Isaiah 40

Comfort for God’s People

1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.
3 A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD[a] ; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.[b]
4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.
5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
6 A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
7 The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”
9 You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem,[c]lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!”
10 See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.
11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?
13 Who can fathom the Spirit[d] of the LORD, or instruct the LORD as his counselor?
14 Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding?
15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.
16 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings.
17 Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing.
18 With whom, then, will you compare God? To what image will you liken him?
19 As for an idol, a metalworker casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it.
20 A person too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot; they look for a skilled worker to set up an idol that will not topple.
21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
24 No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.
25 “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
27 Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Images for Isaiah 40

Isaiah 40 Commentary

Chapter 40

The preaching of the gospel, and glad tidings of the coming of Christ. (1-11) The almighty power of God. (12-17) The folly of idolatry. (18-26) Against unbelief. (27-31)

Verses 1-11 All human life is a warfare; the Christian life is the most so; but the struggle will not last always. Troubles are removed in love, when sin is pardoned. In the great atonement of the death of Christ, the mercy of God is exercised to the glory of his justice. In Christ, and his sufferings, true penitents receive of the Lord's hand double for all their sins; for the satisfaction Christ made by his death was of infinite value. The prophet had some reference to the return of the Jews from Babylon. But this is a small event, compared with that pointed out by the Holy Ghost in the New Testament, when John the Baptist proclaimed the approach of Christ. When eastern princes marched through desert countries, ways were prepared for them, and hinderances removed. And may the Lord prepare our hearts by the teaching of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, that high and proud thoughts may be brought down, good desires planted, crooked and rugged tempers made straight and softened, and every hinderance removed, that we may be ready for his will on earth, and prepared for his heavenly kingdom. What are all that belongs to fallen man, or all that he does, but as the grass and the flower thereof! And what will all the titles and possessions of a dying sinner avail, when they leave him under condemnation! The word of the Lord can do that for us, which all flesh cannot. The glad tidings of the coming of Christ were to be sent forth to the ends of the earth. Satan is the strong man armed; but our Lord Jesus is stronger; and he shall proceed, and do all that he purposes. Christ is the good Shepherd; he shows tender care for young converts, weak believers, and those of a sorrowful spirit. By his word he requires no more service, and by his providence he inflicts no more trouble, than he will strengthen them for. May we know our Shepherd's voice, and follow him, proving ourselves his sheep.

Verses 12-17 All created beings shrink to nothing in comparison with the Creator. When the Lord, by his Spirit, made the world, none directed his Spirit, or gave advice what to do, or how to do it. The nations, in comparison of him, are as a drop which remains in the bucket, compared with the vast ocean; or as the small dust in the balance, which does not turn it, compared with all the earth. This magnifies God's love to the world, that, though it is of such small account and value with him, yet, for the redemption of it, he gave his only-begotten Son, ( John 3:16 ) . The services of the church can make no addition to him. Our souls must have perished for ever, if the only Son of the Father had not given himself for us.

Verses 18-26 Whatever we esteem or love, fear or hope in, more than God, that creature we make equal with God, though we do not make images or worship them. He that is so poor, that he has scarcely a sacrifice to offer, yet will not be without a god of his own. They spared no cost upon their idols; we grudge what is spent in the service of our God. To prove the greatness of God, the prophet appeals to all ages and nations. Those who are ignorant of this, are willingly ignorant. God has the command of all creatures, and of all created things. The prophet directs us to use our reason as well as our senses; to consider who created the hosts of heaven, and to pay our homage to Him. Not one fails to fulfil his will. And let us not forget, that He spake all the promises, and engaged to perform them.

Verses 27-31 The people of God are reproved for their unbelief and distrust of God. Let them remember they took the names Jacob and Israel, from one who found God faithful to him in all his straits. And they bore these names as a people in covenant with Him. Many foolish frets, and foolish fears, would vanish before inquiry into the causes. It is bad to have evil thoughts rise in our minds, but worse to turn them into evil words. What they had known, and had heard, was sufficient to silence all these fears and distrusts. Where God had begun the work of grace, he will perfect it. He will help those who, in humble dependence on him, help themselves. As the day, so shall the strength be. In the strength of Divine grace their souls shall ascend above the world. They shall run the way of God's commandments cheerfully. Let us watch against unbelief, pride, and self-confidence. If we go forth in our own strength, we shall faint, and utterly fall; but having our hearts and our hopes in heaven, we shall be carried above all difficulties, and be enabled to lay hold of the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus.

