Isaiah 44

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Israel the Lord's Chosen

1 "But now hear, 1O Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen!
2 Thus says the LORD who made you, 2who formed you from the womb and will help you: 3Fear not, O Jacob my servant, 4Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
3 5For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
4 They shall spring up among the grass 6like willows by flowing streams.
5 7This one will say, 'I am the LORD's,' another will call on the name of Jacob, and another will write on his hand, 'The LORD's,' and name himself by the name of Israel."

Besides Me There Is No God

6 Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and 8his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: 9"I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.
7 10Who is like me? Let him proclaim it.[a] Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.
8 Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? 11And you are my witnesses! 12Is there a God besides me? There is no 13Rock; I know not any."

The Folly of Idolatry

9 14All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame.
10 15Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing?
11 16Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.
12 17The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint.
13 The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. 18He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house.
14 19He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it.
15 Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it.
16 Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, "Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!"
17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. 20He prays to it and says, "Deliver me, for you are my god!"
18 They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand.
19 No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, "Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an 21abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?"
20 22He feeds on 23ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, "Is there not 24a lie in my right hand?"

The Lord Redeems Israel

21 Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are 25my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; 26O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
22 27I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.
23 28Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it; shout, O 29depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, 30and will be glorified[b] in Israel.
24 Thus says the LORD, 31your Redeemer, 32who formed you from the womb: 33"I am the LORD, who made all things, 34who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,
25 who frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners, 35who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish,
26 36who confirms the word of his servant and fulfills the counsel of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, 'She shall be inhabited,' 37and of the cities of Judah, 'They shall be built, and I will raise up their ruins';
27 38who says to the deep, 'Be dry; I will dry up your rivers';
28 who says of 39Cyrus, 'He is 40my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose'; saying of Jerusalem, 'She shall be built,' 41and of the temple, 'Your foundation shall be laid.'"

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Isaiah 44 Commentary

Chapter 44

Here are promises of the influences of the Holy Spirit. (1-8) An exposure of the folly of idolatry. (9-20) Also the deliverance of God's people. (21-28)

Verses 1-8 Israel is here called Jeshurun, which means "the upright one." Such only are Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile. Those that serve God he will own. He will help them over difficulties, and in their services. Water is the emblem of the Holy Spirit; as water refreshes, cleanses, and makes the earth fruitful, so do his influences the soul. This gift of the Holy Ghost is the great blessing, the plentiful pouring out of which God kept for the latter days. Where God gives his Spirit, he will give all other blessings. Hereby shall be a great increase of the church; thus it shall be spread to distant places. Was there any other Rock, or Protector, that could defend them? None besides could foretell these things to come, of which God by his prophets gave notice. All was set in order in the Divine predictions, as well as in the Divine purposes. Could any other have done so? Who can compare with Israel's Redeemer and King?

Verses 9-20 Image-making is described, to expose the folly of idolaters. Though a man had used part of a log for fuel, he fell down before an image made of the remainder, praying it to deliver him. Man greatly dishonours God, when he represents him after the image of man. Satan blinds the eyes of unbelievers, causing absurd reasonings in matters of religion. Whether men seek happiness in worldly things, or run into unbelief, superstition, or any false system, they feed on ashes. A heart deceived by pride, love of sin, and departure from God, turns men aside from his holy truth and worship. While the affections are depraved, a man holds fast the lie as his best treasure. Are our hearts set upon the wealth of the world and its pleasures? They will certainly prove a lie. If we trust to outward professions and doings, as if those would save us, we deceive ourselves. Self-suspicion is the first step towards self-deliverance. He that would deliver his soul, must question his conscience, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

