Table of Contents
Introduction to Isaiah 41:25-29
Isaiah chapter 41 involves pronouncing judgment upon the false gods of the nations and in the process of judging these gods the Lord God challenges them to produce evidence for their ability to predict the future. We note that the challenge involves something that God has already done and so He is challenging the gods of the nations to do the same. The reason for these challenges is due to the major problems the ancient Israelites and Judeans had in relation to serving the God of Israel vs the gods of the nations. According to the Torah, the forefathers made a covenant with God, and this covenant stipulates that there shall be no other gods before the God of Israel. If the people choose to follow the practices and religions of the nations to adopt their gods and their ways, then this will lead to consequences and judgment. (Devarim / Deuteronomy 28). The Lord God in His mercy brought many prophets to repeatedly warn the people to repent and turn from their idolatry. The problem was that the people mostly ignored God’s prophets and suffered the consequences.
It is difficult to estimate the population statistics of the world who served these false gods at that time of Isaiah since there is no reliable census data for most regions and peoples. However, based on some historical estimates of world population, we can make some rough calculations. (Historical Estimates of World Population (census.gov)) Assuming that the world population in 600-700 BC was around 200-250 million, and that the population of Israel and Judah was around 2-3 million, we can infer that less than 2% of the world population was under a covenant agreement to worship the God of Israel alone. The rest of the world population was likely divided among various polytheistic religions, such as those of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, Persia, India, China, India, and others. Some of these religions had hundreds or even thousands of gods and goddesses, while others had a more limited pantheon. Therefore, it is impossible to give an exact number or percentage of how many people served false gods at that time, but it is safe to say that it was the vast majority of the world population. When we perform a comparison between the God of Israel in the Bible, and the world religions, we see how it is the Creator God who gives us rights and liberties as human beings. Note that the world religions involved human rights infringements due to Human sacrifice being involved in many ancient religions that worshiped false gods. Human sacrifice was practiced by cultures such as the Aztecs, the Maya, the Inca, the Egyptians, the Mesopotamians, the Canaanites, the Phoenicians, and others. Human sacrifice was typically intended to bring good fortune and to pacify the gods, for example in the context of the dedication of a new temple or bridge. Fertility was another common theme in ancient religious sacrifices, such as sacrifices to the Aztec god of agriculture Xipe Totec. Human sacrifice was also used as a form of expiation or punishment for sins or crimes. The One True God, the God of Israel, however, does not delight in human sacrifice or bloodshed. He is a God of justice and mercy, who desires obedience and love rather than ritual killing. He himself provided the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of humanity by sending his Son Yeshua HaMashiach to lay his life down willingly on our behalf, paying a penalty for sin that he did not commit. Through faith in Yeshua, we can be forgiven and reconciled to God, without having to offer any other sacrifice. This is the good news of the gospel that sets us free from the bondage of false gods and their demands. We note how the Torah commands set us free to live and bring glory to God. Sin on the other hand binds us up.
How does Sin Bind Us Up?
- Sin separates us from God, who is holy and righteous. Sin is anything that goes against God’s will and character, and it creates a barrier between us and him. Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”
- Sin enslaves us to its power and influence. Sin is not just an action, but a condition of our hearts. Romans 6:16 says, “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?”
- Sin blinds us to the truth and reality of God. Sin deceives us and makes us think that we can live without God or that we know better than him. Sin also hardens our hearts and makes us resistant to his grace and correction. 2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
- Sin wounds us and causes pain and suffering. Sin affects not only our relationship with God, but also with ourselves and others. Sin brings guilt, shame, fear, anger, bitterness, resentment, and other negative emotions that harm us emotionally. Sin also leads to physical, mental, and spiritual consequences that can be devastating. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The Pagan understanding of history and predicting the future is related to the concept of there being a connection of the past to the future. For example, it is believed that the past dictates the future, and there are repetitive cycles that exist, and this pattern goes on forever unchanging. Note that there are some who believe this is what the narrative in the book of Revelation is showing, a repetitive cycle of events and not a unique prediction of future events. Run from such people who believe and teach these things since they are of a Pagan origin! The reason we know this is because of what Isaiah is saying here in Isaiah 41:1-29, God is challenging the gods of the nations to predict the future, to speak of something that has never happened before just as He has done! Pagans look for ways to predict the future that are congruent with the past (repetitive cycles) while the God of Israel in His power to transform lives determines that our past will not control our future! We note this is the nature of the Lord God setting us free from our past and helping us to turn from our wicked ways to walk in His holy and righteous ways! Based upon the Isaiah text, the gods are absolutely helpless to predict the future. This is the weakness of the Pagan understanding of Scripture, and of belief in the false gods of the nations. We note the significance of the following questions:
What kind of God is he who knows what Has Not happened Yet?
What kind of God is he who can explain the first principles of existence?
Notice how these questions identify the God of Israel as being completely separate and external to the creation itself as being the author of Life itself! The God of Israel is the One who provided the details and specifications of creation and for life itself! This is what God says in the Isaiah text that He is “the first and the last” (Isaiah 41:4, 44:6, 48:12), it is because He is the beginning and the end of all things! The conclusion of these things lead us to understand the problem with sin, and how we are not to be complacent and slack in the effort to pursue God our Father in heaven, and Yeshua the Messiah for the forgiveness and removal of sin in our lives. This is important because the Torah states that if we are complacent and slack, uncaring concerning our sins, this puts our families at risk too if we are unwilling to put away sin. This is all the more reason why we need to open our bibles, study God’s holy word, get right with the Lord, and be prepared for what is coming! What Isaiah is teaching us and emphasizing for us today is to seek to walk in righteousness and holiness and truth according to God’s word, and seek the God of Israel and His Messiah for help to do so. To seek the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit, and help us to keep the faith in Yeshua God’s Son walking in the footsteps of the Messiah!
Masoretic Text (MSS) on Isaiah 41:25-29
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 41:25-26.
ספר ישעיה פרק מא
כה הַעִירוֹתִי מִצָּפוֹן וַיַּאת מִמִּזְרַח-שֶׁמֶשׁ יִקְרָא בִשְׁמִי וְיָבֹא סְגָנִים כְּמוֹ-חֹמֶר וּכְמוֹ יוֹצֵר יִרְמָס-טִיט: כו מִי-הִגִּיד מֵרֹאשׁ וְנֵדָעָה וּמִלְּפָנִים וְנֹאמַר צַדִּיק אַף אֵין-מַגִּיד אַף אֵין מַשְׁמִיעַ אַף אֵין-שֹׁמֵעַ אִמְרֵיכֶם:
Isaiah 41:25 states, “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. (הַעִירוֹתִי מִצָּפוֹן וַיַּאת מִמִּזְרַח-שֶׁמֶשׁ יִקְרָא בִשְׁמִי וְיָבֹא סְגָנִים כְּמוֹ-חֹמֶר וּכְמוֹ יוֹצֵר יִרְמָס-טִיט)” Isaiah 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. (מִי-הִגִּיד מֵרֹאשׁ וְנֵדָעָה וּמִלְּפָנִים וְנֹאמַר צַדִּיק אַף אֵין-מַגִּיד אַף אֵין מַשְׁמִיעַ אַף אֵין-שֹׁמֵעַ אִמְרֵיכֶם)”
Cross References: 2 Sa 22:43; 1 Ki 18:26; 2 Ch 36:23; Ezr 1:2–4; Ps 44:5; Is 5:5; 10:6; 41:2, 4, 22; 42:9; 43:9; 44:7; 45:3, 21; 46:10–11; 48:3, 14; 52:6; Je 50:3, 9, 41; 51:48; Mic 7:10; Na 3:14; Hab 2:18–19; Zec 10:5
We note again how these verses are part of a larger section of Isaiah scriptures that challenge the idols and false gods of the nations. We note some difficulties with the text, which involves the words יִקְרָא בִשְׁמִי “he will call upon my name.” The reason these words are so difficult is because of whom these words refer to in the near historical perspective, King Cyrus. The question then is does King Cyrus actually call upon the name of God? There is no record of him doing so. The point is that there is no archeological evidence nor biblical evidence that the king had called upon the name of God. We do note something however in the book of Ezra according to Ezra 1:1-4.
