Jesus' Parables for Disciples
4. God Our Creator
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The most famous image of creation is Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" (1511), fresco, ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Vatican.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1, NIV)
The Bible tells us that he created it from nothing, and in an orderly way moved from the most primitive forms of creation to the most advanced -- man. In a beautiful and carefully structured poem of creation, God creates from day to day until he rests on the seventh day (Genesis 1:1-2:4).
We didn't start this Bible study series with creation, but with God Most High, the way Abraham probably began to understand God. But at the very core of a thinking person's intuitive comprehension is that all this couldn't have happened by itself. There must have been a Creator, an intelligent Force behind creation. As Paul says in Romans:
"What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made...." (Romans 1:19-20)
In this chapter we'll be examining God's titles and metaphors as Creator, Builder, Architect, God of heaven, Maker of heaven and earth, and Potter. We'll begin by examining a wonderful creation passage in Isaiah's prophecy, where God speaks about his own role as Creator and its implications for his created beings.
The One and Only God (Isaiah 45:5-6)
Let's spend some time studying Isaiah 45:5-12, since it introduces us to God the Creator. Be patient with me as we begin to explore God as our Creator. First, Yahweh states categorically that there are no other gods but he himself:
I am the LORD, and there is no other;
apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
though you have not acknowledged me,
so that from the rising of the sun
to the place of its setting
men may know there is none besides me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:5-6)
Ancient peoples were used to thinking of gods of each nation -- each serving its own god or gods. Yahweh asserts that he is not bound by nationality or geography.
A Creation Vocabulary
This next verse uses the main Old Testament vocabulary for creation:
"I form (yāṣar) the light and create (bārā´) darkness,
I bring (`āśā) prosperity and create (bārā´) disaster;
I, the LORD, do all these things." (Isaiah 45:7)
This verse highlights three verb synonyms for creation. Let's see exactly what they mean:
- `Āśā is the most common Old Testament term for creating, with the basic connotation of "do" or "make" ... When used in the sense of "make," the emphasis is on the fashioning of the object.1
- Bārā´ means "to create, make, initiate something new, bring into existence." The word is used in the Qal stem only of God's activity and is thus a purely theological term."2
- Yāṣar means "fashion, form, shape, frame" Yāṣar denotes the activity of the potter as he shapes and fashions vessels and figures with his hands.3 While the word occurs in synonymous parallelism with other creation verbs, its primary emphasis is on the shaping or forming of the object involved."4 While bārā´ emphasizes the initiation of an object, yāṣar emphasizes fashioning and shaping.
The Creator of Weal and Woe (Isaiah 45:7)
Now let's look again at verse 7:
"I form (yāṣar) the light and create (bārā´) darkness,
I bring (`āśā) prosperity and create (bārā´) disaster;
I, the LORD, do all these things." (Isaiah 45:7, NIV)
God's creation of darkness and light are revealed in the first day of the Poem of Creation (Genesis 1:1-5). But parallel to light and darkness are prosperity and disaster. The NRSV puts is: "I make weal and create woe" (We get our word "wealth" from "weal," which means "well-being, health.") The KJV renders it: "I make peace, and create evil."
Why Does God Allow Evil?
Does this mean that God is the author of sin and evil? No. The word is ra`, and can mean either "evil" or "misery, distress, injury."5 The point of this verse is that God can bring either wealth or poverty, good circumstances or bad. There is not a good god and a bad god at work. The one God is the only uncaused Cause in the universe!
Does that mean that everything that happens is God's "perfect will" for our lives? No again. His heart is love, his preferred means is through blessing. But while God can bring difficult circumstances to bear, we must realize that we have an enemy, Satan, who actively seeks the harm of God's people. God has chosen to "allow" or "permit" Satan to work on earth for a limited time, but ultimately Satan himself will be overthrown and destroyed. In the sense that God allows something, you might speak of God's "permissive will."
The reason God allows Satan to work is a mystery. Theologians and philosophers call this the Problem of Evil. We long to know why things happen to us, and most of the time end up not knowing. A better question is: "God, what should I be learning from this circumstance?" We do have a promise from Scripture: "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
Having said that, God telling us in Isaiah 45:7b, "I bring prosperity and create disaster," reminds us of two things: (1) God is not to be trifled with, and that (2) no misery, problem or disaster that may occur is out of his ability to restore, heal, and relieve. He is the Creator and can, if need be, re-create that which has been destroyed.
