֵבֹ֔שׁוּ וְחָרָשִׁ֥ים הֵ֖מָּה מֵֽאָדָ֑ם יִֽתְקַבְּצ֤וּ כֻלָּם֙ יַֽעֲמֹ֔דוּ יִפְחֲד֖וּ יֵבֹ֥שׁוּ יָֽחַד׃ יב חָרַ֤שׁ בַּרְזֶל֙ מַֽעֲצָ֔ד וּפָעַל֙ בַּפֶּחָ֔ם וּבַמַּקָּבֹ֖ות יִצְּרֵ֑הוּ וַיִּפְעָלֵ֨הוּ֙ בִּזְרֹ֣ועַ כֹּחֹ֔ו גַּם־רָעֵב֙ וְאֵ֣ין כֹּ֔חַ לֹא־שָׁ֥תָה מַ֖יִם וַיִּיעָֽף׃ יג חָרַ֣שׁ עֵצִים֮ נָ֣טָה קָו֒ יְתָאֲרֵ֣הוּ בַשֶּׂ֔רֶד יַעֲשֵׂ֨הוּ֙ בַּמַּקְצֻעֹ֔ות וּבַמְּחוּגָ֖ה יְתָאֳרֵ֑הוּ וַֽיַּעֲשֵׂ֨הוּ֙ כְּתַבְנִ֣ית אִ֔ישׁ כְּתִפְאֶ֥רֶת אָדָ֖ם לָשֶׁ֥בֶת בָּֽיִת׃ יד לִכְרָת־לֹ֣ו אֲרָזִ֔ים וַיִּקַּ֤ח תִּרְזָה֙ וְאַלֹּ֔ון וַיְאַמֶּץ־לֹ֖ו בַּעֲצֵי־יָ֑עַר נָטַ֥ע אֹ֖רֶן וְגֶ֥שֶׁם יְגַדֵּֽל׃ טו וְהָיָ֤ה לְאָדָם֙ לְבָעֵ֔ר וַיִּקַּ֤ח מֵהֶם֙ וַיָּ֔חָם אַף־יַשִּׂ֖יק וְאָ֣פָה לָ֑חֶם אַף־יִפְעַל־אֵל֙ וַיִּשְׁתָּ֔חוּ עָשָׂ֥הוּ פֶ֖סֶל וַיִּסְגָּד־לָֽמֹו׃ טז חֶצְיֹו֙ שָׂרַ֣ף בְּמֹו־אֵ֔שׁ עַל־חֶצְיֹו֙ בָּשָׂ֣ר יֹאכֵ֔ל יִצְלֶ֥ה צָלִ֖י וְיִשְׂבָּ֑ע אַף־יָחֹם֙ וְיֹאמַ֣ר הֶאָ֔ח חַמֹּותִ֖י רָאִ֥יתִי אֽוּר׃ יז וּשְׁאֵ֣רִיתֹ֔ו לְאֵ֥ל עָשָׂ֖ה לְפִסְלֹ֑ו יִסְגָּוד־ לֹ֤ו וְיִשְׁתַּ֨חוּ֙ וְיִתְפַּלֵּ֣ל אֵלָ֔יו וְיֹאמַר֙ הַצִּילֵ֔נִי כִּ֥י אֵלִ֖י אָֽתָּה׃ יח לֹ֥א יָדְע֖וּ וְלֹ֣א יָבִ֑ינוּ כִּ֣י טַ֤ח מֵֽרְאֹות֙ עֵֽינֵיהֶ֔ם מֵהַשְׂכִּ֖יל לִבֹּתָֽם׃ יט וְלֹא־יָשִׁ֣יב אֶל־לִבֹּ֗ו וְלֹ֨א דַ֥עַת וְלֹֽא־תְבוּנָה֮ לֵאמֹר֒ חֶצְיֹ֞ו שָׂרַ֣פְתִּי בְמֹו־אֵ֗שׁ וְ֠אַף אָפִ֤יתִי עַל־גֶּחָלָיו֙ לֶ֔חֶם אֶצְלֶ֥ה בָשָׂ֖ר וְאֹכֵ֑ל וְיִתְרֹו֙ לְתֹועֵבָ֣ה אֶעֱשֶׂ֔ה לְב֥וּל עֵ֖ץ אֶסְגֹּֽוד׃ כ רֹעֶ֣ה אֵ֔פֶר לֵ֥ב הוּתַ֖ל הִטָּ֑הוּ וְלֹֽא־יַצִּ֤יל אֶת־נַפְשֹׁו֙ וְלֹ֣א יֹאמַ֔ר הֲלֹ֥וא שֶׁ֖קֶר בִּימִינִֽי׃ ס
44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, And his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; And beside me there is no God. 44:7 And who, as I, shall call, And shall 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 shew unto them. 44:8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: Have not I told thee from that time, And have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any. 44:9 They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; And their delectable things shall not profit; And they are their own witnesses; They see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed. 44:10 Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image That is profitable for nothing? 44:11 Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed: And the workmen, they are of men: Let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; Yet they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together. 44:12 The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals, And fashioneth it with hammers, And worketh it with the strength of his arms: Yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth: He drinketh no water, and is faint. 44:13 The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; He fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, And maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; That it may remain in the house. 44:14 He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, Which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: He planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it. 44:15 Then shall it be for a man to burn: For he will take thereof, and warm himself; Yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; Yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; He maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto. 44:16 He burneth part thereof in the fire; With part thereof he eateth flesh; He roasteth roast, and is satisfied: Yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire: 44:17 And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: He falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, And saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god. 44:18 They have not known nor understood: For he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; And their hearts, that they cannot understand. 44:19 And none considereth in his heart, Neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; Yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: And shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? Shall I fall down to the stock of a tree? 44:20 He feedeth on ashes: A deceived heart hath turned him aside, That he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand? (KJV)
ספר ישעיהו פרק מא
כ הִקָּבְצ֥וּ וָבֹ֛אוּ הִֽתְנַגְּשׁ֥וּ יַחְדָּ֖ו פְּלִיטֵ֣י הַגֹּויִ֑ם לֹ֣א יָדְע֗וּ הַנֹּֽשְׂאִים֙ אֶת־עֵ֣ץ פִּסְלָ֔ם וּמִתְפַּלְלִ֔ים אֶל־אֵ֖ל לֹ֥א יֹושִֽׁיעַ׃ כא הַגִּ֣ידוּ וְהַגִּ֔ישׁוּ אַ֥ף יִֽוָּעֲצ֖וּ יַחְדָּ֑ו מִ֣י הִשְׁמִיעַ֩ זֹ֨את מִקֶּ֜דֶם מֵאָ֣ז הִגִּידָ֗הּ הֲלֹ֨וא אֲנִ֤י יְהוָה֙ וְאֵֽין־עֹ֤וד אֱלֹהִים֙ מִבַּלְעָדַ֔י אֵֽל־צַדִּ֣יק וּמֹושִׁ֔יעַ אַ֖יִן זוּלָתִֽי׃
45:20 Assemble yourselves and come; Draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: They have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, And pray unto a god that cannot save. 45:21 Tell ye, and bring them near; Yea, let them take counsel together: Who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? Have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; A just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. (KJV)
ספר ישעיהו פרק מא
ג שִׁמְע֤וּ אֵלַי֙ בֵּ֣ית יַעֲקֹ֔ב וְכָל־שְׁאֵרִ֖ית בֵּ֣ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל הַֽעֲמֻסִים֙ מִנִּי־בֶ֔טֶן הַנְּשֻׂאִ֖ים מִנִּי־רָֽחַם׃ ד וְעַד־זִקְנָה֙ אֲנִ֣י ה֔וּא וְעַד־שֵיבָ֖ה אֲנִ֣י אֶסְבֹּ֑ל אֲנִ֤י עָשִׂ֨יתִי֙ וַאֲנִ֣י אֶשָּׂ֔א וַאֲנִ֥י אֶסְבֹּ֖ל וַאֲמַלֵּֽט׃ ס ה לְמִ֥י תְדַמְי֖וּנִי וְתַשְׁו֑וּ וְתַמְשִׁל֖וּנִי וְנִדְמֶֽה׃ ו הַזָּלִ֤ים זָהָב֙ מִכִּ֔יס וְכֶ֖סֶף בַּקָּנֶ֣ה יִשְׁקֹ֑לוּ יִשְׂכְּר֤וּ צֹורֵף֙ וְיַעֲשֵׂ֣הוּ אֵ֔ל יִסְגְּד֖וּ אַף־יִֽשְׁתַּחֲוּֽוּ׃ ז יִ֠שָּׂאֻהוּ עַל־כָּתֵ֨ף יִסְבְּלֻ֜הוּ וְיַנִּיחֻ֤הוּ תַחְתָּיו֙ וְיַֽעֲמֹ֔ד מִמְּקֹומֹ֖ו לֹ֣א יָמִ֑ישׁ אַף־יִצְעַ֤ק אֵלָיו֙ וְלֹ֣א יַעֲנֶ֔ה מִצָּרָתֹ֖ו לֹ֥א יֹושִׁיעֶֽנּוּ׃ ס ח זִכְרוּ־זֹ֖את וְהִתְאֹשָׁ֑שׁוּ הָשִׁ֥יבוּ פֹושְׁעִ֖ים עַל־לֵֽב׃ ט זִכְר֥וּ רִאשֹׁנֹ֖ות מֵעֹולָ֑ם כִּ֣י אָנֹכִ֥י אֵל֙ וְאֵ֣ין עֹ֔וד אֱלֹהִ֖ים וְאֶ֥פֶס כָּמֹֽונִי׃ י מַגִּ֤יד מֵֽרֵאשִׁית֙ אַחֲרִ֔ית וּמִקֶּ֖דֶם אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֹא־נַעֲשׂ֑וּ אֹמֵר֙ עֲצָתִ֣י תָק֔וּם וְכָל־חֶפְצִ֖י אֶעֱשֶֽׂה׃ יא קֹרֵ֤א מִמִּזְרָח֙ עַ֔יִט מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מֶרְחָ֖ק אִ֣ישׁ עֲצָתִ֑ו אַף־דִּבַּ֨רְתִּי֙ אַף־אֲבִיאֶ֔נָּה יָצַ֖רְתִּי אַף־אֶעֱשֶֽׂנָּה׃ ס
46:3 Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, Which are borne by me from the belly, Which are carried from the womb: 46:4 And even to your old age I am he; And even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you. 46:5 To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, And compare me, that we may be like? 46:6 They lavish gold out of the bag, And weigh silver in the balance, And hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: They fall down, yea, they worship. 46:7 They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, And set him in his place, and he standeth; From his place shall he not remove: Yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, Nor save him out of his trouble. 46:8 Remember this, and shew yourselves men: Bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. 46:9 Remember the former things of old: For I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times the things that are not yet done, Saying, My counsel shall stand, And I will do all my pleasure: 46:11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, The man that executeth my counsel from a far country: Yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. (KJV)
