Isaiah 1:3

3 The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”

Isaiah 1:3 in Other Translations

3 The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.
3 The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand."
3 Even an ox knows its owner, and a donkey recognizes its master’s care— but Israel doesn’t know its master. My people don’t recognize my care for them.”
3 The ox knows who's boss, the mule knows the hand that feeds him, But not Israel. My people don't know up from down.
3 The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's feeding-trough, [but] Israel does not know; My people do not understand."

Isaiah 1:3 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 1:3

The ox knoweth his owner
Knows his voice, when he calls him, and follows him where he leads him, whether to plough in the field, or feed in the meadows; and the ass his masters crib,
or "manger"; where he is fed, and to which he goes when he wants food, and at the usual times. Gussetius F23 interprets the words; the ass knows the floor where he treads out the corn, and willingly goes to it, though it is to labour, as well as to eat; and so puts Israel to shame, who were weary of the worship of God in the temple, where spiritual food was provided for them, but chose not to go for it, because of labour there. [But] Israel doth not know;
his Maker and Owner, his King, Lord, and Master, his Father, Saviour, and Redeemer; he does not own and acknowledge him, but rejects him; see ( John 1:10 John 1:11 ) . My people doth not consider;
the Jews, who were the people of God by profession, did not stir themselves up to consider, nor make use of means of knowing and understanding, divine and spiritual things, as the word used F24 signifies; they would not attend to the word and ordinances, which answer to the crib or manger; they would not hear nor regard the ministry of the word by Christ and his apostles, nor suffer others, but hindered them as much as in them lay; see ( Matthew 23:13 Matthew 23:37 ) ( Acts 13:45 Acts 13:46 ) . The Targum is,

``Israel does not learn to know my fear, my people do not understand to turn to my law.''
In like manner the more than brutal stupidity of this people is exposed in ( Jeremiah 8:7 ) .

F23 Comment. Ling. Ebr. p. 13, 14.
F24 (Nnwbth) a (Nzk) "intellexit". So Gussetius says it signifies a spontaneous application, by which you stir up yourself to understand; which is an action leading to wisdom, and without which no man can be wise, Comment. Ling. Ebr. p. 121.

Isaiah 1:3 In-Context

1 The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
2 Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth! For the LORD has spoken: “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me.
3 The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”
4 Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.
5 Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted.

Cross References 4

  • 1. Job 12:9
  • 2. S Genesis 42:27
  • 3. Jeremiah 4:22; Jeremiah 5:4; Jeremiah 8:7; Jeremiah 9:3,6; Hosea 2:8; Hosea 4:1
  • 4. S Deuteronomy 32:28; Isaiah 42:25; Isaiah 48:8; Hosea 4:6; Hosea 7:9
Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.