Isaiah 40:12
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?

King James Bible
Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?

American Standard Version
Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?

Douay-Rheims Bible
Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and weighed the heavens with his palm? who hath poised with three fingers the bulk of the earth, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?

English Revised Version
Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?

Webster's Bible Translation
Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and measured heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?

Isaiah 40:12 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

The prophet now hears a second voice, and then a third, entering into conversation with it. "Hark, one speaking, Cry! And he answers, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all its beauty as the flower of the field. Grass is withered, flower faded: for the breath of Jehovah has blown upon it. Surely grass is the people; grass withereth, flower fadeth: yet the word of our God will stand for ever." A second voice celebrates the divine word of promise in the face of the approaching fulfilment, and appoints a preacher of its eternal duration. The verb is not ואמר (et dixi, lxx, Vulg.), but ואמר; so that the person asking the question is not the prophet himself, but an ideal person, whom he has before him in visionary objectiveness. The appointed theme of his proclamation is the perishable nature of all flesh (Isaiah 40:5 πᾶσα σάρξ, here πᾶσα ἡ σάρξ), and, on the other hand, the imperishable nature of the word of God. Men living in the flesh are universally impotent, perishing, limited; God, on the contrary (Isaiah 31:3), is the omnipotent, eternal, all-determining; and like Himself, so is His word, which, regarded as the vehicle and utterance of His willing and thinking, is not something separate from Himself, and therefore is the same as He. Chasdō is the charm or gracefulness of the outward appearance (lxx; 1 Peter 1:24, δόξα: see Schott on the passage, James 1:11, εὐπρέπεια). The comparison instituted with grass and flower recals Isaiah 37:27 and Job 8:12, and still more Psalm 90:5-6, and Job 14:2. Isaiah 40:7 describes what happens to the grass and flower. The preterites, like the Greek aoristus gnomicus (cf., Isaiah 26:10), express a fact of experience sustained by innumerable examples: exaruit gramen, emarcuit flos;

(Note: נבל has munach here and in Isaiah 40:8 attached to the penultimate in all correct texts (hence milel, on account of the monosyllable which follows), and mehteg on the tzere to sustain the lengthening.)

consequently the כּי which follows is not hypothetical (granting that), but explanatory of the reason, viz., "because rūăch Jehovah hath blown upon it," i.e., the "breath" of God the Creator, which pervades the creation, generating life, sustaining life, and destroying life, and whose most characteristic elementary manifestation is the wind. Every breath of wind is a drawing of the breath of the whole life of nature, the active indwelling principle of whose existence is the rūăch of God. A fresh v. ought to commence now with אכן. The clause העם חציר אכן is genuine, and thoroughly in Isaiah's style, notwithstanding the lxx, which Gesenius and Hitzig follow. עכן is not equivalent to a comparative כן (Ewald, 105, a), but is assuring, as in Isaiah 45:15; Isaiah 49:4; Isaiah 53:4; and hâ‛âm (the people) refers to men generally, as in Isaiah 42:5. The order of thought is in the form of a triolet. The explanation of the striking simile commences with 'âkhēn (surely); and then in the repetition of the words, "grass withereth, flower fadeth," the men are intended, resemble the grass and the flower. Surely grass is the human race; such grass withereth and such flower fadeth, but the word of our God (Jehovah, the God of His people and of sacred history) yâqūm le‛ōlâm, i.e., it rises up without withering or fading, and endures for ever, fulfilling and verifying itself through all times. This general truth refers, in the preset instance, to the word of promise uttered by the voice in the desert. If the word of God generally has an eternal duration, more especially is this the case with the word of the parousia of God the Redeemer, the word in which all the words of God are yea and amen. The imperishable nature of this word, however, has for its dark foil the perishable nature of all flesh, and all the beauty thereof. The oppressors of Israel are mortal, and their chesed with which they impose and bribe is perishable; but the word of God, with which Israel can console itself, preserves the fields, and ensures it a glorious end to its history. Thus the seal, which the first crier set upon the promise of Jehovah's speedy coming, is inviolable; and the comfort which the prophets of God are to bring to His people, who have now been suffering so long, is infallibly sure.

Isaiah 40:12 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

measured

Isaiah 48:13 My hand also has laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand has spanned the heavens: when I call to them...

Job 11:7-9 Can you by searching find out God? can you find out the Almighty to perfection...

Job 38:4-11 Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if you have understanding...

Psalm 102:25,26 Of old have you laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of your hands...

Psalm 104:2,3 Who cover yourself with light as with a garment: who stretch out the heavens like a curtain...

Proverbs 8:26-28 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world...

Proverbs 30:4 Who has ascended up into heaven, or descended? who has gathered the wind in his fists? who has bound the waters in a garment?...

Hebrews 1:10-12 And, You, Lord, in the beginning have laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of your hands...

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away...

measure. Heb. tierce
weighed

Job 28:25 To make the weight for the winds; and he weighs the waters by measure.

Cross References
Hebrews 1:10
And, "You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands;

Job 38:5
Who determined its measurements--surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?

Job 38:8
"Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb,

Psalm 102:25
Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.

Psalm 102:26
They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,

Isaiah 48:13
My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand forth together.

Jeremiah 31:37
Thus says the LORD: "If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be explored, then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares the LORD."

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