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Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Isaiah 40



Verse 1

This chapter commences a new Prophecy (see App-82), and follows that in Isaiah 34:1-17; Isaiah 35:1-10, after the historic episode of Isaiah 36, Isaiah 38. It will be seen that it forms an integral part of the prophet Isaiah"s book, as this member forms a perfect Correspondence with (Isa 6), and cannot be wrenched from it without destroying the whole. Other evidences may be seen in App-79 and App-80.

Comfort ye. Note the Figure of speech Epizeuxis, for emphasis, and see App-82.

saith. See note on Isaiah 1:11.

God. Hebrew. Elohim. App-4.

Verse 2

comfortably to = to the heart of: i.e. affectionately. Compare Genesis 34:3; Genesis 50:21. Judges 19:3. Hosea 2:14.

cry = proclaim. Note the same word, and truth, in Isaiah 40:3.

warfare = hard service or forced service.

iniquity. Hebrew. avah. App-44.

the Lord. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

double = in full. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Subject), for that which is complete, thorough, ample. See Isaiah 61:7. Genesis 43:22. Job 11:6; Job 41:13. Jeremiah 16:18; Jeremiah 17:18. Zechariah 9:12. 1 Timothy 5:17. Compare Job 42:10. Galatians 1:6, Galatians 1:7-9.

sins. Hebrew. chata. App-44.

Verse 3

The voice, &c. Quoted in Matthew 3:3. Mark 1:3. Luke 3:4-6. John 1:23. 1 Peter 1:24. Compare the voice from the temple in Isa 6, concerning the scattering, and this voice outside the land concerning the gathering. The voice was not Isaiah"s, but heard by him in vision. John [the] Baptist claims it; but this People would not hear; and He Whom he heralded was crucified and His kingdom was rejected (John 1:11). The King and the kingdom are therefore alike in abeyance, and the prophecy yet awaits its further fulfilment. Compare Hebrews 2:8. Revelation 3:21, Revelation 3:22, &c.

him that crieth = him that proclaimeth. These words are ascribed to Isaiah by the Holy Spirit in Matthew 3:3, &c. Ch. Isaiah 42:1-4 is so ascribed in Matthew 12:17-21; Ch. Isaiah 53:1 in John 12:38. Romans 10:16; Ch. Isaiah 53:4 in Matthew 8:17; Ch. Isaiah 53:7, Isaiah 53:8 in Acts 8:32, Acts 8:33, and Acts 61:1 in Luke 4:18, Luke 4:19. Not to a "second Isaiah". App-79.

highway. See note on Isaiah 7:3.

Verse 4

Every valley, &c. These physical marvels are supernatural, and can never be produced by the spiritual and holy living of individua1 Christians.

Verse 5

flesh. Figure of speech Synecdoche (of Genus), put for all people.

Verse 6

The voice = A voice. This is a second "voice": the voice of Jehovah.

is grass. Figure of speech Metaphor, by which the assertion is boldly made that one thing is another (i.e. represents it). It differs from the Figure of speech Simile in the next clause, which asserts that one thing only resembles another.

goodliness = grace, or loveliness.

is as. Figure of speech Simile.

Verse 7

spirit. Hebrew. ruach. App-9.

Verse 8

stand for ever. Compare Isaiah 46:10, Isaiah 46:11; Isaiah 55:10, Isaiah 55:11. Psalms 119:89-91. Zechariah 1:5. Matthew 5:18; Matthew 24:35. Mark 13:31. John 10:35; John 12:34. 1 Peter 1:25.

Verse 9

O Zion, that bringest: or, O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion. Compare Isaiah 41:27.

that bringest. This is feminine, personifying the "heraldband".

good = joyful.

O Jerusalem. See note on "O Zion", above.

strength = power, strength (to endure). Hebrew. koah. Same as in Isaiah 40:31; not the same as in Isaiah 40:10.

behold your God. See note on the Structure of the four Gospels, which shows this sentence as being applicable to the Gospel by John.

Verse 10

The Lord God. Hebrew Adonai Jehovah (App-4). This title is used because of His connection here with the earth.

strong = mighty strength (to hold fast). Hebrew. hazak.

Verse 11

feed His flock. As in the wilderness. See Isaiah 63:11. Psalms 77:20; Psalms 78:52, Psalms 78:53; Psalms 80:1.

gather = take up.

