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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 10

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-4

Isa 10:1-4

Isaiah 10:1-4

Actually, the first four verses of this chapter could have been logically included with the previous chapter, since they form the fourth stanza, following the first three in Isaiah 9, each stanza followed by the refrain: "For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is outstretched still."

Of course, it should be remembered that both chapter and verse divisions in the Bible are in many instances arbitrary and illogical; but long usage has made it a practical impossibility to change or correct them. "The present division into chapters was made by Cardinal Hugo in 1250 A.D.; and into verses, by Robert Stephens the famous printer of Paris, in 1551 A.D.”

The stubbornness of Ephraim is almost unbelievable; for no matter what disasters overcame the nation they persisted in following their idolatrous, shameful rebellion against the Lord. The great difference between Ephraim and Judah was in the existence of a righteous remnant in the Southern Israel; whereas, in Northern Israel, the Lord said, "Everyone is profane and an evil-doer, and every mouth speaketh folly" (Isaiah 9:17). Their apostasy was thus complete, and there was nothing further that even God could have done for Ephraim except what he did, namely, destroy them, just as God had done long previously to practically the whole race of Adam on the occasion of the Great Deluge.

Isaiah 10:1-4


"Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and to the writers that write perverseness; to turn aside the needy from justice, and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey. And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory? They shall only bow down under the prisoners, and fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still."

A quick overview of these four stanzas, or strophes, will reveal the totality and dreadful finality of the prophecy:

THE DOOM OF EPHRAIM (Isaiah 9:8 to Isaiah 10:4)

Strophe One, Isaiah 9:8-12

This is a judgment against Ephraim for laughing off the facts, for mocking reality, and for their egotistical bragging about how they would overcome God’s punishments. If bricks and sycamores are destroyed, Ephraim will replace them with hewn stones and cedars!

Strophe Two, Isaiah 9:13-17

Here is a judgment against permissiveness, error, and false leadership. The eloquent comparison of crooked priests to the tail of a dog shows that it was the departure from God’s truth that caused their apostasy.

Strophe Three, Isaiah 9:18-21

Here is a judgment against disunity, internal discord and strife. With even their former allies at last turning against Ephraim, and with the Ten Tribes fighting against each other, their final ruin would follow in the deportation of the heart of the nation to Assyria. This took place in 722 B.C.

Strophe Four, Isaiah 10:1-4

This judgment is against the central government and the judiciary, against those who made and administered the laws. It has often been observed that when these arms of human society fail, there can remain little hope for that society. Although these prophecies against Ephraim were principally focused upon the Northern Israel, they also spilled over in their application to Judah also. God’s anger at all of Israel’s pride and wickedness was approaching the flash point.

Before leaving these first four verses, we wish to notice somewhat further the question:


This is the third in a series of questions regarding ultimate values as contrasted with that which is earthly, temporary, and ephemeral. Every mortal who gives his life to the amassing of treasures, the pursuit of power, or in chasing the butterflies of happiness supposed to lie at the foot of some fantasy rainbow - every such mortal should ask himself, "What are you going to do with it?" What will it be worth to you in the Day of Judgment? and, how is it going to help you when calamity comes upon you?" our Lord raised the same soul-searching question when he addressed the rich fool of Luke 12:20 : "Whose shall those things be?" (KJV) "You cannot save them. With whom will ye deposit your riches, your magnificence, your treasures, your grand apparel? Is there anyone to whom you can flee? anyone who can protect you from the wrath of God?"

Isaiah 10:1-2 ROBBERY: Through false and illegal decrees made orally by wicked judges and rulers, and through false and illegal documents written by perverse scribes, the poor and powerless people were being robbed. Those who most needed their human rights protected were the very ones being exploited. Those without political power and influence and without wealth were being “skinned alive.” The rich and the influential able to pay bribes were receiving all the civil judgments in their favor. Widows and orphans were at the mercy of the merciless. When a nation’s courts and political officials become corrupt, the nation is in its death throes. A righteous and just God cannot allow such social and moral chaos to go uncorrected for long or constant civil upheaval would be the result.