ספר עזרא פרק א
א וּבִשְׁנַת אַחַת לְכוֹרֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ פָּרַס לִכְלוֹת דְּבַר-יְהֹוָה מִפִּי יִרְמְיָה הֵעִיר יְהֹוָה אֶת-רוּחַ כֹּרֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ-פָּרַס וַיַּעֲבֶר-קוֹל בְּכָל-מַלְכוּתוֹ וְגַם-בְּמִכְתָּב לֵאמֹר: ב כֹּה אָמַר כֹּרֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ פָּרַס כֹּל מַמְלְכוֹת הָאָרֶץ נָתַן לִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי הַשָּׁמָיִם וְהוּא-פָקַד עָלַי לִבְנוֹת-לוֹ בַיִת בִּירוּשָׁלַם אֲשֶׁר בִּיהוּדָה: ג מִי-בָכֶם מִכָּל-עַמּוֹ יְהִי אֱלֹהָיו עִמּוֹ וְיַעַל לִירוּשָׁלַם אֲשֶׁר בִּיהוּדָה וְיִבֶן אֶת-בֵּית יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר בִּירוּשָׁלָם: ד וְכָל-הַנִּשְׁאָר מִכָּל-הַמְּקֹמוֹת אֲשֶׁר הוּא גָר-שָׁם יְנַשְּׂאוּהוּ אַנְשֵׁי מְקֹמוֹ בְּכֶסֶף וּבְזָהָב וּבִרְכוּשׁ וּבִבְהֵמָה עִם-הַנְּדָבָה לְבֵית הָאֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר בִּירוּשָׁלָם:
1:1 NOW in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 1:2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 1:3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. 1:4 And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem. (KJV 1900)
Here according to Ezra he says that Cyrus the king of Persia was motivated to declare כֹּל מַמְלְכוֹת הָאָרֶץ נָתַן לִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי הַשָּׁמָיִם “The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth” suggesting that He was aware that God had given him his position and power to conquer the kingdoms of the earth. This perhaps is what Isaiah is prophesying of in regards to the one calling upon the name of God. We note how Cyrus destroyed Babylonian rule, and then allowed God’s people to return to the Promised Land of Israel. (Isaiah 44:28, 45:1-4) So, we note how Cyrus foreshadowed the true Messiah of God in some of the things that he did. We note the similarities or the parallels that are laid out in the Isaiah text concerning the messianic figure.
Parallels or Similarities in the Messianic Figures
- Being chosen and empowered by God to accomplish his purpose (Isaiah 41:2, 42:1).
- Being called by God’s name and acting as his representatives (Isaiah 41:25, 49:3).
- Being victorious over their enemies and bringing salvation to God’s people (Isaiah 41:2-3, 52:13-53:12).
Differences between the Messiah Sent of God and Cyrus
- Cyrus is a human king who rules by military force and political power (Isaiah 41:2-3, 45:1-4).
- Cyrus is a Gentile who does not know God personally (Isaiah 45:4-5).
- Cyrus is a temporal deliverer who frees the Jews from physical captivity (Isaiah 45:13).
- Yeshua is the divine Son of God who rules by grace and truth (Isaiah 9:6-7, 42:1-4, John 1:1-14).
- Yeshua is a Jew who reveals God to the world (Isaiah 49:6; John 1:18).
- Yeshua is called an eternal redeemer who frees the people from spiritual bondage (Isaiah 53:4-6, John 8:36).
We also note that these verses (Isaiah 41:25-26) are not directly quoted or applied to Yeshua in the New Testament, but they are part of the background and context of the messianic expectation that Yeshua fulfills. The New Testament writers often use the language and imagery of Isaiah to describe Yeshua and his ministry that fit within the pattern of the Messianic Expectation. Take for example, Yeshua is called the light of the world who shines in the darkness (compare Isaiah 9:2 and John 8:12). Yeshua is called the servant of the LORD who suffers for the sins of the people (compare Isaiah 53:4-6 and Mark 10:45). Yeshua is the cornerstone who is rejected by the builders (compare Isaiah 28:16 and Matthew 21:42). Yeshua is the one who calls upon God’s name and does His will (compare Isaiah 41:25 and John 17:6). Yeshua is the one who comes with power and glory to judge the nations and save his people (compare Isaiah 40:10-11 and Revelation 19:11-16). In addition to these things, the verses from Isaiah 41:25-26 are also used in the Tanakh to demonstrate the contrast between the power and authority of the true God to the false gods of the nations. To summarize again, the idols of the nations are unable to predict or control the future, and they are powerless and worthless (Isaiah 41:23-24). The Lord God of Israel on the other hand knows the end from the beginning, and he accomplishes his plan through his chosen agent, Cyrus (Isaiah 41:25-26). In Isaiah 41 the Lord God of Israel challenges the idols and their worshippers to prove their divinity by declaring what will happen and bringing it to pass (Isaiah 41:21-22), this is the delineating factor that establishes the God of Israel as Lord over all! The God of Israel also invites His people to trust in Him and not to fear, for He is with them and will help them (Isaiah 41:10-14) and He has provided historical evidence as a basis for trusting in Him. The conclusions that we obtain from these verses (Isaiah 41:25-26) is to expect that the Lord God will raise up His deliverer and be God’s instrument for deliverance and salvation. We note that Cyrus is a type of Mashiakh, but he does not fulfill the prophecies in Isaiah in the deeper way as Yeshua does according to the NT text. We also note that Isaiah is predicting these events of King Cyrus 160 years in advance (John Oswalt) with stunning accuracy, this is evidence in and of itself of the power of God over history. We note that the challenges to the idols of the nations is supported by the historical proof of the Scriptures, these things should lead everyone who read these texts and study the archeological evidence to have faith in the Almighty God of Israel. History bears record of the power of God. Similarly, in our lives, as witnesses bearing the testimony of God in our lives, again what we find here is a consistent historical record of the power of God in our lives. The evidence for these things is how God transforms us from the inside out for His glory, and for His service. Our lives parallel these things that we are reading here in the Scriptures. If we say we have faith and our lives do not parallel these things, then we should ask the question whether we truly believe in the God of Israel and in His Messiah Yeshua? Faith also involves being faithful, which is the earmark of our faith, when we actually live our lives for the Lord according to His word for His glory! Again, this is how God bears testimony of His great power, it is through the lives of His people!
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 41:27.
ספר ישעיה פרק מא
כז רִאשׁוֹן לְצִיּוֹן הִנֵּה הִנָּם וְלִירוּשָׁלַם מְבַשֵּׂר אֶתֵּן:
Isaiah 41:27 states, “The first shall say to Zion, Behold, behold them: and I will give to Jerusalem one that bringeth good tidings. (רִאשׁוֹן לְצִיּוֹן הִנֵּה הִנָּם וְלִירוּשָׁלַם מְבַשֵּׂר אֶתֵּן)”
Cross References: Is 40:9; 41:4; 44:28; 48:3–8, 16; 51:12; 52:7; Na 1:15
We note something here in Isaiah 41:27 in the Hebrew bible and the word מְבַשֵּׂר which is a participle singular absolute, from the root word בשׂר meaning “news; herald of good tidings; tell, announce; receive good news.” This word connects us to the NT text in the gospel of Mark when we are told that Yeshua is the one who is being spoken of here, the one who brings good news to Zion and Jerusalem. The Gospel of Mark begins his book with a quotation from Isaiah 40:3 and 41:27.
1:1 THE beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; 1:2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 1:3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. (KJV Ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ [υἱοῦ θεοῦ]. Καθὼς γέγραπται ἐν τῷ Ἠσαΐᾳ τῷ προφήτῃ· ἰδοὺ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὸ προσώπου σου, ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου· φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ· ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν κυρίου, εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ,)
40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (KJV קָל דְמַכלֵי בְמַדבְרָא פַנֹו אֹורחָא קֳדָם עַמָא דַיוי כְבִישוּ בְמֵישְרָא כִבשִין קֳדָם כְנִשתָא דַאְלָהַנָא׃)
41:27 The first shall say to Zion, Behold, behold them: And I will give to Jerusalem one that bringeth good tidings. (KJV פִתגָמֵי נַחָמָתָא דְאִתנַבִיוּ נְבִיַיָא מִלְקַדמִין עַל צִיֹון הָא אְתֹו וְלִירוּשלַם מְבַסַר אַתֵן׃)
Notice how Mark portrays Yeshua as the one who fulfills the prophecies of Isaiah bing the one who proclaims the good news, the suffering servant (Isaiah 53) and the light to the nations. (Isaiah 42:6) Again we note how this follows from the idea that Isaiah 41:1-29 is a challenge to the idols of the nations to prove their power in knowing the future. Here the Lord God is declaring the future characteristics of His Mashiakh. In the Jewish tradition, this verse is also interpreted messianically, as referring to the future redemption of Israel by the Messiah. Some rabbis identify the messenger of good news as Elijah, who is expected to announce the coming of the Messiah. Others see the messenger as the Messiah himself, who will restore the glory of Zion and Jerusalem. We note how historically the God of Israel established His authority and His word to do what He said He would do. This is something the gods of the nations could not do. This is the context of Zion and Jerusalem in regards to the messenger God is raising to bring good news. He comes in the power and authority of God! Note this is also how the Targum and the Septuagint understand.
