Isaiah 10:15
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Does the ax raise itself above the person who swings it, or the saw boast against the one who uses it? As if a rod were to wield the person who lifts it up, or a club brandish the one who is not wood!

New Living Translation
But can the ax boast greater power than the person who uses it? Is the saw greater than the person who saws? Can a rod strike unless a hand moves it? Can a wooden cane walk by itself?

English Standard Version
Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it, or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it? As if a rod should wield him who lifts it, or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood!

New American Standard Bible
Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it? Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it? That would be like a club wielding those who lift it, Or like a rod lifting him who is not wood.

King James Bible
Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Does an ax exalt itself above the one who chops with it? Does a saw magnify itself above the one who saws with it? It would be like a staff waving the one who lifts it! It would be like a rod lifting a man who isn't wood!

International Standard Version
"Does the ax exalt itself over the one who swings it? Or does the saw magnify itself in opposition to the one who wields it? As if a rod were to wield those who lift it, or as if a club were to brandish the one who is not wood!

NET Bible
Does an ax exalt itself over the one who wields it, or a saw magnify itself over the one who cuts with it? As if a scepter should brandish the one who raises it, or a staff should lift up what is not made of wood!

New Heart English Bible
Should an axe brag against him who chops with it? Should a saw exalt itself above him who saws with it? As if a rod should lift those who lift it up, or as if a staff should lift up someone who is not wood.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Can an ax attack the person who cuts with it? Can a saw make itself greater than the person who saws with it? A rod cannot move the person who lifts it. A wooden stick cannot pick up a person.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Should the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? Should the saw magnify itself against him that moveth it? As if a rod should move them that lift it up, Or as if a staff should lift up him that is not wood.

New American Standard 1977
Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it?
            Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it?
            That would be like a club wielding those who lift it,
            Or like a rod lifting him who is not wood.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Shall the axe boast itself against him that hews with it? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that moves it? as if the rod should rise up against those that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift itself up. Is it not wood?

King James 2000 Bible
Shall the ax boast itself against him that hews with it? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that uses it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were not wood.

American King James Version
Shall the ax boast itself against him that hews therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shakes it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.

American Standard Version
Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? shall the saw magnify itself against him that wieldeth it? as if a rod should wield them that lift it up, or as if a staff should lift up him that is not wood.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Shall the axe boast itself against him that cutteth with it? or shall the saw exalt itself against him by whom it is drawn? as if a rod should lift itself up against him that lifteth it up, and a staff exalt itself, which is but wood.

Darby Bible Translation
-- Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? shall the saw magnify itself against him that wieldeth it? As if the rod should wield them that lift it up; as if the staff should lift up [him who is] not wood!

English Revised Version
Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if a rod should shake them that lift it up, or as if a staff should lift up him that is not wood.

Webster's Bible Translation
Shall the ax boast itself against him that heweth with it? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that moveth it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it, or as if the staff should lift itself, as if it were no wood.

World English Bible
Should an axe brag against him who chops with it? Should a saw exalt itself above him who saws with it? As if a rod should lift those who lift it up, or as if a staff should lift up someone who is not wood.

Young's Literal Translation
-- Doth the axe glorify itself Against him who is hewing with it? Doth the saw magnify itself Against him who is shaking it? As a rod waving those lifting it up! As a staff lifting up that which is not wood!
Study Bible
Judgment on Assyria
14And my hand reached to the riches of the peoples like a nest, And as one gathers abandoned eggs, I gathered all the earth; And there was not one that flapped its wing or opened its beak or chirped." 15Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it? Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it? That would be like a club wielding those who lift it, Or like a rod lifting him who is not wood. 16Therefore the Lord, the GOD of hosts, will send a wasting disease among his stout warriors; And under his glory a fire will be kindled like a burning flame.…
Cross References
Romans 9:20
But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?"

Romans 9:21
Does not the potter have the right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special occasions and another for common use?

Isaiah 7:20
In that day the Lord will shave with a razor, hired from regions beyond the Euphrates (that is, with the king of Assyria), the head and the hair of the legs; and it will also remove the beard.

