Isaiah 46 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Isaiah 46)

Verse 1

[1] Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth, their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle: your carriages were heavy loaden; they are a burden to the weary beast.

Bel — The chief idol of the Babylonians, called by profane historians Jupiter Belus.

Boweth — As the Babylonians used to bow down to him to worship, so now he bows down to the victorious Persians.

Nebo — Another of the famous idols, which used to deliver oracles.

Their idols — Were taken and broken, and the materials of them, gold, silver, and brass, were carried upon beasts into Persia.

Your carriages — O ye Persians, to whom he turns his speech.

Verse 2

[2] They stoop, they bow down together; they could not deliver the burden, but themselves are gone into captivity.

They — The Babylonians.

Together — The Babylonians and their idols together, neither could help the other.

Deliver — The Babylonians could not deliver their idols.

Verse 3

[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:

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.

Verse 7

[7] They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove: yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble.

Remove — He can stir neither hand nor foot to help his people.

Verse 8

[8] Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors.

Bring it — Think of this again and again, ye who have been guilty of this foolish sin.

Verse 10

[10] Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Declaring — Foretelling from the beginning of the world, future events which should happen in succeeding ages, even to the end of the world.

Verse 11

[11] Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

A bird — Cyrus, called a bird for his swiftness, and ravenous for his fierceness, and victoriousness over his enemies.

Verse 13

[13] I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.

I bring — Tho' you are unrighteous, I will shew myself a righteous and faithful God, making good my promise of delivering you out of Babylon after seventy years.

It — My work of saving you from the Babylonish captivity.

Will place — I will bring my people to Zion, and save them from all their enemies.

My glory — In whom I will once again glory as my people.