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Isaiah 40:21

    Isaiah 40:21 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Have you not known? have you not heard? has it not been told you from the beginning? have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Have ye not known? have yet not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Have you no knowledge of it? has it not come to your ears? has not news of it been given to you from the first? has it not been clear to you from the time when the earth was placed on its base?

    Webster's Revision

    Have ye not known? have yet not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?

    World English Bible

    Haven't you known? Haven't you heard, yet? Haven't you been told from the beginning? Haven't you understood from the foundations of the earth?

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?

    Clarke's Commentary on Isaiah 40:21

    Have ye not known - On this verse Kimchi has a very interesting comment, an extract of which I subjoin. "The whole world may be considered as a house built up; heaven its roof; the stars its lamps; and the fruits of the earth its table spread. The Master of the house is God, blessed for ever; and man is the steward into whose hand all the business of the house is given. If he always consider in his heart that the Master of the house is continually over him, and that he keeps his eye upon his work, and if in consequence he acts wisely, he shall find favor in the eyes of the Master of the house. But if he find wickedness in the house, then will he remove him מן פקידתו min pekidutho, 'from his stewardship.' The foolish steward does not think of this; for as his eyes do not see the Master of the house, he saith in his heart, 'I will eat and drink what I find in this house, and will take my pleasure in it; nor shall I be careful whether there be a master over this house or not.' When the Lord of the house marks this, he comes and expels him from the house speedily, and with great anger; therefore it is said, Isaiah 40:23, He bringeth the princes to nothing." It seems that this parable had been long in use among the Jews, as our blessed Lord alludes to it in his parable of the unjust steward. Or did the rabbin, finding it to his purpose, steal the parable from the Gospel? In both places it has great and peculiar beauties.

    Have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth "Have ye not understood it from the foundations of the earth?" - The true reading seems to be ממוסדות mimmosedoth, to answer to מראש merosh in the foregoing line. It follows a word ending with מ mem, and out of three mems concurring, it was an easy mistake to drop the middle one.

    Barnes' Notes on Isaiah 40:21

    Have ye not known? - This is evidently an address to the worshippers of idols, and either designed to be addressed to the Jews themselves in the times of Manasseh, when idolatry abounded, or to all idolaters. The prophet had in the previous verses shown the manner in which the idols were made, and the folly of regarding them as objects of worship. He now turns and addresses the worshippers of these idols, as being without excuse. They might have known that these were not the true God. They had had abundant opportunity of learning his existence and of becoming acquainted with his majesty and glory. Tradition had informed them of this, and the creation of the earth demonstrated his greatness and power. The prophet, therefore, asks them whether they had not known this? Whether their conduct was the result of ignorance? And the question implies emphatically that they had known, or had abundant opportunity to know of the existence and majesty of God. This was emphatically true of the Jews, and yet they were constantly falling into idolatrous worship.

    From the beginning - Hebrew, 'From the head,' that is, from the very commencement of the world. Has it not been communicated by tradition, from age to age, that there is one God, and that he is the Creator and upholder of all things? This was particularly the case with the Jews, who had had this knowledge from the very commencement of their history, and they were, therefore, entirely without excuse in their tendencies to idolatry.

    From the foundations of the earth - Have you not learned the existence and greatness of God from the fact that the world has been made, and that it demonstrates the existence and perfection of God? The sacred writers often speak of the earth as resting on a foundation, as upheld, etc.:

    For he hath founded it upon the seas,

    And established it upon the floods.

    (Psalm 24:2; see also Proverbs 8:29) Perhaps here, however, the word 'foundation' refers rather to the time than to the manner in which the earth is made, and corresponds to the phrase 'from the beginning;' and the sense may be, 'Has it not been understood ever since the earth was founded? Has not the tradition of the existence and perfections of God been unbroken and constant?' The argument is, that the existence and greatness of God were fully known by tradition and by his works; and that it was absurd to attempt to form an image of that God who had laid the foundations of the world.

    Wesley's Notes on Isaiah 40:21

    40:21 Known - God to be the only true God, the maker and governor of the world.