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Isaiah 44:24--45:8

Context
The Lord Empowers Cyrus

44:24 This is what the Lord, your protector, 1  says,

the one who formed you in the womb:

“I am the Lord, who made everything,

who alone stretched out the sky,

who fashioned the earth all by myself, 2 

44:25 who frustrates the omens of the empty talkers 3 

and humiliates 4  the omen readers,

who overturns the counsel of the wise men 5 

and makes their advice 6  seem foolish,

44:26 who fulfills the oracles of his prophetic servants 7 

and brings to pass the announcements 8  of his messengers,

who says about Jerusalem, 9  ‘She will be inhabited,’

and about the towns of Judah, ‘They will be rebuilt,

her ruins I will raise up,’

44:27 who says to the deep sea, ‘Be dry!

I will dry up your sea currents,’

44:28 who commissions 10  Cyrus, the one I appointed as shepherd 11 

to carry out all my wishes 12 

and to decree concerning Jerusalem, ‘She will be rebuilt,’

and concerning the temple, ‘It will be reconstructed.’” 13 

45:1 This is what the Lord says to his chosen 14  one,

to Cyrus, whose right hand I hold 15 

in order to subdue nations before him,

and disarm kings, 16 

to open doors before him,

so gates remain unclosed:

45:2 “I will go before you

and level mountains. 17 

Bronze doors I will shatter

and iron bars 18  I will hack through.

45:3 I will give you hidden treasures, 19 

riches stashed away in secret places,

so you may recognize that I am the Lord,

the one who calls you by name, the God of Israel.

45:4 For the sake of my servant Jacob,

Israel, my chosen one,

I call you by name

and give you a title of respect, even though you do not recognize 20  me.

45:5 I am the Lord, I have no peer, 21 

there is no God but me.

I arm you for battle, 22  even though you do not recognize 23  me.

45:6 I do this 24  so people 25  will recognize from east to west

that there is no God but me;

I am the Lord, I have no peer.

45:7 I am 26  the one who forms light

and creates darkness; 27 

the one who brings about peace

and creates calamity. 28 

I am the Lord, who accomplishes all these things.

45:8 O sky, rain down from above!

Let the clouds send down showers 29  of deliverance!

Let the earth absorb it 30  so salvation may grow, 31 

and deliverance may sprout up 32  along with it.

I, the Lord, create it. 33 

1 tn Heb “your redeemer.” See the note at 41:14.

2 tn The consonantal text (Kethib) has “Who [was] with me?” The marginal reading (Qere) is “from with me,” i.e., “by myself.” See BDB 87 s.v. II אֵת 4.c.

3 tc The Hebrew text has בַּדִּים (baddim), perhaps meaning “empty talkers” (BDB 95 s.v. III בַּד). In the four other occurrences of this word (Job 11:3; Isa 16:6; Jer 48:30; 50:36) the context does not make the meaning of the term very clear. Its primary point appears to be that the words spoken are meaningless or false. In light of its parallelism with “omen readers,” some have proposed an emendation to בָּרִים (barim, “seers”). The Mesopotamian baru-priests were divination specialists who played an important role in court life. See R. Wilson, Prophecy and Society in Ancient Israel, 93-98. Rather than supporting an emendation, J. N. Oswalt (Isaiah [NICOT], 2:189, n. 79) suggests that Isaiah used בַּדִּים purposively as a derisive wordplay on the Akkadian word baru (in light of the close similarity of the d and r consonants).

4 tn Or “makes fools of” (NIV, NRSV); NAB and NASB both similar.

5 tn Heb “who turns back the wise” (so NRSV); NIV “overthrows the learning of the wise”; TEV “The words of the wise I refute.”

6 tn Heb “their knowledge” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV).

7 tn Heb “the word of his servant.” The following context indicates that the Lord’s prophets are in view.

8 tn Heb “counsel.” The Hebrew term עֵצָה (’etsah) probably refers here to the divine plan as announced by the prophets. See HALOT 867 s.v. I עֵצָה.

9 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

10 tn Heb “says to.” It is possible that the sentence is not completed, as the description of Cyrus and his God-given role is developed in the rest of the verse. 45:1 picks up where 44:28a leaves off with the Lord’s actual words to Cyrus finally being quoted in 45:2.

11 tn Heb “my shepherd.” The shepherd motif is sometimes applied, as here, to a royal figure who is responsible for the well-being of the people whom he rules.

12 tn Heb “that he might bring to completion all my desire.”

13 tn Heb “and [concerning the] temple, you will be founded.” The preposition -לְ (lÿ) is understood by ellipsis at the beginning of the second line. The verb תִּוָּסֵד (tivvased, “you will be founded”) is second masculine singular and is probably addressed to the personified temple (הֵיכָל [hekhal, “temple”] is masculine).

14 tn Heb “anointed” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); NCV “his appointed king.”

15 sn The “right hand” is a symbol of activity and strength; the Lord directs Cyrus’ activities and assures his success.

16 tn Heb “and the belts of kings I will loosen”; NRSV “strip kings of their robes”; NIV “strip kings of their armor.”

17 tc The form הֲדוּרִים (hadurim) makes little, if any, sense here. It is probably a corruption of an original הָרָרִים (hararim, “mountains”), the reduplicated form of הָר (har, “mountain”).

18 tn That is, on the gates. Cf. CEV “break the iron bars on bronze gates.”

19 tn Heb “treasures of darkness” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV); TEV “treasures from dark, secret places.”

20 tn Or “know” (NCV, NRSV, TEV, NLT); NIV “acknowledge.”

21 tn Heb “and there is none besides.” On the use of עוֹד (’od) here, see BDB 729 s.v. 1.c.

22 tn Heb “gird you” (so NASB) or “strengthen you” (so NIV).

23 tn Or “know” (NAB, NCV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT); NIV “have not acknowledged.”

24 tn The words “I do this” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

25 tn Heb “they” (so KJV, ASV); TEV, CEV “everyone”; NLT “all the world.”

26 tn The words “I am” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. In the Hebrew text the participle at the beginning of v. 7 stands in apposition to “the Lord” in v. 6.

27 tn On the surface v. 7a appears to describe God’s sovereign control over the cycle of day and night, but the following statement suggests that “light” and “darkness” symbolize “deliverance” and “judgment.”

28 sn This verses affirms that God is ultimately sovereign over his world, including mankind and nations. In accordance with his sovereign will, he can cause wars to cease and peace to predominate (as he was about to do for his exiled people through Cyrus), or he can bring disaster and judgment on nations (as he was about to do to Babylon through Cyrus).

29 tn Heb “let the clouds drip with”; KJV “let the skies pour down.”

30 tn Heb “open up” (so NASB); NIV, NLT “open wide.”

31 tc The plural verb should be emended to a singular form. The vav (ו) ending is probably virtually dittographic (note the yod at the beginning of the following word).

32 tc The Hiphil verb form (תַצְמִיחַ, tatsmiakh) should probably be emended to a Qal (תִצְמַח, titsmakh). The יח sequence at the end of the form is probably due to dittography (note the following יַחַד, yakhad).

33 tn The masculine singular pronominal suffix probably refers back to יָשַׁע (yasha’, “salvation”).



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