Isaiah 43:19
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
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43:14-21 The deliverance from Babylon is foretold, but there is reference to greater events. The redemption of sinners by Christ, the conversion of the Gentiles, and the recall of the Jews, are described. All that is to be done to rescue sinners, and to bring the believer to glory, is little, compared with that wondrous work of love, the redemption of man.I will do a new thing - Something that has not hitherto occurred, some unheard of and wonderful event, that shall far surpass all that he had formerly done (see the note at Isaiah 42:9).

Now it shall spring forth - (See the note at Isaiah 42:9). It shall spring up as the grass does from the earth; or it shall bud forth like the opening leaves and flowers - a beautiful figure, denoting the manner in which the events of Divine Providence come to pass.

I will even make a way in the wilderness - In this part of the verse, the prophet describes the anxious care which God would show in protecting his people, and providing for them in conducting them to their native land. See the expressions fully explained in the notes at Isaiah 41:17-19.

19. new—unprecedented in its wonderful character (Isa 42:9).

spring forth—as a germinating herb: a beautiful image of the silent but certain gradual growth of events in God's providence (Mr 4:26-28).

way in … wilderness—just as Israel in the wilderness, between the Red Sea and Canaan, was guided, and supplied with water by Jehovah; but the "new" deliverance shall be attended with manifestations of God's power and love, eclipsing the old (compare Isa 41:17-19). "I will open a way, not merely in the Red Sea, but in the wilderness of the whole world; and not merely one river shall gush out of the rock, but many, which shall refresh, not the bodies as formerly, but the souls of the thirsty, so that the prophecy shall be fulfilled: 'With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation'" [Jerome]. "A way" often stands for the true religion (Ac 9:2; 18:26). "Rivers" express the influences of the Holy Spirit (Joh 7:37-39). Israel's literal restoration hereafter is included, as appears by comparing Isa 11:15, 16.

A new thing; such a work as was never yet done in the world, even the redemption of the world by the Messiah.

Now; shortly, although it was not to be done till after some hundreds of years. For so the Scripture oft speaketh of things at a great distance of time as if they were now at hand, as Haggai 2:6 Jam 5:9 Revelation 22:20, and elsewhere; which it doth to correct our impatience, and to make us willing to wait till God’s time come; and to assure us that the mercy shall come as soon as ever it is fit for us, and we for it; and to make us sensible of the inconsiderableness of time, and all temporal things, in comparison of God, and of the eternal things; upon which account it is said that a thousand years are in God’s sight but as one day, Psalm 90:4.

Shall ye not know it? certainly you Jews shall know it by experience, and shall find that I do not deceive you with vain hopes.

I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert; I will give you direction and provision in the wilderness, where there is commonly no path, and where all necessaries are wanting; which as it literally speaks of God’s conducting them in the way from Babylon to Jerusalem, which lay through a great desert; so it is mystically meant of those spiritual blessings which God in and through Christ will confer upon all his people, not the Jews only, but also the Gentiles, who in prophetical language are oft compared to the wilderness, as Isaiah 35:1, and elsewhere. Behold, I will do a new thing,.... A wonderful and unheard of thing, and therefore introduced with a "behold", as a note of admiration; the same with the new thing created in the earth, Jeremiah 31:22, the incarnation of the Son of God; who took flesh of a virgin, appeared in the likeness of sinful flesh, and was made sin and a curse for his people, in order to obtain eternal redemption for them; which blessing, though not newly thought of, resolved on, contrived, and agreed upon, that being from eternity; nor newly made known, or as to the virtue and efficacy of it, which had been from the beginning of the world, yet new as to the impetration of it by the blood and sacrifice of Christ; and may be also called "new", because excellent, it being of a spiritual nature, complete and eternal, and having so many valuable blessings in it, as justification, pardon, and eternal life:

now it shall spring forth; or bud forth as a branch, in a very short time, suddenly, and at once; one of the Messiah's names is that of the Branch; see Zechariah 3:8,

shall ye not know it? the Redeemer, and the redemption by him. It was known to them that looked for it, and to whom the Gospel is sent, and the Spirit reveals and applies it; these know the nature of it, own it to be of God, and know their interest in it, and know the author of it, in whom they have believed, by the characters given of him: and as this may have respect to the redemption of Christ, so to the conversion of the Gentiles, and to the grace of God dispensed through Christ to them; when old things passed away, and all things became new; a new covenant of grace was exhibited, a new church state set up, new ordinances appointed, and a new people called to partake of all this, on whom was a new face of things; and wonderful and excellent things were done for them, as follows:

I will even make a way in the wilderness; as there was a way made for the Israelites through the wilderness, which lay between Egypt and Canaan; and through another, which lay between Babylon and Judea; so the Lord would also make a way in the Gentile world, comparable to a wilderness for its barrenness and unfruitfulness, for the Gospel to enter into it, where it should run, and be glorified; where Christ, the way of salvation, should be made known; and where there should be a way for Christians to walk together, in the fellowship of the Gospel:

and rivers in the desert; the doctrines of the Gospel, and the ordinances of it, which should be preached and administered in the Gentile world, before like a desert; and the graces of the Spirit, which should be brought into the hearts of men by means of them; and the large communications of grace from Christ; and the discoveries of the love of God, with the blessings of it; compared to rivers for their abundance, and for the comforting, reviving, and fructifying nature of them.