What we note about these Scriptures is how they all speak about the uniqueness of God in comparison to others and other gods. We note how the power and authority of the God of Israel is contrasted to these other gods who are helpless wood, stone, and metal objects. And, the God of Israel demonstrated his authority over history in His using the foreign kings to do His bidding, such as in the case of Cyrus (see Isaiah 41:2–3, 41:25, 42:14–17, 43:3–7, 43:19–20, 44:28–45:7, 46:11). We note how Israel is being used in history to demonstrate the love of God for His people and how God’s power overcomes anything. (Isaiah 41:8–10, 43:1–3, 43:14–17, 44:1–5, 44:21–22, 45:4, 45:17, and 46:12–13) The God of Israel has proven again and again how He has the power to direct history in the way that He chooses. (Isaiah 43:8–13, 44:6–8, 44:23, 45:14, 45:22–25) Reading through Isaiah 41-46 reveals how Isaiah generalized the idea of a deliverer here in Isaiah 41, and then becomes more specific in Isaiah 44:23-45:8. Similarly using the concept of idolatry in Isaiah 41:6-7, the prophet draws in more emphasis in Isaiah 44:9-20 and 46:5-7. In addition, the concept of Israel being redeemed is hinted at in Isaiah 41:8-20, while Isaiah becomes more specific in Isaiah 43:10, 43:12, 44:8, and 45:22–25. Isaiah calls God the savior of Israel in Isaiah 41:10 and later on speaks further about this, increasing his emphasis on this in Isaiah 43:10-11 through the idea of God being the savior of the world in Isaiah 45:22-25. (John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40–66, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998, 77–80) We note the continuity in these chapters from Isaiah 41-46, how the way Isaiah writes leads to the idea that there is only one author and not a series of redactors.
From the sense of God being the deliverer of Israel, we see here in these chapters (Isaiah 41-46) how Isaiah is setting up His prophetic reasoning for God sending His deliverer that will include both the Jew and the Gentile. We note how the antimissionaries often use Isaiah 42 as a proof text to argue that the Servant of the Lord in Isaiah 53 is not Yeshua, but Israel and claim that Isaiah 53 is a continuation of a series of songs found in Isaiah 42, 49, 50, and 52. The claim is that Isaiah 42 is a hymn that praises Israel as the Servant of the Lord who will bring justice to the nations and be a light to the Gentiles. They point out that Isaiah 42:1 says, “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles” which identifies the Servant as Israel, who is God’s chosen people and the recipient of His Spirit. They also cite Isaiah 41:8-9, which says, “But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The descendants of Abraham My friend. You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its farthest regions, And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away.” They argue that these verses show that Israel is the Servant throughout the book of Isaiah, and that there is no reason to switch the identity of the Servant in Isaiah 53 to Yeshua. This argument however is not convincing for several reasons which we will discuss in when we get to chapter 42, but pointedly it is important to note that Isaiah 42 is a prophecy. Isaiah 53 is a continuation of the prophetic message of Isaiah 42, describing how the Servant will suffer and die for the sins of His people and be raised again for their justification. We note in the narrative from hence forward, Isaiah is demonstrating the lordship of the God of Israel, and of His plan to bring an idealized servant as a redeemer of Israel. This is emphasized in Isaiah continuing to argue the superiority of God over the false gods of the nations. There is none like Him, there is none who can deliver like Him, etc. Here in Isaiah 41-46 we see this progression that Isaiah is making, how God is the all sufficient one, how seeking idols is foolishness, and how God will bring a future redeemer, which is illustrated in Isaiah 44:24-45:7 through the imagery of the Lord God using Cyrus to deliver and return Israel to the land (Isaiah 45:9-13). We note how Cyrus was not a righteous messianic figure, but a pagan gentile whom God used for His purposes. The point is that Cyrus was not ultimately the One whom God had in mind that would fulfill what is spoken of in Isaiah 42:1 and that this redeemer would also bring justice to both the Jew and Gentile. The point of this progression of thought through Isaiah is to reassure us that God has both the power and desire to deliver all men from their sins, to turn them to holiness and righteousness according to His Word (Torah), and in doing so bringing salvation to the entire world! This is the power of our God who is able to do these things! The question then for us today is with respect to the Torah and the command to not have a part with the gentiles, is how can a condemned and fallen people ever become the servants of God in this world? This is the significance of who Yeshua is as the Messiah of God as the promised deliverer who laid his life down for ours. The answer to this question is found in the mercy and grace of God who seeks repentance of all men, to turn from their ways, and turn towards His ways, and seek forgiveness through faith. Reading the Scriptures God’s modus operandi is demonstrated throughout, even from the beginning in the Garden of Eden. We note the great love of God for all people, and the mercy of God to provide a way for salvation, deliverance, and transformation! Because of these things, Isaiah calls all people to witness the power of God in their lives through His mercy and grace, and to remove all doubt in the power of His presence in our lives through faith! Scholars can debate whether these scriptures are original or whether they have been redacted and continue to cast doubt on the authenticity of the words of Isaiah, however, when we read through the book of Isaiah ourselves we realize the power of God to preserve His Word, and Isaiah reveals to us the way in which God is speaking of the future redemption through the One whom He would bring into this world to suffer and die so that we might have life! The logic of the narrative in Isaiah directs us to the transcendence of God and His plan for this world. He is all powerful, He is Lord overall, He is merciful, He is loving, and He has told us prophetically of the One whom he would bring into this world! The God of Israel has provided a way for all of us to overcome this world through faith in the One whom He brought into this world, Yeshua the Messiah!
