Isra’el’s Unfaithfulness and Adonai’s Mercy ~ Yesha’yahu 43:14-28

In my last post, we learned about Isra’el’s Only Savior in Yesha’yahu 43:1-13. In this post, we explore Isra’el’s Unfaithfulness and Adonai’s Mercy in 43:14-28.

14 Here is what Adonai, your redeemer, the Holy One of Isra’el, says: “For your sake, I have sent [an army] to Bavel and knocked down the fleeing Kasdim, all of them; their songs of triumph are now lamentations.

This passage is describing the defeat and capture of Bavel by Cyrus. Though not found in other sources, apparently the Kasdim (Chaldeans) unsuccessfully attempted to escape the conquest by traveling in their ships by sailing on the Euphrates to the Persian Gulf.

Kasdim was an Aramaic-speaking tribe of Bavel that rose up in the seventh century BCE to lead the charge against Ashur. The Kasdim tribe’s home base was at the point where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers emptied into what is today called the Persian Gulf. With access to the Persian Gulf, Bavel took pride in her naval capabilities. And yet it would be the Euphrates itself that would provide the Medes and Persians a way into her heavily walled city. [1] Who says Adonai does work all things for the good of His plan?

15 I am Adonai, your Holy One, the Creator of Isra’el, your King.” 16 Here is what Adonai says, who made a way in the sea, a path through the raging waves; 17 who led out chariot and horse, the army in its strength they lay down, never to rise again, snuffed out and quenched like a wick:

Adonai called on His people to remember their great deliverance from the Egyptians at the Red Sea.

18 “Stop dwelling on past events and brooding over times gone by; 19 I am doing something new; it’s springing up can’t you see it? I am making a road in the desert, rivers in the wasteland.

The Exodus poetically described in verses 16-17 is defined as past events, the things of old. But Adonai turns the hearers’ attention to something new, a new Exodus. This time Adonai will create not a way in the sea, but a way in the wastelands. This future deliverance is pictured as a reversal of nature, with rivers in the desert.

20 The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; because I put water in the desert, rivers in the wasteland, for my chosen people to drink, 21 the people I formed for myself so that they would proclaim my praise.

Because of the new provision of water in the wasteland, the animals that live there will be pleased. In the same way, Adonai’s people who have been oppressed by the Bavlim will find new freedom.

22 But you haven’t called on Me, Ya‘akov; because you have grown weary of Me, Isra’el. 23 You have not brought Me sheep for your burnt offerings; you have not honored Me with your sacrifices. I didn’t burden you by requiring grain offerings or weary you by demanding frankincense. 24 You have not spent money to buy Me sweet cane or filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices. Instead, you have burdened Me with your sins and wearied Me with your crimes.

The fat parts of the animal were also to be included in the sacrifice. Neither fat nor blood was to be eaten. Blood was drained and then sprinkled on the altar. The fat was always burned on the altar as part of the essentials of sacrifice.

25 I, yes I, am the one who blots out your offenses for My own sake; I will not remember your sins.

The people sinned, but Adonai forgave. The idea of removal of sin is communicated by the action of sweeping as well as the mental act of forgetting. To remember something is to act on it, and to forget is to hold back from acting.

26 Remind Me when we’re in court together tell your side, make the case that you are right. 27 Your first father sinned, and your spokesmen rebelled against Me. 28 Therefore I repudiated the officials of the sanctuary, delivered Ya‘akov to the curse of destruction, and subjected Isra’el to scorn. ~ Isaiah 43:14-28 (CJB)

Once again, a court setting is introduced. Adonai challenged His people to argue their case against Him. The reference to Isra’el’s first father is likely Ya‘akov, whose name was changed to Isra’el. Ya‘akov was well known for his foolish and sinful ways (Hosea 12:1-6).

In my next post, we learn of Isra’el the Chosen in 44:1-5.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Jon Courson’s Application Commentary Old Testament Volume 2.

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