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Isa 10:1 Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness [which] they have prescribed;
Ver. 1. Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees. ] Having denounced woe to wicked of all sorts, the prophet here threateneth wicked princes in particular, as the chief causes of God’s judgments by their misgovernment. Periculosissimum prophetae factum, et cui seditionis dica scribi poterat! a This was boldly done of the prophet, and there wanted not those doubtless that would say it was sedition. Luther, for like cause, was called the trumpet of rebellion; sc., for declaring against the Pope’s decrees and decretals, though never so unrighteous and vexatious; not much short of that made by Nero, Whosoever confesseth himself a Christian - so a Protestant - let him, without further defence of himself, be put to death as a convicted enemy of mankind!
And that write grievousness. ] Or, And to the writers that write grievous things - viz., the public notaries, registrars, and other under officers; such as were those Persian scribes and posts, Est 3:12-13 who should, in such a case, have obeyed God rather than men.
Isa 10:2 To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and [that] they may rob the fatherless!
Ver. 2. To turn away the needy from judgment. ] To put them beside their right, because indigent, and overweighed by the wealthy ones: Quorum aureae literae apud tales iudices possunt omnia.
And to take away the right. ] Heb., To tear it away by force.
And that they may rob the fatherless. ] Rob the spittle, as we used to say. Unrighteous ruledom is but robbery with authority. a
a Iudex iniustus latro cum privilegio est. - Columel., lib. i.
Isa 10:3 And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation [which] shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?
Ver. 3. And what will ye do in the day of visitation. ] That is, of vastation by the Assyrians.
To whom will ye flee for help. ] Who have denied help to the poor that fled unto you; but sped no better than the sheep that flee to the bush for defence in weather, where he is sure to lose part of his fleece.
And where will ye leave your glory? ] Where will ye betrust or bestow your wealth, power, and worldly pomp, purchased by you at too dear a rate? who paid your honesty to get it - O magno emptas, et parum proficuas divitias! - and must now lose not it only, but your liberties and lives also, in the next verse.
Isa 10:4 Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand [is] stretched out still.
Ver. 4. Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, ] i.e., Without any fault of mine. Hos 13:9 Or, as some render it, Ne corruat inter vinctos, et inter occisos cadant; that it, your glory, should not bow down under the prisoners, and they fall under the slain; i.e., that ye be not some of you captivated, and others slain by the enemy. And yet behold a worse matter.
For all this his anger is not turned away. ] Endless torments will follow, unless ye prevent them by repentance, and all your present sufferings are nothing else but a typical hell. a Ecce quot mala a contemptu Dei proveniunt.
a Hac oratione vir sanctus impios crueatat, et vulaerat. - Osor.
Isa 10:5 O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.
Ver. 5. O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger. ] Or, Woe to the Assyrian; or, Heu Assur, Alas, the Assyrian! q.d., Alas, that I am forced by this sharp and iron rod to correct my people, whom I have bred so choicely! Dolentis vocem assumit Deus, saith Oecolampadius.
The rod of mine anger. ] Or, My rod of anger. A rod of anger to beat the little ones, and a staff of indignation to bastinado the bigger and more stubborn. So Nebuchadnezzar is called the "hammer of the whole earth." Jer 50:23 Tamerlane called himself, The wrath of God, and the desolation of the world, a Attilas styled himself, King of Huns, Medes, Goths, Dacians; "The terror of the world, and God’s scourge." The wicked are God’s rod, said that martyr, whom, when he hath worn to the stump, he will cast into the fire. b
a Ira Dei ego sum, et orbis vastitas.
b Acts and Mon., fol. 1544.
Isa 10:6 I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
Ver. 6. I will send him … I will give him a charge.] Non patefacta quidem voluntate, sed arcana providentia, I will stir him up by a secret providence, which, being nothing else but the carrying on of the divine decree, is that helm that turneth about the whole ship of the universe.
