Isaiah 44:12 MEANING

Isaiah 44:12
(12) The smith with the tongs.--We begin with the metal idol. Better, The smith uses a chisel. The work involves stooping over the charcoal furnace. The maker of the god is exhausted with his toil, and requires food and drink to sustain him.

Verse 12. - The smith with the tongs. The Hebrew text is defective, some word having fallen out. We should probably supply "maketh," and translate, The smith maketh an axe, and worketh it in the coals, and with hammers fashioneth it. The description of image-making thus commences with the fashioning of the carpenter's tools. He is hungry, etc. The artificer who takes the first step in "forming a god" (ver. 10) is himself hungry and thirsty, depending on so mean a thing as food to supply him with the needful strength. Unless he can cat and drink, the whole work is brought to a standstill.

44:9-20 Image-making is described, to expose the folly of idolaters. Though a man had used part of a log for fuel, he fell down before an image made of the remainder, praying it to deliver him. Man greatly dishonours God, when he represents him after the image of man. Satan blinds the eyes of unbelievers, causing absurd reasonings in matters of religion. Whether men seek happiness in worldly things, or run into unbelief, superstition, or any false system, they feed on ashes. A heart deceived by pride, love of sin, and departure from God, turns men aside from his holy truth and worship. While the affections are depraved, a man holds fast the lie as his best treasure. Are our hearts set upon the wealth of the world and its pleasures? They will certainly prove a lie. If we trust to outward professions and doings, as if those would save us, we deceive ourselves. Self-suspicion is the first step towards self-deliverance. He that would deliver his soul, must question his conscience, Is there not a lie in my right hand?The smith with the tongs,.... Or, "the worker of iron" (c); the blacksmith, who had a concern in making of idols, for some were made of iron, Daniel 5:4, or in making plates to cover them, or nails to fasten them with, or instruments which the carpenter made use of in cutting down trees, and fitting the wood for an image; such as the axe or hatchet, or plane, and which some think is here meant, by the word translated "tongs", but is rendered an "axe", Jeremiah 10:3 and is used for that, or an hatchet, or a plane, by the Misnic (d) writers; so the Targum renders it,

"the smith out of iron makes an axe or hatchet:''

"both worketh in the coals"; he puts his iron in the coals, and blows upon them, and so makes it soft and malleable, and then takes it out:

and fashioneth it with hammers: beats it with hammers upon the anvil, and puts it into what form he pleases:

and worketh it with the strength of his arms; uses his utmost strength to bring it into a form he is desirous of:

yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth; he drinketh no water, and is faint; he works at it with all his might and main, is earnest at it, and is eagerly desirous of finishing his work; he works till he is hungry and thirsty, and for want of food is ready to faint and sink; and yet will not give himself time to eat and drink, being so intent upon his work: or the sense is, though he is hungry and thirsty, and faints for want of provisions, yet the god he is making, or has made, cannot supply him with any: this is said to expose the folly of idol making, and of idol worship.

(c) "faber ferri", Pagninus, Montanus; "faber ferrarius", V. L. Vitringa. (d) Misn. Sabbat, c. 12. sect. 1. Celim, c. 29. 6.

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