The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Isaiah 10

Isa 10:1

Vv 1,2: More comments about social injustice in Israel: cp Isa 3:14,15; 5:7,23. See also Deu 27:19; Isa 1:23; 29:21; Amo 5:12. Ct these wicked rulers with the Messiah: Isa 11:3,4.

Isa 10:2

PREY... ROBBING: "Shalal... bazaz": allusions to the name Maher-shalal-hash-baz (Isa 8:1).

Isa 10:3

RECKONING... DISASTER: KJV has "visitation... desolation", appropriated by Jesus in his warnings of coming judgment on his people because of their rejection of Immanuel (Luk 19:44; Mat 23:38).

WHERE WILL YOU LEAVE YOUR RICHES?: Or, perhaps, "What will your riches do for you?"

Isa 10:4

HIS HAND IS STILL UPRAISED: In which is the club of His wrath, the Assyrian (v 5).

Isa 10:5

Vv 5-11: "The remarkable similarity between this passage and 2Ki 19:2-37 [// Isa 37] (together with other indications) makes it likely that, through the renegade Rabshakeh, Sennacherib actually knew the tenor of this and other prophecies Isaiah had spoken in Jerusalem. Why else should the Assyrian use the self-confident argument: 'Am I now come up without the LORD against this land to destroy it? The LORD saith to me, 'Go up against this land, and destroy it' (Isa 36:10)" (WIsa 174).

God's use of Gentile kings as His "instruments": Neh 9:37; Hab 1:y,12; Jer 22:7; 25:9; 5:15; 34:22; 51:20; Eze 29:18-20; Psa 17:13; Pro 21:1; Mat 22:7.

THE ROD OF MY ANGER: God's tool to punish Israel: Isa 7:20; Joel 2:25; Jer 27:6; Zec 9:4; Eze 38:4.

Isa 10:6

I DISPATCH HIM: "I give him a charge" (AV). Although the Assyrian does not understand the impulse (cp v 7), yet God Himself rules in the Kingdom of men (Dan 4:17,25).

Isa 10:8

ARE NOT MY COMMANDERS ALL KINGS?: Like Alexander the Great and Napoleon later, Sennacherib's policy was to install his generals as rulers in the conquered territories. Thus Hosea refers to him as the "king of princes" (Hos 8:10). Yet God would soon demonstrate that He alone was truly "King of Kings" (Dan 2:37)!

Isa 10:9

The city states listed here were conquered by the Assyrians between 740-717 BC. The point of the rhetorical questions is that no one can stand before Assyria's might.

Isa 10:10

AS MY HAND SEIZED THE KINGDOMS OF THE IDOLS: Kingdoms that were weak, unsupported by their gods, and unable to resist Sennacherib. The same figure as in v 14, of a man plundering the nest of a helpless bird. (These other nations had idols at least as extravagant and splendid as those found in Jerusalem in the days of Ahaz.)

Isa 10:11

JERUSALEM AND HER IMAGES: Heavy sarcasm: 'He has copied the altar of MY god, but it likely that MY god will help HIM against ME?' "When the Assyrian campaigns came to their climax in the attempt to take Jerusalem, a very considerable element in the propaganda was centred around Sennacherib's determination to vindicate his own deity against the Name and might of Jehovah (Isa 36:18,19; 37:10)" (WIsa 175).

Isa 10:12

THE WILLFUL PRIDE OF HIS HEART: Cruelty, lust for empire, and a vile blasphemy against Jehovah.

THE HAUGHTY LOOK IN HIS EYES: Poss, "the glory of the lifting up of his eyes", ref the god to which the Assyrian king lifted up his eyes in worship.

Isa 10:13

I REMOVED THE BOUNDARIES OF NATIONS: Sennacherib's policy of deporting the populations of conquered territories (2Ki 15:29; 17:6,24). Yet it was Yahweh who actually "set the bounds of the peoples" (Deu 32:8).

Isa 10:14

ABANDONED EGGS...: By ct, Jesus wished to spread his wings over the "chicks" of Jerusalem, to protect them from the Enemy (Mat 23:37-39; Luk 13:34).

Isa 10:15

// Rom 9:20,21.

Isa 10:16

Vv 16-19: Famine and fire: the destruction of Sennacherib's host: 2Ki 19:35; Isa 37:36.

