Isaiah 46:8
Remember this, and show yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O you transgressors.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Shew yourselves men.—As elsewhere, the prophet’s challenge is couched in the language of irony. The worshippers of idols should at least have the courage of their convictions. A conjectural emendation gives the opposite meaning, Be ye deeply ashamed.

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.Remember this - Bear in mind what is now said of the manner in which idols are made. This is addressed, doubtless, to the Jews, and is designed to keep them from idolatry.

And show yourselves men - Act as men; throw away the childish trifles of idolaters. The word used here (התאשׁשׁוּ hithe'oshâshû' occurs nowhere else in the Bible. It is according to Gesenius, derived from אישׁ 'ı̂ysh, "a man," and means to act "as a man." A similar word is used in 1 Corinthians 16:13 (ἀνδρίζεσθε andrizesthe, from ἀνήρ anēr, a man), and is correctly rendered there, 'quit you like men.' This Greek word often occurs in the Septuagint. It is used as a translation of אמץ 'âmats, in Joshua 1:6-7, Joshua 1:9, Joshua 1:18; 1 Chronicles 28:20; 2 Chronicles 32:7; Nehemiah 2:1; of גדל gâdal in Ruth 1:12; of חזק châzaq, in Deuteronomy 31:6-7, Deuteronomy 31:23; Joshua 10:25; 2 Kings 2:12; 2 Kings 12:8; 1 Chronicles 28:20, and in several other places. Jerome renders the Hebrew word here, 'Be confounded;' the Septuagint, Στενάξατε Stenachate) - 'Groan;' the Syriac, 'Consider,' or understand. The meaning is, that they were to act as became people - not as children; as became those endowed with an immortal mind, and not as the brutes. So Kimchi renders it: 'Be men, and not brutes, which neither consider nor understand.'

O ye transgressors - Ye who have violated the laws of God by the worship of idols. In the time of Manasseh, the Israelites were much addicted to idolatry, and probably this is to be regarded as addressed to them, and as designed to recall them from it to the worship of the true God.

8. show yourselves men—Renounce the childishness of idolatry as shown in what precedes (1Co 14:20; 16:13; Eph 4:14). In order to be manly we must be godly; for man was made "in the image of God," and only rises to his true dignity when joined to God; virtue is derived from the Latin vir, "a man."

bring … to mind—rather, "lay it to heart."

transgressors—addressed to the idolaters among the Jews.

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 solicitation to idolatry.

Bring it again to mind; think of this again and again.

O ye transgressors; you who have been guilty of this foolish sin; and therefore are obliged to take the better heed that you do not relapse into it again. Remember this,.... Or "these things", as the Syriac version, concerning the matter of which, and the manner in which idols are made; their impotency to move themselves, and their inability to help their votaries, and the difference between them and the true God:

and show yourselves men; and not brutes, as the makers and worshippers of images are, or show themselves as if they were; who unmanly themselves, and act contrary to the natural reason of mankind: or "be ye strong" (q); so the Targum and Jarchi; fortify yourselves against all temptations to idolatry, and against all the arguments and persuasions of idolaters; or "burn ye" (r) or "be ye inflamed", so Rabenu Hal and Joseph Kimchi; that is, blush and be ashamed at such sottishness and stupidity, as men when they are ashamed look as if their faces were inflamed; so the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "be ye confounded" (s); or the sense is, be fervent in spirit, be fired (t) with zeal for God and his glory, and with indignation against such gross idolatry:

bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors; of the law of God, in this instance of idolatry; meaning either the Babylonians, or rather the Jews, who had been drawn in by them to idolatrous practices; calling upon them to return to their senses; to use and exercise their reason; to recollect and reconsider things, and observe and repent of the folly and wickedness they had been guilty of.

(q) "roborat vos", Pagninus, Tigurine version; so Ben Melech interprets the word. (r) Ardete, "comburite vos", some in Vatablus. (s) "Confundamini", V. L. "et erubescite", Calvin. (t) "Incendimini sive corripimini zelo", Vitringa.

Remember this, and show yourselves men: bring it again to {h} mind, O ye transgressors.

