Isaiah 44:20
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

King James Bible
He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

American Standard Version
He feedeth on ashes; a deceived heart hath turned him aside; and he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

Douay-Rheims Bible
Part thereof is ashes: his foolish heart adoreth it, and he will not save his soul, nor say: Perhaps there is a lie in my right hand.

English Revised Version
He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

Webster's Bible Translation
He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

Isaiah 44:20 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

The prophet now traces the origin of the idols still further back. Their existence or non-existence ultimately depends upon whether it rains or not. "One prepares to cut down cedars, and takes holm and oak-tree, and chooses for himself among the trees of the forest. He has planted a fig, and the rain draws it up. And it serves the man for firing: he takes thereof, and warms himself; he also heats, and bakes bread; he also works it into a god, and prostrates himself; makes an idol of it, and falls down before it. The half of it he has burned in the fire: over the half of it he eats flesh, roasts a roast, and is satisfied; he also warms himself, and says, Hurrah, I am getting warm, I feel the heat. And the rest of it he makes into a god, into his idol, and says, Save me, for thou art my god." The subject of the sentence is not the carpenter of the previous verse, but "any one." ארזים apparently stands first, as indicating the species; and in the Talmud and Midrash the trees named are really described as ארזים מיני. But tirzâh (from târaz, to be hard or firm) does not appear to be a coniferous tree; and the connection with 'allōn, the oak, is favourable to the rendering ἀγριοβάλανος (lxx, A. Th.), ilex (Vulg.). On 'immēts, to choose, see Isaiah 41:10. ארן (with Nun minusculum), plur. ארונים (b. Ros-ha Sana 23a) or ארנים (Para iii. 8), is explained by the Talmud as ערי, sing. ערא, i.e., according to Aruch and Rashi, laurier, the berries of which are called baies. We have rendered it "fig," according to the lxx and Jerome, since it will not do to follow the seductive guidance of the similarity in sound to ornus (which is hardly equivalent to ὀρεινός).

(Note: The ἀρία of Theophrastus is probably quercus ilex, which is still called ἀρία; the laurus nobilis is now called βαΐηά, from the branches which serve instead of palm-branches.)

The description is genealogical, and therefore moves retrogressively, from the felling to the planting. והיה in Isaiah 44:15 refers to the felled and planted tree, and primarily to the ash. מהם (of such as these) is neuter, as in Isaiah 30:6; at the same time, the prophet had the עצים (the wood, both as produce and material) in his mind. The repeated אף lays emphasis upon the fact, that such different things are done with the very same wood. It is sued for warming, and fore the preparation of food, as well as for making a god. On the verbs of adoration, hishtachăvâh (root shach, to sink, to settle down) and sâgad, which is only applied to idolatrous worship, and from which mes'gid, a mosque, is derived, see Holemann's Bibelstudien, i. 3. למו may no doubt be take as a plural ( equals להם, as in Isaiah 30:5), "such things (taila) does he worship," as Stier supposes; but it is probably pathetic, and equivalent to לו, as in Isaiah 53:8 (compare Psalm 11:7; Ewald, 247, a). According to the double application of the wood mentioned in Isaiah 44:15, a distinction is drawn in Isaiah 44:16, Isaiah 44:17 between the one half of the wood and the other. The repeated chetsyō (the half of it) in Isaiah 44:16 refers to the first half, which furnishes not only fuel for burning, but shavings and coals for roasting and baking as well. And as a fire made for cooking warms quite as much as one made expressly for the purpose, the prophet dwells upon this benefit which the wood of the idol does confer. On the tone upon the last syllable of chammōthı̄, see at Job 19:17; and on the use of the word ראה as a comprehensive term, embracing every kind of sensation and perception, see my Psychologie, p. 234. Diagoras of Melos, a pupil of Democritus, once threw a wooden standing figure of Hercules into the fire, and said jocularly, "Come now, Hercules, perform thy thirteenth labour, and help me to cook the turnips."

Isaiah 44:20 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

feedeth

Job 15:2 Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?

Psalm 102:9 For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping.

Proverbs 14:15 The simple believes every word: but the prudent man looks well to his going.

Hosea 12:1 Ephraim feeds on wind, and follows after the east wind: he daily increases lies and desolation...

Luke 15:16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave to him.

a deceived

1 Kings 22:20-23 And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner...

Job 15:31 Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompense.

Hosea 4:12 My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declares to them: for the spirit of prostitutions has caused them to err...

Romans 1:20-22,28 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made...

2 Thessalonians 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

2 Timothy 2:13 If we believe not, yet he stays faithful: he cannot deny himself.

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world...

Revelation 13:14 And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast...

Revelation 18:23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in you...

Revelation 20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more...

is there

Isaiah 28:15-17 Because you have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement...

Jeremiah 16:19 O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come to you from the ends of the earth...

Habakkuk 2:18 What profits the graven image that the maker thereof has graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies...

2 Thessalonians 2:9-11 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders...

1 Timothy 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

Cross References
Romans 1:21
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Romans 1:22
Claiming to be wise, they became fools,

Romans 1:25
because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

2 Thessalonians 2:11
Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,

2 Timothy 3:13
while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

Job 15:31
Let him not trust in emptiness, deceiving himself, for emptiness will be his payment.

Psalm 102:9
For I eat ashes like bread and mingle tears with my drink,

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