Isa 10:21

A REMNANT WILL RETURN: The return from Assyrian captivity of the 200,000 enslaved of Judah. And in NT, the ultimate regathering of Jews to their Land.

Isa 10:22

DESTRUCTION HAS BEEN DECREED, OVERWHELMING AND RIGHTEOUS: "The first question to settle here is whether the 'consumption' foretold is a judgment against Judah as God's people or against the Assyrians for their cruel hostility to Abraham's race... The context here, in vv 24,25, puts powerful emphasis on the outpouring of wrath on the Assyrian. So presumably the prophecy is so phrased as to be capable of being read both ways -- against Judah for their indifference to the God of their fathers, and against the Assyrians for their national pride and contempt for the true God" (WIsa 179).

Isa 10:24

DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THE ASSYRIANS: // Isa 8:12,13; 37:6; 43:1,5; 44:2.

Isa 10:25

VERY SOON: // Isa 26:20.

Isa 10:26

AS WHEN HE STRUCK DOWN MIDIAN AT THE ROCK OF OREB: Already alluded to in Isa 9:4: Gideon's victory: an oppression raised up by God; irresistible invasion (like locusts); cry of faith in God; a manifestation of divine glory -- the angel of the LORD; trumpet and fire in the destruction of the enemy; the hostile leader escapes, only to be slain later (Oreb: Jdg 7:25; Sennacherib: Isa 37:38) (Jdg 6:1,5,7,8,22,25; 7:1,20,25; Psa 83:11-13).

HE WILL RAISE HIS STAFF OVER THE WATERS, AS HE DID IN EGYPT: The first of many instances in Isa where the saving of Jerusalem by the destruction of Sennacherib's army is set alongside the saving of Israel at the Red Sea by the destruction of Pharaoh's army.

Isa 10:27

THE YOKE WILL BE BROKEN: Cp the acted parable of Jeremiah (Jer 28:10).

BECAUSE YOU HAVE GROWN SO FAT: "Because of the anointing" (AV) or "oil" (RV mg): Perhaps an allusion to the royal anointing oil, ie to the faith of good king Hezekiah.

Isa 10:28

Vv 28-32: "An invasion of Judah from the north... Many others identify the invasion as Sennacherib's in 701 BC, but historical records indicate Sennacherib approached Jerusalem from the southwest... The prophecy of the invasion was not necessarily intended to be a literal itinerary of the Assyrians' movements; rather its primary purpose was to create a foreboding mood. Geographical references contribute to this purpose, but they merely reflect how one would expect an Assyrian invasion to proceed, not necessarily how the actual invasion would progress. Despite its rhetorical nature, the prophecy does point to the invasion of 701 BC, as the announcement of the invaders' downfall in vv 33-34 makes clear; it was essentially fulfilled at that time" (NET notes).

"Almost all the names mentioned are associated, in 1Sa, with king Saul. Here 'Gibeah of Saul' (Isa 10:29) makes the link explicit. Thus an added purpose behind this dismal record comes to light -- the king men would choose 'to go out before us and fight our battles' (1Sa 8:20) was no success in this respect, nor were those descended from him; but, by ct, 'there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse' (Isa 11:1) endowed with all the godly powers which would mean the saving of his people" (WIsa 181,182).

Isa 10:32

NOB: On Mt Scopus, from where Assyrian threat against Zion (Isa 2:2,3) would be obvious. For centuries that hill was called "the camp of the Assyrians".

Isa 10:33

WILL LOP OFF THE BOUGHS: Cp figure in Isa 6:13. Leaving nothing but the roots (see Isa 11:1).

THE LOFTY TREES WILL BE FELLED: A preparation for the final siege of Jerusalem.

LOFTY TREES... TALL ONES: The self-confident leaders of the nation (Isa 2:11).

Isa 10:34

FOREST... LEBANON: The forest of Lebanon was the national armory (Isa 2:13; 33:9; 1Ki 10:17), a building with cedar pillars. Cp also Jer 22:6,7,23; Isa 2:13; Eze 17:3.

WITH AN AX: Cp John the Baptist: "the ax is laid at the root of the trees" (Mat 3:10), to warn his heedless generation of impending judgment -- by the Messiah refd in the next v (Isa 11:1).

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