Isa 43.1-28 tells us that Yehovah comforts his people and that he is the true God, not an empty idol. He promises a return from exile and there will be a greater redemption coming. Regardless of God’s past judgments judicially, he will restore Israel.
v 1…But now thus says Yehovah, your creator, O Jacob (God brought Israel into existence and when Yehovah uses “Jacob” he is alluding to the physical), and he who formed you, O Israel (alludes to the spiritual-this is a Hebraic parallelism), “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by my name, you are mine (God formed Israel with instruction, shaping and molding what he has created-Jer 23.5-6, 33.15-16. To give something a name shows ownership).
v 2…When you pass through the waters (like the Red Sea), I will be with you; and through the rivers (like the Jordan River), they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire (like in Dan 3 and the birth-pains), you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you (in other words they will not be harmed in any extreme condition).
v 3…For I am the Lord (Yehovah) your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior (several titles here), I have given Egypt as your ransom (he sacrificed the Egyptians instead of Israel), Cush and Seba in your place (Yehovah will divert Israel’s enemies away from them, so Israel has no need to fear).
v 4…SInce you are precious in my sight, since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life (enemies destroyed-this clarifies v 3).
v 5…Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring (seed) from the east, and gather you from the west.
v 6…I will say to the north, “Give them up!” and to the south, “Do not hold them back!” Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth (this is literal-Matt 24.30-31; Isa 66.20-21; Isa 11.11-16).
v 7…Every one who is called by my name (to be his child) and whom I have created (brought into existence, born again) for my glory whom I have formed (into my ways), even whom I have made.
v 8…Bring out the people who are blind, even though they have eyes (speaking to Israel, the servant in v 8-13), and the deaf, even though they have ears.
v 9…All the nations have gathered together in order that the peoples may be assembled (who among the idolaters could have predicted this). Who (among the idolaters) among them can declare this and proclaim to us the former things (soothsayers can’t)? Let them present their witnesses (a court term) that they may be justified, or let them hear and say, “It is true.”
v 10…You are my witnesses (Israel’s mission-Deut 4.1-8; Isa 42.6; Matt 5.13-16; Zech 8.23; Acts 1.8) declares the Lord and my servant whom I have chosen (Isa 44.1), in order that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am he. Before me there is no god formed (refers to idols-none were formed before Yehovah and Israel knows there is no other God to whom he has given predictions that were fulfilled and who has delivered them), and there is none after me.
v 11…I, even I, am Yehovah and there is no Savior (from sin or any enemy) besides me.
v 12…It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed (through the prophets), and there was no strange god among you (that helped you); so you are my witnesses (it was well-known to you) declares the Lord, and I am God.
v 13…Even from eternity (from this day, or before there was a day) I am he; and there is none who can deliver out of my hand; I act and who can reverse it (stop it)?.
v 14…Thus says Yehovah your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “For your sake I have sent to Babylon (Cyrus to capture it in order to deliver Israel), and will bring them all down as fugitives, even the Chaldeans, into the ships in which they rejoice (commercial and a naval power).
v 15…I am the Lord, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.”
v 16…Thus says the Lord who makes a way through the sea (Red Sea) and a path through the mighty waters (Jordan),
v 17…Who brings forth the chariot and the horse (of Pharaoh), the army and the mighty man. They will lie down together and not rise again (in the sea); they have been quenched and extinguished like a wick (dead).
v 18…Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder the things of the past (about what God did).
v 19…Behold (take note of), I will do something new, now it will spring forth (the branch); will you not be aware of it (the redemption from Babylon, alluding to the messianic as well)? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert (like in the first redemption out of Egypt).
v 20…The beasts of the field will glorify me; the jackals and the ostriches; because I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people (when Yehovah blesses his people with water it benefits the creatures that live there also).
v 21…The people whom I formed for myself, will declare my praise (when they are brought out of Babylon).
v 22…Yet you have not called on me, O Jacob; but you have become weary of me, O Israel (they became hard-hearted).
v 23…You have not brought to me the sheep of your burnt offerings (Hebrew “olot” either offered to idols or not brought in the right attitude), nor have you honored me with your sacrifices (Hebrew “zevach”). I have not burdened you with offerings (Hebrew “minchah” or bread offerings, free-will or optional), nor wearied you with incense (Hebrew “levonah” or frankincense-this is one of the reasons they went into captivity, they neglected true worship and had the wrong attitude).
v 24…You have brought me no sweet cane with money (part of the incense but it was too expensive so they stopped), neither have you filled me with the fat of your sacrifices (in thank and free-will offerings, even though he gave them a reason to do so); rather you have burdened me with your sins, you have wearied me with your iniquities (they spared no expense in their idolatry though).
v 25…I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for my own sake (by my own goodness and grace, not your merits. God “wiped out” sin before Yeshua through faith-Jer 31.34; Isa 44.22, 65.17; Psa 103.10-12; Num 5.23, 23.19-21) and I will not remember your sins (to punish them-Jer 14.10).
v 26…Put me in remembrance (like Jacob did in Gen 32.9-12 concerning God’s mercy and forgiveness); let us argue our case together, state your cause, that you may be proved right.
v 27…Your first forefather (plural in Hebrew) sinned, and your spokesmen (interpreters of the Torah, the priests and Levites) have transgressed against me.
v 28…So I will pollute (defile) the princes of the sanctuary (priests); and I will consign Jacob to the ban (cursed-Deut 28.15-68), and Israel to revilement (when Babylon comes to destroy the city and the Temple. The Roman destruction will be a manifestation of this, and the Holocaust is one of the latest).