or carefully weighed 4 the soil of the earth,
or weighed the mountains in a balance,
or the hills on scales? 5
or gives him instruction as his counselor? 8
or imparts knowledge to him,
or instructs him in skillful design? 12
40:15 Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are regarded as dust on the scales.
its wild animals would not provide enough burnt offerings. 16
40:17 All the nations are insignificant before him;
they are regarded as absolutely nothing. 17
40:18 To whom can you compare God?
To what image can you liken him?
a metalsmith overlays it with gold
and forges silver chains for it.
he then seeks a skilled craftsman
to make 20 an idol that will not fall over.
40:21 Do you not know?
Do you not hear?
Has it not been told to you since the very beginning?
Have you not understood from the time the earth’s foundations were made?
its inhabitants are like grasshoppers before him. 22
He is the one who stretches out the sky like a thin curtain, 23
40:23 He is the one who reduces rulers to nothing;
he makes the earth’s leaders insignificant.
40:24 Indeed, they are barely planted;
yes, they are barely sown;
yes, they barely take root in the earth,
and then he blows on them, causing them to dry up,
and the wind carries them away like straw.
40:25 “To whom can you compare me? Whom do I resemble?”
says the Holy One. 26
Who created all these heavenly lights? 28
He is the one who leads out their ranks; 29
he calls them all by name.
Because of his absolute power and awesome strength,
not one of them is missing.
40:27 Why do you say, Jacob,
Why do you say, Israel,
“The Lord is not aware of what is happening to me, 30
My God is not concerned with my vindication”? 31
40:28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is an eternal God,
the creator of the whole earth. 32
He does not get tired or weary;
there is no limit to his wisdom. 33
40:29 He gives strength to those who are tired;
to the ones who lack power, he gives renewed energy.
40:30 Even youths get tired and weary;
even strong young men clumsily stumble. 34
they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings, 36
they run without growing weary,
they walk without getting tired.
[40:12] 5 sn The implied answer to the rhetorical questions of v. 12 is “no one but the Lord. The Lord, and no other, created the world. Like a merchant weighing out silver or commodities on a scale, the Lord established the various components of the physical universe in precise proportions.
[40:14] 11 tn The phrase אֹרַח מִשְׁפָּט (’orakh mishpat) could be translated “path of justice” (so NASB, NRSV), but in this context, where creative ability and skill is in view, the phrase is better understood in the sense of “the way that is proper or fitting” (see BDB 1049 s.v. מִשְׁפָּט 6); cf. NIV, NCV “the right way.”
[40:14] sn The implied answer to the rhetorical questions in vv. 13-14 is, “No one.” In contrast to Marduk, the creator-god of Mesopotamian myths who receives help from the god of wisdom, the Lord neither needs nor receives any such advice or help. See R. Whybray, Heavenly Counsellor (SOTSMS), 64-77.
[40:20] 19 tn The first two words of the verse (הַמְסֻכָּן תְּרוּמָה, hamsukan tÿrumah) are problematic. Some take מְסֻכָּן as an otherwise unattested Pual participle from סָכַן (sakhan, “be poor”) and translate “the one who is impoverished.” תְּרוּמָה (tÿrumah, “contribution”) can then be taken as an adverbial accusative, “with respect to a contribution,” and the entire line translated, “the one who is too impoverished for such a contribution [i.e., the metal idol of v. 19?] selects wood that will not rot.” However, מְסֻכָּן is probably the name of a tree used in idol manufacturing (cognate with Akkadian musukkanu, cf. H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena [SBLDS], 133). מְסֻכָּן may be a scribal interpretive addition attempting to specify עֵץ (’ets) or עֵץ may be a scribal attempt to categorize מְסֻכָּן. How an idol constitutes a תְּרוּמָה (“contribution”) is not entirely clear.
[40:22] 23 tn The otherwise unattested noun דֹּק (doq), translated here “thin curtain,” is apparently derived from the verbal root דקק (“crush”) from which is derived the adjective דַּק (daq, “thin”; see HALOT 229 s.v. דקק). The nuance “curtain” is implied from the parallelism (see “tent” in the next line).
[40:22] 24 tn The meaning of the otherwise unattested verb מָתַח (matakh, “spread out”) is determined from the parallelism (note the corresponding verb “stretch out” in the previous line) and supported by later Hebrew and Aramaic cognates. See HALOT 654 s.v. *מתה.
[40:26] 29 tn Heb “the one who brings out by number their host.” The stars are here likened to a huge army that the Lord leads out. Perhaps the next line pictures God calling roll. If so, the final line may be indicating that none of them dares “go AWOL.” (“AWOL” is a military acronym for “absent without leave.”)
[40:28] 33 sn Exiled Israel’s complaint (v. 27) implies that God might be limited in some way. Perhaps he, like so many of the pagan gods, has died. Or perhaps his jurisdiction is limited to Judah and does not include Babylon. Maybe he is unable to devise an adequate plan to rescue his people, or is unable to execute it. But v. 28 affirms that he is not limited temporally or spatially nor is his power and wisdom restricted in any way. He can and will deliver his people, if they respond in hopeful faith (v. 31a).