Against an hypocritical nation. ] Pretenders only to religion, see Isa 9:17 qui toti ex hypocrisi sunt conflati, such as are wholly made up of hypocrisy: God was near in their mouth, and far from their reins. Jer 12:2 Nemo tam prope proculque Deo. Mat 15:8 Hot meteors they are. saith one, shooting, yet showing like stars; shaming goodness by seeming good; Virtutis stragulam pudefaciunt, as Diogenes said to Antipater, who, being vicious, wore a white cloak, the ensign of innocence. These are little better than devils wrapped up in Samuel’s mantle; odious therefore to God, whom they would cozen of heaven, if they could tell how.
And against the people of my wrath. ] Who are therefore the worse, and shall fare the worse, because they ought to have been better. Indignation and wrath shall he upon the Jew first, because of his privileges, and then upon the Gentile. Rom 2:9
To take the spoil, and to take the prey. ] As had been foretold in Maher-shalal-hash-baz’s name. Isa 8:1
And to tread them down like mire in the streets. ] To make mortar of them, as we use to say: Gens simulatrix tota terrena, Is trodden under foot as unsavoury salt, which is not good enough for the dunghill.
Isa 10:7 Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but [it is] in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.
Ver. 7. Howbeit he meaneth not so. ] He is otherwise minded and affected than I am, and doeth my will merely beside and against his own will. As in applying of leeches the physician seeketh the health of his patient, the leech only the filling of his gorge, so is it when God turneth loose a bloody enemy upon his people; he hath excellent ends, which they think not on.
But it is in his heart to destroy and cut off. ] This was to exceed his commission, which was only to "take the spoil, and to take the prey," Isa 10:6 not to cut off nations, and to make havoc of all. How much better our King Edward the Confessor, who, when his captains promised for his sake they would not leave one Dane alive, thought it better to lead a private and unbloody life than to be a king by such bloody butcheries. a Of Charles V, emperor, we read, that when Antonius Leva, and other of his chief commanders, commended Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar for their great exploits in overrunning and destroying nations not a few, to their great renown; and, on the other side, complained that Charles made not the like use of his power and victories as he might and ought to do for such a purpose, he gravely replied, that Alexander and Julius had, in waging wars, nothing else to aim at besides honour and glory, but that Christian princes were in all their enterprises to mind the glory of God and the salvation of their own souls. b
a Camd. Rem., p. 214.
b Parei Hist. Prof. Med., p. 895.
Isa 10:8 For he saith, [Are] not my princes altogether kings?
Ver. 8. For he saith. ] Sennacherib saith. See Isaiah 36:9 ; Isaiah 36:15 ; Isaiah 36:18 ; Isaiah 36:20 ; Isaiah 37:10 ; Isaiah 37:13 ; Isaiah 37:24-25 . A great part of this whole book of Isaiah concerneth Sennacherib.
Are not my princes altogether kings? ] Behold a right Pyrgopolynices, a whenas he was set to work by God, exalting himself both against God and man. And saith not the Pope the same when he claims to be Dominus feudi? lord paramount in spirituals and temporals; and when, in creating his cardinals, he useth these words, Estote confratres nostri, et principes mundi, Be ye fellow brethren to us and princes of the world? The Assyrian styled himself king of kings, and accounted his commanders equals to Hezekiah. Isa 36:9 So Cardinal Bellarmine held himself King James’s mate.
a Perhaps he had made some of his chief commanders kings. Our Henry VI crowned Henry Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, King of the Isle of Wight.
Isaiah 10:9 [Is] not Calno as Carchemish? [is] not Hamath as Arpad? [is] not Samaria as Damascus?
Ver. 9. Is not Calno as Carchemish? ] Here in a vaunt he reckoneth up six royal cities vanquished by himself and his ancestors; and boasteth how with a wet finger, as we say, he had taken in all the country between Nineveh and Jerusalem. Of the destruction of Calno and Hamath, see Amos 6:2 .
Is not Hamath. ] Afterwards called Antiochia.
As Arpad? ] Hear how this proud braggard:
“ Proiecit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba! ”
Is not Samaria as Damascus? ] Have not I subdued them both pari fortitudine et felicitate?