The LXX translates saying, 27 ἀρχὴν Σιων δώσω καὶ Ιερουσαλημ παρακαλέσω εἰς ὁδόν. 27 I will give dominion to Zion, and I will encourage Jerusalem. (LES) and the Targum states, כז פִתגָמֵי נַחָמָתָא דְאִתנַבִיוּ נְבִיַיָא מִלְקַדמִין עַל צִיֹון הָא אְתֹו וְלִירוּשלַם מְבַסַר אַתֵן׃ 41:27 The words of consolation which the prophets prophesied from of old concerning Zion, behold, they shall come to pass! and unto Jerusalem I will give one that bringeth good tidings. (TgJ) The LXX indicates how God has concern for Zion and Jerusalem. The Targum emphasizes how God has give His prophetic words to the prophets and states that God’s word will come to pass. The LXX and TgJ differ in some details in comparison to the Hebrew text. The Hebrew Bible says that God was the first to say to Zion, הִנֵּה הִנָּם “Behold, behold them!” and to Jerusalem, וְלִירוּשָׁלַם מְבַשֵּׂר אֶתֵּן “I will give a messenger of good news.” These things imply in the near future context that God announced the return of the exiles from Babylon before anyone else, and that he sent a prophet to proclaim the good news of their restoration. The Targum speaks of the words of consolation that the prophets prophesied from of old concerning Zion, הָא אְתֹו “Behold, they shall come to pass!” and to Jerusalem, וְלִירוּשלַם מְבַסַר אַתֵן “I will give one that brings good news.” This implies that the prophets predicted the return of the exiles from Babylon long ago, and that God fulfilled their words by sending a messenger of good news. The Septuagint states that God will first give notice to Zion, and will comfort Jerusalem by the way. This implies that God will inform Zion of his plan to restore the exiles from Babylon, and will comfort Jerusalem along the way. Again all of these things speak to the loving God that we serve and provide material and historical reasons to trust and believe in Him!
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 41:28-29.
ספר ישעיה פרק מא
כח וְאֵרֶא וְאֵין אִישׁ וּמֵאֵלֶּה וְאֵין יוֹעֵץ וְאֶשְׁאָלֵם וְיָשִׁיבוּ דָבָר: כט הֵן כֻּלָּם אָוֶן אֶפֶס מַעֲשֵֹיהֶם רוּחַ וָתֹהוּ נִסְכֵּיהֶם
Isaiah 41:28 states, “For I beheld, and there was no man; even among them, and there was no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word. (וְאֵרֶא וְאֵין אִישׁ וּמֵאֵלֶּה וְאֵין יוֹעֵץ וְאֶשְׁאָלֵם וְיָשִׁיבוּ דָבָר)” Isaiah 41:29 “Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion. (הֵן כֻּלָּם אָוֶן אֶפֶס מַעֲשֵֹיהֶם רוּחַ וָתֹהוּ נִסְכֵּיהֶם)”
Cross References: 1 Sa 12:21; 1 Ki 18:26; Ps 22:11; Is 2:8; 17:8; 37:19; 40:13–14; 41:12, 21–24; 44:9; 46:7; 50:2; 59:16; 63:5; 64:7; 65:12; 66:4; Je 5:13; 25:4; Eze 22:30
These verses here are the conclusion of God’s challenge to the idols and to those who worship idols in relation to the one whom God is going to raise up as a deliverer. This is in reference to King Cyrus who would deliver Israel from Babylon (Isaiah 41:1-7, 41:21-27) The contrast again is to the idols that are nothing, they are just wood, stone, and metal. We note in Isaiah 41:28, the word for “man” (איש) can also mean “husband,” which implies that the idols behave like unfaithful spouses who cannot give counsel or comfort to their lovers. If anyone has had experience with an unfaithful spouse, one can grasp the concept of the futility of the relationship, and it is in this same vein of thought that Isaiah is contrasting the futility of the idols and the faithfulness of God. The Lord God Almighty chose Israel as His servant, and will not forsake them but will strengthen them and help them against their enemies (Isaiah 41:8-20, 41:30-31). In Isaiah 41:29, the word און is translated as “vanity,” however, this word can also mean “iniquity” or “wickedness,” which implies that the idols are not only useless, but also evil and corrupt. Idolatry promotes ungodliness and wickedness; this is apparent in our culture today! Also, in Isaiah 41:29 the word רוח for “wind” can also be a reference to “spirit” or “breath” and the idea of “wind and confusion” implies that idols have no life or power of their own but depend on their makers or worshippers. Isaiah 41:28-29 fits into the narrative of Isaiah 41:1-29 by declaring to Zion and Jerusalem that there will be a future deliverer. All of these concepts lead to a transition to what God is going to declare in the next chapter, that He Himself is the first and the last and the only true God! This is historically established in two ways, one by the Lord God calling and anointing Cyrus for His purpose, to deliver Israel, and to bring glory to His name through him (see Isaiah 42:1-9, 44:24-45:13), and two by bringing His Son Yeshua the Messiah into the world, to lay his life down on our behalf and so to deliver and save us from our sins.
The conclusion of Isaiah 41:1-29, the text shows us that God is the only One who can reveal the future and bring it to pass, unlike the idol gods of the nations who are worthless and powerless. The God of Israel is the source of all wisdom and knowledge, and he alone is the One who plans and provides direction and purpose for His people. This chapter sets the stage for the introduction of God’s deliverer with more prophetic texts that are used in the NT. God introduces Cyrus as the one whom God has called and anointed for a particular mission (Isaiah 45:1). Cyrus will fulfill God’s word and be a blessing to God’s people and the nations. (Isaiah 44:28-45:6) Isaiah 41:1-29 contrasts the futility of the idol worship with the faithfulness of God, who has chosen Israel as his servant and will not forsake them, but will strengthen them and help them against their enemies. We are told that the Lord God Almighty will renew their strength and enable them to soar like eagles (Isaiah 40:31). HaShem will also raise up another servant, who will be his witness and light to the nations (Isaiah 42:1-9). Isaiah in chapter 41 is beginning to lay out the characteristics of the Messiah of God preparing the way for the climax of the narrative, where God will reveal his glory and salvation through the suffering and death of his servant, who will bear the sins of many and make intercession for them (Isaiah 53). We note the historical context, the servant will be despised and rejected by men, but will be exalted and honored by God (Isaiah 52:13-53:12). The servant will be the ultimate deliverer and redeemer of Israel and the world from sin and death, something no other deliverer has done nor will ever due, this is something only Yeshua the Messiah has done!
Rabbinic Commentary on Isaiah 41:25-29
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:כה-כט
כה אַיתִי בִגלַאי מַלַך דְתַקִיף כְרוּחַ צִיפוּנָא וְיֵיתֵי כְמִפַק שִמשָא בִגבוּרְתֵיה מִמַדנְחָא אְגַבְרִנֵיה בִשמִי וְיֵיתֵי וִידוּש שִלטֹונֵי עַמְמַיָא כְמָא דְדָיְשִין יָת עַפרָא וּכפַחָרָא דְעָרֵיך יָת טִינָא׃ כו מַן חַוִי מִן אַולָא וְנִידַע וּמִלְקַדמִין וְנֵימַר קְשֹוט אַף לֵית דִמחַוֵי אַף לֵית דִמבַסַר אַף לֵית דְשָמַע לְמִלֵיכֹון׃ כז פִתגָמֵי נַחָמָתָא דְאִתנַבִיוּ נְבִיַיָא מִלְקַדמִין עַל צִיֹון הָא אְתֹו וְלִירוּשלַם מְבַסַר אַתֵן׃ כח וּגלֵי קֳדָמַי וְלֵית גְבַר דְלֵיה עוּבָדִין טָבִין וּמֵאִלֵין וְלֵית דְמָלֵיך מֵילַך וּשאֵילתִינוּן אִם יָתִיבוּן פִתגָם׃ כט הָא כוּלְהֹון לָמָא וְלָא מִדָעַם עוּבָדֵיהֹון בִזָא וּתבָרָא עַשתֹונֵיהֹון׃
Targum Jonathan son of Uziel Isaiah 41:25-29
41:25 I will certainly bring a king who is mightier than the north wind, and he shall go forth as the going forth of the sun in might from the east: I will strengthen him by my name, and he shall come, and tread the rulers of the nations under foot, as those who tread the dust under foot, as the potter who prepares the clay. 41:26 Who hath declared this from the beginning that we should know it? and beforetime, that we may say, It is true? Yea, there was none that foretold it; yea, none that declared it; yea, none that heard your words. 41:27 The words of consolation which the prophets prophesied from of old concerning Zion, behold, they shall come to pass! and unto Jerusalem I will give one that bringeth good tidings. 41:28 And it was made known to me, that there was no man whose works were good, and of these there was none who would take counsel, that I should ask them, and they would answer a word. 41:29 Behold, all of them are nothing, and their work less than nothing: their thoughts are plunder and destruction. (TgJ)
Isaiah continues saying the following according to the Targum Jonathan in Isaiah 41:25, כה אַיתִי בִגלַאי מַלַך דְתַקִיף כְרוּחַ צִיפוּנָא וְיֵיתֵי כְמִפַק שִמשָא בִגבוּרְתֵיה מִמַדנְחָא אְגַבְרִנֵיה בִשמִי וְיֵיתֵי וִידוּש שִלטֹונֵי עַמְמַיָא כְמָא דְדָיְשִין יָת עַפרָא וּכפַחָרָא דְעָרֵיך יָת טִינָא׃ 41:25 I will certainly bring a king who is mightier than the north wind, and he shall go forth as the going forth of the sun in might from the east: I will strengthen him by my name, and he shall come, and tread the rulers of the nations under foot, as those who tread the dust under foot, as the potter who prepares the clay. (TgJ) Here the TgJ translation differs from the Hebrew bible in several ways that are quite significant. The TgJ uses the Aramaic word מַלַך (king) to describe the person who comes from the north and the east. This may imply that the targum interprets this person as a specific king, rather than a general agent of God.This is a significant point the TgJ is drawing out. In addition, the TgJ adds the phrase “I will strengthen him by my name” to the end of the first clause, which is not found in the Hebrew Bible. This may suggest that the targum views this person as having a special relationship with God and being empowered by his name. Again, this is a significant point that provides us with additional insights into the Anointed One whom God would bring into this world for His people. The TgJ adds the phrase “as the potter who prepares the clay” to the end of the second clause, which is not found in the Hebrew Bible. This may imply that the targum sees this person as having a creative and transformative role in shaping the destiny of the nations. If we take the interpretation from the TgJ as it stands, there are direct parallels to Yeshua the Messiah as we can see according to both the NT text and historically how significantly he has influenced nations, tribes, and people! The implications of these things are that this king can be seen as a type or a foreshadowing of the Messiah of God in both character and relationship. We note the concepts here how Yeshua was mightier than the wind and the sun, because he could command the wind and the weather to obey His will, this is because he was strengthened by God’s name, just as we see the Targum description of these things. We also note that this Messianic King will defeat the enemies of God and establish justice and righteousness on earth, this is paralleled to what Yeshua does, how each man, woman, and child are transformed on the inside, and brings peace to one’s heart and between peoples and nations. In addition, This King Messiah will work with God to fulfill His plan and purpose for the world, and who will share in His glory and honor. Again, we see the direct parallels to the Messiah Yeshua. Note also what Rashi has to say concerning these things in His commentary.
