Isaiah 41

Israel Encouraged

1 "1Coastlands, listen to Me 2in silence, And let the peoples 3gain new strength; 4Let them come forward, then let them speak; 5Let us come together for judgment.
2 "6Who has aroused one from the east Whom He 7calls in righteousness to His feet? He 8delivers up nations before him And subdues kings. He makes them like 9dust with his sword, As the wind-driven 10chaff with his bow.
3 "He pursues them, passing on in safety, By a way he had not been traversing with his feet.
4 "11Who has performed and accomplished it, Calling forth the generations from the beginning? '12I, the LORD, am the first, and with the last. 13I am He.' "
5 The 14coastlands have seen and are afraid; The 15ends of the earth tremble; They have drawn near and have come.
6 Each one helps his neighbor And says to his brother, "Be strong!"
7 So the 16craftsman encourages the 17smelter, And he who smooths metal with the hammer encourages him who beats the anvil, Saying of the soldering, "It is good "; And he fastens it with nails, 18So that it will not totter.
8 "But you, Israel, 19My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, Descendant of 20Abraham My 21friend,
9 You whom I have 22taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its 23remotest parts And said to you, 'You are 24My servant, I have 25chosen you and not rejected you.
10 'Do not 26fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely 27I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous 28right hand.'
11 "Behold, 29all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; 30Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish.
12 "31You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, Those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent.
13 "For I am the LORD your God, 32who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, '33Do not fear, I will help you.'
14 "Do not fear, you 34worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you," declares the LORD, "and 35your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15 "Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; 36You will thresh the 37mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff.
16 "You will 38winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will 39rejoice in the LORD, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.
17 "The afflicted and needy are seeking 40water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the LORD, 41will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I 42will not forsake them.
18 "I will open 43rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make 44the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water.
19 "I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the 45myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the 46juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress,
20 That 47they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the 48hand of the LORD has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.
21 "Present your case," the LORD says. "Bring forward your strong arguments," The 49King of Jacob says.
22 50Let them bring forth and declare to us what is going to take place; As for the 51former events, declare what they were, That we may consider them and know their outcome. Or announce to us what is coming;
23 52Declare the things that are going to come afterward, That we may know that you are gods; Indeed, 53do good or evil, that we may anxiously look about us and fear together.
24 Behold, 54you are of no account, And 55your work amounts to nothing; He who chooses you is an 56abomination.
25 "I have aroused 57one from the north, and he has come; From the rising of the sun he will call on My name; And he will come upon rulers as upon 58mortar, Even as the potter treads clay."
26 Who has 59declared this from the beginning, that we might know? Or from former times, that we may say, "He is right!"? Surely there was 60no one who declared, Surely there was no one who proclaimed, Surely there was no one who heard your words.
27 "61Formerly I said to Zion, 'Behold, here they are.' And to Jerusalem, 'I will give a 62messenger of good news.'
28 "But 63when I look, there is no one, And there is no 64counselor among them Who, if I ask, can 65give an answer.
29 "Behold, all of them are false; Their 66works are 67worthless, Their molten images are 68wind and emptiness.

Images for Isaiah 41

Isaiah 41 Commentary

Chapter 41

God's care of his people. (1-9) they are encouraged not to fear. (10-20) The vanity and folly of idolatry. (21-29)

Verses 1-9 Can any heathen god raise up one in righteousness, make what use of him he pleases, and make him victorious over the nations? The Lord did so with Abraham, or rather, he would do so with Cyrus. Sinners encourage one another in the ways of sin; shall not the servants of the living God stir up one another in his service? God's people are the seed of Abraham his friend. This is certainly the highest title ever given to a mortal. It means that Abraham, by Divine grace, was made like to God, and that he was admitted to communion with Him. Happy are the servants of the Lord, whom he has called to be his friends, and to walk with him in faith and holy obedience. Let not such as have thus been favoured yield to fear; for the contest may be sharp, but the victory shall be sure.

