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Promise of Restoration

43 Now, this is what Yahweh says:

    “Listen, Jacob, to the One who created you,
    Israel, to the one who shaped who you are.[a]
    Do not fear,
    for I, your Kinsman-Redeemer, will rescue you.
    I have called you by name, and you are mine.
When you pass through[b] the deep, stormy sea,
    you can count on me to be there with you.
    When you pass through raging rivers,
    You will not drown.
    When you walk through persecution like fiery flames,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not harm you,
for I am your Savior, Yahweh, your mighty God,
    the Holy One of Israel!
    I give up Egypt as the price to set you free,
    Cush and Seba in exchange to bring you back.[c]
Since you are cherished and precious[d] in my eyes,
    and because I love you dearly and want to honor[e] you,
    I willingly give up nations in exchange for you—
    a man[f] to save your life.
I am with you now, even close to you,
    so never yield to fear.
    I will bring your children[g] from the east;
    from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north, ‘Hand them over!’
    and to the south, ‘Don’t hold them back!’
    Bring me my sons from far away,
    my daughters from the ends of the earth!
Bring me everyone who is called by my name,[h]
    the ones I created to experience my glory.[i]
    I myself formed them to be who they are
    and made them for my glory.”[j]

God’s Witness

Lead out those who have eyes but are blind,
    those who have ears but are deaf.
    Let all the nations gather together and the people assemble.
    Which of their gods[k] prophesied this?
    Which of them foretold what is about to happen?
    Let them bring out their witnesses to make their case;
    let them take the stand and testify, “It is true.”
10 Yahweh says, “You are my witnesses, my chosen servants.
    I chose you in order that you would know me intimately,
    believe me always, and fully understand that I am the only God.
    There was no god before me,
    and there will be no other god after me.
11 I, only I, am Yahweh, and there is no Savior-God but me.
12 I am the only one who revealed this to you.
    I saved you, foretold[l] the future, and brought it to pass.
    It was not some foreign god who did this!
    You are my witnesses that I am God,” declares Yahweh.
13 “From the very beginning, I am the only God![m]
    No one can be snatched from my hand.
    When I choose to act, who can reverse it?”

God, Israel’s Protector

14 This is what Yahweh,
    your Kinsman-Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, says:[n]
    “For your good, I will send for the Babylonians;
    I will bring them all as fugitives
    and turn the shouting of the Chaldeans into mourning.[o]
15 I am Yahweh, your Holy One and your King,
    the Creator of Israel.”

God Will Do a New Thing

16 Yahweh is the one who makes a way in the sea,
    a pathway in the mighty waters.[p]
17 He destroyed[q] chariots and horses[r]
    and all their mighty warriors.
    They fell, never to rise again—
    gone forever, snuffed out like a wick. This is what he says:
18 “Stop dwelling on the past.
    Don’t even remember these former things.
19 I am doing something brand new, something unheard of.
    Even now it sprouts and grows and matures.
    Don’t you perceive it?[s]
    I will make a way in the wilderness
    and open up flowing streams[t] in the desert.
20 Wild beasts,[u] jackals, and owls will glorify me.[v]
    For I supply streams of water in the desert
    and rivers in the wilderness
    to satisfy the thirst of my people, my chosen ones,
21 so that you, whom I have shaped and formed for myself,
    will proclaim my praise.[w]
22 Yet you did not call out to me, O Jacob.
    Are you so weary[x] of me, O Israel?
23 You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings
    or honored me with your sacrifices.
    I have not burdened you by requiring many grain offerings
    or wearied you with demands for frankincense.
24 You did not buy me fragrant calamus reeds
    or lavish me with the fat of your sacrifices.[y]
    Instead, you have burdened me with your many sins
    and wearied me with your evil deeds.
25 I, yes I, am the One and Only,[z]
    who completely erases your sins, never to be seen again.
    I will not remember them again.
    Freely I do this because of who I am![aa]
26 Help me remember the past. Let’s debate!
    Bring me your version to prove your innocence.
27 Your earliest ancestor[ab] sinned,
    and your spokesmen[ac] rebelled against me.
28 So I brought disgrace on the holy priests
    of the holy sanctuary[ad]
    and brought destruction to Jacob,
    humiliation and scorn to Israel.

