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Isaiah 40:3 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— The voice of one that crieth, Prepare ye in the wilderness the way of Jehovah; make level in the desert a highway for our God.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of Jehovah, make straight in the desert a highway for our God!
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— A voice of one crying!—In the desert, prepare ye the way of Yahweh,—Make smooth, in the waste plain, a highway for our God:
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— A voice is crying—in a wilderness—Prepare ye the way of Jehovah, Make straight in a desert a highway to our God.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— The voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness the paths of our God.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— The voyce of him that cryeth in the wildernesse, Prepare yee the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a high way for our God.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Yahweh, make straight in the desert a highway for our Elohim.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
The voice 6963
{6963} Prime
קוֹל
qowl
{kole}
From an unused root meaning to call aloud; a voice or sound.
of him that crieth 7121
{7121} Prime
קָרָא
qara'
{kaw-raw'}
A primitive root (rather identical with H7122 through the idea of accosting a person met); to call out to (that is, properly address by name, but used in a wide variety of applications).
z8802
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
in the wilderness, 4057
{4057} Prime
מִדְבָּר
midbar
{mid-bawr'}
From H1696 in the sense of driving; a pasture (that is, open field, whither cattle are driven); by implication a desert; also speech (including its organs).
Prepare 6437
{6437} Prime
פָּנָה
panah
{paw-naw'}
A primitive root; to turn; by implication to face, that is, appear, look, etc.
z8761
<8761> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 446
ye the way 1870
{1870} Prime
דֶּרֶךְ
derek
{deh'-rek}
From H1869; a road (as trodden); figuratively a course of life or mode of action, often adverbially.
of Yhw יָהוֶה, 3068
{3068} Prime
יְהֹוָה
Y@hovah
{yeh-ho-vaw'}
From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.
make straight 3474
{3474} Prime
יָשַׁר
yashar
{yaw-shar'}
A primitive root; to be straight or even; figuratively to be (causatively to make) right, pleasant, prosperous.
z8761
<8761> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 446
in the desert 6160
{6160} Prime
עֲרָבָה
`arabah
{ar-aw-baw'}
From H6150 (in the sense of sterility); a desert; especially (with the article prefixed) the (generally) sterile valley of the Jordan and its continuation to the Red Sea.
a highway 4546
{4546} Prime
מְסִלָּה
m@cillah
{mes-il-law'}
From H5549; a thoroughfare (as turnpiked), literally or figuratively; specifically a viaduct, a staircase.
for our lhm אֱלֹהִים. 430
{0430} Prime
אֱלֹהִים
'elohiym
{el-o-heem'}
Plural of H0433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Isaiah 40:3

_ _ crieth in the wilderness — So the Septuagint and Matthew 3:3 connect the words. The Hebrew accents, however, connect them thus: “In the wilderness prepare ye,” etc., and the parallelism also requires this, “Prepare ye in the wilderness,” answering to “make straight in the desert.” Matthew was entitled, as under inspiration, to vary the connection, so as to bring out another sense, included in the Holy Spirit’s intention; in Matthew 3:1, “John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness,” answers thus to “The voice of one crying in the wilderness.” Maurer takes the participle as put for the finite verb (so in Isaiah 40:6), “A voice crieth.” The clause, “in the wilderness,” alludes to Israel’s passage through it from Egypt to Canaan (Psalms 68:7), Jehovah being their leader; so it shall be at the coming restoration of Israel, of which the restoration from Babylon was but a type (not the full realization; for their way from it was not through the “wilderness”). Where John preached (namely, in the wilderness; the type of this earth, a moral wilderness), there were the hearers who are ordered to prepare the way of the Lord, and there was to be the coming of the Lord [Bengel]. John, though he was immediately followed by the suffering Messiah, is rather the herald of the coming reigning Messiah, as Malachi 4:5, Malachi 4:6 (“before the great and dreadful day of the Lord”), proves. Matthew 17:11 (compare Acts 3:21) implies that John is not exclusively meant; and that though in one sense Elias has come, in another he is yet to come. John was the figurative Elias, coming “in the spirit and power of Elias” (Luke 1:17); John 1:21, where John the Baptist denies that he was the actual Elias, accords with this view. Malachi 4:5, Malachi 4:6 cannot have received its exhaustive fulfillment in John; the Jews always understood it of the literal Elijah. As there is another consummating advent of Messiah Himself, so perhaps there is to be of his forerunner Elias, who also was present at the transfiguration.

