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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 46:3

 

 

"Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, You who have been borne by Me from birth And have been carried from the womb;

Adam Clarke Commentary

Which are borne by me from the belly "Ye that have been borne by me from the birth" - The prophet very ingeniously, and with great force, contrasts the power of God, and his tender goodness effectually exerted towards his people, with the inability of the false gods of the heathen. He like an indulgent father had carried his people in his arms, "as a man carrieth his son," Deuteronomy 1:31. He had protected them, and delivered them from their distresses: whereas the idols of the heathen are forced to be carried about themselves and removed from place to place, with great labor and fatigue, by their worshippers; nor can they answer, or deliver their votaries, when they cry unto them.

Moses, expostulating with God on the weight of the charge laid upon him as leader of his people, expresses that charge under the same image of a parent's carrying his children, in very strong terms: "Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them? that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers;" Numbers 11:12.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/isaiah-46.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Hearken unto me - From this view of the captive gods, the address is now turned to the Jews. The utter vanity of the idols had been set before them; and in view of that, God now addresses his own people, and entreats them to put their trust in him. The address he commences with words of great tenderness and endearment, designed to lead them to confide in him as their Father and friend.

And all the remnant - All who were left from slaughter, and all who were borne into captivity to Babylon. The language here is all full of tenderness, and is suited to inspire them with confidence in God. The idols of the pagan, so far from being able to protect their worshippers, were themselves carried away into ignoble bondage, but Yahweh was himself able to carry his people, and to sustain them.

Which are borne by me - Like an indulgent father, or a tender nurse, he had carried them from the very infancy of their nation. The same image occurs in Deuteronomy 1:31: ‹And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the Lord thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into thins place.‘ A similar figure occurs in Exodus 19:4: ‹Ye have seen, how I bare you on eagles‘ wings, and brought you unto myself‘ (so Deuteronomy 32:11-12; compare Numbers 11:12; Isaiah 63:9). All this here stands opposed to the idols of the Babylonians. They were unable to protect their people. They were themselves made captive. But God had shown the part of a father and a protector to his people in all times. He had sustained and guided them; he had never forsaken them; he had never, like the idol-gods, been compelled to leave them in the power of their enemies. From the fact that he had always, even from the infancy of their nation, thus protected them, they are called on to put their trust in him.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:3". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-46.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, that have been borne by me from their birth, that have been carried from the womb; and even to old age I am he, and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear you; yea, I will carry, and will deliver."

What a marvelous contrast! Whereas the idols had to be carried, even on the festal days, Jehovah is the one who has carried Israel already for centuries. He carried them during their captivity in Egypt while they were becoming a great people; he carried them in the wilderness; he carried them into Canaan, through the period of their judges, and during the turbulent times of their monarchy, and through the disasters that befell them in the division of their kingdom; and now he would carry them in their captivity and through it, and even back to Jerusalem!

The mention of the remnant of Israel is not a reference to any residue of the ten tribes carried away into Assyria; but a reference to the Southern Israel alone which is the remnant of Israel.

George Adam Smith entitled this chapter "Bearing or Borne," stating that, "It makes all the difference to a man how he conceives his religion, whether as something he has to carry, or as something that will carry him."[4] The prophecy here makes it quite clear that idolatry is the kind of religion that men have to carry, not the kind that can carry them.

No doubt many of the Jews desperately needed the kind of encouragement provided by this chapter. According to the ideas of that day, when a people were defeated it meant that their god could not prevent it; and there was always the temptation to join up with the victors, idolatry and all.

Kelley was correct in seeing the last clause of Isaiah 46:4 as a promise that, "doubtless refers to their delivery from exile."[5] It should be noted here that the Jews would never have received with any confidence a promise like this from some "Unknown Isaiah." Such a person could have had no influence whatever. On the other hand, Isaiah, known to all of them, being a relative of their godless king Manasseh, and in all probability soon to be put to death by him. Moreover, Isaiah had named one of his sons Shear-Jashub, which means, "A Remnant Shall Return" (Isaiah 7:3); and there could not possibly have been any reason for doubting the truth of it.

Archer followed a line adopted by a number of scholars on this chapter, writing that, "The helpless images of these gods had to be packed like baggage on the backs of the draft animals of the Chaldean refugees, as they fled before the Persian invaders."[6] As a matter of fact there was no pursuit by the Persians and no flight on the part of the people. The war was over before they even knew it. The king was already dead and the Persians had taken the kingdom while everyone slept!