Isaiah 10:3-4 RETRIBUTION: When the day of Divine retribution comes, where will they go for help? When the Holy God visits them in judgment who will protect them? Can they depend upon their idol-gods? Will their foreign allies be able to deliver them? Can they buy their way out of God’s judgment with their wealth? All these things Israel has gloried in, but what will become of their glory when God’s wrath falls upon them? The answer is, it shall fail them. Israel will be taken prisoner and the unjust rulers and judges will fall along with all the other dead and captured.

Verses 5-11

Isa 10:5-11

Isaiah 10:5-11

"Ho Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, the staff in whose hand is mine indignation! I will send him against a profane 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. Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few. For he saith, Are not my princes all of them kings? Is not Calno as Carchemish? Is not Hamath as Arpad? is not Samaria as Damascus? As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria; shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?"

Rawlinson, in his outline of Isaiah, made this the beginning of the division reaching through Isaiah 23, but, following Robinson (See Introduction), we believe the close connection with the fate of Judah and Jerusalem indicate rather that it belongs with the first division, Isaiah 1-12.

"Ho Assyrian ..." This paragraph prophecies the destruction of Assyria, and at the same time also identifies this evil power as "The Rod" of God with which Jehovah will punish his hypocritical and profane people Israel. Assyria is thus the instrument God will use for the accomplishment of his purpose to punish Israel. This metaphor of God’s using wicked nations to achieve his purpose, and then turning upon those wicked powers in their ruin to punish them and destroy them is extensively mentioned in the Old Testament. Back in Isaiah 7:20 Assyria was identified as "God’s razor, other examples of the recurrence of this metaphor identify such wicked powers as "God’s bows" (Isaiah 13:17), "God’s battle-ax" (Jeremiah 51:20), and "God’s arrows" (Jeremiah 51:11).

The words "Ho Assyrian" actually mean, "Woe betide this Assyria" as in James Moffatt’s translation of the Old Testament. Cheyne rendered it, "Woe is Asher.”

"A profane nation ..." According to Rawlinson, hypocritical or a corrupt nation would be preferable to profane in this verse.

"However he meaneth not so ..." This means that Assyria had no intention or desire whatever to serve God’s purpose in the destruction of Israel. Ah no! Assyria was motivated by blood-lust, insatiable greed and ambition, sadistic cruelty, and arrogant opposition to God himself, totally unaware, that when he had shortly fulfilled God’s purpose, the Lord would also totally destroy Assyria. Rabshakeh’s proud boast that he had Jehovah with him when he went up against Jerusalem (2 Kings 18:25) was more than likely nothing but a ploy to frighten the city. "He had probably heard of the prophecies of the Judean prophets.”

Isaiah 10:8-11 carry the arrogant boasts of Assyria. They do not for an instant see that God is using them. No! All of their exploits are due to their own power and their own devices! Just look at the cities they have already destroyed! Look at the gods they have already defeated. "Insignificant little Judah with their puny gods (nothing to compare with the costly and excellent idols of cities already taken), they declared, would easily fall.”

This paragraph raises a question regarding the date of this prophecy. Hailey quoted Young as giving the dates when the cities mentioned here were taken by the Assyrians: "Calno in 738 B.C.; Carchemesh on the Euphrates in 717 B.C.; Hamath on the Orontes in 720 B.C.; Arpad in 740,720 B.C.; Samaria in 722 B.C.; and Damascus in 732 B.C.” Delitzsch believed the prophecy was written before these conquests took place, because Isaiah often spoke of future events as having already taken place. Hailey believed it more probable that "This prophecy was written between the dates of the fall of Carchemesh (717 B.C.) and that of Sennacherib investiture of Jerusalem in (702-701 B.C.).”

It appears to us that there may be good reasons for accepting the position of Delitzsch on this. McGuiggan’s warning that we should remember that, "Isaiah often speaks of things having been accomplished that are still in the future," most certainly should be heeded. We shall observe many examples of this use of the present or the past tense for speaking of future events in Isaiah. First, "Isaiah 10:20-23 leave an impression that Ephraim has not fallen yet.”

"The Assyrians’ argument in Isaiah 10:10-11 is: "How can Jerusalem, with fewer gods to protect it, hope to hold out successfully?.”

