Isaiah 41:29
Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTeedTTBWESTSK
(29) They are all . . . their works . . .—The first pronoun refers to the idols themselves, the second to the idolaters who make them. In “confusion” we have the familiar tohu.

41:21-29 There needs no more to show the folly of sin, than to bring to notice the reasons given in defence of it. There is nothing in idols worthy of regard. They are less than nothing, and worse than nothing. Let the advocates of other doctrines than that of salvation through Christ, bring their arguments. Can they tell of a cure for human depravity? Jehovah has power which cannot be withstood; this he will make appear. But the certain knowledge of the future must be only with Jehovah, who fulfils his own plans. All prophecies, except those of the Bible, have been uncertain. In the work of redemption the Lord showed himself much more than in the release of the Jews from Babylon. The good tidings the Lord will send in the gospel, is a mystery hid from ages and generations. A Deliverer is raised up for us, of nobler name and greater power than the deliverer of the captive Jews. May we be numbered among his obedient servants and faithful friends.Behold, they are all vanity - They are unable to predict future events; they are unable to defend their friends, or to injure their enemies. This is the conclusion of the trial or debate (notes, Isaiah 41:1), and that conclusion is, that they were utterly destitute of strength, and that they were entirely unworthy of confidence and regard.

Their molten images - (See the note at Isaiah 40:19).

Are wind - Have no solidity or power. The doctrine of the whole chapter is, that confidence should be reposed in God, and in him alone. He is the friend of his people, and he is able to protect them. He will deliver them from the hand of all their enemies; and he will be always their God, protector, and guide. The idols of the pagan have no power; and it is folly, as well as sin, to trust in them, or to suppose that they can aid their friend.

It may be added, also, that it is equally vain to trust in any being for salvation but God. He only is able to protect and defend us; and it is a source of unspeakable consolation now, as it was in times past, that he is the friend of his people; and that, in times of deepest darkness and distress, he can raise up deliverers, as he did Cyrus, and will in his own way and time rescue his people from all their calamities.

29. confusion—"emptiness" [Barnes]. They are all vanity: this is the conclusion of the whole dispute, and the just sentence which God passeth upon idols after a fair trial; they are vain things, and are falsely called gods. Their works are nothing: see Isaiah 41:24.

Their molten images; which he mentions, because their materials were most precious, and more cost and art was commonly bestowed upon them; for after they had been molten, they used to be carved, or polished, and adorned: but under these he synecdochichally comprehends all images whatsoever.

Are wind; empty and unsatisfying things, which also, like the wind, do quickly pass away, and come to nothing. And confusion; confused, and deformed, and useless things, like that rude heap in the beginning of God’s creation, of which this very word is used, Genesis 1:2. Behold, they are all vanity,.... Both the idols and the worshippers of them; in vain they claim the title of deity, to which they have no right; and in vain do men worship them, since they receive no benefit by them:

their works are nothing; they can do nothing, neither good nor evil; nothing is to be hoped or feared from them, and the worship given them is of no avail; nothing is got by it; it is all useless and insignificant, yea, pernicious and harmful:

their molten images are wind and confusion: though they are made of cast metal, yet setting aside the costly matter of which they are made, they are of no more solidity, efficacy, and use, than the wind; and are like the chaos of the first earth, mere "tohu" and "bohu", one of which words is here used, without form and void, having no form of deity on them; and therefore men are directed to turn themselves from them, and behold a most glorious Person, worthy of worship and praise, described in the beginning of the next chapter, "behold my servant", &c.

Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.
29. The last word of the argument.

all of them (R.V.)] idols and worshippers together.

their works] are the images of the gods, “the work of men’s hands” (parallel to “molten images” below).

