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God’s Blessing on Israel


But now hear, O Jacob my servant,

Israel whom I have chosen!


Thus says the L ord who made you,

who formed you in the womb and will help you:

Do not fear, O Jacob my servant,

Jeshurun whom I have chosen.


For I will pour water on the thirsty land,

and streams on the dry ground;

I will pour my spirit upon your descendants,

and my blessing on your offspring.


They shall spring up like a green tamarisk,

like willows by flowing streams.


This one will say, “I am the L ord’s,”

another will be called by the name of Jacob,

yet another will write on the hand, “The L ord’s,”

and adopt the name of Israel.



Thus says the L ord, the King of Israel,

and his Redeemer, the L ord of hosts:

I am the first and I am the last;

besides me there is no god.


Who is like me? Let them proclaim it,

let them declare and set it forth before me.

Who has announced from of old the things to come?

Let them tell us what is yet to be.


Do not fear, or be afraid;

have I not told you from of old and declared it?

You are my witnesses!

Is there any god besides me?

There is no other rock; I know not one.


The Absurdity of Idol Worship

9 All who make idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit; their witnesses neither see nor know. And so they will be put to shame. 10Who would fashion a god or cast an image that can do no good? 11Look, all its devotees shall be put to shame; the artisans too are merely human. Let them all assemble, let them stand up; they shall be terrified, they shall all be put to shame.

12 The ironsmith fashions it and works it over the coals, shaping it with hammers, and forging it with his strong arm; he becomes hungry and his strength fails, he drinks no water and is faint. 13The carpenter stretches a line, marks it out with a stylus, fashions it with planes, and marks it with a compass; he makes it in human form, with human beauty, to be set up in a shrine. 14He cuts down cedars or chooses a holm tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15Then it can be used as fuel. Part of it he takes and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Then he makes a god and worships it, makes it a carved image and bows down before it. 16Half of it he burns in the fire; over this half he roasts meat, eats it and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, “Ah, I am warm, I can feel the fire!” 17The rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, bows down to it and worships it; he prays to it and says, “Save me, for you are my god!”

18 They do not know, nor do they comprehend; for their eyes are shut, so that they cannot see, and their minds as well, so that they cannot understand. 19No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals, I roasted meat and have eaten. Now shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” 20He feeds on ashes; a deluded mind has led him astray, and he cannot save himself or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a fraud?”


Israel Is Not Forgotten


Remember these things, O Jacob,

and Israel, for you are my servant;

I formed you, you are my servant;

O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.


I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud,

and your sins like mist;

return to me, for I have redeemed you.



Sing, O heavens, for the L ord has done it;

shout, O depths of the earth;

break forth into singing, O mountains,

O forest, and every tree in it!

For the L ord has redeemed Jacob,

and will be glorified in Israel.



Thus says the L ord, your Redeemer,

who formed you in the womb:

I am the L ord, who made all things,

who alone stretched out the heavens,

who by myself spread out the earth;


who frustrates the omens of liars,

and makes fools of diviners;

who turns back the wise,

and makes their knowledge foolish;


who confirms the word of his servant,

and fulfills the prediction of his messengers;

who says of Jerusalem, “It shall be inhabited,”

and of the cities of Judah, “They shall be rebuilt,

and I will raise up their ruins”;


who says to the deep, “Be dry—

I will dry up your rivers”;


who says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd,

and he shall carry out all my purpose”;

and who says of Jerusalem, “It shall be rebuilt,”

and of the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”


20. He feedeth on ashes. This verse also confirms the preceding statement. To “feed on ashes” is the same thing as “to be fed with ashes,” just as “to feed on wind” is the same thing as “to be fed with wind.” (Hosea 12:1.) Both expressions are used, as on the other hand, “Thou shalt feed on truth,” is put for “Thou shalt be fed with truth,” that is, “Thou shalt be satisfied.” (Psalm 37:3.) Others interpret that passage, “Thou shalt administer spiritual provision,” and others, “Thou shalt feed faithfully;” but I choose rather to adopt the former interpretation. 185185     The Author’s exposition of Psalm 37:3, and the Editor’s note, may be consulted with advantage. — Commentary on the Psalms, vol. 2, p. 19. — Ed. But here he means that men are haughty and puffed up, but yet that they are empty and worthless, because they are merely full of deceptions, which have nothing solid or lasting. With such pride men will rather burst than be satisfied.

A deceived heart disposes him. Next, he again includes both statements, that they are blinded by deceitful lusts, so as to see nothing, and yet that they voluntarily and willingly surrender themselves to vain delusions. The Prophet dwells largely on this, in order to shew that nothing drives men to false and wicked worship but this, that they are led to it of their own accord; and therefore there is no ground for imputing this vice to others, since they find in themselves the fountain which they earnestly nourish and defend. With strange presumption they rise up against God, are puffed up with a false opinion of their superstitions, and, in a word, are swollen and ready to burst with pride But let us feed on the solid food of truth, and not allow ourselves to be led astray by any delusions.

Not to deliver his soul. He heightens the picture by saying that they flatter themselves in a matter so important; for who would forgive negligence in that which relates to salvation? We see how eagerly every person labors for this transitory life; and when the eternal salvation of the soul is in danger, what is more intolerable than that men should indolently slumber, when they might save it by making exertion? A man is said to deliver his own soul, who by repentance rescues himself from the snares of the devil, in the same manner as some men are said to save others, when by holy warnings they bring back wanderers into the right way. (James 5:20.) How comes it then that idolaters rush headlong to their own destruction? It is because they hasten to it at full gallop, harden their hearts, and do not permit themselves to be drawn back.

Is there not a lie 186186     שקר (sheker) denotes in general ‘anything that deceives, a vain or deceitful thing,’ which does not correspond to a man’s opinion and expectation, but deceives and imposes upon him. Hence also (in Jeremiah 10:14; 51:17) an idol is called שקר (sheker). Rosenmuller. in my right hand? Thus he briefly points out the method by which men may deliver themselves from destruction. It is by examining their actions and not flattering themselves; for whoever is delighted with his error, and does not inquire if his manner of life be right, will never “deliver his soul.” In like manner the Papists refuse to inquire into the reasons for their worship, and disguise that stupidity under the name of simplicity; as if God wished us to be beasts, and did not enjoin us to distinguish between the worship which he approves and that which he rejects, and to inquire diligently what is his will, so as not to approve of everything without distinction. Everything ought to be tried by the standard which he has laid down for us. If that be done, we shall easily avoid danger; but if not, let us lay the blame of our destruction on ourselves, because of our own accord we wish to perish, and do not allow ourselves to receive any warning, or to be brought back into the right path.

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