Isaiah 44:10
Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing?
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44:9-20 Image-making is described, to expose the folly of idolaters. Though a man had used part of a log for fuel, he fell down before an image made of the remainder, praying it to deliver him. Man greatly dishonours God, when he represents him after the image of man. Satan blinds the eyes of unbelievers, causing absurd reasonings in matters of religion. Whether men seek happiness in worldly things, or run into unbelief, superstition, or any false system, they feed on ashes. A heart deceived by pride, love of sin, and departure from God, turns men aside from his holy truth and worship. While the affections are depraved, a man holds fast the lie as his best treasure. Are our hearts set upon the wealth of the world and its pleasures? They will certainly prove a lie. If we trust to outward professions and doings, as if those would save us, we deceive ourselves. Self-suspicion is the first step towards self-deliverance. He that would deliver his soul, must question his conscience, Is there not a lie in my right hand?Who hath formed a god - The Septuagint reads this verse in connection with the close of the previous verse, 'But they shall be ashamed who make a god, and all who sculpture unprofitable things.' This interpretation also, Lowth, by a change in the Hebrew text on the authority of a manuscript in the Bodleian library, has adopted. This change is made by reading כי kı̂y instead of מי mı̂y in the beginning of the verse. But the authority of the change, being that of a single MS. and the Septuagint, is not sufficient. Nor is it necessary. The question is designed to be ironical and sarcastic: 'Who is there,' says the prophet, 'that has done this? Who are they that are engaged in this stupid work? Do they give marks of a sound mind? What is, and must be the character of a man that bas formed a god, and that has made an unprofitable graven image? 10. Who … ?—Sarcastic question: "How debased the man must be who forms a god!" It is a contradiction in terms. A made god, worshipped by its maker (1Co 8:4)! What man in his wits can esteem that a god which his own hands have formed, or melt a graven image (understand out of the former clause, to be his god) which is profitable for nothing? He speaks of melting a graven image, because the image was first molten and cast in a mould, and then polished and graven with a tool, as was observed before. Or thus, Who art thou, O man, that formest a god, or meltest a graven image to worship it, which is profitable for nothing? Come hither, and let me reason the case with thee; which he doth in the following verses. So this verse is a kind of summons to idolaters to come and plead their own cause.

Who hath formed a god,.... Who ever made one? was such a thing ever known? or can that be a god which is made or formed? who so mad, foolish and sottish, as to imagine he has made a god? or is it possible for a creature to be the maker of a god? or any so stupid as to fancy he had made one? yet such there were, so void of understanding and reason, and even common sense: "or molten a graven image": first melted it, and cast it into a mould, and then graved and polished it, and called it a god?

that is profitable for nothing? or seeing it "is profitable for nothing", as a god; cannot see the persons, nor hear the prayers, nor relieve the distresses of those that worship it; and therefore it must be great folly indeed to make an image for such a purpose, which answers no end.

Who hath formed a {o} god, or cast a graven image that is {p} profitable for nothing?

(o) Meaning that whatever is made by the hand of man, if it is valued as a god, is most detestable.

(p) By which appears their blasphemy, who call images the books of the laity, seeing that they are not only here called unprofitable, but in Isa 41:24 abominable. Jeremiah calls them the work of errors, Jer 10:15, Habakkuk, a lying teacher Hab 2:18.

10. Who hath formed, &c.] A rhetorical question: who has been such a fool? On molten a graven image see ch. Isaiah 40:19.

Verse 10. - Who hath... molten a graven image? Metal idols were mostly cast in the first instance, and then finished off with a graving-tool. "Who hath molten" means "who has been so foolish as to do so - to take so much trouble about a thing which cannot possibly profit any one?" Isaiah 44:10The heathen gods are so far from being a ground of trust, that all who trust in them must discover with alarm how they have deceived themselves. "The makers of idols, they are all desolation, and their bosom-children worthless; and those who bear witness for them see nothing and know nothing, that they may be put to shame. Who hath formed the god, and cast the idol to no profit? Behold, all its followers will be put to shame; and the workmen are men: let them all assemble together, draw near, be alarmed, be all put to shame together." The chămūdı̄m (favourites) of the makers of idols are the false gods, for whose favour they sue with such earnestness. If we retain the word המּה, which is pointed as critically suspicious, and therefore is not accentuated, the explanation might possibly be, "Their witnesses (i.e., witnesses against themselves) are they (the idols): they see not, and are without consciousness, that they (those who trust in them) may be put to shame." In any case, the subject to yēbhōshū (shall be put to shame) is the worshippers of idols. If we erase המה, (עדיהם will be those who come forward as witnesses for the idols. This makes the words easier and less ambiguous. At the same time, the Septuagint retains the word (καὶ μάρτυρες αὐτῶν εἰσίν). As "not seeing" here signifies to be blind, so "not knowing" is also to be understood as a self-contained expression, meaning to be irrational, just as in Isaiah 45:20; Isaiah 56:10 (in Isaiah 1:3, on the other hand, we have taken it in a different sense). למען implies that the will of the sinner in his sin has also destruction for its object; and this is not something added to the sin, but growing out of it. The question in Isaiah 44:10 summons the maker of idols for the purpose of announcing his fate, and in הועיל לבלתּי (to no profit) this announcement is already contained. Isaiah 44:11 is simply a development of this expression, "to no profit." יצר, like נטע in Isaiah 44:14, is contrary to the rhythmical law milra which prevails elsewhere. חבריו (its followers) are not the fellow-workmen of the maker of idols (inasmuch as in that case the maker himself would be left without any share in the threat), but the associates (i.e., followers) of the idols (Hosea 4:17; 1 Corinthians 10:20). It is a pernicious work that they have thus had done for them. And what of the makers themselves? They are numbered among the men. So that they who ought to know that they are made by God, become makers of gods themselves. What an absurdity! Let them crowd together, the whole guild of god-makers, and draw near to speak to the works they have made. All their eyes will soon be opened with amazement and alarm.
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