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Isaiah 43 - G-d Tells the Jews, "I Love You"

"But now, Jacob, thus says G-d, your Creator, and your Maker, Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name - you are Mine!" - Isaiah 43:1

Despite G-d's reasons for exiling the Jewish people, He now reassures them that they will be redeemed. He reminds them how He redeemed them from Egypt and how He proclaimed to the world that they are His - He will redeem them again in the Future as He redeemed them in the past. G-d also reassures them that He has not exchanged them for another people which will become the "new"Israel, for only they are the children of Jacob-Israel, whom He has called His people by name.

"When you pass through waters, I am with you; through rivers - they will not sweep you away. When you walk through fire you shall not be scalded and flames will not kindle you." - Isaiah 43:2

G-d now reminds them how He took them on dry land across the Red Sea and Jordan River, alluding that He will do the same once again. He tells them how they will endure four different types of exiles - "waters, rivers, fire and flames" - and that throughout all they will remain faithful. The nations will try to baptize you in their "holy waters," to wash you away from your faith in their "rivers." They will burn you at the stake for not accepting their faith, but the flames will not touch your soul. I am with you throughout your ordeals.

"For I am the Lord, your G-d, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I have given you ransom from Egypt and placed Cush and Sheva beneath you." - Isaiah 43:3

G-d further reminds them how He saved their firstborn when all the Egyptian firstborn were killed. The Egyptian firstborn were indeed their "ransom," because Jewish behavior was no better than theirs. He also reminds them how Egypt's treasures, their "ransom," together with those of Cush and Sheba, fell before them after the plague upon Sancheiriv's troops.

"Because you are dear in My eyes, honored and I love you, I shall place mankind underneath you and nations beneath your soul." - Isaiah 43:4

Because the Jewish people are the descendants of the holy forefathers, they are dear in G-d's eyes. Because they are dear in G-d's eyes and because they accepted His Teachings, they are honored more than any nation. And because they loved Him throughout the exile and suffered for His Name, G-d loves them more than any other nation. They are dear to Him not only because of their small numbers, but also because of their honored essence.

"Fear not, for I am with you - I shall bring your children from the East and gather you from the West. I shall say to the North, "Give forth!" and to the South, "Hold not back!" Bring back My children from afar, My daughters from the ends of the earth." - Isaiah 43:5-6

Fear not that you may lose your status due to the exile, for I shall gather you from all over the earth. I shall bring back the lost Ten Tribes, exiled to the East, and the Judeans exiled to the West. I will bring back not only those who are distant geographically, "from afar": Those who were forced to abandon Jewish practice but kept it secretly in their homes, and even those who had only kept the faith in their hearts.

"All are called in My Name, I created them for My glory, I formed and made them." - Isaiah 43:7

All those who are called in G-d's Name, all those who are Jewish - who proclaim the Almighty G-d with their very lives and proclaim Him the great Creator - they are the ones G-d will redeem and bring back to the Land in the Future. Let not the nations come and complain why the Jewish people were chosen, for they had the choice to be just the same, for all were created for G-d's glory.

"To take out a blind people who have eyes and deaf ones who have ears." - Isaiah 43:8

And since the purpose of Creation is to manifest G-d, which is accomplished only through His chosen people, therefore, He must redeem them despite their being spiritually "blind and deaf" during exile.

"You are My witnesses, says G-d, and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you should know and believe in Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me was nothing created by any god and after Me shall not be." - Isaiah 43:10

But the Jewish people can attest to the Truth - I have made them My witnesses. I had told them of Sancheiriv's siege before it came about and the prophecies of the Future shall also come to be. This I have done so that you will acknowledge Me, that there is no other power besides Me. I am the sole Creator of all existing things - there was no one else who created anything.

"I, I am G-d and there is no Savior besides Me." - Isaiah 43:11

I, G-d, Who foretold of past things before they came, am foretelling of your future salvation. I, G-d, am the same I Who saved you in the past and can save you now whenever I want to.

