Isaiah 40

1 My people, be ye comforted, be ye comforted, saith your Lord God. (My people, be ye comforted, yea, be ye comforted, saith the Lord your God.)
2 Speak ye to the heart of Jerusalem, and call ye [to] it, for the malice thereof is [ful]filled, the wickedness thereof is forgiven; it hath received of the hand of the Lord double things for all his sins (it hath received from the hand of the Lord double for all of its sins).
3 The voice of a crier in desert [The voice of the (one) crying in (the) desert], Make ye ready the way of the Lord, make ye rightful the paths of our God in wilderness. (The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make ye right the paths in the desert for our God.)
4 Each valley shall be enhanced, and each mountain and little hill shall be made low; and shrewd things shall be into straight things, and sharp things shall be into plane ways. (Each valley shall be lifted up, and each mountain and little hill shall be made low; and depraved, or crooked, ways shall be made into straight ways, and sharp places shall be made into smooth places.)
5 And the glory of the Lord shall be showed, and each man shall see together, that the mouth of the Lord hath spoken. (And the glory of the Lord shall be shown, and all the people shall see it together, that the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.)
6 The voice of God, saying, Cry thou. And I said, What shall I cry? Each flesh is hay, and all the glory thereof is as the flower of the field. (The voice of God, saying, Cry thou. And I said, What shall I cry? And he saith, Each person is but a blade of grass, and all their life lasteth no longer than a flower in the field.)
7 The hay is dried up, and the flower fell down, for the spirit of the Lord blew therein. Verily the people is hay; (And the grass drieth up, and the flower falleth down, because the wind of the Lord bloweth there. Truly the people be but grass;)
8 the hay is dried up, and the flower fell down; but the word of the Lord dwelleth, either shall stand, without end. (and the grass drieth up, and the flower falleth down; but the word of the Lord shall stand forever.)
9 Thou that preachest to Zion, go upon an high hill; thou that preachest to Jerusalem, enhance thy voice in strength; enhance thou, do not thou dread; say thou to the cities of Judah, Lo! your God. (Thou who preachest to Zion, go up on a high mountain; thou who preachest to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; yea, lift thou it up, do not thou fear; say thou to the cities of Judah, Lo! your God.)
10 Lo! the Lord God shall come in strength, and his arm shall hold lordship; lo! his meed is with him, and his work is before him (lo! his reward is with him, and his work is in front of him).
11 As a shepherd he shall feed his flock, he shall gather [the] lambs in(to) his arm(s), and he shall raise (them up) in(to) his bosom; he shall bear [the] sheep with lamb. (Like a shepherd he shall feed his flock, he shall gather the lambs into his arms, and he shall raise them up into his bosom; he shall gently lead the sheep that be with their young.)
12 Who meted waters in a fist, and weighed (the) heavens with a span? Who weighed the heaviness of the earth with three fingers, and weighed [the] mountains in a weigh, and [the] little hills in a balance? (Who hath measured the waters with his fist, and weighed the heavens with the span of his hand? Who hath weighed the heaviness of the earth with three fingers, and weighed the mountains on a scale, and the little hills on a balance?)
13 Who helped the Spirit of the Lord, either who was his counsellor, and showed to him?
14 With whom took he counsel, and who learned him, and taught him the path of rightfulness, and learned him in knowing, and showed to him the way of prudence?
15 Lo! folks be as a drop of a bucket, and be areckoned as the tongue of a balance; lo! isles be as a little dust, (Lo! the nations be like a drop from a bucket, and be reckoned like the tongue of a balance; lo! the islands weigh but like a little dust,)
16 and the Lebanon shall not suffice to burn his sacrifice, and the beasts thereof shall not suffice to (a) burnt sacrifice. (and even all the mighty trees of Lebanon shall not suffice to burn his sacrifice, and even all its beasts shall not suffice for a burnt sacrifice.)
17 All folks be so before him, as if they be not; and they be reckoned as nothing and (as a) vain thing to him. (All the nations before him, be as if they be not; and they be reckoned as if they be nothing, yea, but like an empty and futile thing to him.)
18 To whom therefore made ye God like? either what image shall ye set to him (for comparison)?
19 Whether a smith shall weld together an image, either a goldsmith shall figure it in gold, and a worker in silver shall dight it with pieces of silver?
20 A wise craftsman choose(th) a strong tree, and unable to be rotten; he seeketh how he shall ordain a simulacrum, that shall not be moved.
21 Whether ye know not? whether ye heard not? whether it was not told to you from the beginning? whether ye understood not (from) the foundaments of [the] earth?
22 Which sitteth on the compass of [the] earth, and the dwellers thereof be as locusts; which stretcheth forth heavens as nought, and spreadeth abroad those as a tabernacle to dwell (in). (It is he who sitteth above, or over, the roundness of the earth, and its inhabitants be like grasshoppers; it is he who stretcheth forth the heavens like a curtain, and spreadeth them abroad like a tent to live in.)
23 Which giveth the searchers of privates, as if they be not, and [he] made the judges of [the] earth as a vain thing. (Who bringeth down the great, as if they be nothing, and who made the judges, or the rulers, of the earth but like an empty and futile thing to him.)
24 And soothly when the stock of them is neither planted, neither is sown, neither is rooted in [the] earth, he blew suddenly on them, and they dried up, and a whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. (And truly when their stock is neither planted, nor is sown, nor is rooted in the earth, he shall suddenly blow on them, and they shall all be dried up, and then a whirlwind shall take them away like stubble.)
25 And to what thing have ye likened me, and have made [me] even (to)? saith the Holy (One).
26 Raise [up] your eyes on high, and see ye, who made these things of nought; which leadeth out in number the knighthood of them, and calleth all by name, for the multitude of his strength, and stalworthness, and might; neither one residue thing was. (Raise up your eyes on high, and see ye, who made these things out of nothing; who leadeth their host out in number, and calleth all of them by name, for the multitude of his strength, and stalwartness, and might, and not one of them is missing.)
27 Why sayest thou, Jacob, and speakest thou, Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my doom (is) passed (over) from my God? (Why sayest thou, Jacob, yea, why sayest thou, Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my cause is no longer God's concern?)
28 Whether thou knowest not, either heardest thou not? God, everlasting Lord, that made of nought the ends of [the] earth, shall not fail, neither shall travail, neither ensearching of his wisdom is. (Knowest thou not, or heardest thou not? God, the everlasting Lord, who made the ends of the earth out of nothing, shall not faint, nor grow tired, and there is no one who understandeth his wisdom.)
29 That giveth strength to the weary, and strength to them that be not, and multiplieth stalworthness. (He who giveth strength to the weary, and strength to those who have it not, and multiplieth stalwartness.)
30 (Some) Young men shall fail, and shall travail, and (other) young men shall fall down in their sickness.
31 But they that hope in the Lord, shall change strength, they shall take feathers as eagles; they shall run, and shall not travail; they shall go, and shall not fail. (But they who hope in the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall grow wings like eagles; they shall run, and shall not labour, or struggle; they shall go, and shall not faint.)

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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.

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