Isaiah 57:12
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
I will declare your righteousness and your deeds, but they will not profit you.

King James Bible
I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee.

American Standard Version
I will declare thy righteousness; and as for thy works, they shall not profit thee.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I will declare thy justice, and thy works shall not profit thee.

English Revised Version
I will declare thy righteousness; and as for thy works, they shall not profit thee.

Webster's Bible Translation
I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee.

Isaiah 57:12 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

The participles which follow in the next v. are in apposition to אתּ, and confirm the predicates already applied to them. They soon give place, however, to independent sentences. "Ye that inflame yourselves by the terebinths, under every green tree, ye slayers of children in the valleys under the clefts of the rocks. By the smooth ones of the brook was thy portion; they, they were thy lot: thou also pouredst out libations to them, thou laidst meat-offerings upon them. Shall I be contented with this?" The people of the captivity are addressed, and the idolatry handed down to them from their ancestors depicted. The prophet looks back from the standpoint of the captivity, and takes his colours from the time in which he himself lived, possibly from the commencement of Manasseh's reign, when the heathenism that had for a long time been suppressed burst forth again in all its force, and the measure of iniquity became full. The part. niphal הנּחמים is formed like נחן in Jeremiah 22:23, if the latter signifies miserandum esse. The primary form is נחם, which is doubled like נגּר from גּרר in Job 20:28, and from which נחם is formed by the resolution of the latent reduplication. Stier derives it from; but even if formed from this, נחם would still have to be explained from נחם, after the form נצּת. 'Elı̄m signifies either gods or terebinths. But although it might certainly mean idols, according to Exodus 15:11; Daniel 11:36 (lxx, Targ., and Jerome), it is never used directly in this sense, and Isaiah always uses the word as the name of a tree (Isaiah 1:29; Isaiah 61:3). The terebinths are introduced here, exactly as in Isaiah 1:29, as an object of idolatrous lust: "who inflame themselves with the terebinths;" ב denotes the object with which the lust is excited and inf Lamed. The terebinth ('ēlâh) held the chief place in tree-worship (hence אלנם, lit., oak-trees, together with אלם, is the name of one of the Phoenician gods),

(Note: See Levy, Phnizische Studien, i.19.)

possibly as being the tree sacred to Astarte; just as the Samura Acacia among the heathen Arabs was the tree sacred to the goddess 'Uzza.

(Note: Krehl, Religioin der vorisl. Araber, p. 74ff.)

The following expression, "under every green tree," is simply a permutative of the words "with the terebinths" in the sense of "with the terebinths, yea, under every green tree" (a standing expression from Deuteronomy 12:2 downwards) - one tree being regarded as the abode and favourite of this deity, and another of that, and all alluring you to your carnal worship.

From the tree-worship with its orgies, which was so widely spread in antiquity generally, the prophet passes to the leading Canaanitish abomination, viz., human sacrifices, which had been adopted by the Israelites (along with שׁחטי we find the false reading שׂחטי, which is interpreted as signifying self-abuse). Judging from the locality named, "under the clefts of the rocks," the reference is not to the slaying of children sacrificed to Moloch in the valley of Hinnom, but to those offered to Baal upon his bâmōth or high places (Jeremiah 19:5; Ezekiel 16:20-21; Hosea 13:2; Psalm 106:37-38). As we learn from the chronique scandaleuse many things connected with the religious history of Israel, which cannot be found in its historical books, there is nothing to surprise us in the stone-worship condemned in Isaiah 57:6. The dagesh of חלּקי is in any case dagesh dirimens. The singular is wither חלק after the form חכמי (cf., עצבי, Isaiah 58:3), or חלק after the form ילדי. But חלק, smoothness, never occurs; and the explanation, "in the smoothnesses, i.e., the smooth places of the valley, is thy portion," has this also against it, that it does not do justice to the connection בּ חלק, in which the preposition is not used in a local sense, and that it leaves the emphatic הם הם quite unexplained. The latter does not point to places, but to objects of worship for which they had exchanged Jehovah, of whom the true Israelite could say ה חלקי, Psalm 119:57, etc., or בה לי חלק, Joshua 22:25, and גּורלי תּומיך אתּה (Thou art He that maintaineth my lot), Psalm 16:5. The prophet had such expressions as these in his mind, and possibly also the primary meaning of גורל equals κλῆρος, which may be gathered from the rare Arabic word 'garal, gravel, stones worn smooth by rolling, when he said, "In the smooth ones of the valley is thy portion; they, they are thy lot." In the Arabic also, achlaq (equilvaent to châlâq, smooth, which forms here a play upon the word with חלק, châlâq) is a favourite word for stones and rocks. חלּקי־נחל, however, according to 1 Samuel 17:40 (where the intensive form חלּוּק, like שׁכּוּל, is used), are stones which the stream in the valley has washed smooth with time, and rounded into a pleasing shape. The mode of the worship, the pouring out of libations,

