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" F5; 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 ) ( 9:11 ) . 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.
F5 (whveml) "ad opus ipsorum", Gataker.