Joseph and Israel to Rule Africa and India (Isaiah chs. 41-45) (1 September 2016, 28 Av, 5776)
Isaiah Summary chs. 41 to 45
Israel is at the ends (geographical extremities) of the earth and in the island. Israel must return to the Almighty. God is pleading with us to return to Him (Isaiah 43:26). Israel will return. Israel will have transported African slaves in chains, possessed the Suez Canal and India and vast resources. Israel will be called names derived from Jacob such as Yank, Union Jack, Jock. By returning to God all the Seed of Israel shall be justified and find glory.
There are two verses that link Israel in Exile (i.e. the Lost Ten Tribes) with Egypt, Cush, and Seba.
Isaiah 43: 3 For I am the LORD thy God,
the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour:
I gave Egypt for thy ransom,
Ethiopia [Cush] and Seba for thee.
14 Thus saith the LORD,
The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia [Cush] and of the Sabeans, men of stature,
shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine:
they shall come after thee;
in chains they shall come over,
and they shall fall down unto thee,
they shall make supplication unto thee, saying,
Surely God is in thee;
and there is none else,
there is no God.
These verses refer to Israel. The name of Cyrus is also recalled (44:28, 45:1). Cyrus was the King of Persia who allowed the Jews to return to Judah after the Babylonian Exile. There are those who wish to link the verses about Egypt, Cush, and Seba with Cyrus since Cyrus expanded the Persian Empire into India (also known as Cush) and his son Cambyses conquered Egypt and Nubia where the Sabaeans were to be found. An examiniation of the verses in their complete context leaves no doubt that Israel is being referred to. This helps link the Lost Ten Tribes with the British and American peoples. This will be come clearer once we see the whole context of the verses.
Isaiah chs. 41 to 45 are on the whole one stream of linked together subject matter.
The Islands will be called upon to return to the truth (41:1). God will raise up his righteous representative to overcome his enemies (41:2-3). God is the beginning and end and knows all that will be (41:4). Israel is the servant of God (41:8) and the servant-people from the ends of the earth. Israel in the last Days will be in the geographical extremities of the earth, e.g. America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Scandinavia, Netherlands, etc. Israel will be at the ends of the earth and in the best places thereof (41:9). God will help Jacob and Israel, meaning the Ten Tribes, and Judah (Isaiah 41:14). When all of the Israelites return to the Land of Greater Israel and re-possess most of the Middle East much of which is now desert miracles will happen, there will be climatic changes (41:18). Israel who are in the Isles will return to His Law (Isaiah 42:4). God has called Israel in righteousness to become a Brit-Am (Covenant of the People) and a Light to the Nations (42:6). They were to reveal the truth and release the imprisoned (42:7). God is the Almighty and will not give HIS glory to another (42:8). Prophecy reveals what will come about (42:9). They who are sea goers and live in the Isles at the ends of the earth are called upon to praise God with a new song (42:10). ...the emphasis is on the Islands (42:12). God will bring His people back both in the physical sense and in the spiritual one (42:14-19). The Troubles of Jacob and Israel (Joseph and Judah) will have been caused by sin (42:20-25).
Jacob and Israel (The Ten Tribes and Judah) will be redeemed (43:1). God will be with us no matter what happens (43:2). Egypt will be given over for Israel to redeem itself, Cush (India, Africa) and Seba will be ours (43:3).
Peoples will be subjected under Israel and God will bring Israel back from the East and from the west (43:3-4). Israel and Judah will return from the north and south, from afar, and from the corners of the earth (43:6). Every member of Israel has been called by God by HIS name (43:7). Israel and Judah are the witnesses of God in this world (43:10). The Casdim (Chaldeans) oppressed us and came against us in their ships because God wanted it so (43:14). The final return of Israel will be accompanied by miracles that according to the simple meaning of certain verses will be comparable to those of the original Exodus from Egypt (43:16-21). Israel has not called out to God (43:22) nor offered sacrifices but has sinned (43:23-24). God will forgive us (43:25).
Literally God is almost pleading with us to return to Him for both His sake and our own (Isaiah 43:26).
