A Prophecy for CyrusBy Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
G-d now speaks to Cyrus, who is called an anointed one. While the Hebrew word for an anointed person is moshiach, not every one refers to what we would call in English the Messiah. (The Talmud in Megillah, page 12a, interprets the verse to say that G-d spoke to Moshiach about Cyrus.)
G-d gave Cyrus (or, from the perspective of Isaiah, will give Cyrus) the ability to flatten other nations and break the strength of kings. The gates of Babylonia will open wide before him. G-d will go before Cyrus, straightening the path that lies ahead of him, breaking copper doors and iron bars. G-d will give Cyrus the hidden treasures of Babylonia so that Cyrus will know that it is G-d Who is directing him. For the sake of Israel, G-d calls to Cyrus, whom He know, even though Cyrus has not yet been born. G-d will strengthen him, even though Cyrus does not yet know Who He is. People will know from one end of the world to the other that G-d is the only One. He creates light and darkness, good and evil, not like the Zoroastrian belief in two opposing gods.
The skies will rain righteousness and salvation will grow from the ground; this is from G-d. A person who questions G-d’s ways is like a lump of clay that questions the potter about how he makes a jug. G-d says that we can ask Him about the signs we see in the Heavens and on Earth, but not to question Him about Israel; He has already prepared salvation for them. G-d made Earth and planted man upon it. He aroused Cyrus to do His will; Cyrus will rebuild Jerusalem and return the exiles, not for ransom, but to do G-d’s will.
The wealth of Egypt and other nations will be given to Israel. These nations will come before you in chains and say that only in Israel is there a true G-d Who has power to save. They will be ashamed, including the master craftsmen of idols. (This section may refer to the Assyrians in the time of Chizkiyahu, rather than to the Babylonians in the time of Cyrus.) Israel will have eternal salvation and they will never be disgraced. This is the word of G-d, Who made Heaven and Earth.
G-d did not give the Torah in secret. He didn’t tell us to seek Him for no reason. G-d tells the survivors of the nations to assemble and to bring their idols. Go ahead and confer – see if any of their idols predicted the fates of Assyria and Babylonia. Only G-d is a living G-d; there is no other. Turn to Him and be saved
G-d swore by Himself and righteousness came from Him, not to be retracted, to accept all who return to Him. Every person in the world will ultimately recognize only G-d. Even so, Israel will maintain their unique relationship with G-d. Those who were G-d’s “opponents” will be ashamed of it, while Israel will “shep nachas” (feel pride) for recognizing G-d before it was universal among the nations.