Isaiah 44:12

12 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.

Read Isaiah 44:12 Using Other Translations

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.
The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint.
The blacksmith stands at his forge to make a sharp tool, pounding and shaping it with all his might. His work makes him hungry and weak. It makes him thirsty and faint.

What does Isaiah 44:12 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Isaiah 44:12

The smith with the tongs
Or, "the worker of iron" F3; 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 F4 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.
FOOTNOTES:

F3 (lzrb vrx) "faber ferri", Pagninus, Montanus; "faber ferrarius", V. L. Vitringa.
F4 Misn. Sabbat, c. 12. sect. 1. Celim, c. 29. 6.
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