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Isaiah 44:12

    Isaiah 44:12 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    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.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    The smith with the tongs both works in the coals, and fashions it with hammers, and works it with the strength of his arms: yes, he is hungry, and his strength fails: he drinks no water, and is faint.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    The smith maketh an axe, and worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with his strong arm: yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth; he drinketh no water, and is faint.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    The iron-worker is heating the metal in the fire, giving it form with his hammers, and working on it with his strong arm: then for need of food his strength gives way, and for need of water he becomes feeble.

    Webster's Revision

    The smith maketh an axe, and worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with his strong arm: yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth; he drinketh no water, and 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.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    The smith maketh an axe, and worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with his strong arm: yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth; he drinketh no water, and is faint.

    Definitions for Isaiah 44:12

    Yea - Yes; certainly.

    Clarke's Commentary on Isaiah 44:12

    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.

    Barnes' Notes on Isaiah 44:12

    The smith with the tongs - The prophet proceeds here to show the folly and absurdity of idolatry; and in order to this he goes into an extended statement Isaiah 44:12-19 of the manner in which idols were usually made. Lowth remarks, 'The sacred writers are generally large and eloquent on 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 far exceeds anything that was ever written on 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) Horace, however, has given a description of the making of idols, which, for severity of satire, and pungency of sarcasm, has a strong resemblance to this description in Isaiah:

    Olim truncus eram ficulnus, inutile lignum;

    Cum faber, incertus scamnum faceretne Priapum

    Maluit esse Deum.

    Sat. I. viii. 1-3.

    Lowth renders the phrase 'the smith with the tongs,' 'The smith cutteth off a portion of iron.' Noyes, 'The smith prepareth an axe' The Septuagint, 'The carpenter sharpeneth (ὤζυνε ōzune) iron' (σίδηρον sidēron), that is, an axe. So also the Syriac. Gesenius renders it, 'The smith makes an axe.' Many other renderings of the passage have been proposed. The idea in this verse is, I think, that the prophet describes the commencement of the process of making a graven image. For that purpose, he goes back even to the making of the instruments by which it is manufactured, and in this verse he describes the process of making an axe, with a view to the cutting down of the tree, and forming a god. That he does not here refer to the making of the idol itself is apparent from the fact that the process here described is that of working in iron; but idols were not made of iron, and that here described especially (Isaiah 44:11 ff) is one made of wood. The phrase used here, therefore, refers to the process of axe-making with a view to cutting down a tree to make a god; and the prophet describes the ardor and activity with which it is done, to show how much haste they were in to complete it. The literal translation of this phrase is, 'The workman (חרשׁ chârash, st. const. for חרשׁ chârâsh) of iron (maketh) an axe.'

    Both worketh in the coals - And he works the piece of iron of which he is making an axe in the coals. He blows the coals in order to produce an intense heat (see Isaiah 54:16) - 'Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire.'

    And fashioneth it with hammers - Forms the mass of iron into an axe. Axes were not cast, but made.

    And worketh it with the strength of his arms - Or, he works it with his strong arms - referring to the fact that the arm of the smith, by constant usage, becomes exceedingly strong. A description remarkably similar to this occurs in Virgil when he is describing the Cyclops:

    Illi inter sesc magna vi brachia tollunt

    In numerum; versantque tenaci forcipe ferrum.

    Georg. iv. 174, 175.

    Heaved with vast strength their arms in order rise,

    And blow to blow in measured chime replies;

    continued...

    Wesley's Notes on Isaiah 44:12

    44:12 Faint - This is mentioned as an evidence of great zeal and industry in carrying on this work; so that they forget or neglect to eat and drink.