Isaiah 10:5-6 GOD’S INTENTIONS: This is one of those unique passages of the Old Testament which reveals the majestic, omnipotent, cosmic, sovereign purposes of God being carried out in conjunction with and in spite of the evil machinations of human power inspired and supported by the forces of hell. It is grand and glorious good news that Jehovah God controls and uses men and nations and events to carry out His purposes of redemption and salvation. God is going to take the evil purposes and intentions of the king of Assyria and use them to serve His long-range plan of preparing the Hebrew people to deliver the Messiah to the world! How breathtaking, how it staggers the mind and exhilarates the emotions to contemplate it! The terrible, bloodthirsty, cruel, inhuman Assyrians are, of their own choice, bent on conquering and plundering the whole world. God says, “Go ahead, have your way for a season—I’ll use it to chasten My holy people and then I’ll requite your wickedness upon your own heads.” God plans to chasten and discipline His people so that those who believe Him and remain faithful to Him in the midst of this chastening may form the remnant through which the Messiah and the messianic kingdom (the church) may come to the world. The evil scheme of the Assyrian empire will serve that Divine purpose. Both Old and New Testaments teach such a philosophy or theology of history (Cf. Jeremiah 27:1-11; Daniel 2:20-22; Isaiah 45:1-7; John 19:11, etc.). God’s ways are above us all. Should we ask, Why would God permit such a wicked and ruthless pagan people to plunder His chosen people—and then how can God claim such a perverse nation to be His instrument or servant? God does not forbid our asking. Habakkuk is a prime example of a believer with such a problem. Habakkuk could not understand how and why God would permit the evil and wickedness of the Hebrew people to continue unpunished (Habakkuk 1:1-4). God told the prophet He was going to punish the wickedness of Judah by sending the Chaldeans (Babylon) upon them (Habakkuk 1:5-11). This created the more perplexing problem in Habakkuk’s mind of why God would use a pagan nation to punish the Chosen people (Habakkuk 1:12-17). Habakkuk was confused but he did not despair. He couldn’t understand but he had faith and waited for God to answer (Habakkuk 2:1). God’s answer to Habakkuk is still valid today. That answer is, God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Cf. Romans 8:28). God works all things out in His own good time. We are told simply to wait upon the Lord with faith and endurance (Habakkuk 2:2-4). Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 in Romans 1:17 to indicate that we cannot understand the working of God’s redemptive scheme but we can accept it by faith and thus be justified. God always gives enough experiential, concrete, factual, historical evidence to convince the honest-minded person of His existence and nature. The Hebrew people at this stage of their national experience (Isaiah) had more than abundant evidence of God’s active, providential, redemptive control of history so they could easily believe His use of the Assyrian empire, if they wanted to.

Isaiah 10:7-11 ASSYRIA’S INTENTIONS: The king of Assyria certainly does not admit that he is an instrument of the Hebrew God. It is not his intention to serve any purpose but his own purpose of world-conquest. This is a graphic description of the thinking processes of a carnal-minded dictator. He reasons, Calno was taken by me (738 B.C.), Carchemish on the Euphrates was subdued by my people (717 B.C.), Hamath on the Orontes fell to us in 720 B.C. and Arpad in 740. Samaria was conquered in 721 B.C. and Damascus in 732 B.C. Where were the gods of these great peoples when I overcame them? Surely Judah’s God is no greater than the gods of these. They did not stop me and neither will the God of Judah. The attitude of the Assyrian emperor is manifested in the words of Rabshakeh in later years when the armies of Assyria had made invasion of Judah and had Jerusalem surrounded, “Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria”? (2 Kings 18:33-35). There was a long line of Assyrian kings with intentions of world-conquest: Tiglath Pileser, Shalmaneser IV, Sargon II and Sennacherib. Sennacherib was probably the king of Assyria predicted by Isaiah here. He is mentioned in Isaiah chapters 36–38. He was planning to overrun Jerusalem and plunder her treasury and temple just as he had already done to most of the ancient world. He would take the people captive into slavery to build his palaces and city walls, etc. But, although the Assyrians captured most of the land of Palestine, they would never conquer Jerusalem.

