Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 46:11

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Calling a ravenous bird from the east "Calling from the east the eagle" - A very proper emblem for Cyrus, as in other respects, so particularly because the ensign of Cyrus was a golden eagle, ΑΕΤΟΣ χρυσους, the very word עיט ayit, which the prophet uses here, expressed as near as may be in Greek letters. Xenoph. Cyrop. lib. 7 sub. init. Kimchi says his father understood this, not of Cyrus, but of the Messiah.

From a far country "From a land far distant" - Two MSS. add the conjunction ו vau, ומארץ umeerets ; and so the Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Calling a ravenous bird from the east - There can be no doubt that Cyrus is intended here (see the notes at Isaiah 41:2, Isaiah 41:25). The east here means Persia. The word rendered ‹ravenous bird‘ (עיט ‛ayiṭ ) is rendered ‹fowl‘ in Job 28:7; ‹bird‘ or ‹birds‘ in Jeremiah 12:9; ‹fowls‘ in Genesis 15:11; Isaiah 18:6; and ‹ravenous birds‘ in Ezekiel 39:4. It does not occur elsewhere in the Bible. It is used here as an emblem of a warlike king, and the emblem may either denote the rapidity of his movements - moving with the flight of an eagle; or it may denote the devastation which he would spread - an emblem in either sense especially applicable to Cyrus. It is not uncommon in the Bible to compare a warlike prince to an eagle Jeremiah 49:22; Ezekiel 17:3; and the idea here is, probably, that Cyrus would come with great power and velocity upon nations, like the king of birds, and would pounce suddenly and unexpectedly upon his prey. Perhaps also there may be here allusion to the standard or banner of Cyrus. Xenophon (Cyrop. vii.) says that it was a golden eagle affixed to a long spear; and it is well remarked by Lowth, that Xenophon has used the very word which the prophet uses here, as near as could be, expressing it in Greek letters. The word of the prophet is עיט ‛ayiṭ the Greek word used by Xenophon is ἀετὸς aetos The Chaldee has, however, given a different rendering to this passage: ‹I, who say that I will gather my captivity from the east, and will lead publicly like a swift bird from a distant land the sons of Abraham, my friend.‘

The man that executeth my counsel - Margin, as Hebrew, ‹Of my counsel.‘ It may either mean the man whom he had designated by his counsel; or it may mean the man who should execute his purpose.

Yea, I have spoken - He spake it by the prophets; and the idea is, that all that he had spoken should be certainly accomplished.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Here the folly of those who made idols, and then prayed to them, is exposed. How does the profuseness of idolaters shame the niggardliness of many who call themselves God's servants, but are for a religion which costs them nothing! The service of sin always costs a great deal. God puts it to them what senseless, helpless things idols are. Let, then, the Jews show themselves men, avoiding such abominations. Many Scripture prophecies, delivered long ago, are not yet fulfilled; but the fulfilling of some is an earnest that the rest will come to pass. Nothing can help more to make us easy, than to be assured that God will do all his pleasure. Even those who know not and mind not God's revealed will, are called and used to fulfil the counsels of his secret will. Heaven and earth shall pass away, sooner than one tittle of the word of God. Obstinate sinners are addressed. Such were far from acceptance, but they were summoned to hearken to the word of the Lord. The salvation of a sinner begins with a humble and contrite heart, that trembles at God's word, with godly sorrow working true repentance, and faith in his mercy, through the obedience unto death of our Divine Surety. Christ, as the Divine righteousness and salvation to his people, would come in the appointed time. His salvation abides in his church for all believers.