Isaiah 41

Study the Inner Meaning

English: King James Version      

← Isaiah 40   Isaiah 42 →

1 Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.

2 Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.

3 He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet.

4 Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.

5 The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came.

6 They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.

7 So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.

8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.

9 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.

10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

11 Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.

12 Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.

13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

14 Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

15 Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff.

16 Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.

17 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.

18 I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.

19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together:

20 That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.

21 Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob.

22 Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come.

23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.

24 Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you.

25 I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth clay.

26 Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, He is righteous? yea, there is none that sheweth, yea, there is none that declareth, yea, there is none that heareth your words.

27 The first shall say to Zion, Behold, behold them: and I will give to Jerusalem one that bringeth good tidings.

28 For I beheld, and there was no man; even among them, and there was no counseller, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word.

29 Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.

← Isaiah 40   Isaiah 42 →
   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 41


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 158, 683, 842, 1025, 1158, 1292, 1736, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 32, 50, 81, 173, 254, 299, 336, ...

The Lord 34, 40

Heaven and Hell 365

True Christian Religion 93, 298, 573, 773


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 50, 71, 102, 109, 118, 204, 294, ...

On the Athanasian Creed 51, 212

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 23

Divine Wisdom 8

Marriage 93

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 17, 19, 95

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  PDF Resources


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 26:24

Exodus 12:29, 14:13

Deuteronomy 7:6, 25, 26

Joshua 17:18

Judges 6:16, 15:19

1 Samuel 12:21

2 Samuel 22:19

1 Chronicles 16:13

2 Chronicles 20:7

Ezra 1:2

Nehemiah 9:7

Job 19:25, 25:6

Psalms 18:36, 33:12, 37:17, 65:9, 94:14, 96:5, 102:28, 118:7, 126:4, 136:21, 22

Isaiah 1:18, 19:12, 28:29, 29:8, 19, 22, 33:22, 35:4, 6, 7, 37:4, 6, 40:19, 41:1, 2, 4, 20, 21, 25, 42:9, 43:3, 5, 9, 10, 15, 19, 20, 44:1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 45:1, 4, 13, 21, 22, 24, ...

Jeremiah 10:5, 12:17, 30:10, 31:25, 51:2

Joel 2:23

Micah 4:13

Zephaniah 3:19

Zechariah 10:2, 6

Luke 1:54, 12:32

Acts of the Apostles 13:17, 18:10

Romans 11:2

1 Corinthians 8:4

Hebrews 2:16, 13:5

James 2:23

Word/Phrase Explanations

keep
"Keeping" in the Bible generally has to do with controlling the actual actions of life, though in some cases it can mean holding something away...

Silence
'Silence' has various significations. In general it means everything which causes it, which includes astonishment, which is a special cause, as in Revelation 8:1.

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...

Islands
Islands' signify the natural mind, or the natural human, regarding truths and falsities. People who are steeped in the internal sense of the Word, such...

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...

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...

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...

Near
'Near,' in the Word, signifies presence and conjunction. 'To be near' signifies being on internal levels. Near,' as in Genesis 19:20, signifies truth bordering upon...

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...

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

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...

righteous
The word "righteous" has taken on a bit of negative shading in modern language. That may be because we hear it most often as part...

man
"Man" is a tricky word to discuss, because the Hebrew of the Old Testament uses six different words that are generally translated as "man," with...

Foot
The foot, as in Deuteronomy 33:3, signifies an inferior principle. To set the right foot on the sea and the left on the earth, as...

Nations
'Nations' signify people who are in the good of love and charity from the Lord. Two nations in the womb,' as in Genesis 25:23, signify...

kings
The human mind is composed of two parts, a will and an understanding, a seat of loves and affections, and a seat of wisdom and...

dust
'Powder' or 'dust' refers to love of self and the world.

sword
The three words, sword, famine and pestilence, appear in a group in 26 different Bible verses. That's not an accident. Sword, famine and pestilence describe...

