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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.”


9. The formers of a graven image. The Lord now shews, on the contrary, how wretched idolaters are who wander amidst their contrivances, and are not founded on the eternal truth of God; for they have no knowledge or sound understanding. As he justly pronounced the people, a little before, to be guilty of ingratitude, if the proofs of the grace of God did not encourage them to the exercise of faith, so he now arms and fortifies them against all the superstitions of the Gentiles. Unbelievers being both very numerous and very wealthy, he says that all are nothing, 175175     “Que tous sont vanite.” “That all are vanity.” and, next, that amidst all their magnificence there is nothing but imposture.

And their desirable thinqs do not profit. Under the term desirable things, he includes not only idols, but all their worship, and the ornaments, honor, and obedience which foolish men render to them, and denotes those things by a highly appropriate name; for since the chief object of life is to acknowledge and worship God, (which alone is our principal distinction from the brutes,) we ought to prefer it to all things, even to the most valuable, so as to direct to him all our prayers, and, in a word, all the thoughts of our heart. With good reason, therefore, does Scripture employ this word in speaking of the worship of God; but here the Prophet speaks of corrupt worship and the mad desire of idols, by which men are hurried along; and therefore he says, that all that they desire or eagerly perform is vain and useless. Frequently, too, this “desire” is compared to the love of a harlot, by which men are bewitched and almost blinded, so as not to perceive their baseness or yield to any reason. But we have explained this under a former passage. (Isaiah 1:29.) 176176     Commentary on Isaiah, vol. 1, p. 84.

And they are their witnesses. Some explain this to mean that the idols bear testimony against themselves, and plainly shew how vain they are, so that they who do not perceive it must be exceedingly stupid. But I do not at all approve of that exposition, and prefer to follow those who refer it to the worshippers of idols, who themselves are aware of their being so utterly vain; for they know that they neither see nor understand anything. And in this passage there is a contrast between the testimony of the people of God and that of idolaters. The former will give an illustrious testimony of the glory of God from his works and promises and predictions; the latter will be constrained to be dumb, if they do not choose to bring forward contrivances which have no certainty whatever, and therefore are false and vain. Wicked men boast, indeed, of their worship with great haughtiness, and loudly applaud themselves; but their conscience 177177     “Ce peu qu’ils ont de conscience.” “The little conscience that they have.” is “a witness” how uncertain and vain is all that they do, for they always tremble, and never find rest, though their obduracy leads them to violent exertions.

They will themselves, therefore, bear testimony against their idols; just as, if a man were to employ an ignorant teacher, he may be a witness of his ignorance. In like manner they will bear witness that their gods neither know nor can do anything; for they see that they are composed of stone or wood or some other material, and that they neither can see nor understand anything. Thus believers alone will render a true testimony to their God, because he knows, directs, and governs all things. The rest must at length be ashamed, though now they defend their errors with mad eagerness; for their conscience is a witness that nothing but opinion and a vain imagination holds their minds captive. 178178     “The obscurity of this verse proceeds from too close a translation, which may be cleared up by this paraphrase, ‘They that make a graven image are framers of a vain insignificant thing, for their idol can never profit them; they that make them can witness for them, that they see not, and have no knowledge, therefore they may be ashamed to worship them.’” — White.

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