Isa 48.1-22 is addressed to the Jewish people in captivity and though they call themselves the people of Yehovah, and praise the God of Jacob, they do not do it in truth and spirit. Their actions did not line up with their confession.
v 1…Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are named Israel (his descendants) and who came forth from the loins of Judah (Judah is named because it became the name for all Israel, and Messiah will come from it), who swear by the name of the Lord (Yehovah) and invoke the God of Israel (and the covenant), but not in truth nor in righteousness (as defined by the Torah with integrity).
v 2…For they call themselves after the holy city (valued themselves as being inhabitants of Jerusalem) and lean on the God of Israel (claimed the assistance of him); the Lord of hosts (Yehovah Tzavaot) is his name.
v 3…I (Yehovah has a message for them) declared the former things long ago (told them what was going to happen beforehand) and they went forth from my mouth, and I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass (and not by any human agency).
v 4…Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew (inflexible and stiff-necked), and your forehead bronze (Hebrew “Nechusha”- they were covered over with idolatrous thoughts and addictions).
v 5…Therefore I declared them to you long ago, before they took place I proclaimed them to you, lest you say, “My idol has done them, and my graven image and my molten image have commanded them (or their idol made it happen).”
v 6…You have heard; look at all this (by personal observation). And you, will you not declare it (that Yehovah is God after you investigate his prophecies)? I proclaim to you new things from this time, even hidden things which you have not known (like the fall of Babylon, Cyrus, deliverance from Babylon, etc).
v 7…They are created now and not long ago (brought into being now); and before today you have not heard them (they were in God’s mind before), lest you should say, “Behold I knew them (and not of divine revelation).”
v 8…You have not heard, you have not known. Even from long ago your ear has not been open, because I knew that you would deal very treacherously (betray Yehovah); and you have been called a rebel (sinner) from birth (as a nation-Ezek 16).
v 9…For the sake of my name I delay my wrath, and for my praise (of my compassion and mercy) I restrain it for you, in order not to cut you off (because of his covenant promises).
v 10…Behold, I have refined you (to find their worth), but not with silver (in prosperity); I have tested you in the furnace of affliction (like in Egypt-Deut 4.20).
v 11…For my own sake, for my own sake, I will act (defer his anger and not cut off his people); for how can my name be profaned (because the nations would say that Yehovah did not love his people and was not merciful)? And my glory I will not give to another (his name is in the covenant and it will not be given to an other people).
v 12…Listen to me, O Jacob, even Israel, whom I called (out of Egypt, now Babylon); I am he, I am the first, I am also the last (symbolized by the Hebrew letters Aleph and Tav which means “head of the covenant-Rev 1.17, 22.3).
v 13…Surely my hand (a term for the Messiah and power) founded the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them they stand together (they are consistent and permanent, ready to do God’s will, rising up as a servant to fulfill his command).
v 14…Assemble (as if in a court-a Rosh Ha Shanah term), all of you, and listen (meaning obey)! Who among them (the idols and their priests) has declared these things? The Lord (Yehovah) loves him (Cyrus as a man, and gave him great abilities, even as an instrument in the deliverance of his people); he shall carry out his good pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans (to punish them).
v 15…I, even I, have spoken; indeed I have called him (Cyrus), I have brought him and he will make his ways successful (being made so by Yehovah-Isa 45.1).
v 16…Come near to me, listen to this; from the first I have not spoken in secret (about Cyrus and his mission), from the time it took place (first decided to go this direction), I was there (the only one who could control the destinies of those involved). And now the Lord (Adonai) God (Yehovah) has sent me (Isaiah, a type of the Messiah, to bring this message as a “Shaliach” or sent one) and his Spirit (in his power-Rom 8.36. The Ruach inspires the prophets-2 Pet 1.21. He is not a “force” nor can you be immersed in a “force.” You cannot lie to a force either-Acts 5.3. The Ruach Ha Kodesh can be grieved in Eph 4.30; he speaks in Acts 13.12; he intercedes in Rom 8.26; is God in Acts 5.4, Psa 139.7; 1 Cor 12.11; 1 John 5.7).
v 17…Thus says the Lord (Yehovah), your redeemer (Isa 59.20), the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord (“ani Yehovah”) your God (“eloheycha”), who teaches you to profit (to furnish what is beneficial), who leads you in the way you should go (in the Torah).
v 18…If only you (Israel) had paid attention to my commandments! Then your well-being (“shalomeycha” or peace) would have been like a river (in abundance, covered by it over and over again); and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
v 19…Your descendants would have been like the sand, and your offspring like its grains (a parallelism meaning “numerous, a multitude”); their name would never be cut off or destroyed from my presence (fallen under punishment and individuals perish, but the nation remains his people).
v 20…Go forth from Babylon! Flee (depart with all speed) from the Chaldeans (at the decree of Cyrus)! Declare with the sound of joyful shouting, proclaim this (they will sing the Psalms of Ascent-Psa 120-134, send it out to the end of the earth (what Yehovah has done, the redemption experienced); say, “The Lord (Yehovah) has redeemed his servant Jacob (which he chose to be a light to the nations).”
v 21…And they did not thirst when he led them through the deserts (in the Egyptian, or First, Redemption). He made the water flow out of the rock for them; he split the rock, and the waters gushed forth in (in Exo 17.6-the miracles of the Egyptian Redemption will be renewed).
v 22…There is no peace (shalom) for the wicked (the unbelieving Jews or “rashim” has a verbal root of “laxity or looseness”; whose inward morality is “loosened” or “free” from the Torah and in confusion because they do not know Yehovah. He is saying that when God tells them to get out of Babylon, don’t wait or stay there in their wickedness and continue living amongst idolatrous people, because they will not find any peace or comfort. This will be repeated in Isa 57.21).