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Isaiah 45 - There is Nothing Besides G-d

"I am G-d, there is nothing else, besides Me there is no god. I have strengthened you, although you did not know Me, in order that they know - from the far East to the West - that there is nothing besides Me. I am G-d and there is nothing else." - Isaiah 45:5-6

I am G-d, the only Being, Who foretold of your life, calling you (Koresh) by name long before you were born, long before you "knew Me." I have granted you strength to bring down the Great Babylon so that all the earth know, "from the East to the West," that I alone am G-d.

"I form light and create dark, I make peace and create evil - I, G-d, do all this." - Isaiah 45:7

In bringing down Babylon to uplift His people, G-d reveals Himself as the Creator of all - both the "light and the peace," the good for His people and the "dark and the evil" for Babylon. This is stressed here for the conquering Persians to hear, because they believed in a dualism of gods, one of good and of evil. But G-d is above all limitations and He can do these contradictory things. And even the evil He brings about is for the purpose of bringing good, because the dark is a perquisite to light. Even the wars that He brings about are for the purpose of bringing world peace.

"Woe to him who argues with his Creator - just a piece of earthenware. Can the clay say to its maker, "What are you doing? Your work has no handles!" - Isaiah 45:9

But let not the creature, man, say to his Creator that he is nothing but a piece of clay, destined to based behavior and incapable of, "having no handles for," improving himself. For man is created with a divine soul and which can elevate the basest nature.

"Thus says G-d: The wealth of Egypt and the trade of Cush and the tall Sebaites shall pass before you - they shall be yours and follow you, marching in chains. They shall prostrate before you and pray before you, (saying) "Only with you is G-d; there is no other god!" - Isaiah 45:14

"Surely, You are hidden G-d, the Lord and Savior of Israel." - Isaiah 45:15

The nations will then say that they now understand that G-d was always hidden throughout Jewish exile. Unlike their seen gods which do not see man, G-d is unseen but always sees. Yet, when You remain "only" G-d, you remain hidden from man and are only revealed when you are Israel's Savior.

"But Israel shall be saved by G-d for eternity - you shall not be shamed or disgraced forevermore!" - Isaiah 45:17

Ultimately, Israel will be saved by G-d - therefore their salvation will be eternal. Earlier salvations came through human intermediaries like Moses, causing the Jewish people shame when they were later enslaved. G-d's salvation, though, being eternal, will prevent shame forevermore.

"For thus says G-d, Creator of the heavens - He is G-d, the Former of the earth and it Maker. He established it and did not create it in vain, but to be inhabited: I am G-d, there is no other!" - Isaiah 45:18

The idol-worshiping nations will be shamed when they are confronted by G-d, the Creator, because they worshiped only His creatures - the heavenly bodies and earthly powers. He did not create earth "in vain," but created it to be inhabited by people who would know Him and thus He will just destroy the objects of their worship.

"I did not speak in secrecy, in a place of darkness, nor tell the seed of Jacob to seek Me in vain. I am G-d, Who speaks righteousness and tells upright things." - Isaiah 45:19

The Gentile nations should have known better - they also heard the Revelation at Sinai. Some heard the thunder and lightning from far, but all civilization heard of what happened - they had no excuse for their idol-worship. Indeed, the Revelation took place in a no-man's land, lest the nations feel excluded had it taken place in the Land. And the main witnesses of Revelation, Jacob's seed, the Jewish people, are assured that their toil and suffering are not in vain. Spiritual blessing will be their lot, so let them not seek material blessing in vain.

"Gather together and come close, you lowly of the nations! They do not know - those who carry their wooden idols and pray to a god who cannot help! Speak and present your case - even take counsel together! Who announced this beforehand and foretold it in the past? Was it not I, G-d? - besides Me there is no god. I am a righteous G-d and Savior, there is none besides Me. So turn to Me and be saved, all corners of the earth! For I am G-d - there is no other." - Isaiah 45:20-22

Who but the foolish nations, the "lowly," could worship inanimate idols, a god which they can carry around? Let them come forward and argue their case with G-d, or send their wise men to argue for them. Because which of their idols predicted what G-d did - the falls of Assyria and Babylon? Which of them saved his people as G-d saved Jerusalem from Sancheiriv? So you who are distant from G-d, who live as if at the "earth's end," forsake your foolish ways. Instead, turn to G-d and save yourselves from the fate that will meet other nations.

"I swear by Myself, truth has come from My mouth, something which shall not be rescinded: To Me every knee shall bow down and all tongues will swear by." - Isaiah 45:23

The day will yet come when all nations on earth will accept G-d and follow His Teachings. G-d Himself swears that this will yet happen when the world will come to its destined goal.

"By G-d, He told me: Righteousness and strength shall come to them, but all those who contend with them shall be ashamed. They will be vindicated by G-d and all of Israel's seed will be praised." - Isaiah 45:24-25

Isaiah now concludes with an oath of his own in G-d's name: When the gentile nations eventually return to G-d, the Jewish people will become even greater. They will be vindicated because they remained faithful to Him throughout the arduous exile. All of the nations which contended with G-d and with them will be ashamed of their actions and will praise the Jewish people for their faith.

Commentary by Meam Loez

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