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Isaiah 45:9-13

Context
The Lord Gives a Warning

45:9 One who argues with his creator is in grave danger, 1 

one who is like a mere 2  shard among the other shards on the ground!

The clay should not say to the potter, 3 

“What in the world 4  are you doing?

Your work lacks skill!” 5 

45:10 Danger awaits one who says 6  to his father,

“What in the world 7  are you fathering?”

and to his mother,

“What in the world are you bringing forth?” 8 

45:11 This is what the Lord says,

the Holy One of Israel, 9  the one who formed him,

concerning things to come: 10 

“How dare you question me 11  about my children!

How dare you tell me what to do with 12  the work of my own hands!

45:12 I made the earth,

I created the people who live 13  on it.

It was me – my hands 14  stretched out the sky, 15 

I give orders to all the heavenly lights. 16 

45:13 It is me – I stir him up and commission him; 17 

I will make all his ways level.

He will rebuild my city;

he will send my exiled people home,

but not for a price or a bribe,”

says the Lord who commands armies.

1 tn Heb “Woe [to] the one who argues with the one who formed him.”

2 tn The words “one who is like a mere” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons and clarification.

3 tn Heb “Should the clay say to the one who forms it?” The rhetorical question anticipates a reply, “Of course not!”

4 tn The words “in the world” are supplied in the translation to approximate in English idiom the force of the sarcastic question.

5 tn Heb “your work, there are no hands for it,” i.e., “your work looks like something made by a person who has no hands.”

6 tn Heb “Woe [to] one who says” (NASB and NIV both similar); NCV “How terrible it will be.”

7 tn See the note at v. 9. This phrase occurs a second time later in this verse.

8 sn Verses 9-10 may allude to the exiles’ criticism that the Lord does not appear to know what he is doing.

9 sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4.

10 tc The Hebrew text reads “the one who formed him, the coming things.” Among various suggestions, some have proposed an emendation of יֹצְרוֹ (yotsÿro, “the one who formed him”) to יֹצֵר (yotser, “the one who forms”; the suffixed form in the Hebrew text may be influenced by vv. 9-10, where the same form appears twice) and takes “coming things” as the object of the participle (either objective genitive or accusative): “the one who brings the future into being.”

11 tn Heb “Ask me” The rhetorical command sarcastically expresses the Lord’s disgust with those who question his ways.

12 tn Heb “Do you command me about…?” The rhetorical question sarcastically expresses the Lord’s disgust with those who question his ways.

13 tn The words “who live” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

14 tn Heb “I, even my hands”; NASB “I stretched out…with My hands”; NRSV “it was my hands that stretched out.” The same construction occurs at the beginning of v. 13.

15 tn Or “the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.

16 tn Heb “and to all their host I commanded.” See the notes at 40:26.

17 tn Heb “I stir him up in righteousness”; NASB “I have aroused him.” See the note at 41:2. Cyrus (cf. 44:28) is in view here.



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