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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 45:4

 

 

"For the sake of Jacob My servant, And Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor Though you have not known Me.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

For Jacob my servant‘s sake - (see the note at Isaiah 42:19). The statement here is, that God had raised up Cyrus on account of his own people. The sentiment is common in the Bible, that kings and nations are in the hand of God; and that he overrules and directs their actions for the accomplishment of his own purposes, and especially to protect, defend, and deliver his people (see the note at Isaiah 10:5; compare Isaiah 47:6).

I have surnamed thee - On the meaning of the word ‹surname,‘ see the notes at Isaiah 44:5. The reference here is to the fact that he had appointed him to accomplish important purposes, and had designated him as his ‹shepherd‘ Isaiah 44:28, and his ‹anointed‘ Isaiah 45:1.

Though thou hast not known me - Before he was called to accomplish these important services, he was a stranger to Yahweh, and it was only when he should have been so signally favored of heaven, and should be made acquainted with the divine will in regard to the deliverance of his people and the rebuilding of the temple Ezra 1:1-3, that he would be acquainted with the true God.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:4". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-45.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel my chosen, I have called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am Jehovah, and there is none else; besides me there is no God. I will gird thee, though thou hast not known me; that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides me: I am Jehovah, and there is none else. I form the light and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am Jehovah that doeth all these things."

The very special favor shown to Cyrus here on God's part was apparently motivated by three considerations: (1) that Cyrus, the most powerful monarch on earth, might acknowledge the true God; (2) that Israel might be benefited and continued as a separate nation by the termination of their captivity; and (3) that the attention of all the world might be attracted, and that the unity of God might be manifested to all the earth.[10]

These objectives were fully realized. Cyrus did indeed acknowledge God. "The hand of Jehovah was so manifest in his conquests that Cyrus himself acknowledged that they were of Jehovah."[11] The last two verses of 2Chronicles and the first paragraph of the Book of Ezra fully confirm this.

The statement in Isaiah 45:7 that God creates evil should not be misunderstood. As Kidner pointed out, "The Hebrew word (for evil) is too general a term to suggest that God is the author of wickedness...Some see here an attack upon Zoroastrian dualism, with its rival gods of good and evil; these verses are also equally opposed to polytheism, the target of most of the invective in these chapters."[12] When God speaks of his creating evil here, he is speaking of the disasters and calamities that he brings upon the enemies of his purpose. "This cannot mean that God creates moral evil, but it refers to the judgments God sends into history. He is speaking of the distress and disaster which men experience from God as a consequence of their sin (See Amos 3:6)."[13]


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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 45:4". "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

For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name,.... Not so much for the sake of Cyrus, and to do honour to him, was it that he so long before he was born called him by his name; but to assure the people of the Jews, the Lord's chosen people, and who were his servants, of the certainty of their deliverance, their deliverer being mentioned by name; and it was for their sakes, and not his, that he called him, and raised him up to do such great things as he did, that he might deliver them from their captivity: and it is for the sake of God's elect, whom he has chosen to holiness and happiness, to serve him, and be with him for ever, that he has called Christ, of whom Cyrus was a type, and sent him into the world, to be the Saviour and Redeemer of them:

I have surnamed thee; not only called him by his name, Cyrus, but surnamed him his "shepherd", and "his anointed", Isaiah 44:28,

though thou hast not known me; as yet not being born; and when he was, and was grown up, he was ignorant of the true God; and though, upon sight of the above prophecy, and under an immediate influence and impression, he acknowledged the God of Israel to be the God of heaven yet it does not appear that he left the Pagan idolatry; for XenophonF11Cyropaedia, l. 8. c. 45. relates, that when he found his end was near, he took sacrifices, and offered them to Jupiter, and the sun, and the rest of the gods; and gave them thanks for the care they had taken of him; and prayed them to grant happiness to his wife, children, friends, and country.


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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.
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 45:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-45.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

For Jacob my servant's f sake, and Israel my elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.

(f) Not for anything that is in you, or for your worthiness.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/isaiah-45.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

(See on Isaiah 41:8; Isaiah 43:14).

surnamed — that is, designated to carry out My design of restoring Judah (see on Isaiah 44:5; see on Isaiah 44:28; see on Isaiah 45:1). Maurer here, as in Isaiah 44:5, translates, “I have addressed thee by an honorable name.

hast not known meprevious to My calling thee to this office; after God‘s call, Cyrus did know Him in some degree (Ezra 1:1-3).


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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 45:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-45.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.