Verses 10-20 God speaks with tenderness; Fear thou not, for I am with thee: not only within call, but present with thee. Art thou weak? I will strengthen thee. Art thou in want of friends? I will help thee in the time of need. Art thou ready to fall? I will uphold thee with that right hand which is full of righteousness, dealing forth rewards and punishments. There are those that strive with God's people, that seek their ruin. Let not God's people render evil for evil, but wait God's time. It is the worm Jacob; so little, so weak, so despised and trampled on by every body. God's people are as worms, in humble thoughts of themselves, and in their enemies' haughty thoughts of them; worms, but not vipers, not of the serpent's seed. Every part of God's word is calculated to humble man's pride, and to make him appear little in his own eyes. The Lord will help them, for he is their Redeemer. The Lord will make Jacob to become a threshing instrument. God will make him fit for use, new, and having sharp spikes. This has fulfilment in the triumphs of the gospel of Christ, and of all faithful followers of Christ, over the power of darkness. God has provided comforts to supply all their wants, and to answer all their prayers. Our way to heaven lies through the wilderness of this world. The soul of man is in want, and seeks for satisfaction; but becomes weary of seeking that in the world, which is not to be had in it. Yet they shall have a constant supply, where one would least expect it. I will open rivers of grace, rivers of living water, which Christ spake of the Spirit, ( john 7:38 john 7:39 ) . When God sets up his church in the Gentile wilderness, there shall be a great change, as if thorns and briers were turned into cedars, and fir-trees, and myrtles. These blessings are kept for the poor in spirit, who long for Divine enlightening, pardon, and holiness. And God will render their barren souls fruitful in the grace of his Spirit, that all who behold may consider it.

Verses 21-29 There needs no more to show the folly of sin, than to bring to notice the reasons given in defence of it. There is nothing in idols worthy of regard. They are less than nothing, and worse than nothing. Let the advocates of other doctrines than that of salvation through Christ, bring their arguments. Can they tell of a cure for human depravity? Jehovah has power which cannot be withstood; this he will make appear. But the certain knowledge of the future must be only with Jehovah, who fulfils his own plans. All prophecies, except those of the Bible, have been uncertain. In the work of redemption the Lord showed himself much more than in the release of the Jews from Babylon. The good tidings the Lord will send in the gospel, is a mystery hid from ages and generations. A Deliverer is raised up for us, of nobler name and greater power than the deliverer of the captive Jews. May we be numbered among his obedient servants and faithful friends.

