Isaiah 40 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of Isaiah 40)
40:1 Comfort a ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.

(a) This is a consolation for the Church, assuring them that they will never be destitute of prophets by which he exhorts the true ministers of God that then were, and those also that would come after him, to comfort the poor afflicted and to assure them of their deliverance both of body and soul.

40:2 Speak ye kindly to Jerusalem, and cry to her, that her b warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received from the LORD'S hand c double for all her sins.

(b) The time of her affliction.
(c) Meaning, sufficient as in (Isaiah 61:7) and full correction, or double grace, while she deserved double punishment.

40:3 The d voice of him that crieth in the e wilderness, (f) Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

(d) That is, of the prophets.
(e) That is, in Babylonia and other places, where they were kept in captivity and misery.
(f) Meaning Cyrus and Darius who would deliver God's people out of captivity and make them a ready way to Jerusalem.

40:4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every g mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:

(g) Whatever may prevent or hinder this deliverance will be removed.

40:5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all h flesh together shall see [it]: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].

(h) This miracle will be so great, that it will be known through all the world.

40:6 The i voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh [is] grass, and all its k beauty [is] as the flower of the field:

(i) The voice of God which spoke to the prophet Isaiah.
(k) Meaning, all man's wisdom and natural powers, (James 1:10; 1 Peter 1:24).

40:7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the l breath of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people [is] grass.

(l) The spirit of God will discover the vanity in all that seems to have any excellency of themselves.

40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the m word of our God shall stand for ever.

(m) Though considering the frailty of man's nature many of the Jews would perish, and so not be partakers of this deliverance, yet God's promise would be fulfilled, and they who remained, would feel the fruit of it.

40:9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, go up upon the high n mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift [it] up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, Behold o your God!

(n) To publish this benefit through all the world.
(o) He shows in one word the perfection of all man's happiness, which is to have God's presence.

40:10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong [hand], and p his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward [is] with him, and his work before him.

(p) His power will be sufficient without help of any other, and will have all means in himself to bring his will to pass.

40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry [them] in his bosom, [and] shall gently lead those that are with q young.

(q) He will show his care and favour over them who are weak and tender.

40:12 Who hath comprehended the waters in the hollow of his r hand, and measured heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?

(r) Declaring that as only God has all power, so does he use the same for the defence and maintenance of his Church.

40:13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or [being] s his counsellor hath taught him?

(s) He shows God's infinite wisdom for the same.

40:17 All nations before him [are] as t nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.

(t) He speaks all this to the intent that they would neither fear man nor put their trust in any, save only in God.

40:18 To whom then u will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare to him?

(u) By this he arms them against the idolatry with which they would be tempted in Babylon.

40:20 He that [is] so x impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree [that] will not rot; he seeketh for himself a skilful workman to prepare a graven image, [that] shall not be moved.

(x) He shows the rage of the idolaters, seeing that the poor who do not have enough to meet their own needs will defraud themselves to serve their idols.

40:21 Have ye not known? have ye not y heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the z foundations of the earth?

(y) Do you not have the word of God, which plainly condemns idolatry?
(z) Can you not learn by the visible creatures whom God has made for your use, that you should not serve them or worship them?

40:24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also a blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.

(a) So that his power appears in every place we turn our eyes.

40:26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these [things], that bringeth b out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that [he is] strong in power; not one faileth.

(b) Who has set in order the infinite number of the stars.

40:27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, c My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over by my God?

(c) He rebukes the Jews because they did not rest on the providence of God, but thought that he had forsaken them in their troubles.

40:28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, [that] the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the d ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? [there is] no searching of his e understanding.

(d) And therefore all power is in his hand to deliver when his time comes.
(e) Showing that men must patiently abide, and not curiously seek out the cause of God's delay in our affliction.

40:30 f Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

(f) They who trust in their own virtue, and do not acknowledge that all comes from God.