Isaiah 40:15

15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.

Isaiah 40:15 in Other Translations

KJV
15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.
ESV
15 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.
NLT
15 No, for all the nations of the world are but a drop in the bucket. They are nothing more than dust on the scales. He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand.
MSG
15 Why, the nations are but a drop in a bucket, a mere smudge on a window. Watch him sweep up the islands like so much dust off the floor!
CSB
15 Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are considered as a speck of dust on the scales; He lifts up the islands like fine dust.

Isaiah 40:15 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 40:15

Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket
Not only the Chaldeans and Babylonians, and other nations most known, and most troublesome to the Jews, but all the nations of the world; these, in comparison of God, of his infinite and immense Being, are but as a drop of water that hangs upon the bucket, or falls from it, when water is drawn by it, or is left in it, when poured out of it; which is nothing in comparison of the well out of which the water is drawn, or even of the water in the bucket drawn out of it: and are accounted as the small dust of the balance;
that is, they are accounted nothing of with God, comparatively speaking, any more than the small dust which hangs upon the balance, and gives it no weight, nor turn one way or another, and so is of no consideration. The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render it, "as the turn of the scale"; and so the Targum; but the other version more strongly expresses the sense: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing;
by which are meant not merely islands, properly so called, which are encompassed by the sea, but all such countries which the Jews used to go to by sea, for all such they called isles; these the Lord can take up, or cast away F21, as some render the word; toss them about, overturn and destroy, as a man may take up the most minute thing and cast it from him. The Targum renders it,

``as chaff which flies away;''
or, as others translate it,
``as the ashes of a coal which fly away.''
The word may signify any light thing, as chaff, straw, stubble, feathers, down of thistles, which are easily carried away with the least force; and so Vitringa renders the words, "behold, the isles are as some little thing which flies away".
FOOTNOTES:

F21 (lwjy) "projiciet", Pagninus, Tigurine version; so R. Jonah in Ben Melech.

Isaiah 40:15 In-Context

13 Who can fathom the Spirit of the LORD, or instruct the LORD as his counselor?
14 Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding?
15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.
16 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings.
17 Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing.

Cross References 2

  • 1. S Psalms 62:9
  • 2. S Deuteronomy 9:21; Isaiah 2:22