Isaiah 40:15
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.

New Living Translation
No, for all the nations of the world are but a drop in the bucket. They are nothing more than dust on the scales. He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand.

English Standard Version
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.

New American Standard Bible
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, And are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.

King James Bible
Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are considered as a speck of dust in the scales; He lifts up the islands like fine dust.

International Standard Version
"Look! The nations are like a drop in a bucket, and are reckoned as dust on the scales. Look! He even lifts up the islands like powder!

NET Bible
Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales. He lifts the coastlands as if they were dust.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The nations are like a drop in a bucket and are considered to be like dust on a scale. The weight of the islands is like fine dust.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he causes the isles to disappear as dust.

King James 2000 Bible
Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he takes up the isles as fine dust.

American King James Version
Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he takes up the isles as a very little thing.

American Standard Version
Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are accounted as the small dust of the balance: Behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Behold the Gentiles are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the smallest grain of a balance: behold the islands are as a little dust.

Darby Bible Translation
Behold, the nations are esteemed as a drop of the bucket, and as the fine dust on the scales; behold, he taketh up the isles as an atom.

English Revised Version
Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.

Webster's Bible Translation
Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.

World English Bible
Behold, the nations are like a drop in a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on a balance. Behold, he lifts up the islands like a very little thing.

Young's Literal Translation
Lo, nations as a drop from a bucket, And as small dust of the balance, have been reckoned, Lo, isles as a small thing He taketh up.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

40:12-17 All created beings shrink to nothing in comparison with the Creator. When the Lord, by his Spirit, made the world, none directed his Spirit, or gave advice what to do, or how to do it. The nations, in comparison of him, are as a drop which remains in the bucket, compared with the vast ocean; or as the small dust in the balance, which does not turn it, compared with all the earth. This magnifies God's love to the world, that, though it is of such small account and value with him, yet, for the redemption of it, he gave his only-begotten Son, Joh 3:16. The services of the church can make no addition to him. Our souls must have perished for ever, if the only Son of the Father had not given himself for us.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 15. - Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket. "From nature," as Mr. Cheyne says, "we pass to history." If God is so great, so apart and by himself in relation to the material universe, what is he in relation to man? What are nations, compared to him, but "as a drop from a bucket," which drips from it, and is of no account? What are they, but as the small dust of the balance, which lies on it but does not disturb its equilibrium? They are absolutely "as nothing" (ver. 17) - vanity and emptiness, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing; literally, he taketh up islands, or perhaps lands generally. As he weighs mountains and hills in his balance (ver. 15), so he can take up in his own hands "lands," or "countries" (Cheyne), with all their inhabitants, and do with them as seemeth him good. They are no burden to him.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket,.... Not only the Chaldeans and Babylonians, and other nations most known, and most troublesome to the Jews, but all the nations of the world; these, in comparison of God, of his infinite and immense Being, are but as a drop of water that hangs upon the bucket, or falls from it, when water is drawn by it, or is left in it, when poured out of it; which is nothing in comparison of the well out of which the water is drawn, or even of the water in the bucket drawn out of it:

and are accounted as the small dust of the balance; that is, they are accounted nothing of with God, comparatively speaking, any more than the small dust which hangs upon the balance, and gives it no weight, nor turn one way or another, and so is of no consideration. The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render it, "as the turn of the scale"; and so the Targum; but the other version more strongly expresses the sense:

behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing; by which are meant not merely islands, properly so called, which are encompassed by the sea, but all such countries which the Jews used to go to by sea, for all such they called isles; these the Lord can take up, or cast away (u), as some render the word; toss them about, overturn and destroy, as a man may take up the most minute thing and cast it from him. The Targum renders it,

"as chaff which flies away;''

or, as others translate it,

"as the ashes of a coal which fly away.''

The word may signify any light thing, as chaff, straw, stubble, feathers, down of thistles, which are easily carried away with the least force; and so Vitringa renders the words, "behold, the isles are as some little thing which flies away".

(u) "projiciet", Pagninus, Tigurine version; so R. Jonah in Ben Melech.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

15. of—rather, (hanging) from a bucket [Maurer].

he taketh up … as a very little thing—rather, "are as a mere grain of dust which is taken up," namely, by the wind; literally, "one taketh up," impersonally (Ex 16:14) [Maurer].

isles—rather, "lands" in general, answering to "the nations" in the parallel clause; perhaps lands, like Mesopotamia, enclosed by rivers [Jerome] (so Isa 42:15). However, English Version, "isles" answers well to "mountains" (Isa 40:12), both alike being lifted up by the power of God; in fact, "isles" are mountains upheaved from the bed of the sea by volcanic agency; only that he seems here to have passed from unintelligent creatures (Isa 40:12) to intelligent, as nations and lands, that is, their inhabitants.

Isaiah 40:15 Additional Commentaries
Context
Here is Your God!
14With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge And informed Him of the way of understanding? 15Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, And are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust. 16Even Lebanon is not enough to burn, Nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering.…
Cross References
Psalm 62:9
Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie. If weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath.

Isaiah 2:22
Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?

Isaiah 17:13
Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away, driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale.

Isaiah 29:5
But your many enemies will become like fine dust, the ruthless hordes like blown chaff. Suddenly, in an instant,

Jeremiah 10:10
But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath.

Daniel 4:35
All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done?"
Treasury of Scripture

Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he takes up the isles as a very little thing.

the nations

Isaiah 38:22 Hezekiah also had said, What is the sign that I shall go up to the …

Job 34:14,15 If he set his heart on man, if he gather to himself his spirit and his breath…

Jeremiah 10:10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting …

the isles

Isaiah 11:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his …

Isaiah 41:5 The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, …

Isaiah 59:18 According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his …

Isaiah 66:19 And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape …

Genesis 10:5 By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every …

Daniel 11:18 After this shall he turn his face to the isles, and shall take many…

Zephaniah 2:11 The LORD will be terrible to them: for he will famish all the gods …

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