Isaiah 41

The Rise of Cyrus

Background

  • Cyrus is not named here, but he is named later in 44:28 and 45:1
  • Armies from the east always entered Palestine from the north, since they had to follow the Euphrates River.
  • Isaiah died 150 years before the days of Cyrus, yet here is a vision of Cyrus’s rapid conquest of the world, which is ascribed to the providence of God (v4). God promises protection for Israel (v8-20), and challenges the gods of the nations to show their ability to predict the future (v21-29).

Division

  1. v1-7: The rise of Cyrus and the fear of the nations
  2. v8-16: God strengthen the Jews, He promised He will help them
  3. v17-20: God will turn the desert into garden
  4. v21-29: God challenged to idols worshipers in the nations to bring in their idols to prophesy, in order to prove to them these idols are all false

Exposition

  • v2-3: the “He” mentioned here is referring to Cyrus, the king of Persia.
  • v21: [“Present your case”]: God is the Judge, the nations are the defendants in a court room. The case is God vs. idols.
  • v25: [I have stirred up one from the north]. Referring to Cyrus. Cyrus had conquer Media before coming to Babylon.
  • v29: The verdict of the case: [they are all false!].

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