Isaiah 10:16-20

16 Therefore the Lord, the GOD of hosts, will send a 1wasting disease among his 2stout warriors; And under his 3glory a fire will be kindled like a burning flame.
17 And the 4light of Israel will become a fire and his 5Holy One a flame, And it will 6burn and devour his thorns and his briars in a single day.
18 And He will 7destroy the glory of his forest and of his fruitful garden, both soul and body, And it will be as when a sick man wastes away.
19 And the 8rest of the trees of his forest will be so small in number That a child could write them down.

A Remnant Will Return

20 Now in that day the 9remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob 10who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly 11rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 10:16-20 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH 10

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 10:16-20 In-Context

14 And my hand reached to the riches of the peoples like a nest, And as one gathers abandoned eggs, I gathered all the earth; And there was not one that flapped its wing or opened its beak or chirped."
15 Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it? Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it? That would be like a club wielding those who lift it, Or like a rod lifting him who is not wood.
16 Therefore the Lord , the GOD of hosts, will send a wasting disease among his stout warriors; And under his glory a fire will be kindled like a burning flame.
17 And the light of Israel will become a fire and his Holy One a flame, And it will burn and devour his thorns and his briars in a single day.
18 And He will destroy the glory of his forest and of his fruitful garden, both soul and body, And it will be as when a sick man wastes away.
19 And the rest of the trees of his forest will be so small in number That a child could write them down.
20 Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the LORD , the Holy One of Israel.
21 A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.
22 For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea, Only a remnant within them will return; A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness.

Cross References 11

  • 1. Psalms 106:15
  • 2. Isaiah 17:4
  • 3. Isaiah 8:7; Isaiah 10:18
  • 4. Isaiah 30:33; Isaiah 31:9
  • 5. Isaiah 37:23
  • 6. Numbers 11:1-3; Isaiah 27:4; Isaiah 33:12; Jeremiah 4:4; Jeremiah 7:20
  • 7. Isaiah 10:33, 34
  • 8. Isaiah 21:17
  • 9. Isaiah 1:9; Isaiah 11:11, 16; Isaiah 46:3
  • 10. Isaiah 4:2; Isaiah 37:31, 32
  • 11. 2 Chronicles 14:11; Isaiah 17:7, 8; Isaiah 50:10

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Heb "YHWH," usually rendered LORD
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