Isaiah 45:1-25

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45:1. Masoretic Text: Thus says YHWH to his anointed one, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped to subjugate nations before his face and ungird the hips of kings, to open before his face doors and that gates may not be shut.

Septuagint: Thus says the Lord God to my anointed one, Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped [for] nations to be obedient before him, and I will break the strength of kings. I will open doors before him, and cities will not be shut.

The words “before his face” are idiomatic, meaning “before him.”


Cyrus is designated as YHWH’s anointed one because of his divinely appointed role in serving as the instrument to conquer Babylon and to make it possible for the Israelite exiles to return to their land and to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. For YHWH to take hold of Cyrus’s right hand indicated that the Persian king would be associated with him, be under his control when carrying out his purpose, and would have his support in functioning as his instrument. Cyrus would succeed in his military campaigns, triumphing over other nations.

For men who wielded it with the right hand, the sword was suspended from the left side of the girdle. To ungird kings meant to defeat them, depriving them of the power to fight with the sword. The Septuagint rendering represents YHWH as breaking the power of kings.

According to the ancient Greek historian Xenophon (Cyropaedia, VII, v, 25), Gobryas and his staff told Cyrus the following about what was happening inside the city of Babylon on the night of the conquest: “In view of the revelry, it would not be at all surprising if the gates leading to the palace were open, for all the city is feasting this night. Still, we shall find a guard before the gates, for one is always posted there.” “We must lose no time, then,” said Cyrus. “Forward, that we may catch the men as unprepared as we can.” On the basis of this account, one could conclude that this may be meant about the doors being open before Cyrus and the gates not being shut.

It is more likely, though, that the reference is figurative, indicating that the Persian monarch would not be prevented by obstacles from succeeding in his conquests. The Septuagint rendering represents matters in a more general sense, referring to the cities as not being shut. They were vulnerable for conquest.

45:2. Masoretic Text: I will go before your face and level elevations; I will break the doors of bronze and cut in two the bars of iron.

Septuagint: I will go before you and level mountains; I will break doors of bronze and shatter bars of iron.

In the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah (the Great Isaiah Scroll) and another Dead Sea scroll, the word here translated “elevations” is “mountains,” as it is in the Septuagint. Additionally, the Great Isaiah Scroll differs from the Masoretic Text when it reads, “he will level the mountains.”


Mountains, locked doors or gates, and the bars used for locking the gates constituted barriers for invading armies. YHWH is here represented as preceding Cyrus and removing such serious obstacles, thereby facilitating the triumphant advance of the Persian king and his forces. “Doors of bronze” would be wooden doors plated with bronze. With bars of iron, the gates would be securely closed. As no mountains were literally leveled, the description is to be viewed as figurative or representative of formidable obstacles.

45:3. Masoretic Text: And I will give you the treasures of darkness and the riches in secret places that you may know that I [am] YHWH, the one calling [you] by your name, the God of Israel.

Septuagint: And I will give you dark treasures; hidden, unseen things I will open for you, that you may know that I [am] the Lord God, the one calling your name, the God of Israel.


Cyrus would be successful in his military campaigns. Through his conquests of major cities, he would gain possession of the treasures or riches that had been stored in secret places, where they were securely concealed in darkness. To fulfill his purpose respecting his people Israel, YHWH would permit Cyrus to be triumphant. On this basis, Cyrus is represented as coming to know YHWH, the God of Israel, as the one who had called him by name, choosing him as a man named in advance to carry out a specific role.

In his Antiquities (XI, i, 1, 2), the first-century Jewish historian Josephus wrote that Cyrus read the words of Isaiah’s prophecy that foretold his name and that this motivated him to fulfill what had been written about him. There is, however, no extant corroborative testimony regarding this.

45:4. Masoretic Text: For the sake of my servant Jacob and Israel my chosen one, I call you by your name; I betitle you, and you did not know me.

Septuagint: For the sake of Jacob my servant and Israel my chosen one, I will call you by your name, and I will accept you, but you did not know me.