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 43:1 Jacob was created, but Israel was formed. God forms (transforms) Jacob into Israel. God is seen here as the one who changes the nature of man. See Gen. 32:28.
  2. Isaiah 43:2 God’s method of deliverance is often not “out of” but “through.” His presence as we go through difficulties becomes our deliverance. See Ps. 23:4.
  3. Isaiah 43:3 Seba was an African nation that bordered Egypt. God is saying that there is no price too high for him to pay to set his people free. In the days of Isaiah, these nations (Egypt, Cush, and Seba) were united as one dynasty. They were given in exchange, as it were, to Persia for Israel’s future deliverance through the successors of Cyrus.
  4. Isaiah 43:4 Or “dear, costly, of great price.”
  5. Isaiah 43:4 This is the Hebrew word for “glory” (kabad).
  6. Isaiah 43:4 Or “people” (Heb. adam). God gave up a Man (the last “Adam,” 1 Cor. 15:45) for those who are precious to him.
  7. Isaiah 43:5 Or “your seed.”
  8. Isaiah 43:7 Isaiah is prophesying of Israel’s restoration and foretelling of a great worldwide harvest among the nations as a fulfillment of the Feast of Ingathering (Harvest) known as Tabernacles.
  9. Isaiah 43:7 Or “for my glory.”
  10. Isaiah 43:7 We were created both to bring God glory and to experience his glory. See Rom. 8:30; Rev. 4:11.
  11. Isaiah 43:9 Or “who of them.”
  12. Isaiah 43:12 Or “proclaimed,” a word often used for proclaiming what is to come (v. 9).
  13. Isaiah 43:13 Or “Ever since day was, I am he.”
  14. Isaiah 43:14 It is a beautiful thought that the Holy One, who must punish evil, is also our Kinsman-Redeemer. He loves us so much that he became the sacrifice to return us to God. See Lev. 25:25; Ruth 3:9; 4:14; Isa. 44:24.
  15. Isaiah 43:14 Or “in ships their joyful shout.” The Hebrew of this clause is uncertain.
  16. Isaiah 43:16 Jesus, walking on the water, made a way (or journey) in the sea. See Ps. 77:19.
  17. Isaiah 43:17 Or “led out (to destruction).”
  18. Isaiah 43:17 Chariots and horses are frequent biblical metaphors for the strength of the flesh.
  19. Isaiah 43:19 See Amos 3:7.
  20. Isaiah 43:19 Or “paths” (Dead Sea scroll 1QIsaa). See John 7:37-39.
  21. Isaiah 43:20 The beast is a common biblical metaphor for human nature. See Ps. 73:22.
  22. Isaiah 43:20 The Hebrew word for “jackals” (tannim) and can be translated “dragon.”
  23. Isaiah 43:21 See 1 Peter 2:9-10.
  24. Isaiah 43:22 Or “weary yourself (with longing).”
  25. Isaiah 43:24 See Heb. 13:15.
  26. Isaiah 43:25 This is doubly emphatic in the Hebrew. God refers to himself with fifteen emphatic personal pronouns in this chapter.
  27. Isaiah 43:25 Or “for my own sake.”
  28. Isaiah 43:27 Some believe this to be a reference to Abraham, Jacob, or Adam.
  29. Isaiah 43:27 This is most likely the teaching priests.
  30. Isaiah 43:28 One ancient manuscript reads “Your rulers (priests) profaned my holy sanctuary.”

Israel’s Only Savior

43 But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created(A) you, Jacob,
    he who formed(B) you, Israel:(C)
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed(D) you;
    I have summoned you by name;(E) you are mine.(F)
When you pass through the waters,(G)
    I will be with you;(H)
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,(I)
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.(J)
For I am the Lord your God,(K)
    the Holy One(L) of Israel, your Savior;(M)
I give Egypt(N) for your ransom,
    Cush[a](O) and Seba(P) in your stead.(Q)
Since you are precious and honored(R) in my sight,
    and because I love(S) you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid,(T) for I am with you;(U)
    I will bring your children(V) from the east
    and gather(W) you from the west.(X)
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
    and to the south,(Y) ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters(Z) from the ends of the earth(AA)
everyone who is called by my name,(AB)
    whom I created(AC) for my glory,(AD)
    whom I formed and made.(AE)

Lead out those who have eyes but are blind,(AF)
    who have ears but are deaf.(AG)
All the nations gather together(AH)
    and the peoples assemble.
Which of their gods foretold(AI) this
    and proclaimed to us the former things?
Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right,
    so that others may hear and say, “It is true.”
10 “You are my witnesses,(AJ)” declares the Lord,
    “and my servant(AK) whom I have chosen,
so that you may know(AL) and believe me
    and understand that I am he.
Before me no god(AM) was formed,
    nor will there be one after me.(AN)
11 I, even I, am the Lord,(AO)
    and apart from me there is no savior.(AP)
12 I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—
    I, and not some foreign god(AQ) among you.
You are my witnesses,(AR)” declares the Lord, “that I am God.
13     Yes, and from ancient days(AS) I am he.(AT)
No one can deliver out of my hand.
    When I act, who can reverse it?”(AU)

God’s Mercy and Israel’s Unfaithfulness

14 This is what the Lord says—
    your Redeemer,(AV) the Holy One(AW) of Israel:
“For your sake I will send to Babylon
    and bring down as fugitives(AX) all the Babylonians,[b](AY)
    in the ships in which they took pride.
15 I am the Lord,(AZ) your Holy One,
    Israel’s Creator,(BA) your King.(BB)

16 This is what the Lord says—
    he who made a way through the sea,
    a path through the mighty waters,(BC)
17 who drew out(BD) the chariots and horses,(BE)
    the army and reinforcements together,(BF)
and they lay(BG) there, never to rise again,
    extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:(BH)
18 “Forget the former things;(BI)
    do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!(BJ)
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness(BK)
    and streams in the wasteland.(BL)
20 The wild animals(BM) honor me,
    the jackals(BN) and the owls,
because I provide water(BO) in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
21     the people I formed(BP) for myself(BQ)
    that they may proclaim my praise.(BR)

22 “Yet you have not called on me, Jacob,
    you have not wearied(BS) yourselves for[c] me, Israel.(BT)
23 You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings,(BU)
    nor honored(BV) me with your sacrifices.(BW)
I have not burdened(BX) you with grain offerings
    nor wearied you with demands(BY) for incense.(BZ)
24 You have not bought any fragrant calamus(CA) for me,
    or lavished on me the fat(CB) of your sacrifices.
But you have burdened me with your sins
    and wearied(CC) me with your offenses.(CD)

25 “I, even I, am he who blots out
    your transgressions,(CE) for my own sake,(CF)
    and remembers your sins(CG) no more.(CH)
26 Review the past for me,
    let us argue the matter together;(CI)
    state the case(CJ) for your innocence.
27 Your first father(CK) sinned;
    those I sent to teach(CL) you rebelled(CM) against me.
28 So I disgraced the dignitaries of your temple;
    I consigned Jacob to destruction[d](CN)
    and Israel to scorn.(CO)

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 43:3 That is, the upper Nile region
  2. Isaiah 43:14 Or Chaldeans
  3. Isaiah 43:22 Or Jacob; / surely you have grown weary of
  4. Isaiah 43:28 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.