(Note: Compare the remarks made in the Comm. on the Pentateuch, at Genesis 29:20, on the heathen worship of anointed stones, and the Baetulian worship.)

and the laying of meat-offerings upon them, confirm this view. In Carthage such stones were called abbadires ( equals אדיר, אבן); and among the ancient Arabs, the asnâm or idols consisted for the most part of rude blocks of stone of this description. Herodotus (3:8) speaks of seven stones which the Arabs anointed, calling upon the god Orotal. Suidas (s.v. Θεῦς ἄρης) states that the idol of Ares in Petra was a black square stone; and the black stone of the Ka'aba was, according to a very inconvenient tradition for the Mohammedans, an idol of Saturn (zuhal).

(Note: See Krehl, p. 72. In the East Indies also we find stone-worship not only among the Vindya tribes (Lassen, A.K. i. 376), but also among the Vaishnavas, who worship Vishnu in the form of a stone, viz., the sâlagrâm, a kind of stone from the river Gandak (see Wilson's Sanscrit Lexicon s.h.v. and Vishnu-Purn, p. 163). The fact of the great antiquity of stone and tree worship has been used in the most ridiculous manner by Dozy in his work on the Israelites at Mecca (1864). He draws the following conclusion from Deuteronomy 32:18 : "Thus the Israelites sprang from a divine block of stone; and this is, in reality, the true old version of the origin of the nation." From Isaiah 51:1-2, he infers that Abraham and Sara were not historical persons at all, but that the former was a block of stone, and the latter a hollow; and that the two together were a block of stone in a hollow, to which divine worship was paid. "This fact," he says, "viz. that Abraham and Sarah in the second Isaiah are not historical persons, but a block of stone and a hollow, is one of great worth, as enabling us to determine the time at which the stories of Abraham in Genesis were written, and to form a correct idea of the spirit of those stories.")

Stone-worship of this kind had been practised by the Israelites before the captivity, and their heathenish practices had been transmitted to the exiles in Babylon. The meaning of the question, Shall I comfort myself concerning such things? - i.e., Shall I be contented with them (אנּחם niphal, not hithpael)? - is, that it was impossible that descendants who so resembled their fathers should remain unpunished.

Isaiah 57:12 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Isaiah 1:11-15 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me? said the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams...

Isaiah 58:2-6 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God...

Isaiah 59:6-8 Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity...

Isaiah 64:5 You meet him that rejoices and works righteousness, those that remember you in your ways: behold, you are wroth; for we have sinned...

Isaiah 66:3,4 He that kills an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrifices a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offers an oblation...

Jeremiah 7:4-11 Trust you not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these...

Micah 3:2-4 Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones...

Matthew 23:5,14 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments...

Romans 3:10-20 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one...

Romans 10:2,3 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge...

Cross References
Isaiah 29:15
Ah, you who hide deep from the LORD your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, "Who sees us? Who knows us?"

Isaiah 58:1
"Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.

Isaiah 58:2
Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God.

Isaiah 59:6
Their webs will not serve as clothing; men will not cover themselves with what they make. Their works are works of iniquity, and deeds of violence are in their hands.

Isaiah 65:7
both your iniquities and your fathers' iniquities together, says the LORD; because they made offerings on the mountains and insulted me on the hills, I will measure into their lap payment for their former deeds."

Isaiah 66:18
"For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory,

Micah 3:2
you who hate the good and love the evil, who tear the skin from off my people and their flesh from off their bones,

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