Isaiah 41:2
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
"Who has aroused one from the east Whom He calls in righteousness to His feet? He delivers up nations before him And subdues kings. He makes them like dust with his sword, As the wind-driven chaff with his bow.

King James Bible
Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.

Darby Bible Translation
Who raised up from the east him whom righteousness calleth to its foot? He gave the nations before him, and caused him to have dominion over kings; he gave them as dust to his sword, as driven stubble to his bow.

World English Bible
Who has raised up one from the east? Who called him to his foot in righteousness? He hands over nations to him, and makes him rule over kings. He gives them like the dust to his sword, like the driven stubble to his bow.

Young's Literal Translation
Who stirred up from the east a righteous one? He calleth him to His foot, He giveth before him nations, And kings He causeth him to rule, He giveth them as dust to his sword, As driven stubble to his bow.

Isaiah 41:2 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Who raised up - This word (העיר hē‛yr) is usually applied to the act of arousing one from sleep Sol 2:7; Sol 3:5; Sol 8:4; Zechariah 4:1; then to awake, arouse, or stir up to any enterprise. Here it means, that God had caused the man here referred to, to arouse for the overthrow of their enemies; it was by his agency that he had been led to form the plans which should result in their deliverance. This is the first argument which God urges to induce his people to put confidence in him, and to hope for deliverance; and the fact that he had raised up and qualified such a man for the work, he urges as a proof that he would certainly protect and guard his people.

The righteous man from the east - Hebrew, צדק tsedeq - 'righteousness.' The Septuagint renders it literally, Δικαιοσὺνην Dikaiosunēn - 'righteousness.' The Vulgate renders it, 'The just;' the Syriac as the Septuagint. The word here evidently means, as in our translation, the just or righteous man. It is common in the Hebrew, as in other languages, to put the abstract for the concrete. In regard to the person here referred to, there have been three principal opinions, which it may be proper briefly to notice.

1. The first is, that which refers it to Abraham. This is the interpretation of the Chaldee Paraphrast, who renders it, 'Who has publicly led from the east Abraham, the chosen of the just;' and this interpretation has been adopted by Jarchi, Kimchi, Abarbanel, and by the Jewish writers generally. They say that it means that God had called Abraham from the east; that he conducted him to the land of Canaan, and enabled him to vanquish the people who resided there, and particularly that he vanquished the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, and delivered Lot from their hands Genesis 14; and that this is designed by God to show them that he who had thus raised up Abraham would raise up them also in the east. There are, however, objections to this interpretation which seem to be insuperable, a few of which may be referred to.

(a) The country from which Abraham came, the land of Chaldea or Mesopotamia, is not commonly in the Scriptures called 'the east,' but the north (see Jeremiah 1:13-15; Jeremiah 4:6; Jeremiah 6:1; Jeremiah 23:8; Jeremiah 25:9, Jeremiah 25:26; Jeremiah 31:8; Jeremiah 46:10; Jeremiah 50:3; Daniel 11:6, Daniel 11:8, Daniel 11:11. This country was situated to the northeast of Palestine, and it is believed is nowhere in the Scriptures called the country of the east.

(b) The description which is here given of what was accomplished by him who was raised up from the east, is not one that applies to Abraham. It supposes more important achievements than any that signalized the father of the faithful. There were no acts in the life of Abraham that can be regarded as subduing the 'nations' before him; as ruling over 'kings;' or as scattering them like the dust or the stubble. Indeed, he appears to have been engaged but in one military adventure - the rescue of Lot - and that was of so slight and unimportant a character as not to form the peculiarity of his public life. Had Abraham been referred to here, it would have been for some other trait than that of a conqueror or military chieftain.

(c) We shall see that the description and the connection require us to understand it of another - of Cyrus.

2. A second opinion is, that it refers directly and entirely to the Messiah. Many of the fathers, as Jerome, Cyril, Eusebius, Theodoret, Procopius, held this opinion. But the objections to this are insuperable.