Cross References 68

  • 1. Isaiah 11:11
  • 2. Habakkuk 2:20; Zechariah 2:13
  • 3. Isaiah 40:31
  • 4. Isaiah 34:1; Isaiah 48:16
  • 5. Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 43:26; Isaiah 50:8
  • 6. Isaiah 41:25; Isaiah 45:1-3; Isaiah 46:11
  • 7. Isaiah 42:6
  • 8. 2 Chronicles 36:23; Ezra 1:2
  • 9. 2 Samuel 22:43
  • 10. Isaiah 40:24
  • 11. Isaiah 41:26; Isaiah 44:7; Isaiah 46:10
  • 12. Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 44:6; Revelation 1:8, 17; Revelation 22:13
  • 13. Isaiah 43:13; Isaiah 46:4; Isaiah 48:12
  • 14. Isaiah 41:1; Ezekiel 26:15, 16
  • 15. Joshua 5:1; Psalms 67:7
  • 16. Isaiah 44:12, 13
  • 17. Isaiah 40:19
  • 18. Isaiah 40:20; Isaiah 46:7
  • 19. Isaiah 42:19; Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 44:1, 2, 21
  • 20. Isaiah 29:22; Isaiah 51:2; Isaiah 63:16
  • 21. 2 Chronicles 20:7; James 2:23
  • 22. Isaiah 11:11
  • 23. Isaiah 43:5-7
  • 24. Isaiah 42:1; Isaiah 44:1
  • 25. Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2; Psalms 135:4
  • 26. Deuteronomy 20:1; Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:9; Psalms 27:1; Isaiah 41:13, 14; Isaiah 43:2, 5; Romans 8:31
  • 27. Isaiah 41:14; Isaiah 44:2; Isaiah 49:8
  • 28. Psalms 89:13, 14
  • 29. Isaiah 45:24
  • 30. Isaiah 17:13; Isaiah 29:5, 7, 8
  • 31. Job 20:7-9; Psalms 37:35, 36; Isaiah 17:14
  • 32. Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 45:1
  • 33. Isaiah 41:10
  • 34. Job 25:6; Psalms 22:6
  • 35. Isaiah 35:10; Isaiah 43:14; Isaiah 44:6, 22-24
  • 36. Micah 4:13; Habakkuk 3:12
  • 37. Isaiah 42:15; Isaiah 64:1; Jeremiah 9:10; Ezekiel 33:28
  • 38. Jeremiah 51:2
  • 39. Isaiah 25:9; Isaiah 35:10; Isaiah 51:3; Isaiah 61:10
  • 40. Isaiah 43:20; Isaiah 44:3; Isaiah 49:10; Isaiah 55:1
  • 41. Isaiah 30:19; Isaiah 65:24
  • 42. Isaiah 42:16; Isaiah 62:12
  • 43. Isaiah 30:25; Isaiah 43:19
  • 44. Psalms 107:35; Isaiah 35:6, 7
  • 45. Isaiah 35:1; Isaiah 55:13; Isaiah 60:13
  • 46. Isaiah 35:1; Isaiah 55:13; Isaiah 60:13
  • 47. Isaiah 40:5; Isaiah 43:10
  • 48. Job 12:9; Isaiah 66:14
  • 49. Isaiah 44:6
  • 50. Isaiah 44:7; Isaiah 45:21; Isaiah 46:10
  • 51. Isaiah 43:9
  • 52. Isaiah 42:9; Isaiah 44:7, 8; Isaiah 45:3; John 13:19
  • 53. Jeremiah 10:5
  • 54. Psalms 115:8; Isaiah 44:9; 1 Corinthians 8:4
  • 55. Isaiah 37:19; Isaiah 41:29
  • 56. Proverbs 3:32; Proverbs 28:9
  • 57. Isaiah 41:2; Jeremiah 50:3
  • 58. 2 Samuel 22:43; Isaiah 10:6; Micah 7:10; Zechariah 10:5
  • 59. Isaiah 41:22; Isaiah 44:7; Isaiah 45:21
  • 60. Habakkuk 2:18, 19
  • 61. Isaiah 48:3-8
  • 62. Isaiah 40:9; Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 52:7; Nahum 1:15
  • 63. Isaiah 50:2; Isaiah 59:16; Isaiah 63:5
  • 64. Isaiah 40:13, 14
  • 65. Isaiah 46:7
  • 66. Isaiah 2:8; Isaiah 17:8; Isaiah 41:24
  • 67. Isaiah 44:9
  • 68. Jeremiah 5:13

Footnotes 10

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains a summons to the enemies of Christ to come and try the cause between God and them before him; words of comfort to true believers, promising them help, protection, and provision; full conviction of idolaters, and their practices; and is closed with a promise of some great person, and what he will do unto them, and for the people of God. The summons is in Isa 41:1, expressed according to the forms used in courts of judicature. The issue of the controversy is put upon this foot, the raising up a certain person from the east, who it was that did it, which appearing to be the work of the Lord, proves the point contended about, Isa 41:2-4, the obstinate persistence of idolaters in their idolatry, notwithstanding this is observed, Isa 41:5-7, the people of God, under the names of Jacob and Israel, the objects of God's choice and affection, Isa 41:8,9 are encouraged against the fear of men, with promises of help and strength from the Lord, Isa 41:10,13,14 of confusion to their enemies, and victory over them, Isa 41:11,12,15,16, and of spiritual provisions, and great prosperity in their wilderness state, in which they should manifestly see the hand of the Lord, Isa 41:17-20 when the idolatrous nations are challenged to produce their strong reasons for their idolatry, and are put upon proving that their idols can foretell things to come, or do good or evil to men, or own they are nothing but an abomination, Isa 41:21-24,26 and then one is spoken of that should come as a mighty warrior, and tread down the Pagan princes, and a set of Gospel ministers should be sent, bringing good tidings to Zion, to the silencing of idolaters, and the cessation of idolatrous worship, Isa 41:25,27,28.

Isaiah 41 Commentaries

New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, California.  All rights reserved.