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

bow
To bow in prayer is common in most religious practices, so it's not surprising that “to bow” in the Bible represents humility and worship in...

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

way
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

feet
Our feet are the lowest and most utilitarian parts of our bodies, and in the Bible they represent the lowest and most utilitarian part of...

Wrought and done
In Isaiah 41:4, "wrought" has respect to the will, and "done" to the understanding.

Wrought
wrought (also entwined or entwisted) is predicated of the natural scientific principle, and in Isaiah 45:13, of divine natural truth.

generations
To “generate” something is to create it, and that idea underpins the meaning of a “generation” of people – it is a group that was...

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...

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...

the first
'Resurrection' signifies salvation and eternal life. 'The first,' mentioned in Revelation 20:5, 6, does not mean a first resurrection, but the essence and primary part...

first
'The first and the last' signifies that the Lord is the only God.

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...

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...

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...

Every one
The phrase “Every one,” where it occurs in Genesis 20:7, signifies every thing or all things.

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...

Brother
There are two ways "brother" is used in the Bible, ways that are still reflected in modern language. One denotes an actual blood relationship; the...

smootheth with the hammer
'Smith' relates to evil, and 'smootheth with the hammer,' to what is false, as in Isaiah 41:7.

Hammer
'A hammer,' as mentioned in Jeremiah 23:29, signifies the truth of faith in the outermost parts.

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...

servant
“Servant” literally means “a person who serves another,"" and its meaning is similar in reference to the spiritual meaninngs of the Bible. Our lives in...

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...

the seed of
'The seed of Sihor,' as in Isaiah 23:3, signifies scientific truth.

Seed
'A seed' signifies love, and everyone who has love, as in Genesis 12:7. 8:15, 16. 'A seed' signifies faith grounded in charity. 'A seed' signifies...

Abraham
Abraham (or Abram, as he is named in the beginning of his story) is one of the major characters in the story of the sacred...

Friend
A friend, as in John 15:14, 15, signifies the spiritual man.

chief
On July 3, 1863, 12,500 Confederate troops attacked their Union foes during the Battle of Gettysburg, a turning point in the American Civil War. The...

cast
For something to be cast down or cast out generally refers to a rather dramatic move from a higher spiritual state to a lower one....

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...

Right hand
'The right hand' signifies the whole of a person regarding intellectual power, and so, regarding faith. 'To place the right hand on the head,' signifies...

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

Ashamed
To be ashamed (Gen 2:25) signifies to be in evil

Perish
'To perish,' or 'die,' relates to damnation, or the state in hell.

seek
The meaning of "to seek" in the Bible is pretty straightforward, but there is a bit of nuance: Swedenborg tells us that in most cases...

Find
To not to be found any more, signifies not to rise again.

war
War in the Word represents the combat of temptation when what is good is assaulted by what is evil or false. The evil that attacks...

Hold
'A hold,' 'a den,' or 'dungeon,' as mentioned in Revelation 18:2, signifies hell, because people who are there are in confinement.

Fear not
Fear not, as in Revelation 1:17; Daniel 10:5, 12; Matthew 17:5, 7; 28:10, etc., signifies resuscitation to life, and at the same time adoration from...

worm
'A worm' denotes falsity of evil in the good derived from the proprium or selfhood. 'That dies not,' denotes infernal torment related to falsity. 'Worm'...

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...

Redeemer
Jehovah is called 'the redeemer,' because He took on a human nature.

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...

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,...

Sharp
'Sharp' signifies something accurate and exquisite.

Thresh
'To thresh,' as in Micah 4:13, signifies dissipating evils among people of the church.

Teeth
'Teeth' signify the outer edges of the life of the natural self, or the sensory level. This has two kinds, the will, and the understanding....

mountains
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...

Hills
'Hills' signify the good of charity.

Chaff
Chaff is mentioned in Matthew 3:12 signifies falsity of every kind, derived from an in­fernal origin.

