Isaiah 44:9-20

9 All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame.
10 Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit nothing?
11 People who do that will be put to shame; such craftsmen are only human beings. Let them all come together and take their stand; they will be brought down to terror and shame.
12 The blacksmith takes a tool and works with it in the coals; he shapes an idol with hammers, he forges it with the might of his arm. He gets hungry and loses his strength; he drinks no water and grows faint.
13 The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker; he roughs it out with chisels and marks it with compasses. He shapes it in human form, human form in all its glory, that it may dwell in a shrine.
14 He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.
15 It is used as fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it.
16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.”
17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, “Save me! You are my god!”
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?”

Isaiah 44:9-20 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH 44

In this chapter the Lord comforts his people with the promise of the effusion of his Spirit, and the blessings of his grace upon them; the consequence of which would be fruitfulness in them, and the conversion of others, who should profess themselves the Lord's people, Isa 44:1-5, he proves his deity in opposition to all false gods from his eternity, omniscience, and foretelling future events, Isa 44:6-8, exposes the stupidity of idol makers and the worshippers of them, Isa 44:9-20, makes gracious promises of the remembrance of his people, the remission of their sins, and their redemption by Christ, Isa 44:21-23, of which redemption from Babylon was a type; and of that assurance is given, from the Lord's creating all things by his power; from his frustrating and infatuating diviners and wise men; from his fulfilling his predictions delivered by his prophets; and from his mentioning by name the instrument of their redemption, Cyrus, Isa 44:24-28, which makes way for a particular prophecy concerning him in the next chapter.

Isaiah 44:9-20 In-Context

7 Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come— yes, let them foretell what will come.
8 Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”
9 All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame.
10 Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit nothing?
11 People who do that will be put to shame; such craftsmen are only human beings. Let them all come together and take their stand; they will be brought down to terror and shame.
12 The blacksmith takes a tool and works with it in the coals; he shapes an idol with hammers, he forges it with the might of his arm. He gets hungry and loses his strength; he drinks no water and grows faint.
13 The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker; he roughs it out with chisels and marks it with compasses. He shapes it in human form, human form in all its glory, that it may dwell in a shrine.
14 He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.
15 It is used as fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it.
16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.”
17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, “Save me! You are my god!”
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 32

  • 1. S Exodus 20:4; S Leviticus 19:4; Isaiah 40:19
  • 2. S Isaiah 41:24
  • 3. S Isaiah 26:11
  • 4. S Isaiah 1:29; Isaiah 65:13; Isaiah 66:5; Jeremiah 22:22
  • 5. S Isaiah 40:19
  • 6. Isaiah 41:29; Jeremiah 10:5; Acts 19:26
  • 7. S ver 9; S Isaiah 1:29
  • 8. S 2 Kings 19:18; S Isaiah 37:19; Isaiah 42:17
  • 9. S Isaiah 40:19; Isaiah 41:6-7; Isaiah 54:16
  • 10. Jeremiah 10:3-5; Acts 17:29
  • 11. Isaiah 40:28
  • 12. S Isaiah 41:7
  • 13. Psalms 115:4-7
  • 14. S Judges 17:4-5
  • 15. S Isaiah 41:19
  • 16. ver 19
  • 17. S Exodus 20:5; Revelation 9:20
  • 18. S 2 Chronicles 25:14
  • 19. Isaiah 47:14
  • 20. S Exodus 20:5; Isaiah 2:8; Jeremiah 1:16
  • 21. S 1 Kings 18:26
  • 22. S Judges 10:14; Isaiah 45:20; Isaiah 46:7; Isaiah 47:15
  • 23. Isaiah 1:3; S Isaiah 16:12; Jeremiah 4:22; Jeremiah 10:8,14,14-15
  • 24. S Isaiah 6:9-10; S Isaiah 29:10
  • 25. ver 18-19; Isaiah 5:13; Isaiah 27:11; Isaiah 45:20
  • 26. ver 15
  • 27. S Deuteronomy 27:15
  • 28. Isaiah 40:20
  • 29. Psalms 102:9
  • 30. S Job 15:31; Ro 1:21-23,28; 2 Thessalonians 2:11; 2 Timothy 3:13
  • 31. S Deuteronomy 4:28; Hosea 10:5; Hosea 13:2
  • 32. Isa 59:3,4,13; Jeremiah 9:3; Jeremiah 10:14; Jeremiah 51:17; Romans 1:25
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