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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 45:1

 

 

Thus says the LORD to Cyrus His anointed, Whom I have taken by the right hand, To subdue nations before him And to loose the loins of kings; To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut:

Adam Clarke Commentary

Loose the loins of kings "ungird the loins of kings" - See the note on Isaiah 5:27. Xenophon gives the following list of the nations conquered by Cyrus: the Syrians, Assyrians, Arabians, Cappadocians, both the Phrygians, Lydians, Carians, Phoenicians, Babylonians. He moreover reigned over the Bactrians, Indians, Cilicians, the Sacae Paphlagones, and ldariandyni. - Cyrop., lib. 1 p. 4, Edit. Hutchinson, Quarto. All these kingdoms he acknowledges, in his decree for the restoration of the Jews, to have been given to him by Jehovah, the God of heaven. Ezra 1:2.

To open before him the two leaved gates, etc. "That I may open before him the valves; and the gates shall not be shut" - The gates of Babylon within the city leading from the streets to the river, were providentially left open, when Cyrus's forces entered the city in the night through the channel of the river, in the general disorder occasioned by the great feast which was then celebrated; otherwise, says Herodotus, 1:191, the Persians would have been shut up in the bed of the river, and taken as in a net, and all destroyed. And the gates of the palace were opened imprudently by the king's orders, to inquire what was the cause of the tumult without; when the two parties under Gobrias and Gadatas rushed in, got possession of the palace, and slew the king. - Xenoph., Cyrop. 7 p. 528.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/isaiah-45.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Thus saith the Lord to his anointed - This is a direct apostrophe to Cyrus, though it was uttered not less than one hundred and fifty years before Babylon was taken by him. The word ‹anointed‘ is that which is usually rendered “Messiah” (משׁיח mâshı̂yach ), and here is rendered by the Septuagint, Τῷ χριστῷ μου Κύρῳ Tō christō mou Kurō - ‹To Cyrus, my Christ,‘ i. e, my anointed. It properly means “the anointed,” and was a title which was commonly given to the kings of Israel, because they were set apart to their office by the ceremony of anointing, who hence were called οι χρυστοὶ Κυρίου hoi christoi Kuriou - ‘The anointed of the Lord‘ 1 Samuel 2:10, 1 Samuel 2:35; 1 Samuel 12:3, 1 Samuel 12:5; 1 Samuel 16:6; 1 Samuel 24:7, 1 Samuel 24:11; 1 Samuel 26:9, 1 Samuel 26:11, 1 Samuel 26:23; 2 Samuel 1:14, 2 Samuel 1:16; 2 Samuel 19:22-23. There is no evidence that the Persian kings were inaugurated or consecrated by oil, but this is an appellation which was common among the Jews, and is applied to Cyrus in accordance with their usual mode of designating kings. It means here that God had solemnly set apart Cyrus to perform an important public service in his cause. It does not mean that Cyrus was a man of piety, or a worshipper of the true God, of which there is no certain evidence, but that his appointment as king was owing to the arrangement of God‘s providence, and that he was to be employed in accomplishing his purposes. The title does not designate holiness of character, but appointment to an office.

Whose right hand I have holden - Margin, ‹Strengthened.‘ Lowth, ‹whom I hold fast by the right hand.‘ The idea seems to be, that God had upheld, sustained, strengthened him as we do one who is feeble, by taking his right hand (see the notes at Isaiah 41:13; Isaiah 42:6)

To subdue nations before him - For a general account of the conquests of Cyrus, see the notes at Isaiah 41:2. It may be added here, that ‹besides his native subjects, the nations which Cyrus subdued, and over which he reigned, were the Cilicians, Syrians, Paphlagonians, Cappadocians, Phrygians, Lydians, Carians, Phenicians, Arabians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Bactrians, Saeae, and Maryandines. Xenophon describes his empire as extending from the Mediterranean and Egypt to the Indian Ocean, and from Ethiopia to the Euxine Sea, and conveys a physical idea of its extent by observing that the extremities were difficult to inhabit, from opposite causes - some from excess of heat, and others from excess of cold; some from a scarcity of water, and others from too great abundance.‘ - (Pictorial Bible.)