Isaiah 10:5
Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hands is My indignation,

Isaiah 29:16
You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, That what is made would say to its maker, "He did not make me"; Or what is formed say to him who formed it, "He has no understanding "?

Isaiah 45:9
"Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker-- An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?' Or the thing you are making say, 'He has no hands '?

Jeremiah 51:20
He says, "You are My war-club, My weapon of war; And with you I shatter nations, And with you I destroy kingdoms.
Treasury of Scripture

Shall the ax boast itself against him that hews therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shakes it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.

the axe

Isaiah 10:5 O Assyrian, the rod of my anger, and the staff in their hand is my indignation.

Psalm 17:13,14 Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from …

Jeremiah 51:20-23 You are my battle ax and weapons of war: for with you will I break …

Ezekiel 28:9 Will you yet say before him that slays you, I am God? but you shall …

Romans 9:20,21 No but, O man, who are you that reply against God? Shall the thing …

the rod should shake itself against them. or, a rod should shake them

itself, as if it were no wood. or, that which is not wood

(15) Shall the ax boast itself . . .?--The words spoken by the prophet as the mouthpiece of Jehovah remind us of the way in which Christian writers of the fifth century spoke of Attila as "the scourge of God." There was comfort in that thought for the nations that were scourged. The man's lust for power might be limitless, but there was the limit of the compassion and longsuffering of God.

As if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up.--Better, As if the rod should shake them. The plural is used either as generalising the comparison, or more probably as suggesting the thought that Elohim (God) is the true wielder of the rod. (Comp. Isaiah 10:5.)

As if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.--The multiplied italics show that the translators found the clause difficult. Better and more simply, As if the staff should lift that which is not wood, i.e., the living arm that holds it. Was it for the king of Assyria to assume that he could alter and determine the purposes of Jehovah? Did the man wield the rod, or the rod the man?

Verse 15. - Shall the axe boast itself? Here the prophet takes the word, and rebukes Assyria for her folly in forgetting, or not perceiving, that she is a mere instrument, like an axe, a saw, a rod, or a stuff. The saw... him that shaketh it; rather, him that moveth it to and fro. The action of sawing is alluded to. As if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up; rather, as if a rod were to move them to and fro that lift it up. For Assyria to assert herself as if she were independent of God is like a rod attempting to sway the hand that holds it. It is a complete inversion of the natural order of things. Or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood. Translate, or as if d staff should lift up that which is not wood; i.e. "as if a staff should take action and lift up its holder, who is not wood, but flesh and blood." Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith?.... Hitherto are the words of the Assyrian monarch; and here begin the words of the prophet, rebuking him for his pride, and deriding his vain boasting, in attributing that to himself, to his wisdom and power, who was but an instrument, which belonged to God, the sole Governor and wise orderer of all things; which was all one as if an axe should ascribe the cutting down of trees to itself, and insist on it that the man that cut with it had no share in the action, nor was it to be ascribed to him; than which nothing is more absurd. The sense is, that the king of Assyria, in taking cities, and conquering kingdoms, and adding them to his own, was only an instrument in the hand of God, like an axe in the hand of one that hews down trees; and therefore it was vain and ridiculous to take that to himself which belonged to the Lord, on whom he depended as an instrument, as to motion, operation, and effect; from whom he had all power to act, all fitness for it, and efficacy in it, as the axe has from the person that makes and uses it, or any other instrument, as follows:

or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? or draws it to and fro; which is the sense of the Targum, Septuagint, and Vulgate Latin versions, and others; and which further exposes the vanity and arrogance of the Assyrian monarch, who had no more concern in the spoiling of nations, and destruction of kingdoms, than the saw has in cutting of timber that is hewn; which has its form, its sharp teeth, not of itself, but from the maker; and when thus made, and fit for use, cannot draw itself to and fro, and cut trees in pieces, which are felled by the axe, but must be moved by another; and to insult the mover of it, as if it was not his act, but its own, is not more absurd than what this haughty prince was guilty of, in boasting of his power, wisdom, and prudence, in the above mentioned things:

as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up (m); for such was the king of Assyria, he was no other than the rod of the Lord's anger, Isaiah 10:5 and which he lifted up, and with it chastised his people; wherefore for him to behave haughtily against the Lord, and arrogate that to himself which was the Lord's doing, was as if a rod should shake itself against him that lifts it up; or, "as if a rod should shake those that lift it up": as if there were more power in the rod than in them that take it up and strike with it; yea, that even the rod moves them, and not they the rod, which is wretchedly absurd:

or, as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood (n); but something more than wood, an animate creature, a rational agent, whereas it is nothing else but wood; or "as if a staff should lift up" itself against that which is "not wood", like itself, but is a man, that can move himself and that too; or "as if a staff should lift up" that which is "not wood"; attempt to bear, carry, move, and direct that which is not material like itself, but is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, even the almighty God. De Dieu thinks that is not a verb, but a noun of the plural number, of "a mountain": and renders it, "as if a rod should shake those that lift it up: and as if a staff were mountains, and not wood". The Targum is,

"when a rod is lifted up to smite, it is not the rod that smites, but he that smites with it.''

The sense is, that the Assyrian monarch was only a rod and staff in the hand of the Lord, and only moved and acted as used by him; whereas, according to his vain boast, he was the sole agent, and all was done by his own power and prudence; and was so far from being moved and directed by the power and providence of God, that he was the director of him; which is infinitely more absurd than the things instanced in.

(m) Ben Melech observes, that this is to be understood of the blessed God; and the word being in the plural number, it is the same way, of speaking as in Joshua 24.19. "the Holy Gods is he".

(n) Gussetius thinks this clause contains an ironical answer to the above questions, "shall the axe boast itself?" &c.; "shall the saw magnify itself?" &c.; they should, "as the rod should shake itself" &c.; just in like manner as that does, and so by lifting up itself, ceases to be wood; and which being sarcastically spoken, carries in it a strong negative, that the axe and saw should not glory, or magnify themselves, and no more should the king of Assyria. Vid. Comment. Ebr. p. 360. 15. Shall the instrument boast against Him who uses it? Through free in a sense, and carrying out his own plans, the Assyrian was unconsciously carrying out God's purposes.

shaketh it—moves it back and forward.

staff … lift … itself … no wood—rather, "as if the staff (man, the instrument of God's judgments on his fellow man) should set aside (Him who is) not wood" (not a mere instrument, as man). On "no wood" compare De 32:21, "that which is not God;" Isa 31:8 shows that God is meant here by "not wood" [Maurer].10:5-19 See what a change sin made. The king of Assyria, in his pride, thought to act by his own will. The tyrants of the world are tools of Providence. God designs to correct his people for their hypocrisy, and bring them nearer to him; but is that Sennacherib's design? No; he designs to gratify his own covetousness and ambition. The Assyrian boasts what great things he has done to other nations, by his own policy and power. He knows not that it is God who makes him what he is, and puts the staff into his hand. He had done all this with ease; none moved the wing, or cried as birds do when their nests are rifled. Because he conquered Samaria, he thinks Jerusalem would fall of course. It was lamentable that Jerusalem should have set up graven images, and we cannot wonder that she was excelled in them by the heathen. But is it not equally foolish for Christians to emulate the people of the world in vanities, instead of keeping to things which are their special honour? For a tool to boast, or to strive against him that formed it, would not be more out of the way, than for Sennacherib to vaunt himself against Jehovah. When God brings his people into trouble, it is to bring sin to their remembrance, and humble them, and to awaken them to a sense of their duty; this must be the fruit, even the taking away of sin. When these points are gained by the affliction, it shall be removed in mercy. This attempt upon Zion and Jerusalem should come to nothing. God will be as a fire to consume the workers of iniquity, both soul and body. The desolation should be as when a standard-bearer fainteth, and those who follow are put to confusion. Who is able to stand before this great and holy Lord God?
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Alphabetical: a above against As ax axe be boast brandish chops club Does exalt him if is it itself lift lifting lifts like not one or over raise rod saw swings That the those to up uses were who wield wielding wields with wood would

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