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Isaiah 41:1-20

New American Standard Bible 1995

1“Coastlands, listen to Me in silence, And let the peoples gain new strength; Let them come forward, then let them speak; Let us come together for judgment. 2 “Who has aroused one from the east Whom He calls in righteousness to His [a]feet? He delivers up nations before him And subdues kings. He makes them like dust with his sword, As the wind-driven chaff with his bow. 3 “He pursues them, passing on in safety, By a way he had not been [b]traversing with his feet. 4 “Who has performed and accomplished it, Calling forth the generations from the beginning? ‘I, the Lord, am the first, and with the last. I am He.’”

(Gentile and heathen nations response to God's power)

5 The coastlands have seen and are afraid; The ends of the earth tremble; They have drawn near and have come. 6 Each one helps his neighbor And says to his brother, “Be strong!” 7 So the craftsman encourages the smelter, And he who smooths metal with the hammer encourages him who beats the anvil, Saying of the soldering, “It is good”; And he fastens it with nails, So that it will not totter.

(God and Israel's mutually symbiotic dynamic relationship changes as a response to God's mighty power)

8 “But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, Descendant of Abraham My friend, 9 You whom I have [c]taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its remotest parts And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.

……more…scripture…more…scripture…. ……more…scripture…more…scripture…. ……more…scripture…more…scripture….

20 That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Let’s begin with examining the larger contextual meaning of Isaiah 41.

Isaiah 41:1 begins with Isaiah encouraging gentile and heathen nations (i.e., coastlands or islands) to be closer to God.

Isaiah 41:2-4 extolling God’s mighty power to rein in nations

Before doing exegesis on Isaiah 41:5-7, let’s just jump ahead to the Isaiah 41:8-20 bible passage. In said passage, it prophecies that Israel’s response to God’s mighty power would be for the Israelites to have their identity in God Himself, and by rejoicing in God and extolling God. In other words, God will define Israel by being strengthening Israel. God will vanquish the enemies of Israel. Consequentially, the Israelites will give glory to God. Essentially, Isaiah 41:8-20 seems straightforward and aligns with what a typical bible reader would expect from biblical scripture.

Isaiah 41:5-7 is an interesting bible passage because it prophesizes how the gentile and heathen nations (i.e., coastlands or islands) will respond to God’s mighty power. To elaborate, said passage goes on tp say that the gentile nations will be afraid. However, Isaiah 41:6-7 seems to suggest that gentile nations will respond to God’s confrontational mighty power by finding camaraderie amongst themselves( which might be seen as some sort of pseudo-patriotism )

Isaiah 41:5-7 is interesting because it’s difficult to say if God is condemning or accepting of the gentile nations for their response to God’s mighty power. In other words, it difficult to understand God's tone in said response.

Is camaraderie (possibly by extension pseudo-patriotism ) condemned or encouraged in the Isaiah 41:5-7 passage and in biblical scripture as a whole?

( Please review the Old Testament Hebrew translation to seem if it would be beneficial when crafting one's response)

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These sections of Isaiah represent a broadening of the earlier tribalistic nationalism of Israelite religion to the more universalistic promise of Judaism in its mature form. In its earlier form, Yahweh (the Lord) was the God of Israel only. Here, he becomes the God of everyone. The nations or "coastlands" respond either out of fear or out of hope. The important thing is that they do come to God. A response motivated by hope is found in Isaiah 60, where the nations are drawn to God's light in Zion:

3 Nations shall walk by your light, kings by the radiance of your dawning. The Nations Come to Zion 4 Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you.

This universalistic vision of camaraderie perhaps reached is zenith of the prophecy of Zechariah 8, after the Jews returned to Jerusalem:

23 Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten people from nations of every language will take hold, yes, will take hold of the cloak of every Judahite and say, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”

Conclusion: Isaiah presented a vision in which the gentile nations come to God, whether out of hope of fear. His prophecies (or those of Deutero-Isaiah according to some) marked a transition from the nationalistic attitude of earlier Israelite religion to the a more universalistic one that developed during and after the Babylonian Exile.

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@Dottard and @dan-fefferman I was rereading the bible passage in question a few times. Correct me if I'm wrong, but here is my exegesis for said passage.

Isaiah 41:5-7 prophesies how the gentile and heathen nations (i.e., coastlands or islands) will respond to God’s mighty power. To elaborate, said passage goes on to say that the gentile nations will be afraid. However, Isaiah 41:6-7 seems to suggest that gentile nations will respond to God’s confrontational mighty power by finding camaraderie amongst themselves( which might be seen as some sort of pseudo-patriotism ).
Now, I think that Isaiah 41:6-7 is stated as a "matter of fact" in regards to how gentiles & heathens peoples/nations respond to God's confrontation. Isaiah 41:6-7 is merely stating as a "matter of fact" that gentiles & heathens peoples/nations find strength in camaraderie with each other when facing a crisis. Isaiah 41:6-7 is Not criticizing how the gentiles & heathens peoples/nations respond. Isaiah is merely monotonously saying in a neutral tone that gentiles & heathens peoples/nations find strength in camaraderie with each other. In other words, Isaiah is Not harshly criticizing the gentiles & heathens but is merely stating what he observes about them.

Furthermore, Isaiah 41:8-20 is also interesting because it starts with a "But". Isaiah continue to address Israel response to God's mighty power. Essentially, Isaiah is trying to tell the Israelites that their response to God's mighty power is to strengthen the Israelites and God's mutually symbiotic dynamic relationship. The use of the word "But" in Isaiah 41:8 is to emphasize to the Israelites that they are different from the gentiles & heathens peoples/nations.

In other words,

  1. Israelites are told that their response is to embrace God by strengthening their relationship with God.

  2. which is in contrast to gentiles & heathens peoples/nations response which is find strength in camaraderie with each other ( which might be seen as some sort of pseudo-patriotism )

Isaiah 41:5-20

(Gentile and heathen nations response to God's power)

5 The coastlands have seen and are afraid; The ends of the earth tremble; They have drawn near and have come. 6 Each one helps his neighbor And says to his brother, “Be strong!” 7 So the craftsman encourages the smelter, And he who smooths metal with the hammer encourages him who beats the anvil, Saying of the soldering, “It is good”; And he fastens it with nails, So that it will not totter.

(God and Israel's mutually symbiotic dynamic relationship changes as a response to God's mighty power)

8 “But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, Descendant of Abraham My friend, 9 You whom I have [c]taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its remotest parts And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.

……more…scripture…more…scripture…. ……more…scripture…more…scripture…. ……more…scripture…more…scripture….

20 That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.

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  • @Dottard Sorry for directly messaging. However, At your convenience, could you please review, and provide feedback to my answer that compares & contrasts Gentile/Heathen nations camaraderie amongst themselves Vs Israelites and God's mutually symbiotic dynamic relationship ? Jan 16 at 14:03
  • @dan-fefferman Sorry for directly messaging. However, At your convenience, could you please review, and provide feedback to my answer that compares & contrasts Gentile/Heathen nations camaraderie amongst themselves Vs Israelites and God's mutually symbiotic dynamic relationship ? Jan 16 at 14:04

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