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Isaiah 44:9-20 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

[a]Those who fashion idols are all nothing;
    their precious works are of no avail.
They are their witnesses:[b]
    they see nothing, know nothing,
    and so they are put to shame.
10 Who would fashion a god or cast an idol,
    that is of no use?
11 Look, all its company will be shamed;
    they are artisans, mere human beings!
They all assemble and stand there,
    only to cower in shame.
12 The ironsmith fashions a likeness,
    he works it over the coals,
Shaping it with hammers,
    working it with his strong arm.
With hunger his strength wanes,
    without water, he grows faint.
13 The woodworker stretches a line,
    and marks out a shape with a stylus.
He shapes it with scraping tools,
    with a compass measures it off,
Making it the copy of a man,[c]
    human display, enthroned in a shrine.
14 He goes out to cut down cedars,
    takes a holm tree or an oak.
He picks out for himself trees of the forest,
    plants a fir, and the rain makes it grow.
15 It is used for fuel:
    with some of the wood he warms himself,
    makes a fire and bakes bread.
Yet he makes a god and worships it,
    turns it into an idol and adores it!
16 Half of it he burns in the fire,
    on its embers he roasts meat;
    he eats the roast and is full.
He warms himself and says, “Ah!
    I am warm! I see the flames!”
17 The rest of it he makes into a god,
    an image to worship and adore.
He prays to it and says,
    “Help me! You are my god!”
18 They do not know, do not understand;
    their eyes are too clouded to see,
    their minds, to perceive.
19 He does not think clearly;
    he lacks the wit and knowledge to say,
“Half the wood I burned in the fire,
    on its embers I baked bread,
    I roasted meat and ate.
Shall I turn the rest into an abomination?
    Shall I worship a block of wood?”
20 He is chasing ashes![d]
A deluded mind has led him astray;
    He cannot save himself,
    does not say, “This thing in my right hand—is it not a fraud?”


  1. 44:9–20 A satire on the makers and worshipers of idols.
  2. 44:9 Their witnesses: Israel has been called to bear witness to the awesome power of God (cf. 43:10, 12; 44:8), but idol makers cannot testify in support of their creations, for idols cannot act (Dt 4:28; Ps 135:15–18).
  3. 44:13 Copy of a man: in the biblical view human beings are made in the image of God; here gods are made in the image of human beings.
  4. 44:20 Chasing ashes: an exercise in futility.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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