(a) It is not true that the Messiah was raised up from the east. He was born in the land of Judea, and always lived in that land.

(b) The description here is by no means one that applies to him. It is the description of a warrior and a conqueror; of one who subdued nations, and scattered them before him.

(c) The connection and design of the passage does not admit of the interpretation. That design is, to lead the Jews in exile to put confidence in God, and to hope for a speedy rescue. In order to this, the prophet directs them to the fact that a king appeared in the east, and that he scattered the nations; and from these facts they were to infer that they would themselves be delivered, and that God would be their protector. But how would this design be accomplished by a reference to so remote an event as the coming of the Messiah?

3. The third opinion, therefore, remains, that this refers to Cyrus, the Persian monarch, by whom Babylon was taken, and by whom the Jews were restored to their own land. In support of this interpretation, a few considerations may be adverted to.

(a) It agrees with the fact in regard to the country from which Cyrus came for purposes of conquest. He came from the land which is everywhere in the Scriptures called the East.

(b) It agrees with the specifications which Isaiah elsewhere makes, where Cyrus is mentioned by name, and where there can be no danger of error in regard to the interpretation (see Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1-4, Isaiah 45:13). Thus in Isaiah 46:11, it is said of Cyrus, 'Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my commandments from a far country.

(c) The entire description here is one that applies in a remarkable manner to Cyrus, as will be shown more fully in the notes at the particular expressions which occur.


Isaiah 41:2 Parallel Commentaries

November 7. "I Will Strengthen Thee; Yea, I Will Help Thee; Yea, I Will Uphold Thee" (Isa. Xli. 10).
"I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee" (Isa. xli. 10). God has three ways of helping us: First, He says, "I will strengthen thee"; that is, I will make you a little stronger yourself. And secondly, "I will help thee"; that is, I will add My strength to your strength, but you shall lead and I will help you. But thirdly, when you are ready, "I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness"; that is, I will lift you up bodily and carry you altogether, and
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

November the Twentieth the Real Aristocracy
"Abraham, my friend." --ISAIAH xli. 8-16. I think that is the noblest title ever given to mortal man. It is the speech of the Lord God concerning one of His children. It is something to be coveted even to enjoy the friendship of a noble man; but to have the friendship of God, and to have the holy God name us as His friends, is surely the brightest jewel that can ever shine in a mortal's crown. And such recognition and such glory may be the wonderful lot of thee and me. "Abraham, my friend." The
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

The Apostles Chosen
As soon as he returned victorious from the temptation in the wilderness, Jesus entered on the work of his public ministry. We find him, at once, preaching to the people, healing the sick, and doing many wonderful works. The commencement of his ministry is thus described by St. Matt. iv: 23-25. "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout
Richard Newton—The Life of Jesus Christ for the Young

Never! Never! Never! Never! Never!
Hence, let us learn, my brethren, the extreme value of searching the Scriptures. There may be a promise in the Word which would exactly fit your case, but you may not know of it, and therefore miss its comfort. You are like prisoners in a dungeon, and there may be one key in the bunch which would unlock the door, and you might be free; but if you will not look for it you may remain a prisoner still, though liberty is near at hand. There may be a potent medicine in the great pharmacopia of Scripture,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 8: 1863

Cross References
Revelation 7:2
And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea,

Revelation 16:12
The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.

2 Samuel 22:43
"Then I pulverized them as the dust of the earth; I crushed and stamped them as the mire of the streets.

2 Chronicles 36:23
"Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, 'The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up!'"

Ezra 1:2
"Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, 'The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.

Isaiah 40:24
Scarcely have they been planted, Scarcely have they been sown, Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, But He merely blows on them, and they wither, And the storm carries them away like stubble.

Isaiah 41:3
"He pursues them, passing on in safety, By a way he had not been traversing with his feet.

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