Both darkness and evil are subject to creation but light and peace are uncreated emanations of the Creator.
Isa 45:1 Thus says Hashem (YHVH: Mercy) limshiychu (from Moshiach: Messiah) to His anointed, le-Choresh to Cyrus (You possess the furnace), whose right hand I have held, to subdue nations before him; and I will loosen the loins of melachiym kings, to open le-fanav before his face delatayim many doors; u-sheariym and the gates will not be shut;
“Thus says Mercy to His Messiah, to You who possess the furnace, whose right hand has received strength from Me, in order to subdue nations before him; and I loosen the belts that carry the weapons of kings, to open before his face many doors, and the gates will not be shut against him.” -Author’s paraphrase
This is the only time in Scripture where a Gentile ruler is referred to as Mashiach (Messiah, literally Anointed one). This title is otherwise only reserved for the kings and high priests of Israel, and primarily for the ultimate Saviour of Israel, Yeshua the King/Priest Messiah (Daniel 7:14). Cyrus is called by this title in his role as God’s agent for delivering Israel from bondage and exile in Babylon.
It’s interesting to note that the Hebrew name Koresh (Cyrus) means “You who possess the furnace”. While the furnace was sometimes used as a means of execution, the figurative meaning denotes judgement in fire. Thus, God has assigned Cyrus a role in dispensing His judgement against the nations. The furnace of Cyrus will destroy the nations while refining Israel, who through the furnace will become purified as gold and glory in her King Creator HaShem.
We note also that any strength Cyrus has to do these things is from God, Who has taken hold of the right hand of Cyrus in order to impart power to him for fulfilling God’s purposes. The weapons belts of the kings that Cyrus comes against will be loosed, leaving them undefended against him. The many doors to the nations will be opened to him and the strongest gates will not be able to withhold him.
In comparison to the cruelty of the Assyrians and Babylonians, Cyrus and his dynasty were humane rulers. Following his capture of Babylon in 539 BCE (BC) Cyrus encouraged both Jews and other captives from the nations to return to their home lands. He also contributed generously to the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Chron. 36:22-23; Ezra 1:2, 5:13, 6:3-4).
The Cyrus Cylinder excavated at the site of ancient Babylon in 1882 further illuminates the outworking of Isaiah’s prophecy:
“Marduk… looked through all the countries searching for a righteous ruler… He pronounced the name Cyrus… and declared him to be ruler of the world.”
Isa 45:2 I will go le-faneiycha before your face, va-haduriym and the adorned high places I will a-yasheir level: daltot doors of nechushah brass ashabeir I will break in pieces, and bars of iron I will cut down:
There is some irony here. God will go before the idolater Cyrus to level the idolatrous high places.
The reference to doors of bronze is most likely a reference to the gates of Babylon. The historian Herodotus travelled to Babylon and said “There are a hundred gates to the circuit of the wall, all of bronze, with bronze uprights and lintels.” (Herodotus History pg.85 Penguin edition).
Isa 45:3 And I will give you the treasures of choshech darkness, and concealed riches of secret places, that you may know that I, Hashem (YHVH: Mercy), who calls you by your name, am the Eloheiy Yisrael (God of Israel).
Babylon was known for her commerce and her hording and storing of wealth. Her treasures were stored in secret vaults, and in the rooms of her many famous temples. Private citizens were also able to deposit their wealth in temple vaults for a fee. The Babylonian temples were some of the forerunners to our modern day banks.
The doublets of the Hebrew poetic form correlate darkness and secrecy, giving emphasis to the fact that those things kept hidden are most often the ill-gotten spoils of sinful action.
“For nothing is secret, that will not be revealed; neither anything hidden, that will not be known and brought out into the open.” -Luke 8:17
Cyrus will be given all these horded and hidden riches for one purpose, that he might “know that I HaShem Who calls you by name, am the God of Israel.”
Isa 45:4 For the sake of avdiy my servant Yaakov (follower), and Yisrael (overcomes in God, Israel) my chosen, I have even called you by your name: I have achanecha yet titled you, though you have not known Me.
Once again HaShem affirms that it is for the sake of His servant Jacob, His chosen people Israel, ethnic, religious, that He has called Cyrus to perform these things.
