Isaiah 40

The Greatness of God

1 "1Comfort, O comfort My people," says your God.
2 "2Speak kindly to Jerusalem; And call out to her, that her 3warfare has ended, That her 4iniquity has been removed, That she has received of the LORD'S hand 5Double for all her sins."
3 6A voice is calling, "7Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
4 "Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley;
5 Then the 8glory of the LORD will be revealed, And 9all flesh will see it together; For the 10mouth of the LORD has spoken."
6 A voice says, "Call out." Then he answered, "What shall I call out?" 11All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
7 The 12grass withers, the flower fades, When the 13breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But 14the word of our God stands forever.
9 Get yourself up on a 15high mountain, O Zion, bearer of 16good news, Lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news; Lift it up, do not fear. Say to the 17cities of Judah, "18Here is your God!"
10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come 19with might, With His 20arm ruling for Him. Behold, His 21reward is with Him And His recompense before Him.
11 Like a shepherd He will 22tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
12 Who has 23measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, And marked off the heavens by the span, And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, And weighed the mountains in a balance And the hills in a pair of scales?
13 24Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His 25counselor * has informed Him?
14 26With whom did He consult and who 27gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge And informed Him of the way of understanding?
15 Behold, the 28nations are like a drop from a bucket, And are regarded as a speck of 29dust on the scales; Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.
16 Even Lebanon is not enough to burn, Nor its 30beasts enough for a burnt offering.
17 31All the nations are as nothing before Him, They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.
18 32To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him?
19 As for the 33idol, a craftsman casts it, A goldsmith 34plates it with gold, And a silversmith fashions chains of silver.
20 He who is too impoverished for such an offering Selects a 35tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman To prepare an idol that 36will not totter.
21 37Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood 38from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is He who sits above the 39circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like 40grasshoppers, Who 41stretches out the heavens like a 42curtain And spreads them out like a 43tent to dwell in.
23 He it is who reduces 44rulers to nothing, Who 45makes the judges of the earth meaningless.
24 Scarcely * have they been planted, Scarcely * have they been sown, Scarcely * has their stock taken root in the earth, But He merely blows on them, and they wither, And the 46storm carries them away like stubble.
25 "47To whom then will you liken Me That I would be his equal?" says the Holy One.
26 48Lift up your eyes on high And see 49who has created these stars, The 50One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the 51greatness of His might and the strength of His power, 52Not one of them is missing.
27 53Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, "My way is 54hidden from the LORD, And the 55justice due me escapes the notice of 56my God "?
28 57Do you not know? Have you not heard? The 58Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is 59inscrutable *.
29 He gives strength to the 60weary, And to him who lacks might He 61increases power.
30 Though 62youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous 63young men stumble badly,
31 Yet those who wait for the LORD Will 64gain new strength; They will 65mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

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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 65

  • 1. Isaiah 12:1; Isaiah 49:13; Isaiah 51:3, 12; Isaiah 52:9; Isaiah 61:2; Isaiah 66:13; Jeremiah 31:10-14; Zephaniah 3:14-17; 2 Corinthians 1:4
  • 2. Isaiah 35:4; Zechariah 1:13
  • 3. Isaiah 41:11-13; Isaiah 49:25; Isaiah 54:15, 17
  • 4. Isaiah 33:24; Isaiah 53:5, 6, 11
  • 5. Jeremiah 16:18; Zechariah 9:12; Revelation 18:6
  • 6. Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4-6; John 1:23
  • 7. Malachi 3:1; Malachi 4:5, 6
  • 8. Isaiah 6:3; Habakkuk 2:14
  • 9. Isaiah 52:10; Joel 2:28
  • 10. Isaiah 1:20; Isaiah 34:16; Isaiah 58:14
  • 11. Job 14:2; Psalms 102:11; Psalms 103:15; 1 Peter 1:24, 25
  • 12. Psalms 90:5, 6; James 1:10, 11
  • 13. Job 4:9; Job 41:21; Isaiah 11:4; Isaiah 40:24
  • 14. Isaiah 55:11; Isaiah 59:21; Matthew 5:18
  • 15. Isaiah 52:7
  • 16. Isaiah 61:1
  • 17. Isaiah 44:26
  • 18. Isaiah 25:9; Isaiah 35:2
  • 19. Isaiah 9:6, 7
  • 20. Isaiah 59:16, 18
  • 21. Isaiah 62:11; Revelation 22:12
  • 22. Jeremiah 31:10; Ezek 34:12-14, 23, 31; Micah 5:4; John 10:11, 14-16
  • 23. Job 38:8-11; Psalms 102:25, 26; Isaiah 48:13; Hebrews 1:10-12
  • 24. Romans 11:34; 1 Corinthians 2:16
  • 25. Isaiah 41:28
  • 26. Job 38:4
  • 27. Job 21:22; Colossians 2:3
  • 28. Jeremiah 10:10
  • 29. Isaiah 17:13; Isaiah 29:5
  • 30. Psalms 50:9-11; Micah 6:6, 7; Hebrews 10:5-9
  • 31. Isaiah 29:7
  • 32. Exodus 8:10; Exodus 15:11; 1 Samuel 2:2; Isaiah 40:25; Isaiah 46:5; Micah 7:18; Acts 17:29
  • 33. Psalms 115:4-8; Isaiah 41:7; Isaiah 44:10; Habakkuk 2:18, 19
  • 34. Isaiah 2:20; Isaiah 30:22
  • 35. Isaiah 44:14
  • 36. 1 Samuel 5:3, 4; Isaiah 41:7; Isaiah 46:7
  • 37. Psalms 19:1; Psalms 50:6; Isaiah 37:26; Acts 14:17; Romans 1:19
  • 38. Isaiah 48:13; Isaiah 51:13
  • 39. Job 22:14; Proverbs 8:27
  • 40. Numbers 13:33
  • 41. Job 9:8; Isaiah 37:16; Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 44:24
  • 42. Psalms 104:2
  • 43. Job 36:29; Psalms 18:11; Psalms 19:4
  • 44. Job 12:21; Psalms 107:40; Isaiah 34:12
  • 45. Isaiah 5:21; Jeremiah 25:18-27
  • 46. Isaiah 17:13; Isaiah 41:16
  • 47. Isaiah 40:18
  • 48. Isaiah 51:6
  • 49. Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 48:12, 13
  • 50. Psalms 147:4
  • 51. Psalms 89:11-13
  • 52. Isaiah 34:16; Isaiah 48:13
  • 53. Isaiah 49:4, 14
  • 54. Isaiah 54:8
  • 55. Job 27:2; Job 34:5; Luke 18:7, 8
  • 56. Isaiah 25:1
  • 57. Isaiah 40:21
  • 58. Genesis 21:33; Psalms 90:2
  • 59. Psalms 147:5; Romans 11:33
  • 60. Isaiah 50:4; Jeremiah 31:25
  • 61. Isaiah 41:10
  • 62. Jeremiah 6:11; Jeremiah 9:21
  • 63. Isaiah 9:17
  • 64. Job 17:9; Psalms 103:5; 2 Cor 4:8-10, 16
  • 65. Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:11; Luke 18:1; 2 Corinthians 4:1, 16; Galatians 6:9; Hebrews 12:3

Footnotes 29

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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