God chooses Persian leader who allowed Jewish exiles to return home. More, the Persian ruler, to be God’s instrument to deliver Israel from Babylonian captivity.
This major passage stands at the midpoint of Second Isaiah refers chapters 40-55 of the book of Isaiah. This work was likely written during Israel's exile in Babylon (597-538 B.C.E.). Second Isaiah includes poetic passages of hope as well as descriptions of the Suffering Servant. More. We see its significance in the way it is set off by similar beginning and ending hymns calling on the heavens themselves to praise God for this marvelous work (44:23: 45:8). This is the heart of Second Isaiah’s message of deliverance from bondage: God chooses Cyrus, a foreign ruler, to set God’s people free.
The surprise of God’s choice is emphasized by the strong terms used by God to identify Cyrus: “shepherd” (44:28) and “anointed” (45:1). “Shepherd” was frequently used as a metaphor for “king” in the ancient world (Prophet who condemned Judah's infidelity to God, warned of Babylonian conquest, and promised a new covenant More 23:1-6); from the beginning, Israel’s kings were meant to serve as “shepherds” of the people (2 The judge who anointed the first two kings of Israel More 5:2)–leading, guiding, and protecting. Most important, however, God was Israel’s shepherd (Genesis 48:15; A psalm is a song of praise. In the Old Testament 150 psalms comprise the psalter, although some of the psalms are laments and thanksgivings. In the New Testament early Christians gathered to sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. More 23:1, etc.). Now, God gives the foreigner Cyrus God’s own title, God’s own work to do–a striking sign of God’s work in all peoples everywhere.
Even more surprising, Cyrus is named God’s “anointed”–that is, God’s “messiah” in Hebrew. Israel’s priests (Leviticus 4:3) and prophets (Psalm 105:15) could be called God’s “anointed,” but, first and foremost, the “anointed one” is the king (1 Samuel 16:6; Psalm 2:2; etc.). The king was “anointed” with oil in a kind of ordination rite to mark him as the one who served Israel as the one ruling in God’s stead (1 Samuel 9:16). Eventually, the term took on stronger significance to designate the coming king, the son of Second king of Israel, David united the northern and southern kingdoms. More, who would usher in God’s eternal kingdom (1 Samuel 2:10; A tax collector who became one of Jesus' 12 disciples More 1:1). How then could Cyrus be God’s anointed? Because he was called by God to do God’s primary work: to free captives and open doors–just like God’s servant Israel (Isaiah, son of Amoz, who prophesied in Jerusalem, is included among the prophets of the eighth century B.C.E. (along with Amos, Hosea, and Micah)--preachers who boldly proclaimed God's word of judgment against the economic, social, and religious disorders of their time. More 42:6-7; 61:1). God will choose whomever God pleases to do God’s work. Liberation and Salvation can mean saved from something (deliverance) or for something (redemption). Paul preached that salvation comes through the death of Christ on the cross which redeemed sinners from death and for a grace-filled life. More are God’s concern, and God will go beyond all human limits to get that work done. Some in Israel found this unacceptable, calling God’s choice into question, but God insists on the freedom to do whatever it takes to set people free (45:9-14).
The first part of this passage (44:24-28) is simply a long introduction to the Cyrus An oracle is a divine utterance of guidance, promise, or judgment delivered to humans through an intermediary (who is often also called an oracle). In the Bible oracles are given by Balaam (in the book of Numbers) and by David (in 2 Samuel). A number... More itself. God is the “one who” does all things: from creating the cosmos to the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and God will choose Cyrus for this task. How will Israel know? Not by omens and fortune-tellers–or even by superior human knowledge–but because God sends the prophets as messengers of the divine word (44:25-26).
Now, in the second part of the text, God addresses Cyrus directly (45:1-7), commissioning the Persian ruler to destroy the bars of Babylon’s prison and set Israel free (along with the captives from other nations–see Introductory Issues). Cyrus, however, will not merely be a pawn on God’s world chess board: God calls Cyrus by name, desiring that even Cyrus will come to know that God is the Lord. Later, when Cyrus issues the edict to free the Judean captives, he does in fact call upon the name of the Lord as his authority for this action (Scribe who helped establish Jewish practices in Jerusalem after the exile. More 1:1-4).