Isaiah 45:10
Woe to him that said to his father, What beget you? or to the woman, What have you brought forth?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) Woe unto him . . .—The implied argument is that men accept the accident of birth without questioning father or mother as to that which lay beyond the control of either. Should they not a fortiori accept what God orders for nations and individual men?

45:5-10 There is no God beside Jehovah. There is nothing done without him. He makes peace, put here for all good; and creates evil, not the evil of sin, but the evil of punishment. He is the Author of all that is true, holy, good, or happy; and evil, error, and misery, came into the world by his permission, through the wilful apostacy of his creatures, but are restrained and overruled to his righteous purpose. This doctrine is applied, for the comfort of those that earnestly longed, yet quietly waited, for the redemption of Israel. The redemption of sinners by the Son of God, and the pouring out the Spirit, to give success to the gospel, are chiefly here intended. We must not expect salvation without righteousness; together the Lord hath created them. Let not oppressors oppose God's designs for his people. Let not the poor oppressed murmur, as if God dealt unkindly with them. Men are but earthen pots; they are broken potsherds, and are very much made so by mutual contentions. To contend with Him is as senseless as for clay to find fault with the potter. Let us turn God's promises into prayers, beseeching him that salvation may abound among us, and let us rest assured that the Judge of all the earth will do right.Wo unto him that saith unto his father ... - It is wicked and foolish for a son to complain of his father or mother in regard to his birth, or of his rank and condition of life. Probably the idea is, that if a child is by his birth placed in circumstances less advantageous than others, he would have no right to com plain of his parents, or to regard them as having acted improperly in having entered into the marriage relation. In like manner it would be not less improper, certainly, to complain of God who has brought us into existence by his own power, and who acts as a sovereign in the various allotments of our lives. The design is to rebuke the spirit of complaining against the allotments of Providence - a spirit which perhaps prevailed among the Jews, and which in fact is found everywhere among people; and to show that God, as a sovereign, has a right to dispose of his creatures in the manner which he shall judge to be best. The passage proves:

1. That man is formed by God, and that all his affairs are ordered by him as really as the work of the potter is moulded by the hands of the workman.

2. That God had a design in making man, and in ordering and arranging his circumstances in life.

3. That man is little qualified to judge of that design, and not at all qualified to pronounce it unwise, anymore than the clay could charge him that worked it into a vessel with want of wisdom; and,

4. That God is a sovereign, and does as he pleases. He has formed man as he chose, as really as the potter moulds the clay into any shape which he pleases. He has given him his rank in creation; given him such a body - strong, vigorous, and comely; or feeble, deformed, and sickly, as he pleased; he has given him such an intellect - vigorous, manly, and powerful; or weak, feeble, and timid, as he pleased; he has determined his circumstances in life - whether riches, poverty, an elevated rank, or a depressed condition, just as he saw fit; and he is a sovereign also in the dispensation of his grace - having a right to pardon whom he will; nor has man any right to complain.

This passage, however, should not be adduced to prove that God, in all respects, moulds the character and destiny of people as the potter does the clay. Regard should be had in the interpretation to the fact that God is just, and good, and wise, as well as a sovereign; and that man is himself a moral agent, and subject to the laws of moral agency which God has appointed. God does nothing wrong. He does not compel man to sin, and then condemn him for it. He does not make him a transgressor by physical power, as the potter moulds the clay, and then doom him for it to destruction. He does his pleasure according to the eternal laws of equity; and man has no right to call in question the rectitude of his sovereign dispensations.

10. If it be wrong for a child, born in less favorable circumstances, to upbraid his parents with having given him birth, a fortiori, it is, to upbraid God for His dealings with us. Rather translate, "a father … a woman." The Jews considered themselves exclusively God's children and were angry that God should adopt the Gentiles besides. Woe to him who says to one already a father, Why dost thou beget other children? [Horsley]. As it were an absurd and impudent thing for a child to quarrel with his parents, either simply for begetting him, or for begetting him of this or that sex, contrary to his desire; no better is it for any persons to quarrel with God the Maker and

Father of all things, as God is called, 1 Corinthians 8:6, for disposing of them and their affairs by his providence as he sees fit, and otherwise than they desire or expect; as. the Jews quarrelled with God for bringing them into captivity, and the Babylonians for translating the empire from them to the Persians. Woe unto him that saith unto his father, what begettest thou?.... That quarrels with him, and complains of him, because he was not of the other sex, or not so wise, or so rich, or so handsome, as others:

or to the woman; disdaining to call her mother:

what hast thou brought forth? equally as absurd and impious it was in the Jews to quarrel with Christ for his conversation with sinners, and the reception of them; or for the regeneration of such persons; or to find fault with God for the conversion of the Gentiles, and resent it, and be angry at it, as they were; see Romans 10:19.

Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. The impropriety of contending with God exhibited in a still more repellent light. The words “his” and “the” are not expressed in Hebrew; simply “a father,” “a woman.” “The rudest and most outrageous intrusion into an unspeakably delicate and sacred relationship” (Delitzsch).Verse 10. - Woe unto him that saith unto his father, etc.! A change is made in the metaphor, the relationship of a father and his child being substituted for that of a potter and his clay. What would a man think of a child murmuring against his parent for not having made him stronger, handsomer, cleverer? Would not such a child be regarded as most unnatural, and as deserving to have woe denounced upon him? A second and third object are introduced by a second and third למען. "For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I called thee hither by name, surnamed thee when thou knewest me not. I Jehovah, and there is none else, beside me no God: I equipped thee when thou knewest me not; that they may know from the rising of the sun, and its going down, that there is none without me: I Jehovah, and there is none else, former of the light, and creator of the darkness; founder of peace, and creator of evil: I Jehovah am He who worketh all this." The ואקרא which follows the second reason assigned like an apodosis, is construed doubly: "I called to thee, calling thee by name." The parallel אכנּך refers to such titles of honour as "my shepherd" and "my anointed," which had been given to him by Jehovah. This calling, distinguishing, and girding, i.e., this equipment of Cyrus, took place at a time when Cyrus knew nothing as yet of Jehovah, and by this very fact Jehovah made known His sole Deity. The meaning is, not that it occurred while he was still worshipping false gods, but, as the refrain-like repetition of the words "though thou hast not know me" affirms with strong emphasis, before he had been brought into existence, or could know anything of Jehovah. The passage is to be explained in the same way as Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed thee in the womb, I knew thee" (see Psychol. pp. 36, 37, 39); and what the God of prophecy here claims for Himself, must not be questioned by false criticism, or weakened down by false apologetics (i.e., by giving up the proper name Cyrus as a gloss in Isaiah 44:28 and Isaiah 45:1; or generalizing it into a king's name, such as Pharaoh, Abimelech, or Agag). The third and last object of this predicted and realized success of the oppressor of nations and deliverer of Israel is the acknowledgement of Jehovah, spreading over the heathen world from the rising and setting of the sun, i.e., in every direction. The ah of וּממּערבה is not a feminine termination (lxx, Targ., Jer.), but a feminine suffix with He raphato pro mappic (Kimchi); compare Isaiah 23:17-18; Isaiah 34:17 (but not נצּה in Isaiah 18:5, or מוּסדה in Isaiah 30:32). Shemesh (the sun) is a feminine here, as in Genesis 15:17, Nahum 3:17, Malachi 4:2, and always in Arabic; for the west is invariably called מערב (Arab. magrib). In Isaiah 45:7 we are led by the context to understand by darkness and evil the penal judgments, through which light and peace, or salvation, break forth for the people of God and the nations generally. But as the prophecy concerning Cyrus closes with this self-assertion of Jehovah, it is unquestionably a natural supposition that there is also a contrast implied to the dualistic system of Zarathustra, which divided the one nature of the Deity into two opposing powers (see Windischmann, Zoroastrische Studien, p. 135). The declaration is so bold, that Marcion appealed to this passage as a proof that the God of the Old Testament was a different being from the God of the New, and not the God of goodness only. The Valentinians and other gnostics also regarded the words "There is no God beside me" in Isaiah, as deceptive words of the Demiurugs. The early church met them with Tertullian's reply, "de his creator profitetur malis quae congruunt judici," and also made use of this self-attestation of the God of revelation as a weapon with which to attack Manicheesism. The meaning of the words is not exhausted by those who content themselves with the assertion, that by the evil (or darkness) we are not to understand the evil of guilt (malum culpae), but the evil of punishment (malum paenae). Undoubtedly, evil as an act is not the direct working of God, but the spontaneous work of a creature endowed with freedom. At the same time, evil, as well as good, has in this sense its origin in God - that He combines within Himself the first principles of love and wrath, the possibility of evil, the self-punishment of evil, and therefore the consciousness of guilt as well as the evil of punishment in the broadest sense. When the apostle celebrates the glory of free grace in Romans 9:11., he stands on that giddy height, to which few are able to follow him without falling headlong into the false conclusions of a decretum absolutum, and the denial of all creaturely freedom.
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