Fan
A fan, referred to in Matthew 3:12, signifies the separation of falsities from goods.

wind
In the Bible, the wind represents the power of the Lord working on us through the heavens. The Lord is love itself, and by extending...

scatter
The meaning of "scatter" in the Bible is relatively literal, but it is used in regard to spiritual things, not natural ones. So to "scatter"...

rejoice
Feelings of joy and rejoicing flow from our affections, not from our thoughts. Some people might argue that that's not true, that you can rejoice...

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...

needy
In most cases, those described as "needy" in the Bible are those who lack true knowledge of the Lord and his teachings, but have a...

water
Water was obviously of tremendous importance in Biblical times (and every other time). It is the basis of life, the essential ingredient in all drinks,...

none
'No one,' or 'none' denotes the negative side of something.

Tongue
'The tongue,' as an organ, signifies doctrine, but as speech, or language, it signifies religion. 'Tongue' signifies perception of truth with respect to speech, and...

thirst
Food in the Bible generally relates to the desire for good, and drink generally relates to ideas of what is true. It makes sense then,...

Open
To open,' as in Revelation 9, signifies communication and conjunction.

rivers
'Waters,' 'rivers,' and 'depths,' as in Psalm 78:15-16, signify truths from the Lord.

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

midst
The "midst" of something in the Bible represents the thing that is most central and most important to the spiritual state being described, the motivation...

valleys
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...

Wilderness
'Wilderness' signifies something with little life in it, as described in the internal sense in Luke 1:80 'Wilderness' signifies somewhere there is no good because...

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

plant
'A shrub' signifies the knowledges of truth.

Shittah tree
'The shittah tree,' as in Isaiah 41:29, relates to the church in the spiritual or internal self, to rational truth and its perception, and to...

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...

oil
In Ezekiel 27:17, 'wheat of minnith, and pannag honey,' 'oil,' and 'balsam' denote the good things that come from love and charity, and the happiness...

Fir tree
A fir tree signifies the natural principle, as to good. A fir tree also signifies natural truth superior. A fir tree, as in Ezekiel 31:8,...

Box tree
A box tree (Isa. 41:19) signifies the understanding of good and truth.

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...

know
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...

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

Produce
'Produce' denotes fruit derived from the good of charity, and truth of faith.

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...

Shew
'Shew' signifies instruction to the life.

declare
To "declare" something means to say it formally, publicly and with emphasis; you might say what you think, but you only declare things you're sure...

gods
The Lord is called "Jehovah" in the Bible when the text is referring to his essence, which is love itself. He is called "God" when...

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...

North
'North' signifies people who are in obscurity regarding truth. North,' in Isaiah 14:31, signifies hell. The North,' as in Jeremiah 3:12, signifies people who are...

rising
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

Sun
The 'sun' signifies celestial and spiritual love. The 'sun' in the Word, when referring to the Lord, signifies His divine love and wisdom. Because the...

Call
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...

upon
'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...

name
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...

Potter
A potter,' as in Zechariah 11:12, 13, signifies reformation and regeneration.

clay
Mud, loam, or clay' signify extremes where there are truths.

Words
'Words,' as in Exodus 34:28, signify everything pertaining to doctrine.

give
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...

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...

asked
The words "ask" and "question" are used a number of different in natural language, and a number of different ways in the Bible. The spiritual...

answer
To "answer" generally indicates a state of spiritual receptivity. Ultimately this means being receptive to the Lord, who is constantly trying to pour true ideas...

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...

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

Works
'Works,' as in Genesis 46:33, denote goods, because they are from the will, and anything from the will is either good or evil, but anything...

Images
'Images' denote things fashioned from man’s own intelligence.

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.


 Friendship: The Outward Expression of Love
How does the Heavenly Doctrine of the New Church define friendship and what do they say we should base it on?
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The First and the Last
Read and reflect on a verse from the Word and let it inspire you to respond with a spiritual task. With color photograph illustration.
Activity | Ages over 15


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