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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 45:21

 

 

"Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together - For יועצו yoatsu or yivvaatsu, let them consult, the Septuagint read ידעו yedau, let them know. but an ancient MS. has יועדו yoedu, let them come together by appointment; which may probably be the true reading.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:21". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/isaiah-45.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Tell ye, and bring them near - That is, announce, and bring forward your strongest arguments (see the notes at Isaiah 41:1).

Who hath declared this from ancient time? - Who has clearly announced the events respecting Cyrus, and the conquest of Babylon, and the deliverance from the captivity? The argument is an appeal to the fact that God had clearly foretold these events long before, and that therefore he was the true God. To this argument he often appeals in proof that he alone is God (see the note at Isaiah 41:22-23).

And there is no God else beside me - (See Isaiah 45:5).

A just God - A God whose attribute it is always to do right; whose word is true; whose promises are fulfilled; whose threatenings are executed; and who always does that which, under the circumstances of the case, ought to be done. This does not refer particularly to the fact that he will punish the guilty, but, in the connection here, rather seems to mean that his course would be one of equity.

And a Saviour - Saving his people. It was a characteristic of him, that he saved or preserved his people; and his equity, or truth, or justice, was seen in his doing that. His being ‹a just God‘ and ‹a Saviour‘ are not set here in contrast or contradiction, as if there was any incongruity in them, or as if they needed to be reconciled; but they refer to the same thing, and mean that he was just and true in saving his people; it was a characteristic of him that be was so true to his promises, and so equitable in his government, that he would save them. There is here no unique and special reference to the work of the atonement. But the language is such as will accurately express the great leading fact in regard to the salvation of sinners. It is in the cross of the Redeemer that God has shown himself eminently to be just, and yet a Saviour; true, and merciful; expressing his abhorrence of sin, and yet pardoning it; maintaining the honor of his violated law, and yet remitting its penalty and forgiving the offender. It is here, in the beautiful language of the Psalmist Psalm 85:10, that

Mercy and truth are met together,

Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

The same idea is expressed in Romans 3:26: ‹That he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.‘ It is the glory of the character of God that he can be thus just and merciful at the same time; that he can maintain the honor of his law, secure the stability of his government, and yet extend pardon to any extent. No human administration can do this. Pardon under a human government always does much to weaken the authority of the government, and to set aside the majesty of the law. If never exercised, indeed, government assumes the form of tyranny; if often, the law loses its terrors, and crime will walk fearless through the earth. But in the divine administration, through the atonement, pardon may be extended to any extent, and yet the honor of the law be maintained, for the substituted sufferings of the innocent in the place of the guilty, will in fact do more to restrain from transgression than where the guilty themselves suffer. Of no human administration can it be said that it is at the same time just, and yet forgiving; evincing hatred of the violation of the law, and yet extending mercy to any extent to the violators of the laws. The blending together of these apparently inconsistent attributes belongs only to God, and is manifested only in the plan of salvation through the atonement.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:21". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-45.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Tell ye, and bring them near, and let them take counsel together,.... Tell them what I say of their ignorance and stupidity; and gather them all together, their gods, their makers, and their worshippers, and let them lay their heads together, and consult what proof they are able to give of their divinities, particularly by foretelling things to come:

who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? that is, who of all their gods or priests have ever declared this or anyone thing at any distance of time before it came to pass? either this everlasting salvation of my people, or the redemption by Cyrus, which was a type of it, and was spoken of beforehand? have ever any of them foretold anything like this, and it came to pass as predicted? not one of them.

Have not I the Lord? he had. Christ, by his Spirit in the prophets, signified before hand his sufferings and his death, and the glory that should follow, 1 Peter 1:11 and when he was here on earth, he foretold his being betrayed to the chief priests; his being delivered to the Gentiles; his scourging and crucifixion, and resurrection from the dead; all which came to pass exactly as he had predicted, Matthew 20:18,

and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour: there is "none beside me", Christ is the one God with the Father and Spirit, and there is no other; nor any Saviour of lost sinners, but him; there is salvation in him, and in no other; and he is "just" in things pertaining to God, in satisfying his justice, and fulfilling his law; he was set forth as Mediator to declare his righteousness, and which is displayed in the work of redemption by him; so that God is just, while he is the justifier of him that believes in him, Romans 3:25.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:21". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-45.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Challenge the worshippers of idols (Isaiah 41:1).

take counsel together — as to the best arguments wherewith to defend the cause of idolatry.

who … from that time — (Isaiah 41:22, Isaiah 41:23; see on Isaiah 44:8). Which of the idols has done what God hath, namely, foretold, primarily as to Cyrus; ultimately as to the final restoration of Israel hereafter? The idolatry of Israel before Cyrus‘ time will have its counterpart in the Antichrist and the apostasy, which shall precede Christ‘s manifestation.

just … and … Saviorrighteous in keeping His promises, and therefore a Savior to His people. Not only is it not inconsistent with, but it is the result of, His righteousness, or justice, that He should save His redeemed (Isaiah 42:6, Isaiah 42:21; Psalm 85:10, Psalm 85:11; Romans 3:26).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:21". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-45.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.