I have — I knew, and called thee by thy name, when thou didst neither know nor think of me; nay, when thou hadst no being.


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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 45:4". "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

4.For the sake of my servant Jacob. He shews for what purpose he would grant such happy and illustrious success to this prince. It is, in order that he may preserve his people; as if the Lord had said, “Thou shalt indeed obtain a signal victory, bur I will have regard to my own people rather than to thee; for it is for their sake that I subject kings and nations to thy power.” By these predictions, indeed, the Lord intended to encourage the hearts of believers, that they might not despair amidst those distresses; but undoubtedly he intended likewise to excite Cyrus to acknowledge that he owed to that nation all that he should accomplish, that he might he more disposed to treat them with all kindness.

And Israel mine elect. In this second clause there is a repetition which serves still farther to explain that reason; and at the same time he shews on what ground he reckons the Israelites to be “his servants.” It is because he condescended to choose them by free grace; for it is not in the power of men to make themselves “servants of God,” or to obtain so great honor by their own exertions. This clause is therefore added, (195) as before, for the sake of explanation. But still it denotes also the end of election; for, since we are naturally the slaves of Satan, we are called in order that, being restored to liberty, we may serve God. Yet he shews that no man is worthy of that honor, as we have said, but he whom God hath chosen; for who will boast that he is worthy of so high an honor, or what can we render or offer to God? Thus “we are not sufficient of ourselves, but the Lord hath made us sufficient,” as Paul says. (2 Corinthians 3:5.) The beginning of our salvation, therefore, is God’s election by free grace; and the end of it is the obedience which we ought to render to him.

But although this is limited to the history of Cyrus, still we may draw from it a general doctrine. When various changes happen in the world, God secures at the same time the salvation of his people, and in the midst of storms wonderfully preserves his Church. We are indeed blind and stupid as to the works of God, yet we ought firmly to believe that, even when everything appears to be driven about at random, and to be tossed up and down, God never forgets his Church, whose salvation, on the contrary, he promotes by hidden methods, so that it is at length seen that he is her guardian and defender.

Josephus relates a memorable narrative about Alexander, who, while he was besieging Tyre, sent ambassadors to Jerusalem, to demand the tribute which the Jews were paying to Darius. Jaddus, the high-priest, who had sworn that he would pay that tribute, would not become subject to Alexander, and refused to pay him the tribute. Alexander was highly offended, and, swelling with pride and fierceness, determined to destroy Jerusalem, and, after having conquered Darius, marched to Jerusalem, for the purpose of consigning it to utter destruction. Jaddus went out to meet him, accompanied by other priests and Levites, wearing the priestly dress; and Alexander, as soon as he saw him, leapt from his horse, and threw himself down as a suppliant at his feet. Every person was astonished at a thing so strange and so inconsistent with his natural disposition, and thought that he had lost his senses. Parmenio, who alone of all who were present asked the reason, received a reply, that he did not adore this man, but God, whose servant he was; and that, before he left Dion, a city of Macedonia, a man of that appearance and dress, who appeared to have the form of God, presented himself to him in a dream, encouraged him to take Asia, and promised to be the leader of the army, so that he ought to entertain no doubt of victory, and therefore that he could not but be powerfully affected by seeing him. In this manner, therefore, was Jerusalem rescued from the jaws of that savage highwayman who aimed at nothing else than fire and bloodshed, and even obtained from him greater liberty than before, and likewise gifts and privileges. (196)

I have quoted this example in order to shew that the Church of God is preserved in the midst of dangers by strange and unusual methods. Those were troublous times, and scarcely a corner of the earth was at rest; but above all other countries Judea might be said to be devoted to destruction. Yet behold the Church rescued in a wonderful and unusual manner, while other nations are destroyed, and nearly the whole world has changed its face!

And yet thou hast not known me. These words are added for the purpose of giving greater force to the statement, not only that Cyrus may learn that this is not granted on account of any of his own merits, but that he may not despise the God of Israel, though he does not know him. The Lord frequently, indeed, reminds us on this subject, that he anticipates all the industry that exists in men, in order that he may beat down all the pride of the flesh. But there is another reason, as regards Cyrus; for if he had thought that the Lord granted those things for his own sake, he would have disregarded the Jews and treated them as despicable slaves. For this reason the Lord testifies that it does not happen on account of Cyrus’s own merit, but only for the sake of the people, whom he determines to rescue out of the hands of enemies. Besides, nothing was more probable than that this man, in his blindness, would appropriate to his idols that which belonged to the true God; because, being entirely under the influence of wicked superstitions, he would not willingly have given place to a strange and unknown God, if he had not been instructed by this prediction.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-45.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 45:4 For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.

