44:2 Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed a thee from the womb, [who] will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, b whom I have chosen.
(a) He treated and chose you from the beginning of his own mercy, and before you could merit anything.
44:3 For I will pour water upon him that is c thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thy offspring:
(b) Whom God accepts as righteous: or who had opportunity to it because of the law, and your holy calling.
44:4 And they d shall spring up [as] among the grass, as willows by the water courses.
(c) Because man of himself is as the dry and barren land, he promises to moisten him with the waters of his Holy Spirit, (Joel 2:28; John 7:38; Acts 2:17).
(d) That is, your children and posterity will increase wonderfully after their deliverance from Babylon.
44:5 One shall say, I [am] the LORDíS; and another e shall call [himself] by the name of Jacob; and another shall write [with] his hand to the LORD, and surname [himself] by the name of Israel.
44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; f I [am] the first, and I [am] the last; and besides me [there is] no God.
(e) By this diversity of speech he means one thing, that is, that the people will be holy, and receive the true religion from God, as in (Psalms 87:5).
44:7 And who, as I, shall g call, and shall declare it, and set h it in order for me, since I appointed the i ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let k them show to them.
(f) I am always like myself, that is, merciful toward my Church, and most able to maintain it, as in (Isaiah 41:4,48:12; Revelation 1:17,22:13).
(g) And appoint them that will deliver the Church.
44:8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared [it]? l ye [are] even my witnesses. Is there a God besides me? verily, [there is] no God; I know not [any].
(h) That is, tell me how I should proceed in this.
(i) God calls the Israelites ancient, because he preferred them to all others in his eternal election.
(k) Meaning, their idols.
44:9 They that make a graven image [are] all of them vanity; and m their delectable things shall not profit; and they [are] their own witnesses; n they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed.
(l) Read (Isaiah 43:10).
(m) Whatever they bestow on their idols, to make them seem glorious.
44:10 Who hath formed a o god, or cast a graven image [that] is p profitable for nothing?
(n) That is, the idolaters seeing that their idols are blind, are witnesses of their own blindness, and feeling that they are not able to help them, must confess that they have no power.
(o) Meaning that whatever is made by the hand of man, if it is valued as a god, is most detestable.
44:11 Behold, all his q fellows shall be ashamed: and the workmen, they [are] of men: let them all be gathered together, let them r stand up; [yet] they shall fear, [and] they shall be ashamed together.
(p) By which appears their blasphemy, who call images the books of the laity, seeing that they are not only here called unprofitable, but in (Isaiah 41:24) abominable. Jeremiah calls them the work of errors, (Jeremiah 10:15), Habakkuk, a lying teacher (Habakkuk 2:18).
(q) That is, who in any way consent either to the making or worshipping.
44:12 The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with the strength of his arms: yea, he is s hungry, and his strength faileth: he drinketh no water, and is faint.
(r) Signifying, that the multitude will not then save the idolaters, when God will take vengeance, although they excuse themselves by it among men.
(s) He describes the raging affection of the idolaters, who forget their own necessities to set forth their devotion toward their idols.
44:13 The carpenter stretcheth out [his] rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in t the house.
(t) To place it in some Temple.
44:15 Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take of it, and u warm himself; indeed, he kindleth [it], and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth [it]; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down to it.
(u) He sets forth the obstinacy and malice of the idolaters who though they see by daily experience that their idols are no better than the rest of the matter of which they are made, yet they refuse the one part, and make a god of the other, as the papists make their cake god, and the rest of their idols.
44:16 He burneth part of it in the fire; with part of it he x eateth flesh; he roasteth meat, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth [himself], and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire:
(x) That is, he either makes a table or trenchers.
44:18 They have not known nor understood: y for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; [and] their hearts, that they cannot understand.
(y) The prophet gives here an answer to all them who wonder how it is possible that any would be so blind as to commit such abomination, saying that God has blinded their eyes, and hardened their hearts.
44:20 He feedeth z on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, [Is there] not a lie in my right hand?
(z) He is abused as one that would eat ashes, thinking to satisfy his hunger.
44:21 a Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou [art] my servant: I have formed thee; thou [art] my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten by me.
(a) Showing that manís heart is most inclined to idolatry, and therefore he warns his people by these examples, that they should not cleave to any but to the living God, when they should be among the idolaters.
44:23 b Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done [it]: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree in it: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.
(b) He shows that the work of the Lord toward his people will be so great, that the insensible creatures will be moved with it.
44:25 That frustrateth the c tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise [men] backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish;
(c) He arms them against the soothsayers of Babylon, who would have said that they knew by the stars that God would not deliver Israel, and that Babylon would stand.
44:26 That confirmeth the word of his d servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up her decayed places:
(d) Of Isaiah and the rest of his prophets, who assured the Church of Godís favour and deliverance.
44:27 That saith to the e deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers:
(e) He shows that Godís work would be no less notable in this their deliverance, than when he brought them out of Egypt, through the sea.
44:28 That saith of f Cyrus, [He is] my shepherd, and he shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
(f) To assure them of their deliverance he names the person by whom it would be, more than a hundred years before he was born.