|Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen:
||Hear now, Jacob my servant,and Israel whom I have chosen.
||וְעַתָּה שְׁמַע יַעֲקֹב עַבְדִּי וְיִשְׂרָאֵל בָּחַרְתִּי בוֹ ׃
|Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.
||Thus says Jehovah, your Maker,who formed you from the womb and succored you:Be not afraid, O Jacob, my servant,and Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
||כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה עֹשֶׂךָ וְיֹצֶרְךָ מִבֶּטֶן יַעְזְרֶךָּ אַל־תִּירָא עַבְדִּי יַעֲקֹב וִישֻׁרוּן בָּחַרְתִּי בוֹ ׃
|For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:
||I will pour water on the thirsty soil,showers upon the dry ground;I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,my blessing upon your posterity.
||כִּי אֶצָּק־מַיִם עַל־צָמֵא וְנֹזְלִים עַל־יַבָּשָׁה אֶצֹּק רוּחִי עַל־זַרְעֶךָ וּבִרְכָתִי עַל־צֶאֱצָאֶיךָ ׃
|And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.
||They shall shoot up like grassamong streamsa of water,like willows by running brooks.
||וְצָמְחוּ בְּבֵין חָצִיר כַּעֲרָבִים עַל־יִבְלֵי־מָיִם ׃
|One shall say, I am the Lord ‘s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel.
||One will say, I am Jehovah’s,and another name himself Jacob.Yet others will inscribe on their arm, To Jehovah,and adopt the name Israel.
||זֶה יֹאמַר לַיהוָה אָנִי וְזֶה יִקְרָא בְשֵׁם־יַעֲקֹב וְזֶה יִכְתֹּב יָדוֹ לַיהוָה וּבְשֵׁם יִשְׂרָאֵל יְכַנֶּה ׃
|Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
||Thus says Jehovah, the King of Israel,Jehovah of Hosts, their Redeemer:I was at the first and I am at the last;apart from me there is no God.
||כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה מֶלֶךְ־יִשְׂרָאֵל וְגֹאֲלוֹ יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת אֲנִי רִאשׁוֹן וַאֲנִי אַחֲרוֹן וּמִבַּלְעָדַי אֵין אֱלֹהִים ׃
|And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.
||Who predicts bwhat happensb as do I,and is the equal of mein appointing a people from of old cas types,cforetelling things to come?
||וּמִי־כָמוֹנִי יִקְרָא וְיַגִּידֶהָ וְיַעְרְכֶהָ לִי מִשּׂוּמִי עַם־עוֹלָם וְאֹתִיּוֹת וַאֲשֶׁר תָּבֹאנָה יַגִּידוּ לָמוֹ ׃
|Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
||Be not perturbed or shaken.Have I not made it known to you from of old?Did I not foretell it, you being my witnesses?Is there a God, then, apart from me?There is no Rock unknown to me.
||אַל־תִּפְחֲדוּ וְאַל־תִּרְהוּ הֲלֹא מֵאָז הִשְׁמַעְתִּיךָ וְהִגַּדְתִּי וְאַתֶּם עֵדָי הֲיֵשׁ אֱלוֹהַּ מִבַּלְעָדַי וְאֵין צוּר בַּל־יָדָעְתִּי ׃
|They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed.
||All who manufacture idols are deranged;the things they cherish profit nothing.Those who promote them are themselvessightless and mindless, to their own dismay.
||יֹצְרֵי־פֶסֶל כֻּלָּם תֹּהוּ וַחֲמוּדֵיהֶם בַּל־יוֹעִילוּ וְעֵדֵיהֶם הֵמָּה בַּל־יִרְאוּ וּבַל־יֵדְעוּ לְמַעַן יֵבֹשׁוּ ׃
|Who hath formed a God, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing?
||Who would fashion a god or cast an idolthat cannot benefit them?
