Isaiah (Ch 39-40)

Many believe Russia was and still is the main threat to the United States. Others, like warmonger John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, give incredible speeches around the world saying China is the main enemy.

And Mearsheimer brilliantly emphasizes the United States are protected by fish to the left and fish to the right, but foolishly negates to address America’s broken border in the South; and that the Scriptures say that America’s main “enemy” comes from the porous South! (for more, click here)

Isaiah 39

1 At that time Merodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah; for he had heard that he had been sick and had recovered. — he sent letters and a present to Hezekiah; by his ambassadors, the purport of which their spies and secret agents were to congratulate him upon his recovery, and to inquire concerning the miracle that was wrought in his land; either the destruction of the Assyrian army in one night by an angel;

— or rather the sun’s going back ten degrees; as Josephus says, to enter into an alliance with him; and this seems to be the true reason of sending these ambassadors; desirous of entering into a league with Hezekiah.

And Hezekiah was glad with them, and showed them the house of his precious things — the silver and the gold, and the spices and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures. There was nothing in his house nor in all his dominion that Hezekiah showed them not. — shewed them the house of his precious things; this fixes the date of the embassy at a time prior to the payment to Sennacherib (II Kings 18:15-16), unless we were to assume that the treasury had been replenished by the gifts that followed on the destruction of Sennacherib’s army;

— but this, as we have seen is at variance with both the received and the rectified chronology. The display was obviously something more than the ostentation showing of his treasures. It was practically a display of the resources of the kingdom, intended to impress the Babylonian ambassadors, spies and secret agents, with a sense of his importance as an ally;

— the silver and the gold; large quantities of not only which he and his predecessors had laid up, which had been very lately greatly exhausted by the demand of three hundred talents of silver, and thirty talents of gold by the king of Assyria; to answer which Hezekiah had given all the silver in the temple and in the treasures of the king’s house, and was so drove by necessity, that he cut off the gold from the doors and pillars of the temple, II Kings 18:14,

— so that it might be reasonable to ask, how came he so soon by all this treasure? it is possible that some part of the royal treasure might be unalienable, and he might have since received presents from his own nobles and from foreign princes; but this was chiefly from the spoils found in the Assyrian camp after the angel had made such a slaughter of them, II Kings 19:35.

Then came Isaiah the prophet unto King Hezekiah and said unto him, “What said these men? And from whence came they unto thee?” And Hezekiah said, “They have come from a far country unto me, even from Babylon.” — the prophet Isaiah did not come of himself, but was sent by the Lord, not by the king; in the time of his distress and illness he could send for him but now being well and in prosperity he forgot the prophet to send for him and have his advice, how he should behave towards these men as not to offend the Lord:

— what said these men? – What proposition have they made? What is the design of their coming? It is implied in the question that there had been some improper communication from them. To this question Hezekiah makes no answer to this first question;

— but he replies at once to the second and said they are come from a far country even from Babylon; as being what his heart was lifted up with, that ambassadors should come to him from a very distant country and from so famous and renowned a place as Babylon; which showed that his name was great in foreign regions and was in high esteem in distant countries and even so great a prince as the king of Babylon courted his friendship.

Then said he, “What have they seen in thine house?” And Hezekiah answered, “All that is in mine house have they seen. There is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them.” — coming nearer to the point he had in view, then said he, what have they seen in thine house? that he had shown them what he ought not to have done, and especially from such a principle of pride and vanity as he did:

— and Hezekiah answered without any reserve, not suspecting that the prophet had come with a reproof to him, or to blame him or would blame him for what he had done: all that is in my house have they seen; the several royal apartments and the furniture of them:

— there is nothing among my treasures that I have not showed them: which were more secret, laid up in cabinets, under lock and key; his gold, silver, jewels and precious stones, spices and ointments. Most probably the furniture and vessels of the temple, though he does not mention them.

Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord of hosts: — Hear the word of the Lord of hosts; hear what the mighty God that rules in heaven says of this. This is an instance of great fidelity on the part of the prophet; who felt himself sent from God in a solemn manner to rebuke sin in a monarch, and a pious monarch. It is an instance that resembles the boldness and faithfulness of Nathan when he went to David, and said, ‘Thou art the man.’

‘Behold, the days come that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left,’ saith the Lord. — behold, the days come; the captivity of the Jews in Babylon commenced about one hundred and twenty years after this prediction;

— nothing shall be left, saith the Lord; this was measure for measure as there was nothing that was not shown to the ambassadors, spies and secret agents, so nothing should be left untaken away by the Babylonians;

— Moses had declared repeatedly, that, if they were a rebellious people, they should be removed from their own to a foreign land; but he had not designated the country Leviticus 26:33-34Deuteronomy 28:64-67Deuteronomy 30:3

‘And of thy sons who shall issue from thee, whom thou shalt beget, they shall be taken away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’” — and of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, they shall be taken away; Manasseh his immediate son was taken and carried to Babylon, though afterwards released; nor does it appear that he was made a eunuch or an officer there;

— this had its fulfilment in Jeconiah and his children and in others that were of the seed royal, as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; this is expressed in different words, signifying much the same, to affect the mind of Hezekiah the more:

— and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon; or “chamberlains” and who very often were castrated for that purpose. The Targum renders it “princes” and such an one was Daniel in the court of the king of Babylon; and his three companions were also promoted, Daniel 2:48.

Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, “Good is the word of the Lord which thou hast spoken.” He said moreover, “For there shall be peace and truth in my days.” — then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, good is the word of the Lord which thou hast spoken; Hezekiah was at once convinced of his sin, acknowledged it and owned that the sentence pronounced was but just and right; and that there was a mixture of mercy and goodness in it, in that time was given and it was not immediately executed:

— he said moreover, for there shall be peace and truth in his days; or a confirmed peace, lasting prosperity, peace in the state of temporal mercies, for which he was thankful; but that he was unconcerned about posterity, but inasmuch as it must be, what was foretold and which he could not object to as unjust, he looked upon it as a mercy to him that there was a delay of it to future times; or it may be considered as a wish, “O that there were peace” in his days.

Isaiah 40

1 “Comfort ye, comfort ye My people,” saith your God. — Comfort ye, comfort ye; twice repeated to give double assurance. Having announced the coming captivity of the Jews in Babylon, God now desires His servants, the prophets (Isa 52:7), to comfort them. The scene is laid in Babylon; the time near the close of the captivity; the ground of comfort is the speedy ending of the captivity, the Lord Himself being their leader.

“Speak ye comfortingly to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received from the Lord’S hand double for all her sins.” — speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her; or “speak to or according to the heart of Jerusalem” to her very heart, what will be a cordial to her, very acceptable, grateful and comfortable; and let it be proclaimed aloud, that she may hear and understand it. By “Jerusalem” is meant the inhabitants of Zion and the true elects living there.

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. — the voice of him that cries in the wilderness; that is, the voice of one called John the Baptist, who fulfilled this prophecy;

— prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God: by whom is meant the Messiah to whom a deity a noble testimony is bore here, being called “the Word” and “our God” whose way John prepared himself, by preaching the doctrine of repentance, administering the ordinance of baptism, pointing at the Messiah.

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain. — every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill shall be made low; the meaning is that in consequence of John’s ministry and our Lord’s coming, such who were depressed and were low and humble in their own eyes, should be raised up and comforted; and that such who were elated with themselves and their own righteousness should be humbled; their pride and haughtiness should be brought down.

— and the crooked shall be straight and the rough places plain; what before was dark and intricate in prophecy should now become clear; and such doctrines as were not so well understood should now become plain and easy.

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” — and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed; the Son himself who is also the Messiah reflects the brightness of his Father’s glory and his own glory.

