The context for reading chapter 40 should be the preceding section involving condemnation. Surely, for their apostasy, Judah and Jerusalem will come under God’s judgment at the hands of the Babylonian Empire. Though judgment awaits in the future, so does hope. Therefore, God speaks to His beaten and rejected people with the words, “Comfort, O comfort My people.” The foreshadowing for God’s rescue and comfort of His people is found in the concept of the “remnant.” God will preserve the Holy Seed through the remnant that He Himself will protect, and through this remnant God will carry out His plan to bring lasting peace and righteousness on the earth.
“Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.
A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.
For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea,
Only a remnant within them will return;
A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness.”
— Isaiah 10:20-22