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Meaning to Isaiah 43:4


It has been asked, "What does Isaiah 43:4 mean?"  Here's my answer.


"I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life" - Isaiah 43:4 NIV
"I will give people in exchange for you and nations instead of you life" - Isaiah 43:4 - HCSB

"I will give men for you and people for your life" - Isaiah 43:4 - KJV

"I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for you" - Isaiah 43:4 - NASB


Isaiah 43 is one of the many chapters that predict the complete restoration of Israel that is yet to come.  God tells Israelis in verse 1 that He will redeem their nation.  The concept of redemption, especially in the Old Testament, means to "buy back," and once bought back, "will protect and avenge."   In other words, the day will come when God will not only buy back or redeem Israel and protect her, He will avenge the nations who have caused Israel to suffer.  God will judge those nations who curse Israel (Genesis 12:3).


So, in verse 3 God says, "I will give Egypt for you ransom Cush and Seba in your stead" (NIV).  Think of it this way. Jesus became a ransom for our salvation.  He suffered the judgment of God in order to save us.  In like manner, the above 3 northern African nations will be ransomed, suffer God's judgment in order to save Israel.  As a matter of fact, other passages say that  all nations of the world will be judged, ransomed, at the end of this age so the remnant of Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26).  People and nations will be given in exchange for Israel, and why, because Israel "is precious and honoured" (Isaiah 43:4) in God's sight, and I might add, "still precious and honoured in God's sight." 


Joel 3:2 and other such passages predict the day when God will gather the nations in the Valley of Jehoshaphat for their final judgment and destruction that leads to Israel's long awaited restoration.  As Jesus was give for the salvation of the world, so the nations will be given in exchange for the salvation of Israel.  This, I believer, is the meaning to Isaiah 43:4.   


You might also want to read Proverbs 21:18 where it says that they wicked will become a ransom for the righteous.  The same concept is seen here.                 


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