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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Isaiah

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43.1–7 : Israel's redemption is at hand.

An oracle of salvation (“do not fear”) assuring the hearers that judgment is in the past. The dangers that they foresee will be survived and the deportees or their descendants will return to the homeland.

2 :

Through fire, cf. Ps 66.12 .

3 :

Egypt, Ethiopia, and Arabia (Seba), all of which Cyrus was expected to conquer, will be handed over as ransom for the liberation of Judah (cf. 45.11 ).

6–7 :

Cf. vv. 11–12; 49.22; 60.90 .

43.8–21 : The Lord restores and redeems Israel.

8–15A judicial process:

is set up (as in 41.1–5,21–29 ) in which deities of other lands, and in the first place Babylon, are challenged by the LORD to demonstrate divine status by their ability to predict the future and bring it about. Both sides are invited to call witnesses. Even though blind and deaf, the people of Israel can witness to the LORD's claim. All other gods fail the test; they are impotent and, in effect, nonexistent (see 40.18–20n. ). The contest ends with an announcement of release from Babylonian captivity by the LORD, Israel's Redeemer ( 54.5; 59.20 ) and Holy One ( 41.14; 48.17; 49.7 ).

16–21 :

The allusion is to the Exodus from Egypt (Ex 14–15 ), prefiguring an anticipated exodus from Babylon, the new thing announced by the prophet. For the theme of water in the wilderness, see 41.17–20n.

43.22–28 : Ritual acts rendered ineffectual by a sinful way of life

(cf. 1.10–17 ).

24 :

Sweet cane, see Ex 30.25 .

25–28 :

Israel is invited to convict the LORD of injustice in bringing about the destruction of both kingdoms. The attempt will fail because Israel has a history of infidelity beginning with the first ancestor, Jacob (cf. Hos 12.2–4 ).

27 :

Interpreters transgressed, translation and meaning are uncertain; perhaps it is a denunciation of optimistic prophets during the time of the monarchy who led the people astray.

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