Isaiah 44:11
Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed: and the workmen, they are of men: let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; yet they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together.
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(11) Behold, all his fellows . . .—The noun has a half-technical sense, as describing a member of a religious guild or fraternity, such as were attached to heathen temples. In this sense “Ephraim was joined to idols” (Hosea 4:17). In Hosea 6:9, the noun is used for the “company” of priests.

Let them stand up.—The words gain in vividness when we remember that the challenge is addressed to the guild of idol-makers. They are but men; how can they make a god?

44:9-20 Image-making is described, to expose the folly of idolaters. Though a man had used part of a log for fuel, he fell down before an image made of the remainder, praying it to deliver him. Man greatly dishonours God, when he represents him after the image of man. Satan blinds the eyes of unbelievers, causing absurd reasonings in matters of religion. Whether men seek happiness in worldly things, or run into unbelief, superstition, or any false system, they feed on ashes. A heart deceived by pride, love of sin, and departure from God, turns men aside from his holy truth and worship. While the affections are depraved, a man holds fast the lie as his best treasure. Are our hearts set upon the wealth of the world and its pleasures? They will certainly prove a lie. If we trust to outward professions and doings, as if those would save us, we deceive ourselves. Self-suspicion is the first step towards self-deliverance. He that would deliver his soul, must question his conscience, Is there not a lie in my right hand?Behold, all his fellows - All that are joined in making, and in worshipping it, are regarded as the fellows, or the companions (חברין chăbērâyn) of the idol-god (see Hosea 4:17 - 'Ephraim is joined to idols'). They and the idols constitute one company or fellowship, intimately allied to each other.

Shall be, ashamed - Shall be confounded when they find that their idols cannot aid them.

And the workmen - The allusion to the workmen is to show that what they made could not be worthy of the confidence of people as an object of worship.

They are of men - They are mortal people; they must themselves soon die. It is ridiculous, therefore, for them to attempt to make a god that can defend or save, or that should be adored.

Let them all be gathered together - For purposes of trial, or to urge their claims to the power of making an object that should be adored (see the note at Isaiah 41:1).

Let them stand up - As in a court of justice, to defend their cause (see the note at Isaiah 41:21).

They shall fear - They shall be alarmed when danger comes. They shall find that their idol-gods cannot defend them.

11. his fellows—the associates of him who makes an idol; or of the idol (see De 7:26; Ps 115:8; Ho 4:17).

they are of men—They are mortal men themselves; what better, then, can the idol be than its maker?

gathered together … stand up—as in a court of justice, to try the issue between God and them (see on [797]Isa 41:1; [798]Isa 41:21).

yet—wrongly inserted in English Version. The issue of the trial shall be, "they shall fear," &c.

All his fellows; either,

1. The workmen, as it follows, who in this work are companions or partners with him, by whose cost and command the work is done. Or,

2. Those who any way assist and encourage him in this work, and join with him in worshipping the image which he maketh.

They are of men; they are of mankind, and therefore cannot possibly make a god. Or, they are of the meanest sort of men; for so the Hebrew word adam sometimes signifies.

They shall be ashamed together; though all combine together, and stand up with all their might to maintain the cause of their false gods, they shall be filled with fear and confusion, when God shall plead his cause against them. Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed,.... Either such who join with them in the worship of the molten graven image, or god formed, when they find it is profitable for nothing; so the Targum,

"behold all their worshippers shall be confounded;''

or their fellow workmen, who took their several parts in making the image, and so must be conscious of the vanity and unprofitableness of it, and ashamed when upbraided with it:

and the workmen they are of men; or, "of Adam" (b); they are the sons of Adam, fallen men, sinful, frail, mortal creatures; they are not so much as of the angels in heaven, but of men on earth, and so very unfit to be makers of a god:

let them be gathered together; workmen and worshippers, as Demetrius, and the craftsmen or shrine makers, with others at Ephesus:

let them stand up; and plead for their gods, and say all they can in the behalf of them:

yet they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together; the light of the Gospel breaking forth in the ministry of the apostles and others, the minds of many were enlightened to see the folly of worshipping idols, which brought them, and the makers of them, into contempt; who not being able to withstand the evidence and force of arguments brought against them, were covered with shame, and filled with fear, lest, should the Gospel still get further ground, their trade of idol making would come to nothing; or lest the vengeance of heaven should fall upon them for their idolatrous practices.

