Yeshayah 41

1 1 Keep silence before Me, O iyim (islands); and let the people renew their ko’ach (strength); let them come near; then let them speak; let us come near together for mishpat (judgment, i.e., G-d’s tribunal)
2 Who awakened the just one [Koresh, Cyrus 44:28] from the mizrach (east), called him to His raglayim, gave the Goyim before him, and made him rule over melachim? He gave them as the aphar to his [the conqueror’s] cherev, and as windblown kash (chaff, stubble) to his [the conqueror’s] keshet (bow).
3 He [the conqueror] pursued them, and passed on in shalom; even by the orach (path) that his feet do not even come.
4 Who hath wrought and done it, calling forth the dorot from the beginning? I Hashem, the Rishon (First), and with the Acharonim (Last ones); I am He.
5 The iyim (islands) saw it, and feared; the ketzot ha’aretz (ends of the earth) trembled; they approached and came near.
6 They helped everyone his re’a; and everyone said to his brother, chazak!
7 So the charash (craftsman) encouraged the tzoref (goldsmith), and he that smootheth with the patish (hammer) encouraged him that strikes the anvil, saying, of the soldering, tov hu; and he fastened it with nails, so that it should not topple.
8 But thou, Yisroel, art Avdi, Ya’akov whom I have chosen, the zera Avraham Ohavi (My friend).
9 Thou whom I have taken hold of from the ketzot ha’aretz, and called thee from the farthest borders thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art Avdi; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.
10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am Eloheicha; I will strengthen thee; indeed, I will help thee; indeed, I will uphold thee with My yamin tzedek.
11 Surely, all they that were raging against thee shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing; and the anshei rivecha (they that strive with thee) shall perish.
12 Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even the anshei matzutecha (them that contended with thee): the anshei matzutecha (they that war against thee) shall be as nothing, and as a thing of naught.
13 For I Hashem Eloheicha will take hold of thy yamin (right hand), saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.
14 Fear not, thou tola’at (worm) Ya’akov, and ye men of Yisroel; I will help thee, saith Hashem, and thy Go’el (Redeemer), the Kadosh Yisroel.
15 Hinei, I will make thee a new sharp threshing iron having pifiyyot (blades); thou shalt thresh the harim, and beat them small, and shalt make the geva’ot (hills) as motz (chaff).
16 Thou shalt winnow them, and the ru’ach shall carry them away, and the se’arah shall scatter them; and thou shalt rejoice in Hashem, and shalt glory in Kadosh Yisroel.
17 When the aniyim and evyonim seek mayim, and there is none, and their leshon faileth for tzama (thirst), I Hashem will hear them, I the Elohei Yisroel will not forsake them.
18 I will open neharot on the hilltops, and springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the midbar a pool of mayim, and the dry land sources of mayim.
19 I will plant in the midbar the cedar, the acacia, and the myrtle, and the etz shemen; I will set in the Aravah the cypress, and the fir, and the box tree together;
20 So that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the Yad Hashem hath done this, and the Kadosh Yisroel hath created it.
21 Present your case, saith Hashem; bring forth your strong arguments for proof, saith Melech Ya’akov.
22 Let them bring them forth, and tell us what shall happen; let them tell the rishonot (former things), what they are, that we may consider them, and know the acharit (latter end, final outcome) of them; or declare us things to come.
23 Tell the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are elohim; indeed, do tov, or do rah, that we may be afraid, and terrified.
24 See, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought; a toevah (abomination) is he that chooseth you.
25 I have awakened one [Koresh, Cyrus] from the tzafon (north), and he shall come; from the rising of the shemesh shall he call upon My Shem; and he shall come upon rulers as upon mortar, and as the yotzer (potter) treadeth clay.
26 Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? And from beforehand, that we may say, He was in the right? Indeed, there is none that telleth, indeed, there is none that preacheth, indeed, there is none that heareth your words.
27 The rishon shall say to Tziyon, Hinei, behold them; and I will give to Yerushalayim mevaser (one that bringeth good news).
28 For I beheld, and there was no ish; even among them, and there was no Yo’etz (counselor), that, when I asked of them, could answer a word.
29 See, they [the idols] are all aven (wickedness); their ma’asim are nothing; their molten images are ruach and tohu.

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Yeshayah 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.

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.

Yeshayah 41 Commentaries

The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002,2003,2008,2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International. All rights reserved.