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3 posted on 12/12/2012 9:23:58 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Isaiah 41:13-20

God’s special love for his people (continued)

[13] For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I will help you.”

[14] Fear not, you worm Jacob,
you men of Israel!
I will help you, says the Lord;
your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
[15] Behold, I will make of you a threshing sledge,
new, sharp, and having teeth;
you shall thresh the mountains and crush them,
and you shall make the hills like chaff;
[16] You shall winnow them and the wind shall carry them away,
and the tempest shall scatter them.
And you shall rejoice in the Lord;
in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.

[17] When the poor and needy seek water,
and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them,
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
[18] I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.
[19] I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive;
I will set in the desert the cypress,
the plane and the pine together;
[20] that men may see and know,
may consider and understand together,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.


41:8-20. The reason why God raises up this new deliverer, Cyrus, is his tender
love for his people, who are still suffering the humiliation of exile. This first oracle
of the “Book of Consolation” uses expressions that reveal unsuspected tender-
ness on the Lord’s part: “my servant” is a technical expression describing some-
one chosen for an important mission, as we shall see later in the songs of the
Servant. Here is applies to the entire people, Israel, and not to an individual. The
words “fear not” (vv. 10, 13, 14) call them to trust in the Lord even though the si-
tuation seems hopeless; the same words occur elsewhere in the Bible, addres-
sed to people picked for a dangerous mission – for example, Jacob (Gen 46:3)
or Joshua (Josh 1:9; 8:1; etc.) in the Old Testament, and the Blessed Virgin Ma-
ry, the Mother of Jesus (Lk 1:30) in the New. Other significant titles used here
are “offspring of Abraham, my friend” (v. 8), reminding them of their noble origin,
and “you worm Jacob”, a reference to the sorry state in which the exiles find

Even more significant than the names used to describe Israel are the actions
that God takes and the titles given him. These actions are always positive: “to
take from the ends of the earth”, “to call” (v. 9), “to strengthen”, “to help”, “to up-
hold” (v. 10). The titles are titles of affection: “your God” (vv. 10, 13), “your Lord”
and, above all, “your Redeemer” (v. 14), an expression that appears no less than
fourteen times in this part of the book. A redeemer (”goel” in Hebrew) was a per-
son’s next-of-kin, whose duty it was to ensure that family rights were not abused
— whether in respect of property, good name or even life itself (cf. the note on Job

God’s special love for Israel, his people, so beautifully expressed by the prophet,
should also be the basis of the hope felt by members of the new people of God:
“Our Lord keeps close watch over the footsteps and progress of his children; that
is, those who have love in their souls walk in his sight, and he stretches out his
hand to steady them in times of difficulty. For that is what Isaiah says: ‘I am your
God, who takes you by the hand and tells you: Do not be afraid, I will help you.’
As well as taking heart from this conviction, we should also have a deep trust in
God and in his help: if we do not spurn the grace he gives us, he will complete
the good work of salvation that he has begun (St Francis de Sales, “Treatise on
the Love of God”, 3, 4).

The last section gives a graphic description of the restoration of Israel, using the
simile of a wilderness that is turned into fertile, leafy terrain (cf. 44:3; 51:3).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

4 posted on 12/12/2012 9:24:55 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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