Isaiah 46:5
To whom will you liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) To whom will ye liken me?—The argument against idolatry is renewed in nearly its old form (Isaiah 40:18-25; Isaiah 44:9-17). The fate of Bel and Nebo is urged against those who thought that they might worship Jehovah as those deities had been worshipped. Such had been the sin of the calves at Bethel and at Dan. Like it had been the act of Israel when it had carried the ark into battle against the Philistines (1Samuel 4:5).

Isaiah 46:5-8. To whom will you liken me, &c. — If you be tempted at any time to exchange me for an idol, do me and yourselves the right seriously to consider, whether you can find another god, who will be more able and more ready to do you good than I have been. They lavish gold &c., and he maketh it a god — Let us suppose a god made with the greatest cost and art. They bear him upon the shoulder — From that place where he is made, unto that place where they intend to set him up. From his place shall he not remove — Or, rather, he cannot remove. He cannot stir, either hand or foot, to help his people. Remember this — Consider these things which I now speak, O ye Israelites; and show yourselves men — Act like reasonable creatures, and be not so brutish as to worship your own works: be so wise and courageous as to withstand all solicitations to idolatry. Bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors — Think of this again and again, O ye who have been guilty of this foolish sin, and who, therefore, are obliged to take the better heed, lest you should relapse into it again. 46:5-13 Here the folly of those who made idols, and then prayed to them, is exposed. How does the profuseness of idolaters shame the niggardliness of many who call themselves God's servants, but are for a religion which costs them nothing! The service of sin always costs a great deal. God puts it to them what senseless, helpless things idols are. Let, then, the Jews show themselves men, avoiding such abominations. Many Scripture prophecies, delivered long ago, are not yet fulfilled; but the fulfilling of some is an earnest that the rest will come to pass. Nothing can help more to make us easy, than to be assured that God will do all his pleasure. Even those who know not and mind not God's revealed will, are called and used to fulfil the counsels of his secret will. Heaven and earth shall pass away, sooner than one tittle of the word of God. Obstinate sinners are addressed. Such were far from acceptance, but they were summoned to hearken to the word of the Lord. The salvation of a sinner begins with a humble and contrite heart, that trembles at God's word, with godly sorrow working true repentance, and faith in his mercy, through the obedience unto death of our Divine Surety. Christ, as the Divine righteousness and salvation to his people, would come in the appointed time. His salvation abides in his church for all believers.To whom will ye liken me - (see the notes at Isaiah 40:18, Isaiah 40:25). The design of this and the following verses is to show the folly of idolatry, and the vanity of trusting in idols. This is a subject that the prophet often dwells on. The argument here is derived from the fact that the idols of Babylon were unable to defend the city, and were themselves carried away in triumph Isaiah 46:1-2. If so, how vain was it to rely on them! how foolish to suppose that the living and true God could resemble such weak and defenseless blocks! 5. (Isa 40:18, 25). If you are tempted or inclined at any time to exchange me for an idol, do me and yourselves this right, seriously to consider, whether you can find another God who will be more able and more ready to do you good than I have been; which if you can do, I am content you should prefer him before me; but if not, as will appear by what I am now saying, Isaiah 46:6,7, then it is best for you to adhere to your ancient God and Friend. To whom will ye liken me?.... Was it lawful that any likeness might be made, which yet is forbidden, Exodus 20:4 what likeness could be thought of? is there any creature in heaven or earth, among all the angels or sons of men, to whom God can be likened, who has done such works of power, and acts of grace, as to care and provide not only for the house of Israel, from the beginning of their state to the close of it, but for all his creatures from the beginning of life to the end thereof, yea, from the beginning of the world to the end of it, and has shown such special grace and goodness to his chosen people, in such a kind and tender manner?

And make me equal; or any equal to him in power and goodness, since all are but worms, dust, and ashes, as the small dust of the balance, yea, as nothing in comparison of him.

And compare me, that we may be like? which is impossible to be done; for what comparison or likeness can there be between the Creator and a creature, between an infinite, immense, and eternal Being, possessed of all perfections, and a finite, frail, imperfect one? see Isaiah 40:18. To pretend to frame a likeness of such a Being, is to act the absurd and stupid part the Heathens do, described in the following verses.

To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and {g} compare me, that we may be like?

(g) The people of God setting their own calamity, and the flourishing estate of the Babylonians, would be tempted to think that their God was not so mighty as the idols of their enemies: therefore he describes the original of all the idols to make them to be abhorred by all men: showing that the most that can be spoken in their commendation, is but to prove them vile.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. Comp. the similar question of Isaiah 40:18, which as here introduces a sarcastic description of the manufacture of idols.Verse 5. - To whom will ye liken me? (comp. Isaiah 40:18.) Am I to be likened to the idols of Babylon? Will you make images of me? Bethink you what the very nature of an idol is how contrary to my nature! My idol would be no more capable of helping itself or others than the images of Nebo or Bel-Merodach. This bending of the knee, this confession as an oath of homage, will be no forced one. Isaiah 45:24 "Only in Jehovah, do men say of me, is fulness of righteousness and strength; they come to Him, and all that were incensed against Him are put to shame." The parenthetical insertion of אמר לי ל, with reference to, as in Isaiah 41:7; Isaiah 44:26, Isaiah 44:28) is the same as in Psalm 119:57. אך has a restrictive sense here, which springs out of the affirmative (cf., Psalm 39:7; Psalm 73:1), just as, in the case of raq, the affirmative grows out of the primary restrictive sense. The "righteousness" is abounding (superabundant) righteousness (Romans 5:15.). עז is the strength of sanctification, and of the conquest of the world. The subject to יבוא (which is not to be changed, according to the Masora, into the more natural יבאּוּ, as it is by the lxx, Syr., and Vulg.) is, whoever has seen what man has in Jehovah, and made confession of this; such a man does not rest till he has altogether come over to Jehovah, whereas all His enemies are put to shame. They separate themselves irretrievably from the men who serve Him, the restoration of whom is His direct will, and the goal of the history of salvation. Isaiah 45:25 "In Jehovah all the seed of Israel shall become righteous, and shall glory." Ruetschi has very properly observed on this verse, that the reference is to the Israel of God out of all the human race, i.e., the church of the believers in Israel expanded by the addition of the heathen; which church is now righteous, i.e., reconciled and renewed by Jehovah, and glories in Him, because by grace it is what it is.

This brings the sixth prophecy to a close. Its five strophes commence with "Thus saith the Lord;" at the same time, the fifth strophe has two "woes" (hoi) before this, as the ground upon which it rests.

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