MSS (Masoretic Text) on Isaiah 41:1-6
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 41:1-2.
ספר ישעיה פרק מא
א הַחֲרִישׁוּ אֵלַי אִיִּים וּלְאֻמִּים יַחֲלִיפוּ כֹחַ יִגְּשׁוּ אָז יְדַבֵּרוּ יַחְדָּו לַמִּשְׁפָּט נִקְרָבָה: ב מִי הֵעִיר מִמִּזְרָח צֶדֶק יִקְרָאֵהוּ לְרַגְלוֹ יִתֵּן לְפָנָיו גּוֹיִם וּמְלָכִים יַרְדְּ יִתֵּן כֶּעָפָר חַרְבּוֹ כְּקַשׁ נִדָּף קַשְׁתּוֹ:
Isaiah 41:1 states, “Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment. (הַחֲרִישׁוּ אֵלַי אִיִּים וּלְאֻמִּים יַחֲלִיפוּ כֹחַ יִגְּשׁוּ אָז יְדַבֵּרוּ יַחְדָּו לַמִּשְׁפָּט נִקְרָבָה)” Isaiah 41:2 “Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow. (מִי הֵעִיר מִמִּזְרָח צֶדֶק יִקְרָאֵהוּ לְרַגְלוֹ יִתֵּן לְפָנָיו גּוֹיִם וּמְלָכִים יַרְדְּ יִתֵּן כֶּעָפָר חַרְבּוֹ כְּקַשׁ נִדָּף קַשְׁתּוֹ)” We note here that Isaiah speaks to the islands which may be a reference distant nation and the people who are in these nations will renew their strength. Could this be a reference to people who are in exile? For example, in Isaiah 49:1, the prophet says that God called him from his mother’s womb and made his mouth like a sharp sword, and that he was hidden in the shadow of God’s hand. He then says, “Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations.” (NIV) This suggests that the islands and the distant nations are synonymous, and that they need to hear God’s message through the prophet. This is consistent with the Torah passages that mention specific islands or regions that are associated with certain peoples. For example, in Bereshit / Genesis 10:5, it says that the sons of Japheth, one of Noah’s sons, settled in the coastlands of the Gentiles, which are divided by their languages and clans. Some scholars identify these coastlands with the islands and lands of Europe and Asia Minor. There are some interesting features in the Hebrew text, for instance, in Isaiah 41:2, the word for “righteous” (צֶדֶק) can also mean “victorious” or “prosperous.” This implies that the man from the east is not only morally upright, but also successful and powerful. The word for “from the east” (מִמִּזְרָח) can also mean “from the position of the rising sun” (HALOT) or “from the place of light.” This suggests that the man from the east is associated with light and glory. The word for “foot” (לְרַגְלוֹ) can also mean “to follow” or “to accompany.” This indicates that the man from the east is obedient and loyal to God. The word for “sword” (חַרְבּוֹ) can also mean “drought” or “desolation.” This implies that the man from the east brings judgment and destruction to his enemies. The word for “bow” (קַשְׁתּוֹ) can also mean “rainbow” or “covenant.” This suggests that the man from the east brings mercy and promise to his allies. One of the places in the Tanakh where the word for “sword” (חַרְבּוֹ) can also mean “drought” or “desolation” is found in Jeremiah 14:12, where God says, “Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry; though they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Instead, I will destroy them with the sword, famine and plague.” The word for “sword” here is חֶרֶב, which is derived from the root חרב, meaning “to be dry” or “to lay waste.” The same word is used in Leviticus 26:33, where God says, “I will scatter you among the nations and bring out my sword against you. Your land will become desolate, and your cities will lie in ruins.” The word for “desolate” here is חָרְבָה, which is also derived from the root חרב. Thus, the word for “sword” can have a double meaning of a literal weapon of war and a metaphorical instrument of drought or desolation.
ספר ויקרא פרק כו
לג וְאֶתְכֶם֙ אֱזָרֶ֣ה בַגּוֹיִ֔ם וַהֲרִיקֹתִ֥י אַחֲרֵיכֶ֖ם חָ֑רֶב וְהָיְתָ֤ה אַרְצְכֶם֙ שְׁמָמָ֔ה וְעָרֵיכֶ֖ם יִהְי֥וּ חָרְבָּֽה׃
Vayikra / Leviticus 26:33
26:33 And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. (KJV 1900)
The Lord God demands that the nations be silent according to Isaiah 41:1 as they come for judgment. The islands are representative of the ends of the earth, or the farthest reaches of the globe, and that no nation will be exempt from the judgment of God. (Habakkuk 2:20, Zechariah 2:13) We note the parallel statement to Job when God says to Job something similar.
ספר איוב פרק לח
ג אֱזָר-נָא כְגֶבֶר חֲלָצֶיךָ וְאֶשְׁאָלְךָ וְהוֹדִיעֵנִי:
38:3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; For I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. (KJV 1900)
Here the idea of God saying to Job “Gird up your loins” is similar to “let the people renew their strength” where the nations are called to approach the Almighty God. Notice how silence is what one does when one waits upon the Lord, there may be a parallel to this concept from the sense that there are those who will wait upon the Lord and there are those who refuse to do so. This connects us back to the idea of trusting in the God of Israel. If one does not trust in God, then one must muster their own strength, which will not be adequate to endure. The point is that the people turn to idols for their strength (Isaiah 41:6-7).
When we consider the dualistic nature of prophecy, the Peshat of these scriptures may be a reference to Cyrus the Persian king who was going to conquer the Babylonian empire, and who also permitted the people to return to the land of Israel. So from the Peshat sense of these Scriptures, we see a near future fulfillment of these verses. We note that this does not do away with the future expectation either. We note that there may be a number of references here, take Abraham for example, he had come from the east who was righteous and believed in God. (Bereshit / Genesis 15:6) We also note how the one spoken of in Isaiah 41:1-2 describes this person as a warrior, and according to Bereshit / Genesis 14 we read the same of Abraham. Abraham when his hand was forced was able to make war, but he was primarily a man of peace. We note something about Cyrus, he was not a righteous man, he was a pagan king, and God used him just as he did others previously. (Isaiah 10:5-15) Here this man who is being raised from the east will bow at the foot of righteousness who is the Lord God Almighty, the One who called him to destroy the Babylonian king and so his obedience to this call, even though he may have been unaware of it, makes him a type of deliverer for God’s people. So, the idea here is that God gave the nations into Cyrus’ hands so that he could do with the nations as he pleased. We can see the parallels to the messianic figure who will bring the judgment of God. We note the parallels in the NT text regarding the Messiah of God.
NT Survey of how Yeshua the Messiah Will Bring Judgment
In Matthew 25:31-46, Yeshua describes the scene of the final judgment, where he will separate the sheep from the goats, and reward or punish them according to their deeds. He says, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” (NIV)
In John 5:22-23, Yeshua claims that the Father has entrusted all judgment to him, and that whoever honors him honors the Father. He says, “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” (NASB)
In Acts 10:42, Peter declares Yeshua as the one appointed by God to judge the living and the dead. He says, “And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.” (NASB)
In Romans 2:16, Paul affirms that God will judge everyone’s secrets through Yeshua the Messiah. He says, “on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.” (NASB)
In 2 Corinthians 5:10, Paul reminds his readers that they will all have to stand before Christ’s judgment seat and give an account of their lives. He says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (NASB)
In 2 Timothy 4:1, Paul charges Timothy to preach the word faithfully in view of Christ’s coming judgment. He says, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom.” (NASB)
In Revelation 19:11-16, John sees a vision of Christ as a warrior on a white horse, who judges and wages war with justice and righteousness. He says, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.” (NASB)
These are some of the references that show how the Messiah will bring the judgment of God that is consistent with what we are reading here in Isaiah. Again, these things reveal the continuity of the biblical text, how Isaiah is revealing to us these truths concerning the Messiah of God, and how the details are given more specifically in the NT text if we look for them! We note again how the antimissionaries will try to confuse these things by looking only at the Peshat and neglecting the entire hermeneutic of PaReDeS.
