10. Fear not. The former doctrine having had for its aim that the people should rely on God, the Prophet concludes from the numerous blessings by which the Lord manifested his love, that the people ought not to be afraid. And we ought carefully to observe the reason which he assigns—
For I am with thee. This is a solid foundation of confidence, and if it be fixed in our minds, we shall be able to stand firm and unshaken against temptations of every kind. In like manner, when we think that God is absent, or doubt whether or not he will be willing to assist us, we are agitated by fear, and tossed about amidst many storms of distrust. But if we stand firm on this foundation, we shall not be overwhelmed by any assaults or tempests. And yet the Prophet does not mean that believers stand so boldly as to be altogether free and void of all fear; but though they are distressed in mind, and in various ways are tempted to distrust, they resist with such steadfastness as to secure the victory. By nature we are timid and full of distrust, but we must correct that vice by this reflection, “God is present with us, and takes care of our salvation.”
Yet I will assist thee. אף עזרתיך (ăph gnăzărtīchā) is rendered by some in the past tense, “Yet I have assisted thee;” but I render it in the future tense, “I will assist thee.” I translate אף (ăph) yet, as it is usually translated in many other passages. Yet it is not inappropriate to translate it even, and accordingly my readers are at liberty to make their choice. If the past tense of the verb be preferred, it will mean “moreover” or “also.”
With the right hand of my righteousness. Under the word “righteousness,” Scripture includes not only equity, but that fidelity which the Lord manifests in preserving his people; for he gives a display of his righteousness when he faithfully defends his people against the contrivances and various attacks of wicked men. He therefore gives the appellation of “the right hand of righteousness” to that by which he shews that he is faithful and just. Hence we ought to draw a remarkable consolation; for if God has determined to protect and defend his servants, we ought not to have any terror; because “God cannot deny himself” (2 Tim. 2:13) or lay aside his righteousness.
10 do not fear. Here is the address of God to his people. Because of their relationship with him they do not need to fear anything. This is not some species of positive thinking; their hope is not in casting off negative thoughts. Rather, in two concise causal (kî, “for”) clauses God states that they can take courage because he, their God, is with them. But who is he? One more of the helpless gods? No, he is the great “I Am.” Every other being in the universe is contingent; he alone is self-existent, complete in himself. That One has given himself to them to be their God; that One is immanently present with them. This was no new message. It was the same word that Isaiah had given to Ahaz (7:14), and that Moses had declared to the Israelites at the Red Sea (Exod. 14:13–14) and to Joshua on the plains of Moab (Deut. 31:8). It was the key to Joseph’s success (Gen. 39:2, 21, 23) and also to Isaac’s (Gen. 26:3, 28). But in a situation that would seem to make a mockery of all that they had believed about themselves and their identity (how could they be elect if they had been forcibly taken from God’s land?), they needed to hear in no uncertain terms that God was still with them and that he was still willing to be called their God.
strengthened … helped … supported. Since God, their God, is with them, they can expect certain things from him. The second bicolon of the verse details what these are with an interesting use of the particle ʾap, moreover. Its use between the three verbs gives them a sense of being piled on top of one another. Not only has he strengthened, but he has helped, and not only has he strengthened and helped, but he also has upheld them (cf. 40:24). That help is symbolized by God’s righteous right hand. It is common in some of the modern translations to translate ṣedeq with “victorious” (so NRSV and REB; cf. CBAT “true,” JPS “gracious,” NIV “righteous”). This is an attempt to convey the recognition that ṣedeq connotes more than ethical behavior—it connotes “right” action in all circumstances. Thus God’s great power (“right hand”) will do the right thing for his suffering people and deliver them. But “victorious” seems to go too far, because it has no relation to standards at all.
10. be not dismayed—literally, anxiously to look at one another in dismay.
right hand of my righteousness—that is, My right hand prepared in accordance with My righteousness (faithfulness to My promises) to uphold thee.
Ver. 10.—Fear thou not. This verse is most closely connected with the two preceding. The clauses in vers. 8, 9 are one and all vocative; here the verb follows. The whole passage is one of great tenderness. I am with thee (comp. Deut. 31:6, 8; and see above (vol. i, p. 132), on the force of the word “Immanuel”). I will strengthen thee; rather, I have strengthened thee, or I have chosen thee (Delitzsch, Cheyne). The two other verbs are also in the past tense. While primarily they declare past favours, they may also be regarded as prophetic of future ones, since “with God is no variableness.”
