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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 46:5

 

 

"To whom would you liken Me And make Me equal and compare Me, That we would be alike?

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

To whom will ye liken me - (see the notes at Isaiah 40:18, Isaiah 40:25). The design of this and the following verses is to show the folly of idolatry, and the vanity of trusting in idols. This is a subject that the prophet often dwells on. The argument here is derived from the fact that the idols of Babylon were unable to defend the city, and were themselves carried away in triumph Isaiah 46:1-2. If so, how vain was it to rely on them! how foolish to suppose that the living and true God could resemble such weak and defenseless blocks!


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-46.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Isaiah 46:5

To whom will ye liken Me?
--

Idols cannot represent God

The Jews might have alleged that they served not the false gods of the Gentiles, but the God of Israel; and that they used images when they worshipped Him only that they might have before their eyes, like other nations, some beautiful object. This delusive notion is here reprobated; and they were taught that there is neither likeness nor equality betwixt the true God and these foolish pretended resemblances made of Him by the hands of men. (R. Macculloch.)

God incomprehensible by mere reason

God asserts an immeasurable difference between Himself and all created beings.

1. We distinguish the Creator from every creature by declaring Him self-existent. There is no way of accounting for the origin of everything except by supposing something which never had origin. Nothing could have begun to be unless there had been something which never began to be. Here is the grand distinction between the Creator and the creature: the being of the one is underived, and that of the other derived. The existence of all creatures is a dependent existence; it has been imparted by another, and may be withdrawn by that other. The existence of the Creator is a necessary existence, altogether independent, indebted to none for commencement, and resting on none for continuance. It is by His name Jehovah--that name which breathes self-existence--that God proclaims Himself inscrutable and unimaginable.

2. We learn from this the vanity of all attempts to explain or illustrate the Trinity in Unity. If we were able to produce exact instances of the union of three in one, we should have no right to point it out as at all parallel with the union of the Godhead. We ought to know beforehand that the created can furnish no delineation of the uncreated; so that it shows a forgetfulness of the self-existence of God to seek His resemblance in what He hath called into being. He best shows the workings of a sound judgment and ripened intellect who, in such a matter as the doctrine of the Trinity, submits to the disclosures of revelation, and receives it on the authority of God, though unable to explain it through any reasoning of his own. The doctrine of the Trinity is above reason, but it is not against reason.

3. Consider the paramount importance of the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity is so bound up with the whole of Christianity, that to think of removing it and yet of preserving the religion is to think of taking from the body all its sinew and its bone, and yet leaving it all its symmetry and its strength. The whole falls to pieces if you destroy this doctrine. The short but irresistible way of proving that the doctrine of the Trinity is in the largest sense a practical doctrine is to remind you that if this doctrine be false, Jesus Christ is nothing more than a man and the Holy Spirit nothing more than a principle or quality. To remove the doctrine of the Trinity is to remove whatever is peculiar to Christianity, to reduce the religion to a system of loftier morals and stronger sanctions than the world before possessed; but, nevertheless, having nothing to deserve the name of Gospel, because containing no tidings of an expiation for sin. (H. Melvill, B. D.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Isaiah 46:5". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/isaiah-46.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like? Such as lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, they hire a goldsmith, and he maketh it a god; they fall down, yea, they worship. They bear it upon the shoulder, they carry it, and set it in its place, and it standeth; from its place it shall not remove: yea, one may cry unto it, yet can it not answer, nor save him out of his trouble."

Here we have exactly the same line of argument made in a number of previous chapters. This is a continuation of the brilliant words against idolatry found in Isaiah 40:18-20; 44:9-20; 41:5-7; and 46:1,2. This repetition of such warnings indicates that God was very concerned lest the attractions of idolatry would seduce many of the chosen people. "Isaiah 46:5 is almost identical to Isaiah 40:18 and stresses the impossibility of representing Jehovah by means of an image."[7]


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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 46:5". "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

To whom will ye liken me?.... Was it lawful that any likeness might be made, which yet is forbidden, Exodus 20:4 what likeness could be thought of? is there any creature in heaven or earth, among all the angels or sons of men, to whom God can be likened, who has done such works of power, and acts of grace, as to care and provide not only for the house of Israel, from the beginning of their state to the close of it, but for all his creatures from the beginning of life to the end thereof, yea, from the beginning of the world to the end of it, and has shown such special grace and goodness to his chosen people, in such a kind and tender manner?

And make me equal; or any equal to him in power and goodness, since all are but worms, dust, and ashes, as the small dust of the balance, yea, as nothing in comparison of him.

And compare me, that we may be like? which is impossible to be done; for what comparison or likeness can there be between the Creator and a creature, between an infinite, immense, and eternal Being, possessed of all perfections, and a finite, frail, imperfect one? see Isaiah 40:18. To pretend to frame a likeness of such a Being, is to act the absurd and stupid part the Heathens do, described in the following verses.


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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.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-46.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

To whom will ye liken me, and make [me] equal, and g compare me, that we may be like?

(g) The people of God setting their own calamity, and the flourishing estate of the Babylonians, would be tempted to think that their God was not so mighty as the idols of their enemies: therefore he describes the original of all the idols to make them to be abhorred by all men: showing that the most that can be spoken in their commendation, is but to prove them vile.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/isaiah-46.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

(Isaiah 40:18, Isaiah 40:25).