Jacob and Israel must hear God (44:1). Jacob is HIS servant and Jeshurun (Yeshurun) HIS chosen one (44:2). In the End Times many of the descendants of Israel will be Divinely Inspired (44:3). The Israelites will return. Some will express their return more in the religious sense while others will identify with Judah and others openly acknowledge their Israelite descent (44:3). There is Only One God and HE is Everything (44:6). The People of Israel will bear witness as to the existence of God (44:8). The Muslims and heathen will be ashamed of the idolatrous past and Israel should look at their uselessness and not go in their pagan ways (44:9-20). Israel is the servant-people of God. He has not forgotten us (44:21). Creation will see that God has redeemed Jacob and glorified Himself in Israel (44:23). God is true. The Bible is true. The "wise" academics who deny this are fools (44:25). God will have mercy on Judah who is HIS servant and Jerusalem and the cities of Judah will be restored (44:26).
Cyrus is the shepherd of the Almighty and shall enable the Temple to be rebuilt (44:28). "Cyrus" meant both the Persian Emperor of that name who released the Jews from Babylon and ALSO a future leader of the Ten Tribes, a Messiah son of Joseph, leader of the Ten Tribes. God calls to his "anointed" Cyrus (45:1) [see the Brit-Am Commentary in full. This verse is not addressed primarily to Cyrus but to the Ten Tribes in Exile.].
God will prepare the way before him and give him the treasures of darkness and riches of secret places (45:2-3). Jacob is the servant of God. Israel is called "Jacob" (Yank, Union Jack, Jock) even though he is not aware of its meaning (45:4). The God of Israel looked after Jacob even though Jacob did not know him (45:5). He shall rebuilt the city and release the Captives who belong to the Almighty (45:13). Produce reaching Mitsrayim (Egypt), tall men of Saba in Africa shall submit to the Chosen and belong to them. They will acknowledge that God is with the Chosen (45:14).
An identifying sign of Israel in Exile was that they should rule Egypt, most of Africa, and India as the British did (45:1-4,14). So too in the future Joseph will be instrumental in the Restoration of Judah (45:13). That which comes to Egypt [via the Suez Canal], the trade of India [Cush], and of the Sabeans [of Black Africa], shall come over [the sea] unto you. They will be yours, in chains they will come unto you.
This was fulfilled by the British and Americans and the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (45:14). The British Navy eventually everybody forced everybody to stop this trade.
The God of Israel hides Himself (45:15).
They who make idols shall be ashamed but Israel will be saved (45:16-17).
Israel is called to come out of the nations, not worship the wood of an idol nor pray to a god that cannot save (45:20). True Prophecy is to be found only in the Israelite Bible besides whom there can be none other (45:21). God is calling to Israel to return and worship HIM (45:22).
God hides HIMSELF amongst His people including the Lost Tribes of Israel (45:15). God has not made Himself unavailable to the seed of Jacob, just the opposite (45:19).
Isaiah chapters 43 and 45 are speaking PRIMARILY concerning Israel in the End Times.
The name Cyrus was inserted here and there since there was some importance, of a secondary nature attached to him.
Cyrus was the King of Persia who conquered many lands and allowed the Jews to return.
He foreshadowed the future Messiah son of Joseph leader of the Ten Tribes who will lead the Ten Tribes back and help Judah resettle the land.
The Prophet Isaiah saw things, did not necessarily understand what he saw, and wrote them down.
Isaiah prophesied about the Ten Tribes and ALSO saw Cyrus playing an important rule in the period following his own. Isaiah wrote down what he saw as he understood it and so too, threw the name of Cyrus in the jumble since Cyrus would preadumbrate some of the qualities and actions of the Ten Tribes in the Latter Times.
[Isaiah 45:1] THUS SAITH THE LORD TO HIS ANOINTED, TO CYRUS, WHOSE RIGHT HAND I HAVE HOLDEN, TO SUBDUE NATIONS BEFORE HIM; AND I WILL LOOSE THE LOINS OF KINGS, TO OPEN BEFORE HIM THE TWO LEAVED GATES; AND THE GATES SHALL NOT BE SHUT;
Adapted from 'Joseph' chapter eight.
Explains Isaiah 45:1 and Isaiah 45:14.
