Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and Jonah.djvu/36

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It is they, perhaps, to whom certain passages in the second part of the book of Isaiah were addressed, notably the following:

9. "Woe to him that striveth with his Maker,—
a potsherd among the potsherds of the ground!
"Doth the clay say to the potter, What makest thou?
or his work, Thou hast no hands?
11. "Thus saith Yahweh,
the Holy One of Israel, even his Maker:
"Of future things ask me,
and concerning the work of my hands command me.
12. "I myself made the earth,
and man on it I created;
"My hands stretched out heaven,
and all its hosts I commanded.
13. "I myself aroused him in righteousness,
and all his ways will I direct;
"He shall build my city,
and all my captives shall he release;
"Not for hire, and not for reward,
saith Yahweh of Hosts."[1]

There was, however, another party. At any rate, the author of the lines just quoted was enthusiastic in his faith, not only that Cyrus would succeed, but that his success meant deliverance to the Jews in exile. He recognised in the Persian king an instrument of Yahweh. Cf. Is. 412 ff. 25 4611. Indeed,—and he must thereby have greatly scandalised many of his countrymen,—he went so far as to identify Cyrus with the Ideal King for whom the Jews had long been praying and looking. Cf. Is. 4428 451. He was so confident of victory for this divinely chosen champion that he boldly foretold the fall of Babylon and exhorted the exiles to prepare for their departure. Cf. Is. 461 f. 471 ff. 4820 f. 5211. Finally, he predicted that Cyrus, having released them from captivity, would rebuild Jerusalem and restore the temple, its chief ornament. This last prophecy is so important that it deserves to be quoted entire. It runs as follows:

24. "Thus saith Yahweh, thy Redeemer,
and he that formed thee from the womb:
  1. Is. 449 ff. On the changes and omissions in the passage as here rendered, cf. Cheyne, SBOT.