And I will loose the loins of kings - The ancients dressed in a large, loose, flowing robe thrown over an under-garment or tunic, which was shaped to the body. The outer robe was girded with a sash when they toiled, or labored, or went to war, or ran. Hence, ‹to gird up the loins‘ is indicative of preparation for a journey, for labor, or for war. To unloose the girdle, or the loins, was indicative of a state of rest, repose, or feebleness; and the phrase here means that God would so order it in his providence that the kings would be unprepared to meet him, or so feeble that they would not be able to resist him (compare Job 38:3; Jeremiah 1:17). See also Job 12:21:

He poureth contempt upon princes,

And weakeneth the strength of the mighty;

Margin, more correctly, ‹Looseth the girdle of the strong.‘ There was a literal fulfillment of this in regard to Belshazzar, king of Babylon, when the city was taken by Cyrus. When the hand came forth on the walls of his palace, and the mysterious finger wrote his condemnation, it is said, ‹Then the king‘s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against the other‘ Daniel 5:6. The Vulgate renders this, ‹I will turn the backs of kings.‘

To open before him the two-leaved gates, and the gates shall not be shut - The folding gates of a city, or a palace. It so happened in the scene of revelry which prevailed in Babylon when Cyrus took it, that the gates within the city which led from the streets to the river were left open. The city was not only enclosed with walls, but there were walls within the city on each side of the river Euphrates with gates, by which the inhabitants had access to the water of the river. Had not these gates been left open on that occasion, contrary to the usual custom, the Persians would have been shut up in the bed of the river, and could all have been destroyed. It also happened in the revelry of that night, that the gates of the palace were left open, so that there was access to every part of the city. Herodotus (i. 191) says, ‹If the besieged had been aware of the designs of Cyrus, or had discovered the project before its actual accomplishment, they might have effected the total destruction of these troops. They had only to secure the little gates which led to the river, and to have manned the embankments on either side, and they might have enclosed the Persians in a net from which they could never have escaped; as it happened they were taken by surprise; and such is the extent of that city, that, as the inhabitants themselves affirm, they who lived in the extremities were made prisoners before the alarm was communicated to the center of the palace.‘ None but an omniscient Being could have predicted, a hundred and fifty years before it occurred, that such an event would take place; and this is one of the many prophecies which demonstrate in the most particular manner that Isaiah was inspired.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-45.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

This chapter is a continuation of the revelation in the previous chapter. This is a prophecy concerning Cyrus of the Medo-Persian Empire, and how God delivered into his hands many nations, the wealth he procured, and how all his enemies were subdued (Isaiah 45:1-3); to whom Cyrus was indebted for all those wonderful victories (Isaiah 45:4-6); God reveals himself as the one true and only Deity who made light and darkness, refuting the absurd theory of the Persians that there were two gods, one of the good, and the other of the evil (Isaiah 45:7,8); the foolishness of those who question the mysterious providence of God in his relationship with his children (Isaiah 45:9-12); the remainder of the chapter has references to the absurdity of idolatry, a few allusions to the dark, lying oracles of the pagans, and certain passages which refer to the deliverance of God's people by Cyrus, but which are to be more fully fulfilled in that glorious salvation by the Messiah, which, it is declared, shall be of universal extent and everlasting duration (Isaiah 45:13-25).

Isaiah 45:1-3

"Thus saith Jehovah to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him, and I will loose the loins of kings; to open the doors before him, and the gates shall not be shut: I will go before thee, and make the rough places smooth; I will break in pieces the doors of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron; and I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that it is I, Jehovah, who call thee by thy name, even the God of Israel."

"To his anointed ..." (Isaiah 45:1). The ceremony of anointing was used in the elevation of Jewish kings; but no similar ceremony was known among the pagans; and some have wondered what is meant here. It means that Cyrus was consecrated to carry out the purpose of God in the release of the Jews and termination of their captivity. We agree with Dummelow that the "surname" God gave Cyrus refers probably to "Anointed (Isaiah 45:1) or to Shepherd (Isaiah 44:28)."[1]

"Subdue nations ..." (Isaiah 45:1). "Xenophon gave the following list of nations conquered by Cyrus: The Syrians, Assyrians, Arabians, Cappadocians, Phrygians, Lydians, Carians, Phoenicians, and the Babylonians."[2] The significant thing about this list of nations is that Cyrus himself acknowledged in his decree that Jehovah had indeed given him all of those nations (Ezra 1:2).

