|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 21. - Have ye not known? Hitherto the prophet has restrained himself, and confined himself to quiet sarcasm. Now he bursts out. Is there any one so insensate, so devoid of natural reason and understanding, as not to know what has been known to all from the beginning - yea, from the foundations of the earth - by "the light that is in them," viz. that God is something wholly different from this? - that he is such a One as the prophet proceeds to describe in vers. 22-24, alike above nature and above man, Lord of heaven and earth, and absolute Disposer of the fates of all men? Hath it not been told you? If ye have not known the nature of God by the light of nature, has it not come down to you by tradition? Have not your fathers told it you? Has it not been handed on by sire to son from the very foundation of the earth? The appeal is to men generally, not especially to Israel. Have ye not understood, etc.? Some omit the preposition after "understood," and render the passage thus: "Have ye not understood the foundations of the earth?" i.e. how it was founded, or created - that its creation was God's sole act? (so the LXX., the Vulgate, Gesenius, Hitzig, Delitzsch, Knobel, Kay; but Ewald, Henderson, Weir, and Mr. Cheyne prefer the rendering of the Authorized Version).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Have ye not known? This is the speech of the prophet, directed to the idolaters, appealing to their own natural knowledge, who, from the light of nature, might know that idols were nothing, had no divinity in them: that it is God that made the earth and governs the world, and who only ought to be worshipped:
have ye not heard? by tradition from the ancients, from your forefathers, who received it from theirs, and have delivered it to you:
hath it not been told you from the beginning? from the beginning of your states and kingdoms, and even from the beginning of the world, by the wisest and best of men that have been in it, that those things are true before related, and what follow:
have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? the being of God, the invisible things of him, his eternal power and Godhead, from the things that are made, even from his founding of the earth; as well as such knowledge and understanding has been as early as that, and might be continued from it: or,
have ye not understood the foundations of the earth (y)? what the earth is founded upon, and who laid the foundations of it; no other than that divine Being described in the next words.
(y) "nonne intelligetis fundamenta terrae?" Pagninus, Montanus; "annon intellexistis?" Vatablus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. ye—who worship idols. The question emphatically implies, they had known.
from the beginning—(Isa 41:4, 26; 48:16). God is the beginning (Re 1:8). The tradition handed down from the very first, of the creation of all things by God at the beginning, ought to convince you of His omnipotence and of the folly of idolatry.
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