Isaiah 45:1 MEANING

Isaiah 45:1

(1) To his anointed . . .--The name is none other than the Messiah, the Christ, with which we are familiar, here and here only applied to a heathen king. It has to be remembered that the words had not yet received the special application given to it in Daniel 9:26, and had been used of the theocratic kings, of Saul (1 Samuel 26:9; 1 Samuel 26:11; 1 Samuel 26:16), of the house of David (2 Samuel 22:51; 2 Samuel 23:1), and of the patriarch Abraham (Psalm 105:15). What is meant, therefore, is that Cyrus, the future deliverer, would be as truly a king "by the grace of God" as David had been, not only, like Nebuchadnezzar, "a servant of Jehovah" (Jeremiah 27:6; Jeremiah 43:10), but "fulfilling all his pleasure," whom He grasps by the right hand and guides.

I will loose the loins.--Literally, I will ungird, either as a general symbol of weakening, or specifically for disarming, the sword being suspended from the girdle. The "two-leaved gates" are those of kingly palaces; the "gates," those of cities, which will have to open to him. The words here, and in the next verse, may have been used with a special reference to the "hundred brazen gates" of Babylon (Herod. i. 179).

Verses 1-7. - GOD'S WILL CONCERNING HIM ANNOUNCED TO CYRUS. This direct address of God to a heathen king is without a parallel in Scripture. Nebuchadnezzar, Pharaoh, Abimelech, were warned through dreams. Nebuchadnezzar was even promised Divine aid (Ezekiel 30:24, 25). But no heathen monarch had previously been personally addressed by God, much less called "his anointed," and spoken to by his name (ver. 4). Three motives are mentioned for this special favour to him:

(1) that he might acknowledge Jehovah to be the true God;

(2) that Israel might be benefited and advantaged by him;

(3) that the attention of the whole world might be attracted, and the unity of God made manifest far and wide (vers. 3-6). Verse 1. - Thus saith the Lord to his anointed. The "anointed of Jehovah" is elsewhere always either an Israelite king, or the expected Deliverer of the nation, "Messiah the Prince" (Daniel 9:25). This Deliverer, however, was to be of the line of David (Isaiah 11:1), and of the city of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), so that we can scarcely suppose Isaiah to have seen him in Cyrus. But he may have seen in Cyrus a type of the great Deliverer, as he saw in the release of Israel from the power of Babylon a type of their deliverance from sin. Whose right hand I have holden; rather, strengthened (comp. Ezekiel 30:24). To subdue nations before him (see above, Isaiah 41:2, and the comment ad loc.). Among the nations subdued by Cyrus may be mentioned the Medes, the Babylonians, the Lydians, the Caftans, the Caunians, the Lycians, the Bactrians, the Sacae, the Parthians, the Hyrcanians, the Chorasmians, the Sogdians, the Arians of Herat, the Zarangians, the Arachosians, the Satagydians, and the Gandarians. I will loose the loins of kings; i.e. render them weak and incapable of resistance" (comp. Daniel 5:6), net "disarm them" (Cheyne); for the chief royal weapons were the spear and the bow, neither of which was carried at the girdle. To open before him the two-leaved gates. The cities and forts repro-sented on the Assyrian monuments have invariably their gateways closed by two large gates or doors which meet in the centre of the gateway. The bronze plating found at Ballarat gave the dimensions, and showed the strength of such gates ('Transactions of the Society of Bibl. Archseol.,' vol. 7. pp. 83-88).

45:1-4 Cyrus is called God's anointed; he was designed and qualified for his great service by the counsel of God. The gates of Babylon which led to the river, were left open the night that Cyrus marched his army into the empty channel. The Lord went before him, giving entrance to the cities he besieged. He gave him also treasures, which had been hidden in secret places. The true God was to Cyrus an unknown God; yet God foreknew him; he called him by his name. The exact fulfilment of this must have shown Cyrus that Jehovah was the only true God, and that it was for the sake of Israel that he was prospered. In all the changes of states and kingdoms, God works out the good of his church.Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,.... Cyrus is called the Lord's anointed, not because he was anointed with material oil, as the kings of Israel and Judah were; but because he was appointed by the Lord to be a king, and was qualified by him for that office; and was raised up by him to be an instrument of doing great things in the world, and particularly of delivering the Jews from their captivity, and restoring them to their own land:

whose right hand I have holden; whom he raised up, supported, strengthened, guided, and directed to do what he did:

to subdue nations before him; which was accordingly done. Xenophon (y) relates, that he subdued the Syrians, Assyrians, Arabians, Cappadocians, both the countries of Phrygia, the Lydians, Carians, Phoenicians, and Babylonians; also the Bactrians, Indians, Cilicians, the Sacae, Paphlagonians, and Megadinians; likewise the Greeks that inhabit Asia, Cyprians and Egyptians. Herodotus (z) says, that he ruled over all Asia: all which the Lord subdued under him; for it was he that did it rather than Cyrus; it was he that clothed him with strength and courage, gave him skill in military affairs, and success and victory:

I will loose the loins of kings; as Croesus king of Lydia, and Belshazzar king of Babylon, by divesting them of their dignity, power, and government; and particularly this was true of the latter, when, by the handwriting on the wall, he was thrown into a panic; "and the joints of his loins were loosed", Daniel 5:6, "to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut"; the gates of cities and palaces wherever he came, which were opened to receive him as their conqueror and sovereign; this was very remarkably true of the gates of the palace of the king of Babylon, when the army of Cyrus by a stratagem had got into the city, and were come up to the king's palace, they found the gates shut; but a clamour and noise being made, the king ordered to see what was the matter; the gates being opened for that purpose, the soldiers of Cyrus rushed in to the king, and slew him (a); but, what is more remarkable, the gates of brass, which shut up the descents from the keys to the river, were left open that night Babylon was taken, while the inhabitants were feasting and revelling; which, had they been shut (b), would have defeated the enterprise of Cyrus; but God in his providence ordered it to be so.

(y) Cyropaedia, l. 1. p. 2.((z) Clio, sive l. 1. c. 130. (a) Cyropaedia, l. 7. c. 22, 23. (b) Herodot. l. 1. c. 191.

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