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The first four verses, are properly a part of the preseding chapter, and contain a severe reproof of the magistrates who wrested the judgment of the poor and needy.
Isaiah 10:5 . Oh Assyrian. Hebrews הוי hoi or eheu, ho. Though the LXX read here and verse first, woe; yet it is also an interjection of calling, or of reproach, as in Isaiah 1:4. Ah, sinful nation. Isaiah 55:1. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters. Jeremiah 47:6. Oh thou sword of the Lord. Thus God calls some nations to invade, while to others, ambitious of conquest, he says, I will put a hook in thy jaws. Little do those princes know that they are, as Tamerlane the great once said, the scourge of God to a guilty people.
Isaiah 10:9 . Calno, a city on the Euphrates, called Calneh. Genesis 10:10. It is latterly called Ctesiphon. Charchemish was also situated on the Euphrates. 2 Chronicles 35:20. Jeremiah 46:2. The LXX render this and the following verse to much advantage. “Have I not taken the country beyond Babylon, and Calno where the tower was built; and taken Arabia, and Damascus, and Samaria? As I took these, so will I take all kingdoms. Howl, ye idols of Jerusalem, and of Samaria.” So Sennacherib spake in his pride.
Isaiah 10:17 . The light of Israel. The Lord, the Holy One, as in the next words.
Isaiah 10:22 . A remnant shall return: the consumption shall overflow with righteousness. Only a few of them came back from Babylon, and were afterwards converted to Christ. The consumption overflowed, because as the LXX read, the Lord would finish the account, and cut it short in righteousness.
Isaiah 10:24 . Be not afraid of the Assyrian, that he should smite thee with a rod. BP. HALL.
Isaiah 10:34 . Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one. After Solomon had built his summer palace in the forest of Lebanon, it became a word, it would seem, to designate the Jewish power in church and state. Rabshakeh says, By the multitude of my chariots, I am come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon: Isaiah 37:24. But this prophecy glances beyond the Assyrian invasion to that of the Romans, of which we have many instances in the prophets. Zechariah exclaims, Open thy doors, oh Lebanon: words understood to designate the fall of the Hebrew power by that of the Romans.
Isaiah having now prophesied a considerable time, and with little effect; the Lord also having supported the ministry of his servants, and with stretched forth arm, it was time for heaven to come to a full issue with the guilty nation. Hence this apostrophe, Ho to the Assyrian, come and avenge the quarrel of my covenant; come and glorify my prophets, as, if I may so speak, the sublime of justice, and the finishing stroke to an impenitent and infidel age. Hence if the church once begin to pray in the spirit against either men or nations, they stand on the brink, the very brink of destruction.
Great conquerors are the rod of God’s anger to punish the incorrigible: and how mysterious is providence, that a multitude of persons comparatively innocent should suffer for awhile with the wicked. Many cases of this kind we see cleared up in this life; but others remain in impervious darkness. Yet what can providence do? Must God give health and prosperity to the wicked for ever? Must he always aid them with affluence and long life till they become learned in wickedness, and refined in crimes? Shall heaven then become an accomplice in riot and criminal pleasures? Shall God give the lie to his prophets to realize the drunkard’s maxim, To-morrow shall be as to-day, and much more abundant?
As in a thunder-storm, there is generally an upper and a lower current of wind which roll an immense collection of clouds on heaps, so in the devastations of the earth, God and men act with different views. God chastised Israel for a breach of covenant, and for rejecting his prophets. But the Assyrian, having conquered as far as he pleased in the east and the north, wantonly resolved to sally forth from Nineveh, with about a million of men, to overrun all the nations of Syria, Judah not excepted, and proudly carry his banners to the banks of the Nile. He said, I will cut off nations not a few. Acting therefore from pride, avarice, and vain glory, he knew not that he was God’s scourge. Wicked men act to please themselves, but their designs are overruled for the glory of God. The pride and insolence of the Assyrian were most intolerable: it was as the axe boasting against the hewer, and as the saw against him that handleth it. Though Ahaz bought off much of the calamity by presents; yet many of the men, and the children of Judah, were carried away into captivity. 2 Chronicles 29:9. The Lord therefore hasted to inflict Isaiah’s predictions on the Assyrian. In Hezekiah’s time his army was destroyed before Jerusalem; and not long after Nineveh fell, when celebrating its victory over the revolted Medes. Thus God in one day “punished the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria.” We should receive the comfort which Isaiah gives to Judah. We should learn that great conquerors have a limited commission which they cannot pass. God by some little incident in battle, by a rainy season, or a slight tempest at sea, turns the proud conqueror as he turns the tides of the ocean. Hence we should cease from man, and stay our souls on God alone, who makes the enemy to serve his cause and instruct his people. Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one: they would cut down the timber in the siege of their numerous cities. And what then should become of the church? It is replied in the very next words. There shall be a rod out of Jesse. The Messiah should then be born, and the people gathered to him. So in Daniel 9:27.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 10". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17