That brings the princes to nothing; he makes the judges of the earth as vanity.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)That bringeth the princes to nothing.—The words imply, like those of Isaiah 14:9, the prophetic strain of experience. The past is full of the records of kingdoms that are no more; so also shall the future be; mortalia facta peribunt. In “vanity” we have the familiar tohu once more.Job 12:21 :
He poureth contempt upon princes,
And weakeneth the strength of the mighty.
And in Psalm 107:40 :
He poureth contempt upon princes,
And causeth them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way.
The particular idea here, as appears from the next verse, is, that the princes and rulers who are opposed to God constitute no real resistance to the execution of his purposes. He can strip off their honors and glory, and obliterate even their names.
He maketh the judges of the earth - Kings and princes often executed judgment personally, and hence, the words judges and kings seem to be synonymous as they are used here, and in Psalm 2:10 :
Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings;
judges—that is, rulers; for these exercised judicial authority (Ps 2:10). The Hebrew, shophtee, answers to the Carthaginian chief magistrates, suffetes.
he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity; their decrees and decisions to stand for nothing, as "tohu" and "bohu", the first of which words is used here; so that they are no more regarded and attended to.That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)23, 24. The majesty of God displayed in Providence.
princes] dignitaries (a poetic word), “potent, grave and reverend signiors.” as vanity] “as nothingness,” lit. “chaos”; see on Isaiah 40:17. For he maketh, render who maketh.Verse 23. - The princes... the judges; rather, princes, judges. The entire class of such is meant, not any special individuals (comp. Psalm 107:40; Job 12:19-21). As vanity; or, as chaos - the same word that is used in ver. 17. Isaiah 40:15 the prophet returns to the thought itself, and dwells upon it still further. "All the nations are as nothing before Him; they are regarded by Him as belonging to nullity and emptiness." 'Ephes is the end at which a thing ceases, and in an absolute sense that at which all being ceases, hence non-existence or nullity. Tōhū (from tâhâh, related to shâ'âh; vid., Comm. on Job, at Job 37:6), a horrible desolation, like the chaos of creation, where there is nothing definite, and therefore as good as nothing at all; min is hardly comparative in the sense of "more nothing than nothing itself" (Like Job 11:17, where "brighter" is to be supplied, or Micah 7:4, where "sharper" is similarly required), but is used in the same partitive sense as in Isaiah 41:24 (cf., Isaiah 44:11 and Psalm 62:10).
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