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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 45:20

 

 

"Gather yourselves and come; Draw near together, you fugitives of the nations; They have no knowledge, Who carry about their wooden idol And pray to a god who cannot save.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Assemble yourselves, and come - This, like the passage in Isaiah 41:1 ff, is a solemn appeal to the worshippers of idols, to come and produce the evidences of their being endowed with omniscience, and with almighty power, and of their having claims to the homage of their worshippers.

Ye that are escaped of the nations - This phrase has been very variously interpreted. Kimchi supposes that it means those who were distinguished among the nations, their chiefs, and rulers; Aben Ezra, that the Babylonians are meant especially; Vitringa, that the phrase denotes proselytes, as those who have escaped from the idolatry of the pagan, and have embraced the true religion; Grotius, that it denotes those who survived the slaughter which Cyrus inflicted on the nations. Rosenmuller coincides in opinion with Vitringa. The word used here (פליט pâlı̂yṭ ) denotes properly one who has escaped by flight from battle, danger, or slaughter Genesis 14:13; Joshua 8:32. It is not used anywhere in the sense of a proselyte; and the idea here is, I think, that those who escaped from the slaughter which Gyrus would bring on the nations, were invited to come and declare what benefit they had derived from trusting in idol-gods. In Isaiah 45:16, God had said they should all be ashamed and confounded who thus put their trust in idols; and he here calls on them as living witnesses that it was so. Those who had put their confidence in idols, and who had seen Cyrus carry his arms over nations notwithstanding their vain confidence, could now testify that no reliance was to be placed on them, and could be adduced as witnesses to show the importance of putting their trust in Yahweh.

That set up the wood - The word ‹wood‘ is used here to show the folly of worshipping an image thus made, and to show how utterly unable it was to save.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:20". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-45.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that carry the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Declare ye, and bring it forth; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath showed this from ancient time? who hath declared it of old? have not I, Jehovah? and there is no God else besides me, a just God and a Saviour; there is none besides me. Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. By myself have I sworn, the word is gone forth from my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue swear. Only in Jehovah, it is said of me, is righteousness and strength; even to him shall men come; and all they that were incensed against him shall be put to shame. In Jehovah shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory."

The Old Israel is hardly in this passage at all, for it is addressed "unto them that escaped of the nations," to all of the redeemed of the whole earth, as indicated in Isaiah 45:22.

Note also that the last two verses here have the expressions "Only in Jehovah," and "In Jehovah shall all the seed of Israel be blessed," these being the exact parallels of the great Pauline conception of salvation "in the Lord," "in Christ," "in him," "in the Beloved," and equivalent expressions, which are found "one hundred-sixty nine times in Paul's New Testament writings."[20]

There is a widespread misunderstanding of what is meant by Isaiah 45:23. Wardle thought that the meaning is, "Every man shall swear allegiance to God";[21] However, the New Testament usage of this passage shows more clearly what the Spirit says. "At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:10,11). Also, in Revelation 6:14-17, we are given a more intimate glimpse of the nature of that confession which even the most wicked of men shall eventually make.

This passage also teaches that "no Israelite shall be saved apart from his union with Jehovah and "in Jehovah," a status that has never been attained by any person who ever lived apart from his being baptized "into Christ" (Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 12:13; and Galatians 3:27); because Christ is indeed "God come in the flesh." He is actually called "God," no less than ten times in the Greek New Testament (John 1:1,18; 20:28; Acts 20:28; Hebrews 1:8; Philippians 2:6; Romans 9:5; 1 Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:13; and 1 John 5:20, etc.). Thus, in these verses the great climax of Isaiah's prophecies is fully realized in the glorious salvation to all men in the New Covenant. "The religion of Israel is to become the religion of all mankind; and this anticipation finds its fulfillment in the Christian dispensation,"[22] and this is proved by Paul's application of these verses to Christ in Philippians 2:10,11, and in Romans 14:11.

We should not overlook the fact that this passage "also abolishes the last vestiges of nationalism in the true religion."[23] It is also inherent in the same truth that the last vestiges of racism have also been forever removed in the true religion. No man will ever be saved on account of his race, or denied salvation on the basis of it. "Preach the Gospel to the whole creation; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." (Mark 16:16).