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:3". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/isaiah-46.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob,.... The Jews, the descendants of Jacob:

and all the remnant of the house of Israel; those that remained of the ten tribes that had been carried captive long ago. These may, in a spiritual sense, design those who are Israelites indeed; the household of the God of Jacob; the chosen of God, and called; the remnant according to the election of grace:

which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: here the Lord distinguishes himself from the idols of the Babylonians; they were laid as burdens upon beasts, and bore and carried by them; but the Lord is born and carried by none, but bears and carries his people. The allusion is to tender parents that have compassion on their children as soon as born, and take care of them, and bear them in their bosoms, and carry them in their arms; and may have respect, in the literal sense, to the infant state of the Jews, both as a church and commonwealth, when the Lord took pity on them, and care of them, and bore them as a father bears his son; and bore with their manners too, and carried them all the days of old through the wilderness to Canaan's land; see Numbers 11:12. It may be applied to the care of God in the preservation of men by his providence, especially his own people, whose God he is from their mother's belly; who takes them under his protection as soon as born, and carries them through every state of infancy, youth, manhood, and old age, and never leaves nor forsakes them; see Psalm 22:10, and with great propriety may be applied to regenerate persons, who, as soon as born again, are regarded by the Lord in a very visible, tender, and compassionate manner; he "bears" them in his bosom, and on his heart; he bears them in his arms; he puts his everlasting arms underneath them; he bears with them, with all their weakness and infirmities, their peevishness and frowardness; he bears them up under all their afflictions, and sustains all their burdens; he bears them through and out of all their troubles and difficulties: he "carries" them, in like manner, in his bosom, and in his arms; he "carries" them into his house, the church, which is the nursery for them, where they are nursed and fed, and have the breasts of consolation drawn out to them; he carries on the good work of grace in them; he carries them through all their trials and exercises safe to heaven and eternal happiness; for they are poor, weak, helpless creatures, like newly born babes, cannot go alone, but must be bore up and carried.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-46.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Hearken to me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are e borne [by me] from the birth, which are carried from the womb:

(e) He shows the difference between the idols and the true God; for they must be carried by others, but God himself carries his, as in (Deuteronomy 32:11).

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/isaiah-46.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

in contrast to what precedes: Babylon‘s idols, so far from bearing its people safely are themselves borne off, a burden to the laden beast; but Jehovah bears His people in safety even from the womb to old age (Isaiah 63:9; Deuteronomy 32:11; Psalm 71:6, Psalm 71:18). God compares Himself to a nurse tenderly carrying a child; contrast Moses‘ language (Numbers 11:12).


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-46.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb:

Carried — Whom I have nourished, ever since you were a people, and came out of Egypt; and that as tenderly, as parents bring up their own children.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/isaiah-46.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

3.Hear me. Here the Prophet beautifully points out the vast difference between the true God and idols. Having formerly said that the Babylonian gods must be drawn on waggons and carts, because they consist of dead matter, he now ascribes a widely different office to the God of Israel, namely, that he “carries” his people, like a mother, who carries the child in her womb, and afterwards carries it in her bosom. He addresses the Jews, that they may return an answer from their experience; for this ought to have powerfully affected them, when they actually felt that he bore them and their burdens. He, therefore, makes use of a highly appropriate contrast, and concludes from the preceding statements: “Acknowledge that I am the true God, and that I differ widely from idols, which are useless and dead weights; for you have known and experienced my power by constant benefits, which I have not ceased to confer upon you from the womb.” God is not only powerful in himself, but diffuses his power through all the creatures; so that we feel his strength and energy.

Who are carried from the womb. This is a very expressive metaphor, by which God compares himself to a mother who carries a child in her womb. He speaks of the past time, when he began to give them testimonies of his grace. Yet the words might be taken as meaning simply that God kindly nourished that people, like an infant taken from its mother’s womb, and carried it in his bosom, as the Psalmist says,

“I was cast upon thee from the womb, thou art my God from my mother’s belly.”
(
Psalms 22:10.)

But as God did not only begin to act as the father and nurse of his people from the time when they were born, but also “begat them” (James 1:18) spiritually, I do not object to extending the words so far as to mean, that they were brought, as it were, out of the bowels of God into a new life and the hope of an eternal inheritance.