In the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah, the conjunction “and” does not precede Israel. Another difference in this scroll is the reading, “I have called you, and with a name he has established you.” In case of the Hebrew word translated “established,” the letter yod (Y) appears as a correction above the first kaph (K).


As in other cases throughout the book of Isaiah, Jacob and Israel are parallel designations for the people of Israel, the descendants of Jacob whose name was changed to Israel when he wrestled with an angel. (Genesis 32:25-28) YHWH purposed that the promised Messiah would come through and to the people of Israel. This necessitated that they would again be living in the land that had been divinely promised to their forefather Abraham to be the inheritance of his descendants. As a people, Israel was YHWH’s chosen one, for their forefather Jacob, not his twin brother Esau, had been identified as the divine choice even before he was born. (Genesis 25:22, 23) For the sake of his people Israel, or to further his purpose respecting them, YHWH called Cyrus by name, designating him in advance as one who would have a relationship with him to carry out a specific role.

YHWH betitled Cyrus, accepting him as an instrument he could use and giving him a position of honor. Prior to his beginning to function in the divinely assigned role, Cyrus did not know YHWH as the only true God.

45:5. Masoretic Text: I [am] YHWH, and [there is] no one else. Besides me, [there is] no god. I gird you, and you did not know me,

Septuagint: For I [am] the Lord God, and [there] is no other god besides me, and you did not know me,

After the words translated “besides me,” the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah reads, “and [there is] no god.” Both in the Masoretic Text and the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah, the Hebrew word for “god” is plural. As a plural of excellence, the designation can be translated as the singular “god,” but it can also be rendered as the plural “gods.” The verb needs to be supplied, as it is not in the Hebrew text.


YHWH alone is the true God. No other gods exist. YHWH is represented as girding Cyrus, strengthening and supporting him to carry out his purpose respecting his people Israel. As not having been a part of the nation of Israel, Cyrus did not know, or have a relationship with, YHWH.

45:6. Masoretic Text: that they may know from the rising of the sun and from the west that [there is] none besides me. I [am] YHWH, and [there is] not another,

Septuagint: that those from the rising of the sun and those from the west may know that [there] is none besides me. I [am] the Lord God, and [there is] not still another.


YHWH’s use of Cyrus, girding him or supporting and helping him, is here represented as coming to be known far and wide. People living in the distant east and the distant west would come to know that YHWH alone is God. This would become especially evident upon the return of the Israelite exiles to their own land.

45:7. Masoretic Text: forming light and creating darkness, making peace and creating evil. I [am] YHWH, doing all these things.

Septuagint: I am the one having prepared light and having made darkness, the one making peace and creating evils. I [am] the Lord God, the one doing all these things.

Instead of the Hebrew word for “peace,” the Dead Sea Scroll has a word meaning “good” or “goodness.”


YHWH is portrayed as bringing into existence both the good and the bad, or the favorable and the unfavorable. Light is representative of brightness, pleasantness, joy, and prosperity, whereas darkness stands for adversity and gloomy, unfavorable conditions. Peace denotes well-being and security, whereas evil designates calamity and insecurity. Whatever YHWH does or permits is attributed to him. From this standpoint, he is represented as identifying himself as doing everything.

45:8. Masoretic Text: O heavens, drip down from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness. Let the earth open and let them cause deliverance to be fruitful, and let it cause righteousness to spring up together [alongside deliverance]. I YHWH have created it.

Septuagint: Let heaven above rejoice, and let the clouds sprinkle down righteousness. Let the earth cause mercy to spring up and righteousness to spring up together [with it]. I am the Lord who created you.

The Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah (the Great Isaiah Scroll) contains a different reading. “Cry out heavens above and skies, and let righteousness pour down; the one saying to the earth, ‘And let deliverance be fruitful, and let righteousness spring up.” The words about YHWH creating are not included.