||מִי־יָצַר אֵל וּפֶסֶל נָסָךְ לְבִלְתִּי הוֹעִיל ׃
|Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed: and the workmen, they are of men: let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; yet they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together.
||Their whole society is confused;their fabricators are mere mortals.Were they all to assembleand take their stand before me,they would at once cringe in fear.
||הֵן כָּל־חֲבֵרָיו יֵבֹשׁוּ וְחָרָשִׁים הֵמָּה מֵאָדָם יִתְקַבְּצוּ כֻלָּם יַעֲמֹדוּ יִפְחֲדוּ יֵבֹשׁוּ יָחַד ׃
|The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with the strength of his arms: yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth: he drinketh no water, and is faint.
||The smith with his tools works the iron over the coalsand gives it shape by hammering;he forges his god by the strength of his arm:when he becomes hungry, he no longer has strength;if he fails to drink water, he begins to grow faint.
||חָרַשׁ בַּרְזֶל מַעֲצָד וּפָעַל בַּפֶּחָם וּבַמַּקָּבוֹת יִצְּרֵהוּ וַיִּפְעָלֵהוּ בִּזְרוֹעַ כֹּחוֹ גַּם־רָעֵב וְאֵין כֹּחַ לֹא־שָׁתָה מַיִם וַיִּיעָף ׃
|The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house.
||The woodworker draws a diagram,sketching his idol with a marker.He creates it by chiseling to the outline of the dividers;he gives it a human likeness, resembling man’s beauty,fit to lodge in a house.
||חָרַשׁ עֵצִים נָטָה קָו יְתָאֲרֵהוּ בַשֶּׂרֶד יַעֲשֵׂהוּ בַּמַּקְצֻעוֹת וּבַמְּחוּגָה יְתָאֳרֵהוּ וַיַּעֲשֵׂהוּ כְּתַבְנִית אִישׁ כְּתִפְאֶרֶת אָדָם לָשֶׁבֶת בָּיִת ׃
|He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it.
||He is required to cut down cedars;he must select holms and oaksand care for them among the trees of the forest.He plants firs, which the rain makes grow:
||לִכְרָת־לוֹ אֲרָזִים וַיִּקַּח תִּרְזָה וְאַלּוֹן וַיְאַמֶּץ־לוֹ בַּעֲצֵי־יָעַר נָטַע אֹרֶן וְגֶשֶׁם יְגַדֵּל ׃
|Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a God, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.
||that which serves men as fuel,which they use to warm themselvesor light fire with to bake bread,of that they create gods which they adore,from it they make idols to which they stoop.
||וְהָיָה לְאָדָם לְבָעֵר וַיִּקַּח מֵהֶם וַיָּחָם אַף־יַשִּׂיק וְאָפָה לָחֶם אַף־יִפְעַל־אֵל וַיִּשְׁתָּחוּ עָשָׂהוּ פֶסֶל וַיִּסְגָּד־לָמוֹ ׃
|He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire:
||Half of it they burn in the fire.dOver it they broil a roast;dthey eat the meat and are satisfied.They also warm themselves and say,Ah, it is warm ein front ofe the fire!
||חֶצְיוֹ שָׂרַף בְּמוֹ־אֵשׁ עַל־חֶצְיוֹ בָּשָׂר יֹאכֵל יִצְלֶה צָלִי וְיִשְׂבָּע אַף־יָחֹם וְיֹאמַר הֶאָח חַמּוֹתִי רָאִיתִי אוּר ׃
|And the residue thereof he maketh a God, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my God.
||From the rest they make a god, their idol,to which they bow in adoration and pray,Save us; you are our god!
||וּשְׁאֵרִיתוֹ לְאֵל עָשָׂה לְפִסְלוֹ יִסְגָּוד־ (יִסְגָּד־) לוֹ וְיִשְׁתַּחוּ וְיִתְפַּלֵּל אֵלָיו וְיֹאמַר הַצִּילֵנִי כִּי אֵלִי אָתָּה ׃
|They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.
