Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 45:19

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

I have not spoken tn secret, in a dark place of the earth - In opposition to the manner in which the heathen oracles gave their answers, which were generally delivered from some deep and obscure cavern. Such was the seat of the Cumean Sybil: -

Excisum Euboicae latus ingens rupis in antrum.

Virg. Aen. 6:42.

"A cave cut in the side of a huge rock."

Such was that of the famous oracle at Delphi; of which, says Strabo, lib. ix., φασι δ ' ειναι το μαντειον αντρον κοιλον μετα βαθους, ου μαλα ευρυστομον . "The oracle is said to be a hollow cavern of considerable depth, with an opening not very wide." And Diodorus, giving an account of the origin of this oracle, says "that there was in that place a great chasm or cleft in the earth; in which very place is now situated what is called the Adytum of the temple." Αδυτον· σπηλαιον, η το αποκρυφον μερος του ἱερου . Mesych. "Adytum means a cavern, or the hidden part of the temple."

I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right "I am Jehovah, who speak truth, who give direct answers" - This also is said in opposition to the false and ambiguous answers given by the heathen oracles, of which there are many noted examples; none more so than that of the answer given to Croesus when he marehed against Cyrus, which piece of history has some connection with this part of Isaiah's prophecies. Let us hear Cicero's account of the Delphic answers in general, and of this in particular: Sed jam ad te venio,

O sancte Apollo, qui umbilicum certum terrarum obsides,

Unde superstitiosa primum saeva evasit vox fera.

Tuis enim oraculis Chrysippus totum volumen implevit, partim falsis, ut ego opinor; partim casu veris, ut fit in omni oratione saepissime; partim flexiloquis et obscuris, ut interpres egeat interprete, et sors ipsa ad sortes referenda sit; partim ambiguis, et quae ad dialecticum deferenda sint. Nam cum sors illa edita est opulentissimo regi Asiea, Croesus Halym penetrans magnam pervertet opum vim: hostium vim sese perversurum putavit; pervertit autem suam. Utrum igitur eorum accidisset, verum oraculum fuisset. De Divinat. 2:56. Mountainous countries, and those which abounded in chasms, caves, and grottos, were the places in which oracles were most frequent. The horror and gloom inspired by such places were useful to the lying priests in their system of deception. The terms in which those oracles were conceived, (they were always ambiguous, or equivocal, or false, or illusory), sometimes the turn of a phrase, or a peculiarity in idiom or construction which might be turned pro or con, contained the essence of the oracular declaration. Sometimes, in the multitude of guesses, one turned out to be true; at other times, so equivocal was the oracle, that, however the thing fell out, the declaration could be interpreted in that way, as in the above to Croesus, from the oracle at Delphi, which was: If Croeses march against Cyrus, he shall overthrow a great empire: he, supposing that this promised him success, fought, and lost his own, while he expected to destroy that of his enemy. Here the quack demon took refuge in his designed ambiguity. He predicted the destruction of a great empire, but did not say which it was; and therefore he was safe, howsoever the case fell out. Not one of the predictions of God's prophets is conceived in this way.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

I have not spoken in secret - The word rendered ‹secret‘ (סתר sı̂ther ) denotes a hiding, or covering; and the phrase here means secretly, privately. He did not imitate the pagan oracles by uttering his predictions from dark and deep caverns, and encompassed with the circumstances of awful mystery, and with designed obscurity.

In a dark place of the earth - From a cave, or dark recess, in the manner of the pagan oracles. The pagan responses were usually given from some dark cavern or recess, doubtless the bettcr to impress with awe the minds of those who consulted the oracles, and to make them more ready to credit the revelations of the fancied god. Such was the seat of the Sybil, mentioned by Virgil, AEn. vi. 4:

Excisum Euhoicae latus ingens rupis in antrum

Such also was the famous oracle at Delphi. Strobe (ix.) says, ‹The oracle is said to be a hollow cavern of considerable depth, with an opening not very wide.‘ Diodorus, giving an account of this oracle, says, ‹that there was in that place a great chasm, or cleft in the earth; in which very place is now situated what is called the Adytum of the temple.‘ In contradistinction from all this, God says that he had spoken openly, and without these circumstances of designed obscurity and darkness. In the language here, there is a remarkable resemblance to what the Saviour said of himself, and it is not improbable that he had this passage in his mind: ‹I spoke openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing‘ John 18:20. A similar declaration occurs in Deuteronomy 30:11: ‹This commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.‘

I said not to the seed of Jacob - The seed, or the race of Jacob, here means his people: and the idea is, that he had not commanded them to call upon him without his being ready to answer them.