Verse 12

These chapters (Isaiah 40:12-66:24) form a group corresponding with Isaiah chapters 1-5; and, like them, consist of exhortations and prophecies, while they are set in contrast with them, being promissory instead of reprehensory. Their subjects, as respectively repeated, will be seen in the Structure A below. They look beyond the Captivity.


(Alternation and Introversion.)

Structure A:

K | . God"s Controversy with the Nations. Vanity of Idols.

L | M | :16. Messiah"s Anointing and Mission.

N | :15. Jehovah"s Controversy with Israel.

K | :15. God"s Controversy with the Nations. Vanity of Idols.

L | N | . Jehovah"s Controversy with Israel.

M| :24. Messiah"s Mission and Triumph.

(Isaiah 40:12-14) Who. . . . Who. . . With whom. . . ?, Isaiah 40:12-14 are introductory: while the Figure of speech Erotesis emphasizes the importance of Him Who speaks.

a measure = a [Shalish] measure. See App-51.

Verse 13

(Isaiah 40:12-14) Who. . . . Who. . . With whom. . . ?, Isaiah 40:12-14 are introductory: while the Figure of speech Erotesis emphasizes the importance of Him Who speaks.

His counseller = the man (Hebrew. "ish. App-14.) of His counsel. Note the Figure of speech Ellipsis = "[who being] His counseller hath", &c?

taught Him = made Him know. Hebrew. ydda".

Verse 14

(Isaiah 40:12-14) Who. . . . Who. . . With whom. . . ?, Isaiah 40:12-14 are introductory: while the Figure of speech Erotesis emphasizes the importance of Him Who speaks.

instructed Him = made Him understand.

path. See note on Isaiah 2:3.

taught = trained. Hebrew. lamad.

Verse 15

of = on: i.e. hanging from.

isles = maritime countries. See note on Isaiah 11:11.

Verse 16

not sufficient: i.e. for the wood-offering. Compare Nehemiah 10:39.

Verse 17

nations = the nations.

nothing. See note on Isaiah 5:8. Not the same word as in following clause.

vanity = a desolation. Hebrew. tohu. Same as "without form" (Genesis 1:2). See note on Isaiah 24:10.

Verse 19

melteth = casteth. graven. Hebrew. pesel. Here made by casting.

Verse 20

chooseth. See note on Isaiah 1:29.

prepare = construct. See note on "the smith", &c., Isaiah 44:12.

graven = carved. Same word, but made by cutting.

Verse 21

Have ye not . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis, for emphasis.

Verse 22

sitteth. Figure of speech Anthropopatheia.

upon = above.

circle = circuit, or vault: i.e. as far as one can see, around or above. See Job 22:14.

Verse 24

stubble = straw. Hebrew. kash.

Verse 26

calleth = calleth for, summoneth. by names. See Psalms 147:4; and App-12.

strong = strong (for activity in working). Not the same word as in verses: Isaiah 40:9, Isaiah 40:29, Isaiah 40:31 (Hebrew. "amaz).

faileth = is missing (when called). Compare 1 Samuel 30:19. 2 Samuel 17:22. See note on Isaiah 34:16.

Verse 27

Why . . . ? Note the Figure of speech Erotesis, to emphasize the conclusion drawn from Isaiah 40:26.

Verse 28

Hast . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis, for emphasis.

there is. Some codices, with one early printed edition. Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, read "and [so] there is".

Verse 29

strength = strength (for defence). Not the same word as in verses: Isaiah 40:9, Isaiah 40:10, Isaiah 40:26, Isaiah 40:31 (Hebrew. "azam).

Verse 30

utterly fall. Note Figure of speech Epizeuxis (App-6) for this emphasis. Hebrew "they fall, they fall".

Verse 31

renew = change. Hebrew. halaph, to change for the better. See note on Leviticus 27:10.

strength = strength (to endure). Same word as in Isaiah 40:9. Not the same as in verses: Isaiah 26:29.

mount up . . . run . . . walk. Note the Figure of speech Cata-basis, to call attention (by Application) to the progress of experience in grace. At first we fly (compare Paul, 2 Corinthians 11:5; 2 Corinthians 12:11); then we run (compare Paul, Ephesians 3:8); then we walk (compare Paul, 1 Timothy 1:15).


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Bibliography Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 40:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

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