“But now thus said Hashem— Who created you, O Yaakov, Who formed you, O Yisrael: Fear not, for I will redeem you; I have singled you out by name, You are Mine.” ISAIAH 43:1 (The Israel Bible™)
As he often does, Yeshayahu delivers severe rebuke (42:18-25) followed by comfort and consolation. He tells the people that Hashem has not cast Israel off. Rather, He will be present during the difficulties and will even bring a speedy return and restoration to Israel (verses 3-7). The opening words, “but now,” mark the sharp contrast between the closing of chapter 42 and the opening of chapter 43. The prophet reassures that although Israel has undergone severe punishment and is still suffering, a dramatic change is approaching. The nation will return to its land in a remarkable expression of Hashem’s declaration, “You are Mine”.