Notes on Isaiah. Chapter 40

Isaiah 40  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The second part of Isaiah begins by the proclamation, of the herald who precedes the Lord, that "All flesh is grass," and that "the people," even the people of the God "is grass." Man and Israel are withered and profitless, but this does not change the certainty of hope, because the Word of Israel's God endures forever. Then Zion is the scene of blessing—God's strength in judgment, the means—and He will care for His flock. Then His Almighty supremacy is unfolded, in contrast with idols. Israel should remember that He "fainteth not, neither is weary."
He reduces to silence all the heathen and their idols, sending forth the instrument of His power to execute His purpose. Israel had nothing then to fear.
Next, Christ is His Servant in lowliness, and shall be in power. He shall unfailingly accomplish all His purposes. Thus Jehovah will "lead the blind," and who is blind as Israel, having every opportunity and observing nothing? God will glorify His Law and ways, yet Israel is oppressed, for He hath sinned, but God has formed him for Himself—he need not fear, He will deliver, and, in spite of all his failure, he is not to think of the old things, but to count on this faithfulness of delivering grace.
Thus, while making grass of man, God acts here in certain delivering grace in His faithful love to His people—acts from His own unchangeable love and faithfulness. Christ, as His Servant, and the Elect One, is the great instrument of this. Israel had been rejected for sin—there was "no peace for the wicked"—but a Remnant would be saved. But, if chosen, they were chosen in "a furnace of affliction." It is grace, and God's own purpose, while sin is shown to be the cause of their condition. Christ, the elect Servant, is introduced—Cyrus and Babylon are brought in, as the first grand sign of deliverance, after the evil and the judgment of the heathen and their idols. Chapter 49 begins, specifically, the case of Christ, and Israel's condition in respect of Him.
This chapter is comfort to Israel, as witness of the power of God. In general it is the comfort of Jerusalem—thus the voice of the Baptist preparing the way of the Lord—the manifestation of the sovereignty of Jehovah. Then the Spirit of prophecy declares "all flesh is grass"; consequently, all the Jewish system falls together, founded in flesh. The Law, also, was "weak through the flesh," "but the Word of our God," says the Spirit in the Jewish Remnant, "shall stand forever." Then Zion, visited in blessing in the latter days, becomes the messenger of blessing to all the cities of Judah. Christ comes—verse 12 begins His controversy of the nations, in which Israel was the witness of the unity and glory of Jehovah. But Jehovah has to vindicate it Himself.
Nir 'tzah (is pardoned) is "discharged," satisfaction is made for it.
Connect kol kore (voice of him that crieth) and verse 6, k'ra (cry). John's crying was bammid-var (in the wilderness), i.e., of the Jewish people. Our Lord came in the street, the city, but did not kara (cry out), though He suffered, for good reason, out of it.
6. Note the use of khas'do (the goodliness thereof)—its gracefulness, I suppose. It is doxa (glory) in the Septuagint.
9. I do not know without examination, but I rather prefer "who bringest good tidings to Zion"—"to Jerusalem."
12. Tik-ken (meted out); the same word is used in verse 13 for "hath directed." "Heaven"—the heavens—what is this?
27, 28. We see the appeal of Jehovah, in grace, against the incredulity of the people.
31. "They that wait on the Lord" are distinguished.