44:6 This is what the Lord, Israel’s king, says,
their protector, 1 the Lord who commands armies:
“I am the first and I am the last,
there is no God but me.
Let him announce it and explain it to me –
since I established an ancient people – 3
let them announce future events! 4
Did I not tell you beforehand and decree it?
You are my witnesses! Is there any God but me?
There is no other sheltering rock; 6 I know of none.
44:9 All who form idols are nothing;
the things in which they delight are worthless.
Their witnesses cannot see;
they recognize nothing, so they are put to shame.
44:10 Who forms a god and casts an idol
that will prove worthless? 7
the craftsmen are mere humans. 9
Let them all assemble and take their stand!
They will panic and be put to shame.
and forges metal over the coals.
He forms it 11 with hammers;
he makes it with his strong arm.
He gets hungry and loses his energy; 12
he drinks no water and gets tired.
he marks out an outline of its form; 14
he scrapes 15 it with chisels,
and marks it with a compass.
He patterns it after the human form, 16
like a well-built human being,
and puts it in a shrine. 17
44:14 He cuts down cedars
and acquires a cypress 18 or an oak.
He gets 19 trees from the forest;
he plants a cedar 20 and the rain makes it grow.
he takes some of it and warms himself.
Yes, he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
Then he makes a god and worships it;
he makes an idol and bows down to it. 22
44:16 Half of it he burns in the fire –
over that half he cooks 23 meat;
he roasts a meal and fills himself.
Yes, he warms himself and says,
‘Ah! I am warm as I look at the fire.’
44:17 With the rest of it he makes a god, his idol;
he bows down to it and worships it.
He prays to it, saying,
‘Rescue me, for you are my god!’
44:18 They do not comprehend or understand,
for their eyes are blind and cannot see;
their minds do not discern. 24
44:19 No one thinks to himself,
nor do they comprehend or understand and say to themselves:
‘I burned half of it in the fire –
yes, I baked bread over the coals;
I roasted meat and ate it.
With the rest of it should I make a disgusting idol?
Should I bow down to dry wood?’ 25
his deceived mind misleads him.
He cannot rescue himself,
nor does he say, ‘Is this not a false god I hold in my right hand?’ 27
[44:7] 3 tc The Hebrew text reads, “from (the time) I established an ancient people, and the coming things.” Various emendations have been proposed. One of the options assumes the reading מַשְׁמִיעִים מֵעוֹלָם אוֹתִיּוֹת (mashmi’im me’olam ’otiyyot); This literally reads “the ones causing to hear from antiquity coming things,” but more idiomatically would read “as for those who predict from antiquity what will happen” (cf. NAB, NEB, REB). The emendation directs the attention of the reader to those who claim to be able to predict the future, challenging them to actually do what they claim they can do. The MT presents Yahweh as an example to whom these alleged “predictors of the future” can compare themselves. Since the ancient versions are unanimous in their support of the MT, the emendations should be set aside.
[44:8] 5 tn BDB 923 s.v. רָהָה derives this verb from an otherwise unattested root, while HALOT 403 s.v. יָרָה defines it as “be stupefied” on the basis of an Arabic cognate. The form is likely a corruption of תיראו, the reading attested in the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa.
[44:11] 9 sn The point seems to be this: If the idols are the mere products of human hands, then those who trust in them will be disappointed, for man-made gods are incapable of helping their “creators.”
[44:12] 11 tn Some English versions take the pronoun “it” to refer to an idol being fashioned by the blacksmith (cf. NIV, NCV, CEV). NLT understands the referent to be “a sharp tool,” which is then used by the carpenter in the following verse to carve an idol from wood.
[44:13] 14 tn Heb “he makes an outline with the [?].” The noun שֶׂרֶד (shered) occurs only here; it apparently refers to some type of tool or marker. Cf. KJV “with a line”; ASV “with a pencil”; NAB, NRSV “with a stylus”; NASB “with red chalk”; NIV “with a marker.”
[44:14] 20 tn Some prefer to emend אֹרֶן (’oren) to אֶרֶז (’erez, “cedar”), but the otherwise unattested noun appears to have an Akkadian cognate, meaning “cedar.” See H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena (SBLDS), 44-45. HALOT 90 s.v. I אֹרֶן offers the meaning “laurel.”