The reading of the Masoretic Text with the plural verb (here translated “let them cause to be fruitful”) does not have the support of the Septuagint nor that of the Great Isaiah Scroll. This could mean that the reading is not the original one. The plural verb could be understood to apply to the heavens or the skies (“Let the earth open and let the skies cause deliverance to be fruitful [on earth]”).

The Targum of Isaiah interprets the opening up of the earth to result in restoring the dead to life.


In this verse, heaven and earth or the land are called upon to provide a generous supply of righteousness. The thought appears to be that righteousness or justice and the blessings associated with deliverance would prove to be so abundant that they could be spoken of as descending from the sky or the “clouds” (LXX) above and as being nourished by the land below.

YHWH is the absolute standard of righteousness or justice. With righteousness coming down from above, the earth or land is directed to respond by opening up to what is descending from the height. Deliverance would then be fruitful or flourish on the earth. This deliverance would be a liberation from distress. In view of the earlier mention of Cyrus, the deliverance may be understood to refer to the release from Babylonian exile and the associated blessings that would result.

According to the rendering of the Septuagint, mercy would be sprouting up along with righteousness. YHWH forgave the sins of his repentant people. As an expression of the mercy he extended to them, their repentance and his forgiveness led to the restoration of the right relationship with him, making it possible for him to deal with them and to effect their liberation through Cyrus. The Babylonians had treated the Israelite exiles unjustly. Accordingly, YHWH’s use of Cyrus to overthrow Babylon was an expression of divine righteousness or justice.

The Hebrew text appears to represent developments concerning righteousness and deliverance as being YHWH’s creation. In the Septuagint, however, the application seems to be to Israel, the people whom God created as his own.

45:9. Masoretic Text: Woe to the one striving with his Former, a potsherd with potsherds of the land. Does the clay say to the one forming it, “What are you doing?” And your work [say], “[There are] no hands on him”?

Septuagint: What better thing have I prepared than the clay of a potter? The plower does not plow the land the whole day, [does he]? The clay does not say to the potter [does it?], “What are you doing, for you are not working nor do you have hands”?

The Hebrew text requires the addition of words to complete the thought. Another possibility is to render the final phrase, “And [of] your work, “[There are] no hands on it.”

In the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah, the designation here translated “Former” is plural (“formers”). The Masoretic Text omits the definite article before the noun rendered “land,” but it is included in the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah. This scroll does not represent the “clay” as making an expression, but reads, “Woe to the one saying to the one forming him.” Additionally, it identifies the “hands” as meaning “human hands.”

According to the interpretation in the Targum of Isaiah, the one thinking to “rise up against the words of the Creator” is represented as trusting that images, fashioned by a potter from the dust of the ground, would benefit him.


These words censure persons who would question what YHWH does or permits. In the present context, this could include his use of Cyrus for his purpose. For any person, a creation, to contend with God, the Creator or Former, would be folly. Woe or calamity is pronounced upon anyone attempting to do so. It would be comparable to a fragment of earthenware getting into a confrontation with other fragments of earthenware, and to a heap of clay questioning a potter. Humans are but earthen vessels. For them to quarrel with fellow humans would be like doing so with other fragments of earthenware.

A lump of clay is totally under the control of the potter, and it would be an impossibility for the clay to challenge the potter with the question, “What are you doing?” No lump of clay could say regarding the one fashioning the object that he had no “hands,” or that he was incapable of using his hands to accomplish anything. “You have no skill.” (REB) Another possibility is that the clay could not say that the object being formed had no hands and so was defective. “What you are making has no hands.” (NAB) “Your work has no hands.” (NJB)

The Septuagint rendering portrays the potter as being faulted for being a man who was not working and had no hands. Another meaning could be that, because the potter was not working, the challenging question directed to him could be, “Do you not have any hands for working?”

