Isaiah 43 Commentary

Redemption through God’s grace (43:1-28)

Despite Israel’s failure and subsequent punishment, God has not cast off his people for ever. God used the power of foreign nations to enslave them and bring sufferings and hardships upon them, but he will now destroy the power of those nations. He will make them pay the ransom price for the redemption of captive Israel. They will fall so that Israel can go free (43:1-4). Wherever the captives are, they are still God’s people, and he will bring them back to their land (5-7).

God challenges the nations to meet him in court to see who controls the history of the world, Yahweh or the gods of the nations. If they can prove that their gods have knowledge of past events or can predict future events, they are invited to bring these gods with them to court, along with any other witnesses they can find to support their claims (8-9). As for Yahweh, his sole witness will be Israel. The history of Israel proves that God’s predictions always come true and that he is the only God. People can therefore be assured that when he predicts Israel’s release and return to its land, this prediction also will come true


For Israel’s sake, God will overthrow Babylon. He is still Israel’s covenant God, and once again he will redeem his people from bondage (14-15). Just as he miraculously led Israel through the Red Sea and across the desert in the time of Moses, so he will lead his people to the promised land again (16-19). As on the former occasion, he will protect them from danger and provide for their needs along the way (20- 21).

This restoration of Israel to its land will be entirely by God’s grace. The people certainly do not deserve it. While they have been in captivity, God has not demanded that they maintain the sacrificial ritual. He has placed no added burden upon them. But they have not shown their gratitude to him through prayer or other expressions of worship. They ignore God and continue in their sinful and selfish ways (22-24).

God is still willing to forgive his people, if only they will honestly examine themselves and admit their wrongdoing (25-26). The history of Israel shows, however, that the people do not repent readily. From the time of Jacob to the time of their captivity, they and their rulers have consistently rebelled against God and brought divine judgment upon them (27-28).

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