Another important implication of this first verse is inherent in the name of Cyrus as God's anointed. Archer pointed out that, "Cyrus stands as a type of Jesus Christ; and many of the promises to Cyrus have their spiritual fulfillment in the life and ministry of Our Redeemer."[3]

"No one but an omniscient Being could have predicted 150 years before they occurred, that such events would take place; and these verses are one of the many prophecies which demonstrate in the most particular manner that Isaiah was inspired of God."[4]

"I will break in pieces the gates of brass ..." (Isaiah 45:2). Some of the most inconsequential, nit-picking, picayune objections to this prophecy are registered in the writings of Cheyne. He made light of the prophecy of Cyrus as follows:

"The prophet does not say `a child shall be born, Cyrus by name,' but assumes his existence, and predicts that he, rather than some scion of the house of David would be the instrument of the Jews' deliverance ... He assumes rather than predicts the existence of Cyrus; and he omits to mention by how many years, if any, his announcement preceded the birth of the Deliverer!"[5]

The reason God's prophecy omitted the prophecy of the birth of Cyrus was that his ancestry was not important, as it was in the instance of God's predicting the birth of Josiah some three hundred years before the event (2 Kings 13:2), because Cyrus was not of the house of David. Like another great Type of the Son of God, Melchizedek, Cyrus stands historically as a solitary individual, and as an object of wonder, exactly as does Melchizedek. God's wisdom is displayed in this far more effectively than any mention of when or of whom Cyrus was born could possibly have done it.

Furthermore, when Cheyne also cited the fact that the brass gates of Babylon were not broken in pieces, as prophesied here, but were made useless by the drying up of the Euphrates, as an instance "of the non-fulfillment of prophecy,"[6] it appears to this writer that cavil reached some kind of a climax! The true meaning of the prophecy was not that Cyrus would literally break into pieces the 100 brass gates of Babylon, but that they would afford him no greater difficulty than if they had been so destroyed. "Herodotus tells us that Babylon had twenty-five massive brass gates, supported by brass frames, on each of the four sides of the city, one hundred brass gates in all."[7] Critics only exhibit their own frustration by such criticisms as these.

"I will give thee the treasures of darkness ..." (Isaiah 45:3). The exact fulfillment of this came in the vast quantities of pure gold and other valuables that Cyrus took from the kings whom he conquered, of whom, especially, was Croesus, the wealthiest monarch of all antiquity. "The Roman historian Pliny stated that Cyrus in the conquest of Asia obtained 34,000 pounds of pure gold, besides many other treasures."[8] Archer has given an estimate of the value of that in dollars, as calculated about 1960; but of course it would be about eight times as much in 1990, due to the inflation of the price of gold. The figure that Archer gave is $630,000,000, taken from the wealth of Croesus alone![9]


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/isaiah-45.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,.... Cyrus is called the Lord's anointed, not because he was anointed with material oil, as the kings of Israel and Judah were; but because he was appointed by the Lord to be a king, and was qualified by him for that office; and was raised up by him to be an instrument of doing great things in the world, and particularly of delivering the Jews from their captivity, and restoring them to their own land:

whose right hand I have holden; whom he raised up, supported, strengthened, guided, and directed to do what he did:

to subdue nations before him; which was accordingly done. XenophonF25Cyropaedia, l. 1. p. 2. relates, that he subdued the Syrians, Assyrians, Arabians, Cappadocians, both the countries of Phrygia, the Lydians, Carians, Phoenicians, and Babylonians; also the Bactrians, Indians, Cilicians, the Sacae, Paphlagonians, and Megadinians; likewise the Greeks that inhabit Asia, Cyprians and Egyptians. HerodotusF26Clio, sive l. 1. c. 130. says, that he ruled over all Asia: all which the Lord subdued under him; for it was he that did it rather than Cyrus; it was he that clothed him with strength and courage, gave him skill in military affairs, and success and victory:

I will loose the loins of kings; as Croesus king of Lydia, and Belshazzar king of Babylon, by divesting them of their dignity, power, and government; and particularly this was true of the latter, when, by the handwriting on the wall, he was thrown into a panic; "and the joints of his loins were loosed", Daniel 5:6, "to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut"; the gates of cities and palaces wherever he came, which were opened to receive him as their conqueror and sovereign; this was very remarkably true of the gates of the palace of the king of Babylon, when the army of Cyrus by a stratagem had got into the city, and were come up to the king's palace, they found the gates shut; but a clamour and noise being made, the king ordered to see what was the matter; the gates being opened for that purpose, the soldiers of Cyrus rushed in to the king, and slew himF1Cyropaedia, l. 7. c. 22, 23. ; but, what is more remarkable, the gates of brass, which shut up the descents from the keys to the river, were left open that night Babylon was taken, while the inhabitants were feasting and revelling; which, had they been shutF2Herodot. l. 1. c. 191. , would have defeated the enterprise of Cyrus; but God in his providence ordered it to be so.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-45.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to a Cyrus, whose b right hand I have held, to c subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;

(a) To assure the Jews of their deliverance against the great temptations that they would abide, he names the person and the means.

(b) Because Cyrus would execute the office of a deliverer, God called him his anointed for a time, but after another sort than he called David.

(c) To guide him in the deliverance of my people.


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/isaiah-45.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Isaiah 45:1-25. The subject of the deliverance by Cyrus is followed up.

Isaiah 45:1-7. These seven verses should have been appended to previous chapter, and the new chapter should begin with Isaiah 45:8, “Drop down,” etc. [Horsley]. Reference to the deliverance by Messiah often breaks out from amidst the local and temporary details of the deliverance from Babylon, as the great ultimate end of the prophecy.

his anointed — Cyrus is so called as being set apart as king, by God‘s providence, to fulfil His special purpose. Though kings were not anointed in Persia, the expression is applied to him in reference to the Jewish custom of setting apart kings to the regal office by anointing.

right hand … holden — image from sustaining a feeble person by holding his right hand (Isaiah 42:6).

subdue nations — namely, the Cilicians, Syrians, Babylonians, Lydians, Bactrians, etc.; his empire extended from Egypt and the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, and from Ethiopia to the Euxine Sea.

loose … girdle loins — that is, the girdle off the loins; and so enfeeble them. The loose outer robe of the Orientals, when girt fast round the loins, was the emblem of strength and preparedness for action; ungirt, was indicative of feebleness (Job 38:3; Job 12:21); “weakeneth the strength of the mighty” (Margin), “looseth the girdle of the strong.” The joints of (Belshazzar‘s) loins, we read in Daniel 5:6, were loosed during the siege by Cyrus, at the sight of the mysterious handwriting on the palace walls. His being taken by surprise, unaccoutred, is here foretold.

to open … gates — In the revelry in Babylon on the night of its capture, the inner gates, leading from the streets to the river, were left open; for there were walls along each side of the Euphrates with gates, which, had they been kept shut, would have hemmed the invading hosts in the bed of the river, where the Babylonians could have easily destroyed them. Also, the gates of the palace were left open, so that there was access to every part of the city; and such was its extent, that they who lived in the extremities were taken prisoners before the alarm reached the center of the palace. [Herodotus, 1.191].


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-45.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;

His anointed — His king, whom God has designed, and separated, and fitted, in all respects, for this work.

Loose — I will take away their girdle, which was about their loins; their power and authority, whereof that was an ensign.

Gates — The great and magnificent gates of their cities and palaces, which shall be opened to him as conqueror.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/isaiah-45.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

1.Thus saith Jehovah. He pursues the subject which he had begun to handle. He shews that not in vain did he promise deliverance to his people, since the manner of it was altogether decreed and appointed by him; (191) for when the question relates to our salvation, we always inquire into the way and manner. Although God frequently chooses to hold us in suspense, and thus conceals from us the method which he has ready at hand, yet, in this instance he indulges the weakness of his people, and explains the method in which he will deliver them.

To Cyrus his anointed. He names the person by whose hand he will bring them back; for, since their faith would be sharply tried by other temptations, he wished in this respect to provide against doubt, that the difficulty of the event might not shake them. And in order to impart greater efficacy to this discourse, he turns to Cyrus himself: “I have chosen thee to be a king to me; I will take hold of thy hand, and will subject the nations to thy authority, so that they shall open up a passage for thee, and voluntarily surrender.” These words have greater effect than if the Lord spoke to his people.

