Isaiah 10

1 Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees,
2 to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.
3 What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches?
4 Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives or fall among the slain. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.

God’s Judgment on Assyria

5 “Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath!
6 I send him against a godless nation, I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets.
7 But this is not what he intends, this is not what he has in mind; his purpose is to destroy, to put an end to many nations.
8 ‘Are not my commanders all kings?’ he says.
9 ‘Has not Kalno fared like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad, and Samaria like Damascus?
10 As my hand seized the kingdoms of the idols, kingdoms whose images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria—
11 shall I not deal with Jerusalem and her images as I dealt with Samaria and her idols?’ ”
12 When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, “I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes.
13 For he says: “ ‘By the strength of my hand I have done this, and by my wisdom, because I have understanding. I removed the boundaries of nations, I plundered their treasures; like a mighty one I subdued[a] their kings.
14 As one reaches into a nest, so my hand reached for the wealth of the nations; as people gather abandoned eggs, so I gathered all the countries; not one flapped a wing, or opened its mouth to chirp.’ ”
15 Does the ax raise itself above the person who swings it, or the saw boast against the one who uses it? As if a rod were to wield the person who lifts it up, or a club brandish the one who is not wood!
16 Therefore, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will send a wasting disease upon his sturdy warriors; under his pomp a fire will be kindled like a blazing flame.
17 The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame; in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and his briers.
18 The splendor of his forests and fertile fields it will completely destroy, as when a sick person wastes away.
19 And the remaining trees of his forests will be so few that a child could write them down.

The Remnant of Israel

20 In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.
21 A remnant will return,[b] a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God.
22 Though your people be like the sand by the sea, Israel, only a remnant will return. Destruction has been decreed, overwhelming and righteous.
23 The Lord, the LORD Almighty, will carry out the destruction decreed upon the whole land.
24 Therefore this is what the Lord, the LORD Almighty, says: “My people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians, who beat you with a rod and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did.
25 Very soon my anger against you will end and my wrath will be directed to their destruction.”
26 The LORD Almighty will lash them with a whip, as when he struck down Midian at the rock of Oreb; and he will raise his staff over the waters, as he did in Egypt.
27 In that day their burden will be lifted from your shoulders, their yoke from your neck; the yoke will be broken because you have grown so fat.[c]
28 They enter Aiath; they pass through Migron; they store supplies at Mikmash.
29 They go over the pass, and say, “We will camp overnight at Geba.” Ramah trembles; Gibeah of Saul flees.
30 Cry out, Daughter Gallim! Listen, Laishah! Poor Anathoth!
31 Madmenah is in flight; the people of Gebim take cover.
32 This day they will halt at Nob; they will shake their fist at the mount of Daughter Zion, at the hill of Jerusalem.
33 See, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will lop off the boughs with great power. The lofty trees will be felled, the tall ones will be brought low.
34 He will cut down the forest thickets with an ax; Lebanon will fall before the Mighty One.

Isaiah 10 Commentary

Chapter 10

Woes against proud oppressors. (1-4) The Assyrian but an instrument in the hand of God for the punishment of his people. (5-19) The deliverance from him. (20-34)

Verses 1-4 These verses are to be joined with the foregoing chapter. Woe to the superior powers that devise and decree unrighteous decrees! And woe to the inferior officers that draw them up, and enter them on record! But what will sinners do? Whither will they flee?

Verses 5-19 See what a change sin made. The king of Assyria, in his pride, thought to act by his own will. The tyrants of the world are tools of Providence. God designs to correct his people for their hypocrisy, and bring them nearer to him; but is that Sennacherib's design? No; he designs to gratify his own covetousness and ambition. The Assyrian boasts what great things he has done to other nations, by his own policy and power. He knows not that it is God who makes him what he is, and puts the staff into his hand. He had done all this with ease; none moved the wing, or cried as birds do when their nests are rifled. Because he conquered Samaria, he thinks Jerusalem would fall of course. It was lamentable that Jerusalem should have set up graven images, and we cannot wonder that she was excelled in them by the heathen. But is it not equally foolish for Christians to emulate the people of the world in vanities, instead of keeping to things which are their special honour? For a tool to boast, or to strive against him that formed it, would not be more out of the way, than for Sennacherib to vaunt himself against Jehovah. When God brings his people into trouble, it is to bring sin to their remembrance, and humble them, and to awaken them to a sense of their duty; this must be the fruit, even the taking away of sin. When these points are gained by the affliction, it shall be removed in mercy. This attempt upon Zion and Jerusalem should come to nothing. God will be as a fire to consume the workers of iniquity, both soul and body. The desolation should be as when a standard-bearer fainteth, and those who follow are put to confusion. Who is able to stand before this great and holy Lord God?

