Isaiah 54:16
Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.
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(16) Behold, I have created the smith . . .—The words assert the same thought. The “axe,” the “hammer,” the “sword,” of the great ravagers of the earth are formed by the great Work-Master, and He would fashion no such weapon against the new Jerusalem.

54:11-17 Let the people of God, when afflicted and tossed, think they hear God speaking comfortably to them by these words, taking notice of their griefs and fears. The church is all glorious when full of the knowledge of God; for none teaches like him. It is a promise of the teaching and gifts of the Holy Spirit. All that are taught of God are taught to love one another. This seems to relate especially to the glorious times to succeed the tribulations of the church. Holiness, more than any thing, is the beauty of the church. God promises protection. There shall be no fears within; there shall be no fightings without. Military men value themselves on their splendid titles, but God calls them, Wasters made to destroy, for they make wasting and destruction their business. He created them, therefore he will serve his own designs by them. The day is coming when God will reckon with wicked men for their hard speeches, Jude 1:15. Security and final victory are the heritage of each faithful servant of the Lord. The righteousness by which they are justified, and the grace by which they are sanctified, are the gift of God, and the effect of his special love. Let us beseech him to sanctify our souls, and to employ us in his service.Behold, I have created the smith - The sense of this verse is, 'Everything that can effect your welfare is under my control. The smith who manufactures the instruments of war or of torture is under me. His life, his strength, his skill, are all in my hands, and he can do nothing which I shall not deem it best to permit him to do. So with the enemy of the church himself - the waster who destroys. I bare made him, and he is wholly under my control and at my disposal.' The smith who bloweth the coals, denotes the man who is engaged in forging instruments for war, or for any other purpose. Here it refers to him who should be engaged in forging instruments of battle to attack the church; and why should it not refer also to him who should be engaged in making instruments of torture - such as are used in times of persecution?

That bringeth forth an instrument for his work - Lowth, 'According to his work.' Noyes, 'By his labor.' The idea is, that he produces an instrument as the result of his work.

I have created the waster to destroy - I have formed every man who is engaged in spreading desolation by wars, and I have every such man under my control (see the notes at Isaiah 10:5-7; Isaiah 37:26-27; Isaiah 46:1-6). The sense here is, that as God had all such conquerors under his control, they could accomplish no more than he permitted them to do.

16. The workman that forms "weapons against thee" (Isa 54:17) is wholly in My power, therefore thou needest not fear, having Me on thy side.

for his work—rather, "by his labor [Horsley]. "According to the exigencies of his work" [Maurer].

waster to destroy—(Isa 10:5-7; 37:26, 27; 45:1-6). Desolating conquerors who use the "instruments" framed by "the smith." The repetition of the "I" implies, however, something in the latter half of the verse contrasted with the former understand it, therefore, thus: "I have in My power both him who frames arms and him who destroys them (arms)" [Rosenmuller].

Both the smith that maketh all warlike instruments, and the soldier that useth them, are my creatures, and totally at my command, and therefore they cannot hurt you without my leave. To destroy; to destroy only whom and when I please.

Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire,.... Into which he puts his iron to soften it, that he may beat it, and form it into what shape he pleases; which descriptive clause is added to show that it is a blacksmith that is intended, and to distinguish him from the carpenter and mason, of whom this word is also used, who deal, the one in wood, and the other in stone, and neither of which requires fire: now the Lord observes, to the comfort of his people, surrounded by enemies with instruments of war in their hands, that he made the smith that made these, not only as a man, but as an artificer gave him all the skill he has in making military weapons; and therefore could take away his skill, or hinder him from making any, or destroy and defeat, and render useless those that are made; and therefore they had nothing to fear from warlike preparations. Some understand this of the devil, that great incendiary of mankind; and others of a council of war, that forms the design, blows up the coals of contention, and brings forth the plan of operation in war, it follows, as a further description of the smith,

and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work: who takes the iron out of the fire which he blows, as an instrument to work upon, and which he forms into a military weapon, as an arrow, a sword, a spear, or shield; or, "for their work" (e); for the use of the enemies of Christ and his church:

and I have created the waster to destroy; military men, soldiers that use the above weapons of destruction for that purpose; these are God's creatures, and he can destroy or disappoint them, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. Some understand this also of the devil, who is by way of eminence the waster of mankind; others of tyrannical princes; I should choose to interpret it of the Romish antichrist, that waster and destroyer of the souls of men, and of the antichristian states that destroy the earth, and shall be destroyed themselves; or of the Turk, the locust, whose king is called Apollyon and Abaddon, which signifies a waster and a destroyer, Revelation 11:18. These are said to be "created" by the Lord, not only because they are his creatures, the work of his hands, but because they are raised up by his providence, according to his secret purpose, as Pharaoh was, to show his power in them; and are permitted by him to continue for awhile to fulfil his will, being entirely dependent upon him, and subject to his influence, direction, and overruling providence; and therefore his people had no reason to be afraid of them.