Cross References 98

  • 1. Isaiah 12:1; Isaiah 49:13; Isaiah 51:3,12; Isaiah 52:9; Isaiah 57:18; Isaiah 61:2; Isaiah 66:13; Jeremiah 31:13; Zephaniah 3:14-17; Zechariah 1:17; 2 Corinthians 1:3
  • 2. S Genesis 34:3; S Isaiah 35:4
  • 3. S Job 7:1
  • 4. Isaiah 41:11-13; Isaiah 49:25
  • 5. S Leviticus 26:41
  • 6. Isaiah 51:19; Isaiah 61:7; Jeremiah 16:18; Jeremiah 17:18; Zechariah 9:12; Revelation 18:6
  • 7. S Isaiah 11:16; Isaiah 43:19; Malachi 3:1
  • 8. S Proverbs 3:5-6
  • 9. Matthew 3:3*; Mark 1:3*; John 1:23*
  • 10. Isaiah 49:11
  • 11. S Isaiah 2:14
  • 12. S Psalms 26:12; S Isaiah 26:7; Isaiah 45:2,13; Jeremiah 31:9
  • 13. S Exodus 16:7; S Numbers 14:21; S Isaiah 59:19
  • 14. Isaiah 52:10; Isaiah 62:2; Luke 2:30; Luke 3:4-6*
  • 15. S Isaiah 1:20; Isaiah 58:14
  • 16. S Genesis 6:3; S Isaiah 29:5; Job 14:2
  • 17. S Job 8:12; S Isaiah 15:6
  • 18. S Exodus 15:10; S Job 41:21
  • 19. S Psalms 103:16; S Ezekiel 22:21
  • 20. S Isaiah 5:24; James 1:10
  • 21. Isaiah 55:11; Isaiah 59:21
  • 22. S Proverbs 19:21; S Isaiah 7:7,9; S Jeremiah 39:16
  • 23. S Psalms 119:89; S Matthew 5:18; 1 Peter 1:24-25*
  • 24. Isaiah 41:27; Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 52:7-10; Isaiah 61:1; Nahum 1:15; S Acts 13:32; Romans 10:15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
  • 25. S Isaiah 1:1
  • 26. Isaiah 25:9
  • 27. Isaiah 35:4; Isaiah 59:20; Matthew 21:5; Revelation 22:7
  • 28. Isaiah 28:2
  • 29. S Psalms 44:3; S Isaiah 30:30; S Isaiah 33:2; Isaiah 59:16
  • 30. Isaiah 9:6-7
  • 31. S Isaiah 35:4; Isaiah 62:11; Revelation 22:12
  • 32. S Genesis 48:15; S Psalms 28:9; Ezekiel 34:23; S Micah 5:4; S John 10:11
  • 33. S Numbers 11:12
  • 34. S Deuteronomy 26:19
  • 35. Isaiah 49:10
  • 36. S Genesis 33:13; S Deuteronomy 30:4
  • 37. S Job 12:15; S Job 38:10
  • 38. Proverbs 30:4
  • 39. S Job 38:5; Hebrews 1:10-12
  • 40. S Job 38:18; Proverbs 16:11
  • 41. Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 42:1
  • 42. S Job 15:8; Romans 11:34*; 1 Corinthians 2:16*
  • 43. Job 21:22; Colossians 2:3
  • 44. S Job 12:13; S Job 34:13; Isaiah 55:9
  • 45. S Psalms 62:9
  • 46. S Deuteronomy 9:21; Isaiah 2:22
  • 47. Isaiah 33:9; Isaiah 37:24
  • 48. Psalms 50:9-11; Micah 6:7; Hebrews 10:5-9
  • 49. Isaiah 30:28
  • 50. S Job 12:19; Isaiah 29:7
  • 51. S Isaiah 37:19; Daniel 4:35
  • 52. S Exodus 8:10; S 1 Samuel 2:2; Isaiah 46:5
  • 53. S Deuteronomy 4:15; Acts 17:29
  • 54. S Exodus 20:4; Psalms 115:4; S Isaiah 37:19; Isaiah 42:17; Jeremiah 2:8,28; Jeremiah 10:8; Jeremiah 16:19; Habakkuk 2:18; Zechariah 10:2
  • 55. Isaiah 41:7; Isaiah 46:6; Jeremiah 10:3
  • 56. Isaiah 2:20; Isaiah 31:7
  • 57. Isaiah 44:19
  • 58. S 1 Samuel 12:21
  • 59. S 1 Samuel 5:3
  • 60. ver 28; 2 Kings 19:25; Isaiah 41:22; Isaiah 42:9; Isaiah 44:8; Isaiah 48:3,5
  • 61. Psalms 19:1; Psalms 50:6; Acts 14:17
  • 62. S Genesis 1:1
  • 63. Romans 1:19
  • 64. Isaiah 48:13; Isaiah 51:13
  • 65. S 2 Chronicles 6:18; S Psalms 2:4
  • 66. S Numbers 13:33; Psalms 104:2; Isaiah 42:5
  • 67. S Genesis 1:1; S Isaiah 48:13
  • 68. S Genesis 1:8; S Job 22:14
  • 69. S Job 36:29
  • 70. S Job 26:7
  • 71. S Job 12:18; S Isaiah 34:12
  • 72. S Job 12:19; Amos 2:3; Job 12:21; Psalms 107:40
  • 73. S Job 5:3
  • 74. S 2 Samuel 22:16; S Isaiah 11:4; Isaiah 41:16
  • 75. S Job 8:12; S Job 18:16
  • 76. S Job 24:24; S Isaiah 41:2
  • 77. ver 18; S 1 Samuel 2:2; S 1 Chronicles 16:25
  • 78. Isaiah 1:4; Isaiah 37:23
  • 79. Isaiah 51:6
  • 80. ver 28; Psalms 89:11-13; Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 66:2
  • 81. S 2 Kings 17:16; S Nehemiah 9:6; S Job 38:32; Psalms 147:4
  • 82. S Job 9:4; S Isaiah 45:24; Ephesians 1:19
  • 83. S Isaiah 34:16
  • 84. S Job 6:29; S Job 27:2; Luke 18:7-8
  • 85. S ver 21
  • 86. S Deuteronomy 33:27; S Psalms 90:2
  • 87. S ver 26
  • 88. S Isaiah 37:16
  • 89. Isaiah 44:12
  • 90. S Psalms 147:5; Romans 11:33
  • 91. S Genesis 18:14; S Psalms 68:35; S Psalms 119:28
  • 92. Isaiah 50:4; Isaiah 57:19; Jeremiah 31:25
  • 93. Isaiah 9:17; Jeremiah 6:11; Jeremiah 9:21
  • 94. S Psalms 20:8; Isaiah 5:27
  • 95. S Psalms 37:9; Psalms 40:1; S Isaiah 30:18; Luke 18:1
  • 96. S 1 Samuel 2:4; S 2 Kings 6:33; S 2 Corinthians 4:16
  • 97. S Exodus 19:4; Psalms 103:5
  • 98. 2 Corinthians 4:1; Hebrews 12:1-3

