Isaiah 41:25

25 “I have stirred up one from the north, and he comes— one from the rising sun who calls on my name. He treads on rulers as if they were mortar, as if he were a potter treading the clay.

Isaiah 41:25 in Other Translations

KJV
25 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.
ESV
25 I stirred up one from the north, and he has come, from the rising of the sun, and he shall call upon my name; he shall trample on rulers as on mortar, as the potter treads clay.
NLT
25 “But I have stirred up a leader who will approach from the north. From the east he will call on my name. I will give him victory over kings and princes. He will trample them as a potter treads on clay.
MSG
25 "I, God, started someone out from the north and he's come. He was called out of the east by name. He'll stomp the rulers into the mud the way a potter works the clay.
CSB
25 "I have raised up one from the north, and he has come, one from the east who invokes My name. He will march over rulers as if they were mud, like a potter who treads the clay.

Isaiah 41:25 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 41:25

I have raised up one from the north
Either one people, or one person; a mighty king, as the Targum; meaning either Cyrus, who might be said to come from the north, and from the rising of the sun, or the east, as in the next clause; since he was by birth a Medo-Persian, hence called a mule; by his mother a Mede, and the country of Media lay rather to the north of Babylon; and by his father a Persian, and Persia lay to the east of it; and the forces he brought with him against it were partly Medes, and partly Persians; though some, as Jarchi observes, think two persons are meant in this and the next clause; in this Nebuchadnezzar, who came from Babylon, which lay north of Judea, to invade it; and in the other Cyrus, who came from the east, and proclaimed the name of the Lord, and liberty to the captive Jews. Kimchi and his father both interpret it of the King Messiah, as do also more ancient Jewish writers F3, of whom Cyrus was a type; but to me it seems best of all, as most agreeable to the scope and tenure of the prophecy, to understand it of Constantine, who, as reported, was born in Britain, in the northern part of the world; but, when called to the empire, was in the eastern parts of it; and so with great propriety it is expressed here, and in the following clause: and from the rising of the sun he shall call upon my name;
which those that apply the prophecy to Cyrus explain by ( Ezra 1:1-3 ) , but is much more applicable to Constantine, who was a worshipper of the true God, which invocation of his name is expressive of; and who openly professed the name of Christ, and encouraged those that did, and spread his name and fame, his Gospel and his glory, throughout the empire, east and west: and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter
treadeth clay;
that is, he shall come upon them with his army, and conquer them, and tread them down, and trample upon them, as morter is trodden upon, or mire in the streets; or as the clay is trodden by the potter, who does with it as he pleases; which those who interpret it of Cyrus understand of Astyages, Croesus, Belshazzar, and others; see ( Isaiah 14:1 ) , and is as true of Constantine, who subdued the emperors of Rome, trod them under his feet, as Maximius, Maxentius, Licinius; moreover, the word "saganin", here used, is a word used by Jewish writers for priests, for such who were the deputies of the high priest; and it may design here the Pagan priests, and the destruction of them, and of Paganism in the Roman empire by Constantine.


FOOTNOTES:

F3 Vajikra Rabba, sect. 9. fol. 153. 1. Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 13. fol. 208. 1. Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 19. 2.

Isaiah 41:25 In-Context

23 tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods. Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.
24 But you are less than nothing and your works are utterly worthless; whoever chooses you is detestable.
25 “I have stirred up one from the north, and he comes— one from the rising sun who calls on my name. He treads on rulers as if they were mortar, as if he were a potter treading the clay.
26 Who told of this from the beginning, so we could know, or beforehand, so we could say, ‘He was right’? No one told of this, no one foretold it, no one heard any words from you.
27 I was the first to tell Zion, ‘Look, here they are!’ I gave to Jerusalem a messenger of good news.

Cross References 3

  • 1. S Ezra 1:2
  • 2. S ver 2; Jeremiah 50:9,41; Jeremiah 51:48
  • 3. S 2 Samuel 22:43; S Isaiah 5:5; Nahum 3:14