The voice said, “Cry!” And he said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. — the voice said, cry; not the voice of an angel but a voice from the Lord; it is the Lord’s voice to the prophet, giving them an order to prophesy;

— all flesh is grass; declare the frailty and mortality of men; all princes, nobles and monarchs; all armies and magistrates are like grass and will soon fade away;

— and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field; all the goodliness and glory of man; all that is excellent and valuable in him; his riches, honours, strength and knowledge; yea all his seeming holiness and righteousness; which are all fading and perishing like a gay flower, which appears lovely for a while, and on a sudden falls off or is cropped or trampled upon; to which a flower of the field is more liable than that of the garden.

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it; surely the people is grass. — the grass withers, the flower fades; and so does man and all his glory and goodliness: because the spirit of the Lord blows upon it: alluding to some impetuous and blasting wind blowing upon herbs and flowers to the withering and fading of them.

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” — the grass withers; this is repeated from the former verse for the sake of emphasis or strong confirmation.

O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength. Lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” — O Zion, that brings good tidings; or rather “Oh, thou that brings good things to Zion; thou that brings good tidings to Jerusalem;”

— behold your God! that divine Being is here that was promised, prophesied of and expected; even Immanuel, God with us, God in our nature, God manifest in the flesh, God our Saviour;

— your Lord and your God; the Targum says, “the kingdom of your God is revealed.” 

10 Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. — behold, the Lord God will come with a strong hand; this is of the second coming of the Son of God, his coming is certain, such assurances being given of it by promise and prophecy; and will be attended with power, summon all nations before him, and pass and execute the proper sentence on them; when his arm shall openly bear rule, he will take to himself his great power and reign.

11 He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. — He shall gather the lambs with his arm; denoting the care of God the Saviour for the feeblest and weakest of his people, and for the young and feeble in years and piety; the tender lamb, unable to keep up with the flock, becomes weary and exhausted; and the shepherd naturally takes it in his arms and carries it.

12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? — and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance; as easily as a man can throw in his goods into a pair of scales and take the true weight of them with equal ease did the Lord raise the mountains and the hills in a proper proportion;

— the answer to the above question is that it was the same divine Being of whom it is said, “behold your God, and who should come with a strong hand, and feed his flock.”

13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counselor hath taught Him? — who did God either need or take to advise him in any of his works, either of creation or the government of the world? were they not all the effects of his own sole wisdom?

— therefore though all the nations of the world contrive and conspire against him and against this work of his as indeed they will do, yet his own counsel shall confound all their devices and carry on his work in spite of them.

14 With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and showed to Him the way of understanding? — with whom he took counsel and who instructed him; this is the same as before only repeated in other words, the more strongly to deny that any mere creature counselled, taught and instructing and managing the works of creation.

15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance; behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing. — Behold, the nations, all the nations of the earth. This is designed to show the greatness of God, in comparison with that which strikes man as great – a mighty nation;

— and the main object seems to be to show that God could accomplish his purposes without their aid and that they could not resist him in the execution of his plans. If they were as nothing in comparison with him, how easily could he execute his purposes! If they were as nothing, how little could they resist the execution of his plans!

16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. — and Lebanon is not sufficient to burn the trees of it, as the Targum says; these are not sufficient to burn a sacrifice with, suitable to the dignity and majesty of God.

17 All nations before Him are as nothing, and they are counted to Him less than nothing, and vanity. — all nations before him are as nothing as if they were non-entities and were not real beings in comparison of him, who is the Being of beings, the author of all beings which exist in all nations; who are all in his sight and are not only as grasshoppers as is after mentioned but even as nothing.

18 To whom then will ye liken God? Or what likeness will ye compare unto Him? — to whom then will ye liken God? there is nothing in the whole creation that can bear any resemblance to him or he to them; since all nations are as a drop of the bucket as the small dust of the balance as nothing, yea, less than nothing and is only vanity: “or what likeness will ye compare unto him” ordain and appoint for him?