Creator of Salvation and Righteousness (Isaiah 45:8)
God is not just the Creator of misery or wealth, he is the Creator of salvation and righteousness, as well. He is the Healer. Now let's return to our passage in Isaiah 45:
"You heavens above, rain down righteousness;
let the clouds shower it down.
Let the earth open wide,
let salvation spring up,
let righteousness grow with it;
I, the LORD, have created (bārā´) it." (Isaiah 45:8)
The Potter, the Clay, and the Potsherd (Isaiah 45:9)
Verse 9 on God as the Potter is particularly instructive. It speaks to attitude:
"Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker (yāṣar),
to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground.
Does the clay say to the potter (yāṣar),
'What are you making?'" (Isaiah 45:9)
The word Maker is the same as Potter (yāṣar), which is probably a better translation in this context. A potsherd (ḥereś) can refer to either (1) an earthenware vessel that is baked or fired, or (2) a fragment of earthenware, sherd.6 Here he's referring to pots among other earthen pots. Clay, of course, is the raw material for pottery, a type of soil that is almost universally available. When water is added it acquires plasticity, that is, it can be worked and shaped. When fired it holds its shape.
Potters in the Ancient Near East
Pottery was developed in the Neolithic age. Coarse objects were originally formed on a mat. Vessels were made by laying long coils of clay one on top of another, around and around, as the walls of the jar grew higher and higher.
The potter's wheel appears all over the Middle East about 2750 BC, which greatly increased the speed with which a potter could work and boosted his output tremendously. Such wheels usually consisted of two stones (Jeremiah 18:3), one pivoting above the other in such a way that the potter or his assistant could turn the upper stone as the potter molded the clay.7 The ancient potter began preparing the clay by refining it (if necessary), then pounding to get rid of any air bubbles that could ruin the piece when it is fired.
If you've ever watched a potter at work you know why the Bible uses this analogy for the Creator. As the wheel spins, the potter uses her thumbs and fingers to form a hollow in the center of the clay, then build the walls of the vessel by pressing on the walls outward and upward to thin and heighten them. A good potter can create bowl, pitcher, or cup in a few minutes. It is an outstanding analogy for creation that people in the Middle East could observe every day in every village -- beautiful and useful pottery vessels being made from what were just lumps of clay. God is our Potter, our Creator.
Complaining Against the Potter (Isaiah 45:9-12)
Now that we've considered how potters and pottery fit into Isaiah's culture, let's read the conclusion:
"9Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker (yāṣar),
to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground.
Does the clay say to the potter (yāṣar),
'What are you making?'
Does your work say,
'He has no hands'?
10Woe to him who says to his father,
'What have you begotten?'
or to his mother,
'What have you brought to birth?'
11This is what the LORD says --
the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker (yāṣar):
Concerning things to come,
do you question me about my children,
or give me orders about the work of my hands?
12It is I who made (`āśā) the earth
and created (bārā´) mankind upon it.
My own hands stretched out (nāṭā) the heavens;
I marshaled their starry hosts...." (Isaiah 45:9-12)
Can you see how ridiculous it is for a pot to complain to the potter about its construction and purpose? Or a child to question his father or mother about bringing him into the world? God answers this stupidity with a grand statement of his prerogative as Creator. Shouldn't the Creator of the earth and its inhabitants be beyond having to endure his creations' second-guessing of their Creator? Of course!
Q1. (Isaiah 45:9-12) Why is it ridiculous for a pot to second-guess the Potter? How do we Christians do this? What is a better attitude and behavior before our Creator?
Paul quotes this passage in Romans:
"But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? 'Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?"' Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?" (Romans 9:20-21)
We humans struggle to understand why things happen and chafe against the very concept of predestination that Paul discusses in Romans 9. But what do we know? We are like pots trying to order around the Potter and demand our freedom of will. How silly!