Seek ye me in vain - The phrase, ‹seek ye,‘ may refer to worship in general; or more properly to their calling upon him in times of calamity and trial. The sense is, that it had not been a vain or useless thing for them to serve him; that he had been their protector, and their friend; and that they had not gone to him, and spread out their needs for nothing. It is still true, that God does not command his people to seek him in vain (compare Deuteronomy 32:47). His service is always attended with a rich blessing to them; and they are his witnesses that he confers on them inexpressibly great and valuable rewards. It follows from this - first, that his people have abundant encouragement to go to him in all times of trial, persecution, and affliction; secondly, that they have encouragement to go to him in a low state of religion, to confess their sins, to supplicate his mercy, and to pray for the influences of his Holy Spirit, and the revival of his work; and, thirdly, that the service of God is always attended with rich reward. Idols do not benefit those wire serve them. The pursuit of pleasure, gain, and ambition, is often attended with no reward, and is never attended with any benefits that satisfy the needs of the undying mind; but the service of God meets all the needs of the soul; fills all its desires, and confers permanent and eternal rewards.

I the Lord speak righteousness - This stands in opposition to the pagan oracles, which often gave false, delusive, and unjust responses. But not so with God. He had not spoken, as they did, from deep and dark plates - fit emblems of the obscurity of their answers; he had not, as they had, commanded a service that was unprofitable and vain; and he had not, as they had, uttered oracles which were untrue and fitted to delude.

I declare things that are right - Lowth renders this, ‹Who give direct answers;‘ and supposes it refers to the fact, that the pagan oracles often give ambiguous and deceitful responses. God never deceived. His responses were always true and unambiguous.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Believers may ask in prayer for what they need; if for their good, it will not be withheld. But how common to hear God called to account for his dealings with man! Cyrus provided for the returning Jews. Those redeemed by Christ shall be provided for. The restoration would convince many, and convert some; and all that truly join the Lord, find his service perfect freedom. Though God be his people's God and Saviour, yet sometimes he lays them under his frowns; but let them wait upon the Lord who hides his face. There is a world without end; and it will be well or ill with us, according as it shall be with us in that world. The Lord we serve and trust, is God alone. All that God has said is plain, satisfactory, and just. As God in his word calls us to seek him, so he never denied believing prayers, nor disappointed believing expectations. He gives grace sufficient, and comfort and satisfaction of soul.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 520

“I, even I, am He,” the Lord declares, “that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put Me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.” “I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye Me in vain: I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.” “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Respond to the calls of God's mercy, and say: “I will trust in the Lord and be comforted. I will praise the Lord; for His anger is turned away. I will rejoice in God, who gives the victory.” TM 520.1

Page 23. Pamphlets denouncing the S.D.A. Church as Babylon: Reference is made to a pamphlet entitled, “The Loud Cry of the Third Angel's Message,” published by a Seventh-day Adventist lay member, Mr. Stanton, in the year 1893. This man, in his study of the Bible and the testimonies, focused his attention primarily on the messages of reproof and rebuke, forgetting that God had said that “as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” Revelation 3:19. He concluded that the testimonies of reproof constituted a message of rejection, and that those who would join in sounding the loud cry must withdraw from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The church, he asserted, had become Babylon, and those who would finish God's work in the earth and meet their Lord in peace must separate from the body. TM 521.1

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Ellen G. White
Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 455

“And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Micah 4:2. CT 455.1

The Old Testament Scriptures were the lesson book of Israel.... There are practical lessons in the word of God, lessons that Christ would have teachers and parents present to the children in the school and in the home. That word teaches living, holy principles, which prompt men to do unto others as they would have others do unto them—principles which they are to bring into the daily life here below, and carry with them into the school above. This is the higher education. No learning of human origin can gain these heights; for they reach into eternity, and are immortalized. We know altogether too little of the greatness of the love and compassion of God. CT 455.2

Let students put to the stretch their mental faculties, that they may comprehend the forty-fifth chapter of Isaiah. Such chapters as this should be brought into our schools as a valuable study. They are better than romance and fables. Why have our schools been so dependent upon books which tell so little of the city we claim to be seeking, whose builder and maker is God? Our lesson books should contain the loftiest themes of thought. Heaven is our home. Our citizenship is above, and our lives must not be devoted to a world that is soon to be destroyed.... CT 455.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 480

In the forty-first to the forty-fifth chapters of Isaiah, God very fully reveals His purpose for His people, and these chapters should be prayerfully studied. God does not here instruct His people to turn away from His wisdom and look to finite man for wisdom. “Remember these, O Jacob and Israel,” He declares, “for thou art My servant: ... O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee. Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel.” TM 480.1

“Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside Me.... Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to Him shall men come; and all that are incensed against Him shall be ashamed. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” TM 480.2

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