"I foretold and I saved, I announced it and there were no foreigners with you. You are My witnesses and I am G-d. Even before day, I am He and there is no one who can save from My hand. When I act, who can turn it back?" - Isaiah 43:12-13

Whenever I saved you, I foretold it beforehand - you all heard it and were witnesses; there was no one among you who remained "foreign" to My words. "Even before the day" of Creation I planned these things and, therefore, no one can save from My hand. Whether I act to bring evil or good, no one can turn back My work.

Thus says G-d, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: For your sake I sent to Babylon and brought down all the bolts. The Chaldeans then cried in the ships." - Isaiah 43:14

G-d sent the Medes to destroy Babylon, to avenge the Jewish blood which they spilled - for the Jewish people's "sake." They broke down the bolts of Babylon's gates and the Babylonians - the Chaldeans - were then sent away crying in ships.

"I am G-d, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King." - Isaiah 43:15

I am G-d Who will do this to Babylon; I am your Holy One Who sanctifies My Name through you - I shall not leave you to other kings' rule, for I alone am your King.

"Thus says G-d, Who paved a road across the ocean and a path through torrent waters; Who brought out chariots and steed, armies and strength, but they all lay down, never to rise, extinguished, put out like a wick." - Isaiah 43:16-17

G-d has performed many miracles in the past, such as paving a path across the Red Sea and Jordan River. He brought out Egypt's cavalry to chase the escaping people, but they all were drowned and "laid flat" in the Red Sea. He brought out Sancheriv's cavalry to besiege Jerusalem, but their lives were all extinguished in the morning.

"The wild beasts will honor Me, the serpents and the ostriches, for I have made water in the desert and rivers in the wasteland to give My chosen people to drink." - Isaiah 43:20

All of Creation will rejoice for My people and praise Me for what I did for them - even the nations which are like wild beasts. They will acknowledge the hierarchy of souls.

"I created this people for Myself to tell My praises, but Jacob, you have not called Me; Israel, you are tired of Me." - Isaiah 43:21-22

I had created you as My people to constantly praise My Name and you did not even call Me in distress. Yet you are tired of Me, as if you had. Why did "Jacob," the masses, cease to call in My Name? - because "Israel," the teachers, became lax and "tired." Why did "Israel," the old ones, become tired of Me? - because when they were "Jacob," when they were young, they did not call in My Name sincerely.

"But I, I am He Who erases your sins for My sake; your sins I shall forget." - Isaiah 43:25

So even though justice says that I should erase you, nevertheless, I shall forgive. I forgave the Jewish people in the Wilderness and have done so throughout all times - for My own sake, to honor My Name. It is I, the same I, Who created the world, at which time it was free of sin, Who can restore the purity of your souls to make you free of sin. I did it at Mount Sinai when you accepted My Teachings which I made you free of sin. I shall erase your sins, even the intentional ones, because even your suffering in exile will not do it. But I shall never remind you of your past transgressions because that would not let our relationship heal.

"Your forefather sinned and your spokesmen transgressed against Me." - Isaiah 43:27

But how can you say that you have not sinned when Adam, your original forefather sinned and so did Abraham, the Jewish people's forefather? Even your "first fathers" sinned - the generation of Egyptian Redemption, even though they witnessed My miracles. And even your "spokesmen," your prophets and leaders, misled you and transgressed against Me, so what can be expected of you?

"So I shall desecrate your holy princes and give Jacob over to destruction and Israel to infamy." - Isaiah 43:28

Because of Israel's sins, G-d will desecrate the "holy princes," the spiritual leaders who had fallen short - the prophets will lose their prophecy. Even Moses and Aharon, the first holy princes, were "desecrated" because of the people's sins. The masses of the people, "Jacob," will be given over to destruction and the material leaders, "Israel," to infamy.

Commentary by Meam Loez

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