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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 46:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-46.html. 1871-8.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

5.To whom will ye liken and compare me? Here the Prophet introduces the Lord as remonstrating with the Jews, because they distrusted and doubted his power, and, in a word, because they put him on a level with idols, and even placed idols above him. When they saw the Babylonians enjoy prosperity, they thought that their hope was gone, and that the remembrance of the covenant had faded away, and hardly believed that God was in heaven or took any concern about them. On this account the Lord complains that they ascribe some power to idols, and that thus they east his power into the shade. This subject was formerly discussed under the forty-second, forty-third, and following chapters; and therefore it is unnecessary to repeat observations in each word.

In order that they may not estimate the power of God by the present condition of things, he bids them raise their minds higher. In like manner, when we see the Papists enjoy prosperity, if we should entertain doubts whether or not they possessed the true religion, we would need to be dissuaded by the same exhortation; for this would be to compare God with idols. And we ought carefully to observe this circumstance, the forgetfulness or disregard of which has led many commentators absurdly to weaken this statement, by supposing that the Prophet merely attacks superstitious persons who ascribe some divine power to wood or stone, because this degrades the glory of God by comparing him to dead things. But I have no doubt that he reproves that sinful and wicked conclusion by which the people, when they were weighed down by adversity, imagined that God was favorable to the Babylonians; for, if he had been favorable to them, it would follow that he approves of idolatry, and thus his honor would have been conveyed to dumb creatures. We may likewise draw from it a general doctrine that God is robbed of his glory, when he is compared to dumb and senseless things, as Paul also applies the passage appropriately. (Acts 17:29.)


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:5". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-46.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 46:5 To whom will ye liken me, and make [me] equal, and compare me, that we may be like?

Ver. 5. To whom, (a) then, will ye liken me? (b) &c., ] q.d., To which of your paramours? for here the Lord returneth to his discourse against idolaters and their idols, earumque inanitatem et inopiam demonstrat, inveighing against them with no less stomach and indignation than a jealous husband against his adulteress’s gallants. Let every godless person, who idoliseth his lusts, think he heareth God thus bespeaking him, as in this text.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-46.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Isaiah 46:5

In these words, as in other and similar passages of Scripture, God asserts an immeasurable difference between Himself and all created beings.

I. We distinguish the Creator from every creature by declaring Him self-existent. There is no way of accounting for the origin of everything except by supposing something which never had origin. Nothing could have begun to be unless there had been something which never began to be. Here is the grand distinction between the Creator and the creature: the being of the one is underived, and that of the other derived. The existence of all creatures is a dependent existence; it has been imparted by another, and may be withdrawn by that other. The existence of the Creator is a necessary existence, altogether independent, indebted to none for commencement, and resting on none for continuance. It is by His name Jehovah—that name which breathes self-existence—that God proclaims Himself inscrutable and unimaginable.

II. We learn from this the vanity of all attempts to explain or illustrate the Trinity in Unity. If we were able to produce exact instances of the union of three in one, we should have no right to point it out as at all parallel with the union of the Godhead. We ought to know beforehand that the created can furnish no delineation of the uncreated; so that it shows a forgetfulness of the self-existence of God to seek His resemblance in what he hath called into being. He best shows the workings of a sound judgment and ripened intellect who, in such a matter as the doctrine of the Trinity, submits to the disclosures of revelation, and receives it on the authority of God, though unable to explain it through any reasoning of his own. The doctrine of the Trinity is above reason, but it is not against reason.

III. Consider the paramount importance of the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity is so bound up with the whole of Christianity, that to think of removing it and yet of preserving the religion is to think of taking from the body all its sinew and its bone, and yet leaving it all its symmetry and its strength. The whole falls to pieces if you destroy this doctrine. The short but irresistible way of proving that the doctrine of the Trinity is in the largest sense a practical doctrine is to remind you that if this doctrine be false, Jesus Christ is nothing more than a man and the Holy Spirit nothing more than a principle or quality. To remove the doctrine of the Trinity is to remove whatever is peculiar to Christianity, to reduce the religion to a system of loftier morals and stronger sanctions than the world before possessed; but nevertheless having nothing to deserve the name of Gospel, because containing no tidings of an expiation for sin. Without a Trinity I must save myself; with a Trinity I am to be saved through Christ.

H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1731.

Reference: Isaiah 46:5.—H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxviii., p. 299.



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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:5". "Sermon Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/isaiah-46.html.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

If you are tempted or inclined at any time to exchange me for an idol, do me and yourselves this right, seriously to consider, whether you can find another God who will be more able and more ready to do you good than I have been; which if you can do, I am content you should prefer him before me; but if not, as will appear by what I am now saying, Isaiah 46:6,7, then it is best for you to adhere to your ancient God and Friend.


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

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 46:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/isaiah-46.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5. To whom will ye liken me — Compare with chap. Isaiah 40:18; Isaiah 40:25. Is the compassionate and infinite Jehovah to be compared with the contemptible idols of the heathen?


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/isaiah-46.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

There is no comparison between the true God and false gods (cf. Isaiah 40:18).


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:5". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/isaiah-46.html. 2012.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?

To whom will ye liken me - (Isaiah 40:18; Isaiah 40:25.)


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 46:5". "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

(5) To whom will ye liken me?—The argument against idolatry is renewed in nearly its old form (Isaiah 40:18-25; Isaiah 44:9-17). The fate of Bel and Nebo is urged against those who thought that they might worship Jehovah as those deities had been worshipped. Such had been the sin of the calves at Bethel and at Dan. Like it had been the act of Israel when it had carried the ark into battle against the Philistines (1 Samuel 4:5).


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

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/isaiah-46.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?
40:18,25; Exodus 15:11; Psalms 86:8; 89:6,8; 113:5; Jeremiah 10:6,7,16; Philippians 2:6; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-46.html.

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