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the {t} wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

(t) Meaning, that their deliverance out of Babylon would be more famous than that from Egypt was, Jer 23:7, Hag 2:10, 2Co 5:17, Re 21:5,7.

19. The making of the way through the desert and water for the pilgrims to drink (See on ch. Isaiah 40:3 f., Isaiah 41:18 ff.) is considered to be a miracle transcending the passage of the Red Sea, and all the miracles which attended the first exodus. This is the new thing on which the prophet’s mind fastens as the symbol of Israel’s deliverance.

now it shall &c.] Rather: even now it is springing forth; do ye not recognise it? In ch. Isaiah 42:9, the new things are spoken of as announced before they “spring forth,” while as yet there is no sign of their appearing; here to the lively imagination of the prophet they are already seen “germinating,” and he calls on the people to see them as the inevitable issue of the conquests of Cyrus. But while the above seems the most effective rendering of the question, that of the E.V. is quite possible:—“shall ye not experience it.”

the desert] Heb. Jěshîmôn, an utterly barren and arid region (Deuteronomy 32:10; Psalm 68:7; Psalm 78:40; Psalm 107:4 &c.) as distinguished from midbâr (“wilderness” or “steppe”), where flocks can find a scanty sustenance. It occurs as a proper name in Numbers 21:20 (1 Samuel 26:1).Verse 19. - Behold, I will do a new thing (comp. Isaiah 42:9, with the comment). It is, of course, quite possible that the novelty is not merely in the circumstances of the deliverance, but extends to all its results, among which is the Messianic kingdom - verily, a "new thing" (see Jeremiah 31:22). Now it shall spring forth; rather, already it is springing up (comp. Isaiah 42:9). Things, however, are more advanced (to the prophet's eye) than when that passage was written. Events are shaping themselves - the deliverance approaches. Shall ye not know it? rather, will ye not give heed to it? Will not the exiled people, whom Isaiah addresses, turn their thoughts this way, and let the idea of deliverance take possession of their minds, instead of brooding on past and present sufferings (see Isaiah 40:30; Isaiah 41:17; Isaiah 42:22)? God is about to make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. As he led his people out of their Egyptian bondage, first through the Red Sea, and then through a "howling wilderness" (Deuteronomy 32:10), so now he will "make a way" for them through a still more desolate tract. We are nowhere historically told by what route the Israelites ultimately returned. If they went by Tadmor and Damascus, they must have traversed a most arid and difficult desert. Even if they did not quit the Euphrates till they reached the latitude of Aleppo, still they must have had some wide tracts of wilderness to cross. The address now closes by holding up once more the object and warrant of faith. "I am Jehovah; and beside me there is no Savour. I have proclaimed and brought salvation, and given to perceive, and there was no other god among you: and ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and I am God. Even from the day onwards I am so; and there is no deliverer out of my hand: I act, and who can turn it back?" The proper name "Jehovah" is used here (Isaiah 43:13) as a name indicating essence: "I and no other am the absolutely existing and living One," i.e., He who proves His existence by His acts, and indeed by His saving acts. מושׁיע and Jehovah are kindred epithets here; just as in the New Testament the name Jehovah sets, as it were, but only to rise again in the name Jesus, in which it is historically fulfilled. Jehovah's previous self-manifestation in history furnished a pledge of the coming redemption. The two synonyms הגּדתּי and השׁמעתּ have הושׁעתּי in the midst. He proclaimed salvation, brought salvation, and in the new afflictions was still ever preaching salvation, without there having been any zâr, i.e., any strange or other god in Israel (Deuteronomy 32:16; see above, Isaiah 17:10), who proved his existence in any such way, or, in fact, gave any sign of existence at all. This they must themselves confess; and therefore (Vav in sense equivalent to ergo, as in Isaiah 40:18, Isaiah 40:25) He, and He alone, is El, the absolutely mighty One, i.e., God. And from this time forth He is so, i.e., He, and He only, displays divine nature and divine life. There is no reason for taking מיּום in the sense of יום מהיות, "from the period when the day, i.e., time, existed" (as the lxx, Jerome, Stier, etc., render it). Both the gam (also) and the future 'eph‛al (I will work) require the meaning supported by Ezekiel 48:35, "from the day onwards," i.e., from this time forth (syn. לפני־יום, Isaiah 48:7). The concluding words give them to understand, that the predicted salvation is coming in the way of judgment. Jehovah will go forward with His work; and if He who is the same yesterday and today sets this before Him, who can turn it back, so that it shall remain unaccomplished? The prophecy dies away, like the massâ' Bâbhel with its epilogue in Isaiah 14:27. In the first half (Isaiah 42:1-17) Jehovah introduced His servant, the medium of salvation, and proclaimed the approaching work of salvation, at which all the world had reason to rejoice. The second half (Isaiah 42:18-43:13) began with reproaching, and sought to bring Israel through this predicted salvation to reflect upon itself, and also upon its God, the One God, to whom there was no equal.
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