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 41:3-4.
ספר ישעיה פרק מא
ג יִרְדְּפֵם יַעֲבוֹר שָׁלוֹם אֹרַח בְּרַגְלָיו לֹא יָבוֹא: ד מִי-פָעַל וְעָשָֹה קֹרֵא הַדֹּרוֹת מֵרֹאשׁ אֲנִי יְהֹוָה רִאשׁוֹן וְאֶת-אַחֲרֹנִים אֲנִי-הוּא:
Isaiah 41:3 states, “He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet. (יִרְדְּפֵם יַעֲבוֹר שָׁלוֹם אֹרַח בְּרַגְלָיו לֹא יָבוֹא)” Isaiah 41:4 “Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he. (מִי-פָעַל וְעָשָֹה קֹרֵא הַדֹּרוֹת מֵרֹאשׁ אֲנִי יְהֹוָה רִאשׁוֹן וְאֶת-אַחֲרֹנִים אֲנִי-הוּא)” Here we see a familiar phrase in Isaiah 41:4 that speaks to the uniqueness of God as the eternal One who has no beginning or end. We note how these scriptures are used in the NT text to show the sovereignty and uniqueness of God and to how Yeshua fulfills the promises of God. For example, according to Revelation 1:17, Yeshua says, “I am the first and the last,” echoing Isaiah 41:4 and 44:6.
In Romans 9:29, Paul quotes Isaiah 1:9, which is part of the same section as Isaiah 41:3-4, to show that God has preserved a remnant of Israel by His grace and speaks to the calling of the generations from the beginning in His mercy. In addition to these things, in the Hebrew text we read the word for “pursued” in Isaiah 41:3 (יִרְדְּפֵם) is the same word used in Shemot / Exodus 14:9 for Pharaoh’s army chasing after Israel. This implies that God is acting as a deliverer for his people from their enemies, or that the Lord God of Israel is pursuing us as His people. The words יַעֲבוֹר שָׁלוֹם “passed safely” in Isaiah 41:3 is related to the word Shalom for “peace” (שָׁלוֹם). This is consistent with the NT themes of the God of Israel bringing peace and security to those who would listen and obey God’s word. The idea of listening and obeying is consistent with God leading His people. In Isaiah 41:4 and 6 we read the words רִאשׁוֹן וְאֶת-אַחֲרֹנִים “the first and the last” which again is the way of expressing totality and eternity of God. Here Isaiah is saying that he is the only one who exists from eternity to eternity, and that there is no other god besides him. In addition to these things, if we take a Torah-based perspective, we read in Isaiah 41:4 which states קֹרֵא הַדֹּרוֹת מֵרֹאשׁ, this provides the idea of God calling the generations from the beginning calling us back to the creation account and how God created and named everything in Genesis 1-2, and how he chose and named Abraham and his descendants in Genesis 12-17. We can break up the Hebrew sentence in Isaiah 41:3 in the following way:
יִרְדְּפֵם | יַעֲבוֹר שָׁלוֹם | אֹרַח בְּרַגְלָיו לֹא יָבוֹא
We get this imagery of pursuit, safely passing, and traveling on a path that had not been trodden, all of these things remind us of how God formed and protected Isaiah as a nation in Mitzrayim (Egypt) and how he delivered the people through the Red Sea in Shemot / Exodus 14-15.
When we consider the NT text, we see how these scriptures are used to support the idea that Yeshua is the righteous one that God would bring from the east, whom God had raised to deliver His people and to judge the nations. The parallels are to Revelation 1:17-18 which echoes Isaiah 41:4 and 41:6, and Revelation 19:11-16 where Yeshua is depicted as the warrior riding on a white horse who has a sharp double-edged sword, a bow, and who rules over the kings of the earth. This resembles Isaiah 41:2, where God says, “Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings?” We note how God is calling out to His own Oneness and uniqueness, his own self-existence, as the One who calls forth generations, and the One who will bring forth a deliverer for His people. The Lord brings success at the hand of the one whom he chooses whether the one whom He chooses is righteous or unrighteous. The most important observation in the remainder of the text in Isaiah (Chapters 40-66) is how he is setting up the messianic expectation of the coming deliverer that God will bring into this world. Notice how in the prophecies about Cyrus’s there are victories that are prophesied in advance (Isaiah 41:25–29, 44:6–8, 45:20–21), and God says that these are in accord with an overarching plan that is as old as creation itself (Isaiah 41:22–24, 42:1–4, 44:6–8, 45:9–13), and they will result in something radically new, a return from exile (Isaiah 42:9–10, 42:21–25, 43:18–21). We note using PaReDeS how exile and return from exile can have a further meaning in the biblical text. Exile in the Scriptures can also be paralleled to a spiritual state of the people. Exile is not only a physical condition of being separated from one’s homeland, but also a spiritual condition of being alienated from God and His promises. The Scriptures demonstrate that sin is the root cause of exile, as it breaks the covenant relationship between God and His people, and brings judgment and discipline from God. However, God also uses exile as a means of grace, to call His people to repentance and renewal, and to prepare them for the ultimate restoration of heaven and earth.
Examples of How the Bible Portrays Exile as a Spiritual State
In Bereshit / Genesis 3, Adam and Eve are exiled from the Garden of Eden because of their disobedience to God’s command. This is the first instance of exile in the Bible, and it symbolizes the loss of fellowship with God and access to His presence.
In Vayikra / Leviticus 26 and Devarim / Deuteronomy 28, God warns His people that if they fail to listen and disobey His commands and worship other gods, He will send them into exile among the nations, where they will suffer oppression and humiliation. This is a consequence of breaking the covenant that God made with them at Sinai, and it reflects their spiritual unfaithfulness and idolatry.
In Tehillim / Psalm 137, https://www.matsati.com/index.php/tehillim-psalms-137-part-2-the-reminder-to-not-forget/ the exiles in Babylon lament their condition and long for Jerusalem, their holy city. They ask how they can sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land, implying that they feel spiritually disoriented and disconnected from their worship and identity.
In Isaiah 40-55, God speaks words of comfort and hope to His exiled people, promising to bring them back to their land and to reveal His glory to them. He also announces a new exodus, a new covenant, and a new servant, who will suffer for the sins of the people and bring salvation to them. These prophecies point to Yeshua the Messiah, who is the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises.
In John 15:18-19, Yeshua tells His disciples that they are not of the world, but that He has chosen them out of the world. He warns them that they will face persecution and hatred from the world, because they belong to Him. He also assures them that He will send them the Holy Spirit, who will guide them into all truth. This shows that Believers are exiles in the world, as they live by a different standard and follow a different Lord than the world.
In 1 Peter 1:1-2, Peter addresses his readers as “elect exiles” who are scattered throughout various regions. He reminds them that they are chosen by God according to His foreknowledge, sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Yeshua HaMashiakh, and sprinkled with His blood. He also encourages them to live in hope, holiness, and love, as they await their inheritance in heaven. This shows that Believers are exiles in hope, as they look forward to their eternal home with God.
