New International Version
The blacksmith takes a tool and works with it in the coals; he shapes an idol with hammers, he forges it with the might of his arm. He gets hungry and loses his strength; he drinks no water and grows faint.
King James Bible
The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with the strength of his arms: yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth: he drinketh no water, and is faint.
Darby Bible Translation
The iron-smith [hath] a chisel, and he worketh in the coals, and he fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with his strong arm; -- but he is hungry, and his strength faileth; he hath not drunk water, and he is faint.
World English Bible
The blacksmith takes an axe, works in the coals, fashions it with hammers, and works it with his strong arm. He is hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water, and is faint.
Young's Literal Translation
He hath wrought iron with an axe, And hath wrought with coals, And with hammers doth form it, And doth work it by his powerful arm, Yea, he is hungry, and there is no power, He doth not drink water, and he is wearied.
Isaiah 44:12 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
The smith with the tongs, etc. "The smith cutteth off a portion of iron" - מעצד meatstsed, Participium Pihel of עצד atsad, to cut; still used in that sense in the Arabic. See Simonis Lex. Hebrews The Septuagint and Syriac take the word in this form: but they render it sharpeneth the iron. See Castell. Lex. in voce.
The sacred writers are generally large and eloquent upon the subject of idolatry; they treat it with great severity, and set forth the absurdity of it in the strongest light. But this passage of Isaiah, Isaiah 44:12-20, far exceeds any thing that ever was written upon the subject, in force of argument, energy of expression, and elegance of composition. One or two of the apocryphal writers have attempted to imitate the prophet, but with very ill success; Wisd. 13:11-19; 15:7, etc.; Baruch 6, NAB (editor's note: some translations treat this as Letter to Jeremiah), especially the latter, who, injudiciously dilating his matter, and introducing a number of minute circumstances, has very much weakened the force and effect of his invective. On the contrary a heathen author, in the ludicrous way, has, in a line or two, given idolatry one of the severest strokes it ever received: -
Olim truncus eram ficulnus, inutile lignum,
Cum faber incertus, scamnum faceretne
Priapum, Maluit esse Deum. Deus inde ego.
Horat. Satyr, lib. 1. sat. viii.
"Formerly I was the stump of a fig tree, a useless log; when the carpenter, after hesitating whether to make me a god or a stool, at last determined to make me a god. Thus I became a god!"
From the tenth to the seventeenth verse, a most beautiful strain of irony is carried on against idolatry. And we may naturally think that every idolater, who either read or heard it, must have been for ever ashamed of his own devices. - L.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
the tong. or, an axe
LibraryFeeding on Ashes
'He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?'--ISAIAH xliv. 20. The prophet has been pouring fierce scorn on idolaters. They make, he says, the gods they worship. They take a tree and saw it up: one log serves for a fire to cook their food, and with compass and pencil and plane they carve the figure of a man, and then they bow down to it and say, 'Deliver me, for thou art my god!' He sums up the whole …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
The Privilege of Prayer
"But if Ye have Bitter Envying and Strife in Your Hearts, Glory Not," &C.
There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell.
As for an idol, a metalworker casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it.
A person too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot; they look for a skilled worker to set up an idol that will not topple.
they help each other and say to their companions, "Be strong!"
The metalworker encourages the goldsmith, and the one who smooths with the hammer spurs on the one who strikes the anvil. One says of the welding, "It is good." The other nails down the idol so it will not topple.
Some pour out gold from their bags and weigh out silver on the scales; they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god, and they bow down and worship it.
They lift it to their shoulders and carry it; they set it up in its place, and there it stands. From that spot it cannot move. Even though someone cries out to it, it cannot answer; it cannot save them from their troubles.
Jump to PreviousArm Arms Axe Blacksmith Coals Cutting Drinketh Drinks Faileth Fails Faint Fashioneth Fashions Fire Hammers Heating Hungry Idol Iron Iron-Worker Loses Maketh Metal Shapes Smith Strength Strong Tongs Tool Water Weary Worketh Working Works
Jump to NextArm Arms Axe Blacksmith Coals Cutting Drinketh Drinks Faileth Fails Faint Fashioneth Fashions Fire Hammers Heating Hungry Idol Iron Iron-Worker Loses Maketh Metal Shapes Smith Strength Strong Tongs Tool Water Weary Worketh Working Works
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