If it be objected, that God is everywhere called “a Father,” (Jeremiah 31:9; Malachi 1:6,) and that this title is more appropriate to him, I reply, that no figures of speech can describe God’s extraordinary affection towards us; for it is infinite and various; so that, if all that can be said or imagined about love were brought together into one, yet it would be surpassed by the greatness of the love of God. By no metaphor, therefore, can his incomparable goodness be described. If you understand it, simply to mean that God, from the time that he begat them, gently carried and nourished them in his bosom, this will agree admirably with what we find in the Song of Moses,

“He bore them, and carried them, as an eagle carrieth her young on her wings.” (Deuteronomy 32:11.)

In a word, the intention of the Prophet is to shew, that the Jews, if they do not choose to forget their descent, cannot arrive at any other conclusion than that they were not begotten in vain, and that God, who has manifested himself to be both their Father and their Mother, will always assist them; and likewise, that they have known his power by uninterrupted experience, so that they ought not to pay homage to idols.

All the remnant of the house of Israel. By calling them a “remnant” he means, as we formerly remarked, that the greater part had been alienated from the Church by their revolt, so that the hope of deliverance belonged only to a very small number. On this account he demands from them a hearing; for unbelievers, not less than heathen nations, were utterly deaf to his voice. Now, although the people were so far from being in their unbroken strength, that the dispersion of them had left but a small number behind, yet God bids them consider how wonderfully they have been hitherto preserved, that they may not doubt that he will henceforth act towards them, as he has hitherto acted, the part of both father and mother. And when he demands that they shall listen to him, he shews that the true and indeed the only remedy for our distresses and calamities is, to hang on his mouth, and to be attentive to the promises of grace; for then shall we have sufficient courage to bear every affliction; but if not, the way is opened for despair, and we ought not to expect anything else than destruction.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-46.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 46:3 Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne [by me] from the belly, which are carried from the womb:

Ver. 3. Which are borne by me from the belly.] You do not bear me, as they do their idols in procession and otherwise; but I bear you, and so have done from the first, and shall do the last; like as the tender mother doth her beloved babe, or as the eagle doth her young upon her wings. [Exodus 19:4 Deuteronomy 32:11]


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-46.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

All the remnant of the house of Israel; fitly so called, with respect either,

1. To all the tribes of Israel, ten of which were now lost and gone; or,

2. To the state of the Jews at their return from Babylon, there being only a remnant of the two tribes which did return.

Which are carried from the womb; whom I have nourished and cared for from time to time, ever since you were a people, and carne out of Egypt, and that as affectionately and tenderly as parents bring up their own children.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 46:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/isaiah-46.html. 1685.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

By my. Vulgate may have read a me ab, (Calmet) instead of a meo. Hebrew and Septuagint, "taken from the womb," (Haydock) and treated with the utmost tenderness. (Calmet)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/isaiah-46.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Hearken. Note the two calls to hear: here, and Isaiah 46:12. See App-82.

house of Jacob. See note on Isaiah 2:5.

house of Israel. See note on Isaiah 5:7.

which = who are borne. Reference to Pentateuch (Exodus 19:4. Deuteronomy 1:31; Deuteronomy 32:11). App-92.

which. Some codices, with two early printed editions, Aramaean, and Septuagint, read "and who".


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/isaiah-46.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb:

In contrast to what precedes: Babylon's idols, so far from bearing its people safely, are themselves borne off, a burden to the laden beast; but Yahweh bears His people in safety even from the womb to old age (Isaiah 63:9; Deuteronomy 32:11; Psalms 71:6; Psalms 71:18). God compares Himself to a nurse, tenderly carrying a child; contrast Moses' language, Numbers 11:12.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/isaiah-46.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(3) Hearken unto me.—The prophet’s choice of words is singularly emphatic. The false gods are borne away as a burden. The true God bears, i.e., supports, His people. He is able to bear that burden. Every “I” is emphasised in the Hebrew.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/isaiah-46.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb:
Hearken
44:1,21; 48:1,17,18; 51:1,7; Psalms 81:8-13
the remnant
1:9; 10:22; 11:11; 37:4
borne
44:1,2; 49:1,2; 63:9; Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 1:31; 32:11,12; Psalms 22:9,10; 71:6; Ezekiel 16:6-16

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-46.html.

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