Isaiah 30:28

28 his breath is like an overflowing stream that reaches up to the neck— to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads them astray.

Isaiah 30:28 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 30:28

And his breath as an overflowing stream
Which comes with great swiftness and force, bearing all before it, breathing out nothing but the fire of divine wrath, before which there is no standing; nor could the Assyrian army stand before it, but suddenly, in a moment, was carried away with the force of it: thus our Lord will consume the man of sin with the spirit or breath of his mouth, and destroy him with the brightness of his coming, ( 2 Thessalonians 2:8 ) : and this stream

shall reach to the midst of the neck;
which shows the extreme danger the army would be in, as a man that is up to the neck in water, and can find no way of escaping; and very aptly represents their state and condition, the whole body of the army being encompassed and destroyed by this overflowing stream of divine wrath, only their head, their king Sennacherib was saved; and he in a little time was cut off, when he had got into his country; as the Assyrian army served the Jews, they are served themselves; see ( Isaiah 8:7 Isaiah 8:8 ) :

to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity;
that is, the breath, wind, or Spirit of the Lord, compared to an overflowing stream, should be of this use, and have this effect, to sift the people of several nations, of which the Assyrian army consisted, so as to dash them one against another, and utterly destroy them; for they were to be sifted, not with a good and profitable sieve, which retains the corn, and shakes out the chaff, or so as to have some taken out and spared; but with a sieve that lets all through, and so be brought to nothing, as the Vulgate Latin version; and thus will all the antichristian nations be agitated, and shaken, and destroyed, ere long:

and [there shall be] a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing
[them] to err;
from the way they intended to go, namely, up to Jerusalem, and take and sack it, and obliging them to betake themselves another way for their retreat and safety; see ( Isaiah 37:29 ) .

Isaiah 30:28 In-Context

26 Moreover the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, like the light of seven days, on the day when the Lord binds up the injuries of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.
27 See, the name of the Lord comes from far away, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke; his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue is like a devouring fire;
28 his breath is like an overflowing stream that reaches up to the neck— to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads them astray.
29 You shall have a song as in the night when a holy festival is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel.
30 And the Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and tempest and hailstones.