Isaiah 45 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Isaiah 45)

Verse 1

[1] Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;

His anointed — His king, whom God has designed, and separated, and fitted, in all respects, for this work.

Loose — I will take away their girdle, which was about their loins; their power and authority, whereof that was an ensign.

Gates — The great and magnificent gates of their cities and palaces, which shall be opened to him as conqueror.

Verse 2

[2] I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:

Go — To remove all obstructions, to destroy all them that oppose thee, and carry thee through the greatest difficulties.

Verse 3

[3] And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.

The treasures — Such as have been long kept in dark and secret places.

Verse 4

[4] For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.

I have — I knew, and called thee by thy name, when thou didst neither know nor think of me; nay, when thou hadst no being.

Verse 5

[5] I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

I girded — I made thee strong and active, and disposed thee for these great and warlike enterprizes.

Verse 6

[6] That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.

That — That all nations may know it by my foretelling these things so long before, and by the wonderful success that I shall give thee, and by my over-ruling thine heart and counsels, to the deliverance of my people.

Verse 7

[7] I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

Light — All mens comforts and calamities come from thy hand.

Verse 8

[8] Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it.

Drop — The righteous and gracious acts of God for his people, shall be so many, as if God rained showers of righteousness out of heaven.

Open — Open itself to bring forth those fruits which may be expected from such showers.

Them — The heavens and the earth conspiring together.

Together — Together with salvation.

It — This great work of salvation and righteousness; whereof, tho' Cyrus is the instrument, I am the author.

Verse 9

[9] Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?

Woe — As God here makes many glorious promises to Cyrus, so he pronounces a curse upon them, who should endeavour to hinder him.

Contend — Contend, if you please, with your fellow creatures, but not with your creator.

Or — He turns his speech to the potter.

Verse 11

[11] Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.

Thus saith — Will you not allow me that liberty which yourselves take, of disposing of my own children and works, as I see fit?

Verse 13

[13] I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts.

Him — Cyrus.

In righteousness — Most justly, to punish the wicked Babylonians, to plead the cause of the oppressed ones, to manifest my righteousness, and truth, and goodness.

Verse 14

[14] Thus saith the LORD, The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God.

The labour — The wealth gotten by their labour.

Thee — Jerusalem shall not only be rebuilt, but the wealth and glory of other countries shall be brought to it again. This was in part verified in Jerusalem; but it was much more fully accomplished in the church of the gospel, in the accession of the Gentiles to that church which began in Jerusalem, and from thence spread itself into all the parts of the world.

Come over — They shall be taken captive by thee, and willingly submit themselves to thee.

Verse 15

[15] Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.

Verily — These are the words of the prophet, on contemplation of the various dispensations of God towards his church, and in the world.

Hidest — Thy counsels are deep and incomprehensible, thy ways are past finding out.

Verse 19

[19] I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

In secret — The Heathen idols deliver oracles in obscure cells and caverns: but I have delivered my oracles to Israel publickly and plainly.

In vain — Serve and worship me for nought. As I appointed them work, so from time to time I have given them abundant recompence.

Right — I require nothing of my people which is not highly just and good.

Verse 20

[20] Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.

Draw near — To hear what I have said, and am now about to say.

Of the nations — The remnant of the Gentiles, who survive the many destructions, which I am bringing upon the Heathen nations.

Verse 21

[21] Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.

Take counsel — To maintain the cause of their idols.

This — This great work, Babylon's destruction, and the redemption of God's people.

Verse 23

[23] I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

In righteousness — It is what I will faithfully perform.

Return — Without effect. It is a metaphor from ambassadors, who sometimes return to their princes without any success in their business.

Every tongue — Not only the Jews, but all nations.

Verse 24

[24] Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.

In the Lord — By or from God alone, or the Messiah, who is the true Jehovah as well as man.

Righteousness — To justify me from all things which I could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Strength — Support and assistance to bear all my burdens, overcome all my enemies, and perform all my duties.

Men — The Gentiles shall come to Christ.

Ashamed — But all his implacable enemies shall be brought to shame.

Verse 25

[25] In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

All — All Israelites indeed, whether Jews or Gentiles.