Notice how these scriptures demonstrate how exile is not only a physical condition of being separated from one’s homeland, but also a spiritual condition of being alienated from God and His promises. We also note how these prophecies concerning Cyrus in this way has its application in the Messiah whom God would bring into this world and lead all who would believe and walk in His footsteps to turn from their sins, to renew the covenant with God, and enter into a relationship with God for the salvation of their souls. We note how in hindsight how Isaiah lays the framework for these things, and how God is orchestrating all of these things consistent with the one who called everything into being by the power of His Word at the beginning, and He will be the one whom will call all of creation to Him at his judgment seat and none will be able to escape. The God of Israel and His Messiah are with us, for good or ill, depending on our response. We note how this is the cooperative work that God has laid out as the path upon which we are to walk in righteousness and truth. In addition to this we note the Greek text on these verses.
So, here in the LXX we see a familiar Greek phrase which translates אני הוא “I am he” ἐγώ εἰμι, this phrase Yeshua applies to Himself in John 8:58 and 18:5, where Yeshua speaks to his hearers who he is, as the Messiah sent of God. Contained in this statement is the eternality of God’s holy Word and Wisdom which was from the beginning with God. This is why the people responded as they did in the NT text to what Yeshua was explaining to them, they wanted to stone him. But again we see the connects in the NT text back to Isaiah, and how God is the one who is orchestrating history for the purpose of revealing His promises, His power, and His love for His people! Our response therefore should be to give ourselves wholly to God, to His Messiah Yeshua, and to the holy Word of God in the Scriptures!
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 41:5-6.
ספר ישעיה פרק מא
ה רָאוּ אִיִּים וְיִירָאוּ קְצוֹת הָאָרֶץ יֶחֱרָדוּ קָרְבוּ וַיֶּאֱתָיוּן: ו אִישׁ אֶת-רֵעֵהוּ יַעְזֹרוּ וּלְאָחִיו יֹאמַר חֲזָק
Isaiah 41:5 states, “The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came. (רָאוּ אִיִּים וְיִירָאוּ קְצוֹת הָאָרֶץ יֶחֱרָדוּ קָרְבוּ וַיֶּאֱתָיוּן)” Isaiah 41:6 “They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage. (אִישׁ אֶת-רֵעֵהוּ יַעְזֹרוּ וּלְאָחִיו יֹאמַר חֲזָק)” Here the nations are analogized to the isles, to the islands, where islands represent the farthest reaches of the earth, and the power of God is evident making all nations fear. What we note about Isaiah 41:5-6 is in relation to Isaiah 41:7 which speaks of how the people encourage each other to build their idols and forget about God. We note how Isaiah 41:5 is reminiscent of Tehillim / Psalms 2:1-2.
ספר תהילים פרק ב
א לָמָּה רָגְשׁוּ גוֹיִם וּלְאֻמִּים יֶהְגוּ-רִיק: ב יִתְיַצְּבוּ | מַלְכֵי-אֶרֶץ וְרוֹזְנִים נוֹסְדוּ-יָחַד עַל-יְהֹוָה וְעַל-מְשִׁיחוֹ:
Tehillim / Psalm 2:1–2
2:1 Why do the heathen rage, And the people imagine a vain thing? 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, (KJV)
Notice how Isaiah alludes back to the psalm concerning the Messiah of God! The nations are always in defiance against the holiness and righteousness of God. Notice how today in our culture how the ungodly (LGBTQ) come together to be in defiance of God and His holy Word, we note how in their defiance they choose not to repent and draw near to God but to draw near to themselves and the sins of the flesh for their comfort. The idolatry of the flesh and sexual sin is the reason that God is not part of this world and cannot be captured in any form that is represented from this world. Isaiah is appealing to those who would listen, how we should flee from idolatry regardless of what type of idolatry it is. Isaiah is telling us to repent and to be strong because the Lord God Almighty is here with us (Devarim / Deuteronomy 31:7, 31:23, Isaiah 35:4). We note how Isaiah 41:6 speaks of a network of people working together to remain in rebellion to God. We note how this illustrates how sin and rebellion is dependent upon others, or the people with which we choose to dwell among. This is illustrated over and over again in our own culture today. Isaiah is saying that it is the people who love their sin that strengthen each other. Sin drains the life out of a person. The point that is being made in the Torah and here in Isaiah is that our existence depends upon the Lord and His truth, not a truth of our own making. The God of life, the Creator, the God of Israel, He creates values, morality, truth, righteousness, and holiness! Our desire to walk in God’s ways comes from something beyond us, it comes from the indwelling presence of God in our lives, and this indwelling comes through our faith and service to God and His Messiah Yeshua. This is why the Scriptures speak so extensively on the Messiah of God, such as Paul saying in Romans 5:1-2: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” In Ephesians 2:14: “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.” And in Colossians 1:27: “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The author of Hebrews writes in Hebrews 6:19: “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.” In addition, Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” These verses and many more reveal how the Messiah of God is the fulfillment of our hope and peace, and how reconciliation with God and His Word are essentially for our lives, for peace and hope, and for eternal life! It is because of these things that Isaiah is laying down the framework for the importance of God bringing His Messiah who will suffer and die for the sins of His people and for all the world!
Rabbinic Commentary on Isaiah 41:1-6
The Targum Jonathan is an Aramaic and Rabbinic translation of the book of Isaiah and therefore is a valuable resource for continuing to study the book of Isaiah!
תרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל אל ישעיה פרק מא:א-ו
א אַצִיתוּ לְמֵימְרִי נְגָוָון וּמַלכְוָן יֹוסְפָן חֵיל יִתקָרְבוּן בְכֵין יְמַלְלוּן כַחדָא לְדִינָא נִתקָרַב׃ ב מַן אַיתִי בִגלַי מִמַדנְחָא אַברָהָם בְחִיר צִדקָא בִקשֹוט קָרְבֵיה לְאַתרֵיה מְסַר קֳדָמֹוהִי עַמְמִין וּמַלכִין תַבַר רְמָא כְעַפרָא קְטִילִין קֳדָם חַרבֵיה כְקַשָא רְדַפִנוּן קֳדָם קַשתֵיה׃ ג רְדַפִינוּן עְדָא שְלָם חִילַת אֹורַח בְרַגלֹוהִי לָא עְלָת׃ ד מַן אְמַר אִלֵין קַייָם אָמַר וְעָבֵיד דְסַדַר דָרַיָא מִלְקַדמִין אְנָא יוי בְרֵית עָלְמָא מִבְרֵישִית אַף עָלְמֵי עָלְמַיָא דִילִי אִנוּן וּבָר מִנִי לֵית אְלָה׃ ה חְזֹו נְגָוָתָא וְיִדחְלוּן דְבִסיָפֵי אַרעָא יְזוּעוּן יִתקָרְבוּן וְייֵתֹון׃ ו גְבַר יָת חַברֵיה יְסַעְדוּן וּלאְחוּהִי יֵימַר תְקַף׃
Targum Jonathan son of Uziel Isaiah 41:1-6
41:1 Listen unto my word, ye islands, and let the kingdoms increase their strength: let them come nigh, then let them speak; let us approach one another for judgment. 41:2 Who openly brought Abraham from the east? He brought the chosen of the righteous in truth to his place, He delivered up nations before him, and broke in pieces mighty kings, he cast the slain down like the dust before his sword, and he pursued them like stubble before his bow. 41:3 He pursued them, and passed safely by; the roughness of the path shall not affect his feet. 41:4 Who hath promised these things and established them? Who hath spoken, and it was done? And who hath ranged the generations in their order from the beginning? I, the Lord, I created the world from the beginning; yea, ages after ages are mine, and besides me there is no God. 41:5 The isles shall see and be afraid; they that are at the ends of the earth shall tremble; they shall draw nigh, they shall come. 41:6 Let every one help his neighbour, and every one say to his brother, Be of good courage. (TgJ)
The TgJ begins according to Isaiah 41:1 saying, א אַצִיתוּ לְמֵימְרִי נְגָוָון וּמַלכְוָן יֹוסְפָן חֵיל יִתקָרְבוּן בְכֵין יְמַלְלוּן כַחדָא לְדִינָא נִתקָרַב׃ 41:1 Listen unto my word, ye islands, and let the kingdoms increase their strength: let them come nigh, then let them speak; let us approach one another for judgment. (TgJ) This verse in Isaiah is used in the New Testament to support the idea that God is the only true God and that He has the power to judge and save the nations. For example, in Romans 11:34-36, Paul quotes Isaiah 40:13 and 41:4 to show that God’s wisdom and knowledge are incomparable and that He deserves all glory. The Targum on Isaiah 41:1 differs from the Hebrew Bible in some ways, such as adding “Listen unto my word” at the beginning of the verse, which is not in the Hebrew Bible. This may indicate that the Targum wants to emphasize the authority and importance of what is about to be spoken. The Targum uses “the kingdoms” (וּמַלכְוָן) instead of “the nations” in the first part of the verse. This may suggest that the Targum views the political entities as more relevant than the ethnic groups in God’s plan since “nations” can have this in interpretation on ethnicity. Also, the Targum uses “increase their strength” (יֹוסְפָן חֵיל) instead of “renew their strength” in the second part of the verse. This may imply that the Targum understands God’s action as enhancing rather than restoring the power of His people. The Targum also changes the phrase to “let us approach one another for judgment” (כַחדָא לְדִינָא נִתקָרַב) instead of “let us meet together at the place of judgment” in the last part of the verse. This may reflect that the Targum sees God’s judgment as a mutual process rather than a unilateral decision. The Zohar has the following to say concerning this verse.