Cyrus the Great (in Hebrew , "Koresh", c. 600 or 576 - 530 BC), was the founder of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. Cyrus conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia and the Caucasus. From the Mediterranean Sea and Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east. Under his successors, the empire eventually stretched at its maximum extent from parts of the Balkans (Bulgaria-Paeonia and Thrace-Macedonia) and Eastern Europe proper in the west, to the Indus Valley in the east. His son, Cambyses II, added to the empire Egypt, Nubia, and Cyrenaica in North Africa.
The Ten Tribes had been take away by the Assyrians. Following that, the Babylonians had destroyed the Temple and exiled the Jews to Babylon. Cyrus issued a decree saying that those Jews who wished to return to Judah and Jerusalem and to rebuild the Temple could do so.
The Prophet Isaiah had already predicted that a ruler named Cyrus would be the one to free the exiles. Cyrus was recalled by NAME in Isaiah 44:28, "To his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held..." and in the next verse, 45:1: "That says of Cyrus, He is my shepherd..."
Both traditional and modern commentators usually understand Isaiah chapter 45 to be referring to Cyrus the King of Persia. Cyrus was the King of Persia who conquered Babylon and enabled the Jews to return to Judea and rebuild the Temple.
Isaiah prophesied about 100 years before Cyrus. Josephus relates that CYRUS was shown his name written in the Prophecy of Isaiah and this is what led him to allow the Jews to return. Not Cyrus conquered Babylon and helped the Jews return to their land. He had intended to conquered Egypt but this was left to his son who also ruled over Nubia south of Egypt.
Nubia was known as Cush. This name was also applied to Ethiopia and in some contexts to Africa in general.
Not only the Hebrews but the Egyptians and Greeks applied the term Cush in a similar way.
Cyrus also ruled over regions to the west of India and parts of Pakistan-India itself.
The following verse in Isaiah has mistakenly been applied by some to Cyrus:
"THUS SAYS THE LORD, THE LABOR OF EGYPT, AND MERCHANDISE OF ETHIOPIA [in Hebrew: 'CUSH'], AND OF THE SABAEANS, MEN OF STATURE, SHALL COME OVER UNTO YOU, AND THEY SHALL BE YOURS: THEY SHALL COME AFTER YOU; IN CHAINS THEY SHALL COME OVER, AND THEY SHALL FALL DOWN UNTO YOU, THEY SHALL MAKE SUPPLICATION UNTO YOU, SAYING, SURELY GOD IS IN YOU; AND THERE IS NO ELSE, THERE IS NO OTHER GOD" (Isaiah 45:14).
This verse is not addressed to Cyrus but to the Ten Tribes in Exile.
Concerning Cyrus, the following points should be noted:
There is a principle that Prophecies that were written down, even when they were fulfilled shortly afterwards, will have a larger application in a later period especially towards the Latter Days. The Prophecies are usually designed to accord to some degree with contemporary events or with things that would occur shortly after. The main gist of the Prophecies however was for the Latter Days. Even the Commentators who apply all of the chapter to Cyrus have to admit that it does not exactly fit in key details. It must have a wider application.
Even in the verses where the name CYRUS is expressly mentioned, the Sages understood the verse as applying to Cyrus only in a PARTIAL SENSE: For example,
"The Holy One, Blessed He, said to the Anointed-Messiah, I have a complaint against Cyrus, I said he will build my House and gather in my exiles but he went and said, Whoever amongst my people wants to go up can do so [and build the House themselves]..." (Megilla 12; Rashi), i.e. the expression in the verse Isaiah 45:1: "...to his anointed, to Cyrus," was understood as applying to two different people, to the Anointed-Messiah and to Cyrus! Alternately the verse was formulated in deliberately ambiguous language giving Cyrus the potential if he so wanted to have done more than he actually did!
The Commentary Daat Sofrim (Isaiah 45):
# For the address to Cyrus was not "To Cyrus his Anointed-Messiah" but rather it was said, "To his Anointed-Messiah, [and] to Cyrus," as if to two different entities.#
The whole of this Prophecy of Isaiah is arranged in an oracular style of mainly short paragraphs with no necessary strong connection between them.
The expression (Isaiah 45:14) concerning the "LABOR OF EGYPT, AND MERCHANDISE OF ETHIOPIA [in Hebrew, CUSH], AND OF THE SABAEANS" is not necessarily connected to the preceding verses concerning Cyrus.