Rashi on Isaiah 41:25 Part 1-3
העירותי מצפון ויאת. אני מגיד העתידות הנני מעיר לבנות חרבות ירושלם את כורש מצפון ויאת את בבל להחריבה:
I have aroused from the north and he came I tell the future events. Behold I arouse Cyrus from the north to build the ruins of Jerusalem, and he came upon Babylon to destroy it.
ממזרח שמש, יקרא בשמי. כל ממלכות הארץ נתן לי ה’ אלהי השמים (עזרא א׳:ב׳) ונראה שארץ פרס במזרחית צפונית היא לארץ ישראל, ד”א העירותי מצפון את נבוכדנצר להחריב את עירי ויאת, וכורש העירותי ממזרח שיקרא בשמי לבנות את עירי שמלכות פרס ממזרח ארץ ישראל היא שנא’ ראיתי את האיל וגו’ וי”ת אייתיתי בגלאי מלך דתקוף מרוח צפונא וייתי כמפק שמשא בגבורתיה ממדינתא אגבריני’ בשמי:
from the rising of the sun he shall call in My name (Ezra 1:2) “All the kingdoms of the earth has the Lord God of the heavens given me.” And it appears that Persia is northeast of Eretz Israel. Another explanation is: I aroused Nebuchadnezzar from the north to destroy My city, and he came, and I aroused Cyrus from the east, that he call in My name to build My city, for the kingdom of Persia is east of Eretz Israel, as it is stated (Dan. 8:4): “I saw the ram butting etc.” [This verse in Daniel proves it. “I saw the ram butting to the west and to the north and to the south.” We deduce that he came from the east.] Jonathan paraphrases: I brought speedily a king, strong as the north wind, and he will come as the sun comes out with its might from the east; I will strengthen him with My name.
ויבא סגנים. ויבא על מלך בבל ועל שריו כאשר בא לרמוס על חומר וכמו יוצר חרשים ירמוס טיט לכלי חרס כן ירמוס הוא סגנים:
and he shall come [upon] princes And he shall come upon the king of Babylon and upon his princes as he would come to trample upon mire, and as a potter tramples clay for earthenware vessels, so will he trample the princes.
Here Rashi speaks of Cyrus as the one who God had brought from the north to destroy the pagan nation Babylon. We note the declaration in Ezra 1:2 how Cyrus states “All the kingdoms of the earth has the Lord God of the heavens given me,” there is a parallel to Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (KJV) This again is a significant parallel to Yeshua and what we read in the NT text. Rashi draws in the prophetic messages of Daniel and speaks of the conquering king who comes in the name of God. Remember that these things all have various details that Cyrus himself did not fulfill. This leaves room for another King whom God would bring, providing us with a future expectation of someone else other than Cyrus.
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 41:26, כו מַן חַוִי מִן אַולָא וְנִידַע וּמִלְקַדמִין וְנֵימַר קְשֹוט אַף לֵית דִמחַוֵי אַף לֵית דִמבַסַר אַף לֵית דְשָמַע לְמִלֵיכֹון׃ 41:26 Who hath declared this from the beginning that we should know it? and beforetime, that we may say, It is true? Yea, there was none that foretold it; yea, none that declared it; yea, none that heard your words. (TgJ) The verse from the Targum Jonathan on Isaiah 41:26 differ from the Hebrew Bible in the following way: The TgJ uses the word חַוִי (khavi) instead of הִגִּ֤יד (higid), which means “to show” or “to reveal” instead of “to declare” or “to tell.” The TgJ also adds the word אַולָא (aula) after מִן (min), which means “from the beginning” or “from the first.” This word is not present in the Hebrew Bible. The word קְשֹוט (keshot) is used instead of צַדִּ֑יק (tzadik), which means “honesty” or “right” instead of “righteous.” This word is also used in the previous verse (41:25) to describe the one who calls upon God’s name from the east. The word מִלֵיכֹון (milekhon) is also used instead of אִמְרֵיכֶֽם (imreikhem), which means “word” or “thing” instead of “your words.” This word is a plural form of מִלְתָא (milta), which means “word” or “matter” in Aramaic. Rashi writes the following concerning this verse:
Rashi on Isaiah 41:26 Parts 1-3
מי. מנביאי הבעל הגיד כמוני דבר העתיד לבוא, ומי מלפנים הגידה ולכשתבא נאמר שהיא צדיק שנבואתו צדק:
Who of the prophets of Baal told, like me, a thing destined to come, and who told it from before, that when it comes we will say that he is just, that his prophecy is just?
אף אין מגיד. אבל אין בכם שיגיד עתידות ותתקיים:
Not one told But there is none among you who will foretell the future and that it will come true.
אף אין שומע אמריכם. שיעיד בבא עתידה פלוני נביא הבעל נבא אותה מלפנים:
not one hears your statements Who will testify when the future comes, that so and so the prophet of the Baal prophesied this from before.
Here Rashi focuses upon the prophets of Baal and questions who of the prophets actually were able to predict the future? We note how this reminds us of Elijah’s encounter with the prophets of Baal on mount carmel. Elijah’s encounter with Baal on Mount Carmel is recorded in the Tanakh in 1 Kings 18:16-45. The story tells how Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a contest to prove whose god was real and powerful. He asked them to prepare a bull as a sacrifice and call on their god to send fire from heaven to consume it. The prophets of Baal prayed and cried out to their god from morning until evening, but nothing happened. Elijah mocked them and said that maybe their god was busy, sleeping, or traveling. Then Elijah prepared another bull and placed it on an altar of stones. He poured water over the sacrifice and the wood, making a trench around the altar. He called on the name of the Lord God of Israel and asked him to answer by fire. Immediately, the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the water in the trench. The people responded in the following way: “When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, ‘The Lord, he is God! The Lord, he is God!’” (1 Kings 18:39) Elijah then ordered them to seize and kill the prophets of Baal. He also prayed for rain to end the drought that had lasted for three years, and the Lord sent a heavy rain. The context is that Baal did not answer because he is a false god that is only wood and stone, and it is within this context that Isaiah is speaking and Rashi interprets the prophets of Baal cannot predict the future like the God of Israel.
Isaiah continues in the TgJ saying the following according to Isaiah 41:27, כז פִתגָמֵי נַחָמָתָא דְאִתנַבִיוּ נְבִיַיָא מִלְקַדמִין עַל צִיֹון הָא אְתֹו וְלִירוּשלַם מְבַסַר אַתֵן׃ 41:27 The words of consolation which the prophets prophesied from of old concerning Zion, behold, they shall come to pass! and unto Jerusalem I will give one that bringeth good tidings. (TgJ) These words from the TgJ different from the Hebrew bible in the following ways: the TgJ uses the phrase פִתגָמֵי נַחָמָתָא דְאִתנַבִיוּ נְבִיַיָא מִלְקַדמִין (pitgamei nachamata de-itnaviu neviaya mil-kadmin), which means “the words of consolation which the prophets prophesied from of old,” instead of the Hebrew phrase רִאשֹׁ֣ון לְצִיֹּ֔ון הֵ֥ן הֵ֖נָּם (rishon le-tzion hen hennam), which means “the first to Zion, behold, they are here.” The rabbis in translating the Hebrew bible modify the subject of the sentence from God to the prophets, and the object from Zion to the words of consolation or prophecy. The word עַל (al) is used, which means “concerning” or “about,” placed before צִיֹון (Zion). This clarifies that the words of consolation or prophecy are about Zion, not spoken to Zion. The word אְתֹו (eto) means “they shall come to pass,” is used instead of the Hebrew word וְאֶתֵּ֥ן (ve-eten) which means “and I will give.” This changes the verb from an active to a passive voice and implies that the words of consolation are a prophecy that will be fulfilled, not a gift that will be given by God. In addition, the TgJ also uses the word מְבַסַר (mevasar), which means “one that bringeth good tidings,” which is similar to the Hebrew word מְבַשֵּֽׂר (mevaser), which means “a herald of good news.” This changes the noun from a common to a construct form and implies that the one who brings good tidings is a person, not a message. There are significant implications to these modifications that are found in the TgJ in relation to the one who brings the good tidings and there are various midrashing that draw out the significance in relation to the King Messiah whom God would bring into this world. Let’s look at a few of these Midrashing to see what they have to say concerning this verse and the King Messiah.
