Isaiah 40

Study the Inner Meaning

English: King James Version

← Isaiah 39   Isaiah 41 →

1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.

2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD's hand double for all her sins.

3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:

5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

6 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:

7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.

8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?

13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counseller hath taught him?

14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?

15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.

16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.

17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.

18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?

19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.

20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.

21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?

22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.

24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.

25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.

26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.

27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God?

28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

← Isaiah 39   Isaiah 41 →
   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 40


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 145, 220, 343, 424, 574, 627, 662, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 244, 285, 313, 336, 364, 383, 401, ...

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 120

Conjugial Love 81, 156

Divine Providence 309

The Lord 6, 30, 38, 50

True Christian Religion 81, 82, 84, 188, 294, 625, 637, ...


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 148, 204, 281, 283, 294, 304, 314, ...

On the Athanasian Creed 21, 83

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 60

De Domino 36

Marriage 81, 82, 84

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 3, 17, 18, 20, 28

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



  PDF Resources


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 1:14, 15:1, 21:33

Exodus 15:11, 22:3

Deuteronomy 33:25

Joshua 14:11

1 Samuel 2:4, 27:1, 30:10

1 Kings 14:11

Nehemiah 6:9

Job 9:8, 12:19, 21:22, 26:7, 28:25, 34:20, 36:23, 37:18

Psalms 20:9, 23:1, 28:9, 62:10, 66:3, 68:10, 84:8, 85:3, 86:8, 89:7, 90:5, 6, 97:6, 102:14, 17, 103:5, 15, 16, 104:2, 119:89, 91, 135:15, 147:4, 5

Proverbs 30:4

Ecclesiastes 3:4

Isaiah 1:20, 2:11, 12, 6:3, 14:3, 17:13, 25:9, 26:15, 27:9, 30:15, 34:16, 35:2, 4, 41:7, 42:4, 5, 16, 44:6, 21, 24, 45:2, 12, 46:5, 6, 48:13, 49:13, 14, 50:4, 51:3, 5, 12, 13, 17, 52:6, 62:10, 11, 66:18

Jeremiah 10:1, 10, 16:18, 23:18, 31:16, 32:17, 48:15

Lamentations 4:22

Ezekiel 34:12, 15

Daniel 4:32

Hosea 2:16

Zephaniah 3:15

Zechariah 1:13, 17, 4:7, 11:7

Malachi 3:1

Matthew 2:6, 3:3, 5:18

Mark 1:3

Luke 2:25, 3:4, 6

John 1:23, 10:11, 14

Acts of the Apostles 17:29

Romans 1:20, 11:33, 34

1 Corinthians 2:16

2 Corinthians 12:9

James 1:10, 11

1 Peter 24, 25, 2:25

Revelation 7:17, 22:12

Word/Phrase Explanations

comfort
When the Bible talks about someone being comforted or consoled, it generally means that they are being offered ideas that will help bring them to...

people
The Bible generally uses two different terms for large groups: “people” and “nation.” When it uses the term “nation,” it is talking about a group...

saith
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

speak
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

iniquity
In Isaiah 59:6, 'webs' and 'garments' signify aspects of the understanding, or thought, 'Iniquity' and 'violence,' aspects of the will, or works.

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

hand
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

sins
'Bound up transgressions,' as in Lamentations 1:14, stands for falsities coming up towards interior or rational things.

voice
In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

wilderness
'The wilderness of Sin,' as in Exodus 16, signifies the good from truth in a state of temptation.

prepare
In general, when something is "prepared" in the Bible it means that it is in the proper spiritual order, which happens when our hearts and...

Way
'To set a way,' as in Genesis 30:36, signifies being separated.

Make
'To make,' as in Hosea 8:11, refers to good. In the opposite sense it refers to evil. To make heaven, and earth, and the sea,...

valley
Mountains in the Bible represent people's highest points, where we are closest to the Lord - our love of the Lord and the state of...

mountain
The Writings tell us that the Lord's love is the sun of heaven, and it is natural for us to look above ourselves to the...

Plain
'A plain' signifies good and truth in the natural self, because 'the people who dwell in plains,' or 'beneath mountains and hills' are in the...

glory
We tend to speak somewhat casually of "truth from the Lord," but in actual fact the Writings tell us that in its true form the...

flesh
Flesh has several meanings just in its most obvious form. It can mean all living creatures as when the Lord talks about the flood "destroying...

see
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

mouth
In most cases, "mouth" in the Bible represents thought and logic, especially the kind of active, concrete thought that is connected with speech. The reason...

cry
As with most common verbs, the spiritual meaning of “crying” or “crying out” (meaning a shout or wail, not weeping) is highly dependent on context....

Grass
Grass signifies the scientific principle. Just as green grass serves animals for support, scientific truth serves men for spiritual nourishment. ‘Grass’ is scientific truth, and...

field
When we have a desire to be good people and to do good things, the natural first questions are "What does that mean?" "What should...

upon
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

the Word
In general, we tend to be very aware of how knowing what's true leads to doing what is good. That starts as children, with parents...