The following verses return to speak only of Israel. The verse itself speaks of an ultimate acknowledgement of the God of Israel by the captives.
"THEY SHALL MAKE SUPPLICATION UNTO YOU, SAYING, SURELY GOD IS IN YOU; AND THERE IS NO ELSE, THERE IS NO OTHER GOD"
This could only apply to Israel. Israel is discussed before Cyrus is spoken of, and afterwards Israel is again mentioned. In Isaiah 43:3 it says "FOR I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD, THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL, YOUR SAVIOR, I GAVE EGYPT FOR YOUR ATONEMENT, ETHIOPIA [Hebrew: 'CUSH'] AND SEBA UNDERNEATH YOU." Here Egypt, Cush, Seba are linked with Israel and can be understood in the Hebrew as being placed under Israel's subjection!!!
A simple reading of Isaiah chapter 45 does not leave much room for Cyrus, the emphasis is on Israel.
This is the verse we are primarily considering:
"THUS SAYS THE LORD, THE LABOR OF EGYPT, AND MERCHANDISE OF CUSH, AND OF THE SABAEANS, MEN OF STATURE, SHALL COME OVER UNTO YOU, AND THEY SHALL BE YOURS: THEY SHALL COME AFTER YOU; IN CHAINS THEY SHALL COME OVER, AND THEY SHALL FALL DOWN UNTO YOU, THEY SHALL MAKE SUPPLICATION UNTO YOU, SAYING, SURELY GOD IS IN YOU; AND THERE IS NO ELSE, THERE IS NO OTHER GOD" (ISAIAH 45:14).
One may take this verse as perhaps applying to Cyrus though there is no necessity to do so. Even if it is taken as applicable in part to CYRUS the context and the similar verse in Isaiah 43:3 concerning Israel says, "Egypt for your atonement, CUSH and Seba underneath you." This shows that the primary application is to Israel. In all the rest of chapter 45 following verse 14, Israel is addressed to and mentioned: "Israel shall be saved" (45:17) "the seed of Jacob" (45; 19), "all the seed of Israel" (45;24). You may yet not be convinced but take the verse as applying to Israel and consider our explanation:
According to our understanding of the Prophet Isaiah (43:3 and 45:14 and the verses around them) it was predicted that the Lost Ten Tribes would rule over India, Egypt and much of Negro Africa. The trade with India would be theirs, the recompense arriving (via the Suez Canal) at Egypt would be theirs, and they would transport Negroes (many of whom were large-bodied) across the seas in chains. The whole passage ends on the point that in the Last Days they will return to worship the True God. In their own way they had always subconsciously acknowledged the One God Of Israel to some degree, but had publicly worshipped something else as explained at length elsewhere in Ephraim. In the Last days Israel will then worship the True God and descendants of the Negro slaves will also see the truth and bear witness to the God of Israel. We identify the Lost Ten Tribes headed by Britain and America as Israel. If we consider Britain and North America as one "Anglo-Saxon" entity then the Prophecy indicates that the Lost Ten Tribes are amongst them. The British ruled India. Economically they gained very much from trade with India, they ruled Egypt and controlled the Suez Canal linking the Mediterranean Sea with the East. They also controlled much of Africa and Negro Slaves in chains were sent by them and others acting on their behalf across the Sea to North America and to the West Indies.
The British and French between them ruled over most of Africa. The Belgians had the Congo.
The descendants of the Negro Slaves int he USA today have an ambivalent attitude towards the God of the Bible but often formally worship in a way described in Isaiah in the rest of chapter 45.
This is the simple meaning of the verse, BUT in order to understand and appreciate this plain meaning there are several other factors to consider.
The King James version says:
"THUS SAYS THE LORD, THE LABOR OF EGYPT, AND MERCHANDISE OF CUSH, AND OF THE SABAEANS, MEN OF STATURE, SHALL COME OVER UNTO YOU, AND THEY SHALL BE YOURS: THEY SHALL COME AFTER YOU; IN CHAINS THEY SHALL COME OVER, AND THEY SHALL FALL DOWN UNTO YOU, THEY SHALL MAKE SUPPLICATION UNTO YOU, SAYING, SURELY GOD IS IN YOU; AND THERE IS NONE ELSE, THERE IS NO OTHER GOD" (ISAIAH 45;14).