Verses 12-19

Isa 10:12-19

Isaiah 10:12-14

"Wherefore it shall come to pass, that, when the Lord has performed his whole work upon mount Zion, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. For he hath said, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I have understanding: and I have removed the bounds of the peoples, and have robbed their treasures, and like a valiant man I have brought down them that sit on thrones: and my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the peoples; and as one gathers eggs that are forsaken, have I gathered all the earth: and there was none that moved the wing, or that opened the mouth, or chirped."

The interesting change of persons in Isaiah 10:12, from the second (the Lord) to the first (I will) is not at all unusual in the Old Testament.

No, God had not accepted the wickedness of a kingdom like Assyria. The rod of divine punishment was already laid up against that evil nation; and the reason was stated here. This arrogant and boastful power had bragged that they knew all of the answers. They thought they had the ability to destroy any nation on earth as handily as one could rob a bird nest and with no more opposition than a helpless little bird would be able to provide against such a catastrophe. There was not even the flutter of a wing, or the chirping of a bird. The rapacious cruelty and blood-lust of Assyria reached a pinnacle of such behavior in ancient history.

Isaiah 10:15-19

"Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? shall the saw magnify itself against him that wieldeth it? as if a rod should wield him that lifteth it up, or as if a staff should lift up him that is not wood. Therefore will the Lord, Jehovah of hosts send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory there shall be kindled a burning like the burning of fire. And the light of Israel will be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame; and it will burn and destroy his thorns and his briers in one day. And he will consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and it shall be as when a standard-bearer fainteth. And the remnant of the trees of his forest shall be few, so that a child may write them."

The rebuke here is against Assyria. How ignorant and how stupid they were not to see that God was merely using them, that all of their exploits would have been impossible without his permission; and that all the while they were hastening to the day when they also would be severely punished by the Lord. The words here have the force of saying, "How can Assyria, being but an instrument of God, exalt himself against Jehovah?”

"Like the burning of fire ..." This is thought by scholars to refer to a terrible sickness such as a very high fever. Peake called it a wasting disease; and Kidner identified the two metaphors here as, "fever, and a forest fire.” The big point in the prophecy, however, is not what will cause the disaster, whether a disease or a forest fire, but the suddenness with which it will fall. "In one day ... Isaiah anticipates a sudden catastrophe for the Assyrians." Without a doubt, this is a prophecy of the destruction of Sennacherib army to terminate his siege of Jerusalem (2 Kings 19 and Isaiah 36). The mysterious death of so many of his army seems to have resulted from some sudden and fatal illness.

Isaiah 10:12-15 BRAGGING BULLY: The King of Assyria, like so many ruling tyrants before and after him, refused to acknowledge Divine Providence in his military success. He would not even avail himself of logic and reason to consider that there might be a Divine Ruler of the cosmos and man’s affairs by whose permission he conquered and prevailed against other nations. He magnified himself as a god like so many other rulers have done. Recall rulers like Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:28 ff) and Belshazzar (Daniel 5:1 ff).

God rules in the affairs of earthly governments to carry out His divine purposes of redeeming all men who are willing to be redeemed. He permits nations and rulers to govern the earth “as a terror to the evil doer and a rewarder of those who do good” (Cf. Romans 13:1-7). God permits even evil rulers to exercise their tyranny—but only so far! There is always a point, in the wisdom of God, beyond which He will not permit evil to govern (Cf. Jeremiah 27:1-15). When evil reaches that point the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe intervenes!

When Sennacherib’s army had overpowered most of the northern kingdom, Israel, and had besieged Jerusalem, God spoke through Isaiah the prophet (2 Kings 19:20 ff), and promised to defend the city (2 Kings 19:34; Isaiah 37:35). The angel of the Lord went forth and smote the Assyrian army, leaving one hundred eighty-five thousand “dead corpses” (2 Kings 19:35; Isaiah 37:36). Sennacherib returned to Nineveh without capturing the city of Jerusalem (2 Kings 19:36).