Isa 10:10 As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria;
Ver. 10. As my hand hath found. ] Nota fastum tyranni, Note the arrogance of this tyrant, saith A. Lapide. It was his hand did all, and not God’s - like as afterwards Timotheus, the victorious Athenian, into whose toils cities were said to fall even as he was sleeping, telling his countrymen of his great successes, inserted ever and anon these words, Herein fortune did nothing - and then, his hand only found those kingdoms, as an obvious prey, which he did no more but meet, and it was taken.
“ Dextra mihi Deus, et telum quod missile libro. ” - Virg.
The kingdoms of the idols. ] In despite of their tutelary deities, which indeed were but deunculi, petty gods, as the word here used ( Elil ) signifieth.
And whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem. ] Os ferreum! vah scelus! Prodigious blasphemy! This absurd collation and prelation of climb and dunghill idols before the true and living God is omnium mortalium execratione dignissima.
Isa 10:11 Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?
Ver. 11. Shall I not as I have done. ] God is not in all this man’s thoughts; himself doeth all that is done.
So do to Jerusalem. ] Why, no; for "their rock is not as our rock," might God’s people have replied., "our enemies themselves being judges." Vere magnus est Deus Christianorum, said a certain pagan truly. The God of the Christians is a great God above all gods. But the devil doeth all he can to drive us to despair.
Isa 10:12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, [that] when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.
Ver. 12. Wherefore. ] Heb., And. A close connection: where pride is in the saddle, there destruction is on the crupper; a when the scum is at highest, it falls in the fire.
When the Lord hath performed. ] When he hath sufficiently chastised his children by this rod of his wrath, he will cast it into the fire; so Jer 25:1-38 when other nations have drunk deep of the cup of the divine displeasure, Babylon shall suck up the dregs. What became of the primitive persecutors, and of such as were most active here in those dogdays of Queen Mary? See the Acts and Monuments of the Church.
Upon Mount Zion. ] For there he usually beginneth; Jeremiah 25:18 1Pe 4:17 his own he least of all spareth. Amo 3:2
I will punish the fruit of the stout heart. ] His arrogant words and lofty looks, proceeding from the pride of his heart. But let himself tell what those fruits are.
a A leathern strap buckled to the back of the saddle and passing under the horse’s tail, to prevent the saddle from slipping forwards.
Isa 10:13 For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done [it], and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant [man]:
Ver. 13. For he saith, By the strength of my hand, &c. ] Viva haec est istius Veiovis Latialis, hoc est Pontificis pictura, saith Scultetus - i.e., Here we have a lively picture of Antichrist, who speaketh great things and blasphemies, Rev 13:5 arrogates to himself all power and wisdom, disposeth of kingdoms at his pleasure robbeth their treasures, &c.
Isa 10:14 And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs [that are] left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped.
Ver. 14. And my hand had found. ] See Isaiah 10:10 .
As a nest. ] Or, As in a nest, where a man need but only put in his hand and take out the birds or eggs, and hath none to withstand him. Thrasonica Allegoria.
The riches of the people. ] Whereon they sat abrood, as it were, but I have unnested and despoiled them. They meanwhile, as silly doves, saved themselves by flight, not fight; or else, sitting in their dove cots, saw their nests destroyed, young ones taken away and killed before their eyes, never offering to rescue or revenge.
Isa 10:15 Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? [or] shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake [itself] against them that lift it up, [or] as if the staff should lift up [itself, as if it were] no wood.
Ver. 15. Shall the axe boast itself. ] Is not God the architect and chief agent - the Assyrian only the instrument in his hand? What a madness, then, is it for him thus to vaunt and vapour? is the man in his right mind, think ye? How much better that victorious emperor, Charles V, who, instead of Caesar’s Veni, vidi, vici, I came, i saw, I conquered, wrote Veni, vidi, sed Christus vicit! I came, I saw, but Christ conquers, Christ is the only conqueror.
As if the staff should lift up itself. ] Or, When the rod is lift up, is it not wood, lignum inanime, sorry wood?
Isa 10:16 Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.
Ver. 16. Therefore shall the Lord … send among his fat ones,] i.e., Pingues, torosos et validos milites, his lusty and mastive soldiers, in whom he confided.
