Isaiah 44:20

20 Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”

Isaiah 44:20 in Other Translations

20 He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?
20 He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?"
20 The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes. He trusts something that can’t help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?”
20 This lover of emptiness, of nothing, is so out of touch with reality, so far gone, that he can't even look at what he's doing, can't even look at the no-god stick of wood in his hand and say, "This is crazy."
20 He feeds on ashes. [His] deceived mind has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself, or say, "Isn't there a lie in my right hand?"

Isaiah 44:20 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 44:20

He feedeth of ashes
That is, the idolater delights in his idol, pleases himself with seeks comfort and satisfaction from it, fills and feeds himself with hopes and expectations of being helped and delivered by it; but this is all vain hope, a mere delusion; it is as if a man fed on ashes instead of food; it is feeding on that which has no savour nor substance, can yield no nourishment, but, on the contrary, is pernicious and hurtful; and it is like Ephraim's feeding on wind, ( Hosea 12:1 ) or on chaff instead of wheat, ( Jeremiah 23:28 ) and so such who feed upon and delight themselves in sinful lusts, or false doctrines, may be said to feed on the same sort of food: and here it may be true of the idol in a literal sense; part of the wood of which it was made being reduced to ashes, to which some respect may be had, ( Isaiah 44:15 Isaiah 44:16 ) , and that itself was capable of the same fate. The Targum is,

``behold his god, part of it is ashes;''
so the Vulgate Latin version: "a deceived heart hath turned him aside" from the true God, and the right worship of him, unto idolatry; the heart of man is deceitful, and desperately wicked; a man needs no other to entice him, and draw him away into any sin, and from the living God, than his own evil heart; which, being deceived itself, deceives him, and leads him to the commission of such things as are contrary to reason and common sense: and he is so infatuated with them, and possessed with a strong belief of them, that he cannot deliver his soul:
divest himself of his erroneous and wicked principles, and leave his idolatrous practices, or be persuaded that he is in the wrong: nor say, is there not a lie in my right hand?
that the idol, which his right hand has made, is a lie, a mere vanity, not to be depended upon and trusted in: or which is in, or "at his right hand" F13; and worshipped by him, and is highly esteemed and loved as his right hand; this he cannot be persuaded to believe, and say that it is a falsehood and a work of errors; such is the force and fascination of idolatry, when once persons are ensnared and entangled with it.

F13 (ynymyb) "[quod est] in dextera mea", Piscator; "ad dexteram meam", Junius & Tremellius.

Isaiah 44:20 In-Context

18 They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
19 No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, “Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”
20 Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”
21 “Remember these things, Jacob, for you, Israel, are my servant. I have made you, you are my servant; Israel, I will not forget you.
22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

Cross References 4

  • 1. Psalms 102:9
  • 2. S Job 15:31; Ro 1:21-23,28; 2 Thessalonians 2:11; 2 Timothy 3:13
  • 3. S Deuteronomy 4:28; Hosea 10:5; Hosea 13:2
  • 4. Isa 59:3,4,13; Jeremiah 9:3; Jeremiah 10:14; Jeremiah 51:17; Romans 1:25
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