|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.
Verse 17. - All nations; rather, all the nations; i.e. all the nations of the earth put together. In ver. 15 single "nations" had been declared to be of no account; now the same is said of all the nations of the earth collectively. They are accounted of God as 'ephes, nothingness, and tohu, chaos or confusion.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
All nations before him are as nothing,.... As if they were nonentities, and were not real beings in comparison of him, who is the Being of beings, the author of all beings which exist in all nations; who are all in his sight, and are not only as grasshoppers, as is after mentioned, but even as nothing:
and they are counted to him as less than nothing, and vanity; if there is or could be such a thing less than nothing, that they are; and so they are accounted of by him; they are like the chaos out of which the earth was formed, when it was "tohu" and "bohu", the first of which words is used here; this serves to humble the pride of men, and to lessen the glory of the nations, and the inhabitants of them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. (Ps 62:9; Da 4:35).
less than nothing—Maurer translates, as in Isa 41:24, "of nothing" (partitively; or expressive of the nature of a thing), a mere nothing.
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