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Isaiah 40:5

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

"The salvation of our God" - These words are added here by the Septuagint: το σωτηριον του Θεου, אלהינו ישועת את eth yesuath Eloheynu, as it is in the parallel place, Isaiah 52:10. The sentence is abrupt without it, the verb wanting its object; and I think it is genuine. Our English translation has supplied the word it, which is equivalent to this addition, from the Septuagint.

This omission in the Hebrew text is ancient, being prior to the Chaldee, Syriac, and Vulgate Versions: but the words stand in all the copies of the Septuagint, and they are acknowledged by Luke, Luke 3:6. The whole of this verse is wanting in one of my oldest MSS.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And the glory of the Lord - The phrase here means evidently the majesty, power, or honor of Yahweh. He would display his power, and show himself to be a covenant-keeping God, by delivering his people from their bondage, and reconducting them to their own land. This glory and faithfulness would be shown in his delivering them from their captivity in Babylon; and it would be still more illustriously shown in his sending the Messiah to accomplish the deliverance of his people in later days.

And all flesh - All human beings. The word ‹flesh‘ is often used to denote human nature, or mankind in general Genesis 6:12; Psalm 65:3; Psalm 145:21. The idea is, that the deliverance of his people would be such a display of the divine interposition, so that all nations would discern the evidences of his power and glory. But there is a fullness and a richness in the language which allows that it is not to be confined to that event. It is more strikingly applicable to the advent of the Messiah - and to the fact that through him the glory of Yahweh would be manifest to all nations. Rosenmuller supposes that this should be translated,

And all flesh shall see together

That the mouth of Yahweh hath spoken it.

The Hebrew will bear this construction, but there is no necessity for departing from the translation in the common version. The Septuagint adds here the words ‹salvation of God‘ so as to read it, ‹and all flesh shall see the salvation of God,‘ and this reading has been adopted in Luke 3:6; or it may be more probable that Luke Luke 3:4-6 has quoted from different parts of Isaiah, and that he intended to quote that part, not from the version of the Septuagint, but from Isaiah 52:10. Lowth, on the authority of the Septuagint, proposes to restore these words to the Hebrew text. But the authority is insufficient. The Vulgate, the Chaldee, the Syriac, and the Hebrew manuscripts concur in the reading of the present Hebrew text, and the authority of the Septuagint is altogether insufficient to justify a change.

For the mouth of the Lord - The strongest possible confirmation that it would be fulfilled (see the note at Isaiah 34:16). The idea is, that God had certainly promised their deliverance from bondage; and that his interposition, in a manner which should attract the attention of all nations, was certainly purposed by him. Few events have ever more impressively manifested the glory of God than the redemption of his people from Babylon; none has occurred, or will ever occur, that will more impressively demonstrate his glory, wisdom, and faithfulness, than the redemption of the world by the Messiah.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
All human life is a warfare; the Christian life is the most so; but the struggle will not last always. Troubles are removed in love, when sin is pardoned. In the great atonement of the death of Christ, the mercy of God is exercised to the glory of his justice. In Christ, and his sufferings, true penitents receive of the Lord's hand double for all their sins; for the satisfaction Christ made by his death was of infinite value. The prophet had some reference to the return of the Jews from Babylon. But this is a small event, compared with that pointed out by the Holy Ghost in the New Testament, when John the Baptist proclaimed the approach of Christ. When eastern princes marched through desert countries, ways were prepared for them, and hinderances removed. And may the Lord prepare our hearts by the teaching of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, that high and proud thoughts may be brought down, good desires planted, crooked and rugged tempers made straight and softened, and every hinderance removed, that we may be ready for his will on earth, and prepared for his heavenly kingdom. What are all that belongs to fallen man, or all that he does, but as the grass and the flower thereof! And what will all the titles and possessions of a dying sinner avail, when they leave him under condemnation! The word of the Lord can do that for us, which all flesh cannot. The glad tidings of the coming of Christ were to be sent forth to the ends of the earth. Satan is the strong man armed; but our Lord Jesus is stronger; and he shall proceed, and do all that he purposes. Christ is the good Shepherd; he shows tender care for young converts, weak believers, and those of a sorrowful spirit. By his word he requires no more service, and by his providence he inflicts no more trouble, than he will strengthen them for. May we know our Shepherd's voice, and follow him, proving ourselves his sheep.
Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 733