These words were spoken some 150 years prior to the birth of Cyrus. He did not exist and therefore, could not possibly have known God’s plan for his life, and yet, God had already allocated a role and title to Koresh (Cyrus: you possess the furnace).
Isa 45:5 I am Hashem (YHVH: Mercy), and there is no other, beside Me there is no Elohiym God (Judge): I encompassed you, though you have not known Me:
The phrases, “There is no other” and “Beside Me there is no God” are together used 10 times in this short chapter. There is a strong theme concerning the uniqueness of God, His omnipotence and omniscience. The Holy Name YHVH, first used in verse 1, is used a total of 14 times in this chapter. Thus, both the unique unity of God and the Divine attribute of Mercy are primary themes in this discourse.
The beautiful language “I encompassed you” denotes fidelity. This poetic language is usually reserved for Israel but is here offered to a ruler of the nations. God’s redemptive purpose for humanity overflows from His redemptive purpose for Israel.
Isa 45:6 That they may know mi-mizrach from the eastern shemesh sun, and from the west, there is none beside Me. I am Hashem (YHVH: Mercy), and there is no other.
From the first sunrise to the last sunset HaShem is Mercy, and there is no other.
Isa 45:7 I yotzer fashion or light, u-vorei (from borei) and create choshech darkness: I oseh accomplish shalom peace, u-vorei (from borei) and create ra evil, (bad, the opposite of good): I Hashem (YHVH: Mercy) accomplish all these things.
We note that the Or (uncreated light) is not said to be u-vorei (created, from that which didn’t exist), rather it is yotzer (fashioned) from God’s essence (Davar: Word). Thus, choshech (darkness), which will become a metaphor for evil, is not yotzer (fashioned) but is rather the result of u-vorei (creation).
We know that God did not create anything evil from the inception of creation because the days of creation are complete when the text says, “God saw everything that He made, and behold it was very good.”(Gen. 1:31). Therefore, at the beginning of all things even the darkness (which would later become a metaphor for evil) was good, in fact, it was very good. Thus, the meaning of “I accomplish peace (uncreated) and create (because evil didn’t pre-exist God, but fashioned itself from that which was created) evil” is that God created the substance and environment that made evil a possibility, in order to also make possible the free will necessary for love relationship.
Therefore, the uncreated attributes (emanations) of God, or (light) and shalom (peace) [which are also titles of our Messiah Yeshua], are fashioned to accomplish His purposes, whereas the work of darkness and evil are only possible based on the created order: meaning that Satan and his minions have no power except that which they have been allowed to have based on the fact that they are created beings subject to the King of Creation, the God of Israel, and to Yeshua, the Light (or) of the World, and Prince of Peace (shalom).
Thus, both darkness and evil are subject to creation but light and peace are uncreated emanations of the Creator.
Isa 45:8 Hariyfu Rain down shamayim heavens, mi-ma’al from above, and let the skies stream forth tzedek righteousness, justice: open the land, and let them bring forth yesha salvation, and let righteousness (justice) spring up yachad together; I Hashem (YHVH: Mercy) be’ratiyv have created it.
Righteousness and justice are yachad (one), and are created by God. They are watered from the heavens and grow in the earth, springing up together and relying on one another. There is no right action without justice, and no justice without right action.
Isa 45:9 Hoy Ah, alas, woe to him who contends with his Yotzero Maker! A pottery shard among pottery shards of adamah the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioned it, “What have you made?” or “Your work has no hands”?
This passage appears to be addressing the complaints of some of Israel’s exiles, who may have taken issue with HaShem’s choice of a goy deliverer (Cyrus).
It is the height of hubris for a human being to accuse God of ill planning: it is so foolish as to be likened to a piece of pottery debating the plans of the potter. The Hebrew idiom “Your work has no hands”, is still used today in some Jewish communities to describe something that makes no sense.
Isa 45:10 Hoy Ah, alas, woe to him that says to his father, “What have you begotten?” u-leishah and to the woman, “What have you given birth to?”
So great is the foolishness of one who questions God’s work of redemption, that he is compared to a child questioning why his parents conceived him, or why his mother gave birth to him.