A number of modern translations have interpreted “hands” to mean “handles,” but this is not a meaning inherent in the Hebrew and Greek word for “hand.” “Your work has no handles.” (NRSV, Tanakh) “The clay doesn’t ask, ‘Why did you make me this way? Where are the handles?’” (CEV)

In the Septuagint, the initial part of this verse conveys a very different meaning. Cyrus could be understood as being the clay of the potter, and Israel as the thing that is better than this clay. The plower would not continue plowing the whole day but would engage in this activity for the length of time that suited his purpose. According to another reading of the Greek text, the question is, “Shall the plower plow the land?”

45:10. Masoretic Text: Woe to one saying to a father, “What are you begetting?” and to a woman, “With what are you in labor?”

Septuagint: The one saying to the father, “What will you beget?” and to the mother, “With what are you in labor?”

In the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah, the definite article precedes “one saying.”

The Septuagint rendering requires the addition of other words to complete the thought. Based on the previous verse, the thought could be, “It would be like the one saying to a father …”


To address questions of this nature to a father or to a mother would be disrespectful and, for an unborn child, an impossibility. The implied thought is that for the human, the creation, challengingly to question what YHWH may do or may permit violates what may be regarded as the innate sense of propriety and respect.

45:11. Masoretic Text: Thus says YHWH, the Holy One of Israel, and the one forming him, “Ask me [concerning] coming things about my sons, and command me about the work of my hands!”

Septuagint: For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, the one having made the coming things, “Ask me about my sons and about my daughters, and command me about the works of my hands!”

The main text of the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah does not include the words “Holy One of Israel, and the one forming him.” After YHWH, the scroll reads, “the former of the signs.” Above the line of the main text, another scribe added “Holy One of Israel.” The main text continues with the words, “Ask me about my sons and about the work …” Part of the concluding portion of this text is not preserved.


YHWH is the Holy One of Israel, for he is the absolute standard of holiness or purity. He formed Israel, making it possible for the descendants of Jacob or Israel, to become a nation. The “sons” or, according to the Septuagint rendering, the “sons and daughters” are the people of Israel.

YHWH did reveal things to come through his prophets, and the people rightly could go to the prophets to be informed about future developments and what they should do. He, however, is the Supreme Sovereign and the Creator, and so it would not be right for any human, a mere creation, to question his dealings with his people and to command or instruct him respecting his activity. For this reason, it appears preferable to regard the words as being an exclamation to indicate what would most definitely not be appropriate for a human to do. A number of modern translations have chosen to follow an emended reading of the text to convey a meaning that fits this reasoning. “Will you question me about my children, or command me concerning the work of my hands?” (NRSV) “Will you question Me on the destiny of My children, will you instruct Me about the work of My hands?” (Tanakh) “Would you dare question me concerning my children, or instruct me in my handiwork?” (REB) “Do you dare question me about my own nation or about what I have done?” (CEV)

45:12. Masoretic Text: I have made the earth and created man [’adhám, the earthling] upon it. I, [with] my hands, stretched out the heavens, and all their host I commanded.

Septuagint: I made the earth and man upon it. I, [with] my hand, made the heaven firm. I commanded all the stars.


YHWH’s role as the Creator serves to emphasize that no one has the right challengingly to question what he does or permits. He is represented as identifying himself as having created the earth or the extensive areas of land and man (earthlings) to inhabit the earth. The “heaven” (LXX; plural “heavens” in the Hebrew text) or sky looks like a dome that has been stretched out over the land. That is why YHWH is portrayed as saying that he stretched out the “heavens” with his “hands.” The “host” or the host of heaven, as indicated in the Septuagint rendering, denotes the “stars.” These appear in the night sky as if making their entry on command.

The Greek verb for “made firm” is stereóo and can also, depending on the context, denote “make solid,” “fix,” “establish,” or “make hard.” As a celestial vault, the sky appears as though it is a solid dome above the land.

45:13. Masoretic Text: “I have raised him up in righteousness, and all his ways I will make straight. He will rebuild my city and free my exiles not for a price and not for a gift,” says YHWH of hosts.

