|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 22. - It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth; rather, above the vault of the earth; above the vault of sky which seems to arch over the earth. As grasshoppers; i.e. minute, scarcely visible (comp. Numbers 13:33). That stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain. So in Psalm 104:2, only that here the "curtain" is represented as one of thin gauze. The idea is common to Isaiah with Job (Job 9:8), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 10:12; Jeremiah 51:15), and Zechariah (Zechariah 12:1), and is a favourite one in these later chapters (comp. Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 44:24; Isaiah 45:12; Isaiah 51:13). As a tent (comp. Psalm 19:4, where God is said to have set in the heavens a "tabernacle" - 'ohel, the word used here - for the sun).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth,.... Or, "the globe (z)" of it; for the earth is spherical or globular: not a flat plain, but round, hung as a ball in the air; here Jehovah sits as the Lord and Sovereign; being the Maker of it, he is above it, orders and directs its motion, and governs all things in it: Kimchi rightly observes, that the heavens are the circle of the earth, which is the centre of them, and around which they are; and so it signifies, that the Lord sits or dwells in the heavens, from whence he beholds the children of men:
and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; or "locusts (a)"; as one upon a very great eminence looking down beholds creatures as exceeding small and little; and if the Israelites were to the "anakim" or giants as grasshoppers, Numbers 13:33, much more must puny mortals be such in the sight of God, and in comparison of him; and this may denote, not only the minuteness of men, but what weak, impotent, useless, worthless, and short lived creatures men are:
that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain; alluding to the firmament or expanse made at the creation, and still continued; which is as a curtain to himself, which he draws around himself, he dwelling in the highest heavens, and in light inaccessible to mortals; and which he stretches out as a canopy around this earth, for the use of the inhabitants of it: or, "as a little thing"; or, as a little skin (b); and which he stretches out as easily as a man can stretch out that:
and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in it; for himself to dwell in, and so stretches out the heavens like curtains about him; tents being made of such, and often of skins.
(z) "super sphaeram", Pagninus; "globum", Montanus Vatablus; "super orbem telluris", Vitringa. (a) "ut locustae", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius, Vitringa; "tanquam locustae", Munster; "velut locustae", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (b) "velut tenue", Montanus; "tenuissimum", Vatablus; "pellem." Munster; so some in Vatablus; "pellculam", Gataker.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22. It is he—rather, connected with last verse, "Have ye not known?"—have ye not understood Him that sitteth …? (Isa 40:26) [Maurer].
circle—applicable to the globular form of the earth, above which, and the vault of sky around it, He sits. For "upon" translate "above."
as grasshoppers—or locusts in His sight (Nu 13:33), as He looks down from on high (Ps 33:13, 14; 113:4-6).
curtain—referring to the awning which the Orientals draw over the open court in the center of their houses as a shelter in rain or hot weather.
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