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Or "A voice of one calling in the wilderness:" / "“Prepare the way for the " Lord
  • [b]. Hebrew; Septuagint "make straight the paths of our God"
  • [c]. Or "Zion, bringer of good news," / "go up on a high mountain." / "Jerusalem, bringer of good news"
  • [d]. Or "mind"

Chapter Summary


This chapter treats of the comforts of God's people; of the forerunner and coming of the Messiah; of his work, and the dignity of his person; of the folly of making idols, and of the groundless complaints of the church of God. The consolations of God's people, by whom to be administered, and the matter, ground, and reason of them, Isa 40:1,2. John the Baptist, the harbinger of Christ, is described by his work and office, and the effects of it; it issuing in the humiliation of some, and the exaltation of others, and in the revelation of the glory of Christ, Isa 40:3-5, then follows an order to every minister of the Gospel what he should preach and publish; the weakness and insufficiency of men to anything that is spiritually good; their fading and withering goodliness, which is to be ascribed to the blowing of the Spirit of God upon it; and the firmness and constancy of the word of God is declared, Isa 40:6-8, next the apostles of Christ in Jerusalem are particularly exhorted to publish fervently and openly the good tidings of the Gospel; to proclaim the coming of Christ, the manner of it, and the work he came about; and to signify his faithful discharge of his office as a shepherd, Isa 40:9-11, the dignity of whose person is set forth by his almighty power, by his infinite wisdom, and by the greatness of his majesty, in comparison of which all nations and things are as nothing, Isa 40:12-17 and then the vanity of framing any likeness to God, and of forming idols for worship, is observed, Isa 40:18-25, and from the consideration of the divine power in creation and upholding all things, the church of God is encouraged to expect renewed strength and persevering grace, and is blamed for giving way to a distrustful and murmuring spirit, Isa 40:26-31.

Isaiah 40 Commentaries

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