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Isaiah 44:12-14

Context

44:12 A blacksmith works with his tool 1 

and forges metal over the coals.

He forms it 2  with hammers;

he makes it with his strong arm.

He gets hungry and loses his energy; 3 

he drinks no water and gets tired.

44:13 A carpenter takes measurements; 4 

he marks out an outline of its form; 5 

he scrapes 6  it with chisels,

and marks it with a compass.

He patterns it after the human form, 7 

like a well-built human being,

and puts it in a shrine. 8 

44:14 He cuts down cedars

and acquires a cypress 9  or an oak.

He gets 10  trees from the forest;

he plants a cedar 11  and the rain makes it grow.

1 tn The noun מַעֲצָד (maatsad), which refers to some type of tool used for cutting, occurs only here and in Jer 10:3. See HALOT 615 s.v. מַעֲצָד.

2 tn Some English versions take the pronoun “it” to refer to an idol being fashioned by the blacksmith (cf. NIV, NCV, CEV). NLT understands the referent to be “a sharp tool,” which is then used by the carpenter in the following verse to carve an idol from wood.

3 tn Heb “and there is no strength”; NASB “his strength fails.”

4 tn Heb “stretches out a line” (ASV similar); NIV “measures with a line.”

5 tn Heb “he makes an outline with the [?].” The noun שֶׂרֶד (shered) occurs only here; it apparently refers to some type of tool or marker. Cf. KJV “with a line”; ASV “with a pencil”; NAB, NRSV “with a stylus”; NASB “with red chalk”; NIV “with a marker.”

6 tn Heb “works” (so NASB) or “fashions” (so NRSV); NIV “he roughs it out.”

7 tn Heb “he makes it like the pattern of a man”; NAB “like a man in appearance.”

8 tn Heb “like the glory of man to sit [in] a house”; NIV “that it may dwell in a shrine.”

9 tn It is not certain what type of tree this otherwise unattested noun refers to. Cf. ASV “a holm-tree” (NRSV similar).

10 tn Heb “strengthens for himself,” i.e., “secures for himself” (see BDB 55 s.v. אָמֵץ Pi.2).

11 tn Some prefer to emend אֹרֶן (’oren) to אֶרֶז (’erez, “cedar”), but the otherwise unattested noun appears to have an Akkadian cognate, meaning “cedar.” See H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena (SBLDS), 44-45. HALOT 90 s.v. I אֹרֶן offers the meaning “laurel.”



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