“And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the Lord.” “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” “The Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” “In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of His people.” PK 733.1

“The Lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord.” “The glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon.” “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called My Delight, and thy land Beulah.... As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” Isaiah 66:23; 40:5; Isaiah 61:11; 28:5; Isaiah 51:3; 35:2; Isaiah 62:4, 5, margin. PK 733.2

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Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 689

It was to Christ that the prophetic promise was given: “Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to Him whom man despiseth, to Him whom the nation abhorreth, ... thus saith the Lord, ... I will preserve Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that Thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves.... They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them.” Isaiah 49:7-10. PK 689.1

The steadfast among the Jewish nation, descendants of that holy line through whom a knowledge of God had been preserved, strengthened their faith by dwelling on these and similar passages. With exceeding joy they read how the Lord would anoint One “to preach good tidings unto the meek,” “to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives,” and to declare “the acceptable year of the Lord.” Isaiah 61:1, 2. Yet their hearts were filled with sadness as they thought of the sufferings He must endure in order to fulfill the divine purpose. With deep humiliation of soul they traced the words in the prophetic roll: PK 689.2

“Who hath believed our report?
And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
PK 690.1

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Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 301

When the Saviour was about to be separated from His disciples, He comforted them in their sorrow with the assurance that He would come again: “Let not your heart be troubled.... In My Father's house are many mansions.... I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself.” John 14:1-3. “The Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him.” “Then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations.” Matthew 25:31, 32. GC 301.1

The angels who lingered upon Olivet after Christ's ascension repeated to the disciples the promise of His return: “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11. And the apostle Paul, speaking by the Spirit of Inspiration, testified: “The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16. Says the prophet of Patmos: “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him.” Revelation 1:7. GC 301.2

About His coming cluster the glories of that “restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” Acts 3:21. Then the long-continued rule of evil shall be broken; “the kingdoms of this world” will become “the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.” Revelation 11:15. “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” “The Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” He shall be “for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of His people.” Isaiah 40:5; 61:11; Isaiah 28:5. GC 301.3

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 103

With awed yet exultant spirit he searched in the prophetic scrolls the revelations of the Messiah's coming,—the promised seed that should bruise the serpent's head; Shiloh, “the peace giver,” who was to appear before a king should cease to reign on David's throne. Now the time had come. A Roman ruler sat in the palace upon Mount Zion. By the sure word of the Lord, already the Christ was born. DA 103.1

Isaiah's rapt portrayals of the Messiah's glory were his study by day and by night,—the Branch from the root of Jesse; a King to reign in righteousness, judging “with equity for the meek of the earth;” “a covert from the tempest; ... the shadow of a great rock in a weary land;” Israel no longer to be termed “Forsaken,” nor her land “Desolate,” but to be called of the Lord, “My Delight,” and her land “Beulah.” Isaiah 11:4; 32:2; 62:4, margin. The heart of the lonely exile was filled with the glorious vision. DA 103.2

He looked upon the King in His beauty, and self was forgotten. He beheld the majesty of holiness, and felt himself to be inefficient and unworthy. He was ready to go forth as Heaven's messenger, unawed by the human, because he had looked upon the Divine. He could stand erect and fearless in the presence of earthly monarchs, because he had bowed low before the King of kings. DA 103.3

John did not fully understand the nature of the Messiah's kingdom. He looked for Israel to be delivered from her national foes; but the coming of a King in righteousness, and the establishment of Israel as a holy nation, was the great object of his hope. Thus he believed would be accomplished the prophecy given at his birth,— DA 103.4

He saw his people deceived, self-satisfied, and asleep in their sins. He longed to rouse them to a holier life. The message that God had given him to bear was designed to startle them from their lethargy, and cause them to tremble because of their great wickedness. Before the seed of the gospel could find lodgment, the soil of the heart must be broken up. Before they would seek healing from Jesus, they must be awakened to their danger from the wounds of sin. DA 103.6

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