Isaiah 41:2

41:2 Who stirs up this one from the east?

Who officially commissions him for service?

He hands nations over to him,

and enables him to subdue kings.

He makes them like dust with his sword,

like windblown straw with his bow.

Isaiah 41:15-16

41:15 “Look, I am making you like a sharp threshing sledge,

new and double-edged.

You will thresh the mountains and crush them;

you will make the hills like straw.

41:16 You will winnow them and the wind will blow them away;

the wind will scatter them.

You will rejoice in the Lord;

you will boast in the Holy One of Israel.

sn The expression this one from the east refers to the Persian conqueror Cyrus, as later texts indicate (see 44:28-45:6; 46:11; 48:14-16).

tn The interrogative particle is understood by ellipsis.

tn Heb “[in] righteousness called him to his foot.”

tn Heb “he [the Lord] places before him [Cyrus] nations.”

tn The verb יַרְדְּ (yardÿ) is an otherwise unattested Hiphil form from רָדָה (radah, “rule”). But the Hiphil makes no sense with “kings” as object; one must understand an ellipsis and supply “him” (Cyrus) as the object. The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has יוֹרִד (yorid), which appears to be a Hiphil form from יָרַד (yarad, “go down”). Others suggest reading יָרֹד (yarod), a Qal form from רָדַד (radad, “beat down”).

sn The point is that they are powerless before Cyrus’ military power and scatter before him.

tn Heb “into” (so NIV); ASV “have made thee to be.”

tn Heb “owner of two-mouths,” i.e., double-edged.

sn The mountains and hills symbolize hostile nations that are obstacles to Israel’s restoration.