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." Isaiah 44:11The heathen gods are so far from being a ground of trust, that all who trust in them must discover with alarm how they have deceived themselves. "The makers of idols, they are all desolation, and their bosom-children worthless; and those who bear witness for them see nothing and know nothing, that they may be put to shame. Who hath formed the god, and cast the idol to no profit? Behold, all its followers will be put to shame; and the workmen are men: let them all assemble together, draw near, be alarmed, be all put to shame together." The chămūdı̄m (favourites) of the makers of idols are the false gods, for whose favour they sue with such earnestness. If we retain the word המּה, which is pointed as critically suspicious, and therefore is not accentuated, the explanation might possibly be, "Their witnesses (i.e., witnesses against themselves) are they (the idols): they see not, and are without consciousness, that they (those who trust in them) may be put to shame." In any case, the subject to yēbhōshū (shall be put to shame) is the worshippers of idols. If we erase המה, (עדיהם will be those who come forward as witnesses for the idols. This makes the words easier and less ambiguous. At the same time, the Septuagint retains the word (καὶ μάρτυρες αὐτῶν εἰσίν). As "not seeing" here signifies to be blind, so "not knowing" is also to be understood as a self-contained expression, meaning to be irrational, just as in Isaiah 45:20; Isaiah 56:10 (in Isaiah 1:3, on the other hand, we have taken it in a different sense). למען implies that the will of the sinner in his sin has also destruction for its object; and this is not something added to the sin, but growing out of it. The question in Isaiah 44:10 summons the maker of idols for the purpose of announcing his fate, and in הועיל לבלתּי (to no profit) this announcement is already contained. Isaiah 44:11 is simply a development of this expression, "to no profit." יצר, like נטע in Isaiah 44:14, is contrary to the rhythmical law milra which prevails elsewhere. חבריו (its followers) are not the fellow-workmen of the maker of idols (inasmuch as in that case the maker himself would be left without any share in the threat), but the associates (i.e., followers) of the idols (Hosea 4:17; 1 Corinthians 10:20). It is a pernicious work that they have thus had done for them. And what of the makers themselves? They are numbered among the men. So that they who ought to know that they are made by God, become makers of gods themselves. What an absurdity! Let them crowd together, the whole guild of god-makers, and draw near to speak to the works they have made. All their eyes will soon be opened with amazement and alarm.
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