Septuagint: “I have raised him up with righteousness [as] king, and all his ways will be straight. This one will rebuild my city and will return the captivity of my people, not with a ransom nor with gifts,” said the Lord Sabaoth.

“Sabaoth” is a transliteration of the Hebrew designation that means “hosts” or “armies.” The expression identifies YHWH as the God with hosts of angels in his service.


In expression of his righteousness or justice, YHWH raised up Cyrus or selected him to function as his instrument to execute the deserved judgment on Babylon and to release the Israelites from exile. He would do so by letting Cyrus be successful in his conquest, thereby making his ways straight or clearing out all obstacles that would have interfered with the fulfillment of his purpose respecting Babylon and his people Israel. The city to be rebuilt was Jerusalem. Because the temple site was there, Jerusalem was YHWH’s city. Cyrus would not be induced to function as YHWH’s instrument through the payment of a price or a ransom nor would it be because of having been presented with a “gift” (“gifts,” LXX) or a bribe.

45:14. Masoretic Text: Thus says YHWH, the toil [yegía‘] of Mizraim [Egypt] and the merchandise [sechár (sachár)] of Cush [Ethiopia] and Sabeans, men of stature, will come over to you and be yours. Behind you they will go. In chains, they will come over even to you and bow down to you. They will make supplications, [saying], “God [is] only with you, and [there is] no other, no god [besides you].”

Septuagint: Thus says the Lord Sabaoth, Egypt has toiled, and the commerce of the Ethiopians. And the Seboin [Sabeans], tall men, will pass over to you and will be servants to you, and they will follow behind you, being bound in handcuffs, and will prostrate themselves to you and will pray among you, for God is with you, and they will say, “[There] is no god besides you,”

In the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah, the definite article precedes “Sabeans.”

“Sabaoth” is a transliteration of the Hebrew word that means “hosts” or “armies.”

In the Septuagint, the concluding sentence continues in the next verse.


The “toil of Egypt” may be understood to designate the products from the hard work of the Egyptians, and the “merchandise of Ethiopia” would be the profit the Ethiopians made from trade. Footnotes in Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia indicate that yegía‘, the Hebrew word for “toil,” should probably be read as yoge‘éy (“toilers”) and that sechár (“merchandise”) should probably be read as sacharéy (“merchants”). Another suggested emendation has been to change “men of stature” to “bearing tribute.” This accounts for such renderings as found in The Revised English Bible. “Toilers of Egypt and Nubian merchants and Sabaeans bearing tribute will come into your power and be your slaves.”

The Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah does not support the suggested reading in the footnotes of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Neither the Septuagint nor the Targum of Isaiah provides a basis for choosing the Hebrew word meaning “toilers.” The Targum of Isaiah, however, does contain the Aramaic word for “merchants.”

In view of the acknowledgment about God being “with you,” the second person singular “you” must mean “Israel,” the people of God in the real sense of the word. It appears that the expressions of this verse point forward to a time after repentant Israelites returned to their land from Babylonian exile and when peoples from other nations would come to recognize YHWH as the true God.

Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Sabeans seemingly are here representative of those who would be supportive of the true Israel and render service to its members. This development best fits the time when the promised Messiah or Christ, Jesus, appeared on the scene. Not long after his death and resurrection, non-Jewish peoples recognized that God was with the Israelites who had become Jesus’ disciples. These non-Jews, persons who also put faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God through whom they could be freed from the condemnation of sin, helped and served their fellow Jewish believers, members of the true Israel. (Compare Romans 15:25-27; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; 9:6-13.) Non-Jewish believers identified themselves so closely with Jewish believers that they could be said to follow them like bound captives. They “bowed down” to them by acknowledging them to be the true people of God. (Compare Revelation 3:9.)

In the Hebrew text, the second mention of “god” is plural. As a plural of excellence, the designation can be translated as the singular “god.” It is also possible to understand the reference to be to “gods,” and this is the rendering found in a number of translations. “The gods are nought.” (NAB) “The gods do not exist.” (NJB)

45:15. Masoretic Text: Surely you [are] a God hiding yourself, O God of Israel, the one saving.