To the rationalist and unbeliever, this story of the angel’s smiting an army and causing a great king to return to his native land without capturing a city seems beyond the realm of historical possibility. However, confirmation of the fact that Sennacherib did not take Jerusalem was found in an inscription on a prism called the Taylor Cylinder, discovered at Kouyunjik, the site of ancient Nineveh, in 1830 by J. E. Taylor. An almost identical inscription is found on the Oriental Institute Cylinder in the University of Chicago. In the inscription Sennacherib tells that he made other Palestinian cities yield, but when he comes to describe his campaigning against Jerusalem he fails to tell of the capture of that city and its king Hezekiah. Rather the text of the inscription tells of King Hezekiah in these words, “As for himself, like a bird in a cage in his royal city Jerusalem, I shut (him) up.” Since Sennacherib did not capture Jerusalem (as indicated in the Bible), he made as good a story out of the siege as possible, and reported that he had shut up poor Hezekiah “like a bird in a cage.” Actually, Hezekiah was reposing quite safely in his “cage.”

Isaiah 10:16-19 BROKEN BRAGGART: There is no evidence in the archaeological records that Sennacherib ever returned to the region of Palestine. The Bible gives us an adequate reason—the loss of his army before the walls of Jerusalem. The slaughter of 185,000 soldiers in one night, even with our modern death-dealing weapons would be considerable defeat to any army!

The Bible tells us that Sennacherib finally met his death at the hands of his own sons (2 Kings 19:37; Isaiah 37:38). Esarhaddon (681–668 B.C.), Sennacherib’s son and successor, tells of this very event in the following inscription: “In the month Nisanu, on a favorable day, complying with their exalted command, I made my joyful entrance into the royal palace, the awesome place, wherein abides the fate of kings. A firm determination fell upon my brothers. They forsook the gods and turned to their deeds of violence, plotting evil . . . To gain the kingship they slew Sennacherib, their father.”

In 625 B.C. the Assyrians were driven out of the Mespotomian-Babylonian area by the Chaldean prince Nabopolassar, founder of the Neo-Babylonian or Chaldean empire and father of Nebuchadnezzar. He had joined forces with the Medes in 614 B.C. and attacked the city of Ashur. Two years later in 612 B.C. they again joined forces to bring about the destruction of Nineveh, captial city of Assyria. With the fall of Nineveh (see Nahum for a graphic prediction of the fall of Nineveh), the Assyrians were reduced to chaos and retreated westward to set up a government at Haran under Ashur-uballit II (612–609 B.C.). Assyria awaited help from Egypt—her one time enemy—against the new danger from Babylon, but help did not come. Josiah of Judah marched his armies to Megiddo to prevent Necho II of Egypt from passing through the valley of Esdraelon en route to Haran. Josiah was killed at Megiddo (2 Kings 23:29-30), but he probably succeeded in delaying Necho long enough to permit Nabopolassar to strike the death blow to the Assyrian Empire. And so about all that was left of Assyria, that “great forest” were a few scattered “trees”—so few “that a child may write them.”

Verses 20-27

Isa 10:20-27

Isaiah 10:20-23

"And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and they that are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again lean upon him that smote them, but shall lean upon Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel in truth. A remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. For though thy people, Israel, be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them shall return: a destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness. For a full end, and that determined, will the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, make in the midst of the earth."

It should be remembered that the name of Isaiah’s first son Shear-jashub has the meaning of, "A remnant shall return," thus certifying the authenticity and early date of Isaiah’s receiving these great prophecies of the wholesale destruction of Israel, the deportation of the nation as a whole, and the return of a small remnant.

It is significant that here the prophet takes one of the titles of the Messianic Prince given in Isaiah 9 and applies it to Almighty God himself.

There is a prophecy in these verses that Israel "in that day" will no longer rely upon alliances with foreign powers as Ahaz had done in the case of Assyria; and Cheyne pointed out that indeed all of this came to pass during the Babylonian captivity. "`The remnant’ of Israel was weaned from its false confidences and returned to God." After the return of the "remnant," there were never any more examples of Israel lapsing into idolatry.

As Archer observed, "No matter how small a fraction `that remnant’ might prove to be, after the judgments of God had fallen on the apostate nation, the future would lie with them.”