Copyright Statement
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 45:20". "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

Assemble yourselves, and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations,.... Not that escaped the sword of Cyrus's army, the Chaldeans; nor the Jews that escaped out of Babylon and other countries, by his means; but the remnant, according to the election of grace among the Gentiles; such who were called out of Heathenish darkness into the marvellous light of the Gospel, and escaped the idolatries that others continued in; these are called and summoned together, as to observe the grace of God to themselves, so to labour to convince others of their gross ignorance and stupidity in worshipping idols, and to judge and pass sentence on the obstinate among them:

they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image; or that "lift up" or "carry the wood of their graven image"F4הנושאים את עץ פסלם οι αιροντες το ξυλον γλυμμα αυτων, Sept. "qui efferunt", Pagninus; "extollentes", Montanus; "qui gestant", Piscator; "gestantes lignum sculptilis sui", Junius & Tremellius; "qui portant", Cocceius, Vitringa. ; the inside of whose graven image is wood, though covered with some metal which is graved; and for a man to carry such an image on his shoulders, either in procession or in order to fix it in some proper place for adoration, argues great ignorance and stupidity; such persons can have no knowledge of deity, that can believe that a log of wood, covered with gold or silver, graved by art and man's device, and which they are obliged to carry upon their shoulders, can be a god, or a fit object of worship:

and pray to a god that cannot save; itself, nor them; cannot hear their prayers, nor return an answer to them; cannot help and assist them in distress, nor deliver them out of their troubles; and therefore it must be the height of madness and folly to pray unto it.


Copyright Statement
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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-45.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, y ye [that have] escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray to a god [that] cannot save.

(y) All you idolaters who though you seem to have worldly dignity yet in God's sight you are vile and abject.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:20". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/isaiah-45.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

escaped of the nations — those of the nations who shall have escaped the slaughter inflicted by Cyrus. Now, at last, ye shall see the folly of “praying to a god that cannot save” (Isaiah 45:16). Ultimately, those that shall be “left of all the nations which shall come against Jerusalem” are meant (Zechariah 14:16). They shall then all be converted to the Lord (Isaiah 66:23, Isaiah 66:24; Jeremiah 3:17; Zechariah 8:20-23).


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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 45:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-45.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.

Draw near — To hear what I have said, and am now about to say.

Of the nations — The remnant of the Gentiles, who survive the many destructions, which I am bringing upon the Heathen nations.


Copyright Statement
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 45:20". "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

20.Assemble yourselves, He challenges all superstitious persons, and, as it were, appoints a day that they may submit to a righteous judgment, as we have formerly seen in expounding other passages, in order to shew that they can plead nothing which shall not be speedily overtumed. Now, indeed, they delight in their superstitions; but all their smoke shall be dispelled, when they come to plead their cause, and without any difficulty they shall be convicted. Let them then “assemble” in crowds, let them conspire and make every effort by fraud, and threatenings, and terrors; the truth shall at length be victorious. This confirmation was highly necessary for the Jews, because in every nation and in every place they beheld the spread of wicked errors which buried the worship of the true God. We also ought to betake ourselves to this refuge, when we see how few and how feeble we are. The Mahometans possess a large portion of the world, the Papists, with elevated crest, triumph far and wide, while we are but a handful of people, (212) and are scarcely reckoned in the number of men. But truth shall at last prevail, and shall cast down all that loftiness which now dazzles the eyes of men.

Ye rejected of the nations (213) פליטי (pelite) is translated by some “rejected,” by others “exiles,” or “those who have escaped;” and the address is supposed to be made to the Jews who had retumed from the captivity. But that is too forced a sense. The more generally received interpretation is, “Rejected of the nations,” because פלט (palat) means “to reject.” Not that he describes the meaner sort, or the refuse of men; but, on the contrary, he directs his discourse to those who were the highest in rank, and wealth, and power, and learning among the Gentiles. He calls them “rejected,” because they are of no value in the sight of God, though they are highly esteemed by men; for

“that which ranks high among men is detestable in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15.)

Yet if it be thought preferable to translate it “distant,” I have no objection; as if he had said, “Let them assemble from the farthest parts of the earth.”

That carry the wood of their graven image. He shews how great is the madness which seizes idolaters, who worship images, which they bear on their shoulders and carry round on waggons. Or we may take נשיים (nesum) as denoting “to place on a lofty and elevated spot,” as it was a crafty device of Satan to erect statues on pillars and lofty places, in order to excite the admiration of men, and to lead men to pay honor and reverence by merely looking at them. But we may interpret it simply as denoting all worship that is rendered to images, so as to convict them of vanity and madness. Superstitious persons know that idols need the aid and assistance of men, instead of men needing the aid and assistance of idols, which cannot even be made to stand upright without the agency of men. (214) And this is the meaning of what next follows, to pray to a god that cannot save; for what can be more foolish than to address vows and prayers to wood and stone? and yet infidels run about to dead statues, for the purpose of seeking salvation from them.