Yet it might be thought strange that he calls Cyrus his Anointed; for this is the designation which was given to the kings of Israel and Judah, because they represented the person of Christ, who alone, strictly speaking, is “the Lord’s Anointed.” “The Lord went forth with his Anointed,” says Habakkuk, “for the salvation of his people.” (Habakkuk 3:13.) In the person of David a kingdom had been set up, which professed to be an image and figure of Christ; and hence also the prophets in many passages call him “David,” and “the Son of David.” (Ezekiel 37:24.) It was indeed a special anointing, intended to distinguish that priestly kingdom from all heathen kingdoms. Since therefore this title belonged to none but the kings of Judea, it might be thought strange that it is here bestowed on a heathen king and a worshipper of idols; for although he was instructed by Daniel, yet we do not read that he changed his religion. True, he regarded with reverence the God of Israel, and considered him to be the Highest; but he was not prompted by a sincere affection of the heart to worship him, and did not advance so far as to forsake superstitions and idolatries.

Thus God deigns to call him his “Anointed,” not by a perpetual title, but because he discharged for a time the office of Redeemer; for he both avenged the Church of God and delivered it from the Assyrians, who were its enemies. This office belongs peculiarly to Christ; and this ordinary appellation of kings ought to be limited to this circumstance, that he restored the people of God to the enjoyment of liberty. This should lead us to observe how highly God values the salvation of the Church, because, for the sake of this single benefit, Cyrus, a heathen man, is called “the Messiah,” (192) or “the Anointed.

Whose right hand I have taken hold of. By this mode of expression, he means that Cyrus shall prosper in all his undertakings, for he shall carry on war under God’s direction; and therefore Isaiah declares that, for the sake of the Church, in order that he may deliver her, God will grant to him prosperity in all things; while he again commends the providence of God, that the Jews may fully believe, amidst changes and troubles, that God on high governs all things in such a manner as to promote the benefit of his elect. Now, since it was not easy for Cyrus to penetrate as far as Babylon, because the whole of Asia had leagued together in order to frustrate his designs, the Prophet testifies that God will dissolve all the strength which men can bring against him.

I will loose the loins of kings. Because the whole strength lies in the reins, the Hebrew writers use the phrase “opening,” or “loosing the loins,” to denote “being deprived of strength.” We might also view it somewhat differently, that is, that the Lord will “make bare,” or “loose their loins,” according to the customary manner of Scripture, by which kings are said to be ungirded of the belt, namely, of the badge of royalty, when they are deprived of authority. Job (Job 12:18) employs this mode of expression, and Isaiah will afterwards employ it: (193) “I will gird thee.” (Ver. 5.) On this account I more readily adopt this sense, that the force of the contrast may be more evident. This shews clearly that kings have just as much strength and power as the Lord bestows on them for the preservation of each nation; for when he determines to convey their authority to others, they cannot defend their condition by any weapons or swords.

To open the gates before him. By this expression he means that no fortresses can resist God, which indeed is acknowledged by all, but yet they do not cease to place foolish confidences in bulwarks and fortresses; for, where cities are well surrounded by walls, and the gates are shut, men think that there they are safe. On the other hand the Prophet shews that all defences are useless, and that it serves no purpose to block up every entrance, when the Lord wishes to open up a way for the enemies. Although it is certain that the gates were shut and securely barred, yet, because Cyrus pushed his way as swiftly as if all the cities had been thrown open, the Prophet justly affirms that nothing shall be closed against him.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-45.html. 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

anointed

The only instance where the word is applied to a Gentile. Nebuchadnezzar is called the "servant" of Jehovah Jeremiah 25:9; Jeremiah 27:6; Jeremiah 43:10 This, with the designation "My shepherd" Isaiah 44:28 also a Messianic title, marks Cyrus as that startling exception, a Gentile type of Christ. The points are:

(1) both are irresistible conquerors of Israel's enemies. Isaiah 45:1; Revelation 19:19-21

(2) both are restorers of the holy city Isaiah 44:28; Zechariah 14:1-11

(3) through both is the name of the one true God glorified Isaiah 45:6; 1 Corinthians 15:28.


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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.

Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Isaiah 45:1". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/isaiah-45.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;

Ver. 1. To his anointed,] i.e., To his appointed and enabled one, to subdue many nations. Xenophon, in his first book De Cyropaed., gives us a list of them. Cyrus subdued, saith he, the Syrians, Assyrians, Arabians, Cappadocians, Phrygians, the Lydians, Carians, Phoenicians, Babylonians, the Bactrians, Indians, Cilicians, Sacians, Paphlagonians, Maryandines, and many other nations. He also had dominion over the Asiatics, Greeks, Cyprians, Egyptians, &c. He vanquished, saith Herodotus, (a) what country soever he invaded. And what wonder, when God himself, as here, "held," or "strengthened his right hand," and "loosed the loins of kings" that were his adversaries - that is, disarmed and disabled them; for it is he alone who strengtheneth and weakeneth the arm of either party. [Ezekiel 30:24] Et nemo vir magnus sine afflatu divine unquam fuit, saith Cicero. (b) God transferreth kingdoms, and setteth up kings. [Daniel 2:21]

To open unto him the two leaved gates.] Or, Doors. Whether doors of houses or gates of cities, all shall fly open before him. {as Acts 12:10}


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-45.html. 1865-1868.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

Much is said in this chapter of Cyrus, king of Persia: but much more of Jesus, King of Zion. It is spoken by way of prophecy in the first relation to Babylon, but in the more direct reference to the redemption by Christ.


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Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/isaiah-45.html. 1828.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

ISAIAH CHAPTER 45

Cyrus’s work and strength foretold, Isaiah 45:1-4. God hath all power, Isaiah 45:5-12; will assist Cyrus, Isaiah 45:13,14. The mystery of Providence, Isaiah 45:15. Idols and their worshippers shall be destroyed, and God alone exalted, 16—21. The Gentiles come in to Christ, Isaiah 45:22-25.

His anointed, i.e. his king, whom God hath designed, and separated, and fitted, in all respects, for his work and service; in which and such-like respects divers persons are said to be anointed, who never had any material oil poured upon them, as the king of Tyrus, Ezekiel 28:14, and Christ, Isaiah 61:1, and Zerubbabel, Zechariah 4:14, and Christians, 2 Cop. 1:21 1 John 2:27. And they are thus called by way of allusion to the practice of the Jews, whose kings were frequently anointed, 1 Samuel 10:1 16:13, &c.

I have holden, or strengthened; whom I will powerfully assist, teaching his hands to war, as the phrase is, Psalms 18:34, supporting and directing his right hand to strike home.

Nations; the Babylonians, and those other nations which were confederate with them, and fought for them, as may be gathered from Jeremiah 51:9.

I will loose the loins of kings; I will weaken them, for a man’s strength consists much in his loins, and receiveth some advantage by the girding of his loins: or, I will take away their girdle, which was about their loins, to wit, their power and authority, whereof that was an ensign, of which see on Job 12:18 Isaiah 22:21.

To open before him the two-leaved gates; the great and magnificent gates of their cities and palaces, which shall be opened to him as conqueror.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/isaiah-45.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Sec. 4. (2) THE TIMES OF CYRUS AND MESSIAH.

1. This subdivision of section four presents more in detail the relations of Cyrus to Immanuel.

To his anointed, to Cyrus — Jehovah’s “anointed” in the typical aspect of kingship and royal command, relating to Israel in particular. For Israel’s sake Cyrus was anointed king. He subdued all nations within and contiguous to Babylon — Medes, Assyrians, Babylonians, Hyrcanians, and the nations of account in Asia Minor.

I will loose the loins of kings — This means, to weaken, as “to gird up” the loins, means to put strength into one.

To open… two leaved gates — By which Cyrus entered the city of Babylon. Herodotus speaks of the gate by the river (Euphrates) having been left accidentally unclosed on the night of the attack. To the same effect says Xenophon. (See HERODOTUS 1:191, and XENOPHON’S Cyrop., vii, Isaiah 5:10.)


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/isaiah-45.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Yahweh shockingly referred to Cyrus as His "anointed" (Heb. mashiah), a title normally reserved for Israel"s prophets, priests, and kings. One exception is Hazael whom Elijah was to anoint as King of Aram (cf. 1 Kings 19:15-16). Hazael was also the Lord"s anointed. It also refers to the Messiah. The Israelites thought of their anointed leaders as those whom God uniquely raised up to accomplish His purposes. By calling Cyrus His anointed, the Lord was teaching them that He was the Lord of all the earth, not just Israel. He could and would use whomever he chose to deliver His people.