The “Woes” of these two verses are an incredulous rebuke that is to be heeded, lest the pottery shard be turned to dust, or the child given over to the fruit of his own foolish thinking.
Isa 45:11 Thus says Hashem (YHVH: Mercy), Kedosh Yisrael Holy One of Israel, ve’yotzero and his Maker, “Ask Me of things to come concerning banay My sons, and concerning the po’al work of yaday My hands, command Me.”
HaShem pre-exited Israel and is therefore the Holy One over her. He made Israel and knows the end from the beginning. Therefore, He responds to the complaints of His people by challenging them to ask Him what is to become of them (My sons), and as a counterpoint to “Your work has no hands” (v.9), “Command the work of My hands”… if you dare!
Isa 45:12 “I asiytiy have fashioned, accomplished, formed, made eretz the land (earth), ve’adam and humanity upon it: I, even yaday My hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all tzeva’am their armies, hosts, I tzeveitiy I have commanded.”
HaShem formed the earth so that it might receive humanity and provide the perfect environment in which humanity might prosper and grow. He alone created the heavens and is King of all the heavenly host.
Isa 45:13 “I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he will build My city, and he will let My captives go, without price or reward,” says Hashem (YHVH: Mercy) Tzeva’ot Who goes warring (of heavens hosts, armies).
The focus now returns to the goy ruler whom HaShem has raised up to bring about the deliverance of Israel from her captivity. It is Cyrus who will rebuild Jerusalem (My city) and let the Jews return there. HaShem Who goes warring (of Hosts) will accomplish this.
Isa 45:14 Thus says Hashem (YHVH: Mercy), “The labour of Mitzrayim Egypt (double distress), and merchandise of Cush Ethiopia (black) u-sevaliym and of the Sabeans (drunkards), men of stature, will come over to you, and they will be yours: they will come after you; in chains they will come over, and they will fall down before you, they will make supplication to you, saying, ‘Surely bach in you is El God; ve’eiyn and there is none other od (perpetually going round): efes zero, ceasing finally elohiym the gods.
Some think this passage is addressed to Israel, however, Israel never waged war against Egypt or Ethiopia, although Egypt did wage war against Israel in more recent times.
It may also be addressed to Cyrus, although it was not Cyrus himself but Cambyses the son of Cyrus who conquered Egypt and Ethiopia.
Another possibility is that this passage refers to the end of days. At which time those repentant among the nations will submit to the King Messiah and the God of Israel. If so, then verse 14 corresponds to Isaiah 2:2-4.
Isa 45:15 Truly you are a El God that conceals yourself, Eloheiy Yisrael God of Israel, Moshiya Saviour.
God is concealed only from the perspective of those who do not walk with Him. The gods of the surrounding nations were promoted with spectacles and lavish rites and yet offered nothing but a deaf ear to their petitioners. The God of Israel on the other hand, revealed Himself to His people in true power and sought intimate relationship, offering an everlasting conversation, responding to Israel’s cries in a timely fashion. He is a true Saviour and a certain hope. However, He is discernible only through the eyes of faith. Therefore, when compared to the vain gods of the nations the God of Israel is mysterious and hidden, a stark contradistinction to the fact that even the hidden things of other gods will be brought into the light by HaShem.
“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this Torah.” -Deuteronomy 29:29
Isa 45:16 They will be ashamed, and also humiliated, all together: they will go to confusion together those makers of idols.
Confusion and shame are all that awaits those who make and worship idols.
Isa 45:17 Yisrael Israel will be nosha saved be’YHVH in Hashem (YHVH: Mercy) te’shuat with a salvation olamiym everlasting: not ashamed nor humiliated ad-olmeiy ad as far as a world without end (perpetual).
Israel, whom God has chosen, need not end in confusion and shame because her God is One, Alone. Therefore, Israel will be saved be’YHVH in HaShem. There is no other means for her salvation outside of God alone. With an immutable and everlasting salvation God will deliver Israel (through His Mashiach Yeshua), and she will neither be ashamed or humiliated in the world that is without end, that is, the Olam Haba (World to come).