This interpretation, though set aside by our author, is approved by able commentators. “Escaped of the nations has been variously explained to mean the Jews who had escaped from the oppression of the Gentiles, and the Gentiles who had escaped from the dominion of idolatry. But these last would scarcely have been summoned to a contest. On the whole, it seems most natural to understand the nations who survived the judgments sent by God upon them. The Hebrew phrase is in itself ambiguous, the noun added to פליטי (pelite) sometimes denoting the whole body, out of which a remnant has escaped, sometimes the power from which they are delivered. Compare Jude 12:4; Ezra 6:9; Obadiah 1:11, with Jeremiah 44:28; Ezra 6:8. The predominant usage and the context here decide in favor of the first interpretation.” —Alexander.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:20". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-45.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 45:20 Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye [that are] escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god [that] cannot save.

Ver. 20. Ye that are escaped of the nations.] That have escaped the sword of Cyrus, and well proved how little your gods can do for you.

That set up the wood of their graven image.] Qui levant lignum, carrying them in pomp and procession upon their shoulders, as Papists now do their pictures, their breaden god especially, and crying to it, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabbaoth!"


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-45.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together; to debate the business with me concerning the divinity of your idols, and hear what I have said, and am now about to say again, in that matter.

Ye that are escaped of the nations; the remnant of the Gentiles, which shall survive those great and many destructions which I am bringing upon the heathen nations for their abominable idolatries and other wickedness. Let these dreadful judgments upon others, and God’s singular mercy in sparing you, awaken you to a more impartial and serious consideration of this point, and cast off those idols, which have now discovered their own vanity and inability to help those who serve them and trust in them.

They have no knowledge; they hereby discover their deep ignorance and stupidity.

That set up in a high place, where it may be seen and worshipped.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 45:20". 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

20. Assemble… and come — The challenge again (Isaiah 41:21; Isaiah 42:9)

to try him and prove that he is an Infinite Reality.

Escaped of the nations — The “escaped” are those who have survived the divine judgments which sweep over the idolatrous world.

Have no knowledge — Silly idolaters have none. With such, reason and conscience are perverted, truth and error exchange meanings, good sense goes for nothing. The “escaped” ones seem, in this verse, invited to a convocation for a somewhat different object from the one in Isaiah 41:1, namely, to test the question of prediction, to reason with those demented ones yet in favour of idols.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/isaiah-45.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The Lord again summoned the people of the world, possibly after Cyrus" judgments, for a debate (cf. Isaiah 41:1; Isaiah 41:21; Isaiah 43:8-9). He claimed that pagan idol-worshippers were ignorant (cf. Isaiah 44:9). They carried their gods of wood, rather than being carried themselves by a personal God (cf1Samuel4-5). And they prayed to gods that could not save.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:20". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/isaiah-45.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Gentiles: converts, (Haydock) or Jews, returning from Babylon.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:20". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/isaiah-45.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.

Draw near together, ye (that are) escaped of the nations - those of the nations who shall have escaped the slaughter inflicted by Cyrus. Now, at last, we shall see the folly of 'praying to a god that cannot save' (Isaiah 45:16). Ultimately those that shall be 'left of all the nations which shall come against Jerusalem' are meant (Zechariah 14:16). They shall then all be converted to the Lord (Isaiah 66:23-24; Jeremiah 3:17; Zechariah 8:20-23).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:20". "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

(20) Ye that are escaped of the nations.—Primarily, the words point to the survivors of the conquests of Cyrus, who are contemplated as acknowledging the God of Israel. Ultimately the words find their fulfilment in the conversion of the heathen to the true anointed of Jehovah, of whom Cyrus was a type. They will bear witness from their experience to the vanity of idols. They will learn that it does not avail to set up (or carry) their idols in religious processions (Jeremiah 10:5; Amos 5:26; 1 Samuel 4:4).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:20". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/isaiah-45.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.
yourselves
41:5,6,21; 43:9
escaped
4:2; Jeremiah 25:15-29; 50:28; 51:6-9; Ephesians 2:12,16; Revelation 18:3-18
they
42:17,18; 44:17-20; 46:7; 48:7; 1 Kings 18:26-29; Psalms 115:8; Jeremiah 2:27,28; Jeremiah 10:8,14; 51:17,18; Habakkuk 2:18-20; Romans 1:21-23

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-45.html.

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