Take counsel — To maintain the cause of their idols.

This — This great work, Babylon's destruction, and the redemption of God's people.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:21". "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

21.Tell ye. He again challenges all those who might have annoyed the Jews and shaken their faith by their taunts; for he always keeps this object in view, to fortify the faith of the people against all the assaults of the Gentiles. Amidst temptations so numerous and so severe, there was danger lest the Jews should sink under their terrible afflictions, if there had not been powerful arguments on the other side to induce them still to worship and trust the true God; and therefore he permits heathens to produce and bring forward everything that they can find in support of their cause.

Let them also take counsel together. These words are added, in order to inspire greater confidence; for the Prophet means, as we have already said, that they will gain nothing, though they “take counsel” among themselves and enter into a conspiracy. Yet, perhaps, he intended also to make it evident that there is nothing but groundless pretense and falsehood in all that infidels contrive for excusing their errors. Whatever then may be the gaudy ostentation with which they plume themselves on their inventions, the Prophet shews that the word of God will be abundantly strong to support the faith of believers. He challenges them to a strict examination, in order to compare with the Law and the prophets all that infidels boast of as having been foretold by their idols. I cheerfully admit what is generally believed, that the Prophet speaks of the redemption of the people; but as the overthrow of the Babylonian monarchy was likewise connected with it, I think that it is also included.

Who hath proclaimed this from the beginning? Because there is a repetition of the same statement, מקדם (mikkedem) and מאז (meaz) mean the same thing; as if he had said, “from the beginning,” or, “from of old;” for this prophecy was published long before the event happened. Hence believers might with certainty conclude that God had spoken.

And a savior. To foreknowledge he adds power, as in a former passage. Yet he likewise describes for what purposes he exerts his power, that is, for “saving” his people.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:21". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-45.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 45:21 Tell ye, and bring [them] near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? [who] hath told it from that time? [have] not I the LORD? and [there is] no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; [there is] none beside me.

Ver. 21. Who hath declared this?] sc., That the people of God should be set at liberty by Cyrus.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:21". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-45.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Isaiah 45:21

I. "A just God and a Saviour." The grand truth is manifestly this—that there is in God an everlasting harmony between the just and the merciful. He is just, not in opposition to salvation, but because He is a Saviour. He is a Saviour, not in opposition to justice, but because He is justice seeking to save. Let us ask, What is God's justice, and what His salvation? (1) God's justice is not merely the infliction of penalty; God's salvation is not merely deliverance from penalty. Justice in God is something far grander than the mere exercise of retribution; it is the love of eternal truth, purity, righteousness; and the penalties of untruth, impurity, unrighteousness, are the outflashings of that holy anger which is founded in His love of the right, the pure, and the true. God's salvation is a deliverance from penalty; it is a salvation from the miseries of sin, and the agonies inflicted on the soul by the remorse of conscience. But it is also the deliverance from evil,—salvation from the cruel lusts of wrong; from the bondage of unholy passions growing into the giant life of eternity; from the deep degradation and horrible selfishness of sin. (2) The law, the revelation of justice, came to lead men to God the Saviour. To save men from evil two things are requisite: (i) the sense of immortality; (ii) the sense of sin as a power in life. These the law awakens. (3) Christ, the revelation of God the Saviour, came to glorify God the Just.

II. We infer two lessons from this great truth. (1) The necessity of Christian endeavour. (2) The ground of Christian trust.

E. L. Hull, Sermons, 1st series, p. 131.


References: Isaiah 45:22.—Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes: Ecclesiastes to Malachi, p. 234; Ibid., Sermons, vol. ii., No. 60; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. ii., p. 277; J. A. Spurgeon, Penny Pulpit, No. 351; J. E. Vaux, Sermon Notes, 3rd series, p. 40; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 116; M. G. Pearse, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxxii., No. 372. Isaiah 46:4.—Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes: Ecclesiastes to Malachi, p. 237; Ibid., Sermons, vol. ii., No. 81.




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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:21". "Sermon Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/isaiah-45.html.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 942

JEHOVAH A JUST GOD AND A SAVIOUR

Isaiah 45:21. There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is mine beside me.

