|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.
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 … ?
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