19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold and casteth silver chains. — the workman melts a graven image; or “the founder” melts some sort of metal as iron, brass, copper or lead, which he casts into a mould for an image and afterwards graves or gets it graved.

— and the goldsmith spreads it over with gold; or “the finer” he stretches out plates of gold and covers it with them so that it looks as if it was made of solid gold and deceives the eyes of men; such stupidity and vanity are there in mortals to believe that there can be deity in such a piece of workmanship!

20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a skillful workman to prepare a graven image that shall not be moved. — he that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation; who is so poor that he cannot bring an offering to his God, yet he will have one; and though he cannot purchase a golden or silver one, or one that is gilt and adorned with either; yet he will have a wooden one.

21 Have ye not known? Have ye not heard? Hath it not been told you from the beginning? Have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? — Have ye not known, God to be the only true God, the Maker and Governor of the world and all its inhabitants? how can you be ignorant of so evident a truth? He addresses his speech to the idolatrous Jews themselves in the times of Manasseh, when idolatry abounded, or to all idolaters.

22 It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers, who stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in, — that sits as a judge or governor upon his throne;

— upon the circle of the earth; or, above the circle; far above this round earth, even in the highest heavens; from whence he looks down upon the earth, where men appear to him like grasshoppers.

23 who bringeth the princes to nothing; He maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. — that brings the princes to nothing; that is, all princes and kings, no matter how great their power, their wealth and their dignity, they are by his hand reduced to nothing before him.

24 Yea, they shall not be planted, yea, they shall not be sown; yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth. And He shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. — yea, they shall not be planted; the kings and rulers, especially they who oppose God in the execution of his purposes. The idea in this verse is that their name and family should become extinct in the same way as a tree does from which no shoot starts up.

25 “To whom then will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal?” saith the Holy One. — to whom then will ye liken me? – the prophet Isaiah having thus set forth the majesty and glory of God, asks now with great emphasis what could be an adequate and proper representation of such a God. And if God was such a Being, how great was the folly of idolatry and how vain all their confidence in the gods which their own hands had made.

26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, who bringeth out their host by number. He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for He is strong in power; not one faileth. — lift up your eyes on high; direct your eyes toward heaven and in the contemplation of the wonders of the starry world, and of God’s power there, learn the evidence of his ability to destroy his foes and to save his friends.

27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel: “My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God”? — my way is hidden from the Lord; meaning not their course of life or their religious actions, their attendance on public worship, their prayers and other duties of religion; but their sufferings for his name’s sake, the tribulations they endured which they imagined God took no notice of;

— and my judgement is passed over from my God; my cause and case are neglected by him; he does not undertake my cause or right my wrongs, and avenge the injuries done me, or deliver me out of the hands of those that contend with me.

28 Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of His understanding. — there is no searching of his understanding; it is infinite, it reaches to all persons and things and therefore he cannot be at a loss to provide for his people or plead their cause; nor can their case be unknown to him, or he want either power or skill to help them.

29 He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. — He gives power to the faint; who are ready to faint under afflictions because they have not immediate deliverance, or their prayers are not answered at once, or promises not fulfilled as they expected;

— to such he gives fresh supplies of spiritual strength; he strengthens their faith and enlarges their views, to behold the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living and confirms his blessings and promises of grace unto them.

30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; — even the youths shall faint; the most vigorous young men, those in whom we expect manly strength and who are best suited to endure hardy toil. They become weary by labor; their powers are soon exhausted;

— the design here is to contrast the most vigorous of the human race with God and to show that while all their powers fail, the power of God is unexhausted and inexhaustible.

31 but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint. — they shall mount up with wings as eagles; which fly most strongly and swiftly, and high out of the reach of all danger; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint; they shall be enabled to run or walk in their way as they please without any weariness.

~ by Joel Huan on March 24, 2022.

One Response to “Isaiah (Ch 39-40)”

  1. […] Study of Chapters 39 and 40 HERE~ —— […]

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