10 אל תירא, “Do not be afraid.” To be addressed by God, to be called to serve him, is an awesome thing (cf. Judg 6:23). A remarkably similar statement appears in the mouth of Ishtar of Arbela to Esarhaddon: “Do not be afraid. O king, I said to you, I have not overthrown you” (ANET, 450). Note that the admonition is lacking from the prophetic call encounters of Moses, Jeremiah, and others. The formula appears repeatedly in this section of the Vision (40:9; 41:10, 13, 14; 43:1, 5; 44:2, 8; 51:7; 54:4; cf. L. Köhler, “Die Offenbarungsformel ‘Fürchte dich nichts; im AT,” StZ 36  33–39; J. Becker, Gottesfurcht im AT, AnBib 25 [Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1965] 50–55). But the fear addressed here is not simply the anxiety of being in the presence of God; it is the sense that God has abandoned them. For various reasons, because of their sins or in despair over their usefulness to him, they have been well aware of grounds for abandonment.
But YHWH insists עמך אני, “I am with you.” The formula has a long history that reaches back to Moses (Exod 3:12) and continues to the nt (Matt 28:20). See H. D. Preuss, “Ich will mit dir sein,” ZAW 80 (1968) 139–73. Then he adds a second formulaic statement: אן אלהיך, “I am your God.” This also has ancient roots (cf. Exod 20:2/Deut 5:6) that are connected with YHWH’s appearance at covenant ceremonies (W. Zimmerli, I Am Yahweh, Your God, trans. D. W. Stott [Richmond, VA: John Knox, 1982]). God announces to Israel that her breech of covenant that led to exile need not mean an absolute and permanent separation. YHWH is still Israel’s God in her exile and in the new age.
YHWH insists that he has “strengthened,” “helped,” and “upheld” Israel throughout her ordeal. The implication is that she would never have survived if that were not so—“by the right hand of my salvation” (צדקי). The symbol for divine intervention in human affairs, God’s right hand, is associated with צדק, the same word used in v 2 for Cyrus. It carries the meaning of “right,” of “success,” and of “salvation.” God’s righteous, successful, saving action in history has benefited Israel.
41:10 The Lord’s command to the Israelites to fear not contrasts with the fright of pagans in vv. 5, 6. God had bared His right hand at the first Exodus in order to destroy the power of Pharaoh (Ex. 15:6): the phrase indicates His sovereignty and strength over all who oppose Him (40:10).
41:10 — “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Each of us will face fear at some point; it is what we do with it that matters most. We must claim our position as God’s children. We have the power to overcome fear when we apply His Word to our lives.
41:10 Do not fear. Israel need not fear God’s destructive judgment, as the rest of the nations do (vv. 5, 13, 14; 43:1, 5), because He is their God and faithful to His promise to restore the nation.
41:10 You here is the people as a whole (called “Jacob” in v. 8). Unlike the terrified nations of v. 5, the people of God have in him reason to be fearless (cf. vv. 13–14). Unlike the gods of the nations, which must be strengthened and secured (v. 7), the God of Israel secures his people.
41:10 fear not. See notes 35:4; 10:24.
I am with you. The Lord is Immanuel (8:8, 10; 43:2, 5; cf. Acts 18:9, 10).
I am your God. The basic promise for the covenant (vv. 13, 14; 43:1, 5; 44:2, 8; 51:12; Gen. 17:7; 21:17; 26:24; Deut. 20:1; 31:6, 8; Lev. 26:12; Jer. 32:38; Ezek. 37:27; 2 Cor. 6:16).
strengthen … uphold. The Lord is present in graciously delivering, exalting, and vindicating His children (v. 13; 42:1; 44:2; 49:8; 50:7). See note 40:31.
righteous right hand. He establishes order on earth by His power, as He did at the Exodus (63:12; Ex. 15:6).
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 Oswalt, J. N. (1998). The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40–66 (pp. 91–92). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
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