(b) "ipsi ex Adamo, sive ex hominibus", Munster, Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version.

Behold, all his {q} fellows shall be ashamed: and the workmen, they are of men: let them all be gathered together, let them {r} stand up; yet they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together.

(q) That is, who in any way consent either to the making or worshipping.

(r) Signifying, that the multitude will not then save the idolaters, when God will take vengeance, although they excuse themselves by it among men.

11. all his fellows] The word denotes the members of a guild, and is understood by A.V. of the gang of craftsmen employed in the making of the idol. It should rather be interpreted as the “adherents,” the clientèle of the false god himself, as in R.V. marg., “all that join themselves thereto.” Cf. Hosea 4:17 (“associated with idols”) and 1 Corinthians 10:20. are of men] belong to the category of men (Isaiah 40:17), and how can men produce a god? Duhm, changing the vowel-points, renders: “Behold all the spells (cf. ch. Isaiah 47:9; Isaiah 47:12) are put to shame, and as for enchantments (cf. ch. Isaiah 3:3), they are of men;” an allusion to the magical process by which, in all systems of idolatry, the manufactured image is transformed into a fetish, the residence of a divinity. Similarly Cheyne (Introd. p. 301).Verse 11. - All his fellows; or, all its associates; i.e. all who are associated together in the worship of the idol. The worshippers of a particular idol, or sometimes of a particular god, formed a sort of guild or company, bound together by common participation in certain rites, and under an obligation to defend each other. The prophet says that, though the worshippers and the makers should, all of them, be gathered together, and stand up to help one the ether, yet should they be unable to effect anything. Gathered together against God, they would "tremble and be ashamed." When Jehovah has thus acknowledged His people once more, the heathen, to whose giddūphı̄m (blasphemies) Israel has hitherto been given up, will count it the greatest honour to belong to Jehovah and His people. "One will say, I belong to Jehovah; and a second will solemnly name the name of Jacob; and a third will inscribe himself to Jehovah, and name the name of Israel with honour." The threefold zeh refers to the heathen, as in Psalm 87:4-5. One will declare himself to belong to Jehovah; another will call with the name of Jacob, i.e., (according to the analogy of the phrase ה בשׁם קרא) make it the medium and object of solemn exclamation; a third will write with his hand (ידו, an acc. of more precise definition, like חמה in Isaiah 42:25, and זביחך in Isaiah 43:23), "To Jehovah," thereby attesting that he desires to belong to Jehovah, and Jehovah alone. This is the explanation given by Gesenius, Hahn, and others; whereas Hitzig and Knobel follow the lxx in the rendering, "he will write upon his hand '‛layehōvâh,' i.e., mark the name of Jehovah upon it." But apart from the fact that kâthabh, with an accusative of the writing materials, would be unprecedented (the construction required would be על־ידו), this view is overthrown by the fact that tatooing was prohibited by the Israelitish law (Leviticus 19:28; compare the mark of the beast in Revelation 13:16). בשׁם קרא is interchanged with בסם כּנּה, to surname, or entitle (the Syriac and Arabic are the same; compare the Arabic kunye, the name given to a man as the father of such and such a person, e.g., Abu-Muhammed, rhetorically called metonymy). The name Israel becomes a name or title of honour among the heathen. This concludes the fourth prophecy, which opens out into three distinct fields. With ועתּה in Isaiah 44:1 it began to approach the close, just as the third did in Isaiah 43:1 -a well-rounded whole, which leaves nothing wanting.
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