Zohar Chadash, Bereshit 3
וְכַד אִסְתַּכַּל קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא בְּאִינוּן דָּרִין דְּרַשִּׁיעַיָא, דְּלָא יִתְחֲזוֹן לְהַהוּא נְהוֹרָא, גָּנִיז לֵיהּ. הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (איוב ל״ח:ט״ו) וַיִּמְנַע מֵרְשָׁעִים אוֹרָם. וּלְמַאן גָּנִיז לֵיה. לְצַדִּיקַיָא. לְצַדִּיקַיָא דַּוְקָא, כְּמָא דִכְתִיב, (תהילים צ״ז:י״א) אוֹר זָרוּעַ לַצַּדִּיק וּלְיִשְׂרֵי לֵב שִׂמְחָה. וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי אוֹר, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב, (ישעיהו מלכים א ב׳:כ״ב) מִי הֵעִיר מִמִּזְרָח.
When the Holy One, Blessed be He, looked over the generations of wicked men, he stored the light for the righteous ones. Thus it is written, “And from the wicked their light is withholden,” (Job 38:15) and, “light is sown for the righteous and gladness for those upright in hearts” (Ps. 97:11) And so, God said “Let there be light” just as it is written, “Who raised up the righteous man from the east,” (Is. 41:1)
The rabbis draw out some relations in the rabbinic literature on this verse that speak about wickedness and righteousness. Here the concepts of light and darkness represent righteousness and unrighteousness, respectively. The Zohar speaks of righteousness (light) being sown for the righteous, which is an interesting way to describe how God is working in the lives of His people to help His people produce fruit in their lives for His glory. In Midrash Tehillim 1:1, the rabbis relate this verse to Tehillim / Psalm 1:1, which says, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.” (NIV) The explanation is that the wicked are those who worship idols, while the righteous are those who trust in God. They also say that God will judge both the wicked and the righteous according to their deeds which is consistent with what we are reading here in the TgJ on Isaiah 41:1. Note that all of these concepts are also present in the NT text! The Midrash Aggadat Bereshit on 20:2 writes the following interpretation on this verse.
Aggadat Bereshit 20:2
[ב] ד”א כי הנה היום בא. זש”ה לי נקם ושלם (דברים לב לה), וישראל אומר לי נקם ושלם, אמר הקב”ה כשיגיע הזמן אימתי תמוט רגלם (שם שם), כשיתקיים מה שראה דניאל חזה הוית עד די התגזרת אבן די לא בידין ומחת לצלמא על רגלוהי וגו’ (דניאל ב לד). כי קרוב יום אידם (דברים שם). בלעם שהיה רואה שיום הדין מאבד את הרשעים עשאו רחוק, שנאמר אראנו ולא עתה [אשורנו ולא קרוב] (במדבר כד יז), אבל משה שהיה רואה שאותו היום הוא מתן שכרם של צדיקים, אמר כי קרוב יום אידם וגו’, וכן אסף אומר כי הנה רחקיך יאבדו ואני קרבת אלהים לי טוב (תהלים עג כז כח). וחש עתידות למו (דברים שם), מחיש אני ומרעיש את העולם לפרוע מהן, שנאמר יעופו כנשר חש לאכול (חבקוק א ח), ועל שאמרתם ותקרב ותבואה עצת קדוש ישראל ונדעה (ישעי’ ה יט), הרי היום הבא ואתם יודעין, כי הנה היום בא וגו’ (מלאכי שם).
 Another interpretation: “And it shall come to pass on that day,” says the LORD, “that I will take vengeance and repay” (Deuteronomy 32:35), and Israel says, “I will take vengeance and repay.” The Holy One, blessed be He, says, “When the time comes, when will their feet slip?” (ibid.), as it is written, “As I watched, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:9-10). “For the day of their calamity is near” (Deuteronomy 32:35). Balaam, who saw that the Day of Judgment destroys the wicked, made it distant, as it is written, “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near” (Numbers 24:17). But Moses, who saw that the same day is the reward of the righteous, said, “For the day of their calamity is near” (Deuteronomy 32:35), and Asaph also said, “Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge” (Psalm 73:27-28).”And they have hastened their destiny (Deuteronomy 32:35), I [God] am hastening and shaking the world to rid it of them, as it says, ‘They shall fly like an eagle hastening to devour’ (Habakkuk 1:8). And as for what you said, ‘Let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come’ (Isaiah 41:1), behold, the day is coming and you shall know, for behold, the day is coming, etc. (Malachi 3:19).”
The rabbis connect the final judgment with Isaiah 41:1 by interpreting the verse as a call for the nations to gather before God and witness His justice. They see the verse as a reference to the day of the Lord, when God will judge the wicked and reward the righteous. The verse in Isaiah is also linked to other passages that describe God’s sovereignty, power, and uniqueness, such as Devarim / Deuteronomy 32:35, Daniel 7:9-10, and Isaiah 44:6-8. The rabbinic literature contrasts the God of Israel with the idols of the nations, which are powerless and worthless, and emphasize God’s role as the savior of Israel and the world. Additional resources that agree with this interpretation are from the Midrash on Isaiah 41:1, which explains how God will take vengeance on the enemies of Israel and how He will reveal His glory to all nations. There are several places in the NT text that speak of this same thing: how God will bring judgment with the coming of Yeshua the Messiah.
Scripture on Yeshua Being Revealed and Bringing Judgment with Him
2 Thessalonians 1:7-10: “and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.”
1 Peter 1:7: “so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 4:13: “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”
Revelation 1:7: “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.”
Revelation 19:11-16: “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.”
These verses show how Yeshua will return in power and glory to judge the living and the dead, to reward his faithful followers, and to punish his enemies. Rashi on Isaiah 41:1 states and cites the Midrash adding that God will challenge the nations to prove their gods or admit their falsehood. Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 41:1 states that God will summon the nations to a trial and show them His deeds and His predictions. Radak on Isaiah 41:1 states that God will gather the nations to witness His judgment and His deliverance of Israel. This appears to be how the Midrash Aggadat Bereshit 20:2 explains Isaiah 40:1.
