Isaiah 48 - Outline of Isaiah (MENU page)
III. Salvation (poetry), ch. 40-66
A. Peace assured through knowing the LORD God... (The God of Peace), ch. 40-48
7. Who restores Israel to declare Him as their Redeemer, 48:1-22
1. Hear {HB=shama'} ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel,
and are come forth out of the waters of Judah,
which swear by the name of the LORD,
and make mention of the God of Israel, [but] not in truth, nor in righteousness.
2 For they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel;
The LORD of hosts [is] his name.
3 I have declared the former things from the beginning;
and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them;
I did [them] suddenly, and they came to pass.
Hear, O house of Jacob...- The LORD addresses all twelve tribes (not just Judah),
urging them to heed His Word, and to remember their heritage in Him.
  • ...which are called by the name of Israel...- This name was given as an indication of their relationship to Him (Gen 32:28). Yet, He addresses them as Jacob, because they were living according to the flesh, as Jacob did before he knew the LORD in truth. cp. Rom 9:6-8 (The thought is similar to that in Rev 3:1b.)
  • ...which are come forth out of the waters of Judah...- The LORD Himself is the source of life. He is the One who planted and nourished His people (v.21; Psa 68:26). Yet, they had not thirsted for Him (Isa 8:6; Jer 2:13).
  • ...which swear by the name of the LORD... but not in truth, nor in righteousness...- cp. Jer 5:2
    Although their ceremonies mentioned the God of Israel, their worship was confused, and mingled with idolatry (cp. Ex 23:13; Isa 1:10-14; Jer 7:4-11).
  • ...for they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel...- Being identified with Jerusalem, the city of the Temple, where God had placed His Name, they had been mistakenly confident that the LORD of Hosts would protect them. cp. Isa 29:1-3
I have declared {HB=nagad, proclaimed, made known} the former things...
...they went forth {as the waters of life went forth, v.1} out of my mouth...
...I have shewed {HB=shama, revealed (to those who would hear)} them...
...I did {HB='asah, accomplished} them suddenly (HB=pith'owm, in an instant, unexpectedly)... they came to pass. -
Here the LORD reminds them of the way He worked in the past. For example, prior to Israel's exodus from Egypt, there was nothing in human affairs to indicate that this deliverance was on the horizon. However, the Lord had declared and revealed, in His Word, that He would deliver them (Gen 15:13,14). When the time was right, He acted suddenly to fulfill His Word.
4 Because I knew that thou [art] obstinate,
and thy neck [is] an iron sinew, and thy brow brass;
{cp. Isa 46:12; Zech 7:11,12; Acts 7:51}
5 I have even from the beginning declared [it] to thee;
before it came to pass I shewed [it] thee:
lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them,
and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them.
6 Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare
{ie., acknowledge, confess} [it]?
I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.
7 They are created now, and not from the beginning;
even before the day when thou heardest them not;
lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew them.
8 Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not;
yea, from that time [that] thine ear was not opened:
{cp. Jer 6:10}
for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously,
{Jer 3:8-11,20; 5:11; Mal 2:11}
and wast called a transgressor from the womb.
{cp. Psa 58:3; Eph 2:3}
In vs.4-8, the Lord reminds Israel that He predicted their captivity to Babylon (100 years in advance), and their deliverence through Cyrus (about 200 years in advance). He did this so that, when these things would come to pass, they would not be able to credit their idols with the change in their circumstances. These events were "new things" which were previously "hidden" (ie., not revealed), so that they could not mis-appropriate His Words as having come from their idols, as they had done concerning the "former things."
9. For my name's sake will I defer mine anger,
and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.
10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver;
I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
11 For mine own sake, [even] for mine own sake, will I do [it]:
for how should [my name] be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.
12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called;
I [am] he; I [am] the first, I also [am] the last.
{cp. Isa 41:4; 44:6; Rev 1:17; 2:8; 22:13}
13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth,
and my right hand hath spanned
{HB=taphach, spread out} the heavens:
[when] I call unto them, they stand up together
{ie., in obedience, cp. Col 1:17}.
I have refined thee, but not with silver...-
The LORD heated the furnace of affliction, not to extract silver, but dross from their hearts. Prov 17:3; Isa 1:25,26; Eze 22:18-22
for my name's sake... for my praise... for mine own sake, even for mine own sake...
"Had he not deferred His anger, and had He cut Israel off, then would His Name have been profaned, and His glory would have been given to another god." [GWms] cp. Num 14:11-21
14 All ye {ie., the house of Israel}, assemble yourselves, and hear;
which among them
{ie., the false gods} hath declared these [things]?
The LORD hath loved him
{ie., Cyrus}:
he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm [shall be on] the Chaldeans.
15 I, [even] I, have spoken; yea, I have called him:
I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous.
{Isa 44:28; 45:1-4}
16. Come ye near unto me, hear ye this;
I have not spoken in secret from the beginning;
from the time that it was, there [am] I:
and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.
Come ye near unto me, hear {HB=shama} ye this...- How tenderly He speaks to the rebellious house of Israel!
What does He want them to hear?
from the time that it was, there am I {ie., I am}.- He wants them to know Him. Deu 6:4,5
How does He present Himself to them? As the Deliverer, the One foreshadowed by Cyrus.
now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.
The One speaking comes to accomplish the purpose of "the Lord GOD {Jehovah Adonai} and His Spirit." But who is the One speaking? "the first and the last" (vs.12,13), "thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel" (vs.17). Israel's One God is seen here in the tri-unity of three Persons, each having distinct roles, in the perfect accomplishment of one purpose. cp. Mic 5:2; Joh 1:1-3; Col 1:15,16; Rev 1:8
17 Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel;
I [am] the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit,
which leadeth thee by the way [that] thou shouldest go.
{cp. Psa 32:8; Jer 6:16}
18 O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments!
then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:
19 Thy seed also had been as the sand, and the offspring of thy bowels like the gravel thereof;
his name should not have been cut off nor destroyed from before me.
{cp. Psa 81:13-16}
20 Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans,
with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it [even] to the end of the earth;
say ye, The LORD hath redeemed his servant Jacob.
21 And they thirsted not [when] he led them through the deserts:
he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them:
he clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out.
{Ex 17:6; Deu 8:15; Neh 9:15; 1Cor 10:4,5}
22 [There is] no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.
Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer {HB=ga'al}, the Holy One of Israel...-
He addresses Israel who had long ignored His Word to their own hurt, and to His sorrow. His instruction is:
Go ye forth of Babylon...- For He has delivered them, through Cyrus (in the near term, from the Chaldeans)
and ultimately, through His Messiah, from the system of Babylon (Jer 51:6; Zech 2:6-8; Rev 18:4).
say ye, The LORD hath redeemed {HB=ga'al} his servant Jacob...-
In that day, Israel will bear witness to their Kinsman Redeemer, and to His work of redemption and His provision for them. cp. Isa 25:9
There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked {HB=rasha, the guilty, the hostile}.-
Those who cling to their stubborn rebellion and refuse to believe and receive His gracious offer of salvation, cannot enter into the rest that He has provided for His people. Rom 3:17; Heb 3:15-4:3
This warning is repeated in each of the three divisions of this final section of Isaiah (v.22; 57:21; 59:8). Salvation is the theme of this section. But this salvation is available only to those who turn from their sin to trust in the LORD, who is the only Savior.

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