TO us, who have been habituated from our infancy to hear of none but the true and living God, it seems incredible that man should be so stupid and selfish as to bow down to stocks and stones, and to worship them as gods. But not only is mankind in general prone to idolatry, but even the people of God themselves, who had seen all the wonders wrought by Jehovah in Egypt, were ever ready to turn aside from him, and to worship the work of their own hands. Hence we see so much in the prophetic writings on the subject of idolatry, and in vindication of Jehovah as the only true God. In the passage before us, God has appealed to the evidence which he had given of his exclusive right to the regards of his people; in that he had foretold future events, which came to pass agreeably to his predictions; whilst none of the gods of the heathen had ever pretended to any such power. And in the words before us he maintains his own supremacy, by a further statement of his character as a just God and a Saviour.

Let us consider,

I. The character of God as here stated—

We shall consider it,

1. As contrasted with that of all the heathen deities—

[Whatever their poor deluded votaries might imagine, it was not in their power either to inflict or to avert evil. This is put in a striking point of view by the Prophet Jeremiah: “The customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with an axe. They deck it with silver and with gold: they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm-tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them: for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to good [Note: Jeremiah 10:3-5.].”

But Jehovah is alike able either to save or to destroy. See whether his justice be not marked in his conduct towards the fallen angels, whom he expelled from heaven for their sin; and towards the antediluvian world, which, with the exception of a single family of eight persons, he destroyed with an universal deluge. See what is his indignation against sin, as marked in the judgments executed on Sodom and Gomorrha. See it, also, as demonstrated in the punishment of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, or of Ananias and Sapphira. But the instances are too numerous to be mentioned. No one can have read the Scriptures of truth, and not see that God is just in punishing iniquity; and that to those who live in sin, he is, and will be, “a consuming fire [Note: Deuteronomy 4:24 and Hebrews 12:29.].”

On the other hand, he is a Saviour also to all who put their trust in him. Behold his interposition in behalf of Noah and his family, whilst all the rest of the world were destroyed. Or see the deliverance he vouchsafed to his people from their bondage in Egypt; or how he carried them through the wilderness, and established them in the land of Canaan. Or view the miracles wrought by our blessed Saviour and his Apostles; and then say, whether there be any bounds to Jehovah’s mercy or power.

But the comparison between Jehovah and the heathen deities would be utterly absurd, if it were not that the more than brutish stupidity of mankind called fur such illustrations, for the conviction of their minds.]

2. As shining forth in his own proper and harmonious perfections—

[It is in the union of these two perfections of justice and mercy that the glory of the Godhead is most fully seen. We must look at justice as exercised in a way of mercy, and mercy as displayed in a way of justice, if we would at all appreciate aright the character of our God. He, of his own unbounded love and mercy, determined to save our fallen race. But would he leave sin unpunished? No: he would punish sin, and yet save the sinner: and, in order to that, he gave his only-begotten Son to be the substitute of the sinful man, that in him sin might receive its just recompence, and by him a righteousness might be wrought out for man; that so God might be just, and yet the justifier of all who should believe in him. By this his justice shines forth more awfully than if he had executed vengeance on the whole human race; and his mercy more richly than if he had pardoned all without such an atonement offered for them. The gift of his only-begotten Son reflects a light on these perfections which can be seen in nothing else; and which infinitely exceeds any that can be found in a separate and disjointed view of them, as exercised towards our sinful world — — —]

Let us then proceed to contemplate,

II. The regard due to him under that character—

This part of my subject is altogether inexhaustible. But I will confine myself to the mention of three effects, which such a view of the Deity as is here exhibited should produce:

1. Fear—

As for the Heathen deities, there is not one that merits the smallest possible regard. But who will not fear the Lord our God? This is the very improvement which the Prophet Jeremiah suggests, on instituting the comparison between the two: “Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O Lord: thou art great; and thy name is great in might: who would not fear thee, O king of nations [Note: Jeremiah 10:6-7.]?” The same reflection is made by all the redeemed in heaven, whilst singing the song of Moses and the Lamb: “They sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy [Note: Revelation 15:3-4.].” It is of immense importance, Brethren, that you should duly estimate this thought. For many, from conceiving of God as “a Saviour,” forget that he is “just.” But indeed he is a holy God, that “cannot look upon iniquity without the utmost abhorrence of it [Note: Habakkuk 1:13.];” and he has warned us, that, notwithstanding his great delight in mercy, “he will not clear the guilty [Note: Exodus 34:6-7.].” No indeed; “upon the wicked he will rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and an horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup [Note: Psalms 9:17; Psalms 11:6.].” I say, then, to every one of you, “Fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell: yea, I say unto you, Fear Him [Note: Matthew 10:28.].”]