Isaiah goes on according to Isaiah 41:2 in the Targum to say, ב מַן אַיתִי בִגלַי מִמַדנְחָא אַברָהָם בְחִיר צִדקָא בִקשֹוט קָרְבֵיה לְאַתרֵיה מְסַר קֳדָמֹוהִי עַמְמִין וּמַלכִין תַבַר רְמָא כְעַפרָא קְטִילִין קֳדָם חַרבֵיה כְקַשָא רְדַפִנוּן קֳדָם קַשתֵיה׃ 41:2 Who openly brought Abraham from the east? He brought the chosen of the righteous in truth to his place, He delivered up nations before him, and broke in pieces mighty kings, he cast the slain down like the dust before his sword, and he pursued them like stubble before his bow. (TgJ) The Aramaic translation of Isaiah 41:2 differs from the Hebrew Bible in some respects, such as here the TgJ adds “Abraham” to the “one from the east” as the “righteous one” whom God is calling or raising up. The TgJ also adds the word “truth” to describe the choice of the righteous. In addition, there are different words for “sword” and “bow” compared to the Hebrew, and the Aramaic omits the word “him” in the phrase “he cast the slain down.” So, this verse is describing what the Lord God will do to the enemies of Abraham and Israel. Again, we note that this is also a reference to the Lord God doing something in the lives of His people. We note what the Talmud Bavli Shabbat 156b states concerning this verse in Isaiah.
Talmud Bavli Shabbat 156b:1
דְּקָאֵי צֶדֶק בְּמַעֲרָב — מְהַדַּרְנָא וּמוֹקֵימְנָא לֵיהּ בְּמִזְרָח. וְהַיְינוּ דִּכְתִיב: ״מִי הֵעִיר מִמִּזְרָח צֶדֶק יִקְרָאֵהוּ לְרַגְלוֹ״.
Is it because Jupiter is situated in the west that you cannot have children? I will restore it and establish it in the east. And that is the meaning of that which is written with regard to Abraham: “Who has raised up one from the east, he will call justice [tzedek] to his steps [leraglo]. He gives nations before him, and makes him rule over kings; his sword makes them as the dust, his bow as the driven stubble” (Isaiah 41:2). God established Jupiter [tzedek] in the east on behalf of [leraglo] Abraham.
We note here how the Rabbis draw in the planet Jupiter into the narrative. The reason they do this is because the modern Hebrew name for Jupiter is צדק (tzedek) which means righteousness. The idea here the Talmud is putting forward is taking something which is unmovable, something that man is completely incapable of doing, and the Lord God of Israel demonstrating how He can do anything on behalf of His people. The analogy of Jupiter being restored and established in the east for Abraham can be seen as a symbol of God’s power, mercy, grace and favor, who helps us to overcome the effects of sin and restore the relationship between God and His people. The rabbis describe how the Lord God can change the circumstances and situations that seem hopeless or unfavorable for His children and make them work for their good and His glory. The analogy of God raising up one from the east, who will call justice to his steps and subdue the nations before him, can be seen as a prophecy of the Messiah, who will come from the line of Abraham and bring salvation and judgment to the world. We note how when we consider what is being said in the Talmud Bavli Shabbat 156b, the parallel to the Messiah will be to the One who will take away the sins of His people and establish His righteous kingdom. We note how idols are made of wood, metal, or stone, which are powerless and worthless, and can be seen as a contrast to the living and true God, who is the creator and sustainer of all things. The idols represent the false gods and sinful desires that people worship and trust in, which cannot save them or satisfy them. God alone is worthy of worship and trust, and He alone can forgive sins and give eternal life.
Isaiah goes on according to the TgJ to say the following, ג רְדַפִינוּן עְדָא שְלָם חִילַת אֹורַח בְרַגלֹוהִי לָא עְלָת׃ 41:3 He pursued them, and passed safely by; the roughness of the path shall not affect his feet. ד מַן אְמַר אִלֵין קַייָם אָמַר וְעָבֵיד דְסַדַר דָרַיָא מִלְקַדמִין אְנָא יוי בְרֵית עָלְמָא מִבְרֵישִית אַף עָלְמֵי עָלְמַיָא דִילִי אִנוּן וּבָר מִנִי לֵית אְלָה׃ 41:4 Who hath promised these things and established them? Who hath spoken, and it was done? And who hath ranged the generations in their order from the beginning? I, the Lord, I created the world from the beginning; yea, ages after ages are mine, and besides me there is no God. (TgJ) Again these verses demonstrate God’s power and sovereignty over the nations, as He raises up a conqueror from the east, who defeats his enemies with ease and executes God’s justice. This conqueror is most likely a reference to Cyrus, the Persian king, who was God’s instrument to subdue Babylon and free Israel from captivity. These verses also demonstrate the faithfulness and uniqueness of God as He declares that He is the first and the last, and there is no other God like Him. He alone knows the end from the beginning, and He alone can fulfill His purposes and promises. He challenges the idols of the nations to prove their divinity or admit their futility. This also implies God’s grace and salvation for His people, as He calls them to listen to Him and trust in Him. He reminds them that He has chosen them and redeemed them, and He will not forsake them. He will protect them and deliver them from their troubles. We note how the mercy and grace of God is demonstrated here for God’s people. The verses speak to the one who will be raised up, the Persian king as the instrument of God to defeat Babylon and free Israel from captivity. Cyrus is described as “one from the east” or “righteous one” who was called by God in righteousness and given victory over the nations and kings. This implies that God is sovereign over history and has a plan to deliver His people from their enemies. God’s grace is seen in choosing Cyrus, a pagan ruler, to accomplish His purpose and to fulfill His promise to Abraham and his descendants. The prophetic ability of God and His ability to work in the history of Israel demonstrate that there is no other God like Him. He alone knows the end from the beginning, and He alone can fulfill His purposes and promises. He challenges the idols of the nations to prove their divinity or admit their futility. This implies that God is unique and incomparable, and that He alone is worthy of worship and trust.
God’s grace is seen in revealing Himself to His people and inviting them to listen to Him and trust in Him. The prophetic message from the Peshat implies that God had mercy to deliver His people using Cyrus, and the deeper meaning, the Remez, Drash, and Sod reveal the characteristics of the deliverer whom God would bring, who has in his hand both deliverance and restoration to God. This One whom God would bring will come as the Servant of the Lord, who is later identified as the Messiah. The Servant of the Lord will be the ultimate redeemer and savior, who will take away the sins of His people and establish His righteous kingdom. We note the biblical proofs for these according to Ezra 1:1-4, which records how Cyrus issued a decree to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple, fulfilling the word of the Lord spoken by Isaiah. Isaiah 44:24-45:13 expands on the role of Cyrus as God’s anointed one, who will perform all God’s pleasure and be a blessing to Israel. Isaiah 48:12-16 affirms God’s sovereignty and uniqueness and introduces the voice of the Servant of the Lord, who is sent by God with His Spirit. Isaiah 49:1-7 describes the mission of the Servant of the Lord, who will be a light to the nations and bring salvation to the ends of the earth. In addition, the rabbis explain how God chose Cyrus from among all the kings of the east according to the Midrash on Isaiah 42:1-2. The commentary of Rashi on Isaiah 41:2 identifies Cyrus as the one from the east and cites various sources to support this identification. Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 41:2-3 also identifies Cyrus as the one from the east and adds that he was righteous in comparison to other kings. Radak’s commentary on Isaiah 41:2 also identifies Cyrus as the one from the east and explains how he pursued his enemies and passed safely by them. We note the differences from Cyrus and the One whom God would bring later. Cyrus did not include the importance of Teshuvah (Repentance) as compared to the Messiah whom God would bring later. Note how important Teshuvah is according to the commentary Shenei Luchot HaBerit.