_ _ the LordHebrew, Jehovah; as this is applied to Jesus, He must be Jehovah (Matthew 3:3).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Isaiah 40:3-8

_ _ The time to favour Zion, yea, the set time, having come, the people of God must be prepared, by repentance and faith, for the favours designed them; and, in order to call them to both these, we have here the voice of one crying in the wilderness, which may be applied to those prophets who were with the captives in their wilderness-state, and who, when they saw the day of their deliverance dawn, called earnestly upon them to prepare for it, and assured them that all the difficulties which stood in the way of their deliverance should be got over. It is a good sign that mercy is preparing for us if we find God's grace preparing us for it, Psalms 10:17. But it must be applied to John the Baptist; for, though God was the speaker, he was the voice of one crying in the wilderness, and his business was to prepare the way of the Lord, to dispose men's minds for the reception and entertainment of the gospel of Christ. The way of the Lord is prepared,

_ _ I. By repentance for sin; that was it which John Baptist preached to all Judah and Jerusalem (Matthew 3:2, Matthew 3:5), and thereby made ready a people prepared for the Lord, Luke 1:17.

_ _ 1. The alarm is given; let all take notice of it at their peril; God is coming in a way of mercy, and we must prepare for him, Isaiah 40:3-5. If we apply it to their captivity, it may be taken as a promise that, whatever difficulties lie in their way, when they return they shall be removed. This voice in the wilderness (divine power going along with it) sets pioneers on work to level the roads. But it may be taken as a call to duty, and it is the same duty that we are called to, in preparation for Christ's entrance into our souls. (1.) We must get into such a frame of spirit as will dispose us to receive Christ and his gospel: “Prepare you the way of the Lord; prepare yourselves for him, and let all that be suppressed which would be an obstruction to his entrance. Make room for Christ: Make straight a highway for him.” If he prepare the end for us, we ought surely to prepare the way for him. Prepare for the Saviour; lift up your heads, O you gates! Psalms 24:7, Psalms 24:9. Prepare for the salvation, the great salvation, and other minor deliverances. Let us get to be fit for them, and then God will work them out. Let us not stand in our own light, nor put a bar in our own door, but find, or make, a highway for him, even in that which was desert ground. This is that for which he waits to be gracious. (2.) We must get our hearts levelled by divine grace. Those that are hindered from comfort in Christ by their dejections and despondencies are the valleys that must be exalted. Those that are hindered from comfort in Christ by a proud conceit of their own merit and worth are the mountains and hills that must be made low. Those that have entertained prejudices against the word and ways of God, that are untractable, and disposed to thwart and contradict even that which is plain and easy because it agrees not with their corrupt inclinations and secular interests, are the crooked that must be made straight and the rough places that must be made plain. Let but the gospel of Christ have a fair hearing, and it cannot fail of acceptance. This prepares the way of the Lord; and thus God will by his grace prepare his own way in all the vessels of mercy, whose hearts he opens as he did Lydia's.

_ _ 2. When this is done the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, Isaiah 40:5. (1.) When the captives are prepared for deliverance Cyrus shall proclaim it, and those shall have the benefit of it, and those only, whose hearts the Lord shall stir up with courage and resolution to break through the discouragements that lay in their way, and to make nothing of the hills, and valleys, and all the rough places. (2.) When John Baptist has for some time preached repentance, mortification, and reformation, and so made ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:17), then the Messiah himself shall be revealed in his glory, working miracles, which John did not, and by his grace, which is his glory, binding up and healing with consolations those whom John had wounded with convictions. And this revelation of divine glory shall be a light to lighten the Gentiles. All flesh shall see it together, and not the Jews only; they shall see and admire it, see it and bid it welcome; as the return out of captivity was taken notice of by the neighbouring nations, Psalms 126:2. And it shall be the accomplishment of the word of God, not one iota or tittle of which shall fall to the ground: The mouth of the Lord has spoken it, and therefore the hand of the Lord will effect it.

_ _ II. By confidence in the word of the Lord, and not in any creature. The mouth of the Lord having spoken it, the voice has this further to cry (he that has ears to hear let him hear it), The word of our God shall stand for ever, Isaiah 40:8.