||They have become unaware and insensible;their eyes are glazed so they cannot see,their minds are incapable of discernment.
||לֹא יָדְעוּ וְלֹא יָבִינוּ כִּי טַח מֵרְאוֹת עֵינֵיהֶם מֵהַשְׂכִּיל לִבֹּתָם ׃
|And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?
||They reflect not,nor have the sense or comprehension to say,A part of this I burned in the fire;I also baked bread in its embers,roasted meat and ate it.Am I not making an abomination of what is left?Do I not stoop to a mere lump of wood?
||וְלֹא־יָשִׁיב אֶל־לִבּוֹ וְלֹא דַעַת וְלֹא־תְבוּנָה לֵאמֹר חֶצְיוֹ שָׂרַפְתִּי בְמוֹ־אֵשׁ וְאַף אָפִיתִי עַל־גֶּחָלָיו לֶחֶם אֶצְלֶה בָשָׂר וְאֹכֵל וְיִתְרוֹ לְתוֹעֵבָה אֶעֱשֶׂה לְבוּל עֵץ אֶסְגּוֹד ׃
|He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?
||They are followers of ashes;their deluded minds have distracted them.They cannot liberate themselves from them or say,Surely this thing in my hand is a fraud.
||רֹעֶה אֵפֶר לֵב הוּתַל הִטָּהוּ וְלֹא־יַצִּיל אֶת־נַפְשׁוֹ וְלֹא יֹאמַר הֲלוֹא שֶׁקֶר בִּימִינִי ׃
|Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me.
||Ponder these things, O Jacob, and you,f O Israel,for you are my servant.I have created you to be my servant, O Israel;Do not disregard me.
||זְכָר־אֵלֶּה יַעֲקֹב וְיִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי עַבְדִּי־אָתָּה יְצַרְתִּיךָ עֶבֶד־לִי אַתָּה יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא תִנָּשֵׁנִי ׃
|I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.
||I have removed your offenses like a thick fog,your sins like a cloud of mist.Return to me; I have redeemed you.
||מָחִיתִי כָעָב פְּשָׁעֶיךָ וְכֶעָנָן חַטֹּאותֶיךָ שׁוּבָה אֵלַי כִּי גְאַלְתִּיךָ ׃
|Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.
||Sing, O heavens, for what Jehovah has done;cause it to resound, O earth beneath!Burst into song, O mountains,forests, and all trees therein:Jehovah has redeemed Jacob;he shall be glorified in Israel.
||רָנּוּ שָׁמַיִם כִּי־עָשָׂה יְהוָה הָרִיעוּ תַּחְתִּיּוֹת אָרֶץ פִּצְחוּ הָרִים רִנָּה יַעַר וְכָל־עֵץ בּוֹ כִּי־גָאַל יְהוָה יַעֲקֹב וּבְיִשְׂרָאֵל יִתְפָּאָר ׃
|Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;
||Thus says Jehovah, your Redeemer,who formed you from the womb:I am Jehovah, the Maker of all things,who alone suspends the heavens,who himself gives form to the earth,
||כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה גֹּאֲלֶךָ וְיֹצֶרְךָ מִבָּטֶן אָנֹכִי יְהוָה עֹשֶׂה כֹּל נֹטֶה שָׁמַיִם לְבַדִּי רֹקַע הָאָרֶץ מֵי אִתִּי (מֵאִתִּי) ׃
|That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish;
||who annuls the predictions of impostorsand makes fools of diviners,who turns wise men aboutand makes nonsense of their knowledge,
||מֵפֵר אֹתוֹת בַּדִּים וְקֹסְמִים יְהוֹלֵל מֵשִׁיב חֲכָמִים אָחוֹר וְדַעְתָּם יְשַׂכֵּל ׃
|That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof:
||who fulfills the word of his servant,accomplishes the aims of his messengers,who says of Jerusalem, It shall be reinhabited,and of the cities of Judah, They shall be rebuilt,their ruins I will restore,
||מֵקִים דְּבַר עַבְדּוֹ וַעֲצַת מַלְאָכָיו יַשְׁלִים הָאֹמֵר לִירוּשָׁלִַם תּוּשָׁב וּלְעָרֵי יְהוּדָה תִּבָּנֶינָה וְחָרְבוֹתֶיהָ אֲקוֹמֵם ׃
|That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers:
||who says to the deep, Become dry;I am drying up your currents,
||הָאֹמֵר לַצּוּלָה חֳרָבִי וְנַהֲרֹתַיִךְ אוֹבִישׁ ׃
|That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
||who says of Cyrus, He is my shepherd;he will do whatever I will.He will say of Jerusalem that it must be rebuilt,its temple foundations relaid.
