Friday, 15 January 2016


"For it too often happens that riches bring self-indulgence, and superfluity of pleasures produces flabbiness as we can see in wealthy regions and cities (where there are merchants).
Now those who sail to distant places are no longer content with home comforts but bring back with them unknown luxuries.
Therefore because wealth is generally the mother of extravagance, the prophet mentions here expensive household furnishings, by which he means the Jews [now read: everybody] brought God's judgement upon themselves by the lavish way they decorated their houses.
For with pictures he includes expensive tapestries like Phyrgian embroidery and vases molded with exquisite art."

John Calvin Commentary on Isaiah 2:12, 16, written around 1550, published and revised many times but the above is

quoted by Simon Schama in The Embarrassment of Riches An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age, University of California Press 1988, page 289.


  1. I don't know if I would be embarrassed to be wealthy, but curiosity makes me want to find out.

    1. I think it is always somebody else who is wealthy.