For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
For the customs of the peoples are delusion; Because it is wood cut from the forest, The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool.
Their ways are futile and foolish. They cut down a tree and carve an idol.
The religion of these peoples is nothing but smoke. An idol is nothing but a tree chopped down, then shaped by a woodsman's ax.
For that which is feared by the people is foolish: it is the work of the hands of the workman; for a tree is cut down by him out of the woods with his axe.
For the customs of the peoples are false: a tree from the forest is cut down, and worked with an ax by the hands of an artisan;
For the customs of the peoples are futile; For one cuts a tree from the forest, The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
|NET © [draft] ITL
|NET © Notes
1 tn Heb “statutes.” According to BDB 350 s.v. חֻקָּה 2.b it refers to the firmly established customs or practices of the pagan nations. Compare the usage in Lev 20:23; 2 Kgs 17:8. Here it is essentially equivalent to דֶּרֶךְ (derekh) in v. 1, which has already been translated “religious practices.”
2 sn This passage is dripping with sarcasm. It begins by talking about the “statutes” of the pagan peoples as a “vapor” using a singular copula and singular predicate. Then it suppresses the subject, the idol, as though it were too horrible to mention, using only the predications about it. The last two lines read literally: “[it is] a tree which one cuts down from the forest; the work of the hands of a craftsman with his chisel.”