Bereshit Rabbah 63:8
וַיִּמְלְאוּ יָמֶיהָ לָלֶדֶת (בראשית כה, כד), לְהַלָּן חֲסֵרִים וְכָאן מְלֵאִים, לְהַלָּן כְּתִיב (בראשית לח, כז): תְאוֹמִים, פֶּרֶץ וְזֶרַח שְׁנֵיהֶם צַדִּיקִים, וְכָאן תוֹמִם, יַעֲקֹב צַדִּיק וְעֵשָׂו רָשָׁע. (בראשית כה, כה): וַיֵּצֵא הָרִאשׁוֹן אַדְמוֹנִי, אָמַר רַבִּי חַגַּי בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי יִצְחָק בִּזְכוּת (ויקרא כג, מ): וּלְקַחְתֶּם לָכֶם בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן, אֲנִי נִגְלֶה לָכֶם רִאשׁוֹן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה מד, ו): אֲנִי רִאשׁוֹן וַאֲנִי אַחֲרוֹן, וּפוֹרֵעַ לָכֶם מִן הָרִאשׁוֹן, זֶה עֵשָׂו, דִּכְתִיב: וַיֵּצֵא הָרִאשׁוֹן, וּבוֹנֶה לָכֶם רִאשׁוֹן, זֶה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ, דִּכְתִיב בֵּיהּ (ירמיה יז, יב): כִּסֵּא כָבוֹד מָרוֹם מֵרִאשׁוֹן, וְאָבִיא לָכֶם רִאשׁוֹן, זֶה מֶלֶךְ הַמָּשִׁיחַ, דִּכְתִיב בֵּיהּ (ישעיה מא, כז): רִאשׁוֹן לְצִיּוֹן הִנֵּה הִנָּם. דָּבָר אַחֵר, וַיֵּצֵא הָרִאשׁוֹן אַדְמוֹנִי, לָמָה יָצָא עֵשָׂו תְּחִלָּה כְּדֵי שֶׁיֵּצֵא הוּא וְתֵצֵא סַרְיוּתוֹ עִמּוֹ, אָמַר רַבִּי אַבָּהוּ כְּהָדֵין פָּרָבִיטָא שֶׁהוּא מְשַׁטֵּף אֶת בֵּית הַמֶּרְחָץ וְאַחַר כָּךְ מַרְחִיץ בְּנוֹ שֶׁל מֶלֶךְ, כָּךְ לָמָּה יָצָא עֵשָׂו תְּחִלָּה כְּדֵי שֶׁיֵּצֵא הוּא וְתֵצֵא סַרְיוּתוֹ עִמּוֹ. מַטְרוֹנָא שָׁאֲלָה אֶת רַבִּי יוֹסֵי בֶּן חֲלַפְתָּא אָמְרָה לֵיהּ לָמָּה יָצָא עֵשָׂו תְּחִלָּה, אָמַר לָהּ, טִפָּה רִאשׁוֹנָה שֶׁל יַעֲקֹב הָיְתָה, אָמַר לָהּ מָשָׁל אִם תַּנִּיחוּ שְׁתֵּי מַרְגָּלִיּוֹת בִּשְׁפוֹפֶרֶת אַחַת, לֹא זוֹ שֶׁאַתְּ נוֹתְנָהּ רִאשׁוֹנָה יוֹצְאָה אַחֲרוֹנָה, כָּךְ טִפָּה רִאשׁוֹנָה שֶׁל יַעֲקֹב הָיְתָה. אַדְמוֹנִי, אָמַר רַבִּי אַבָּא בַּר כַּהֲנָא כְּאִלּוּ שׁוֹפֵךְ דָּמִים, וְכֵיוָן שֶׁרָאָה שְׁמוּאֵל אֶת דָּוִד אַדְמוֹנִי, דִּכְתִיב (שמואל א טז, יב): וַיִּשְׁלַח וַיְבִיאֵהוּ וְהוּא אַדְמוֹנִי, נִתְיָרֵא וְאָמַר אַף זֶה שׁוֹפֵךְ דָּמִים כְּעֵשָׂו. אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא (שמואל א טז, יב): עִם יְפֵה עֵינַיִם, עֵשָׂו מִדַּעַת עַצְמוֹ הוּא הוֹרֵג אֲבָל זֶה מִדַּעַת סַנְהֶדְרִין הוּא הוֹרֵג. דִּקְלִיטְיָינוֹס מַלְכָּא הֲוָה רָעֵי חֲזִירִין בַּהֲדָא טְבֶרְיָה, וְכֵיוָן דַּהֲוָה מָטֵי סִדְרֵיהּ דְּרַבִּי הֲוֵי מֵינוֹקָא נָפְקִין וּמָחֲיִין לֵיהּ, לְבָתַר יוֹמִין אִיתְעֲבֵד מֶלֶךְ, נְחַת וִיתֵיב לֵיהּ בַּהֲדָא פַּנְיָיס נ”א: פַּמְיָיס, וּשְׁלַח כְּתָבִים לִטְבֶרְיָא מִפְּנֵי רַמְשָׁא דַעֲרוֹבְתָה, אֲמַר אֲנָא יָהֵיב קֵלֶווֹן דְּיֶהֱווֹן רַבְרְבָנֵי דִּיהוּדָאֵי קָיְימִין קֳדָמִי בְּצַפְרָא דְחַד בְּשַׁבָּא. פַּקְדֵּיהּ לִשְׁלִיחָא אֲמַר לֵיהּ לָא תִתֵּן יָתְהוֹן לְהוֹן אֶלָּא עִם מַטְעֲמֵי יוֹמָא דַעֲרוֹבְתָא. נְחַת רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל בַּר נַחְמָן לְמִיסְחֵי, חַמְתֵי לְרַבִּי דַּהֲוָה קָאֵים קוֹמֵי סִדְרָא רַבָּה רָאָה פָּנָיו חוֹלָנִיּוֹת, אָמַר לוֹ לָמָּה פָנֶיךָ חוֹלָנִיּוֹת, אֲמַר כֵּן וְכֵן אִשְׁתַּדַּר לִי כְּתָבִין מִן מַלְכוּתָא. אֲמַר לֵיהּ אִיתָא סְחֵי דְּבָרְיָיךְ עֲבֵיד לָנָא נִסִּין. עָלוֹן לְמִסְחֵי וַאֲתָא הָדֵין אַרְגִּינִיטוֹן מְגַחֵךְ וּמְרַקֵּד קֳדָמֵיהוֹן. בְּעָא רַבִּי דְּיִזְעוֹף בֵּיהּ, אֲמַר לֵיהּ רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל בַּר נַחְמָן רַבִּי שַׁבְקֵיהּ דְּזִמְנִין עַל נִסִּין הוּא מִתְחֲמָא. אֲמַר לֵיהּ מָרָיךְ בְּעָקָא וְאַתְּ קָאֵים גָּחֵךְ וּמְרַקֵּד. אֲמַר לְהוֹן אֲזַלוּן וְאַכְלוּן וּשְׁתוֹן וְעַבְדוּן שַׁבָּא טָבָא דְּמָרֵיכוֹן עָבֵיד לְכוֹן נִסִּין וַאֲנָא מְקִים לְכוֹן קֳדָמוֹי בְּצַפְרָא דְחַד בְּשַׁבְּתָא. בַּאֲפוּקֵי שַׁבְּתָא בָּתַר סִידְרָא, נְסַבוֹן וַאֲקִימוֹן קֳדָם פְּיָילֵי דְּפַנְיָיס. עָלוּן וְאָמְרִין לֵיהּ הָא קָיְימִין קֳדָם פְּיָילֵי. אֲמַר סִגְרוּן פְּיָילִי. נְסַבוּהוֹן וַאֲקִימוֹן עַל מְטַכְּסָא דִּמְדִינְתָּא. עָלוּן וְאָמְרִין לֵיהּ, אֲמַר אֲנָא קֵלֶווֹן אֲנָא דְּיִתְּזוּן בֵּי בַּנֵּי תְּלָתָא יוֹמֵי וְיַעֲלוּן וְיִסְחוּן וְיֶאֱתוֹן לְגַבָּאי, אֲזַלוּן וְאִתְּזוּן בֵּי בַּנֵּי תְּלָתָא יוֹמִין וְעָאל חַד אַרְגִינִיטוֹן וּמוֹזְגָהּ קֳדָמֵיהוֹן וְעָלוּ וּסְחוּן וַאֲתוֹן לְגַבֵּיהּ. אֲמַר לְהוֹן בְּגִין דְּאַתּוּן יָדְעִין דֵּאלָהֵיכוֹן עָבֵיד לְכוֹן נִסִּין אַתּוּן מְקִילִין לְמַלְכָּא. אָמְרִין לֵיהּ לְדִיקְלֵיטְיָינוֹס רָעֵי חֲזִירִין אֲקֵילֵינַן, בְּרַם לְדִיקְלֵיטְיָינוּס מַלְכָּא אֲנַן מְשֻׁעְבָּדִים. אֲמַר לְהוֹן אֲפִלּוּ כֵּן לָא תִבְזוֹן לָא בְּרוֹמִי זְעֵיר וְלָא בְּגוּלְיָיר זְעֵיר. (בראשית כה, כה): כֻּלּוֹ כְּאַדֶּרֶת שֵׂעָר, אָמַר רַבִּי חֲנִינָה כֻּלּוֹ רָאוּי לְאַדֶּרֶת. רַבָּנָן דָּרוֹמָאֵי בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי אֲלֶכְּסַנְדְּרִי וְרַחֲבָה בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי אַבָּא בַּר כַּהֲנָא אָמַר יָצָא כֻּלּוֹ מְפֹזָר וּמְפֹרָד כְּאַדֶּרֶת, לִזְרוֹתוֹ כְּמוֹץ וּכְקַשׁ מֵאִדְּרָא, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (דניאל ב, לה): בֵּאדַיִן דָּקוּ כַחֲדָה פַּרְזְלָא וגו’ וַהֲווֹ כְּעוּר מִן אִדְּרֵי קַיִט, רַבִּי חֲנִינָא בַּר יִצְחָק אָמַר מִי גָרַם לָהֶם לְהֵעָשׂוֹת כְּעוּר, מִן אִדְּרֵי קַיִט, עַל שֶׁפָּשְׁטוּ יְדֵיהֶם בָּאַדִּירִים. (בראשית כה, כה): וַיִּקְרְאוּ שְׁמוֹ עֵשָׂו, הֵא שָׁוְא שֶׁבָּרָאתִי בְּעוֹלָמִי. אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק אַתּוּן קְרֵיתוּן לַחֲזִירַתְכוֹן שֵׁם, אַף אֲנָא קוֹרֵא לִבְנִי בְכוֹרִי שֵׁם, (שמות ד, כב): כֹּה אָמַר ה’ בְּנִי בְּכֹרִי יִשְׂרָאֵל.
