New American Standard Bible
"An ox knows its owner, And a donkey its master's manger, But Israel does not know, My people do not understand."
King James Bible
The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.
Darby Bible Translation
The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; Israel doth not know, my people hath no intelligence.
World English Bible
The ox knows his owner, and the donkey his master's crib; but Israel doesn't know, my people don't consider."
Young's Literal Translation
An ox hath known its owner, And an ass the crib of its master, Israel hath not known, My people hath not understood.
Isaiah 1:3 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
The ox ... - The design of this comparison is to show the great stupidity and ingratitude of the Jews. Even the least sagacious and most stupid of the animals, destitute as they are of reason and conscience, evince knowledge and submission far more than the professed people of God. The ox is a well known domestic animal, remarkable for patient willingness to toil, and for submission to his owner.
Knoweth his owner - Recognizes, or is submissive to him.
The ass - A well known animal, proverbial for dulness and stupidity.
His master's crib - אבוס 'êbûs from אבס 'âbas, to heap up, and then to fatten. Hence, it is applied to the stall, barn, or crib, where cattle are fed, or made fat; Job 39:9; Proverbs 14:4. The donkey has sufficient knowledge to understand that his support is derived from that. The idea is, that the ox was more submissive to laws than the Jews; and that even the most stupid animal better knew from where support was to be derived, than they did the source of their comfort and protection. The donkey would not wander away, and the ox would not rebel as they had done. This comparison was very striking, and very humiliating, and nothing could be more suited to bring down their pride. A similar comparison is used elsewhere. Thus, in Jeremiah 8:7, the Jews are contrasted with the stork: 'Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle Dove, and the crane, and the swallow, observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the Lord.' This idea has been beautifully expressed by Watts:
The brutes obey their God,
And bow their necks to men;
But we more base, more brutish things,
Reject his easy reign.
Compare Hosea 11:4.
But Israel - The name Israel, though after the division of the tribes into two kingdoms specifically employed to denote that of the ten tribes, is often used in the more general sense to denote the whole people of the Jews, including the kingdom of Judah. It refers here to the kingdom of Judah, though a name is used which is not inappropriately characteristic of the whole people.
Doth not know - The Latin Vulgate, the Septuagint, and the Arabic, add the word 'me.' The word know is used in the sense of recognizing him as their Lord; of acknowledging him, or submitting to him.
Doth not consider - Hebrew, Do not "understand." They have a stupidity greater than the brute.
LibraryThe Great Suit: Jehovah Versus Judah
'The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. I Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken: I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me. 3. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. 4. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge; And their honorable men are famished, And their multitude is parched with thirst.
When its limbs are dry, they are broken off; Women come and make a fire with them, For they are not a people of discernment, Therefore their Maker will not have compassion on them. And their Creator will not be gracious to them.
They do not know, nor do they understand, for He has smeared over their eyes so that they cannot see and their hearts so that they cannot comprehend.
And the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied. And they are shepherds who have no understanding; They have all turned to their own way, Each one to his unjust gain, to the last one.
"Even the stork in the sky Knows her seasons; And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush Observe the time of their migration; But My people do not know The ordinance of the LORD.
"They bend their tongue like their bow; Lies and not truth prevail in the land; For they proceed from evil to evil, And they do not know Me," declares the LORD.
"Your dwelling is in the midst of deceit; Through deceit they refuse to know Me," declares the LORD.
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