||הָאֹמֵר לְכוֹרֶשׁ רֹעִי וְכָל־חֶפְצִי יַשְׁלִם וְלֵאמֹר לִירוּשָׁלִַם תִּבָּנֶה וְהֵיכָל תִּוָּסֵד ׃
The alternating chaos/creation pattern in these chapters illustrates the ambivalence of the Jacob/Israel category of Jehovah’s people. Faced with two choices—one leading to rebirth, re-creation, and deliverance; the other to ruin, de-creation, and destruction—this spiritual category lacks the vision to see, hear, and understand fully what is at stake. Jehovah appeals to them that he—their Maker, who “formed” or created them initially—has chosen them to be his collective servant or vassal. Their proving loyal and living up to the name Jeshurun or “Upright One” will dispel their fears of the unknown.
Continuing the creation motif (vv 1-5) is the blossoming wilderness (cf. Isaiah 41:17-19; 43:19-20). Paralleled with it is the promise of Jehovah’s pouring out his Spirit and blessing on his people’s descendants, thus likening the lack of his Spirit to dry ground. In other words, once the Jacob/Israel category renews its covenant relationship with Jehovah, his people’s covenant curses reverse and his blessings flow. Comprising the two primary blessings of his covenant, land and offspring are here enhanced to a land Jehovah regenerates and offspring that he endows with his Spirit (cf. Isaiah 51:2-3; 59:21).
Those of the Jacob/Israel category of Jehovah’s people who repent and renew their covenant with Jehovah, who ascend spiritually to higher levels and return to promised lands, acknowledge Jehovah as their God instead of their former gods that were no gods (vv 6-8; Isaiah 43:10-12; 45:20-22). As proselytes to Jehovah from among the nations, they assume Israelite names such as Jacob and Israel—ones they were evidently no longer accustomed to—affirming their renewed covenantal bond. Although their ancestors had assimilated into the nations and lost their identity as Israelites, they now reclaim it.
The continuing need for Jehovah to assert his identity as defined by his titles (vv 2, 24; Isaiah 40:28; 41:14, 21; 43:3, 14-15; 45:9-11) infers that attempts to convince the Jacob/Israel category of his people that he alone is God is perhaps the most difficult task involved in their resuming their identity as his covenant people. Still, the same God who performed wonders on his people’s behalf “at the first” will do so “at the last.” Israel’s “King,” their divine emperor who chose them in the beginning, will fully prove to be their “Redeemer” at the end (vv 24-28; Isaiah 41:14; 43:14-15; 49:25-26; 54:4-8).
One way Jehovah shows that he is God first and last is to appoint his covenant people to prefigure in their ancient history the events that occur at the end. Only a true God can orchestrate humanity’s circumstances in that manner, it being a proof of his divinity (Isaiah 41:26; 43:11-13; 45:21; 46:9-10). In other words, whatever set a precedent in the past forms a type of what happens in the future, namely his people’s apostasy, Assyria’s invasion of their lands, Assyria’s world conquest, his people’s captivity, their exodus out of Egypt, wandering in the wilderness, building of the temple, and so forth.