2. Trust—

[As persons, previous to the awakening of their souls, are ready to think of God as all mercy; so, after that they begin to be convinced of sin, they are prone to run to a contrary extreme, and to think of God as though he were averse to mercy, and intent only on the vindication of his injured Majesty. But know, Brethren, that mercy is that in which he chiefly delights: “judgment is his strange act,” to which he never proceeds, till he has exercised forbearance towards us to the uttermost. Call to mind his exceeding great and precious promises; and then say, whether any sinner in the universe has reason to despond, provided only he desire mercy at the hands of God? Or rather, consider what God has done in giving his only dear Son to die for you: would he have done this, if he were backward to the exercise of mercy? Carry all your sins to him, without questioning for one moment his willingness to pardon; and know, that “if you go to him in the name of his dear Son, he will in no wise cast you out [Note: John 6:37.].”]

3. Obedience—

[This is due to him from you, as creatures: What then is it, as redeemed sinners? I will venture to ask, Is there one of you who believes himself obnoxious to his wrath, and yet a partaker of his grace, that would even wish to be released from his obligations to obey him? No: I am sure that every one who views God in his complex character, as “a just God, and yet a Saviour,” will desire to honour God with all his faculties and powers; and will consecrate himself to God as a living sacrifice, under a full conviction, that if this entire surrender of himself to God be a necessary, it is no less “a reasonable and delightful, service [Note: Romans 12:1.].” It is impossible to have any just views of “the love of Christ, and not be constrained by it to live altogether to His praise and glory [Note: 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.].”]


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Bibliography
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:21". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/isaiah-45.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Let them take counsel together, to maintain the cause of their idols.

Who hath declared this? this great work of which I have spoken, concerning Babylon’s destruction, and the redemption of God’s people.

A just God and a Saviour; whereas the gods of the heathens are neither just nor saviours to their people, but wicked, and the authors and abettors of all sorts of wickedness; and so far from being either able or willing to save their worshippers, that they are the chief occasion of their utter destruction.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 45:21". 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

21. Tell ye… this — This what? Whether any one of idol worshippers has had from his god knowledge that Israel is to be restored to Zion? From what date in the past has an idol predicted this? Have not I the Lord alone done this? The controversy with idols takes this shape now. Moreover, “I, the only one able to predict, am a just God and a Saviour; can carry out what I have predicted, and will do it.”


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:21". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/isaiah-45.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

God challenged the idol-worshippers to consult together and to present a case in defense of their idols. Who was the challenger who claimed "this?" Evidently the prophecies about Cyrus are the "this" in view (cf. Isaiah 46:9-11)? He was Yahweh-the only true God-who does what is right and who saves.


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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:21". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/isaiah-45.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Me. He transports his auditors to the times succeeding the captivity, when the completion of the prophecies will be evident.


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:21". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/isaiah-45.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

them: i.e. the "image" and "god" of Isaiah 45:20.

there is no God. Note the Figure of speech Pleonasm, by which the same assertion is made in two ways (positive. and negative) for emphasis.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:21". "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

Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.

Tell ye, and bring (them) near - Announce my summons so as to bring near before me the advocates of idols from all nations. Challenge to the worshippers of idols (Isaiah 41:1).

Let them take counsel together - as to the best arguments wherewith to defend the cause of idolatry.

(Who) hath told it from that time? - as I, Yahweh, have (Isaiah 41:22-23; note, Isaiah 44:8). Which of the idols has done what God hath?-namely, foretold primarily as to Cyrus; ultimately as to the final restoration of Israel hereafter. The idolatry of Israel before Cyrus' time will have its counterpart in the Antichrist and the apostasy which shall precede Christ's manifestation.

(There is) no God else besides me; a just God, and a Saviour - righteous in keeping my promises, and therefore a Saviour to His people. Righteous also in not sacrificing a jot of my justice, while giving salvation; but on the contrary setting my justice forth in the brightest light through redemption. Not only is it not inconsistent with, but it is the result of, His righteousness, or justice, that He should save His redeemed (Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 42:21; Psalms 85:10-11; Romans 3:26).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:21". "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

(21) Tell ye, and bring them near.—Yet another challenge to the idols and their worshippers.

A just God and a Saviour.—Stress is laid on the union of the two attributes which in human actions are often thought incompatible. (Comp. Psalms 85:10.) In virtue of that union the invitation of Isaiah 45:22 is addressed to all the ends of the world. The offer of salvation is universal.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:21". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/isaiah-45.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.
Tell ye
Psalms 26:7; 71:17,18; 96:10; Jeremiah 50:2; Joel 3:9-12
and bring
41:1-4
who hath declared
41:22,23; 43:9; 44:7,8; 46:9,10; 48:3,14
and there is
5,14,18; 44:8
a just
25; 43:3,11; 63:1; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Zephaniah 3:5,17; Zechariah 9:9; Romans 3:25,26; Titus 2:13,14

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:21". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-45.html.

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