Isaiah 45:1-7

Isaiah 45:1-7
Ordinary A47


1 Thus says the LordA to his anointed,B to Cyrus,C
    whose right handD I have graspedE

Notes on verse 1a

A “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
B “anointed” = mashiach. From mashach (to smear or anoint; to run oil on, to consecrate). This is the anointed or consecrated one. So, it could refer to a king, priest, or saint. It is also the root of the word “messiah.”
C “Cyrus” = koresh. 15x in OT. From Persian Kourosh (Cyrus, meaning “sun” or “one who bestows care”). This is Cyrus, who was a Persian king. See
D “right hand” = yamin. May be from yamam (to go or choose the right, use the right hand; to be physically fit or firm). This can mean right hand, right side, or south. Since most people are right-handed, the metaphorical usage of this word presumes that the right hand is stronger and more agile. Thus, it is the instrument of power and action.
E “grasped” = chazaq. This is to strengthen, seize, be courageous, repair, bind, heal, conquer, harden.

to subdueF nationsG beforeH him
    and stripI kings of their robes,J

Notes on verse 1b

F “subdue” = radad. 4x in OT. This is to beat down in pieces, spread, subdue. Figuratively, this could be to conquer or it could be to cover something with gold (i.e. overlay).
G “nations” = goy. From the same root as gevah (the back, person, or body); related to gev (among); related to gaah (to rise up). This is nation or people. Often used to refer to Gentiles or foreign nations. It can also be used figuratively for a group of animals. This is where the Yiddish “goy” comes from.
H “before” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
I “strip” = patach. This is to open wide in a literal or figurative sense. So, it is open, draw out, let something go free, break forth. It can also mean to plow, engrave, or carve.
J “robes” = mothen. This is the waist, slender, or small of back. It can also refer to the loins when in plural.

to openK doorsL before him—
    and the gatesM shall not be closed:N

Notes on verse 1c

K “open” = patach. Same as “strip” in v1. See note I above.
L “doors” = delet. From dalah (to draw, lift up; properly, to dangle; draw water; figuratively, to deliver). This is something that swings like a door, gate, leaf, lid, or other opening.
M “gates” = shaar. May be related to sha’ar (to calculate or reckon; may come from a root that means to open up or split). This is a gate, door, or other opening like a port.
N “closed” = sagar. This is to shut up, imprison, lock, hand over, or figuratively surrender.

I will goO before you
    and levelP the mountains,Q

Notes on verse 2a

O “go” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
P “level” = yashar. This is to be straight, right, even, smooth, or agreeable. Figuratively, it can be to make something pleasant or prosperous.
Q “mountains” = hadar. 7x in OT. This may mean to swell in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could be honor, pride, respected, to adorn, claim honor. It could also refer to crooked or rough terrain. Additionally, it can refer to showing partiality or deference.

I will break in piecesR the doors of bronzeS
    and cutT through the barsU of iron,V

Notes on verse 2b

R “break in pieces” = shabar. This is break, collapse, destroy, break in pieces, tear. It is bursting in a literal or figurative sense.
S “bronze” = nechushah. 10x in OT. From nachush (made of bronze or brass, coppery; figuratively, hard); from the same as nechosheth (copper, bronze, brass – something made from this metal – a coin or fetter; something considered base in contrast to gold or silver) or nachash (to divine, interpret omens, learn from experience, observe; to hiss) or nachash (a serpent or snake). This is copper, bronze, brass, or steel.
T “cut” = gada. This is to cut or chop as one cuts down a tree. It is used more generally for cutting off or destroying things.
U “bars” = beriach. From barach (to flee, drive away, hurry, to bolt). This is a bar or a bolt. It can also be used for a fugitive.
V “iron” = barzel. From the same as Birzoth (a name meaning holes). Root may mean to pierce. This is iron as something used as a cutting implement. It can also specifically mean ax head.