Although idolaters may be “perturbed” and “shaken” at what Jehovah is doing or is about to do (Isaiah 41:5; 42:17; 45:16), his covenant people may feel secure at having him for their Rock. What Jehovah made known “of old” through the ancient Hebrew prophets is the end-time restoration of his people. If they didn’t know that, or forgot it, they had best remember it now if they want to participate in it. As they are “witnesses” of it, they should speak up and declare it so that others too may unite with Jehovah’s covenant people and live into the millennial age of peace (Isaiah 40:3-10; 52:7-8; 62:6-7).
A protracted satire against idolaters, verses 9-20 poke fun at idol makers and worshipers of false gods. Transposed into modern times—but equally relevant to Judah’s ancient Babylonian exile—the worldly objects people covet, get fixated on, spend their energies and resources on, by their very nature displace Jehovah in their lives and thus deprive them of his covenant blessings. When Babylon’s socio-economic system that is based on the production, promotion, and sale of the works of men’s hands collapses in Jehovah’s Day of Judgment, the material “things” people have left can’t help them.
If idolaters actually got a sense of Jehovah’s reality—“Were they all to assemble and take their stand [before me]”—they would at once realize their folly and “cringe in fear” (v 11). But when Jehovah’s people become so infatuated with the allures of the Harlot Babylon that nothing else interests them, they are ripe for destruction: “By your skill and science you were led astray, thinking to yourself, I exist, and there is none besides me! Catastrophe shall overtake you, which you shall not know how to avert by bribes; disaster shall befall you from which you cannot ransom yourself” (Isaiah 47:10-11).
The objects people invent that they adore come from earthly elements Jehovah has made. To create them requires human energy, which soon depletes, making the idols less than human. People may even superimpose human likenesses on them to make them more attractive but they, too, are God’s creation, not theirs. In short, the sum total of the things they cherish that distract them from the true God amounts to no more than an illusion. When such substitutes for God become his people’s obsession, then it is time for Jehovah to “utterly supplant the false gods” (Isaiah 2:18; cf. 2:20; 17:7-8; 42:8).
Isaiah’s extended satire on the idols and their manufacturers dramatizes the total preoccupation of Babylon’s society with its production of idols. From harvesting raw materials to finishing the end product, its citizens are engrossed in physical not spiritual realities—whereas long ago Jehovah had said, “You shall not bow down to their gods or serve them, nor do after their works. But you will utterly overthrow them and entirely break down their images. And you will serve Jehovah your God, and he will bless your bread and water. And I will take away sickness from among you” (Exodus 23:24-25).
The abject futility of idol worship becomes clear as Isaiah’s parody proceeds to its deplorable conclusion. How often must Jehovah continue to remind his people to worship him, not the gods of the heathen: “‘Don’t go after other gods to serve them or worship them. Don’t provoke me to anger with the works of your hands and I will do you no harm. Yet you haven’t listened to me,’ says Jehovah, ‘so as not to provoke me to anger with the works of your hands’” (Jeremiah 25:6-7). In spite of Jehovah’s admonitions, his people’s addiction to idolatry enslaves them to a counterfeit of happiness.
So immersed are idolaters in the virtual reality they create for themselves that is tied to material things that it spiritually blinds them. Losing the connection between heaven and earth, between what is of God and what is of man, they have become “unaware” and “insensible” to the glorious reality that exists beyond what they perceive in this mortal sphere through their physical senses. Still, because as children of God they intuitively sense that something higher exists, they paradoxically channel their awe or veneration of it to a lower reality—to an “abomination” or “execration” (to‘eba)—their idol.
Being “followers of ashes” implies dependence on what is fated to disappear—on what Jehovah reduces to chaos in his Day of Judgment. And yet, so powerful a hold has idolatry on its adherents that they grow incapable of perceiving anything besides what their spiritually altered state limits them to. Instead of being reborn and re-created on ever higher spiritual levels, they are de-created and descend, losing even their reasoning powers as they enter into spiritual bondage to a “fraud” or “lie” (seqer). At that point, only Jehovah, their Redeemer, can liberate them, on condition they turn to him (vv 21-22).