Isaiah 10:24-27

"Therefore thus saith the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrians, though he smite thee with the rod, and lift up his staff against thee after the manner of Egypt. For yet a very little while, and the indignation against thee shall be accomplished, and mine anger shall be directed to his destruction. And Jehovah of hosts shall stir up against him a scourge, as in the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb; and his rod will be over the sea, and he will lift it up after the manner of Egypt. And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall depart from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and thy yoke shall be destroyed by reason of fatness."

The last clause of Isaiah 10:27 here is said by some scholars to be difficult because of imperfections in the text; and that may very well be, because the metaphor of Israel getting so fat that they can throw off the yoke of Assyria simply does not fit. We like the suggestion of Jamieson that there is a reference to the Messiah here. The alternate reading for "fatness" in the Cross-Reference Bible is "oil,” evidently meaning the anointing oil. "Just as in Isaiah 9:4-6 the breaking of the yoke of the enemies is attributed to Messiah, so it is here.” Dummelow also honored this understanding of the place thus:

"Because of the anointing, because of the anointed king of David’s house, to which God has promised a lasting kingdom.”

"His rod will be over the sea ..." This is a promise that Jehovah will lift up his rod for the protection of his people and the destruction of their enemies, just like God through Moses had done so long ago when that action rescued Israel and destroyed Egypt at the Red Sea.

Isaiah 10:20-23 REPENTING REMNANT: A shear, “remnant” of Israel would survive the Assyrian captivity. Remnant is a small “leftover.” In this case the “left-over” piece of Israel is precious to God for it is the only part of the whole nation which has repented and turned back to Jehovah. The Assyrian captivity served as a sifting experience for those who claimed to be the covenant people. The majority of the ten northern tribes (the nation of Israel) were never to return to Palestine after the Assyrian captivity. They were dispersed all over the world by being sold as slaves, etc. Some who might have returned chose to stay where they had been taken and were the ancestors of that colony of Jews we read of in Esther. That a small “remnant” of the ten northern tribes did return in the days of Zerubbabel and Ezra is evident from the listing of tribal names in the book of Ezra. Judah, the southern kingdom, was taken captive by the Babylonians some 120 years after Israel’s captivity. Then in about 536 B.C. the king of Persia, Cyrus, decreed the release of the Jews to return and rebuild their cities and temple. Jews from Israel and Judah returned as one nation. After many long years in forced exile among a vast sea of heathenism there was a sincere attitude of repentance and determination to do God’s will permeating the returning Jews. This attitude of penitence did not last long with some of the people, however, and Jewish history became one long story of the struggles of a small “remnant” trying to remain faithful in the face of persecution and efforts to heathenize them.

The statement “A remnant shall return” is in Hebrew literally, “shear-jashub.” This was the name of one of Isaiah’s sons (Cf. Isaiah 7:3) and was a sign or symbol to Ahaz that God would deliver a believing remnant. The idea is that deliverance is predicated upon one’s spiritual relationship to God and not on one’s national ancestry. This is the meaning of Isaiah 10:22. God promised Abraham that his progeny would, physically speaking, become as numerous “as the sand of the sea.” But God’s spiritual promise of forgiveness, redemption and salvation was made to those who were the children of Abraham “by faith” (Cf. Galatians 3:1 to Galatians 4:7). Even in the days of Isaiah God’s deliverance was focused not on physical relationship but spiritual relationship. These repenting Jews who believed God as He spoke through His prophets produced a small but steadfast line of faithful descendants down through the centuries. From their heritage of faith came people like the parents of John the Baptist, Mary, mother of Jesus, the apostles and others of Jesus’ day. Thus the Messiah, the “seed” of Abraham, was produced through this faithful remnant.

Isaiah 10:24-27 RESTORED REMNANT: Israel is warned and exhorted not to fear the Assyrians. The prophet bids them remember how mightily God delivered them from Egyptian bondage in the days of Moses. He also reminds them of the deliverance God wrought through the man Gideon after they had suffered years of bondage to their oppressors in the days of the judges. History proves God is able! The deliverance of God upon which man may depend is not wishful thinking. It is demonstrated time and again in history! Prophetic preaching today must take God’s deeds demonstrated in history as its fundamental and ever-recurring basis! If preaching to our age is to accomplish its goal of evangelizing the world with the gospel of Christ it must concentrate on bringing a “remnant” to repentance.

