Isaiah 43 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Isaiah 43)

Verse 1

[1] But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

But — Notwithstanding thy gross insensibleness, I will deal mercifully with thee.

Created — That made thee his people, and that in so miraculous a manner as if he had created thee a second time.

Redeemed — From the Egyptians.

Called thee — By the name of God's people, which was as proper and peculiar to them, as the name of Israel.

Verse 3

[3] For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.

I gave Egypt — This was fulfilled when the king of Assyria, Esar-haddon, who designed to revenge his father's disgrace, upon the Jews, was diverted and directed by God to employ his forces against Egypt, and Ethiopia, and Seba.

Seba — The Sabaeans were confederate with the Ethiopians.

Verse 4

[4] Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.

Since — From the time that I chose thee for my people, I have had an affection for thee.

Men — As I gave up the Egyptians, so I am ready to give up others to save thee, as occasion requires.

Verse 7

[7] Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

For my glory — And therefore I will glorify my power and goodness, and faithfulness in delivering them.

Formed — I have not only created them out of nothing, but I have also formed and made them my peculiar people.

Verse 8

[8] Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears.

Bring — O ye idolatrous Gentiles, bring forth your false gods, which have eyes but see not, and ears but hear not.

Verse 9

[9] Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth.

Assembled — To plead the cause of their idols with me.

This — This wonderful work of mine in bringing my people out of captivity.

Former things — Such things as shall happen long before the return from the captivity, which yet your blind idols cannot foresee.

Witnesses — Who can testify the truth of any such predictions of theirs, that they may be owned for true gods; or if they can produce no evidence of any such thing, let them confess, that what I say is truth, that I only am the true God.

Verse 10

[10] Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Ye — You my people are able to witness for me, that I have given you plain demonstrations of my certain knowledge of future events.

My servant — Cyrus who is an eminent instance and proof of God's foreknowledge: or, the Messiah, who is the most eminent witness in this cause.

Understand — That I am the true God.

Nor after me — The gods of the Heathens neither had a being before me nor shall continue after me: whereas the Lord is God from everlasting to everlasting; but these pretenders are but of yesterday. And withal he calls them formed gods, in a way of contempt, and to shew the ridiculousness of their pretence.

Verse 12

[12] I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.

I — I first foretold your deliverance, and then effected it.

When — And this I did when you did not worship any idols.

Verse 13

[13] Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?

Yea — Before all time; from all eternity, I am God.

Verse 14

[14] Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships.

Sent — I have sent Cyrus against Babylon, to this very end, that he might deliver you out of captivity.

Chaldeans — The common people of Chaldea, who make fearful outcries, as they flee away from the Persians in ships.

Verse 17

[17] Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow.

The chariot — Pharaoh and his chariots and horses, and army.

Lay down — In the bottom of the sea. They never rose again to molest the Israelites.

Quenched — As the wick of a candle when it is put into the water, is extinguished.

Verse 18

[18] Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.

Remember not — Tho' your former deliverance out of Egypt was glorious: yet in comparison of that inestimable mercy of sending the Messiah, all your former deliverances are scarce worthy of your remembrance and consideration.

Verse 19

[19] Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

A new thing — Such a work as was never yet done in the world.

Now — The scripture often speaks of things at a great distance of time, as if they were now at hand; to make us sensible of the inconsiderableness of time, and all temporal things, in comparison of God, and eternal things; upon which account it is said, that a thousand years are in God's sight but as one day.

Verse 20

[20] The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.

The beast — Shall have cause, if they had abilities, to praise me for their share in this mercy.

Dragons — Which live in dry and barren deserts.

Verse 22

[22] But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel.

For — God called to the Gentiles to be his people, because the Jews forsook him.

Weary — Thou hast not esteemed my service to be a privilege, but a burden and bondage.

Verse 23

[23] Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense.

Honoured — Either thou didst neglect sacrificing to me; or didst perform it merely out of custom or didst dishonour me, and pollute thy sacrifices by thy wicked life.

Although — Altho' God had not laid such heavy burdens upon them, nor required such costly offerings, as might give them cause to be weary, nor such as idolaters did freely perform in the service of their idols.

Verse 24

[24] Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.

Sweet cane — This was used in the making of that precious ointment, Exodus 30:34, and for the incense, Exodus 30:7. Thou hast been niggardly in my service, when thou hast, spared for no cost in the service of thine idols.

Nor filled me — Thou hast not multiplied thy thank-offerings and free-will offerings, tho' I have given thee sufficient occasion to do so.

But — Thou hast made me to bear the load and burden of thy sins.

Verse 25

[25] I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

I — I whom thou hast thus provoked.

Mine own sake — Not for thy merits, but my own mere goodness.

Verse 26

[26] Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.

Put me — I remember nothing by which thou hast deserved my favour.

Verse 27

[27] Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me.

Thy father — This may be put for their forefathers; and so he tells them, that as they were sinners, so also were their progenitors, yea even the best of them.

Teachers — Thy priests and prophets; who were their intercessors with God: and if these were transgressors, the people had no reason to fancy themselves innocent.

Verse 28

[28] Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.

Therefore — I have exposed them to contempt and destruction.

Princes — The highest and best of your priests.

Curse — To utter destruction, to which persons or things accursed were devoted.