Septuagint: “for you are God, and we did not know [it], the God of Israel, the Savior.”

The Targum of Isaiah, like the Septuagint, makes no mention of hiding. It refers to God as causing his “Shekinah to dwell in the great height.”


When experiencing distress or when in exile, the Israelites would have thought that YHWH had concealed himself from them, for he did not then come to their aid. If these words relate to his use of Cyrus, they could be understood to mean that there would be no perceivable evidence that YHWH was directly involved in developments. Cyrus would be pursuing his military campaigns and, in keeping with his own objectives, carrying out his policies. Without clearly discernible evidence of YHWH’s part in the developments, it would have appeared that he was hidden. Nevertheless, the liberation of the Israelites from Babylonian exile as had been made known in advance through the prophets revealed that he was the one who saved or delivered his people.

According to the Septuagint rendering, those who came to acknowledge the God of Israel as the true God did not know him in the past. Although formerly having no relationship with him, they came to know him as the Savior or Deliverer of his people.

45:16. Masoretic Text: They will be shamed and indeed humiliated, all [of them]; together the makers of idols will go in humiliation.

Septuagint: All those resisting him will be shamed and humiliated, and they will go in shame. Be renewed toward me, O islands.

The Septuagint reference to islands is also missing in the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah, and the imperative here rendered “be renewed toward me” may mean “change your ways and turn to me,” the true God.


Persons who persist in idolatrous practices would, as the Septuagint rendering suggests, be resisting or opposing YHWH. The deities that the idols represented did not exist, and persons who revered them would not be benefited. All idolaters, including those who fashioned the images, would be put to shame and humiliated, as they would receive no aid or protection. Idolaters would “go in humiliation” as objects of disgrace and reproach, for the final outcome to them would be one of bitter disappointment and loss.

45:17. Masoretic Text: Israel will be saved by YHWH with eternal salvation. You will not be shamed and not be humiliated for all eternity.

Septuagint: Israel is saved by the Lord with eternal salvation. They will not be shamed nor humiliated for eternity [literally, “until the age”].


The nonexistent deities could not save or deliver idolaters from any threat, peril, or distress, but YHWH, the only true God, would deliver Israel, the people whom he recognizes as his own. The salvation or deliverance made possible through his Son, the promised Messiah, is not a temporary deliverance from sin and its accompanying condemnation. It is a lasting or eternal salvation. The true Israel, the people whom YHWH considers as belonging to him, will never come to disappointment because of trusting him fully. At no time will they experience shame or humiliation as persons devoted to him.

45:18. Masoretic Text: For thus says YHWH, the one creating the heavens (he, the God forming the earth and making it; he established it; he created it not in vain [tóhu]; he formed it to be inhabited): I [am] YHWH, and [there is] no other [god].

Septuagint: Thus says the Lord, the one having made the heaven (he, the God, the one having exhibited the earth and having made it; he set its boundary; he did not make it in vain but to be inhabited): I am, and [there] is not still [another god].

In the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah, the conjunction “and” is included after “God” and after “making it.” Additionally, this scroll includes a preposition before the Hebrew word tóhu and, with the preposition, could be translated “for nothingness” or “for emptiness.”

The Targum of Isaiah focuses on the human inhabitants, indicating that God’s purpose was for the “sons of men” to increase on the earth.


The nonexistent gods did nothing, and humans, mere earthlings who were part of the creation, made the idols that represented these deities. YHWH is portrayed as the one who created the environment where humans live — the “heavens,” the “heaven” (LXX) or sky (the celestial dome that extends from horizon to horizon) and the earth or land. He is represented as “forming” the earth, giving shape to the land, “making it,” or causing it to exist, and establishing it or making it stable in relation to the sea. The Septuagint rendering about “exhibiting” the earth could be understood to mean causing the land to appear, and setting the boundary of the land could refer to its having the sea as its marked limit.