Word
'Word,' as in Psalms 119:6-17, stands for doctrine in general. 'The Word,' as in Psalms 147:18, signifies divine good united with divine truth. 'Word,' as...

Stand
'To stand,' and 'come forth' as in Daniel 7:10, refers to truth. In Genesis 24:13, it signifies a state of conjunction of divine truth with...

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

High
'Height' signifies what is inward, and also heaven.

lift
The idea of "lifting" is used in a number of different ways in the Bible. In general, it means connecting with a higher spiritual state...

Strength
Strength' relates truth and falsity. Strength,' as in Luke 10:27, signifies the will and understanding extended to extremes. Strength,' as in Revelation 1:6, signifies divine...

afraid
Fear of the unknown and fear of change are both common ideas, and together cover a broad spectrum of the fears we tend to have...

Cities
Cities of the mountain and cities of the plain (Jer. 33:13) signify doctrines of charity and faith.

Judah
City of Judah,' as in Isaiah 40:9, signifies the doctrine of love towards the Lord and love towards our neighbor in its whole extent.

come
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

Strong
In the Word, people who trust to themselves and their own intelligence are sometimes called 'strong,' as in Isaiah 1:31. This is because they suppose...

reward
A "reward" in the Bible represents something that brings people together, or brings spiritual states together, and binds them. It's easy to see this in...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

feed
When the Bible talks about "feeding" it is generally referring to instruction in spiritual things – teaching people the true concepts that can lead them...

Flock
A flock, as in Genesis 26, denotes interior or rational good. A flock signifies those who are in spiritual good. A flock signifies natural interior...

shepherd
The Writings tell us that shepherds represent those who lead and teach others, using knowledge and true ideas to help people reach the goodness of...

Gather
To gather, as in Genesis 6:21, refers to those things which are in the memory of man, where they are gathered. It also implies that...

bosom
"Bosom" in general terms means the chest, but more as the seat of the emotions than simply as part of the body. You'd think of...

lead
The meaning of "leading" people in the Bible is pretty straightforward, though obviously it is about leading people in spiritual things, not natural ones. When...

young
'The son of a cow' signifies the celestial natural level and natural exterior good.

measure
The Bible uses a somewhat dizzying array of unfamiliar measurement, leaving translators a choice between being accurate and confusing or inaccurate and clear. Since they...

waters
'The waters of the lower pool,' as in Isaiah 22:9, signifies the traditions used in infractions against the truths in the Word.

Dust
Dust, in Ezekiel 26:12, signifies the lowest things which are of the sensual principle of man. In Isaiah 40:12, the dust signifies exterior or natural...

earth
"Earth" in the Bible can mean a person or a group of like-minded people as in a church. But it refers specifically to the external...

mountains
In Isaiah 40:12 'to weigh the mountains in a balance, and the hills in scales,' signifies that the celestial aspects of love and charity are...

Hills
'Hills' signify the good of charity.

spirit
There are two aspects to the life of each person. We might call them "heart" and "mind," a part of us that wants and feels...

Path
'A path' denotes truths, and in the opposite sense, falsities.

Judgment
Judgement' pertains to the Lord's divine human and holy proceeding. Judgment' has two sides, a principle of good, and a principle of truth. The faithful...

knowledge
Throughout the Word, a distinction is made between wisdom, intelligence, and knowledge. 'Wisdom' means from good, 'intelligence' is from truth, and 'knowledge' is in a...

Lebanon
'Lebanon' signifies spiritual good. 'Lebanon' signifies the church regarding the perception of truth from the rational self.

beasts
"Beasts" represent the affection for doing good things, a true desire to do them from the heart. In the negative sense, "beasts" stand for the...

Vanity
'Vanity' signifies evil and the falsity of evil. 'Vanities of strangers' signifies falsities of religion.

Workman
'A workman,' as in Hosea 8:6, signifies a person’s proprium or selfhood. 'A workman,' as in Zechariah 1:20, signifies the same thing as 'iron,' that...

Graven image
A graven image, as in Exodus 20:4, which we are commanded not to make, signifies those things in us which are not from the Lord,...

Image
'An image' signifies falsities from self-derived intelligence.

gold
Gold means good, and just as gold was the most precious metal known to ancient mankind so it represents the good of the highest and...

over
Over' or 'upon' in the Word, signifies being within, because the highest part in successive order becomes inmost in simultaneous order. This is why the...

silver
'Spoil of gold, and silver, and cattle' signifies falsified truths.

tree
In general, plants in the Bible represent facts, thoughts and ideas – intellectual things. This makes sense: Plants are rooted in place, but can grow...

cunning
'A skilled man' relates to the affection of truth, or people in the affection of truth.

heard
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

beginning
In the Word, "beginning" doesn't just mean the beginning of something in time. In the inner sense, it means the initial phase of a spiritual...

Foundations
The foundations of a wall signify the knowledges of truth, whereupon doctrinals are founded.

sitteth
If you think about sitting, it seems fair to say that where you're sitting is more important than that you're sitting. Sitting in a movie...

