Isaiah 40:15
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, And are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.

King James Bible
Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.

Darby Bible Translation
Behold, the nations are esteemed as a drop of the bucket, and as the fine dust on the scales; behold, he taketh up the isles as an atom.

World English Bible
Behold, the nations are like a drop in a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on a balance. Behold, he lifts up the islands like a very little thing.

Young's Literal Translation
Lo, nations as a drop from a bucket, And as small dust of the balance, have been reckoned, Lo, isles as a small thing He taketh up.

Isaiah 40:15 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Behold, the nations - All the nations of the earth. This is designed to show the greatness of God, in comparison with that which strikes man as great - a mighty nation; and the main object seems to be, to show that God could accomplish his purposes without their aid, and that they could not resist him in the execution of his plans. If they were as nothing in comparison with him, how easily could he execute his purposes! If they were as nothing, how little could they resist the execution of his plans!

Are as a drop of a bucket - In comparison with him; or are so esteemed by him. The drop that falls from the bucket in drawing water is a trifle. It has no power, and compared with the waters of the ocean it is as nothing. So small is the power of the nations in comparison with God. "And are counted." Are thought of, regarded, esteemed by him, or in comparison with him.

As the small dust of the balance - The small, fine dust which collects on the best finished and most accurate balance or scales, and which has no effect in making the scales uneven, or making either side preponderate. Nothing can be a more striking representation of the fact that the nations are regarded as nothing in comparison with God.

Behold, he taketh up the isles - Or he is able to do it; he could remove the isles as the fine dust is driven before the whirlwind. A more literal translation of this passage would be, 'Lo, the isles are as the dust which is taken up,' or which one takes up; that is, which is taken up, and carried away by the wind. There is something unusual in the expression that God takes up the isles, and the idea is rather that the isles in his sight are regarded as the fine dust which the wind sweeps away. So the Chaldee renders it, 'Lo, the isles are like ashes which the wind drives away.' The word 'isles,' Vitringa and Jerome regard as denoting not the small portions of land in the sea that are surrounded by water, but lands which are encompassed and enclosed Mesopotamia. But there is no reason why it should not be taken here in its usual signification, as denoting the islands of the sea. They would serve well to be used in connection with mountains and hills in setting forth the vast power of God.

As a very little thing - (כדק keddaq). The word דק daq means theft which is beaten small, or fine; and then fine dust, chaff, or any light thing which the wind easily sweeps away.

Isaiah 40:15 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Unfailing Stabs and Fainting Men
'...For that He is strong in power; not one faileth.... He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.'-- ISAIAH xl. 26 and 29. These two verses set forth two widely different operations of the divine power as exercised in two sadly different fields, the starry heavens and this weary world. They are interlocked, as it were, by the recurrence in the latter of the emphatic words of the former. The one verse says, 'He is strong in power'; the other, 'He giveth
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Secret of Immortal Youth
'Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.'--ISAIAH xl. 30, 31. I remember a sunset at sea, where the bosom of each wavelet that fronted the west was aglow with fiery gold, and the back of each turned eastward was cold green; so that, looking on the one hand all was glory, and on the other
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Prayer and Devotion
"Once as I rode out into the woods for my health, in 1737, having alighted from my horse in a retired place, as my manner commonly had been to walk for divine contemplation and prayer, I had a view that for me was extraordinary, of the glory of the Son of God. As near as I can judge, this continued about an hour; and kept me the greater part of the time in a flood of tears and weeping aloud.. I felt an ardency of soul to be what I know not otherwise how to express, emptied and annihilated; to love
Edward M. Bounds—The Essentials of Prayer

The God of all Comfort
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." Among all the names that reveal God, this, the "God of all comfort," seems to me one of the loveliest and the most absolutely comforting. The words all comfort admit of no limitation and no deductions; and one would suppose that,
Hannah Whitall Smith—The God of All Comfort

Cross References
Psalm 62:9
Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie; In the balances they go up; They are together lighter than breath.

Isaiah 2:22
Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils; For why should he be esteemed?

Isaiah 17:13
The nations rumble on like the rumbling of many waters, But He will rebuke them and they will flee far away, And be chased like chaff in the mountains before the wind, Or like whirling dust before a gale.

Isaiah 29:5
But the multitude of your enemies will become like fine dust, And the multitude of the ruthless ones like the chaff which blows away; And it will happen instantly, suddenly.

Jeremiah 10:10
But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, And the nations cannot endure His indignation.

Daniel 4:35
"All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, 'What have You done?'

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