"Sometimes we forget that God can use even unconverted world leaders for the good of His people and the progress of His work." [Note: Wiersbe, p51.]

"Traditionally, the ruler of Babylon took the hand of Bel in the New Year"s festival. Assyrian rulers coveted this affirmation of their authority. Here Yahweh claims that he has seized Cyrus by the hand ( Isaiah 42:6) and strenghtened [sic] his hold on his realm." [Note: Watts, Isaiah 34-66 , p156.]

Cyrus" election for this task was not due to anything in himself (cf. Romans 9:16). The Lord had taken him by the right hand, as a parent does with a small child, and would enable him to conquer and subdue those nations and kings whom he would.

"Since Israel in exile had no king, Cyrus functioned in a sense as her king (the anointed one) to bring about blessing." [Note: J. Martin, p1099.]

"Cyrus is the only Gentile king who is called God"s "anointed." Since this is the translation of the Hebrew word which we spell in English as Messiah, Cyrus is in a sense a type of the Anointed One, the Lord Jesus Christ.... The only intended resemblance is in the fact that Cyrus was the anointed one who delivered the people of Israel from their captivity. As such he points us to the greater Anointed One who saves His people from their sins." [Note: A. Martin, Isaiah . . ., pp77-78. See also Archer, p641.]


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/isaiah-45.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Isaiah 45:1. Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, &c. — Cyrus is called the Lord’s anointed, a title usually given to the kings of the Jews, who were God’s immediate deputies, not because material oil had been poured upon him when he was made king, as was the case with most of them, but because he was raised up, and ordained by the divine counsel, to perform God’s good pleasure, and furnished for that purpose with the necessary endowments; among which must be reckoned “his singular justice, his reverence toward the divine nature, his prudence, fortitude, and distinguished clemency and humanity:” to all which, and many other of his excellent qualities, his historian, Xenophon, bears testimony. Whose right hand I have holden — Or strengthened as החזקתי may be properly rendered; whom I will powerfully assist, teaching his hands to war, as the phrase is Psalms 18:34, supporting and directing his right hand, and enabling him to surmount all difficulties, and to overcome all opposition. To subdue nations before him — The nations conquered by him, according to Xenophon, were “the Syrians, Assyrians, Arabians, Cappadocians, the Phrygians, Lydians, Carians, Phœnicians, Babylonians. He moreover reigned over the Bactrians, Indians, Cilicians, the Sacæ, Paphlagones, and Mariandyni.” All these kingdoms he acknowledges, in his decree for the restoration of the Jews, to have been given him by Jehovah, the God of heaven, Ezra 1:2. And I will loose the loins of kings — I will weaken them, and render them unprepared and unable to oppose Cyrus. “The eastern people, wearing long and loose garments, were unfit for action or business of any kind, without girding their clothes about them: when their business was finished, they took off their girdles. A girdle, therefore, denotes strength and activity; and to unloose the girdle is to deprive of strength, to render unfit for action.” To open before him the two-leaved gates — “The gates of Babylon, within the city, leading from the streets to the river, were providentially left open in the night when Cyrus’s forces entered the city through the channel of the river, in the general disorder occasioned by the great feast which was then celebrated: otherwise, says Herodotus, the Persians would have been shut up in the bed of the river, and taken as in a net, and all destroyed. And the gates of the palace were opened imprudently by the king’s orders, to inquire what was the cause of the tumult without, when two parties of Medes and Persians rushed in, got possession of the palace, and slew the king.” See Xenoph. Cyrop., 7. p. 528; and Bishop Lowth.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/isaiah-45.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Anointed, often implies one chosen for some great work. Cyrus was to ruin the empire of Babylon, and to set the nations at liberty. He was a proof of the Deity by executing his decrees. --- Cyrus. Some copies of the Septuagint seem to have read Greek: kurio, "to the Lord," incorrectly. (St. Jerome) --- Though Cyrus was not anointed, he is styled thus, in allusion to the custom of the Jewish kings. (Worthington)


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/isaiah-45.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Cyrus. See App-57.

loose the loins. Idiom for weakening. Compare Job 12:21. The opposite of "girding" (Isaiah 45:5).

open before him the two leaved gates: i.e. of Babylon, as described by Herodotus.

not be shut. They were found open, and Gobryas and the soldiers of Cyrus entered Babylon without fighting.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/isaiah-45.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;

These seven verses should have been appended to last chapter, and the new chapter should begin with Isa These seven verses should have been appended to last chapter, and the new chapter should begin with Isaiah 45:8, "Drop down," etc. (Horsley). Reference to the deliverance by Messiah often breaks out from amidst the local and temporary details of the deliverance from Babylon, as the great ultimate end of the prophecy.

