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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Isaiah 46

 

 

Verse 1

Isaiah 46:1 Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth, their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle: your carriages [were] heavy loaden; [they are] a burden to the weary [beast].

Ver. 1. Bel is bowed down.] Jupiter Belus (as Pliny (a) calleth him), Babel’s chief God, is now become a prey to the Persians, and might be to them of as great worth as was Nebuchadnezzar’s solid gold image dedicated in Dura. [Daniel 3:1-2] This great golden image some think to be the same that is here called Nebo or Nebuchadnezzar. Others think it to be Apollo Deus vaticinus. Tremellius rendereth it, the prophesying or oracular God. Jeremiah seemeth to call him Merodach. [Jeremiah 51:2] Dagon the Septuagint render him, but not well.

Your carriages were heavy laden.] Tam estis dii graves.


Verse 2

Isaiah 46:2 They stoop, they bow down together; they could not deliver the burden, but themselves are gone into captivity.

Ver. 2. They stoop.] The Babylonians, together with their idols; ridiculous gods, that could be thus plundered, carried captives, borne on the backs of asses.

But themselves are gone into captivity.] Heb., And their soul went into captivity; that is, their idols, that were dear unto them as their very souls.


Verse 3

Isaiah 46:3 Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne [by me] from the belly, which are carried from the womb:

Ver. 3. Which are borne by me from the belly.] You do not bear me, as they do their idols in procession and otherwise; but I bear you, and so have done from the first, and shall do the last; like as the tender mother doth her beloved babe, or as the eagle doth her young upon her wings. [Exodus 19:4 Deuteronomy 32:11]


Verse 4

Isaiah 46:4 And [even] to [your] old age I [am] he; and [even] to hoar hairs will I carry [you]: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver [you].

Ver. 4. And even to your old age I am he.] The mother beateth not her child in her bosom, when grown to some size. The eagle beateth her young out of the nest when able to prey upon their own wing; (a) but God dealeth better a great deal with his, whom he never casteth off; as neither doth he his labouring and languishing Church, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

I have made, and I will bear, even I will carry.] God himself will do it; "I" is emphatic and exclusive.

Et si gratissima semper

Munera sint author quae preciosa facit. ”

How sweet should this precious promise be unto us, and how sovereign against the fear of want in old age! Plutarch giveth this for a reason why old men are so covetous, viz., because they fear they shall not have τους θρεψοντας και τους θαψοντας, such as will keep them while they live, and such as will bury them decently when dead. The Lord here assureth all his that he will see to their support and sustentation as long as life lasteth, yea, for spirituals as well as temporals. This was no small comfort to old David, {Psalms 71:18} to Dr Rivet and others; and well it might. See Psalms 48:14. {See Trapp on "Psalms 48:14"}


Verse 5

Isaiah 46:5 To whom will ye liken me, and make [me] equal, and compare me, that we may be like?

Ver. 5. To whom, (a) then, will ye liken me? (b) &c., ] q.d., To which of your paramours? for here the Lord returneth to his discourse against idolaters and their idols, earumque inanitatem et inopiam demonstrat, inveighing against them with no less stomach and indignation than a jealous husband against his adulteress’s gallants. Let every godless person, who idoliseth his lusts, think he heareth God thus bespeaking him, as in this text.


Verse 6

Isaiah 46:6 They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, [and] hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship.

Ver. 6. They lavish gold out of the bag.] They spare for no cost. Nebuchadnezzar did not in that vast Colossus. [Daniel 3:1] Canutus bestowed upon a cross his whole annual entrado, or revenue. He also gave a hundred talents of silver and one of gold for St Augustine’s arm, which he bestowed on Coventry as a memorial of his blind zeal. The Lady of Loretto hath her churches so stuffed with vowed presents and memorials, as they are forced to hang their cloisters and churchyards with them. (a)


Verse 7

Isaiah 46:7 They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove: yea, [one] shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble.

Ver. 7. They bear him upon their shoulders.] As the Papists’ breaden god, furfuraceum illud numen, is, at this day, borne about to be adored; whereas the true God "beareth up all things by the word of his power." [Hebrews 1:3]

Yea, one shall cry unto him.] As they did to Baal in Elijah’s days; and the Cretans to their Jupiter, whom they therefore pictured without ears.


Verse 8

Isaiah 46:8 Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring [it] again to mind, O ye transgressors.

Ver. 8. Remember this.] Suffer me not to press these things so oft upon you to no purpose.

And show yourselves men.] Roboramini, Fortify your hearts by the word of God and true reason, renewing your good resolutions oft against this senseless sin of idolatry.

Bring it again to mind.] Heb., Bring back to heart, turn short again upon yourselves, recognise your iniquities, and be humbled.


Verse 9

Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me,

Ver. 9. Remember the former things of old.] Again he calleth upon them to remember who had so foully forgot themselves in the days of Ahaz and Manasseh, and would do so again in Babylon, where they kept not themselves from idols. Papists unman themselves, or otherwise they could not be such gross idolaters.


Verse 10

Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Ver. 10. Declaring the end from the beginning.] This foretelling of things future is a precellency in God above idols that he much standeth upon.

I will do all my pleasure.] What God pleaseth to do, there is no question but he is able to do. But they are out who argue from God’s power to his will.


Verse 11

Isaiah 46:11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken [it], I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed [it], I will also do it.

Ver. 11. Calling a ravenous bird,] i.e., Cyrus, who was ‘hawk-nosed,’ and came swiftly to seize upon Babylon like a falcon, or some such ravenous bird. So Nebuchadnezzar is called an "eagle"; [Jeremiah 48:40] Xenophone testifieth that Cyrus had in his standard a golden spread eagle, as had after him the Persian kings, and likewise the Romans. See Matthew 24:28. {See Trapp on "Matthew 24:28"}


Verse 12

Isaiah 46:12 Hearken unto me, ye stouthearted, that [are] far from righteousness:

Ver. 12. Hearken unto me, ye stouthearted.] Ye cruel Chaldeans; and here some begin the next chapter.

That are far from righteousness.] And therefore not far from ruin. [Psalms 119:155]


Verse 13

Isaiah 46:13 I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.

Ver. 13. I will bring near my righteousness.] I will suddenly right my wronged people, by Cyrus my servant, but especially by Christ my Son. Therefore it followeth,

I will place salvation in Zion for Israel, my glory.] Or, In Israel, my magnificence - i.e., Now which of your idols can do thus for their worshippers?

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-46.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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