Isaiah 29:16
Parallel Verses
New International Version
You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, "You did not make me"? Can the pot say to the potter, "You know nothing"?

New Living Translation
How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, "He didn't make me"? Does a jar ever say, "The potter who made me is stupid"?

English Standard Version
You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?

New American Standard Bible
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 "?

King James Bible
Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
You have turned things around, as if the potter were the same as the clay. How can what is made say about its maker," He didn't make me"? How can what is formed say about the one who formed it," He doesn't understand what he's doing"?

International Standard Version
He has turned the tables on you — as if the potter were thought to be like heat. Can what is made say of the one who made it, 'He did not make me?' Or can what is formed say of the ones who formed it, 'He has no skill?'

NET Bible
Your thinking is perverse! Should the potter be regarded as clay? Should the thing made say about its maker, "He didn't make me"? Or should the pottery say about the potter, "He doesn't understand"?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
You turn things upside down! Is the potter no better than his clay? Can something that has been made say about its maker, "He didn't make me"? Can a piece of pottery say about the potter, "He doesn't understand"?

Jubilee Bible 2000
Surely your subversion shall be as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He did not make me? or shall the vessel say of him that made it, He did not understand?

King James 2000 Bible
Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the thing made say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing formed say of him that formed it, He had no understanding?

American King James Version
Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?

American Standard Version
Ye turn things upside down! Shall the potter be esteemed as clay; that the thing made should say of him that made it, He made me not; or the thing formed say of him that formed it, He hath no understanding?

Douay-Rheims Bible
This thought of yours is perverse: as if the clay should think against the potter, and the work should say to the maker thereof: Thou madest me not: or the thing framed should say to him that fashioned it: Thou understandest not.

Darby Bible Translation
[Oh] your perverseness! -- Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay, so that the work should say of him that made it, He made me not; or the thing formed say of him that formed it, He hath no understanding?

English Revised Version
Ye turn things upside down! Shall the potter be counted as clay; that the thing made should say of him that made it, He made me not; or the thing framed say of him that framed it, He hath no understanding?

Webster's Bible Translation
Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?

World English Bible
You turn things upside down! Should the potter be thought to be like clay; that the thing made should say about him who made it, "He didn't make me;" or the thing formed say of him who formed it, "He has no understanding?"

Young's Literal Translation
Your perversion! as clay is the potter esteemed? That the work saith of its maker, 'He hath not made me?' And the framed thing said of its framer, 'He did not understand?'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

29:9-16 The security of sinners in sinful ways, is cause for lamentation and wonder. The learned men, through prejudice, said that the Divine prophecies were obscure; and the poor urged their want of learning. The Bible is a sealed book to every man, learned or unlearned, till he begins to study it with a simple heart and a teachable spirit, that he may thence learn the truth and the will of God. To worship God, is to approach him. And if the heart be full of his love and fear, out of the abundance of it the mouth will speak; but there are many whose religion is lip-labour only. When they pretend to be speaking to God, they are thinking of a thousand foolish things. They worship the God of Israel according to their own devices. Numbers are only formal in worship. And their religion is only to comply with custom, and to serve their own interest. But the wanderings of mind, and defects in devotion, which are the believer's burden, are very different from the withdrawing of the heart from God, so severely blamed. And those who make religion no more than a pretence, to serve a turn, deceive themselves. And as those that quarrel with God, so those that think to conceal themselves from him, in effect charge him with folly. But all their perverse conduct shall be entirely done away.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 16. - Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay; rather, O for your perverseness! Shall the potter be reckoned as clay? They were so perverse and wrong-headed that they inverted the relation in which they stood to God and God to them. God was to be passive, or merely give opportunities of action, and they were to mould their own plans and carve out their own destinies. For shall the work say, etc.? rather, for the work saith. Taking their destinies into their own hands was equivalent to saying that they were their own masters, which they could not be if God made them. Shall the thing framed say, etc.? rather, yea, the thing formed hath said. To refuse to take counsel of God, and direct the national policy by the light of their own reason, was to tax God with having no understanding.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Surely your turning of things upside down,.... Revolving things in their minds, throwing them into different shapes, forming various schemes, and inverting the order of things by their deep counsels, and seeking to hide things from the Lord: or, "O the perverseness of you" (z); in imagining and saying that no eye saw, nor anyone knew, what they did, not the Lord himself. So the Vulgate Latin version, "this is your perverse thought"; namely, what is before related. The Targum is,

"do you seek to pervert your works?''

Our version joins it with what follows; though a stop should be made here, because of the accent:

shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: their perverse counsels and designs shall be made of no more account with God, and be as easily turned about and brought to nought, as the clay can be formed, and shaped, and marred by the potter, at his pleasure: "if" or "surely as the potter's clay shall it be esteemed", as the words may be rendered; or it may refer to their persons, as well as their counsels. So the Septuagint version, "shall ye not be reckoned as the potter's clay?" ye shall. To which agrees the Targum,

"behold, as the clay in the hand of the potter, so are ye accounted before me;''

who could do with them just as seemed good in his sight. De Dieu renders them, "shall the potter be reckoned as the clay?" Such was the stupidity and perverseness of the Jews, in endeavouring to hide their counsels from the Lord, and in fancying that he did not see and know them, that they thought God was like themselves; which is all one as if the potter was reckoned as the clay, for they were the clay, and God the potter. The Vulgate Latin version is, "as if the clay could think against the potter"; contrive schemes to counterwork him; which, to imagine, was not more stupid, than to think they could do anything against the Lord:

for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? to say that God does not know what is done by his creatures, is in effect to say that he did not make them; for he that made them must needs know their actions, and even the very thoughts of their hearts; as he that makes a watch knows all that is in it, and the motions of it:

or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? or judgment, did not know how to make it as it should be. So the Septuagint version, "thou hast not made me wisely"; or he did not understand the work itself, the make and fashion of it. So the Targum,

"thou does not understand me.''

This might as well be said, as for a creature to pretend that God does not know what and where he is, or what he is doing.

(z) So some in Gataker; "subversio vestra", Pagninus, Montanus.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

16. Rather, "Ah! your perverseness! just as if the potter should be esteemed as the clay!" [Maurer]. Or, "Ye invert (turn upside down) the order of things, putting yourselves instead of God," and vice versa, just as if the potter should be esteemed as the clay [Horsley], (Isa 45:9; 64:8).

Isaiah 29:16 Additional Commentaries
Context
Woe to the City of David
15Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the LORD, And whose deeds are done in a dark place, And they say, "Who sees us?" or "Who knows us?" 16You 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 "?
Cross References
Romans 9:19
One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?"

Romans 9:20
But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'"

Psalm 103:14
for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

Isaiah 10:15
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!

Isaiah 45:9
"Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, 'What are you making?' Does your work say, 'The potter has no hands'?

Isaiah 64:8
Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Jeremiah 18:1
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
Treasury of Scripture

Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?

your turning

Isaiah 24:1 Behold, the LORD makes the earth empty, and makes it waste, and turns …

Acts 17:6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brothers …

as the potter's

Isaiah 45:9,10 Woe to him that strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with …

Jeremiah 18:1-10 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying…

Romans 9:19,21 You will say then to me, Why does he yet find fault? For who has …

or shall

Isaiah 45:11 Thus said the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me …

Psalm 94:8,9 Understand, you brutish among the people: and you fools, when will …

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