Clay and Dust -- Man's Lot
The lesson of the Pot and the Potter is an important one. But let's explore this a bit further.
Several times the Scriptures use dust and clay together with an analogy to man's humble origins and physical destiny -- and God as the Potter or Craftsman. "Clay" (ḥōmer) "cement, mortar, clay,"8 is the raw material of pottery. The word was also a term for the reddish clay of that area, particularly Palestine. In Hebrew there is sometimes a distinction between wet clay (ḥōmer) and dry clay,9 and dust or earth are sometimes related ideas. The usual word for dust is `āpār, "dust," i.e. "dry, fine crumbs of earth." See for example Isaiah 29:16; Job 10:8-9; 18:6; 33:6.
Clay is considered relatively worthless. Compare these two verses:
"How the precious sons of Zion,
once worth their weight in gold,
are now considered as pots10 of clay (ḥereś),
the work of a potter's (yāṣar) hands!" (Lamentations 4:2)
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."(2 Corinthians 4:7)
Dust was everywhere and a sign of great humility when one would put dust on one's head to mourn or put one's face in the dust before a conqueror. Pottery is just fired clay which eventually breaks and turns to dust.
The Great Craftsman Forms Man from the Sod (Genesis 2:7)
Now let's look at one of the most famous creation verses in the Bible from our new perspective:
"The LORD God formed (yāṣar) the man (´ādām11) from the dust (`āpār12) of the ground (´ădāmâ13) and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." (Genesis 2:7)
Note the intentional play on words between Adam (´ādām) and ground (´ădāmâ). Observe the verb used for "formed" -- yāṣar, the characteristic verb usually used for "potter." The idea of potter isn't required by the verb -- once it is used to describe a metal-worker (Isaiah 44:12) and another time an idol-maker (Habakkuk 2:18). Surely the word refers to a craftsman. Hamilton contends that it is too much to render the verb yāṣar here as "do the work of a potter," since the medium is dust, not clay,14 though Speiser argues that `āpār is better translated here as "clods ... lumps of earth, soil, dirt."15 I don't think its too much of a stretch to see a glimpse of the Potter in Genesis 2:17.
But the metaphor breaks down rapidly. It's not the body that is necessary for life, but the "breath of life" that God breathes into his own creation to make him a "living being." In a similar way, Jesus compares the first birth -- physical -- with the New Birth -- spiritual. Has your Creator breathed into you the spiritual life that you need for this life and the next?
We've spent some time examining the analogy of the Potter and the Clay as a metaphor of creation. Of course, a number of times, God is called "Creator."
Is he not your Father, your Creator (qānā),
who made (`āśā) you and formed16 you? (Deuteronomy 32:6b, NIV)
This verse points out that Creator and Father or "one who begets" have great similarities, but Father is such a core name for God, especially in the New Testament, that it merits its own chapter.
In verse 6 above, "Creator" (NIV), "who created you" (NRSV), and "that hath bought thee" (KJV) is another creation verb: qānā, "get, acquire, create." There are six places where qānā appears to mean "create": Psalm 139:13; Genesis 4:1; Deuteronomy 32:6, 13; Psalm 74:2; and Genesis 14:19, 22.17 The connotation in each of these verses is "to make for oneself."18 This title also occurs in the mouth of both Melchizedek and Abraham:
"Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator (qānā) of heaven and earth." (Genesis 14:19)
"I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Creator (qānā) of heaven and earth." (Genesis 14:22)
Using a creation word that we've seen before, bārā´, "create, bring into existence," Yahweh declares
"The Everlasting God (´el `ôlām), the LORD, the Creator (bārā´) of the ends of the earth...." (Isaiah 40:28)
"Remember your Creator (bārā´) in the days of your youth." (Ecclesiastes 12:1a)
"I am the LORD, your Holy One, Israel's Creator (bārā´) your King." (Isaiah 43:15)
In the New Testament we see:
"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator (ktizō) 'made them male and female.'" (Matthew 19:4, NIV)
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator (ktizō) -- who is forever praised. Amen." (Romans 1:25)
"... Have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (ktizō)." (Colossians 3:10, NIV)
"Therefore, let those suffering in accordance with God's will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator (Greek ktistēs), while continuing to do good." (1 Peter 4:19)
Architect and Builder
William Blake (1757-1827), "The Ancient of Days" (1794). Larger image.
