Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 44:22

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

I have blotted out - The word used here (מחח mâchâh ), means properly “to wipe away,” and is often applied to sins, as if the account was wiped off, or as we express it, blotted out (Psalm 51:3, Psalm 51:11; see the note at Isaiah 43:25). The phrase, ‹to blot out sins like a cloud,‘ however, is unusual, and the idea not very obvious. The true idea would be expressed by rendering it, ‹I have made them to vanish as a thick cloud;‘ and the sense is, as the wind drives away a thick cloud, however dark and frowning it may be, so that the sky is clear and serene, so God had caused their sins to disappear, and had removed the storm of his anger. Nothing can more strikingly represent sin in its nature and consequences, than a dense, dark, frowning cloud that comes over the heavens, and shuts out the sun, and fills the air with gloom; and nothing can more beautifully represent the nature and effect of pardon than the idea of removing such a cloud, and leaving the sky pure, the air calm and serene, and the sun pouring down his beams of warmth and light on the earth. So the soul of the sinner is enveloped and overshadowed with a dense cloud; but pardon dissipates that cloud, and it is calm, and joyful, and serene.

And as a cloud - The Chaldee render this, ‹As a flying cloud.‘ The difference between the two words rendered here ‹thick cloud,‘ and ‹cloud‘ (עב ‛âb and ענן ‛ânân ) is, that the former is expressive of a cloud as dense, thick, compact; and the latter as covering or veiling the heavens. Lowth renders the latter word ‹Vapour;‘ Noyes, ‹Mist.‘ Both words, however, usually denote a cloud. A passage similar to this is found in Demosthenes, as quoted by Lowth: ‹This decree made the danger then hanging over the city pass away like a cloud.

Return unto me - Since your sins are pardoned, and such mercy has been shown, return now, and serve me. The argument here is derived from the mercy of God in forgiving them, and the doctrine is, that the fact that God has forgiven us imposes the strongest obligations to devote ourselves to his service. The fact that we are redeemed and pardoned is the highest argument why we should consecrate all our powers to him who has purchased and forgiven us.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Return unto me. It is the great concern of those who have backslidden from God, like the Jews of old, to hasten their return to him. The work of redemption wrought for us by Christ, encourages to hope for all blessings from him. Our transgressions and our sins are as a thick cloud between heaven and earth: sins separate between us and God; they threaten a storm of wrath. When God pardons sin, he blots out, he dispels this cloud, this thick cloud, so that the way to heaven is open again. The cloud is scattered by the Sun of righteousness; it is quite gone. The comforts that flow into the soul when sin is pardoned, are like clear shining after clouds and rain. Let not Israel be discouraged; nothing is too hard for God: having made all, he can make what use he pleases of any. Those that learn to know Christ, see all knowledge to be foolishness, in comparison with the knowledge of him. And his enemies will find their counsels turned into foolishness, and themselves taken in their craftiness. The exact fulfilling the prophecies of Scripture confirms the truth of the whole, and proves its Divine origin. The particular favours God designed for his people in captivity, were foretold here, long before they went into captivity. Very great difficulties would be in the way of their deliverance; but it is promised that by Divine power they should all be removed. God knew who should be the Deliverer of his people; and let his church know it, that when they heard such a name talked of, they might know their redemption drew nigh. It is the greatest honour of the greatest men, to be employed as instruments of the Divine favour to his people. In things wherein men serve themselves, and look no further, God makes them do all his pleasure. And a nobler Shepherd than Cyrus does his Father's will, till his work is fully completed.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins "I have made thy transgressions vanish away like a cloud, and thy sins like a vapor" - Longinus admired the sublimity of the sentiment, as well as the harmony of the numbers, in the following sentence of Demosthenes: Τουτο το ψηφισμα τον τοτε τῃ πολει τερισταντα κινδυνον παρελθειν εποιησεν ὡσπερ νεφος . "This decree made the danger then hanging over the city pass away like a cloud." Probably Isaiah alludes here to the smoke rising up from the sin-offering, dispersed speedily by the wind. and rendered invisible. He who offered his sacriflce aright was as sure that the sin for which he offered it was blotted out, as that the smoke of the sacrifice was dispersed by the wind, and was no longer discernible.

Ellen G. White
In Heavenly Places, 10.4

There is no taunting, no casting up to the prodigal of his evil course. The son feels that the past is forgiven and forgotten, blotted out forever. And so God says to the sinner, “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and as a cloud thy sins” (Isaiah 44:22). “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).... HP 10.4

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 248.2

The great day of the Lord is near at hand. When Christ appears in the clouds of heaven, those who have not sought Him with all the heart, those who have allowed themselves to be deceived, will surely perish. Our only safety is to be found through repentance and conversion, and the blotting out of sins. Those who will now seek the Lord earnestly, humbling their hearts before Him, and forsaking their sins, will, through the sanctification of the truth, be fitted to unite with the members of the royal family, and will see the King in His beauty.... TDG 248.2

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 336.5

We may claim the blessed assurance, “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions” (Isaiah 44:22). Thy “sins, which are many, are forgiven” (Luke 7:47). O how precious, how refreshing, is the sunlight of God's love! The sinner may look upon his sin-stained life, and say, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died” (Romans 8:34). “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20). Christ the Restorer plants a new principle of life in the soul, and that plant grows and produces fruit. The grace of Christ purifies while it pardons, and fits men for a holy heaven. We are to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ until we reach the full stature of men and women in Christ. O that we might all reach the high standard which God has set before us, and no longer remain dwarfs in the religious life! What beams of light would be reflected to the world in good works if we should become light bearers such as God would have us!32 TMK 336.5

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