Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Islands, near Asia, whose conversion Isaias often predicts, (Calmet) as he does that of all nations. (Haydock) — God continues to prove his divinity, (Calmet) expostulating with idolaters, whose conversion is insinuated, and among the rest that of Britain, which is the most renowned island in Europe. (Bristow, anot. 11.) (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Just one. Septuagint, “justice.” Christ, (Eusebius; St. Jerome) Abraham, (Chaldean; Grotius) or Cyrus, whose conquests were effects of God’s providence, ver. 10., and chap. xlv. — Kings. Cyrus liberated Persia, conquered Babylon and all Asia.
Ver. 3. Feet. His march and victories shall be so rapid, like those of Alexander the Great, Daniel viii. 5.
Ver. 4. Beginning. Disposing all things, as the conquests of Cyrus, announced so long before by name, evince. — Last. Alpha and Omega, Apocalypse i. 8., and xxii. 13.
Ver. 5. Islands. People of Asia Minor, Genesis x. 5. (Calmet) — The Babylonians made a league with the most potent king Crœsus, to oppose the young conqueror. (Xenophon B. i.)
Ver. 7. Moved. Thus the nations conspire against Cyrus (Calmet) and the Messias. (Haydock)
Ver. 10. Upheld thee. Cyrus shall gain the victory, and give thee liberty.
Ver. 14. Dead. Though you were in the grave, I could protect you. Captivity is often represented under this idea. (Calmet) — You who are despised, fear not, since Christ will protect and reward you. (Worthington)
Ver. 15. Chaff. Cambyses perished on the mountains of Judea, (Haydock) and the Machabees gained many victories over the Syrians, Micheas iv. 13., and Ezechiel xxxix. (Calmet) — They are here meant, as their exploits resembled those of Cyrus. (Houbigant)
Ver. 18. Waters. The captives shall be refreshed in the deserts, chap. xxxv. 6., and xliii. 20. (Calmet)
Ver. 19. The thorn. In Hebrew, the shitta or setim, a tree resembling the whitethorn. (Challoner) (St. Jerome) — A fragrant shade shall speedily rise up, Baruch v. 6. (Calmet)
Ver. 21. Thing. Add “strong,” forte, (Haydock) any good proof of idolatry.
Ver. 23. Good. The prescience and power of God prove his divinity. Can idols produce any thing similar? (Calmet) — None can tell what will happen, unless God reveal it. (Worthington)
Ver. 24. Work. All that you can do or promise. Hebrew, “your work is worse than a viper.”
Ver. 25. Sun. Cyrus had a Persian for his father, and a Mede for his mother; thus uniting both nations, (Calmet) so that he was styled a mule by an ancient oracle. (Eusebius, pręp. ix. 41.) — These countries lay to the north-east of Judea. (Calmet)
Ver. 26. Just, or “the just one,” (Haydock) that we may recognise Cyrus at once. — Your words. He addresses the idols. You cannot dive into futurity. (Calmet)
Ver. 28. I. Isaias, (Menochius) or God, (Haydock) pronounces sentence against the speechless idols. (Menochius)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The reign of the just one: the vanity of idols.
1 Let the islands keep silence before me, and the nations take new strength: let them come near, and then speak: let us come near to judgment together.
2 Who hath raised up the just one from the east, hath called him to follow him? he shall give the nations in his sight, and he shall rule over kings: he shall give them as the dust to his sword, as stubble driven by the wind, to his bow.
3 He shall pursue them, he shall pass in peace, no path shall appear after his feet.
4 Who hath wrought and done these things, calling the generations from the beginning? *I, the Lord, I am the first and the last.
5 The islands saw it, and feared, the ends of the earth were astonished, they drew near, and came.
6 Every one shall help his neighbour, and shall say to his brother: Be of good courage.
7 The coppersmith striking with the hammer encouraged him that forged at that time, saying: It is ready for soldering: and he strengthened it with nails, that it should not be moved.
8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham, my friend.
9 In whom I have taken thee from the ends of the earth, and from the remote parts thereof have called thee, and said to thee: Thou art my servant, I have chosen thee, and have not cast thee away.
10 Fear not, for I am with thee: turn not aside, for I am thy God: I have strengthened thee, and have helped thee, and the right hand of my just One hath upheld thee.
11 Behold, all that fight against thee shall be confounded and ashamed, they shall be as nothing, and the men shall perish that strive against thee.
12 Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find, the men that resist thee: they shall be as nothing: and as a thing consumed the men that war against thee.
13 For I am the Lord thy God, who take thee by the hand, and say to thee: Fear not, I have helped thee.
14 Fear not, thou worm of Jacob, you that are dead of Israel: I have helped thee, saith the Lord: and thy Redeemer, the holy One of Israel.
15 I have made thee as a new threshing wain, with teeth like a saw: thou shall thresh the mountains, and break them in pieces: and shalt make the hills as chaff.
16 Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, in the holy One of Israel, thou shalt be joyful.
17 The needy and the poor seek for waters, and there are none: their tongue hath been dry with thirst. I, the Lord, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers in the high hills, and fountains in the midst of the plains: I will turn the desert into pools of waters, and the impassable land into streams of waters.
19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, and the thorn, and the myrtle, and the olive-tree: I will set in the desert the fir-tree, the elm, and the box-tree together:
20 That they may see and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the holy One of Israel hath created it.
21 Bring your cause near, saith the Lord: bring hither, if you have any thing to allege, said the king of Jacob.
22 Let them come, and tell us all things that are to come: tell us the former things, what they were: and we will set our heart upon them, and shall know the latter end of them, and tell us the things that are to come.
23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, and we shall know that ye are gods. Do ye also good or evil, if you can: and let us speak, and see together.
24 Behold, you are of nothing, and your work of that which hath no being: he that hath chosen you is an abomination.
25 I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come from the rising of the sun: he shall call upon my name, and he shall make princes to be as dirt, and as the potter treading clay.
26 Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know: and from time of old, that we may say: Thou art just. There is none that sheweth, nor that foretelleth, nor that heareth your words.
27 The first shall say to Sion: Behold, they are here, and to Jerusalem, I will give an evangelist.
28 And I saw, and there was no one even among them to consult, or who, when I asked, could answer a word.
29 Behold, they are all in the wrong, and their works are vain: their idols are wind and vanity.
4: Isaias xliv. 6. and xlviii. 12.; Apocalypse i. 8. and 17. and xxii. 13.