“Her days to give birth were complete” (Genesis 25:24) – elsewhere they are incomplete, and here they are complete. Elsewhere it is written: “Twins [teomim]” (Genesis 38:27) – Peretz and Zeraḥ were both righteous, but here, “tomim” – Jacob was righteous, Esau, wicked.
“The first emerged ruddy” (Genesis 25:25) – Rabbi Ḥagai said in the name of Rabbi Yitzḥak: Due to the merit of: “You shall take for you on the first day” (Leviticus 23:40), I reveal myself to you first, as it is stated: “I am first and I am last” (Isaiah 44:6); I will exact retribution on your behalf from the first – that is Esau, as it is written: “The first emerged”; I will build for you the first – this is the Temple, in whose regard it is written: “Throne of glory, exalted from the first, [is the place of our Temple]” (Jeremiah 17:12); and I will bring you the first, this is the messianic king, in whose regard it is written: “The first to Zion, behold, here it is” (Isaiah 41:27).
Another matter, “the first emerged ruddy” – why did Esau emerge first? It was so he would emerge and his corruption would depart with him. Rabbi Abahu said: It is like that bathhouse attendant who washes the bathhouse and then bathes the king’s son. So, why did Esau emerge first? It was so he would emerge and his corruption would depart with him.
A noblewoman asked Rabbi Yosei ben Ḥalafta, she said to him: ‘Why did Esau emerge first?’ He said to her: ‘The first droplet was Jacob’s.’ He said to her: ‘This is analogous to an instance where you place two pearls into one tube, is it not the one that you placed first that will emerge last? So, the first droplet was Jacob’s.’
“Ruddy,” Rabbi Abba bar Kahana said: As though he were a shedder of blood. When Samuel saw that David was ruddy, as it is written: “He sent and brought him and he was ruddy” (I Samuel 16:12), he was afraid and said: ‘This is a shedder of blood like Esau.’ The Holy One blessed be He said to him: “With beautiful eyes” (I Samuel 16:12). Esau killed at his own initiative, but this one kills at the initiative of Sanhedrin.
The emperor Diocletian was a swineherd near Tiberias. When he would come to the study hall of Rabbi, the children would go out and strike him. Sometime later, he became emperor, and he descended and resided near the Panyas; variant reading: Pamyas, and he sent directives to Tiberias just before nightfall on Thursday: ‘I decree that the prominent leaders of the Jews shall appear before me before morning on Sunday.’ He commanded the emissary and said to him: ‘Do not deliver them [the directives] to them until sunset on Friday.’ Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥman went down to bathe. He saw Rabbi standing before the great study hall, and he saw that his face was sickly. He said to him: ‘Why is your face sickly?’ ‘Such and such directives were sent to me by the empire.’ He said to him: ‘Come and bathe, as your Creator performs miracles on our behalf.’ They entered to bathe, and the demon Arginiton came, and was laughing and dancing before them. Rabbi wanted to scold him. Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥman said to him: ‘Leave him alone, as sometimes he appears for the purpose of miracles.’ He said to him: ‘Your master is in distress and you are standing, laughing, and dancing.’ He [the demon] said to them: ‘Go eat and drink and observe a fine Shabbat, as your Master will perform miracles on your behalf, and I will have you stand before him on Sunday morning.’ At the conclusion of Shabbat, after the service, he took them and stood them outside the gates of Panyas.
They [servants] entered and said to him [Diocletian]: ‘They are standing before the gates.’ He said: ‘Close the gates.’ He [the demon] took them [the Rabbis] and placed them on the city wall. They [servants] entered and told him [Diocletian]. He said: ‘I decree that they should heat the bathhouse for three days, and then they will enter, bathe, and come before me.’ They went and heated the bathhouse for three days, and one of the Arginiton demons entered and diluted it for them. They entered, bathed, and came before him. He said to them: ‘Because you know that your God performs miracles on your behalf, you belittle the emperor.’ They said to him: ‘We belittle Diocletian the swineherd, but we are subjugated to Diocletian the emperor.’ He said to them: ‘Even so, do not demean a young Roman, and not a low ranking soldier.’ “All of him like a cloak of [kaaderet] hair” (Genesis 25:25) – all of him is worthy of the cloak.
The Rabbis of the South in the name of Rabbi Alexandri, and Raḥava in the name of Rabbi Kahana said: He came out all unkempt and scattered like an aderet – like the chaff and the straw from the threshing floor [idera]. That is what is written: “Then the iron…were pulverized, and became like the chaff from the threshing floors [idrei] of summer” (Daniel 2:35). Rabbi Hanina bar Yithak said: What caused them to be pulverized? “From the threshing floors [me’idera] of the summer” (Daniel 2:35) – it is because they extended their hands against the great [adirim].
“They called his name Esau [Esav]” (Genesis 25:25) – this is the falsehood [heh shav] that I created in My world. Rabbi Yitzḥak said: You called your swine a name, I, too, call My firstborn son a name: “So said the Lord: My son, My firstborn, is Israel” (Exodus 4:22).