(e) "ad opus ipsorum", Gataker.

Behold, I have created the {p} smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.

(p) Signifying by this that man can do nothing, but so far as God gives power: for seeing that all are his creatures, he must govern and guide them.

16, 17. No weapon formed against Zion shall prosper, because both the makers of weapons and those who use them are alike created by Jehovah, and all their activity is under His control.

the smith that bloweth the fire of coals (R.V.)] Cf. ch. Isaiah 44:12.

an instrument for his work] rather for its work, or perhaps “according to its work,” adapted to the particular work for which it is intended,—a scythe for reaping, a sword for slaughter, and so on. The smith will turn out anything, amongst other things deadly weapons, but all by the permission of Jehovah who has made him.

the waster to destroy] Not “to destroy the weapon that the smith has made”; the “waster” is the one for whose use the weapon is made; he also is the creature of Jehovah.

Verse 16. - Behold, I have created, etc. The Church is encouraged to fear no danger by being reminded that all power to do hurt is from God. Whether it be the smith that forges a weapon, or the waster that destroys and lays waste whole countries, or any other worker of woe to man, all are equally brought into being, and sustained in life, by God. None can do a hurt that God does not allow. The smith that bloweth the coals. In ancient times the smith worked his metal into shape by the help of a blow-pipe, which he blew himself (see Rosellini, 'Monumenti Civili,' pl. 51, fig 4, and pl. 52, fig. 4). For his work; or, for its work: i.e. destruction. The waster; i.e. the conquering king, such as Tiglath-Pileser, Sargon, Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus. Isaiah 54:16Jerusalem will be thus invincible, because Jehovah, the Almighty One, is its protector. "Behold, I have created the smith who bloweth the coal-fire, and brings to the light a weapon according to his trade; and I have created the destroyer to destroy. Every weapon formed against thee has no success, and every tongue that cometh before the judgment with thee thou wilt condemn. This the inheritance of the servants of Jehovah; and their righteousness from me, saith Jehovah." If Jehovah has created the armourer, who forges a weapon למעסהוּ (i.e., according to his trade, or according to the thing he has to finish, whether an arrow, or a sword, or a spear; not "for his own use," as Kimchi supposes), to be used in the hostile army against Jerusalem, He has also created a destroyer (לחבּל) to destroy. The very same creative might, to which the origin of the weapon is to be traced as its primary cause, has opposed to it beforehand a defender of Jerusalem. And as every hostile weapon fails, Jerusalem, in the consciousness of its divine right, will convict every accusing tongue as guilty and deserving of utter condemnation (הרשׁיע as in Isaiah 50:9, cf., 1 Samuel 14:47, where it denotes the punishment of the guilty). The epiphonem in Isaiah 54:17, with the retrospective זאת and the words "saith the Lord," which confirm the certainty of the fulfilment, forms an unmistakeable close to the prophecy. This is the position in which Jehovah has placed His servants as heirs of the future salvation; and this the righteousness which they have received as His gift, and which makes them strong within and victorious without. The individual idea of the church, which we find elsewhere personified as "the servant of Jehovah," equivalent to "the people in whose heart is my law" (Isaiah 51:7), or "my people that have sought me" (Isaiah 65:10), is here expanded into "the servants of Jehovah" (as in Isaiah 65:8-9; compare Isaiah 59:21 with Isaiah 51:16). But totally different colours are employed in Isaiah 52:13 to Isaiah 53:1-12 to depict the exaltation of the one "Servant of Jehovah," from those used here to paint the glory of the church of the "servants of Jehovah," a proof that the ideas do not cover one another. That which is the reward of suffering in the case of the former, is the experience of divine mercy in that of the latter: it becomes a partaker of the salvation purchased by the other. The one "Servant of Jehovah" is the heart of the church, in which the crisis which bursts forth into life is passing; the righteousness of the "servants of Jehovah" is the fruit of the sufferings of this one "Servant of Jehovah," who is Himself צדיק and מצידק. He is the Mediator of all the salvation of the church. He is not only its "head," but its "fulness" (πλήρωμα) also.
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