Leanness, ] i.e., Luem, a plague to tame them, and take them down. See this fulfilled, Isaiah 37:36 .
And under his glory, ] i.e., His huge army wherein he glorieth. What need we to fear the Turks, said Sigismund, the young king of Hungary, who need not at all to fear the falling of the heavens? which, if they should fall, yet were we able with our spears and halberds to hold them up from falling upon us. a
He will kindle a burning. ] A plague parching up their vitals. The Hebrews say that the bodies of Sennacherib’s soldiers were, by the stroke of an angel, so consumed and burnt up, as that their garments and weapons were not burnt at all.
a Turkish History, fol. 206.
Isa 10:17 And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day;
Ver. 17. And the light of Israel shall be for a fire. ] To Israel he shall be a comfortable light - to their enemies a consuming fire, as Exodus 14:24 . Ecce idem iustis et fidelibus suavis, impiis autem gravis.
His thorns and his briers. ] His army, which is so troublesome and vexatious to Israel. God will "go through them, he will burn them a together." Isa 27:4
In one day, ] i.e., In one night, being part of the natural day. So the Spanish Armada was quickly dispersed, which had been so many years in rigging and setting forward.
a Assyrios, quibus ut sentibus vepribusque cohorrebat terra. - Jun.
Isa 10:18 And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth.
Ver. 18. And he shall consume the glory of his forest, ] i.e., Of his army, cutting his way through a wood of men, and felling the very glory of his glory, even his best soldiers. All this God shall do to his stout warriors and stately princes.
Both soul and body, ] i.e., Full and whole, both here and in hell. a
And they shall be as when a standard-bearer fainteth. ] Heb., Melteth - i.e., through fear casting away his colours: soon after which the whole regiment is routed, and cannot be rallied.
a Ecce hic habes animam ardere. - Oecolamp.
Isa 10:19 And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them.
Ver. 19. And the rest of the trees … shall be few.] Heb., A number; methe mispar, a poor few, and inconsiderable company, that may soon be told.
That a child may write them. ] The Hebrews say that Sennacherib escaped home with ten only in his company.
Isa 10:20 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
Ver. 20. And it shall come to pass in that day. ] Meras consolationes hic loquitur Deus, a saith Scultetus. Here God begins to speak pure comforts to his poor people. Here he setteth forth how he will be a lively light to Israel, like as he had been a devouring fire to the Assyrians.
Shall no more again stay upon him that smote them. ] Piscator; ictus sapiet; they had paid for their learning, smarted for their creature confidence, and now they would be better advised, viz., under Hezekiah, than they had been under Ahaz. 2Ki 16:10 Hos 14:3
Isa 10:21 The remnant shall return, [even] the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.
Ver. 21. A remnant shall return, ] scil., To the Lord by true repentance, from whom they had deeply revolted. But of these there is but as a "remnant" - a poor few - in comparison of the whole piece of cloth.
Isa 10:22 For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, [yet] a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
Ver. 22. Yet a remnant of them shall return, ] i.e., Shall be saved from Sennacherib, but especially from Satan, that old man slayer. Romans 9:27 ; Romans 9:29 ; Rom 11:5 The greater part of the Jews were then cut off by the Assyrians; and so they are spiritually still by the evil spirits which hold them in their hardness of heart, and hinder them from embracing the Christian faith. But this befalleth them by God’s holy decree Rom 9:27-28 and just judgment.
The consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness, ] i.e., The utter destruction of this perverse people, both temporal and spiritual, Rom 9:27 for the generality of them, is not to be accounted cruelty, but overflowing righteousness. For God could not in justice but thus rigorously deal with them; and then for his promise sake to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, reserving a "remnant," show favour to them again.
Isa 10:23 For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.
Ver. 23. For the Lord God of hosts shall make, &c. ] Here the same thing is repeated, by way of asseveration, because not easily believed or digested, but would lie heavy as hard meat. "Behold the severity of God," Rom 11:22 and stoop to it.
Isa 10:24 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt.
