Isaiah 10

1 Ah, you who make iniquitous decrees, who write oppressive statutes,
2 to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be your spoil, and that you may make the orphans your prey!
3 What will you do on the day of punishment, in the calamity that will come from far away? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth,
4 so as not to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain? For all this his anger has not turned away; his hand is stretched out still.
5 Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger— the club in their hands is my fury!
6 Against a godless nation I send him, and against the people of my wrath I command him, to take spoil and seize plunder, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
7 But this is not what he intends, nor does he have this in mind; but it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few.
8 For he says: "Are not my commanders all kings?
9 Is not Calno like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad? Is not Samaria like Damascus?
10 As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols whose images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria,
11 shall I not do to Jerusalem and her idols what I have done to Samaria and her images?"
12 When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the arrogant boasting of the king of Assyria and his haughty pride.
13 For he says: "By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I have understanding; I have removed the boundaries of peoples, and have plundered their treasures; like a bull I have brought down those who sat on thrones.
14 My hand has found, like a nest, the wealth of the peoples; and as one gathers eggs that have been forsaken, so I have gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved a wing, or opened its mouth, or chirped."
15 Shall the ax vaunt itself over the one who wields it, or the saw magnify itself against the one who handles it? As if a rod should raise the one who lifts it up, or as if a staff should lift the one who is not wood!
16 Therefore the Sovereign, the Lord of hosts, will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors, and under his glory a burning will be kindled, like the burning of fire.
17 The light of Israel will become a fire, and his Holy One a flame; and it will burn and devour his thorns and briers in one day.
18 The glory of his forest and his fruitful land the Lord will destroy, both soul and body, and it will be as when an invalid wastes away.
19 The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few that a child can write them down.
20 On that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on the one who struck them, but will lean on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
21 A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.
22 For though your people Israel were like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness.
23 For the Lord God of hosts will make a full end, as decreed, in all the earth.
24 Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts: O my people, who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians when they beat you with a rod and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did.
25 For in a very little while my indignation will come to an end, and my anger will be directed to their destruction.
26 The Lord of hosts will wield a whip against them, as when he struck Midian at the rock of Oreb; his staff will be over the sea, and he will lift it as he did in Egypt.
27 On that day his burden will be removed from your shoulder, and his yoke will be destroyed from your neck. He has gone up from Rimmon,
28 he has come to Aiath; he has passed through Migron, at Michmash he stores his baggage;
29 they have crossed over the pass, at Geba they lodge for the night; Ramah trembles, Gibeah of Saul has fled.
30 Cry aloud, O daughter Gallim! Listen, O Laishah! Answer her, O Anathoth!
31 Madmenah is in flight, the inhabitants of Gebim flee for safety.
32 This very day he will halt at Nob, he will shake his fist at the mount of daughter Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.
33 Look, the Sovereign, the Lord of hosts, will lop the boughs with terrifying power; the tallest trees will be cut down, and the lofty will be brought low.
34 He will hack down the thickets of the forest with an ax, and Lebanon with its majestic trees will fall.

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.

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Heb [I]
  • [b]. Or [land]
  • [c]. Cn: Heb [and his yoke from your neck, and a yoke will be destroyed because of fatness]
  • [d]. Cn Compare Gk Vg: Heb [with a majestic one]

Chapter Summary

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 Commentaries