Isaiah Chapter 48  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Isaiah 48
Isa 48:1(top)
Isa 48:2(top)
Isa 48:3

“The former things I declared long ago.” The meaning of this sentence is captured in the much more paraphrased version, the NLT: “Long ago I told you what was going to happen.”

Isa 48:4(top)
Isa 48:5(top)
Isa 48:6(top)
Isa 48:7(top)
Isa 48:8

“you have been called a rebel from the womb.” Israel (and Judah) were rebellious “from the womb,” that is, from the time the nation was born as a covenant nation of God’s people. It was only a very short time—a couple of months at most—after Israel made a covenant on Mount Sinai to obey God (Exod. 24) that they disobeyed Him and abandoned Him and made a golden calf god (Exod. 32).

Isa 48:9(top)
Isa 48:10

“I have tried you.” The Masoretic Hebrew text reads “I have chosen you,” but that must be a copyist's error. It does not fit the context, and the Qumran scroll of Isaiah (1QIsaa) reads “tried, tested,” which occurs in most modern versions including the New King James Version.

Isa 48:11

“I will not give my glory to another.” In the Hebrew text, “my glory” is moved to the front of the sentence for emphasis: “My glory I will not give to another.” God is our One God, and He will not share His praise and the worship due Him with another god.

Isa 48:12

I am the first.” Yahweh, the God of Israel, calls himself the first and the last earlier, in Isaiah 44:6, and He calls Himself the same thing here. In the New Testament, after Jesus assumes his place at God’s right hand as God’s second in command, Jesus is called the first and the last. See commentary on Revelation 1:17.

Isa 48:13

“has laid the foundation of the earth.” Isaiah 48:13 refers to Yahweh, and there are many scriptures that say that God, Yahweh, created the heavens and the earth (cp. Gen. 1:1; Neh. 9:6; Job 9:8; 38:1, 4-6; Ps. 24:1-2; 33:6; 102:25; Jer. 10:10-12; 27:5; 32:17; 51:15; Zech. 12:1). Also, because of the spiritual battle that was raging in Isaiah’s time over the worship of pagan gods instead of Yahweh, there is a special emphasis in Isaiah that it was Yahweh who created the heavens and the earth (cp. Isa. 37:16; 40:10-12, 22, 26, 28; 42:5; 44:24; 45:12, 18; 51:13), not the pagan gods.

There are Trinitarians who say Isaiah 48:12-16 supports the Trinity. Part of their argument is their claim that Jesus Christ made heavens and earth, but we just saw many verses that said Yahweh did that, not Jesus Christ, and furthermore, Job 9:8 and Isa. 44:24 say Yahweh did it “alone.” Furthermore, the verses that some Trinitarians use to say that it was Jesus Christ who created the heavens and the earth, such as Hebrews 1:10 or Colossians 1:16 can be understood in a non-Trinitarian way without a Trinitarian meaning, and Biblical Unitarian scholars assert those verses do not support the Trinity (see commentary on Col. 1:16 and Heb. 1:10).

Isa 48:14

“who among them has declared these things.” Here in Isaiah 48:14, the “them” in the phrase, “who among them,” refers to the pagan gods, the idols. Who among the idols has been able to declare the future like Yahweh can? None of them. The contrast and contest between Yahweh and idols is the whole subject even from Isa. 48:1, and the idols are specifically mentioned in Isa. 48:5: “I [Yahweh] showed them [future things] to you, lest you should say, ‘My idol has done them, and my carved image and my cast image have commanded them.’”

“He whom Yahweh loves will perform his pleasure on Babylon.” The text does not tell us who the “He” is in this verse, but the context and scope of Scripture tells us, and it is Cyrus the Persian (cp. Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament). Some scholars say it is Judah itself, but Judah does not fulfill the prophecy here in Isa. 48:14-16.

Cyrus arose from a lesser status to conquer many kingdoms and rule over the largest kingdom the world had ever seen by that time. But he did not achieve that status on his own. God raised up Cyrus, called him by name, gave him a title of honor, gave him holy spirit, and empowered him (Isa. 45:1-6). We know God gave Cyrus the gift of holy spirit to empower him because that is the meaning of God’s calling Cyrus “His anointed” in Isaiah 45:1, and that is confirmed in Isaiah 48:16.

Isaiah 45:1-6 tells us that God raised up Cyrus for the sake of Israel and Judah. So it was that Cyrus did “perform God’s pleasure on Babylon” by conquering it, and it was Cyrus who, in the first year after that conquest allowed the people of Israel to return to Judah from the Babylonian captivity (cp. Ezra 1:1-8).

Isa 48:15

“he will make his way prosperous.” God called Cyrus, empowered him, and give him His gift of holy spirit, and Cyrus then walked out his calling and made his way successful. People are co-workers with God (1 Cor. 3:9), and when we walk according to God’s direction and empowerment, we are successful. Cyrus fulfilled the call God called him to, and was successful.

Isa 48:16

“Now the Lord Yahweh has sent me.” The subject abruptly shifts here, which is not uncommon, and Cyrus answers God’s call. Isaiah himself had answered God’s call earlier (Isa. 6:8), and now Cyrus does. God sent Cyrus and Cyrus both obeyed the call and acknowledged the God of Israel (Ezra 1:2).

“and also sent His spirit.” It was well known that for prophets and kings to be successful they had to be empowered by God’s spirit, His gift of holy spirit. That was why God put his spirit upon the elders that were to rule Israel (Num. 11:17-29), why after David sinned he prayed that God would not take His holy spirit away (Ps. 51:11), and why Elisha asked for a double portion of God’s spirit to be upon him (2 Kings 2:9), and indeed, the Bible records that Elisha did almost twice as many miracles as Elijah. Cyrus, in typical fashion of one who does not take credit not due him, acknowledges here in Isaiah 48:16 that God sent him, but will not take full credit for his success but says that God also gave His spirit to Cyrus, which was the source of much of his success. [For more on the difference between Holy Spirit, a name for God, and “holy spirit” (often just called “the spirit”) the gift of God, see Appendix 11, “What is the Holy Spirit”].

Isa 48:17(top)
Isa 48:18(top)
Isa 48:19(top)
Isa 48:20(top)
Isa 48:21(top)
Isa 48:22(top)

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