New American Standard Bible
The man shapes iron into a cutting tool and does his work over the coals, fashioning it with hammers and working it with his strong arm. He also gets hungry and his strength fails; he drinks no water and becomes weary.
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
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
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;
LibraryJacob --Israel --Jeshurun
'Yet now hear, O Jacob My servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen.... Fear not, O Jacob, My servant; and thou, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. --ISAIAH xliv. 1, 2. You observe that there are here three different names applied to the Jewish nation. Two of them, namely Jacob and Israel, were borne by their great ancestor, and by him transmitted to his descendants. The third was never borne by him, and is applied to the people only here and in the Book of Deuteronomy. The occurrence of all three here …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
To the Afflicted, Tossed with Tempests and not Comforted. Isa 44:5-11
Hiram, the Inspired Artificer
A Few Sighs from Hell;
"There you will serve gods, the work of man's hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell.
As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, A goldsmith plates it with gold, And a silversmith fashions chains of silver.
He who is too impoverished for such an offering Selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman To prepare an idol that will not totter.
Each one helps his neighbor And says to his brother, "Be strong!"
So the craftsman encourages the smelter, And he who smooths metal with the hammer encourages him who beats the anvil, Saying of the soldering, "It is good"; And he fastens it with nails, So that it will not totter.
"Those who lavish gold from the purse And weigh silver on the scale Hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; They bow down, indeed they worship it.
"They lift it upon the shoulder and carry it; They set it in its place and it stands there. It does not move from its place. Though one may cry to it, it cannot answer; It cannot deliver him from his distress.
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
LinksIsaiah 44:12 NIV
Isaiah 44:12 NLT
Isaiah 44:12 ESV
Isaiah 44:12 NASB
Isaiah 44:12 KJV
Isaiah 44:12 Bible Apps
Isaiah 44:12 Biblia Paralela
Isaiah 44:12 Chinese Bible
Isaiah 44:12 French Bible
Isaiah 44:12 German Bible
Isaiah 44:12 Commentaries