The expression "labor of Egypt" is an accurate translation but the words in Hebrew [yagiat Mitsraim] can also be rendered as "that which comes unto Egypt".
The "merchandise of Ethiopia" can also be rendered as the "merchandise of Cush". "Cush" is the Hebrew word translated as Ethiopia. "Cush" was also the Egyptian word for the region of Nubia meaning southern Egypt and the Sudan. The Greeks applied the name "Cush" to the whole of eastern Africa. On the other hand, ethnic and geographical names such as "Kash" or "Kas" or "Kush" are also found throughout early Indian histories as well as in neighboring areas. In Modern Hebrew "Cushi" usually means a Negro of African origin and India is known as "Hodu". In Biblical Hebrew however there is no distinct name for India. Both Ethiopia and neighboring parts of Africa and India would have been referred to in Biblical Hebrew as CUSH. The ancient Sumerians and Assyrians used the same term ("Meluccha") both for Ethiopia and for northwest India. Classical Greek Geographers (such as Herodotos) referred to the area northwest of India as the "Ethiopia of Asia".
The Aramaic Translations to the Bible often translate "Cush" as "Hodu" or "Hindiki" both of which mean India. The famous commentator Rashi also equated "CUSH" with India. There was a close connection between India, Ethiopia, and Africa. The Rabbinical Commentator and international traveler Avraham Iben Ezra noted a similarity between Ancient Egypt and India with a similar caste systems, sacred animals and so on. The verse in Isaiah may therefore be referring to India under the name Cush.
How does this apply at the present time?
The British and French took African Slaves from Cush and Saba overseas in chains to North America. Their descendants are still their. The British and French ruled Africa. The British controlled the Suez Canal. This was not that long ago and may still be consdiered an identifying characteristic. What is more British investments in India and elsewhere still bear fruit and are an important factor contributing to the economic stamina and resilience of the British.
[Isaiah 45:13] I HAVE RAISED HIM UP IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND I WILL DIRECT ALL HIS WAYS: HE SHALL BUILD MY CITY, AND HE SHALL LET GO MY CAPTIVES, NOT FOR PRICE NOR REWARD, SAITH THE LORD OF HOSTS.
[Isaiah 45:14] THUS SAITH THE LORD, THE LABOUR OF EGYPT, AND MERCHANDISE OF ETHIOPIA AND OF THE SABEANS, MEN OF STATURE, SHALL COME OVER UNTO THEE, AND THEY SHALL BE THINE: THEY SHALL COME AFTER THEE; IN CHAINS THEY SHALL COME OVER, AND THEY SHALL FALL DOWN UNTO THEE, THEY SHALL MAKE SUPPLICATION UNTO THEE, SAYING, SURELY GOD IS IN THEE; AND THERE IS NONE ELSE, THERE IS NO GOD.
As we explained above the above verse can be explained to say: 'That which comes to Egypt [via the Suez Canal], the trade of India [Cush], and of the Sabeans [of negro Africa], shall come over [the sea] unto you. They will be yours, in chains they will come unto you'.
This was fulfilled by the British and Americans.
Israel is called upon to leave their former worship.
[Isaiah 45:20] ASSEMBLE YOURSELVES AND COME; DRAW NEAR TOGETHER, YE THAT ARE ESCAPED OF THE NATIONS:
THEY HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE THAT SET UP THE WOOD OF THEIR GRAVEN IMAGE, AND PRAY UNTO A GOD THAT CANNOT SAVE.
[Isaiah 45:21] TELL YE, AND BRING THEM NEAR; YEA, LET THEM TAKE COUNSEL TOGETHER: WHO HATH DECLARED THIS FROM ANCIENT TIME? WHO HATH TOLD IT FROM THAT TIME? HAVE NOT I THE LORD? AND THERE IS NO GOD ELSE BESIDE ME; A JUST GOD AND A SAVIOUR; THERE IS NONE BESIDE ME.
[Isaiah 45:22] LOOK UNTO ME, AND BE YE SAVED, ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH: FOR I AM GOD, AND THERE IS NONE ELSE.
God is calling to Israel to return and worship HIM.