Bel and Nebo were deities worshiped by Babylonians and the name of Nebuchadnezzar especially shows the connection between god and man in the pagan world. Creation of Adam in Hebraic tradition was not unique and one sees in the pagan cults some similarities that point to a common source. Only in the manner it is seen and understood and how it has become part of human culture we see its difference. A pagan who would ensure a bumper crop appropriately appease the deity associated with agriculture. More evidence of god’s cruelty and pettiness that they required careful handling is distinct feature of their cults. It shall be clear that man’s works are given emphasis. In Christian worship where some cults demand celibacy, extreme penance, flagellation as a token of holiness one can see how pagan practices have made inroads into churches.) In this chapter Prophet Isaiah sets out difference between their gods and the Lord God. Pagan gods need to be carried and they are as much shaken by the cart that had to be hauled. They stoop they bow down while the Lord ‘maketh the clouds his chariot (Ps.104:3)’ and what is more,’He watereth the hills from his chambers.’ Unlike idols he is clothed with honor and majesty of Power and Wisdom which is quintessence of divine Nature. The Lord God does not need beasts of burden to carry him about but as He addresses the nation of Israel it was He who carries them. “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.
(Ex.19:4).” In so many ways He made Himself known to them and despite of their stubborn pride and backsliding He has been patient as a mother would ignore the child’s tantrums and solicitously nurse it when hurt. “… 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: And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you (vv.3-4)”.
He also has foreordained where they shall be established and they shall rejoice in His glory. “ Hearken unto me, ye stouthearted, that are far from righteousness: 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 (vv.12-13).”
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.
2 They stoop, they bow down together; they could not deliver the burden, but themselves are gone into captivity.
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:
4 And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.
5 To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?
6 They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship.
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.
8 Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors.
9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
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:
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.
12 Hearken unto me, ye stouthearted, that are far from righteousness:
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