I will give you the treasuresW of darknessX
    and riches hiddenY in secret places,Z

Notes on verse 3a

W “treasures” = otsar. From atsar (to store up, hoard). This is treasure or the place where one keeps treasure – a depository, storehouse, armory, cellar.
X “darkness” = choshek. From chashak (to be or become dark). This is literal darkness is contrast to light. Figuratively, it can be obscurity, sorrow, misery, blindness, wickedness, destruction, death. It can also be hiding places. Additionally, it can mean judgment, mourning, ignorance, evil, or sin.
Y “riches hidden” = matmon. 5x in OT. From taman (to hide, bury, keep in reserve; hiding something by covering it). This is something of value that is buried – hidden treasure. It is usually money.
Z “secret places” = mistar. 10x in OT. From sathar (hide, conceal, or be absent; hiding because something is covered – used in a literal or figurative sense). This is a secret or a hiding place. Properly, it is something or somewhere that conceals like a covert.

so that you may knowAA that it is I, the Lord,
    the GodBB of Israel,CC who callDD you by your name.EE

Notes on verse 3b

AA “know” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
BB “God” = Elohim.
CC “Israel” = yisrael. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
DD “call” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
EE “name” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.

For the sake of my servantFF Jacob,GG
    and Israel my chosen,HH
I call you by your name,
    I surnameII you, though you do not know me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
    besides me there is no god.
    I armJJ you, though you do not know me,

Notes on verses 4-5

FF “servant” = ebed. From abad (to work, serve, compel; any kind of work; used causatively, can mean to enslave or keep in bondage). This is a servant, slave, or bondservant.
GG “Jacob” = yaaqob. From the same as aqeb (heel, hind part, hoof, rear guard of an army, one who lies in wait, usurper). This is Isaac’s son and his descendants. The name means heel-catcher or supplanter.
HH “chosen” = bachir. From bachar (to choose, appoint, try, excellent). This is chosen or choice. So, it implies excellence.
II “surname” = kanah. 4x in OT. This is to give someone an extra name, whether a title or an honor. It could also mean to flatter or to eulogize.
JJ “arm” = azar. 16x in OT. This is to encircle, bind, encompass, to belt or gird.

so that they may know, from the risingKK of the sunLL
    and from the west,MM that there is no one besides me;
    I am the Lord, and there is no other.

Notes on verse 6

KK “rising” = mizrach. From zarach (to rise, shine, or dawn; can also describe symptoms of leprosy). This is the east as the place where the sun rises. It can also refer to the sunrise itself.
LL “sun” = shemesh. This is sun or toward the east. Its root may mean being brilliant. Figuratively, this could be a ray or an arch.
MM “west” = maarab. 14x in OT. From the same as ereb (evening, night, twilight); perhaps from arab (to become dark or become evening). This is the west as the place where the sun sets. It can also refer to the setting itself.

I formNN lightOO and createPP darkness,
    I make wealQQ and create woe;RR
    I the Lord do all these things.

Notes on verse 7

NN “form” = yatsar. Perhaps related to yatsar (to be narrow, distressed, or vexed); perhaps related to tsarar (to bind, restrict, narrow, be cramped, an adversary). This is to fashion or form, perhaps by squeezing something into a shape or form. Particularly, it is to create as a potter does. Figuratively, it is to determine.
OO “light” = or. From or (to be or become light). This is light, sun, sunshine, dawn, or daylight. Figuratively, it can refer to light from instruction, light of a face (that is to say one that is cheerful or finds favor). It can refer to prosperity or salvation; a light that guides, a light eternal from Zion.
PP “create” = bara. This is to create, shape, choose, or select. It is the word used in Genesis 1:1 when God created the heavens and the earth.
QQ “weal” = shalom. From shalam (to be complete or sound; to have safety mentally, physically, or extending to one’s estate; so, if these things are safe and complete, the implication is that one would be friendly; and, if being friendly, one would make amends and that friendship would be reciprocated). This is completeness, soundness, welfare, favor, friend, good health. It is to be safe and figuratively well, happy, at peace, friendly. Abstractly, it includes the ideas of welfare and prosperity (not in excessive wealth, but in having enough).
RR “woe” = ra’. From ra’a’ (to be evil, bad, afflict; properly, to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces; figuratively, to cause something to be worthless; this is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense; that which displeases, to do harm or mischief, to punish or vex). This is bad, disagreeable, that which causes pain, misery, something having little or no value, something that is ethically bad, wicked, injury, calamity. This refers to anything that is not what it ought to be – a natural disaster, a disfigurement, an injury, a sin.

Image credit: “The Fall of Babylon: Cyrus the Great Defeating the Chaldean Army” by J. Martin, 1831.

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