Verse 21. "These are come to fray them" - To break, pound, and reduce them to powder. Fray, from the French, frayer, to rub. µyrj charashim signifies either carpenters or smiths; probably the latter are here intended, who came with hammers, files, and such like, to destroy these horns, which no doubt seemed to be of iron.
From a sensible correspondent I have received the following note:- "The word we translate carpenters, µyrj charashim, is a root which, according to Mr. Parkhurst, denotes silent thought or attention; and in kal and hiphil, to contrive, devise secretly, or in silence; hence applied as a noun to an artificer of any kind, and to any work which disposes to silent attention. Thus, to potters' ware, Lev. vi. 28; Job ii. 8; and in many other places. So also to ploughing, Deut. xxii. 10; Prov. xx. 4, which requires constant attention to make 'the right-lined furrow.' Let it be remembered that in ancient times such works were more esteemed than the useless ones we have learned to admire. So again, in Gen. xxiv. 21, and elsewhere, it implies to be silent, as in deep thought or great attention.
"Now it is evident that the purport of this vision is the same with the gracious declartions which precede it, viz., to express the return of the protecting mercies of God to his people, delivering them from their enemies. I should therefore be inclined to render µyrj charashim here, watchers or inspectors, in the sense which our translators have rendered the Chaldee ry[ ir, a watcher, in the fourth chapter of Daniel, ver. 13; understanding thereby 'spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth,' chap. vi. 6, and are described in the first vision as 'sent to walk to and fro through the earth.' This gives to the whole narrative a sublime and important sense, affording us some glimpse of the Divine government by the ministration of angels, such as Jacob was favoured with in his vision at Beth-el, and which our saviour himself informed Nathanael constituted part of the glory of his mediatorial kingdom." M. A. B.