Another analogy to creation is building and construction. The Jerusalem Bible, translates Psalm 147:2 as, "Yahweh, Builder of Jerusalem!" while other translations render it "The LORD builds up Jerusalem." The verb is bānâ, "build, rebuild," referring to houses, cities, towers, altars, etc.19 In Hebrews we see:
"For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God." (Hebrews 3:4, NRSV)
"Builder of everything" (NIV) and is kataskeuazō, "to bring a structure into being, build, construct, erect, create."20
"For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." (Hebrews 11:10, KJV).
The RSV renders these titles as "architect and builder" (NRSV). "Builder" (KJV) and "architect" (NIV, NRSV) is the Greek noun technitēs, "craftsperson, artisan, designer ... architect of the heavenly city."21"Maker" (KJV) and "builder" (NIV, NRSV) is dēmiourgos, "one who designs something and constructs it, craftsworker, builder, maker, creator."22 (Some would emend the Mazoretic Text of Isaiah 62:5 from "your sons" (bānāyik) to read "your Builder" (bōnēk), but the evidence is weak and speculative.23)
Another title or metaphor is "Maker." Two verbs are sometimes translated "Maker" in the Old Testament -- `āśā, "do, make," with emphasis on fashioning the object, 24 and yāṣar, "fashion, form"25 -- both of which we've seen before. "Maker" is a favorite title in Job (9:9; 32:22; 35:10; 40:19) and other wisdom literature (Psalm 115:5; cf. 121:2; 134:3; 146:6; 149:2; Proverbs 14:31; 17:5; 22:2; Ecclesiastes 11:5. See also Isaiah 17:7; 51:13; Hosea 8:14). Here are some other examples:
"For this is a people without understanding;
so their Maker (`āśā) has no compassion on them,
and their Creator (yāṣar) shows them no favor." (Isaiah 27:11)
"For your Maker (`āśā) is your husband--
the LORD Almighty is his name--
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth." (Isaiah 54:5)
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
the Maker (`āśā) of heaven and earth." (Psalm 124:8, NIV)
"I will bring my knowledge from far away,
and ascribe righteousness to my Maker (pā`al26)." (Job 36:3)
"He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these,
for he is the Maker (yāṣar) of all things,
including Israel, the tribe of his inheritance --
the LORD Almighty is his name." (Jeremiah 10:16, NIV;
"Former of all things," KJV)
"Can a mortal be more righteous than God?
Can a man be more pure than his Maker (yāṣar)?" (Job 4:17)
Q2. What inherent rights does a Potter, Creator, or Maker have over what he has created? How should that effect our lives, our self-image, our sense of purpose?
A Psalm of Creation and Praise (Psalm 95)
Here's a creation psalm chock full of names and titles of God. Read it out loud and enjoy it!
"1Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
3For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
4In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5The sea is his, for he made (`āśā) it,
and his hands formed (yāṣar) the dry land.
6Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker (`āśā);
7for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care." (Psalm 95:1-7)
Q3. (Psalm 95:1-7) How many names, titles, and metaphors of God can you find in this passage, both explicit and implicit? What does the Psalmist call on us to do in response to God revealed in his Names? Why are these actions appropriate?
God of Heaven
"God of Heaven," appears about 23 times in the Bible. Since it refers to the God who created heaven (and lives in heaven), I am including it among the Creator titles. It appears especially in the books written by authors who had lived in Mesopotamia. Sometimes it appears as "the LORD God of heaven" (Genesis 24:3, 7; 2 Chronicles 36:23; Ezra 1:2; Nehemiah 1:5; Jonah 1:9) and more often without (Ezra 5:11; 6:9, 10; 7:12, 21, 23; Nehemiah 2:4, 2:20; Psalm 136:26; Daniel 2:18, 19, 37, 44). It also appears in Revelation 11:13 and 16:11.
"I am a Hebrew," he replied. "I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land." (Jonah 1:9)
"The king said to me, 'What is it you want?' Then I prayed to the God of heaven...." (Nehemiah 1:4)
"God of heaven and the God of earth" (Genesis 24:3)
"God27 of heaven and earth" (Ezra 5:11).