Shenei Luchot HaBerit, Torah Shebikhtav, Bamidbar, Nasso, Beha’alotcha, Derekh Chayim, Nasso 18
The reason that repentance is such a powerful tool is that it ranks higher than all the accusers [in the Celestial Spheres], and those who address themselves to that “power” need not be afraid of any evil forces in the world. We know this from such verses as Isaiah 14,27: כי ה’ צבאות יעץ ומי יפר, וידו הנטויה ומי ישיבנה. “For the Lord of Hosts has planned it, who could possibly foil it? We also read in Nachum 1,6:לפני זעמו מי יעמוד! “Who can stand up to His wrath!” The word Mee in both these verses refers to the institution of repentance. We know this from Isaiah 40,26: “שאו מרום עיניכם וראו מי ברא אלה” as well as from Isaiah 40,14: “את מי נועץ ויבינהו?” “Raise your eyes heavenwards and behold, who has created all these?” Or, “With whom did He consult, and who taught Him?”. We have the verse מי א-ל בשמים ובארץ, which means that the Lord of Heaven and earth is called מי, “Who”, seeing no one can comprehend His Essence. This is the mystical dimension of the word מי. When the prophet Isaiah 41,4 says: מי פעל ועשה, “Who has labored and brought to fruition,” he reveals a deep secret. Heavenly decrees are reconsidered in the upper emanation of בינה or in the lower emanations of נצח and הוד respectively. The latter regions are known as G–d’s צבאות. A righteous person who wants to annul someone else’s vow concentrates on the region in which G–d annuls such decrees. Eicha Rabbah 3, explains the verse in Lamentations 3,44, סכותה בענן לך מעבור תפלה, “You have screened Yourself off with a cloud, so that no prayer may pass through.” Our sages refer to the story involving Rabbi Chanina bar Papa. This rabbi approached Rabbi Samuel who had a reputation of being an expert in homiletics, asking him to explain this verse to him. The latter explained that the verse means that there are times when the gates of prayer are locked, and other times when they are open. He quoted Rabbi Yossi ben Chalafta who had said that there are times when it is propitious to offer prayer, based on the verse in Psalms 69,14: “As for me, may my prayer come to You My Lord, at a favorable moment.” The gates of repentance however, are never locked, since repentance is compared to the ocean which is never sealed, and accepts waters from the rivers at all times.
The commentary on Isaiah 41:1-6 discusses the importance of repentance and why it is a powerful tool saying that repentance ranks higher than all the accusers in the celestial spheres, and those who repent need not fear any evil forces in the world. What we note here concerning this point is how this is not a reference to the plants and the stars, but to the spiritual forces that are at work in this world. What is inferred here is how the spiritual forces in this world contrast to the power and sovereignty of God, who can change any circumstance or situation for His people. The rabbis imply that there are evil forces that oppose God and His people, and that they need to repent and trust in God, who is the only true God and Savior. We also note the parallel to what Paul wrote in Ephesians 6.
6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (KJV Τοῦ λοιποῦ, ἐνδυναμοῦσθε ἐν κυρίῳ καὶ ἐν τῷ κράτει τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ. ἐνδύσασθε τὴν πανοπλίαν τοῦ θεοῦ πρὸς τὸ δύνασθαι ὑμᾶς στῆναι πρὸς τὰς μεθοδείας τοῦ διαβόλου· ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἡμῖν ἡ πάλη πρὸς αἷμα καὶ σάρκα ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὰς ἀρχάς, πρὸς τὰς ἐξουσίας, πρὸς τοὺς κοσμοκράτορας τοῦ σκότους τούτου, πρὸς τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις. διὰ τοῦτο ἀναλάβετε τὴν πανοπλίαν τοῦ θεοῦ, ἵνα δυνηθῆτε ἀντιστῆναι ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ πονηρᾷ καὶ ἅπαντα κατεργασάμενοι στῆναι. στῆτε οὖν περιζωσάμενοι τὴν ὀσφὺν ὑμῶν ἐν ἀληθείᾳ καὶ ἐνδυσάμενοι τὸν θώρακα τῆς δικαιοσύνης καὶ ὑποδησάμενοι τοὺς πόδας ἐν ἑτοιμασίᾳ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τῆς εἰρήνης, ἐν πᾶσιν ἀναλαβόντες τὸν θυρεὸν τῆς πίστεως, ἐν ᾧ δυνήσεσθε πάντα τὰ βέλη τοῦ πονηροῦ [τὰ] πεπυρωμένα σβέσαι· καὶ τὴν περικεφαλαίαν τοῦ σωτηρίου δέξασθε καὶ τὴν μάχαιραν τοῦ πνεύματος, ὅ ἐστιν ῥῆμα θεοῦ. Διὰ πάσης προσευχῆς καὶ δεήσεως προσευχόμενοι ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ ἐν πνεύματι, καὶ εἰς αὐτὸ ἀγρυπνοῦντες ἐν πάσῃ προσκαρτερήσει καὶ δεήσει περὶ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων καὶ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ, ἵνα μοι δοθῇ λόγος ἐν ἀνοίξει τοῦ στόματός μου, ἐν παρρησίᾳ γνωρίσαι τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ εὐαγγελίου)
The connection to what Paul said in Ephesians 6 relates to the idea of the powers and the celestial spheres. Here Paul speaks of the spiritual powers in this world and exhorts the believers to put on the whole armor of God, to stand against the schemes of the devil, and to wrestle against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Paul emphasizes the power and authority of God, who is above all rule and authority and dominion, and who has raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand. Paul also urges the believers to pray at all times in the Spirit, and to be alert and persevere for all fellow brothers and sisters in the Messiah. These same spiritual forces that we are at war with were involved with the idolatry of the day of Isaiah, and those who refuse to listen to God and His word, Isaiah speaks of them according to Isaiah 41:5-6, ה חְזֹו נְגָוָתָא וְיִדחְלוּן דְבִסיָפֵי אַרעָא יְזוּעוּן יִתקָרְבוּן וְייֵתֹון׃ 41:5 The isles shall see and be afraid; they that are at the ends of the earth shall tremble; they shall draw nigh, they shall come. ו גְבַר יָת חַברֵיה יְסַעְדוּן וּלאְחוּהִי יֵימַר תְקַף׃ 41:6 Let everyone help his Neighbour, and everyone say to his brother, Be of good courage. (TgJ) Here those who refuse to seek the Lord God of Israel, seek to strengthen each other to pursue and continue in their idolatry. Paul writes in Romans 1:21-23 that people who exchanged the glory of God for images of creatures are without excuse and have become futile in their thinking. He also states in 1 Corinthians 10:14 to flee from idolatry, which is incompatible with the worship of the true God. Isaiah 41:5-6 shows the contrast between the living and true God, who is the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and the idols, which are made by human hands and have no power or life in them. For example, John writes in 1 John 5:21 that we should keep ourselves from idols, because we know the true God who has given us eternal life through his Son. He also writes in Revelation 21:8 that idolaters will have their part in the lake of fire, which is the second death. These scriptures also shows the need for repentance and faith in God, who alone can save and deliver his people from their enemies and troubles. For example, Peter writes in Acts 3:19 that we should repent and turn to God, so that our sins may be wiped out and we may receive times of refreshing from his presence. He also writes in 2 Peter 3:9 that God is patient with us, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. The refreshing of God and His presence is due to his mercy, grace, and forgiveness of our sins. When we repent and turn to the Lord believing upon Yeshua for the forgiveness of sins, The Lord God Almighty wipes away our sins and gives us times of refreshing from his presence (Acts 3:19). He restores our relationship with him and fills us with his love and peace. The refreshing also comes by giving us His joy and strength. When we worship and praise God, we come before his presence with thanksgiving and joy (Tehillim / Psalm 95:2). He reveals to us the path of life and the pleasures of his right hand (Tehillim / Psalm 16:11). He sustains us with his word and his Spirit (Isaiah 50:42, 2 Corinthians 3:17) and God’s presence refreshes us with his healing and restoration. When we trust and obey God (Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:1-15), he heals our body and refreshes our bones (Mishley / Proverbs 3:8). He satisfies the weary and the languishing with his goodness (Jeremiah 31:2). He makes all things new and wipes away every tear from our eyes (Revelation 21:4-5). All of these things reveal to us how God’s presence is refreshing because he is the source of all life, beauty, and glory. He is the living and true God, who created and sustains all things by his power and wisdom. He is the faithful and loving God, who redeemed and saved us in His Son Yeshua the Messiah. He is the holy and majestic God, who reigns and judges with righteousness and justice. To be in his presence is to be in the presence of the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who is worthy of all honor, praise, and worship!