Isa 45:18 For thus says Hashem (YHVH: Mercy) Who borei (from bara, created from nothing) created ha-shamayim the heavens; Hu He is ha-Elohiym the God yotzeir that formed ha-aretz the land (earth) ve’osah and made it; Hu He has chonah established it (made it firm), He didn’t vera’ah create it in vain, la’shevet for habitation He yetzarah formed it: “I am Hashem (YHVH: Mercy); and there is none other.”
The purpose of God was always to have the earth be inhabited by humanity. He alone created and established our habitation. He alone is God.
Isa 45:19 “lo vaseter dibartiy I have not spoken in secret, bimkum in the place eretz of land (earth), choshech dark, obscure, hidden: I did not say to the seed of Yaakov (follower, Jacob), ‘You seek Me in vain’: I Hashem (YHVH: Mercy) doveir speak tzedek righteousness, magiyd I make known meishariym equitable things.”
Unlike the demonic deities, witchcraft practitioners and secret religions of the heathen world, God does not keep secret the path to freedom. He has communicated clearly and in the open to Jacob, through His Torah, His prophets and His miraculous works. He is not like those false gods that offer redemption only to a select few, to the contrary, He offers redemption to all, and those that receive His offer become chosen.
Though Israel may have become disillusioned in her sufferings and exile, falsely concluding that to seek God was of no consequence, God reminds her that He has always been with her and has always had a plan in place for her redemption. He has made known publicly and frequently that righteousness is found in Him alone and that the fruit of that righteousness will be equity for all who receive it.
Isa 45:20 “Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, you who have escaped from among ha-goyim the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray to a el god that cannot yoshiya save.”
Now God turns to the nations with an offer of redemption. It is God’s will that none should perish. Therefore, He invites the idolatrous nations to come and draw near to Him, and to admit that they worship idols that cannot save.
Isa 45:21 “You make known, and bring them near; indeed, let them take counsel together: Who has declared this mikedem from ancient time? who has told it from that time? have not I Hashem (YHVH: Mercy)? and there is no El God beside Me; a El God of tzadik justice u-moshiya and a Saviour; there is none beside Me.”
HaShem challenges the idolaters to admit that their idols and false prophets are unable to properly predict future events or expound on past events. It is God alone Who is just and able to save. There is none like Him, nor is there any besides Him.
Isa 45:22 “Penu Look (turn) to Me, and you will be saved, col-afseiy all the ends of aretz the land (earth): for I am El God (Judge), and there is none other.”
This is a simple Gospel message. “Turn to face Me and you will be saved”. It’s spoken to all the nations of the earth. Why should they heed Him? Because He is “the Judge, and there is none other!”
Isa 45:23 “I have sworn by Myself, yatza it has gone out mipiy from My mouth tzedakah righteousness davar a word, and will not yashuv return, Ciy For liy to Me tichra will bow col-berech every knee, tishava col-lashon every tongue will swear.”
There is none higher than HaShem, and there is no god besides Him. Therefore, He must swear by Himself. The Davar (Word, King Messiah) has gone out in redemptive power and will not return void.
“For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” -Romans 14:11-12
"That at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, of things in the heavens, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Yeshua Ha-Mashiach Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” -Philippians 2:10-12
Isa 45:24 Indeed, ba’YHVH in Hashem (YHVH: Mercy) liy with me amar say “Tzedakot righteousness va’oz and strength:” adav up to him yavo men have come; col all ha-necheriym the incensed against him will be ashamed.
Only in HaShem is there righteousness and strength, and those who have defied Him and who have been filled with anger toward Him, will come to Him in shame.
Isa 45:25 Ba’YHVH In Hashem (YHVH: Mercy) yitzdeku will be justified ve’yithallu and shine (be praised, glory) col-zera all the seed of Yisrael Israel (overcome in God).
The fruit of HaShem’s redemptive work through Cyrus and ultimately through His King Messiah Yeshua of Israel, will be the physical and spiritual deliverance of Israel, ethnic, religious. In God she will be justified (through His Mashiach) and her generations will shine as those who have overcome in God.
“I say then, Has God cast away His people? A curse on that! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” -Rav Shaul (Paul) Letter to the Roman Ecclesia 11:1
Copyright 2018 Yaakov Brown