Verses 20-34 By our afflictions we may learn not to make creatures our confidence. Those only can with comfort stay upon God, who return to him in truth, not in pretence and profession only. God will justly bring this wasting away on a provoking people, but will graciously set bounds to it. It is against the mind and will of God, that his people, whatever happens, should give way to fear. God's anger against his people is but for a moment; and when that is turned from us, we need not fear the fury of man. The rod with which he corrected his people, shall not only be laid aside, but thrown into the fire. To encourage God's people, the prophet puts them in mind of what God had formerly done against the enemies of his church. God's people shall be delivered from the Assyrians. Some think it looks to the deliverance of the Jews out of their captivity; and further yet, to the redemption of believers from the tyranny of sin and Satan. And this, "because of the anointing;" for his people Israel's sake, the believers among them that had received the unction of Divine grace. And for the sake of the Messiah, the Anointed of God. Here is, ver. ( 28-34 ) , a prophetical description of Sennacherib's march towards Jerusalem, when he threatened to destroy that city. Then the Lord, in whom Hezekiah trusted, cut down his army like the hewing of a forest. Let us apply what is here written, to like matters in other ages of the church of Christ. Because of the anointing of our great Redeemer, the yoke of every antichrist must be broken from off his church: and if our souls partake of the unction of the Holy Spirit, complete and eternal deliverances will be secured to us.