Shemot Rabbah 15:1
וַיֹּאמֶר ה’ אֶל משֶׁה הַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה לָכֶם רֹאשׁ חֳדָשִׁים, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (שיר השירים ב, ח): קוֹל דּוֹדִי הִנֵּה זֶה בָּא [וכל הענין בפרשיות עד עמכם], שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שיר השירים ב, י): עָנָה דוֹדִי וְאָמַר לִי, מָה אַתְּ עוֹשָׂה כָּאן בִּמְקוֹם טְמֵאִים (יחזקאל כג, כ): אֲשֶׁר בְּשַׂר חֲמוֹרִים בְּשָׂרָם וְזִרְמַת סוּסִים זִרְמָתָם. (שיר השירים ב, י): קוּמִי לָךְ רַעֲיָתִי יָפָתִי וּלְכִי לָךְ, אָמַר לְפָנָיו רִבּוֹן הָעוֹלָמִים אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה אָמַרְתָּ לָנוּ לְהִשְׁתַּעְבֶּד וַעֲדַיִן לֹא שָׁלְמוּ, אָמַר לֵיהּ כְּבָר שָׁלְמוּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שיר השירים ב, יא): כִּי הִנֵּה הַסְּתָיו עָבָר, מִיָּד גִּלּוּ הַצַּדִּיקִים אֶת רָאשֵׁיהֶם שֶׁהָיָה מְכֻסֶּה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שיר השירים ב, יב): הַנִּצָּנִים נִרְאוּ בָאָרֶץ, אֵלּוּ הֵן שִׁבְטוֹ שֶׁל לֵוִי שֶׁהָיוּ צַדִּיקִים כֻּלָּן. דָּבָר אַחֵר, הַנִּצָּנִים, אֵלּוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים. (דברי הימים א ו, לה): בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן אֶלְעָזָר בְּנוֹ פִּינְחָס בְּנוֹ. דָּבָר אַחֵר, הַנִּצָּנִים, אֵלּוּ הַמְלָכִים דָּוִד וּשְׁלֹמֹה רְחַבְעָם אַסָא אֲבִיָה. דָּבָר אַחֵר, אֵלּוּ הַלְוִיִּם (דברי הימים א טז, ה): אָסָף הָרֹאשׁ וּמִשְׁנֵהוּ זְכַרְיָה. כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאָה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא כָּךְ, אָמַר (שיר השירים ב, יב): עֵת הַזָּמִיר הִגִּיעַ, הִגִּיעַ זְמַן שֶׁל לְוִיִם לוֹמַר לְפָנַי שִׁירִים וּמִזְמוֹרִים. דָּבָר אַחֵר, עֵת הַזָּמִיר הִגִּיעַ, כֵּיוָן שֶׁשָּׁמַע הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁאָמְרוּ אֶת הַשִּׁירָה, אָמַר (שיר השירים ב, יב): וְקוֹל הַתּוֹר נִשְׁמַע בְּאַרְצֵנוּ, שֶׁשָּׁמַע קוֹלָן שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּזְכוּת אַבְרָהָם שֶׁהִקְרִיב תּוֹר וְגוֹזָל, מַה כְּתִיב אַחֲרָיו (שיר השירים ב, יג): הַתְּאֵנָה חָנְטָה פַגֶיהָ, אֵלּוּ הַצַּדִּיקִים וְהַיְשָׁרִים. (שיר השירים ב, יג): וְהַגְּפָנִים סְמָדָר נָתְנוּ רֵיחַ, אֵלּוּ הַבֵּינוֹנִים שֶׁעָשׂוּ תְּשׁוּבָה. מִכָּאן וָאֵילָךְ (שיר השירים ב, יג): קוּמִי לָךְ רַעְיָתִי יָפָתִי וּלְכִי לָךְ, כְּשֶׁיָּצְאוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל מִמִּצְרַיִם אָמַר לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֵין לָכֶם חֹדֶשׁ אַחֵר גָּדוֹל מִזֶּה, לְפִיכָךְ נִקְרָא רִאשׁוֹן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: רֹאשׁ חֳדָשִׁים. דָּבָר אַחֵר, רִאשׁוֹן הוּא לָכֶם, כִּבְיָכוֹל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁנִּקְרָא רִאשׁוֹן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה מד, ו): אֲנִי רִאשׁוֹן וַאֲנִי אַחֲרוֹן. וְצִיּוֹן נִקְרָא רִאשׁוֹן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ירמיה יז, יב): כִּסֵּא כָבוֹד מָרוֹם מֵרִאשׁוֹן מְקוֹם מִקְדָשֵׁנוּ. וְעֵשָׂו נִקְרָא רִאשׁוֹן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית כה, כה): וַיֵּצֵא הָרִאשׁוֹן וגו’. וּמָשִׁיחַ נִקְרָא רִאשׁוֹן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה מא, כז): רִאשׁוֹן לְצִיּוֹן הִנֵּה הִנָּם. יָבוֹא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁנִּקְרָא רִאשׁוֹן, וְיִבְנֶה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ שֶׁנִּקְרָא רִאשׁוֹן, וְיִפְרַע מִן עֵשָׂו שֶׁנִּקְרָא רִאשׁוֹן, וְיָבֹא מָשִׁיחַ שֶׁנִּקְרָא רִאשׁוֹן, בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: הַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה לָכֶם רֹאשׁ חֳדָשִׁים וגו’.
… Another explanation. “…to you it shall be the first …” (Exodus 12:2) This is referring, so to speak, to the Holy One who is called first, as it says “I am first and I am last…” (Isaiah 44:6) And Zion is called first, as it says “As a Throne of Glory, exalted from the beginning, so is the place of our Sanctuary.” (Jeremiah 17:12) And Esau is called first, as it says “And the first one emerged ruddy…” (Genesis 25:25) The Messiah is called first, as it says “The first one to Zion, behold, behold them…” (Isaiah 41:27) Let the Holy One, who is called first, come and build the Holy Temple which is called first, and exact retribution from Esau who is called first. And let the Messiah, who is called first, come in the first month, as it says “This month shall be to you the head of the months…” (Exodus 12:2)
Vayikra Rabbah 30:16
רַבִּי בְּרֶכְיָה בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי לֵוִי אָמַר, בִּזְכוּת וּלְקַחְתֶּם לָכֶם בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן, הֲרֵי אֲנִי נִגְלָה לָכֶם רִאשׁוֹן, וּפוֹרֵעַ לָכֶם מִן הָרִאשׁוֹן זֶה עֵשָׂו הָרָשָׁע, דִּכְתִיב בֵּיהּ (בראשית כה, כה): וַיֵּצֵא הָרִאשׁוֹן, וּבוֹנֶה לָכֶם רִאשׁוֹן, זֶה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ, דִּכְתִיב בֵּיהּ (ירמיה יז, יב): כִּסֵּא כָבוֹד מָרוֹם מֵרִאשׁוֹן מְקוֹם מִקְדָּשֵׁנוּ. וּמֵבִיא לָכֶם רִאשׁוֹן, זֶה מֶלֶךְ הַמָּשִׁיחַ, דִּכְתִיב בֵּיהּ (ישעיה מא, כז): רִאשׁוֹן לְצִיּוֹן הִנֵּה הִנָּם וְלִירוּשָׁלִַם מְבַשֵּׂר אֶתֵּן.
… Rabbi Brachya in the name of Rabbi Levi says. in the merit of fulfilling the verse you should take for yourself on the first day.I will reveal myself to you and take revenge for you from the first -the Beit Hamikdash- of which it is written ” A glorious throne on high from the first the place of the sanctuary”(Jeremiah 17:12). And bring for you the First-King moshiach- of whom it is written “The first shall say to Tzion(Isaiah 41:17)
These midrashim are rabbinic interpretations of the verse in Isaiah 41:27. These midrashim are collections of rabbinic interpretations and homilies on the books of Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus, respectively. They are part of the larger corpus of aggadic midrashim, which are commentaries on the Hebrew Bible. The dates and authors of these midrashim are not certain, but scholars have proposed some general estimates based on the sources and references they contain. Here is a brief summary of each midrash:
Brief Summary on the History of Midrash Rabbah
- Midrash Bereshit Rabbah: This is the oldest and most important of the midrashim to the Torah. It covers most of the book of Genesis, except for some genealogical and narrative passages, with verse-by-verse and often word-by-word commentary. It contains many simple explanations, haggadic stories, philosophical discussions, and ethical teachings. It is written in Hebrew mixed with Aramaic and some Greek words. It is traditionally attributed to Rabbi Hoshaiah, who lived in Israel in the third century CE, but it also incorporates material from earlier and later sources. It was probably edited and completed in the fifth century CE. (www.sefaria.org)
- Midrash Shemot Rabbah: This is a midrash on the book of Exodus, consisting of two distinct parts compiled in different eras. The first part provides verse-by-verse interpretations of the first ten chapters of Exodus, while the second part offers drashot connected to chapters 12-40. The first part is similar in style and content to Midrash Bereshit Rabbah, while the second part is more homiletic and thematic. The midrash is written mostly in Hebrew, with some Aramaic and Greek words. It is not clear who the author or editor of the midrash was, but it is generally dated between the seventh and the twelfth centuries CE, based on the references to other works and historical events it contains. (www.sefaria.org)
- Midrash Vayikra Rabbah: This is a midrash on the book of Leviticus, containing sermons based on the opening verses of the book’s sections. It consists largely of materials from older works, such as Midrash Bereshit Rabbah, Pesikta de-Rav Kahana, and the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds. It is written in Hebrew, with some Aramaic and Greek words. It is not known who the author or editor of the midrash was, but it is usually dated to the middle of the seventh century CE, based on the linguistic and literary features it exhibits. (www.sefaria.org)
The place of the midrashim is some time after the first century and provides us with insight into the rabbinic mind in this timeframe. These three midrashim are rabbinic interpretations of the verse in Isaiah 41:27, which says: “I am the first to say to Zion, ‘Behold, behold them,’ And I give to Jerusalem a herald of good tidings.” The midrashim identify the herald of good tidings as the King Messiah, who will come to redeem Israel and the world from the oppression of Esau and his descendants. We note that Esau is used in the rabbinic literature to refer to a number of nations such as Edom and Rome. These would be considered nations who stand in opposition to the God of Israel and His holy ways. These midrashim identify the herald, the one who is bringing the good news, as the King Messiah. The different midrashim describe the King Messiah based upon connections to this verse in Isaiah (Isaiah 41:27) and draw out some characteristics this king will have.
