Isaiah 45:9
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, 'What are you making?' Does your work say, 'The potter has no hands'?

New Living Translation
"What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, 'Stop, you're doing it wrong!' Does the pot exclaim, 'How clumsy can you be?'

English Standard Version
“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?

New American Standard Bible
"Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker-- An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?' Or the thing you are making say, 'He has no hands '?

King James Bible
Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Woe to the one who argues with his Maker-- one clay pot among many. Does clay say to the one forming it, What are you making? Or does your work say, He has no hands?

International Standard Version
"Woe to the one who quarrels with his makers, a mere potsherd with the potsherds of the earth! Woe to the one who says to the one forming him, 'What are you making?' or 'Your work has no human hands?'!

NET Bible
One who argues with his creator is in grave danger, one who is like a mere shard among the other shards on the ground! The clay should not say to the potter, "What in the world are you doing? Your work lacks skill!"

GOD'S WORD® Translation
How horrible it will be for the one who quarrels with his maker. He is pottery among other earthenware pots. Does the clay ask the one who shapes it, "What are you making?" Does your work say to you, "There are no handles"?

Jubilee Bible 2000
Woe unto him that strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashions it, What doth thou make; thy work has no form?

King James 2000 Bible
Woe unto him that strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashions it, What do you make? or of your work, He has no hands?

American King James Version
Woe to him that strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashions it, What make you? or your work, He has no hands?

American Standard Version
Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! a potsherd among the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?

Douay-Rheims Bible
Woe to him that gainsayeth his maker, a sherd of the earthen pots: shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it: What art thou making, and thy work is without hands?

Darby Bible Translation
Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let a potsherd [strive] with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that formeth it, What makest thou? Or thy work, He hath no hands?

English Revised Version
Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! a potsherd among the potsherds of the earth! shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?

Webster's Bible Translation
Woe to him that contendeth with his Maker! Let the potsherd contend with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?

World English Bible
Woe to him who strives with his Maker-- a clay pot among the clay pots of the earth! Shall the clay ask him who fashions it, 'What are you making?' or your work, 'He has no hands?'

Young's Literal Translation
Woe to him who is striving with his Former, (A potsherd with potsherds of the ground!) Doth clay say to its Framer, 'What dost thou?' And thy work, 'He hath no hands?'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

45:5-10 There is no God beside Jehovah. There is nothing done without him. He makes peace, put here for all good; and creates evil, not the evil of sin, but the evil of punishment. He is the Author of all that is true, holy, good, or happy; and evil, error, and misery, came into the world by his permission, through the wilful apostacy of his creatures, but are restrained and overruled to his righteous purpose. This doctrine is applied, for the comfort of those that earnestly longed, yet quietly waited, for the redemption of Israel. The redemption of sinners by the Son of God, and the pouring out the Spirit, to give success to the gospel, are chiefly here intended. We must not expect salvation without righteousness; together the Lord hath created them. Let not oppressors oppose God's designs for his people. Let not the poor oppressed murmur, as if God dealt unkindly with them. Men are but earthen pots; they are broken potsherds, and are very much made so by mutual contentions. To contend with Him is as senseless as for clay to find fault with the potter. Let us turn God's promises into prayers, beseeching him that salvation may abound among us, and let us rest assured that the Judge of all the earth will do right.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 9-13. - ISRAEL WARNED NOT TO CALL IN QUESTION GOD'S MODES OF ACTION. Apparently, Isaiah anticipates that the Israelites will be discontented and murmur at their deliverer being a heathen king, and not one of their own body. He therefore warns them against presuming to criticize the arrangements of the All-Wise, reminding them of his unapproachable greatness (ver. 12), and once more assuring them that the appointment of Cyrus is from him (ver. 13). Verse 9. - Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive, etc.; rather, woe unto him that striveth with his Maker, a potsherd among potsherds of the ground: All men are equally made of "the dust of the ground" (Genesis 2:7). Israel has no prerogative in this respect. He, too, is "a potsherd among potsherds" - day moulded by the potter; no more entitled to lift up his voice against his Maker than the vessel to rebel against the man who shapes it (comp. Isaiah 29:16; and see the comment furnished by St. Paul in the Epistle to the Romans 9:20-24). What would a man think if the clay that he was fashioning objected to being moulded in a particular form, or if a work that he had made exclaimed, "He is a poor bungler - he hath no hands"? Yet this is what a man does who finds fault with the arrangements of the Almighty.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker,.... That contends with him, enters into a controversy, and disputes with him, or litigates a point with him; quarrels with his purposes and decrees; murmurs and repines at his providences, and finds fault with his dispensations: this seems to have respect to the murmurs, quarrels, and contests of the Jews about Christ, the author of righteousness and salvation, when he should appear:

let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth; let men strive with men, who are as earthen vessels made of the same mass and lump, and so are upon an equal foot, and a match for each other; but let them not have the insolence and vanity to strive with their Maker, who, as he has made them, can dash them in pieces as a potter's vessel:

shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, what makest thou? yet this might be said with as much propriety and justice as that the Jews should quarrel with God for not sending the Messiah as a temporal prince to rescue them from the Roman yoke; but in a mean and humble manner, in the form of a servant, as a man of sorrows, and acquainted with griefs; and, at last, became obedient to the death of the cross, the way in which he was to be the Saviour of men: or

thy work, he hath no hands? or thus, or "thy work say unto thee, he, the potter, hath no hands"; no power nor skill to make me; I can make myself: as weakly, as wickedly, and as foolishly did the Jews, seeing no need of the Saviour sent them, nor of his righteousness and salvation, argue for justification by their own works, and in favour of their self-sufficiency to work out their own salvation. The Targum takes the words to be spoken to idolaters, and paraphrases the former part thus;

"woe to him who thinks to contend in judgment against the words of his Creator, and trusts that earthen images shall profit him, which are made out of the dust of the earth, &c.''

and there are many interpreters who think they are spoken against the idolatrous Babylonians, particularly against Belshazzar, as Kimchi; and others, against Astyages, a king of Persia, who was angry with the father and mother of Cyrus, and sought to have slain him as soon as born (q).

(q) Vid. Abendana in Miclol Yophi in loc.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

9. Anticipating the objections which the Jews might raise as to why God permitted their captivity, and when He did restore them, why He did so by a foreign prince, Cyrus, not a Jew (Isa 40:27, &c.), but mainly and ultimately, the objections about to be raised by the Jews against God's sovereign act in adopting the whole Gentile world as His spiritual Israel (Isa 45:8, referring to this catholic diffusion of the Gospel), as if it were an infringement of their nation's privileges; so Paul expressly quotes it (Ro 9:4-8, 11-21).

Let … strive—Not in the Hebrew; rather, in apposition with "him," "A potsherd among the potsherds of the earth!" A creature fragile and worthless as the fragment of an earthen vessel, among others equally so, and yet presuming to strive with his Maker! English Version implies, it is appropriate for man to strive with man, in opposition to 2Ti 2:24 [Gesenius].

thy … He—shall thy work say of thee, He … ?

Isaiah 45:9 Additional Commentaries
Context
God Calls Cyrus
8"Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it. 9"Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker-- An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?' Or the thing you are making say, 'He has no hands '? 10"Woe to him who says to a father, 'What are you begetting?' Or to a woman, 'To what are you giving birth?'"…
Cross References
Romans 9:20
But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'"

Romans 9:21
Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

1 Corinthians 10:22
Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

Job 9:12
If he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, 'What are you doing?'

Job 15:25
because he shakes his fist at God and vaunts himself against the Almighty,

Job 33:13
Why do you complain to him that he responds to no one's words?

Job 40:2
"Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!"

Job 40:8
"Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?

Job 40:9
Do you have an arm like God's, and can your voice thunder like his?

Psalm 2:2
The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed, saying,

Proverbs 21:30
There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.

Ecclesiastes 6:10
Whatever exists has already been named, and what humanity is has been known; no one can contend with someone who is stronger.

Isaiah 10:15
Does the ax raise itself above the person who swings it, or the saw boast against the one who uses it? As if a rod were to wield the person who lifts it up, or a club brandish the one who is not wood!

Isaiah 29:16
You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, "You did not make me"? Can the pot say to the potter, "You know nothing"?

Isaiah 45:10
Woe to the one who says to a father, 'What have you begotten?' or to a mother, 'What have you brought to birth?'

Isaiah 64:8
Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Jeremiah 18:6
He said, "Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.

Jeremiah 36:29
Also tell Jehoiakim king of Judah, 'This is what the LORD says: You burned that scroll and said, "Why did you write on it that the king of Babylon would certainly come and destroy this land and wipe from it both man and beast?"

Jeremiah 50:24
I set a trap for you, Babylon, and you were caught before you knew it; you were found and captured because you opposed the LORD.

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

Woe to him that strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashions it, What make you? or your work, He has no hands?

unto him

Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay, and you our …

Exodus 9:16,17 And in very deed for this cause have I raised you up, for to show …

Job 15:24-26 Trouble and anguish shall make him afraid; they shall prevail against …

Job 40:8,9 Will you also cancel my judgment? will you condemn me, that you may …

Psalm 2:2-9 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel …

Proverbs 21:30 There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.

Jeremiah 50:24 I have laid a snare for you, and you are also taken, O Babylon, and …

1 Corinthians 10:22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

shall the clay

Isaiah 10:15 Shall the ax boast itself against him that hews therewith? or shall …

Isaiah 29:16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the …

Jeremiah 18:6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? said the …

Romans 9:20,21 No but, O man, who are you that reply against God? Shall the thing …

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