confusion] “nothingness”—chaos (see ch. Isaiah 40:17).There follows now the second stage in the suit. "Bring hither your cause, saith Jehovah; bring forward your proofs, saith the king of Jacob. Let them bring forward, and make known to us what will happen: make known the beginning, what it is, and we will fix our heart upon it, and take knowledge of its issue; or let us hear what is to come. Make known what is coming later, and we will acknowledge that ye are gods: yea, do good, and do evil, and we will measure ourselves, and see together." In the first stage Jehovah appealed, in support of His deity, to the fact that it was He who had called the oppressor of the nations upon the arena of history. In this second stage He appeals to the fact that He only knows or can predict the future. There the challenge was addressed to the worshippers of idols, here to the idols themselves; but in both cases both of these are ranged on the one side, and Jehovah with His people upon the other. It is with purpose that Jehovah is called the "King of Jacob,"as being the tutelar God of Israel, in contrast to the tutelar deities of the heathen. The challenge to the latter to establish their deity is first of all addressed to them directly in Isaiah 41:21, and then indirectly in Isaiah 41:22, where Jehovah connects Himself with His people as the opposing party; but in Isaiah 41:22 He returns again to a direct address. עצּמות are evidences (lit. robara, cf., ὀχυρώματα, 2 Corinthians 10:4, from עצם, to be strong or stringent; mishn. נתעצּם, to contend with one another pro et contra); here it signifies proofs that they can foresee the future. Jehovah for His part has displayed this knowledge, inasmuch as, at the very time when He threatened destruction to the heathen at the hands of Cyrus, He consoled His people with the announcement of their deliverance (Isaiah 41:8-20). It is therefore the turn of the idol deities now: "Let them bring forward and announce to us the things that will come to pass." the general idea of what is in the future stands at the head. Then within this the choice is given them of proving their foreknowledge of what is afterwards to happen, by announcing either ראשׁנות, or even בּאות. These two ideas, therefore, are generic terms within the range of the things that are to happen. Consequently הרשׁנות cannot mean "earlier predictions," prius praedicta, as Hitzig, Knobel, and others suppose. This explanation is precluded in the present instance by the logic of the context. Both ideas lie upon the one line of the future; the one being more immediate, the other more remote, or as the expression alternating with הבאות implies לאחור האתיּות, ventura in posterum ("in later times," compare Isaiah 42:23, "at a later period;" from the participle אתה, radical form אתי, vid., Ges. 75, Anm. 5, probably to distinguish it from אתות). This is the explanation adopted by Stier and Hahn, the latter of whom has correctly expounded the word, as denoting "the events about to happen first in the immediate future, which it is not so difficult to prognosticate from signs that are discernible in the present." The choice is given them, either to foretell "things at the beginning" (haggı̄dū in our editions is erroneously pointed with kadma instead of geresh), i.e., that which will take place first or next, "what they be" (quae et qualia sint), so that now, when the achărı̄th, "the latter end" (i.e., the issue of that which is held out to view), as prognosticated from the standpoint of the present, really occurs, the prophetic utterance concerning it may be verified; or "things to come," i.e., things further off, in later times (in the remote future), the prediction of which is incomparably more difficult, because without any point of contact in the present. They are to choose which they like (או from אוה, like vel from velle): "ye do good, and do evil," i.e., (according to the proverbial use of the phrase; cf., Zephaniah 1:12 and Jeremiah 10:5) only express yourselves in some way; come forward, and do either the one or the other. The meaning is, not that they are to stir themselves and predict either good or evil, but they are to show some sign of life, no matter what. "And we will measure ourselves (i.e., look one another in the face, testing and measuring), and see together," viz., what the result of the contest will be. השׁתּעה like התראה in 2 Kings 14:8, 2 Kings 14:11, with a cohortative âh, which is rarely met with in connection with verbs ל ה, and the tone upon the penultimate, the âh being attached without tone to the voluntative נשׁתּע in 2 Kings 14:5 (Ewald, 228, c). For the chethib ונראה, the Keri has the voluntative ונרא.
Isaiah 41:29 Interlinear
Isaiah 41:29 Parallel Texts

Isaiah 41:29 NIV
Isaiah 41:29 NLT
Isaiah 41:29 ESV
Isaiah 41:29 NASB
Isaiah 41:29 KJV

Isaiah 41:29 Bible Apps
Isaiah 41:29 Parallel
Isaiah 41:29 Biblia Paralela
Isaiah 41:29 Chinese Bible
Isaiah 41:29 French Bible
Isaiah 41:29 German Bible

Bible Hub

Isaiah 41:28
Top of Page
Top of Page