Isaiah 48 - Outline of Isaiah (Book Notes menu page)
III. Salvation (poetry), ch. 40-66
A. Peace assured through knowing the LORD God... (The God of Peace), ch. 40-48
7. Who restores Israel to declare Him as their Redeemer, 48:1-22
1. Hear {HB=shama'} ye this, O house of Jacob,
which are called by the name of Israel,
and are come forth out of the waters of Judah,
which swear by the name of the LORD,
and make mention of the God of Israel,
[but] not in truth, nor in righteousness.
2 For they call themselves of the holy city,
and stay themselves upon the God of Israel;
The LORD of hosts [is] his name.
3 I have declared the former things from the beginning;
and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them;
I did [them] suddenly, and they came to pass.
Hear... O house of Jacob...- The LORD addresses all twelve tribes (not just Judah),
urging them to heed His Word, and to remember their heritage in Him.
  • ...which are called by the name of Israel...-
    This name was given to Jacob as an indication of his faith in the LORD (Gen 32:28). Yet, although the nation was called 'Israel,' the LORD addresses them as the 'house of Jacob,' because they were living according to the flesh, as Jacob did before he knew the LORD in truth. (A similar thought is expressed in Rom 9:6-8; Rev 3:1b.)
  • ...which are come forth out of the waters of Judah...-
    'Judah' means 'praise.' The LORD is worthy of all praise, for He Himself is the source of life. He is the One who refreshes and nourishes His people (v.21; Psa 63:1; 68:26). Yet, they had neither thirsted for Him, nor appreciated His blessings (Isa 8:6; Jer 2:13).
  • ...which swear by the name of the LORD... but not in truth, nor in righteousness...-
    Although they gave lip service to the God of Israel in their religious rituals, their hearts harbored ungodliness and idolatry (cp. Ex 23:13; Isa 1:10-14; Jer 5:1-3).
  • ...for they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel...-
    Being identified with Jerusalem, the city of the Temple, where God had placed His Name, they had been mistakenly confident that the LORD of Hosts would protect them. cp. Isa 29:1-3; Jer 7:4-11
I have declared {HB=nagad, proclaimed, made known} the former things...
...they went forth out of my mouth... (cp. Deu 8:3)
...I have shewed {HB=shama', revealed (to those who would hear)} them...
...I did {HB='asah, accomplished} them suddenly (HB=pith'owm, in an instant, unexpectedly)... they came to pass. -
Here, the LORD reminds them of the way He worked in the past. For example, prior to Israel's Exodus from Egypt, there was nothing, in their experience as slaves, to indicate that their deliverance was on the horizon. However, the LORD had declared and revealed, in His Word, that He would deliver them (Gen 15:13,14). When the time was right, He acted suddenly to fulfill His Word.
4 Because I knew that thou [art] obstinate,
and thy neck [is] an iron sinew, and thy brow brass;
{cp. Isa 46:12; Zech 7:11,12; Acts 7:51}
5 I have even from the beginning declared [it] to thee;
before it came to pass I shewed [it] thee:
lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them,
and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them.
6 Thou hast heard, see all this;
and will not ye declare
{ie., acknowledge, confess} [it]?
I have shewed thee new things from this time,
even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.
7 They are created now, and not from the beginning;
even before the day when thou heardest them not;
lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew them.
8 Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not;
yea, from that time [that] thine ear was not opened:
{cp. Jer 6:10}
for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously,
{Jer 3:8-11,20; 5:11; Mal 2:11}
and wast called a transgressor from the womb.
{cp. Psa 58:3; Eph 2:3}
In v.4-8, the LORD reminds Israel that He predicted their captivity to Babylon (120 years in advance, from the time of Isaiah's writing), and their deliverance through Cyrus (about 200 years in advance).
     He did so, in order that, when these things would come to pass, they would not be able to credit their idols with the change in their circumstances. These events were "new things" which were previously "hidden" (ie., not revealed), so that they could not wrongly attribute His Words, as having come from their idols, as they had done concerning the "former things" (eg., Ex 32:8).
9. For my name's sake will I defer mine anger,
and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.
10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver;
I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
11 For mine own sake, [even] for mine own sake, will I do [it]:
for how should [my name] be polluted?
and I will not give my glory unto another.
12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called;
I [am] he; I [am] the first, I also [am] the last.
{cp. Isa 41:4; 44:6; Rev 1:17; 2:8; 22:13}
13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth,
and my right hand hath spanned
{HB=taphach, spread out} the heavens:
[when] I call unto them, they stand up together
{ie., in obedience, cp. Col 1:17}.