Ver. 4. For Jacob my servant’s sake.] That the enemies of my people being subdued, they may have some breathing while, and liberty to live quietly in their own country. For which purpose also, it was the will of God that this prophecy of Isaiah should be made known to Cyrus, for the good of the Jews, that he might favour them; and so it was, as appeareth by Ezra 1:2, and by Josephus, Antiq., lib. xi. cap. 1.

I have even called thee by thy name.] Thy name of honour; (a) for Cyrus signifieth the "sun," saith Plutarch; "Lord," say others, in the Persian; as in Hebrew it seemeth to signify an heir, or possessor. Some derive our word sir from it. Cyrus was at first called Achzadat and Spaco, being the son of Cambyses, a noble Persian, and Mandane, the daughter of Astyages, king of Medes. The name of Cyrus he took when he entered upon the kingdom; and that from Cyrus, a river of Persia, as some hold. (b)

I have surnamed thee.] Or, I have entitled thee, scil., My shepherd, mine anointed, &c.

Though thou hast not known me,] scil., Savingly. For albeit he knew the true God in part, and acknowledged him to be great above other gods; yet he forsook not his idols, saith Jerome, and therefore perished miserably by the hands of the Scythians. Nevertheless, others (c) are of the opinion, that he was instructed by Daniel, and brought to a true belief, as was also Darius.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-45.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

I have even called thee by thy name; I have called thee to this honour, and that by name; not for thy sake, but for Israel’s sake; therefore do not despise them, thou wilt find them a poor and enslaved people, neither be puffed up into a great opinion of thyself.

I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me; I knew and called thee by thy name, when thou didst neither know nor think of me; nay, when thou hadst no being.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 45:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/isaiah-45.html. 1685.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Second, God chose to use Cyrus for the sake of the Israelites, so He might fulfill His promises to them. It was Yahweh"s choice of him that had resulted in Cyrus" honorific titles (Shepherd, Isaiah 44:28, and Anointed, Isaiah 45:1). People do not have to be believers in Him for God to use them and bless them. The choice is His; He is sovereign.


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/isaiah-45.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Likeness of Christ. --- Known me. Before the Jews had shewn Cyrus the prophecies, he did not attribute his success to the Lord, and even afterwards he seems not to have left the superstitions of his country, as his sacrifices to idols are described. He resembled Nabuchodonosor and the philosophers, who did not glorify God according to their knowledge, Daniel ii. 47., and Romans i. 21. Cyrus even revoked the decree for building the temple, 1 Esdras iv. 5. (Calmet) --- He believed there was one God; (1 Esdras i.) yet he did not embrace the truth entirely. (Worthington)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/isaiah-45.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

My servant"s. See note on Isaiah 37:5.

surnamed. Cyrus was the additional name divinely given. His Persian name is said to have been Agradates.

though thou hast not = when thou didst not.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:4". "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

For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.

For Jacob, my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name - (note, Isaiah 41:8; Isaiah 43:14-15.)

I have surnamed thee - i:e., designated thee to carry out my design of restoring Judah (see note, Isaiah 44:5; Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1). Maurer here, as in Isaiah 44:5, translates, akanneka, 'I have addressed thee by an honourable name.'

Though thou hast not known me - previous to my calling thee to this office; after God's call Cyrus did know Him in some degree (Ezra 1:1-3).


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 45:4". "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

(4) For Jacob my servant . . .—The words “servant” and “elect” show that the prophet speaks of the ideal Israel, the true Ecclesia, rather than of the nation as such outwardly, though this also, as including the other, shared in the outward blessings of the election. Essentially, the words declare that the world’s history is ordered with a view to the true Eeclesia.

Called thee by thy name.—Either as predicting the actual name of Koresh, or as giving the titles of “Messiah” and “shepherd.” The surname clearly refers to these.

Though thou hast not known me.—Better, when thou didst not know me, either as referring to a time prior to the recognition by Cyrus of Jehovah as the God of heaven (Ezra 1:1-2), or, possibly, prior to his birth (comp. Isaiah 49:1; Jeremiah 1:5).


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/isaiah-45.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.
Jacob
41:8,9; 43:3,4,14; 44:1; Exodus 19:5,6; Jeremiah 50:17-20; Matthew 24:22; Mark 13:20; Romans 9:6; 11:7
I have even
1; 44:28
though
Acts 17:23; Galatians 4:8,9; Ephesians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:5

Copyright Statement
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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-45.html.

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