Daniel prospered (Dan 6:28-6:28)

“Thus,

Daniel prospered

During the reign of Darius,

As well as the reign of Cyrus

Of Persia.”

Cyrus (559-530 BCE) clearly was a historical figure from Persia, who took over Babylon in 539 BCE. Darius I (522-486 BCE) actually came later. However, Daniel prospered under them both, just as he had under the Babylonian kings, much like Joseph under the Egyptian Pharaohs.

The call of Cyrus to fight against the Babylonians (Isa 48:14-48:16)

“Assemble!

All of you!

Hear!

Who among them has declared these things?

Yahweh loves him.

He shall perform his purpose on Babylon.

His arm shall be against the Chaldeans.

I!

Even I have spoken!

I called him!

I have brought him!

He will prosper in his way.

Draw near to me!

Hear this!

From the beginning,

I have not spoken in secret.

From the time it came to be,

I have been there.            

‘Yahweh God has sent me.

He has sent his Spirit.’”

Second Isaiah reveals the new things to happen. Once again, everyone had to assemble and listen to what Yahweh had to say. Thus Yahweh declared that he loved Cyrus who was about to attack Babylon and use his arm against these Chaldeans. Yahweh clearly says that he has called him, but Cyrus will prosper in his own way. Yahweh wanted the Israelites to know that he had not spoken in secret, since he has always existed. Apparently Cyrus, without explicitly mentioning him by name, responded saying that Yahweh had sent his Spirit to him.

Supreme power of Yahweh (Isa 45:11-45:13)

“Thus says Yahweh!

The Holy One of Israel!

It’s Maker!

‘Will you question me

About my children?

Will you command me

Concerning the work of my hands?

I made the earth.

I created humankind upon it.

It was my hands

That stretched out the heavens.

I commanded their entire host.

I have aroused Cyrus in righteousness.

I will make all his paths straight.

He shall build my city.

He shall set my exiles free,

Not for a price or a reward.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

There is no doubt that this is an oracle of Yahweh, the Most Holy One of Israel, and its maker, here in Second Isaiah. Yahweh was defending his choice of Cyrus. Why would any of his children question him? Why should they say anything about how he is doing things? Yahweh has made the heavens and the earth with all the humans that live here. Thus he has appointed Cyrus in his righteousness. Yahweh is going to level the ground in front of him. In turn, Cyrus was going to build a city and set his exiles free, but he would not receive any money or reward for this action.

Cyrus does not know that Yahweh is helping him (Isa 45:4-45:6)

“For the sake

Of my servant Jacob,

For the sake

Of Israel my chosen one,

I call you by your name.

I surname you,

Even though you do not know me.

I am Yahweh.

There is no other.

Besides me

There is no god.

I arm you,

Even though you do not know me.

Thus they might know,

From the rising of the sun,

As well as from the west,

That there is none besides me.

I am Yahweh.

There is no other.”

Second Isaiah explains how Yahweh, who is all powerful, was helping Cyrus. Yahweh was doing this for the sake of Jacob and Israel. Even though Cyrus is not aware that Yahweh was helping and arming him, Yahweh has named him in particular. Yahweh was doing this, so that all people would know that there was no god besides him. Thus from the east to the west, they would know that Yahweh, and he alone, was responsible for the exploits of Cyrus. This is a rather large claim, much like the 20th century anonymous Christians, who did not know they were Christians.

Yahweh will help Cyrus (Isa 45:2-45:3)

“I will go before you.

I will level the mountains.

I will break into pieces

The doors of bronze.

I will cut through the bars of iron.

I will give you the treasures of darkness.

I will give you riches hidden in secret places.

Thus you may know

That it is I,

Yahweh,

The God of Israel,

Who call you by your name.”

Second Isaiah says that Yahweh, in the first person singular, will clearly help Cyrus, since he will go before him to set things up for him. Yahweh was going to level the mountains. He was going to break down the bronze doors with their iron bars. He was going to give Cyrus the treasures and the riches from dark and secret places. In case there was any doubt, it was Yahweh, the God of Israel, who has called Cyrus by name to do his work.

The power of Yahweh (Isa 44:24-44:28)

“Thus says Yahweh,

Your Redeemer!

He formed you in the womb.

‘I am Yahweh!

I made all things!

I alone stretched out the heavens!

I by myself spread out the earth!

Who was with me?

Who frustrates the omens of liars?

Who makes fools of diviners?

Who turns back the wise?

Who makes their knowledge foolish?

Who confirms the word of his servant?

Who fulfills the predictions of his messengers?

Who says of Jerusalem?

‘It shall be inhabited.’

Who says of the cities of Judah?

‘They shall be rebuilt.

I will raise up their ruins.’

Who says to the deep?

‘Be dry!

I will dry up your rivers.’

Who says of Cyrus?

‘He is my shepherd.

He shall carry out my purpose.’

Who says of Jerusalem?

‘It shall be rebuilt.’

Who says of the temple?

‘Your foundations shall be laid.’”

Second Isaiah ends this chapter the way it began, stressing the redeeming power of Yahweh among the Israelites who had been formed by Yahweh in their mother’s womb. Yahweh has stretched out the heavens and spread out the earth by himself. He has frustrated liars. He has made fools of false prophets. He has made the wise people look foolish with all their knowledge. However, he has fulfilled his word to his servants and the predictions of his messengers. He said that Jerusalem would be inhabited and the cities of Judah would be rebuilt from their ruins. He dried up the rivers. He also made Cyrus his shepherd, a very strong term for this Persian leader from 559-530 BCE. Cyrus was to carry out Yahweh’s purposes as the destroyer mentioned at the beginning of this chapter. Jerusalem would be rebuilt with the foundations of the temple laid out.