Behold, all they that were incensed against you shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with you shall perish.
41:10-20 God speaks with tenderness; Fear thou not, for I am with thee: not only within call, but present with thee. Art thou weak? I will strengthen thee. Art thou in want of friends? I will help thee in the time of need. Art thou ready to fall? I will uphold thee with that right hand which is full of righteousness, dealing forth rewards and punishments. There are those that strive with God's people, that seek their ruin. Let not God's people render evil for evil, but wait God's time. It is the worm Jacob; so little, so weak, so despised and trampled on by every body. God's people are as worms, in humble thoughts of themselves, and in their enemies' haughty thoughts of them; worms, but not vipers, not of the serpent's seed. Every part of God's word is calculated to humble man's pride, and to make him appear little in his own eyes. The Lord will help them, for he is their Redeemer. The Lord will make Jacob to become a threshing instrument. God will make him fit for use, new, and having sharp spikes. This has fulfilment in the triumphs of the gospel of Christ, and of all faithful followers of Christ, over the power of darkness. God has provided comforts to supply all their wants, and to answer all their prayers. Our way to heaven lies through the wilderness of this world. The soul of man is in want, and seeks for satisfaction; but becomes weary of seeking that in the world, which is not to be had in it. Yet they shall have a constant supply, where one would least expect it. I will open rivers of grace, rivers of living water, which Christ spake of the Spirit, Joh 7:38,39. When God sets up his church in the Gentile wilderness, there shall be a great change, as if thorns and briers were turned into cedars, and fir-trees, and myrtles. These blessings are kept for the poor in spirit, who long for Divine enlightening, pardon, and holiness. And God will render their barren souls fruitful in the grace of his Spirit, that all who behold may consider it.
All they that were incensed against thee - They who were enraged against thee, that is, the Chaldeans who made war upon you, and reduced you to bondage.
Shall be ashamed and confounded - To be ashamed and confounded is often used as synonymous with being overcome and destroyed.
They that strive with thee - Margin, as Hebrew, 'The men of thy strife.' The expression refers to their enemies, the Babylonians.
they that strive...: Heb. the men of thy strife
Behold, all they that were incensed against thee,.... For rejecting their idols, and idol worship; for receiving the Gospel, and professing it:
shall be ashamed and confounded; their idols not being able to help them, nor they to defend the worship of them: the same is said with respect to Christ, Isaiah 45:24,
they shall be as nothing, and they that strive with thee shall perish; or, "the men of thy strife" (o); all shall come to nothing, and utterly perish, as to their persons, substance, power, and dignity; as did the Roman emperors, the persecutors of God's people.
(o) "viri litis tuae", Montanus; "rixae tuae", Vatablus. Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.
In the following v. we have not a description of the impression made upon the heathen by the argument of Jehovah, but the argument itself is continued. Isaiah 41:5
"Islands have seen it, and shuddered; the ends of the earth trembled; they have approached, and drawn near." We have here a description of the effects which the victorious course of Cyrus had begun to produce in the heathen world. The perfects denote the past, and the futures a simultaneous past; so that we have not to compare Isaiah 41:5
with Habakkuk 3:10
so much as with Psalm 77:17
. The play upon the words וייראּוּ ... ראּוּ pairs together both seeing and fearing. The Cumaeans, when consulting the oracle, commenced thus: ἡμεῖς δὲ δειμαίνοντες τὴν Περσέων δύναμιν. The perfect with the aorist following in Isaiah 41:5
places the following picture upon the stage: They have approached and drawn near (from all directions) to meet the threatening danger; and how? Isaiah 41:6
, Isaiah 41:7
"One helped his companion, and he said to his brother, Only firm! The caster put firmness into the melter, the hammer-smoother into the anvil-smiter, saying of the soldering, It is good; and made him firm with nails, that he should not shake." Him, viz., the idol. Everything is in confusion, from the terror that prevails; and the gods from which they expect deliverance are not made till now, the workmen stimulating one another to work. The chârâsh, who casts the image, encourages the tsōrēph, whose task it is to provide it with the plating of gold and silver chains (Isaiah 40:19
), to work more bravely; and the man who smooths with the hammer (pattish, instrumentalis) does the same to the man who smites the anvil (הולם with seghol, whereas in other cases, e.g., Ezekiel 22:25
, the tone generally gives way without any change in the vowel-pointing). The latter finds the soldering all right, by which the gold plates of the covering are fastened together, so as to give to the golden idol a massive appearance. He is the last into whose hands it comes; and nothing more is wanting, than that he should forge upon the anvil the nails with which it is fastened, to prevent it from falling. To such foolish, fruitless proceedings have the nations resorted when threatened with subjugation by Cyrus.
11. ashamed—put to the shame of defeat (compare Isa 54:17; Ro 9:33).
Be not dismayed - ואל תשתע veal tishta, "And be not dismayed. "The ו vau is added by twenty-one of Dr. Kennicott's MSS., thirty of De Rossi's, and one of my own, and three editions. It makes the sense more complete.
41:11 Confounded - Because the mischief which they contrived against thee shall fall upon themselves.