The Hebrew term tóhu is found in Genesis 1:2, where it is part of the description of the earth in its chaotic, formless, or empty state before it became suitable for life to exist. YHWH did not purpose for the earth or land to return to the chaotic and empty state that existed before life appeared. This assured that the devastated condition of the land of Israel would come to an end and that the earth would not be reduced to a waste or a place devoid of life, for YHWH formed the earth to be inhabited. He alone is the true God, and there is no other god. The deities that idolaters worshiped did not exist.

45:19. Masoretic Text: I have not spoken in a secret place, in earth’s abode of darkness. I did not say to the seed of Jacob, “Seek me in vain [tóhu].” I [am] YHWH, speaking righteousness, declaring upright things.

Septuagint: I have not spoken in secret nor in a dark place of the earth. I have not said to the seed of Jacob, “Seek worthlessness.” I am, I am the Lord, speaking righteousness and declaring truth.

The Targum of Isaiah expands the thought about seeking (“seek the fear of me”).


Mediums and other practicers of occult arts commonly conveyed messages in obscure terms and resorted to dark locations away from public view. YHWH, however, had his prophets declare his messages openly and publicly, not in secret places enshrouded in darkness. The seed of Jacob, or the descendants of the patriarch, when responding to the admonition of the prophets to seek YHWH, did not do so in vain, without any benefit to them.

As in the previous verse, the Hebrew word tóhu is rendered “in vain.” Here it can convey the sense of emptiness or worthlessness, something that does not result in anything of value. The word of YHWH through his prophets was of the utmost worth to the people, for it was an expression of what is right or righteous, providing sound direction to the people. YHWH spoke “upright things” through his prophets. The words were true or trustworthy, and heeding them never led to disappointment or harm as do deception and falsehood.

45:20. Masoretic Text: Assemble yourselves and come, approach together, you escapees of the nations. They [have] no knowledge, the ones carrying the wood, their image, and [who] keep praying to a god that cannot save.

Septuagint: Assemble yourselves and come, take counsel together, the ones being saved from among the nations. They did not know, the ones picking up the wood, their carved thing, and praying as to gods that do not save.

In the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah, the Hebrew word for “together” is not included. It reads, “and come.”


The escapees from the nations would be the non-Jewish peoples who had survived YHWH’s judgment. As Cyrus was foretold to be the instrument that he would use, the military campaigns of this Persian monarch may be regarded as included in this judgment. Additionally, the words may refer to YHWH’s judgment to be executed against all the nations in the more distant future.

The survivors of the judgment are called upon to assemble and to come as a body to make their approach together, taking their stand before YHWH. According to the Septuagint, they were to “take counsel together,” which would be for the purpose of pleading their case.

Idolaters are the ones being designated as not in possession of knowledge. They failed to recognize that a block of wood that had been carved into the representation of a supposed deity would not benefit them. Any hope of receiving deliverance from threat or harm would come to disappointment. A carved image was just a piece of wood that had to be carried. When praying to a god that an image represented, the people would not receive a response, but they did not perceive that such a god could not save or deliver them from danger.

45:21. Masoretic Text: Declare and approach, also take counsel together. Who caused this to be heard long ago, declared it of old? [Was it] not I, YHWH? And [there is] no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; [there is] none besides me.

Septuagint: If they will announce [it], let them approach that they may know together who made these things heard from the beginning. Then it was announced to you, I [am] God, and [there] is not another besides me; [there] is no righteous one and savior except for me.

In the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah, the conjunction “and” follows the word for “savior.”


People of the non-Jewish nations who had survived YHWH’s judgment are here depicted as being given the opportunity to make their statement when taking their position before him after having taken counsel or formulated the presentation of their case. According to the Septuagint, if they indeed had anything to declare, they should draw near before God for this purpose.

