|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
46:1-4 The heathen insulted the Jews, as if their idols Bel and Nebo were too hard for Jehovah. But their worshippers cannot help them; both the idols and the idolaters are gone into captivity. Let not God's people be afraid of either. Those things from which ungodly men expect safety and happiness, will be found unable to save them from death and hell. The true God will never fail his worshippers. The history of the life of every believer is a kind of abstract of the history of Israel. Our spiritual life is upheld by his grace, as constantly as our natural life by his providence. And God will never leave them. The Author will be the Finisher of their well-being, when, by decays, they need help as much as in infancy. This promise to Israel, enfeebled and grown old as a nation, is applicable to every aged follower of Christ. When compassed about with infirmities, and perhaps those around begin to grow weary of you, yet I am He that I have promised to be, He that you would have me to be. I will bear you up; carry you on in your way, and carry you home at last. If we learn to trust in and love him, we need not be anxious about our remaining days or years; he will still provide for us and watch over us, both as the creatures of his power, and as new-created by his Spirit.
Verse 2. - They stoop, they bow down together; i.e. all the Babylonian gods would suffer equally - not one would be able to protect himself. They could not deliver the burden. A distinction is here made between the god and the idol, which have hitherto been identified. The god was, in each case, unable to deliver, or save from capture, the heavy "burden" of gold, or silver, or bronze (i.e. his own image) which was carried off on the back of the "weary beast." On the contrary, the gods themselves - the "souls" of the images, immanent in them - were carried off with the images into captivity.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
They stoop, they bow together,.... Either the beasts under their burdens, or other idols besides those mentioned; or rather the Babylonians themselves, who were obliged to submit to the conquerors:
they could not deliver the burdens; the idols could not save themselves from being laid as burdens upon the beasts, any more than they could save their worshippers: so the Targum understands this and the preceding clause of them;
"they are cut off, and cut to pieces together, they could not deliver those that carried them;''
or else the Babylonians are designed, who could not save their gods from being used in this shameful manner:
but themselves are gone into captivity, or "their souls" (m); what were as dear to them as their own souls, their idols; to whom also souls may be ascribed by way of derision, being inanimate as well as irrational; and it is not unusual for idols to be said to be carried captive; hence those words of Tertullian, "manent et simulachra caplira": or rather the Babylonians, who went into captivity themselves, and so could not save their idols: thus they who had led captive the Jews are led captive themselves; and thus it will be with mystical Babylon, Revelation 13:10.
(m) "et animae eorum", V. L. Munster, Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. deliver—from the enemies' hands.
burden—their images laid on the beasts (Isa 46:1).
themselves—the gods, here also distinguished from their images.
Isaiah 46:2 Parallel Commentaries
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