The term “indignation” in Isaiah 10:25 is a technical term used by the prophets to designate the wrath of God executed in giving the covenant people over to captivity (Cf. Daniel 8:19; Daniel 11:36).

The Hebrew word shomen in Isaiah 10:27 translated “fatness” may also be translated “anointing” or “fertility.” For this reason some commentators think this passage is messianic and points to an ultimate deliverance when all men shall have opportunity to become seed of Abraham and a part of the “remnant” through Christ. Other commentators hold to the translation of “fatness” insisting it means only that deliverance from the Assyrian will be from within Israel because of her repentance (or “fatness”) as well as from God or without.

Verses 28-34

Isa 10:28-34

Isaiah 10:28-32

"He is come to Aiath, he is passed through Migron; at Micmash he layeth up his baggage; they are gone over the pass; they have taken up their lodging at Geba; Ramah trembleth; Gibeah of Saul is fled. Cry aloud with thy voice, O daughter of Gallim! Hearken O Laisha! O thou poor Anathoth! Madmenah is a fugitive; the inhabitants of Gebim flee for safety. This very day shall he halt at Nob: he shaketh his hand at the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem."

"These verses are a prophecy of Sennacherib’s army’s approach of Jerusalem in order to invest it.”

Here is another reason for our preferring the view that all of these verses are prophecy, not history. Note that Isaiah here represented Assyria’s approach as being from the north; but actually, as Kidner pointed out the final approach was probably from Lachish which is southwest of Jerusalem; but in a prophecy, Lachish would most surely have been grouped with all of the nearby cities lying in the vicinity of Jerusalem, nearly all of which were indeed north of the city. This lone city lying somewhat to the southwest does not compromise the language of the prophecy in any manner.

These verses pause with the great Assyrian army poised to strike; but at the very last moment, when it seemed that all was lost, God intervened and put his hook in the nose of the invader and hauled him back to Nineveh. Isaiah will elaborate this event more fully in Isaiah 36.

Isaiah 10:33-34

"Behold, the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, will lop the boughs with terror: and the high of stature shall be hewn down, and the lofty shall be brought low. And he will cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one."

"Lebanon is here a metaphor, because of their (Assyria’s) forests of cedars.” The only hint provided in this chapter of just how such a mighty deliverance is to come about is found in Isaiah 10:26 where it is revealed that it would resemble in some way the slaughter of Midian and of the Egyptians. This is a pledge that the deliverance will not come by an army, or by any human device, but that the deliverance shall be of God and of him only. The mighty one who is depicted here as cutting down the forest of Lebanon (a metaphor for Assyria) is, of course, God himself.

Isaiah 10:28-34 ASSYRIA CUT DOWN: These verses are an imaginative description of the approach of the Assyrian army. It is what is called in prophecy, “predictive present.” The prophet predicts what is to come as if it were presently occurring. Entering the borders of Judah at Ai and leaving his heavy baggage train behind because it would be in the way when contact was made with their enemies, Assyria attacks the land of the Jews. As they advance the inhabitants flee from their towns and cities, trembling and crying for help. At last the Assyrian stands at Nob (the priestly city destroyed by Saul, 1 Samuel 22:19) which must have been in sight of Jerusalem. From this vantage point the Assyrian makes threatening gestures at Jerusalem (Cf. comments on Isaiah 10:12-19) recorded in Isaiah 37:22-23.

But God’s judgment catches up with Assyria. Again using the figure of trees with their boughs, the prophet describes how Assyria will be “cut down.” The Assyrian King is a great tree in Lebanon and the boughs are lopped off. This is a favorite figure of Old Testament prophecy (Cf. Daniel 4). When the angel of death slew 185,000 soldiers of the Assyrian army there was much terror among the Assyrians. That powerful, cruel, proud, arrogant and boastful nation was soon reduced to a fleeing horde of refugees chased by the Babylonians and eventually Assyria was reduced to oblivion as a nation. God keeps His word!

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Isaiah 10". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/isaiah-10.html.
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