_ _ 1. By this accomplishment of the prophecies and promises of salvation, and the performance of them to the utmost in due time, it appears that the word of the Lord is sure and what may be safely relied on. Then we are prepared for deliverance when we depend entirely upon the word of God, build our hopes on that, with an assurance that it will not make us ashamed: in a dependence upon this word we must be brought to own that all flesh is grass, withering and fading. (1.) The power of man, when it does appear against the deliverance, is not to be feared; for it shall be as grass before the word of the Lord: it shall wither and be trodden down. The insulting Babylonians, who promise themselves that the desolations of Jerusalem shall be perpetual, are but as grass which the spirit of the Lord blows upon, makes nothing of, but blasts all its glory; for the word of the Lord, which promises their deliverance, shall stand for ever, and it is not in the power of their enemies to hinder the execution of it. (2.) The power of man, when it would appear for the deliverance, is not to be trusted to; for it is but as grass in comparison with the word of the Lord, which is the only firm foundation for us to build our hope upon. When God is about to work salvation for his people he will take them off from depending upon creatures, and looking for it from hills and mountains. They shall fail them, and their expectations from them shall be frustrated: The Spirit of the Lord shall blow upon them; for God will have no creature to be a rival with him for the hope and confidence of his people; and, as it is his word only that shall stand for ever, so in that word only our faith must stand. When we are brought to this, then, and not till then, we are fit for mercy.

_ _ 2. The word of our God, that glory of the Lord which is now to be revealed, the gospel, and that grace which is brought with it to us and wrought by it in us, shall stand for ever; and this is the satisfaction of all believers, when they find all their creature-comforts withering and fading like grass. Thus the apostle applies it to the word which by the gospel is preached unto us, and which lives and abides for ever as the incorruptible seed by which we are born again, 1 Peter 1:23-25. To prepare the way of the Lord we must be convinced, (1.) Of the vanity of the creature, that all flesh is grass, weak and withering. We ourselves are so, and therefore cannot save ourselves; all our friends are so, and therefore are unable to save us. All the beauty of the creature, which might render it amiable, is but as the flower of grass, soon blasted, and therefore cannot recommend us to God and to his acceptance. We are dying creatures; all our comforts in this word are dying comforts, and therefore cannot be the felicity of our immortal souls. We must look further for a salvation, look further for a portion. (2.) Of the validity of the promise of God. We must be convinced that the word of the Lord can do that for us which all flesh cannot — that, forasmuch as it stands for ever, it will furnish us with a happiness that will run parallel with the duration of our souls, which must live for ever; for the things that are not seen, but must be believed, are eternal.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Isaiah 40:3

The voice — An abrupt speech. Methinks I hear a voice. Wilderness — This immediately relates to the deliverance of the Jews out of Babylon, and smoothing their passage from thence to Judea, which lay through a great wilderness; but principally to their redemption by the Messiah, whose coming was ushered in by the cry of John the baptist, in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way — You to whom this work belongs. He alludes to the custom of princes who send pioneers before them to prepare the way through which they are to pass. The meaning is, God shall by his spirit so dispose mens hearts, and by his providence so order the affairs of the world, as to make way for the accomplishment of his promise. This was eminently fulfilled, when Christ, who was, and is God, blessed for ever, came into the world in a visible manner.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Isaiah 40:3

The (d) voice of him that crieth in the (e) wilderness, (f) Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

(d) That is, of the prophets.

(e) That is, in Babylonia and other places, where they were kept in captivity and misery.

(f) Meaning Cyrus and Darius who would deliver God's people out of captivity and make them a ready way to Jerusalem.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
The voice:

Matthew 3:1-3 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, ... For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Mark 1:2-5 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. ... And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
Luke 3:2-6 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. ... And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
John 1:23 He said, I [am] the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

Prepare:

Isaiah 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it [shall be] for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err [therein].
Isaiah 57:14 And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people.
Isaiah 62:10-11 Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. ... Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward [is] with him, and his work before him.
Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
Malachi 4:5-6 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: ... And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Luke 1:16-17 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. ... And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
Luke 1:76-77 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; ... To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,

make:

Isaiah 11:15-16 And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make [men] go over dryshod. ... And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.
Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 49:11 And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted.
Psalms 68:4 Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.
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Chain-Reference Bible Search

Ps 68:4. Is 11:15; 35:8; 43:19; 49:11; 57:14; 62:10. Mal 3:1; 4:5. Mt 3:1. Mk 1:2. Lk 1:16, 76; 3:2. Jn 1:23.

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