The Bible in Its Traditions

Isaiah 44:9–20

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They that fashion a graven image are all of them vanity, and their delectable things shall not profit; and their own witnesses see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed.

All of those who create idols are nothing, and their most beloved things will not benefit them. These are their witnesses, for they do not see, and they do not understand, so that they might be confounded.

The makers of images are all of them vanity; and there is no profit in the works which they desire to make; the craftsmen who make them are witnesses, for they see not, nor hear, nor know.

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10  Who hath fashioned a god, or molten an image that is profitable for nothing?

10  that form a god, and all that grave worthless things

10  Therefore let them be ashamed, those who make gods or graven and molten images that are profitable for nothing.

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11  Behold, all the fellows thereof shall be ashamed; and the craftsmen skilled above men; let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; they shall fear, they shall be ashamed together.

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12  The smith maketh an axe, and worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with his strong arm; yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth; he drinketh no water, and is faint.

12  For the artificer sharpens the iron; he fashions the idol with an axe, and fixes it with an awl, and fashions it with the strength of his arm: and he will be hungry and weak, and will drink no water.

12  The maker of iron has wrought with his file. With coals and hammers, he has formed it, and he has wrought with the strength of his arm. He will hunger and grow faint. He will not drink water, and he will become weary.

13  The carpenter stretcheth out a line; he marketh it out with a pencil; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compasses, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man, to dwell in the house.

13  The artificer having chosen a piece of wood, marks it out with a rule, and fits it with glue, and makes it as the form of a man, and as the beauty of a man, to set it up in the house.

13  The maker of wood has extended his ruler. He has formed it with a plane. He has made it with corners, and he has smoothed its curves. And he has made the image of a man, a seemingly beautiful man, dwelling in a house.

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14  He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the ilex and the oak, and strengtheneth for himself one among the trees of the forest; he planteth a bay-tree, and the rain doth nourish it.

14  He cuts wood out of the forest, which the Lord planted, even a pine tree, and the rain made it grow,

14  Then he makes it to stand in the house, a piece of wood which was cut down out of the forest, something which the rain has nourished,

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15  Then a man useth it for fuel; and he taketh thereof, and warmeth himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.

15  And it is used by men for fuel. He took from it and warmed himself. And he set it on fire and baked bread. But from the remainder, he made a god, and he adored it. He made an idol, and he bowed down before it.

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16  He burneth the half thereof in the fire; with the half thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied; yea, he warmeth himself, and saith: 'Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire';

16  Half thereof he burns in the fire, and with half of it he bakes loaves on the coals; and having roasted flesh on it he eats, and is satisfied, and having warmed himself he says, I am comfortable, for I have warmed myself, and have seen the fire.

16  Part of it, he burned with fire, and with part of it, he cooked meat; he boiled food and was filled. And he was warmed, and so he said: “Ah, I am warm. I have gazed at the fire.”

17  And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image; he falleth down unto it and worshippeth, and prayeth unto it, and saith: 'Deliver me, for thou art my god.'

17  And the rest he makes a graven god, and worships, and prays, saying, Deliver me; for thou art my God.

17  But from its remainder, he made a god and a graven image for himself. He bowed down before it, and he adored it, and he prayed to it, saying: “Free me! For you are my god.”

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18  They know not, neither do they understand; for their eyes are bedaubed, that they cannot see, and their hearts, that they cannot understand.

18  They have no understanding to perceive; for they have been blinded so that they should not see with their eyes, nor perceive with their heart.

18  They have not known nor understood; for the vision of their eyes is shut that they cannot see, and the understanding of their hearts, so that they cannot understand.

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19  And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say: 'I have burned the half of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh and eaten it; and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? Shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?'

19  And one has not considered in his mind, nor known in his understanding, that he has burnt up half of it in the fire, and baked loaves on the coals thereof and has roasted and eaten flesh, and of the rest of it he has made an abomination, and they worship it.

19  They do not consider in their mind, nor do they know, nor do they think to say: “I have burned part of it in the fire, and I have baked bread upon its coals. I have cooked flesh and I have eaten. And from its remainder, should I make an idol? Should I fall prostrate before the trunk of a tree?”

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20  He striveth after ashes, a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say: 'Is there not a lie in my right hand?'

20  Part of it is ashes. His foolish heart adores it. And he will not liberate his soul, and he will not say, “Perhaps there is a lie in my right hand.”

20  Their imagination is dull; they are surely gone astray, and cannot deliver themselves, nor say, Our right hand has wrought falsehood.