Bereshit Rabbah 63:8 links the verse in Isaiah to the verse in Genesis 25:25, which says: “The first one emerged red, like a hairy mantle all over; so they named him Esau.” The midrash says that Esau is called the first one, and he is a murderer and a wicked person. The midrash then says that the Holy One, blessed be He, will come, who is also called the first one, as it says in Isaiah 44:6: “I am the first and I am the last.” The Holy One will rebuild the Temple, which is also called the first one, as it says in Jeremiah 17:12: “A throne of glory, exalted from the first, is the place of our sanctuary.” The Holy One will take vengeance from Esau, who is also called the first one, and will bring the Messiah, who is also called the first one, as it says in Isaiah 41:27: “I am the first to say to Zion, ‘Behold, behold them.'” The midrash concludes that the Holy One, the Temple, Esau, and the Messiah are all called the first one, and they will all meet in the first month, which is Nisan, when the Exodus from Egypt took place. The midrash implies that the King Messiah will be a descendant of Jacob, who will defeat Esau and his evil empire, and will restore the glory of God and His sanctuary in Jerusalem.
Shemot Rabbah 15:1 links the verse in Isaiah to the verse in Exodus 12:2, which states: “This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you.” The midrash says that this verse refers to the month of Nisan, when God redeemed Israel from Egypt and gave them the Torah. Note how the King Messiah is connected to the power of God, miracles, and deliverance. The midrash says that God established a condition with the act of Creation, and said to the heavens and the earth: “If Israel accepts the Torah on the sixth day of Sivan, you will exist; and if they do not accept it, I will return you to the primordial state of chaos and disorder.” The midrash then quotes several verses from the Song of Songs, chapter 2, to describe how God wooed Israel and brought them out of Egypt, where they were surrounded by idolatry and impurity. The midrash says that God heard the voice of Israel singing the Song of the Sea and said: “The time of singing has come,” meaning the time for the Levites to sing praises to God. The midrash then says that God said: “And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land,” meaning the voice of Israel, who sacrificed a turtledove in the merit of Abraham, who also sacrificed a turtledove. The midrash then says that God said: “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away,” meaning that God invited Israel to receive the Torah at Mount Sinai. The midrash concludes that God said to Israel: “You have no other month greater than this,” meaning that Nisan is the most important month, because it is the month of redemption and revelation. The midrash implies that the King Messiah will be a teacher of Torah, who will lead Israel to a new covenant with God, and will bring peace and harmony to the world.
Vayikra Rabbah 30:16 links the verse in Isaiah to the verse in Leviticus 25:10, which says: “And you shall hallow the fiftieth year. You shall proclaim release throughout the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: each of you shall return to his holding and each of you shall return to his family.” The midrash says that this verse refers to the jubilee year, when slaves are freed, debts are canceled, and lands are returned to their original owners. The midrash then says that God will bring the King Messiah in the jubilee year, and he will proclaim freedom to Israel and the nations. Note again how the Midrash connects the King Messiah to being set free from bondage and debt, restoration of assets (land), and redemption. The midrash then quotes several verses from Isaiah, chapter 61, to describe how the King Messiah will announce good tidings to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, comfort all who mourn, and bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes. The midrash then says that the King Messiah will be called by seven names: Yinnon, Tzemach, Menachem, David, Shiloh, Elijah, and the Anointed One. This is because of the connection to mashiach the anointed one of God, and being called into the service of God in the lives of each of these men. The midrash concludes that the King Messiah will be a descendant of David, who will restore the kingdom of Israel and bring justice and righteousness to the world.
To summarize, we note all of the parallels to Yeshua according to the NT text. Yeshua begins with justice, forgiveness, righteousness, peace, and salvation in the hearts and lives of God’s people! The midrashim describe the King Messiah as a descendant of Jacob and David, who will defeat Esau and his evil empire, and will restore the glory of God and His sanctuary in Jerusalem. We note how Yeshua does this and Paul explains it to us in Romans 5:10 saying that “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” Faith in Yeshua causes gentiles to leave their idolatry and turn to seek the God of Israel and His holy and righteous ways and to walk in them. The King Messiah will be a teacher of Torah, who will lead Israel to a new covenant with God, and will bring peace and harmony to the world. This is exactly what Yeshua did according to the NT text. The Midrash also states that the King Messiah will be a liberator of the oppressed, who will proclaim freedom to Israel and the nations, and will bring comfort and joy to all who suffer. The King Messiah will be called by various names, reflecting his different roles and attributes. The midrashim also suggest that the King Messiah will come in a special time, such as the first month of Nisan, or the jubilee year, when God’s redemption and revelation are manifest. It is amazing how when we study the rabbinic literature there are so many parallels that demonstrate how Yeshua is the Messiah sent of God according to the Scriptures and the prophetic texts in the Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim.
Isaiah continues to say the following in the TgJ, כח וּגלֵי קֳדָמַי וְלֵית גְבַר דְלֵיה עוּבָדִין טָבִין וּמֵאִלֵין וְלֵית דְמָלֵיך מֵילַך וּשאֵילתִינוּן אִם יָתִיבוּן פִתגָם׃ 41:28 And it was made known to me, that there was no man whose works were good, and of these there was none who would take counsel, that I should ask them, and they would answer a word. כט הָא כוּלְהֹון לָמָא וְלָא מִדָעַם עוּבָדֵיהֹון בִזָא וּתבָרָא עַשתֹונֵיהֹון׃41:29 Behold, all of them are nothing, and their work less than nothing: their thoughts are plunder and destruction. (TgJ) Rashi explains these verses in the following way:
Rashi on Isaiah 41:29 Parts 1-2
הן כולם און. יש לכם לדעת שכל נביאי מכחישי תורה און ואפס כל מעשיהם נסכיהם.
Behold them all,…naught You should know that, as for the prophets of those who deny the Torah ([mss.:] pagan prophets;) ([other mss.:] prophets of Baal), all their deeds are naught and of no substance.
דמות מסכותם. כמו הפסל נסך חרש וי”ת בענין אחר. ראשון לציון וגו’. פתגמי נחמתא דאתנביאו נבייא מלקדמין על ציון הא אתו ולפי התרגום כל העניין מדבר ממלך המשיח ובגאולה אחרונה אבל אני רואה נבואה שנתנבא ישעיה על כורש כולם בל’ הסיגנון של פרשה זו אני ה’ העירותיהו בצדק קורא ממזרח עיט האותיות שאלוני מגיד מראשית אחרית כולה נוטה אחר ענין פרשה זו:
their molten images Heb. נִסְכֵּיהֶם. Comp. (supra 40:19) “The graven image the craftsman melted (נָסַךְ).” Jonathan renders this section differently:  The first one to Zion etc. The words of consolation that the prophets prophesied concerning Zion, from before, behold they have come. And according to the Targum, the entire section speaks of the King Messiah and of the last redemption, but I see that the prophecy that Isaiah prophesied concerning Cyrus is all in the same language as this section. Comp. (infra 45:13) “I aroused him with righteousness”; (Infra 46:11) “Calling from the east a bird of prey”; (infra 45:11) “The signs ask Me;” (infra 46:10) “Who tells from the beginning the end.” All of this resembles the topic of this section.
Rashi connects the pagans to those who deny the Torah of God, these are the prophets of Baal. Those who deny the Torah of God all of their deeds are naught and of no substance. Notice how significant of a statement that is! Rashi’s commentary on Isaiah 41:29 is making the following points: the prophets of the nations who deny the Torah are worthless and their deeds are nothing and of no substance. This is because they worship idols that have no power or reality, and they do not follow the commandments of God, who is the source of all truth and justice. Rashi connects the idea of denying the Torah to one’s deeds via the Isaiah text and challenges the idolaters to show evidence of their righteousness and concludes there is none. This is an important observation since in pagan religions, there are no standards for morality. Idolatry draws one closer to sinful behavior, this is the evidence for the futility of denying the Torah of God! Denying the Torah is such a significant problem in the life of God’s people because the Torah is the covenant between God and Israel, and the guide for moral and spiritual living. Without the Torah, people lose their identity, their purpose, and their connection to God. Notice this is exactly what we see going on in the world today in the LGBTQ, woke liberal ideologies, gender confused individuals! Their denial of God’s Torah and embracing sexual sin leads to a complete loss of their identity and so much so that some people want to be referred to as they, them, etc in a plurality rather that as an individual and as God had created them. This is the vulnerability of those who deny God’s Torah, the Lord God will give one over to their sins if this is what they want. This is why daily repentance and turning from sin are so important! Note that those who embrace these things want others to do the same, this is paralleled to the nations who worship idols want others to bow down and worship at the foot of their idols too. The king messiah fits in these things for the purpose of restoration, especially from the sense of restoration to God’s Torah and the New Covenant! Being the anointed one of God, the Messiah will bring salvation and redemption to Israel and the world, again we see this gentile inclusion similar to the Exodus. He will fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah and other prophets, who spoke of a time when God will gather the exiles, establish His kingdom, and renew His covenant with His people. He will also teach the Torah to all nations and lead them to worship the one true God. This is exactly what Yeshua did according to the NT text! The issue today however is there are so many doctrines that place a confusing spin on these truths, and deny the Torah of God, which leads many people away from God’s Truth according to the Scriptures! Our Job is to recognize these things and instead of denying the Torah, take up God’s Torah and walk in the footsteps of the Messiah Yeshua!