Ver. 24. O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid. ] Quam paterne omnia. As a father bespeaketh his little son passing with him through a dark entry, &c.
He shall smite thee with a rod. ] Chasten thee, but not slay thee. a Sinite virgam corripientem, ne sentiatis malleum conterentem.
And shall lift up his staff against thee. ] Or, But he shall lift up his staff for thee, so some render it - i.e., God shall, and that "after the manner of Egypt," as of old he did for the fathers against Pharaoh.
a Non occidet te, quamvis vapulet. - Oecolamp.
Isa 10:25 For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction.
Ver. 25. For yet a very little while. ] Heb., A little little, or a little of a little. Yet a little modicum, and wrath shall be at an end. Oecolampadius rendereth it, Adhuc paululum, minus quam paululum. Hold out therefore faith and patience.
Isa 10:26 And the LORD of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb: and [as] his rod [was] upon the sea, so shall he lift it up after the manner of Egypt.
Ver. 26. And the Lord of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him. ] Far worse than that rod. Isa 10:24 This scourge was that angel that slew so many Assyrians in a night, according to that "slaughter of Midian." Jdg 7:22 Psalms 83:9 ; Psa 83:11
At the rock of Oreb. ] Where Oreb was slain, like as was Sennacherib after this, in his temple at Nineveh.
And as his rod was upon the sea. ] As Moses by his rod or staff held over the Red Sea made way for Israel, but brought destruction on the Egyptians. Exo 14:26
Isa 10:27 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.
Ver. 27. And the yoke shall be destroyed, because of the anointing. ] That is, because or for the sake of Messiah the Prince, Dan 9:25 the Lord Christ, our Sωτηρ and Sospitator, the foundation of all the Church’s deliverances. The whole chapter following is a comment on this sweet promise.
Isa 10:28 He is come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron; at Michmash he hath laid up his carriages:
Ver. 28. He is come to Aiath. ] Elegans hypotyposis, a dainty description of Sennacherib’s invasion into the land, and progress with his army toward Jerusalem, through the tribe of Benjamin.
He is passed to Migron. ] Fourteen cities are here set down in order, as distressed by this Poliorceres, of whom it might be truly said, as it is now of the Grand Signor, that no grass groweth on that ground where he hath set his foot once,
At Michmash he hath laid up his carriages, ] i.e., He shall; but the prophet speaketh of it as if presently done, or as if himself had been marching along with them.
Isa 10:29 They are gone over the passage: they have taken up their lodging at Geba; Ramah is afraid; Gibeah of Saul is fled.
Ver. 29. They are gone over the passages, ] i.e., The straits, between two rocks. 1Sa 13:22
Isa 10:30 Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim: cause it to be heard unto Laish, O poor Anathoth.
Ver. 30. Lift up thy voice. ] Heb., Hinni, i.e., claram vocem ede, eamque lugubrem, make a grievous outcry, eiula, quiritare; nam certa tibi imminet vastitas, for thou art undone.
O poor Anathoth. ] Jeremiah’s country; "poor," because plundered.
Isa 10:31 Madmenah is removed; the inhabitants of Gebim gather themselves to flee.
Ver. 31. Madmena is removed, ] i.e., Fled for fear, as Gibeah. Isa 10:29
Isa 10:32 As yet shall he remain at Nob that day: he shall shake his hand [against] the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.
Ver. 32. He shall shake his hand, ] viz., At Jerusalem, as threatening her destruction; but she shall shake her head at him in contempt Isa 37:21 God oft lets his enemies go to the utmost of their tether, and then pulls them back to their tasks with shame enough, as he did Pharaoh.
Isa 10:33 Behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror: and the high ones of stature [shall be] hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled.
Ver. 33. Behold, the Lord shall lop the bough, ] i.e., Those of greatest state and stature in the Assyrian army.
And the haughty shall be humbled. ] See Isaiah 2:11 ; Isaiah 2:17 .
Isa 10:34 And he shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one.
Ver. 34. By a mighty one. ] a That is, by an angel. Isa 37:36 Psalms 78:25 ; Psa 89:5-6
a Per magnificum.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 10". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany