Isaiah 40:20
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
A person too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot; they look for a skilled worker to set up an idol that will not topple.

New Living Translation
Or if people are too poor for that, they might at least choose wood that won't decay and a skilled craftsman to carve an image that won't fall down!

English Standard Version
He who is too impoverished for an offering chooses wood that will not rot; he seeks out a skillful craftsman to set up an idol that will not move.

Berean Study Bible
To one bereft of an offering who chooses wood that does not rot? He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not fall over.

New American Standard Bible
He who is too impoverished for such an offering Selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman To prepare an idol that will not totter.

King James Bible
He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.

Christian Standard Bible
A poor person contributes wood for a pedestal that will not rot. He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not fall over.

Contemporary English Version
Or special wood may be chosen because it doesn't rot--then skilled hands take care to make an idol that won't fall on its face.

Good News Translation
Anyone who cannot afford silver or gold chooses wood that will not rot. He finds a skillful worker to make an image that won't fall down.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
To one who shapes a pedestal, choosing wood that does not rot? He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not fall over.

International Standard Version
To the impoverished person? He prepares an offering— wood that won't rot— Or to the one who chooses a skilled craftsman and seeks to erect an idol that won't topple?"

NET Bible
To make a contribution one selects wood that will not rot; he then seeks a skilled craftsman to make an idol that will not fall over.

New Heart English Bible
He who is too impoverished for such an offering chooses a tree that will not rot. He seeks a skillful workman to set up an engraved image for him that will not be moved.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The poorest people choose wood that will not rot and search out skillful craftsmen to set up idols that will not fall over.

JPS Tanakh 1917
A holm-oak is set apart, He chooseth a tree that will not rot; He seeketh unto him a cunning craftsman To set up an image, that shall not be moved.

New American Standard 1977
He who is too impoverished for such an offering Selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman To prepare an idol that will not totter.

Jubilee Bible 2000
He that is so impoverished that he has no oblation chooses a tree that will not rot; he seeks unto himself a cunning workman to prepare a graven image that shall not be moved.

King James 2000 Bible
He that is so impoverished that he has no offering chooses a tree that will not rot; he seeks unto him a skillful workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not move.

American King James Version
He that is so impoverished that he has no oblation chooses a tree that will not rot; he seeks to him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.

American Standard Version
He that is too impoverished for'such an oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a skilful workman to set up a graven image, that shall not be moved.

Douay-Rheims Bible
He hath chosen strong wood, and that will not rot: the skilful workman seeketh how he may set up an idol that may not be moved.

Darby Bible Translation
He that is impoverished, so that he hath no offering, chooseth a tree that doth not rot; he seeketh unto him a skilled workman to prepare a graven image that shall not be moved.

English Revised Version
He that is too impoverished for such an oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to set up a graven image, that shall not be moved.

Webster's Bible Translation
He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh for himself a skillful workman to prepare a graven image that shall not be moved.

World English Bible
He who is too impoverished for such an offering chooses a tree that will not rot. He seeks a skillful workman to set up an engraved image for him that will not be moved.

Young's Literal Translation
He who is poor by heave-offerings, A tree not rotten doth choose, A skilful artisan he seeketh for it, To establish a graven image -- not moved.
Study Bible
Here is Your God!
19To an idol that a craftsman casts and a metalworker overlays with gold and fits with silver chains? 20To one bereft of an offering who chooses wood that does not rot? He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not fall over. 21Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the foundation of the earth?…
Cross References
1 Samuel 5:3
When the people of Ashdod got up early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on his face before the ark of the LORD. So they took Dagon and returned him to his place.

1 Samuel 5:4
But when they got up early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on his face before the ark of the LORD, with his head and his hands broken off and lying on the threshold. Only the torso remained.

Isaiah 41:7
The craftsman encourages the goldsmith, and he who wields the hammer cheers him who strikes the anvil, saying of the soldering, “It is good.” He nails it down so will not be toppled.

Isaiah 44:12
The blacksmith takes a tool and labors over the coals; he fashions an idol with hammers and forges it with his strong arms. Yet he grows hungry and his strength fails; he fails to drink water and grows faint.

Isaiah 44:14
He cuts down cedars or retrieves a cypress or oak. He lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a laurel, and the rain makes it grow.

Isaiah 46:7
They lift it to their shoulder and carry it along; they set it in its place, and there it stands, not budging from that spot. They cry out to it, but it does not answer; it saves no one from his troubles.

Jeremiah 10:4
They adorn it with silver and gold and fasten it with hammer and nails, so that it will not totter.

Daniel 5:4
As they drank the wine, they praised their gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.

Treasury of Scripture

He that is so impoverished that he has no oblation chooses a tree that will not rot; he seeks to him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.

is so impoverished that he hath no oblation. Heb. is poor of oblation. chooseth

Isaiah 2:8,9 Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their …

Isaiah 44:13-19 The carpenter stretches out his rule; he marks it out with a line; …

Jeremiah 10:3,4 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cuts a tree out of …

Daniel 5:23 But have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven; and they …

shall not

Isaiah 41:7 So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smoothes with …

Isaiah 46:7 They bear him on the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his …

1 Samuel 5:3,4 And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon …







(20) He that is so impoverished . . .--The transition is abrupt, but the intention apparently is to represent idolatry at its opposite extremes of the elaborate art in which kings and princes delighted, and the rude rough image, hardly more than a fetiche, the inutile lignum of Horace, "which cannot be moved," standing on its own wide base, so as not to fall.

Verse 20. - He that is so impoverished, etc.; rather, he that can only make a poor offering, i.e. that cannot spend much on religion. Chooseth a tree; rather, chooseth wood - goes to the carpenter, and selects a good sound block of wood, out of which his idol shall be made. After this he has to find a skilful workman, who will carve his image for him and set it up, so that it shall not shake. As Delitzsch observes, "The thing carries its own satire" in the mere plain description of it. Is such a thing comparable to God? He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation,.... Who is so poor that he cannot bring an offering to his God, yet he will have one; and though he cannot purchase a golden or silver one, or one that is gilt, and adorned with either; yet he will have a wooden one, as follows. Some render it, "he that is set over the oblation", which Aben Ezra mentions; that was over the treasury, where the oblations were; the Heathen priest, whose business it was from thence to procure idols to worship. Jerom takes the word to be the name of a tree that will not rot; and so the Targum renders it,

"he cuts down an ash:''

but the word is descriptive of an idol worshipper; and, according to Gussetius (x), signifies one that by custom and repeated acts has got skill in such things; and so Jarchi: hence

he chooseth a tree that will not rot: he goes to the forest, and chooses the best tree for his purpose he can find, even one that will not rot, as the cypress; and though he cannot get an idol made of metal, but is forced to have one of wood, yet he will get the best he can, that will last longest, an incorruptible deity, as he fancies:

he seeketh unto him a cunning workman, to prepare a graven image that shall not be moved: having decided upon his tree, and what sort of wood to make his god of, he looks out for an ingenious carpenter and carver, a good workman, to make it in the form of an image, and grave, or rather carve it, in the best manner he can, and then fasten it in a proper place, that it may not fall; a poor helpless deity, that cannot secure itself, and much less be of any service to its worshippers.

(x) Ebr Comment. p. 558. 20. impoverished—literally, "sunk" in circumstances.

no oblation—he who cannot afford to overlay his idol with gold and silver (Isa 40:19).

tree … not rot—the cedar, cypress, oak, or ash (Isa 44:14).

graven—of wood; not a molten one of metal.

not be moved—that shall be durable.40:18-26 Whatever we esteem or love, fear or hope in, more than God, that creature we make equal with God, though we do not make images or worship them. He that is so poor, that he has scarcely a sacrifice to offer, yet will not be without a god of his own. They spared no cost upon their idols; we grudge what is spent in the service of our God. To prove the greatness of God, the prophet appeals to all ages and nations. Those who are ignorant of this, are willingly ignorant. God has the command of all creatures, and of all created things. The prophet directs us to use our reason as well as our senses; to consider who created the hosts of heaven, and to pay our homage to Him. Not one fails to fulfil his will. And let us not forget, that He spake all the promises, and engaged to perform them.



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