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands." (Acts 17:24)
"Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble." (The phrase appears only at Daniel 4:37)
Other Creation Titles and Metaphors
A few other titles and metaphors are a bit difficult to classify exactly, but seem to belong to the Creator group:
"Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow." (James 1:17, NRSV)
"He is called the God (´ĕlōhīm) of all the earth. (Isaiah 54:5, NIV)
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener." (John 15:1-2; NRSV "vinegrower," KJV "husbandman.")
Creator of the Ends of the Earth (Isaiah 40:12-15, 21-31)
Let's conclude with a magnificent poem of creation found in Isaiah 40:12-15, 21-31. Read it out loud and savor the words. Ask yourself, what is the point for believers in the Creator?
12Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
13Who has understood the mind of the LORD,
or instructed him as his counselor?
14Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge
or showed him the path of understanding? ....
21Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22He sits enthroned28 above the circle29 of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens30 like a canopy,31
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
24No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.
25"To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.
26Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.
27Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
"My way is hidden32 from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded33 by my God"?
28Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God (´el `ôlām)
the Creator (bārā´) of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired34 or weary,35
and his understanding36 no one can fathom.
29He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble37 and fall;
31but those who hope38 in the LORD
will renew39 their strength.
They will soar40 on wings like eagles;41
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk42 and not be faint.
Q4. (Isaiah 40:21-31). In this passage on the "Creator of
the ends of the earth," which words are repeated in verses 28-31?
What application are we disciples to derive from this passage so
that we might understand God's might as Creator?
Now available as in paperback and e-book formats. Includes Hebrew & Greek word studies, discussion questions and handouts for groups or classes, suggests songs, comprehensive with 120 core names, titles, etc., total of 219 varieties. Detailed index. Modestly priced. Buy your copy today.
We have explored being created from the dust of the earth by God our Former and Potter, Arcihtect, Builder of all things, Father of Lights, Faithful Creator, and Maker. We live our lives in the knowledge and calm assurance that, "It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves" (Psalm 100:3).
Father, thank you for having a chance to explore you as our Creator. Help us to always keep ourselves in perspective, that we are the created ones and you are the Creator. Thank you for life in your image. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
Names of God
- Builder of All things
- Builder of Jerusalem
- Creator of heaven and earth
- Creator of the ends of the earth
- Israel's Creator
- Faithful Creator
- Father of Lights
- Former of All Things
- God of All the Earth
- God of heaven
- God of heaven and earth
- King of heaven
- Lord of heaven and earth
- Maker of heaven and earth
- My Maker
If you have a song in this category to suggest, please let me know (www.joyfulheart.com/contact/).
"All Creatures of Our God and King," words by St. Francis of Assisi (c. 1225), paraphrased by William H. Draper (1926). Tune: 1623. Words copyrighted by J. Curwen & Sons, Ltd., G. Schirmer, Inc.
"All Things Bright and Beautiful" ("the Lord God made them all."), words by Cecil F. Alexander (1848), music: "Royal Oak," 17th century English melody arranged by Martin F. Shaw (1915)
"God of Wonders" ("...beyond our galaxy, you are holy, holy"), by Marc Byrd and Steve Hindalong (©2000 New Spring Publishing, Inc.; Storm Boy Music, Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)
"Have Thine Own Way, Lord," words: Adelaide A. Pollard (1907), music: George C. Stebbins (1907). (©1907, 1935, Hope Publishing Co.)
"He's Everything to Me," words and music by Ralph Carmichael (©1964, Lexicon Music, Inc.)
"How Great Thou Art," words Carl Boberg (1886), translated by Stuart K. Hine (1949). Tune: Swedish folk melody. (©1955, Manna Music, Inc.)
"How Majestic Is Your Name" (Psalm 8:1), by Michael W. Smith (©1981 Meadowgreen Music Company, Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)
"He Knows My Name" ("I Have a Maker..."), words and music by Tommy Walker (©1996 Doulos Publishing, Maranatha! Music. Admin. by The Copyright Company.)