If the Jacob/Israel category will serve Jehovah instead of idols, and have regard for him instead of for material objects, the “fog” and “mist” of their spiritual confusion will lift and they will see clearly. Because Jehovah has already “redeemed” them—in this case by the parallel idea of his taking their “offenses” and “sins” upon himself (cf. Isaiah 43:25; 53:4-10; 63:7-9)—they have only to “repent” and “return” (swb) and he will accept them as his covenant people. As they do so, Jehovah will “create” or re-create them and they will be his “servant” or vassal in very deed (Isaiah 41:8-9; 43:1-4; 65:18).
Because Jacob/Israel is the category of Jehovah’s people that needs redeeming from sin (Isaiah 43:22-25; 58:1), it occasions a Song of Salvation when that occurs. The heavens and the earth, witnesses of the Sinai Covenant (Deuteronomy 4:26; 30:19)—which were earlier called on to testify of his people’s breaking the covenant (Isaiah 1:2)—are now witnesses of their renewing the covenant. As mountains, forests, and trees denote nations, cities, and peoples, respectively, Jacob/Israel’s redemption is a worldwide event. Jehovah is “glorified” when his people respond to his acts of love (Isaiah 60:21; 61:3).
Paradoxically, in spite of Jehovah’s redeeming humanity from its sins (v 22; Isaiah 43:25; 55:7; 63:8-9), of all God’s creations man most disappoints him in his thoughts, words, and acts (v 21; Isaiah 43:22-24; 55:8; 63:10). Whereas the natural world—the “mountains, forests, and all trees therein”—continually glorifies him by fulfilling the measure of its creation, only man, as a consequence of the agency God gave him in the Garden of Eden, chooses to offend God and his creations through his transgressions. Conversely, when man finally fulfills the measure of his creation nothing glorifies God more.
As we saw previously, representations of Jehovah as the creator of the heavens and the earth (v 24) that accompany his appointing his servant (vv 26-28) validate the servant’s mission (Isaiah 42:5-7; 48:12-15) and function as a polemic against those who might oppose him or consider him an impostor (Isaiah 49:7; 50:6-9). The real impostors, diviners, and wise men (v 25), meanwhile, are put in their place. Their “predictions” and “knowledge”—which stem from their own conjectures, not from God—prove utterly worthless when Jehovah intervenes to restore his people (Isaiah 29:13-14; 41:22-24).
Unlike his people’s false servants and messengers (Isaiah 42:19)—whose word Jehovah doesn’t fulfill (Deuteronomy 18:22)—his end-time servant predicts the future and also sees it fulfilled: “Come near me and hear this: I have not made predictions in secret; at their coming to pass, I have been present. Now my Lord Jehovah has sent me; his Spirit [is in me]” (Isaiah 48:16; cf. 41:26-27). Jehovah’s appointing his servant to restore his people (Isaiah 49:5-6, 8-9) includes the rebuilding of ancient ruins (Isaiah 49:19; 58:12; 61:4), in particular Jerusalem and its temple (v 28; Isaiah 33:20; 62:7; 66:1).
The mention of a person by name—as with Cyrus, the Persian emperor—denotes that he set a historical precedent that serves as a type of the end-time. In Cyrus’ case, that precedent is the rebuilding of Jerusalem and its temple (Ezra 1:1-2). In this passage, however (vv 24-28), Isaiah creates a composite of types—of Cyrus and Moses—to portray Jehovah’s “servant” (v 26) who fulfills the roles of both. The idea of Jehovah’s “shepherd” in a context of the “deep” becoming dry represents a Moses typology (Isaiah 63:11-13; cf. 40:11) and alludes to Israel’s end-time exodus (Isaiah 11:15-16; 51:9-11).