31:1 Woe to them that a go down to Egypt for help; and rely on horses, and trust in chariots, because [they are] many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not to the Holy One of Israel, neither b seek the LORD!
31:2 Yet he also [is] c wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity.
(a) There were two special reasons why the Israelites should not join with the Egyptians: first, because the Lord had commanded them never to return there, ( Deuteronomy 17:16 Deuteronomy 28:68 ) lest they should forget the benefit of their redemption: and secondly, lest they should be corrupted with the superstition and idolatry of the Egyptians, and so forsake God, ( Jeremiah 2:18 ).
(b) Meaning, that they forsake the Lord, if they put their trust in worldly things: for they cannot trust in both.
(c) And knows their crafty enterprises, and will bring all to nought. 31:3 Now the Egyptians [are] men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that d helpeth shall fall, and he that is helped shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.
(d) Meaning, both the Egyptians and the Israelites. 31:4 For thus hath the LORD spoken to me, As the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, [he] will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come e down to fight for mount Zion, and for its hill.
31:6 Turn ye to [him from] whom the children of Israel have f deeply revolted.
(e) He shows the Jews that if they would put their trust in him, he is so able, that no one can resist his power and so care over them, as a bird over her young, which ever flies about them for their defence: which similitude the scripture uses in various places, as in ( Deuteronomy 32:11 ; Matthew 23:37 ).
(f) He touches their conscience that they might earnestly feel their grievous sins, and so truly repent, for as much as now they are almost drowned and past recovery. 31:7 For in that day every man shall g cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made to you [for] a sin.
31:8 h Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of man; and the sword, not of men, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be made vessels.
(g) By these fruits your repentance will be known, as in ( Isaiah 2:20 ).
(h) When your repentance appears. 31:9 And he shall pass over to his i strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the LORD, whose k fire [is] in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.
(i) This was accomplished soon after when Sennacheribs army was discomfited, and he fled to his castle in Nineveh for comfort.
(k) To destroy his enemies.