I have refined thee, but not with silver...-
The LORD heated "the furnace of affliction" (through the oppression of their enemies), not to extract silver, but to purge the dross {impurities} from their hearts. Prov 17:3; Isa 1:25,26; Eze 22:18-22
     In the future Time of Jacob's Trouble (the Tribulation period), the LORD will finish refining the nation (Zech 13:9).
for my name's sake... for my praise... for mine own sake, even for mine own sake...
"Had he not deferred His anger, and had He cut Israel off, then would His Name have been profaned, and His glory would have been given to another god." [GWms] cp. Num 14:11-21
14 All ye {ie., the house of Israel}, assemble yourselves, and hear;
which among them
{ie., the false gods} hath declared these [things]?
The LORD hath loved him
{ie., Cyrus}:
he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm [shall be on] the Chaldeans.
15 I, [even] I, have spoken; yea, I have called him:
I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous.
{Isa 44:28; 45:1-4}
16. Come ye near unto me, hear ye this;
I have not spoken in secret from the beginning;
from the time that it was, there [am] I:
and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.
Come ye near unto me, hear {HB=shama'} ye this...-
How tenderly He speaks to the rebellious house of Israel!
What does He want them to hear?
from the time that it was, there am I {ie., I am}.- He wants them to know Him. Deu 6:4,5
How does He present Himself to them? As the Deliverer, the One foreshadowed by Cyrus.
now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.
The One speaking comes to accomplish the purpose of "the Lord GOD {Adonai Jehovah} and His Spirit."
But who is the One speaking? (It is not Isaiah. cp. Isa 61:1; 11:2; 42:1)
He identifies Himself as:
  • "the first and the last" (v.12,13),
  • "thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel" (v.17).
Israel's One God is seen, here, in the tri-unity of three Persons, each having distinct roles, in the perfect accomplishment of one purpose. cp. Mic 5:2; Joh 1:1-4; Col 1:14-19; Rev 1:8
17 Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel;
I [am] the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit,
{cp. Heb 12:9,10}
which leadeth thee by the way [that] thou shouldest go.
{cp. Psa 32:8; Jer 6:16}
18 O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments!
then had thy peace been as a river,
and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:
19 Thy seed also had been as the sand,
and the offspring of thy bowels like the gravel thereof;
his name should not have been cut off
nor destroyed from before me.
{cp. Psa 81:13-16}
20 Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans,
with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this,
utter it [even] to the end of the earth;
say ye, The LORD hath redeemed his servant Jacob.
21 And they thirsted not [when] he led them through the deserts:
he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them:
he clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out.
{Ex 17:6; Deu 8:15; Neh 9:15; 1Cor 10:4,5}
22 [There is] no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.
Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer {HB=ga'al}, the Holy One of Israel...-
He addresses Israel, who had long ignored His Word to their own hurt, and to His sorrow, for He is their Kinsman Redeemer (Heb 2:14-18).
O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! -
Then you would have had...
  • peace like a river - a mighty gentle flow of God's grace (Isa 66:12).
  • righteousness like the waves of the sea - 'waves' {HB=gal, lit., rolling; billows}
    ie., Righteousness would have swept over the land (eg., Isa 32:15-18).
  • seed {ie., offspring} like the sand - innumerable and spared loss due to war (cp., Isa 10:22)
Even so, the LORD opens the path of renewal for the remnant...
Go ye forth of Babylon...- For He has delivered them,
through Cyrus (in the near term), from the Chaldeans,
and ultimately, through His Messiah, from the oppression and corruption of the satanic worldwide system of Babylon under the Antichrist (Jer 51:6; Zech 2:6-8; Rev 18:4).
     From this point, to the end of the book of Isaiah, there is no further mention of Babylon, Chaldea, or Cyrus. In the following chapters, the focus turns to the Messiah, and His work of redemption and restoration for His people.
say ye, The LORD hath redeemed {HB=ga'al} his servant Jacob...-
In that day, Israel will bear witness to their Kinsman Redeemer, and to His work of redemption and His provision for them. cp. Isa 25:9
There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked {HB=rasha', the guilty, the hostile}.-
The 'wicked' are intent upon doing wrong, as described in Psa 10:4,13.
Persisting in stubborn rebellion and refusing to believe and receive the LORD's gracious offer of salvation, the wicked exclude themselves from the rest which He has provided for His people. Rom 3:17; Heb 3:15- 4:3
     'Salvation' is the theme of this final section of Isaiah (ch.40-66, see the Outline). This section has three divisions, each of which includes this warning (v.22; 57:21; 59:8). Salvation is offered to all, but it belongs only to those who turn, from their sin, to the LORD, for He is the only Savior.

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