The implied thought is that they would not have anything to say in defense of the veneration of the deities represented by images. Instead, they would have impressed upon them that YHWH alone is God. In advance he had made known significant developments, and the fulfillment of what had been foretold through his prophets furnished positive proof that only he is the true God, the one whom they should revere. YHWH is the righteous one, doing what is right and executing justice according to the highest standard of impartiality and fairness. He proved himself to be a savior, repeatedly delivering his people from distress. The return of the repentant Israelites from Babylonian exile, as had been foretold to be effected through King Cyrus, revealed YHWH in his role as savior or deliverer.

45:22. Masoretic Text: Turn to me and be saved, [you from] all the ends of the earth, for I [am] God and [there is] no other.

Septuagint: Turn to me, and you will be saved, [you], the ones from the end of the earth. I am God, and [there] is not another.


Those from the nations who escaped YHWH’s judgment are urged to abandon idolatry, turning to him as the God to whom they will be exclusively devoted. This would result in their being saved or delivered from the adverse judgment to be executed against all who defiantly choose to reject the invitation to turn to him. The appeal to turn to YHWH is extended far and wide, to the people at the “ends of the earth” or to those living in the most distant locations. Rightly, they should respond, for he alone is God.

45:23. Masoretic Text: By myself I have sworn, A word has proceeded from my mouth in righteousness, and it will not return, for to me every knee will bend; every tongue will swear.

Septuagint: By myself I swear, Assuredly, righteousness will proceed from my mouth. My words will not return, for to me every knee will bend and every tongue will confess God,

In the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah (the Great Isaiah Scroll), the conjunction “and” precedes the concluding thought about “every tongue.”


YHWH is portrayed as swearing by his own person. Being the Supreme Sovereign, he cannot express the words of an oath by anyone higher than himself. So certain is the future universal confession by all the living that YHWH could add his sworn oath to his word respecting it. His word is expressed “in righteousness,” indicating that it is upright and trustworthy, certain of being accomplished. It “will not return to him,” for it will absolutely not fail to be fulfilled. The time will come when all the living will be exclusively devoted to him, reverentially dropping to their knees before him and swearing by his name or, according to the Septuagint, acknowledging him alone as the God whom they revere.

45:24. Masoretic Text: “Only in YHWH,” one will say of me, “[are] righteousness and strength. To him will come and be shamed all those having been incensed against him.”

Septuagint: saying, “Righteousness and glory will come to him, and all those separating themselves will be shamed.”


The confession of those who bow before YHWH is that he is the source of “righteousness and strength.” Only in him, or by being at one with him, can one have a righteous standing before him and be the recipient of his strengthening aid. As for those who defied him, raging against him, they would come before him and be put to shame on account of their senseless course.

In the Septuagint, “God” is the closest antecedent for the pronoun “him,” suggesting that he would be acknowledged as being righteous or upright and deserving of glory or honor. Accordingly, righteousness and glory would come to him from those who confessed him as their God. Those who “separated” themselves, defiantly choosing not to acknowledge YHWH as the God to whom they wanted to be devoted, would be put to shame. Their disgrace would mean total ruin and loss for them.

45:25. Masoretic Text: In YHWH all the seed of Israel will be justified and will glory.

Septuagint: By the Lord they will be justified, and in God all the seed of the sons of Israel will be glorified.


The expression “all the seed of Israel” denotes all the members of the true Israel or the people whom YHWH recognizes as his own. In him or by being at one with him, the true Israelites are justified, vindicated, or have an approved or right standing before him. The reference in the Hebrew text to “glorying” could mean that the true Israelites would ascribe glory, honor or praise to God. “In the Lord all the children of Israel will be made right, and will give praise.” (NLB) It may be preferable, however, to consider the meaning to be “glorying in YHWH.” This would signify that one’s having an approved relationship with him constitutes the basis for the boasting or glorying. “In him they will boast.” (NLT) According to the Septuagint, the true Israelites would be the ones “glorified” or honored by reason of their oneness with God.