(h) Become wise, meaning, that all idolaters are without wit or sense, like mad men.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8–11. An appeal to history and prophecy in proof of Jehovah’s divinity.

shew yourselves men] R.V. marg. renders “stand fast,” but neither sense is suitable in an address to “rebels.” The verb used (hith’ôshâshû) is unknown in Hebrew. The rendering of A.V. is based on a common view that it is a denominative from the word for “man” (’îsh), which is grammatically untenable; that of R.V. marg. connects it with a root found in Aramaic, Assyrian and Arabic, meaning to “be firm.” Of proposed emendations the easiest is Lagarde’s, “be ye ashamed” (hithbôshâshû, after Genesis 2:25). Others, hithbônânû, “consider” (ch. Isaiah 43:18).

bring it again to mind] as ch. Isaiah 44:19.

O ye transgressors] Rather rebels (Isaiah 48:8, Isaiah 53:12, Isaiah 66:24). From ch. Isaiah 45:9 onwards there seems to be a growing sense of antagonism between the prophet and at least a section of his audience (see Isaiah 46:12 and on Isaiah 48:1-11).Verse 8. - Remember this, and show yourselves men; or, remember this, and stand firm. Isaiah is addressing those who waver between true religion and idolatry. Hitherto they have not fallen away, but they are in danger of so doing. Remember, he says to them, or "bear in mind constantly the impotence of the idols, and the power of Jehovah, and then stand firm - remain in your old faith - do not be drawn over to so foolish a thing as idolatry." O ye transgressors. It is to be a "transgressor" even to contemplate the turning from Jehovah to idolatry. Israel has been already "called a transgressor from the beginning" (Isaiah 48:8). There follows now a trilogy of prophecies referring to Babylon. After the prophet has shown what Israel has to expect of Cyrus, he turns to what awaits Babylon at the hands of Cyrus. "Bel sinketh down, Nebo stoopeth; its images come to the beast of burden and draught cattle: your litters are laden, a burden for the panting. They stopped, sank down all at once, and could not get rid of the burden; and their own self went into captivity." The reference to Babylon comes out at once in the names of the gods. Bēl was the Jupiter of the Babylonians and, as Bel-Merodach, the tutelar deity of Babylon; Nebo was Mercury, the tutelar deity of the later Chaldean royal family, as the many kings' names in which it appears clearly show (e.g., Mabonassar, Nabo-polassar, etc.). The pryamidal heap of ruins on the right bank of the Euphrates, which is now called Birs Nimrud, is the ruin of the temple of Bel, of which Herodotus gives a description in i.-181-183, and probably also of the tower mentioned in Genesis 11, which was dedicated to Bel, if not to El equals Saturn. Herodotus describes two golden statues of Bel which were found there (cf., Diodorus, ii. 9, 5), but the way in which Nebo was represented is still unknown. The judgment of Jehovah falls upon these gods through Cyrus. Bel suddenly falls headlong, and Nebo stoops till he also falls. Their images come to (fall to the lot of) the chayyâh, i.e., the camels, dromedaries, and elephants; and behēmâh, i.e., horses, oxen, and asses. Your נשׂאת, gestamina, the prophet exclaims to the Babylonians, i.e., the images hitherto carried by you in solemn procession (Isaiah 45:20; Amos 5:26; Jeremiah 10:5), are now packed up, a burden for that which is wearied out, i.e., for cattle that has become weary with carrying them. In Isaiah 46:1, as the two participial clauses show, the prophet still takes his stand in the midst of the catastrophe; but in Isaiah 46:2 it undoubtedly lies behind him as a completed act. In Isaiah 46:2 he continues, as in Isaiah 46:1, to enter into the delusion of the heathen, and distinguish between the numina and simulacra. The gods of Babylon have all stooped at once, have sunken down, and have been unable to save their images which were packed upon the cattle, out of the hands of the conquerors. In Isaiah 46:2 he destroys this delusion: they are going into captivity (Hosea 10:5; Jeremiah 48:7; Jeremiah 49:3), even "their ownself" (naphshâm), since the self or personality of the beingless beings consists of nothing more than the wood and metal of which their images are composed.
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