Circle of the earth
The circle of the earth, mentioned in Isaiah 40:22, signifies heaven.

the inhabitants
'The inhabitants of Teman,' as in Jeremiah 49:20, signifies the evils and falsities opposed to the Lord’s celestial kingdom.

Inhabitants
Inhabitants,' in Isaiah 26:9, signify the men of the church who are in good of doctrine, and thence in the good of life.

Grasshoppers
Grasshoppers signify the same as locusts: the false which vastates the extremes of the natural part of the mind.

heavens
"Heaven" and "heavens" are used many times in the Bible, with a couple of variations of meaning. Sometimes it is relatively literal, including times when...

a tent
'To pitch a tent,' as in Genesis 8:18, denotes conjunction.

Tent
'Tent' is used in the Word to signify the celestial and holy aspects of love, because in ancient time they performed holy worship in their...

dwell
Many people were nomadic in Biblical times, especially the times of the Old Testament, and lived in tents that could be struck, moved and re-raised...

bringeth
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “bring” is highly dependent on context, but in general it represents an introduction to a new...

Root
'A root,' as in Malachi 4:1, signifies charity. The dried up root,' as in Hosea 9:16, 17, signifies charity which could not bear fruit.

wither
In the Bible (and in life), the idea of withering is usually connected to plants, and plants generally wither if they don't get enough water....

Stubble
'To be consumed as stubble' denotes total vastation.

holy
The Bible describes many things as being holy, or sacred. The Ark of the Covenant is one very holy object. The inmost chamber of the...

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

eyes
It’s common to say “I see” when we understand something. And indeed, “seeing” in the Bible represents grasping and understanding spiritual things. So it makes...

created
The creation of heaven and earth in the first chapter of Genesis means the new creation of the celestial church called 'Man'.

host
A host and an army come from the same Hebrew word and mean the same thing in Bible; when the Children of Israel were numbered...

Number
To number,' as in Isaiah 22:10, signifies falsifying. To number bones,' as in Psalm 22:14-18, signifies desiring to dissipate truths by reasonings and false principles....

calleth
To call someone or summon someone in the Bible represents a desire for conjunction between higher and lower states of life. For instance, imagine someone...

names
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

Might
'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

Power
Power,' as in Revelation 4, signifies salvation, because all divine power regards this as its final purpose. A person is reformed by divine power, and...

Jacob
Jacob is told twice that his name will now be Israel. The first time is when he wrestles with an angel on his journey to...

Israel
'Israel,' in Jeremiah 23:8, signifies the spiritual natural church. The children of Israel dispersed all the literal sense of the Word by falsities. 'The children...

Passed
'Passed' or 'expired' denotes the conclusion of whatever state is being discussed.

everlasting
In many cases, the use of “eternity” in the Bible is pretty literal, simple meaning forever. This is especially true when the text is referring...

Ends of the earth
(Isaiah 41:5) The isles and the ends of the earth, in the Word, signify those who are more remote from the truths and goods of...

weary
On the surface, it appears that Swedenborg gives two different representations for “weariness.” In discussing Genesis - where Esau and later Jacob are described as...

giveth
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

youths
"Youths" or "Young men" generally represent intelligence or the understanding of truth. This is fitting, since adolescent boys tend to be more advanced intellectually than...

men
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

fall
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "fall" is highly dependent on context in regular language, and is highly dependent on context in a spiritual...

Mount
Mount Gilead, as in Genesis 31:21, 23, as a boundary, in a spiritual sense, signifies the first good, which is that of things pertaining to...

Wings
'Wings' signify spiritual truths. 'Wings,' when related to the Lord, signify the divine spiritual. In the opposite sense, 'wings' relate to falsities and rationalizations from...

walk
To walk in the Bible represents living, and usually means living according to the true things taught to us by the Lord -- to "walk...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 He Will Feed His Flock Like a Shepherd
Shows the Good Shepherd alongside excerpts from Isaiah 40.
Coloring Page | All Ages

 Like a Shepherd
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Memory Verse: The Lord Is My Shepherd
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Visions in Heaven
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Miniature Word Project
Make a project picturing a miniature book of the Word with two birthday candles set beside it.
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 Prophecies of the Messiah
One of the most important events in the history of human beings is the birth of the Lord on earth as an infant. By the time the Lord was actually born, the truths of the Word had been lost or perverted. But there had been prophets who told people that the Lord was going to come on earth and gave them hope. Sample from the Jacob’s Ladder Program, Level 6, for ages 11-12.
Religion Lesson | Ages 11 - 12

 The Grass Withers, the Flower Fades
Illustrated poster of "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8
Picture | Ages over 15

 The Joy of the Angels at the Lord’s Birth
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Lord, the Good Shepherd
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Shepherd Gathers Sheep
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Word Made Flesh
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Wings of Truth
Lesson and activities exploring how truth can uplift, protect, and free us.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

 Works of Charity
Worship Talk | Ages over 18


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