Verses 21-28 Return unto me. It is the great concern of those who have backslidden from God, like the Jews of old, to hasten their return to him. The work of redemption wrought for us by Christ, encourages to hope for all blessings from him. Our transgressions and our sins are as a thick cloud between heaven and earth: sins separate between us and God; they threaten a storm of wrath. When God pardons sin, he blots out, he dispels this cloud, this thick cloud, so that the way to heaven is open again. The cloud is scattered by the Sun of righteousness; it is quite gone. The comforts that flow into the soul when sin is pardoned, are like clear shining after clouds and rain. Let not Israel be discouraged; nothing is too hard for God: having made all, he can make what use he pleases of any. Those that learn to know Christ, see all knowledge to be foolishness, in comparison with the knowledge of him. And his enemies will find their counsels turned into foolishness, and themselves taken in their craftiness. The exact fulfilling the prophecies of Scripture confirms the truth of the whole, and proves its Divine origin. The particular favours God designed for his people in captivity, were foretold here, long before they went into captivity. Very great difficulties would be in the way of their deliverance; but it is promised that by Divine power they should all be removed. God knew who should be the Deliverer of his people; and let his church know it, that when they heard such a name talked of, they might know their redemption drew nigh. It is the greatest honour of the greatest men, to be employed as instruments of the Divine favour to his people. In things wherein men serve themselves, and look no further, God makes them do all his pleasure. And a nobler Shepherd than Cyrus does his Father's will, till his work is fully completed.

Cross References 41

  • 1. See Isaiah 41:8
  • 2. ver. 24; Isaiah 49:15; [Psalms 71:6; Jeremiah 1:5; Galatians 1:15]
  • 3. See Isaiah 43:5
  • 4. Deuteronomy 32:15
  • 5. Joel 2:28; John 7:38; Acts 2:18; See Isaiah 35:6
  • 6. [Psalms 1:3]
  • 7. [Isaiah 14:1]
  • 8. See Isaiah 43:14
  • 9. Isaiah 48:12; Revelation 1:8; See Isaiah 41:4
  • 10. Isaiah 41:26, 27
  • 11. Isaiah 43:10
  • 12. Isaiah 45:5; Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:2; Joel 2:27
  • 13. See Isaiah 30:29
  • 14. Isaiah 41:24, 29
  • 15. [Isaiah 40:19, 20; Isaiah 41:6, 7; Isaiah 46:6, 7; Habakkuk 2:18]; See Jeremiah 10:3-5
  • 16. Isaiah 45:16; Psalms 115:8; See Isaiah 42:17
  • 17. [See ver. 10 above]
  • 18. See Psalms 115:5-7
  • 19. [Isaiah 40:20]
  • 20. [Isaiah 45:20]
  • 21. Deuteronomy 27:15
  • 22. Hosea 12:1
  • 23. [Job 13:12]
  • 24. Psalms 144:8; [Romans 1:25]
  • 25. Isaiah 42:19; See Isaiah 42:1
  • 26. [Isaiah 49:15]
  • 27. Isaiah 43:25
  • 28. Isaiah 49:13; [Isaiah 55:12; Psalms 69:34; Jeremiah 51:48]
  • 29. Psalms 63:9; [Hosea 2:21, 22]
  • 30. Isaiah 49:3; [Isaiah 55:5; Isaiah 60:9]
  • 31. See Isaiah 43:14
  • 32. See ver. 2
  • 33. [Isaiah 42:5]
  • 34. Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 45:12
  • 35. [Isaiah 19:3, 14]
  • 36. [2 Chronicles 36:22]
  • 37. [Jeremiah 32:15, 44]
  • 38. Isaiah 11:15; [Isaiah 51:10]
  • 39. Isaiah 45:1
  • 40. [2 Samuel 5:2; Psalms 78:72]
  • 41. Isaiah 45:13; See 2 Chronicles 36:22, 23; Ezra 1:1-3

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or Who like me can proclaim it?
  • [b]. Or will display his beauty

Chapter Summary


In this chapter the Lord comforts his people with the promise of the effusion of his Spirit, and the blessings of his grace upon them; the consequence of which would be fruitfulness in them, and the conversion of others, who should profess themselves the Lord's people, Isa 44:1-5, he proves his deity in opposition to all false gods from his eternity, omniscience, and foretelling future events, Isa 44:6-8, exposes the stupidity of idol makers and the worshippers of them, Isa 44:9-20, makes gracious promises of the remembrance of his people, the remission of their sins, and their redemption by Christ, Isa 44:21-23, of which redemption from Babylon was a type; and of that assurance is given, from the Lord's creating all things by his power; from his frustrating and infatuating diviners and wise men; from his fulfilling his predictions delivered by his prophets; and from his mentioning by name the instrument of their redemption, Cyrus, Isa 44:24-28, which makes way for a particular prophecy concerning him in the next chapter.

Isaiah 44 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.