Cross References 107

  • 1. S Isaiah 5:8
  • 2. S Psalms 58:2
  • 3. Isaiah 3:14
  • 4. S Isaiah 5:23
  • 5. S Deuteronomy 10:18; S Job 6:27; S Isaiah 1:17
  • 6. S Job 31:14; Hosea 9:7
  • 7. ver 25; Psalms 59:5; Isaiah 1:24; Isaiah 13:6; Isaiah 14:23; Isaiah 24:6; Isaiah 26:14; Isaiah 47:11; Jeremiah 5:9; Jeremiah 9:9; Jeremiah 50:15; Luke 19:44
  • 8. S Psalms 108:12; Isaiah 20:6; Isaiah 30:7; Isaiah 31:3
  • 9. Isaiah 24:22; Zechariah 9:11
  • 10. Isaiah 22:2; Isaiah 34:3; Isaiah 66:16; Jeremiah 39:6; Nahum 3:3
  • 11. S Isaiah 5:25; Isaiah 12:1; Isaiah 63:10; Isaiah 64:5; Jeremiah 4:8; Jeremiah 30:24; Lamentations 1:12
  • 12. S 2 Kings 19:21; S Isaiah 28:1
  • 13. ver 12,18; S Isaiah 7:20; Isaiah 14:25; Isaiah 31:8; Isaiah 37:7; Zephaniah 2:13
  • 14. Isaiah 14:5; Isaiah 54:16
  • 15. ver 15,24; Isaiah 30:31; Isaiah 41:15; Isaiah 45:1; Jeremiah 50:23; Jeremiah 51:20
  • 16. Isaiah 9:4; Isaiah 13:3,5,13; Isaiah 26:20; Isaiah 30:30; Isaiah 34:2; Isaiah 63:6; Isaiah 66:14; Ezekiel 30:24-25
  • 17. S Isaiah 9:17
  • 18. Habakkuk 1:12
  • 19. S 2 Chronicles 28:9; Isaiah 9:19
  • 20. S Judges 6:4; S Isaiah 5:29; Isaiah 8:1
  • 21. S 2 Samuel 22:43; S Psalms 7:5; S Isaiah 5:5; Isaiah 37:26-27
  • 22. S Genesis 50:20; Acts 4:23-28
  • 23. 2 Kings 18:24
  • 24. S Genesis 10:10
  • 25. S 2 Chronicles 35:20
  • 26. Numbers 34:8; 2 Chronicles 8:4; Isaiah 11:11
  • 27. 2 Kings 18:34
  • 28. 2 Kings 17:6
  • 29. S Genesis 14:15; 2 Kings 16:9; Jeremiah 49:24
  • 30. 2 Kings 19:18
  • 31. S 2 Kings 19:13; S Isaiah 2:8; Isaiah 36:18-20; Isaiah 37:10-13
  • 32. Isaiah 28:21-22; Isaiah 65:7; Isaiah 66:4; Jeremiah 5:29
  • 33. 2 Kings 19:31
  • 34. S ver 5; S 2 Kings 19:7; Isaiah 30:31-33; Isaiah 37:36-38; Jeremiah 50:18
  • 35. S Isaiah 2:11; S Ezekiel 28:17
  • 36. Psalms 18:27
  • 37. S Deuteronomy 8:17
  • 38. S Deuteronomy 32:26-27; Isaiah 47:7; Isaiah 37:24; Daniel 4:30
  • 39. Ezekiel 28:4
  • 40. Isaiah 14:13-14
  • 41. Jeremiah 49:16; Obadiah 1:4; Habakkuk 2:6-11
  • 42. S Job 31:25
  • 43. Isaiah 14:6
  • 44. 2 Kings 19:22-24; Isaiah 37:24-25
  • 45. S Isaiah 7:20; Isaiah 45:9; Romans 9:20-21
  • 46. S ver 5
  • 47. ver 18; S Numbers 11:33; Isaiah 17:4
  • 48. Psalms 78:31
  • 49. S Isaiah 8:7
  • 50. Jeremiah 21:14
  • 51. S Job 41:21; S Isaiah 1:31; Isaiah 31:9; Zechariah 2:5
  • 52. Isaiah 37:23
  • 53. S Numbers 11:1-3; S 2 Samuel 23:6
  • 54. S Isaiah 9:18
  • 55. S 2 Kings 19:23
  • 56. S ver 5
  • 57. ver 33-34; Isaiah 32:19
  • 58. Isaiah 17:6; Isaiah 21:17; Isaiah 27:13; Jeremiah 44:28
  • 59. ver 27; Isaiah 11:10,11; Isaiah 12:1,4; Isaiah 19:18,19; Isaiah 24:21; Isaiah 28:5; Isaiah 52:6; Zechariah 9:16
  • 60. S Isaiah 1:9; Ezekiel 7:16
  • 61. S 2 Kings 16:7
  • 62. 2 Chronicles 28:20
  • 63. 2 Chronicles 14:11; Micah 7:7">Isa 1Micah 7:7; Isaiah 48:2; Isaiah 50:10; Jeremiah 21:2; Hosea 3:5; Hosea 6:1; Micah 3:11; Micah 7:7
  • 64. S Isaiah 5:24
  • 65. S Genesis 45:7; Isaiah 6:13; Zephaniah 3:13
  • 66. Isaiah 7:3
  • 67. S Isaiah 9:6
  • 68. S Genesis 12:2; Isaiah 48:19; Jeremiah 33:22
  • 69. Ezra 1:4; Isaiah 11:11; Isaiah 46:3; Romans 9:27-28
  • 70. ver 23; Isaiah 28:22; Jeremiah 40:2; Daniel 9:27
  • 71. S ver 22
  • 72. Isaiah 6:12; Isaiah 28:22; Romans 9:27-28*
  • 73. Psalms 87:5-6
  • 74. S Isaiah 7:4
  • 75. S Exodus 5:14
  • 76. S ver 5
  • 77. Isaiah 17:14; Isaiah 29:17; Haggai 2:6
  • 78. ver 5; Psalms 30:5; Isaiah 13:5; Isaiah 24:21; Isaiah 26:20; Isaiah 30:30; Isaiah 34:2; Isaiah 66:14; Daniel 8:19; Daniel 11:36
  • 79. S ver 3; Micah 5:6
  • 80. Isaiah 37:36-38
  • 81. S Isaiah 9:4
  • 82. Isaiah 30:32
  • 83. S Exodus 14:16
  • 84. S ver 20
  • 85. S Psalms 66:11
  • 86. S Leviticus 26:13; S Isaiah 9:4
  • 87. Isaiah 14:25; Isaiah 47:6; Isaiah 52:2
  • 88. Jeremiah 30:8
  • 89. S 1 Samuel 14:2
  • 90. S Joshua 1:11
  • 91. 1 Samuel 13:2
  • 92. S Joshua 18:24; S Nehemiah 11:31
  • 93. S Joshua 18:25
  • 94. S Judges 19:14
  • 95. Isaiah 15:5
  • 96. 1 Samuel 25:44
  • 97. S Nehemiah 11:32
  • 98. S 1 Samuel 21:1
  • 99. S Job 15:25
  • 100. S Psalms 9:14; Isaiah 16:1; Jeremiah 6:23
  • 101. Isaiah 18:5; Isaiah 27:11; Ezekiel 17:4
  • 102. S Exodus 12:12
  • 103. Isaiah 2:13; Amos 2:9
  • 104. Isaiah 5:15
  • 105. Nahum 1:12; Zechariah 11:2
  • 106. S 2 Kings 19:23
  • 107. S Genesis 49:24; Psalms 93:4; Isaiah 33:21

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Or "treasures;" / "I subdued the mighty,"
  • [b]. Hebrew "shear-jashub" (see 7:3 and note); also in verse 22
  • [c]. Hebrew; Septuagint "broken" / "from your shoulders"

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains denunciations of punishment, first on the governors of the Jewish nation, and then upon the Assyrians; a woe is denounced on the makers and imposers of bad laws, whereby the poor and the needy, the widows and the fatherless, were deprived of their right, Isa 10:1,2 which woe or punishment is explained to be a desolation of their country by the Assyrians, that should come afar off, and which they could not escape; under whom they should bow and fall; and yet there should not be an end of their punishment, Isa 10:3,4 next follows a prophecy of the destruction of the Assyrians themselves, for the comfort of God's people; in which is observed, that the Assyrian monarch was an instrument in the hand of the Lord to chastise his people, and therefore is called the rod and staff of his wrath and indignation, Isa 10:5 the people are described against whom he was sent, and the end for which is mentioned, Isa 10:6 though this was not his intention, nor did he design to stop here, but to destroy and cut off many other nations, Isa 10:7 which he hoped to do from the magnificence of his princes, who were as kings, and from the conquests he had made of kingdoms, and their chief cities, Isa 10:8-11 wherefore, when the Lord had done what he designed to do by him among his people the Jews, he was determined to punish him, because of the pride of his heart, and the haughtiness of his looks, and his boasting of his strength and wisdom, and of his robberies and plunders, without opposition; which boasting was as foolish as if an axe, a saw, a rod, and a staff, should boast, magnify, move, and lift up themselves against the person that made use of them, Isa 10:12-15 which punishment is said to come from the Lord, and is expressed by leanness, and by a consuming and devouring fire; for which reason his army is compared to thorns and briers, to a forest, and a fruitful field, which should be destroyed at once; so that what of the trees remained should be so few as to be numbered by a child, Isa 10:16-19 and, for the further consolation of the people of God, it is observed, that in the times following the destruction of the Assyrian monarchy, a remnant of the people of Israel should be converted, and no more lean upon an arm of flesh, but upon the Lord Christ, the Holy One of Israel; even a remnant only; for though that people were very numerous, yet a remnant, according to the election of grace, should be saved, when it was the determinate counsel of God, and according to his righteous judgment, to destroy the far greater part of them, for their perverseness and obstinacy, Isa 10:20-23 wherefore the people of God are exhorted not to be afraid of the Assyrian, though chastised by him; since in a little time the anger of the Lord would cease in his destruction, which should be after the manner of the Egyptians at the Red sea, and as the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb; whereby they would be free from his burden and yoke, because of the anointed King that should reign, or the King Messiah, Isa 10:24-27 and then follows a description of the expedition of the king of Assyria into Judea, by making mention of the several places through which he should pass with terror to the inhabitants, until he should come to Jerusalem, against which he should shake his hand, Isa 10:28-32 and then, under the similes of lopping a bough, and cutting down the thickets of a forest, and the trees of Lebanon, is predicted the destruction of his army and its generals by an angel, Isa 10:33,34.

Isaiah 10 Commentaries

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