Isaiah 40

1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
2 Speak ye according to the heart of Jerusalem and cry unto her that her time is now fulfilled that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.
3 The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 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 made plain:
5 And the glory of the LORD shall be manifested, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.
6 The voice that said, Cry. And I said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the mercy thereof is as the open flower of the field:
7 The grass withers, the flower fades because the spirit of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people is grass.
8 The grass withers, the open flower fades; but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
9 O Zion, that brings good tidings, go up into the high mountain; lift up thy voice with strength O bearer of good tidings of Jerusalem; lift it up, do not be afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with a strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
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.
12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and prepared the heavens with his palm and with three fingers measured the dust of the earth and weighed the mountains in a balance and the hills with weights?
13 Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD or being his counsellor has taught him?
14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him? Who taught him in the path of judgment and taught him knowledge and showed unto him the way of intelligence?
15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he causes the isles to disappear as dust.
16 And all Lebanon is not sufficient for the fire, nor all the beasts thereof sufficient for the sacrifice.
17 All the Gentiles are as nothing before him, and they are counted to him as vanity and as less than nothing.
18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?
19 The workman prepares the graven image, and the goldsmith spreads it over with gold and casts silver chains.
20 He that is so impoverished that he has no oblation chooses a tree that will not rot; he seeks unto himself a cunning workman to prepare a graven image that shall not be moved.
21 Have ye not known? Have ye not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have ye not been taught since the land was founded?
22 He is seated upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; he stretches out the heavens as a curtain and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in:
23 He brings the powerful to nothing; he makes the judges of the earth as if they had never been,
24 As if they had never been planted, as if they had never been sown, as if their stock had never taken root in the earth; even blowing upon them, they wither, and the whirlwind takes them away as stubble.
25 To whom then will ye liken me, or what shall ye compare me to? saith the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high and behold who has created these things; he brings out his host by number; he calls them all by their names; none shall be lacking by the greatness of his might and by the strength of his power.
27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest thou, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God?
28 Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard that the God of the age is the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth? He does not faint, nor is he weary; and there is no one that can attain to his intelligence.
29 He gives power to the faint; and to those that have no might he increases strength.
30 The young men faint and are weary; the children stumble and fall;
31 but those that wait for the LORD shall have new strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not 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.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH 40

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

The Jubilee Bible

(from the Scriptures of the Reformation)

edited by Russell M. Stendal

Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2010