Isaiah 46:7
They bear him on the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he stands; from his place shall he not remove: yes, one shall cry to him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble.
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46:5-13 Here the folly of those who made idols, and then prayed to them, is exposed. How does the profuseness of idolaters shame the niggardliness of many who call themselves God's servants, but are for a religion which costs them nothing! The service of sin always costs a great deal. God puts it to them what senseless, helpless things idols are. Let, then, the Jews show themselves men, avoiding such abominations. Many Scripture prophecies, delivered long ago, are not yet fulfilled; but the fulfilling of some is an earnest that the rest will come to pass. Nothing can help more to make us easy, than to be assured that God will do all his pleasure. Even those who know not and mind not God's revealed will, are called and used to fulfil the counsels of his secret will. Heaven and earth shall pass away, sooner than one tittle of the word of God. Obstinate sinners are addressed. Such were far from acceptance, but they were summoned to hearken to the word of the Lord. The salvation of a sinner begins with a humble and contrite heart, that trembles at God's word, with godly sorrow working true repentance, and faith in his mercy, through the obedience unto death of our Divine Surety. Christ, as the Divine righteousness and salvation to his people, would come in the appointed time. His salvation abides in his church for all believers.They bear him upon the shoulder - They carry the idol which they have made on their shoulder to the temple, or place where it is to be fixed. This circumstance, with the others, is doubtless introduced to show how ridiculous and absurd it was to offer divine homage to a god whom they could thus carry about on the shoulder.

And set him in his place - Fix the idol on its basis or pedestal, in its proper niche, or place in the temple. The whole design of this verse is to contrast the idol with Yahweh. Yahweh is uncreated and eternal; the idol, on the contrary, is made by human beings, is borne about, is fixed in its place, has no power to move, remains there until it is taken down, and has no ability either to hear or save those who worship it.

7. cry … can … not … save—(Isa 45:20, with which contrast Isa 45:19). They carry him; either,

1. In pomp upon solemn occasions; or,

2. From that place where he is made, unto that place where they intend to set him up, as it is expressed in the following words.

Shall he not remove; or rather, he cannot remove. He can stir neither hand nor foot to help his people. They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him,.... That is, the idol; men carry him upon their shoulders in procession, and expose him to the view and veneration of the people, just as the host is carried in procession by the Papists; or the idol being made, the workman or his men lift it up, for it cannot lift up itself, and take it upon their shoulders, and carry it home to the proprietor:

and set him in his place; in his house, if an household god: or in the temple, church, or place of public worship, if designed for that:

or cause him to rest under him (p), or "in his place"; under the roof of his house or temple; a jeer upon him, as if he was weary of his long journey, though carried. Here again the idols are distinguished from the true God, and he from them; they are on men's shoulders, and set in a certain place, but he carries all his people, and is not limited to, or included in any place:

and he standeth, and from his place he shall not remove; the idol being set in his place stands fast, being nailed; he stands upright as a palm tree, and can never stir from the place where he is, to help any of his worshippers, in whatsoever distress they may be; nor can he get out of the way of any danger to which he may be exposed; if the temple or house, in which he is, is on fire, or overflowed with water, or broke into by thieves, he cannot move out of his place, and escape the danger; a fine deity to be worshipped indeed! see Isaiah 44:13.

Yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer; as Baal's priests and worshippers cried to him, but no voice was heard, nor answer returned, 1 Kings 18:26 for though they have ears, they hear not, and mouths, yet they speak not, Psalm 115:5.

nor save him out of his trouble; that is, the idol cannot save the idolatrous worshipper out of his distress, which has caused him to cry unto him; see Isaiah 45:20.

(p) "et quiescere eum faciunt suo loco", Musculus.

They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove: yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble.
7. They bear him &c.] the newly made idol, to his appointed place, from which he is powerless to move. How vain, therefore, is it to cry to him for help! He is a “god that cannot save” (Isaiah 45:20).Verse 7. - They bear him upon the shoulder (see the comment on Isaiah 45:20). Here, however, it is not the carrying in procession that is spoken of, but the conveyance of the imago by the workman from his own workshop to the temple where it is to be set up. The carrying of heavy burdens upon the shoulder is mentioned by Herodotus (2:35), and frequently represented on ancient monuments (see 'Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 1. pp. 402, 475; 'Herodotus,' vol. 2. pl. opp. p. 177; etc.). From his place shall he net remove; i.e. he (the god) will have no power of moving an inch from the spot on which he is set up. There he will stand motionless, till some one comes and pushes him or pulls him from his place. There follows now a trilogy of prophecies referring to Babylon. After the prophet has shown what Israel has to expect of Cyrus, he turns to what awaits Babylon at the hands of Cyrus. "Bel sinketh down, Nebo stoopeth; its images come to the beast of burden and draught cattle: your litters are laden, a burden for the panting. They stopped, sank down all at once, and could not get rid of the burden; and their own self went into captivity." The reference to Babylon comes out at once in the names of the gods. Bēl was the Jupiter of the Babylonians and, as Bel-Merodach, the tutelar deity of Babylon; Nebo was Mercury, the tutelar deity of the later Chaldean royal family, as the many kings' names in which it appears clearly show (e.g., Mabonassar, Nabo-polassar, etc.). The pryamidal heap of ruins on the right bank of the Euphrates, which is now called Birs Nimrud, is the ruin of the temple of Bel, of which Herodotus gives a description in i.-181-183, and probably also of the tower mentioned in Genesis 11, which was dedicated to Bel, if not to El equals Saturn. Herodotus describes two golden statues of Bel which were found there (cf., Diodorus, ii. 9, 5), but the way in which Nebo was represented is still unknown. The judgment of Jehovah falls upon these gods through Cyrus. Bel suddenly falls headlong, and Nebo stoops till he also falls. Their images come to (fall to the lot of) the chayyâh, i.e., the camels, dromedaries, and elephants; and behēmâh, i.e., horses, oxen, and asses. Your נשׂאת, gestamina, the prophet exclaims to the Babylonians, i.e., the images hitherto carried by you in solemn procession (Isaiah 45:20; Amos 5:26; Jeremiah 10:5), are now packed up, a burden for that which is wearied out, i.e., for cattle that has become weary with carrying them. In Isaiah 46:1, as the two participial clauses show, the prophet still takes his stand in the midst of the catastrophe; but in Isaiah 46:2 it undoubtedly lies behind him as a completed act. In Isaiah 46:2 he continues, as in Isaiah 46:1, to enter into the delusion of the heathen, and distinguish between the numina and simulacra. The gods of Babylon have all stooped at once, have sunken down, and have been unable to save their images which were packed upon the cattle, out of the hands of the conquerors. In Isaiah 46:2 he destroys this delusion: they are going into captivity (Hosea 10:5; Jeremiah 48:7; Jeremiah 49:3), even "their ownself" (naphshâm), since the self or personality of the beingless beings consists of nothing more than the wood and metal of which their images are composed.
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