Thus saith the Lord to his anointed. Cyrus is so called as being set apart as king, by God's providence, to fulfill His special purpose. Though kings were not anointed in Persia, the expression is applied to him in reference to the Jewish custom of setting apart kings to the regal office by anointing.

Whose right hand I have holden - image from sustaining a feeble person by holding his right hand (Isaiah 42:6).

To subdue nations before him - namely, the Cilicians, Syrians, Babylonians, Lydians, Bactrians, etc.; his empire extended from Egypt and the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, and from Ethiopia to the Euxine Sea.

I will loose the loins of kings - i:e., the girdle off the loins; and so enfeeble them. The loose outer robe of the Orientals, when girt fast round the loins, was the emblem of strength and preparedness for action; ungirt was indicative of feebleness (Job 38:3; Job 12:21, "weakeneth the strength of the mighty:" margin, 'looseth the girdle of the strong'). The joints of Belshazzar's loins, we read in Daniel 5:6, were loosed, during the siege by Cyrus, at the sight of the mysterious handwriting on the palace walls. His being taken by surprise, unaccoutred, is here foretold.

To open before him the two-leaved gates. In the revelry in Babylon on the night of its capture, the inner gates leading from the streets to the river were left open, because there were walls along each side of the Euphrates with gates, which, had they been kept shut, would have hemmed the invading hosts in the bed of the river where the Babylonians could have easily destroyed them. Also, the gates of the palace were left open, so that there was access to every part of the city: and such was its extent, that they who lived in the extremities were taken prisoners before the alarm reached the center of the palace (Herodotus, 1:, sec. 191).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/isaiah-45.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

XLV.

(1) To his anointed . . .—The name is none other than the Messiah, the Christ, with which we are familiar, here and here only applied to a heathen king. It has to be remembered that the words had not yet received the special application given to it in Daniel 9:26, and had been used of the theocratic kings, of Saul (1 Samuel 26:9; 1 Samuel 26:11; 1 Samuel 26:16), of the house of David (2 Samuel 22:51; 2 Samuel 23:1), and of the patriarch Abraham (Psalms 105:15). What is meant, therefore, is that Cyrus, the future deliverer, would be as truly a king “by the grace of God” as David had been, not only, like Nebuchadnezzar, “a servant of Jehovah” (Jeremiah 27:6; Jeremiah 43:10), but “fulfilling all his pleasure,” whom He grasps by the right hand and guides.

I will loose the loins.—Literally, I will ungird, either as a general symbol of weakening, or specifically for disarming, the sword being suspended from the girdle. The “two-leaved gates” are those of kingly palaces; the “gates,” those of cities, which will have to open to him. The words here, and in the next verse, may have been used with a special reference to the “hundred brazen gates” of Babylon (Herod. i. 179).


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/isaiah-45.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
to his
13:3; 44:28; 1 Kings 19:15; Jeremiah 27:6
whose
41:13; 42:6; Psalms 73:23
holden
or, strengthened.
Ezekiel 30:21-24
to subdue
41:2,25; Ezra 1:1; Jeremiah 50:3,35; 51:11,20-24; Daniel 5:6,28-30; 7:5; 8:3
to open
All the streets of Babylon, leading on each side to the river, were secured by two leaved brazen gates, and these were providentially left open when Cyrus's forces entered the city in the night, through the channel of the river, in the general disorder occasioned by the great feast which was then celebrated; otherwise, says Herodotus, the Persians would have been shut up in the bed of the river, as in a net, and all destroyed. The gates of the palace were also imprudently opened to ascertain the occasion of the tumult; when the two parties under Gobrias and Gadatas rushed in, got possession of the palace, and slew the king.
Nahum 2:6

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-45.html.

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