"I Sing the Almighty Power of God," words by Isaac Watts (1715), tune: traditional English melody.
"Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee," words by Henry Van Dyke (1907), Tune: Ludwig von Beethoven (1824). (Words ©1911, Charles Scribner's Sons, renewal 1939, Tertius van Dyke).
"Morning Has Broken," words by Eleanor Farjeon (1931), tune: traditional Gaelic melody. (Words copyright David Higham Associates, Ltd., London)
"Somebody Bigger Than You and I," words and music by Johnny Lange, Hy Heath and Sonny Burke (©1951, Alfred Publishing Co., Inc., from the Billy Graham picture, "Oil Town, U.S.A.")
"The Potter's Hand," words and music by Darlene Zschech (©1997 Hillsong Publishing, Admin. in U.S. & Canada by Integrity's Hosanna! Music)
"This Is My Father's World," words by Maltbie D. Babcock (1901), tune by Franklin L. Sheppard (1915).
"We Will Worship The Maker Of All Things," words and music by Bill Ancira (©1986 Integrity's Hosanna! Music)
"They That Wait upon the Lord" (Isaiah 40:31) (© Gospel Crusade, Harvest Time, Bradenton, FL).
Standard Abbreviations https://www.jesuswalk.com/names-god/refs.htm
- Thomas E. McComiskey, `āśā, TWOT #1708. The word occurs 2600 times in the Old Testament.
- Thomas E. McComiskey, bārā´, TWOT #278.
- Werner Foerster, ktizō, ktl., TDNT 3:1000-1035, especially p. 1007.
- Thomas E. McComiskey, yāṣar, TWOT #898.
- G. Herbert Livingston, rā`a`, TWOT 2191a.
- Leonard J. Coppes, ḥrś, TWOT #759a.
- Avraham Negev (ed.), Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land (Revised Edition; Nelson, 1986), pp. 298-304. Roland K. Harrison, The New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology, E.M. Blailock and Roland K. Harrison (eds.) (Zondervan, 1983), p. 318. Robert H. Johnston, "Pottery," ISBE 3:913-921.
- Gerard van Groningen, ḥāmar, TWOT #683c.
- Roland K. Harrison, "Clay," ISBE 1:717-718. Harrison sees "dry clay" rendered by several words: `āpar, "dust" (Job 10:9), ´ădāmâ, "ground" (Genesis 2:19), and ´erets, "ground" (Psalm 12:6).
- Nēbel, "bottle, jar, pitcher" (Louis Goldberg, nēbel, TWOT #5035; BDB 614.)
- ´Ādām, "man, mankind, human." It should be distinguished from ´îsh, man as opposite of woman, or man distinguished in his manliness. (Leonard J. Coppes, ´dm, TWOT #25c).
- `Āpār, "dust," i.e. "dry, fine crumbs of earth. The noun `āpār is used literally in many contexts meaning "dust" or "loose earth." The Philistines filled the wells dug by Abraham with loose dirt (Genesis 26:15). (Ronald B. Allen, `āpar, TWOT #1664a).
- ´Ădāmâ, "ground, land, earth," that is, "soft, ground." To be distinguished from ´ereṣ "earth, land," and `āpār, "dry earth, dust" (Leonard J. Coppes, ´dm, TWOT #25b). See also Genesis 3:19; Psalm 22:15; 103:14.
- Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17 (New International Commentary on the Old Testament; Eerdmans, 1990), p. 156.
- E. A. Speiser, Genesis (Anchor Bible 1; Doubleday, 1964), p. 16.
- Kûn, "established, prepared, made ready, fixed.... The root meaning is to bring something into being with the consequence that its existence is a certainty" (John N. Oswalt, kûn, TWOT #964).
- Leonard J. Coppes, qānā, TWOT #7069.
- Werner Foerster, TDNT 3:1007. On "Creator" see also Geoffrey W. Bromiley, "Creator," ISBE 1:800-804.
- Bruce K. Waltke, bānâ, TWOT #255.
- BDAG 526-527.
- BDAG 1001.
- BDAG 223.
- John N. Oswalt, Isaiah 40-66 (New International Commentary on the Old Testament; Eerdmans, 1998), p.577, fn. 12.
- `Āśā, TWOT #1708.
- Yāṣar, TWOT #898.
- Pā`al, "to do," occurs only 56 times in the Old Testament, and only in the Qal stem and in poetic texts (Victor P. Hamilton, pā`al, TWOT #1792).
- This passages uses ´êlā, the normal word for God in Biblical Aramaic (´êlā, TWOT #2576).
- "Enthroned" is yāshab, "sit, be seated," and could mean "to ascend the throne" or be seated on a throne (BDB 1095).
- "Circle" is chûg, "vault of the heavens." Some have held that Isaiah 40:22 implies the sphericity of the earth. It may, but it may refer only to the Lord enthroned above the earth with its obviously circular horizon (BDB 295; Edwin Yamauchi, chûg, TWOT #615).
- "Heavens" is shāmayim, " 1) the physical heavens, and 2) the heavens as the abode of God (BDB 1116).
- "Canopy" (NIV) or "curtain" (KJV, NRSV) is dōq, "veil, curtain." It occurs only here, where the heavens are likened to a thin veil (Herbert Wolf, dāqaq, TWOT #448b). Oswalt (Isaiah 40-66, p. 65, fn. 65) translates the word "gossamer," from dōq, "a very thin, fine thing." "Stretches out" is nāṭā, "extend, stretch out, spread tent, pitch" (BDB 642). "Spread" is mātaḥ, "spread out" (BDB 607). Their imagery of the heavens came from nomadic days when they would spread out a tent or canopy on the ground, then stretch and pitch it with poles and ropes to create a roof over their heads.
- "Hidden" is sātar, "hide, conceal." The root also carries the subordinate thought of protection, though that idea isn't contained in this verse (R.D. Patterson, sātar, TWOT #1551).
- "Disregarded" (NIV) and "passed over" (KJV) is `ābar,
which has many shades of meaning including, "pass over, by, through, alienate." (Gerard
van Groningen, `ābar, TWOT #1556).
- Yā`ēpis "be or grow weary, be faint from lack of water" (BDB 419).
- Yāgēa`means "toil, labor, grow, or be weary." The primary meaning is "to work until one is tired and exhausted" (Ralph H. Alexander, yāgēa`, TWOT #842).
- "Understanding" is tebûnâ, "understanding, insight." The background idea is "to discern" (Louis Goldberg, tebûnâ, TWOT #239c).
- "Utterly fall" (KJV), "stumble and fall" (NIV) and "fall exhausted" (NRSV) is kāshal, "stumble, totter, stagger (usually from weakness or weariness, or in flight from attackers)" (R. Laird Harris, kāshal, TWOT #1050).
- "Wait" (KJV, NRSV) and "hope" (NIV) is qāwā, "wait, look for, hope.... This root means to wait or to look for with eager expectation." Waiting with steadfast endurance is a great expression of faith. It means enduring patiently in confident hope that God will decisively act for the salvation of his people (John E. Hartley, qāwā, TWOT #1994).
- "Renew" is chālap, "pass on, or away, pass through, change. Hiphil, "put forth a second growth," cf. Job 14:7 (R. Laird Harris, chālap, TWOT #666). E.J. Young says, "The verb used to describe those who wait on the Lord may be rendered they shall change or exchange. In this context the though is of changing the strength one has for a better strength... What strength is possessed by those who wait upon the Lord will be exchanged for strength that is real indeed" (Isaiah, 3:68-69).
- "Mount up" (KJV, NRSV) or "soar" (NIV) is `ālā, "go up, climb, ascend" (Leonard J. Coppes, `ālā, TWOT #1624).
- "Eagle" is nesher. Young (Isaiah 3:69) sees the simplest and most natural explanation of the eagle's renewal in its ability to take flight and soar so effortlessly (cf. Proverbs 23:5b; 30:19; and Job 39:27). Other explanations of the renewing of youth (Psalm 103:5) may stem from the eagle's longevity, new plumage following molting, etc. (Milton C. Fisher, nesher, TWOT #1437).
- Young (Isaiah 3:69) comments, "One figure is apparently derived from runners in a race and the other from the daily walk of a man."
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