Isaiah 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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Therefore shall the Lord . . . send among his fat ones leanness.—The overthrow of the Assyrian is painted in the two-fold imagery of famine and of fire. (Isaiah 17:4; comp. Pharaoh’s vision in Genesis 41:18-24.) The “fat ones” are the warriors of the Assyrian army. The fire that burns the glory of the king is explained in the next verse as the wrath of Jehovah.

Isaiah 10:16-19. Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts — The sovereign Lord and General of his and of all other armies; send among his fat ones leanness — Strip him, and all his great princes and commanders, of all their wealth, and might, and glory. And under his glory he shall kindle, &c. — He will destroy his numerous and victorious army, and that suddenly and irrecoverably, as the fire doth those combustible things which are cast into it; which was fulfilled 2 Kings 19:25. And the light of Israel — That God, who is, and will be, a comfortable light to his people; shall be a fire — To the Assyrians; and it shall devour his thorns and briers — His vast army, which is no more able to resist God than dry thorns and briers are to oppose the fire which is kindled among them. And shall consume the glory of his forest — “The briers and thorns,” says Bishop Lowth, “are the common people; and the glory of his forest are the nobles, and those of the highest rank and importance. The fire of God’s wrath shall destroy them, great and small.” And of his fruitful field — Of his soldiers, who stand as thick as ears of corn do in a fruitful field. Hebrew, Of his Carmel; an allusion possibly to the vain threat, which God foreknew the Assyrian would hereafter utter, with regard to Israel, I will enter into the height of his border, and the forest of his Carmel, Isaiah 37:24. Both soul and body — Hebrew, מנפשׁ ועד בשׂר, from the soul, even to the flesh, a proverbial expression. The fire of God’s wrath shall consume them entirely and altogether. And they shall be — The state of the king, and of his vast and valiant army, shall be as when a standard- bearer fainteth — Like that of an army, when either the standard-bearer is slain, or rather flees away, which strikes a terror into the whole army, and puts them to flight. Bishop Lowth, in this clause, follows the reading of the LXX., ως ο φευγων απο φλογος καιομενης, It shall be, as when one fleeth out of raging flames: that is, “The few that escape shall be looked upon as having escaped from the most imminent danger.” The rest of the trees of his forest — The remainders of that mighty host; a child may write them — A child, or the meanest accountant, may number and register them. It is justly observed by Dr. Dodd, that “the emphasis of this passage consists in the elegance of the metaphors.” The first, taken from leanness, destroying the fat, and marring the beauty of the human form, well describes that terrible plague which destroyed the flower of the Assyrian host. The second, taken from fire, which, with unconquerable fury, in a short time reduces combustible matter to ashes, gives us a striking picture of the quick and almost instantaneous ruin brought on that army, by the irresistible power of the destroying angel, especially as that fire is represented as kindled by the light of Israel. And the third metaphor of the thorns and briers, which are so far from having any power to withstand the fury of the flames, that they provoke and feed it, affords us a lively emblem of the utter inability of the Assyrian monarch, or his mighty host, to make the least resistance against that divine vengeance which their crimes had merited. 10:5-19 See what a change sin made. The king of Assyria, in his pride, thought to act by his own will. The tyrants of the world are tools of Providence. God designs to correct his people for their hypocrisy, and bring them nearer to him; but is that Sennacherib's design? No; he designs to gratify his own covetousness and ambition. The Assyrian boasts what great things he has done to other nations, by his own policy and power. He knows not that it is God who makes him what he is, and puts the staff into his hand. He had done all this with ease; none moved the wing, or cried as birds do when their nests are rifled. Because he conquered Samaria, he thinks Jerusalem would fall of course. It was lamentable that Jerusalem should have set up graven images, and we cannot wonder that she was excelled in them by the heathen. But is it not equally foolish for Christians to emulate the people of the world in vanities, instead of keeping to things which are their special honour? For a tool to boast, or to strive against him that formed it, would not be more out of the way, than for Sennacherib to vaunt himself against Jehovah. When God brings his people into trouble, it is to bring sin to their remembrance, and humble them, and to awaken them to a sense of their duty; this must be the fruit, even the taking away of sin. When these points are gained by the affliction, it shall be removed in mercy. This attempt upon Zion and Jerusalem should come to nothing. God will be as a fire to consume the workers of iniquity, both soul and body. The desolation should be as when a standard-bearer fainteth, and those who follow are put to confusion. Who is able to stand before this great and holy Lord God?Therefore shall the Lord - Hebrew, אדון 'ādôn.

The Lord of hosts - In the present Hebrew text, the original word is also אדני 'ădonāy, but fifty-two manuscripts and six editions read Jehovah. On the meaning of the phrase, "the Lord of hosts," see the note at Isaiah 1:9. This verse contains a threatening of the punishment that would come upon the Assyrian for his insolence and pride, and the remainder of the chapter is mainly occupied with the details of that punishment. The punishment here threatened is, that while he appeared to be a victor, and was boasting of success and of his plunder, God would send leanness - as a body becomes wasted with disease.

His fat ones - That is, those who had fattened on the spoils of victory; his vigorous, prosperous, and flourishing army. The prophet here evidently intends to describe his numerous army glutted with the trophies of victor, and revelling on the spoils.

Leanness - They shall be emaciated and reduced; their vigor and strength shall be diminished. In Psalm 106:15, the word "leanness," רזון râzôn, is used to denote destruction, disease. In Micah 6:10, it denotes diminution, scantiness - 'the scant ephah.' Here it denotes, evidently, that the army which was so large and vigorous, should waste away as with a pestilential disease; compare Isaiah 10:19. The "fact" was, that of that vast host few escaped. The angel of the Lord killed 185,000 men in a single night; 2 Kings 18:35; see the notes at Isaiah 38:36.

And under his glory - That is, beneath the boasted honor, might, and magnificence of the proud monarch.

He shall kindle - That is, God shall suddenly and entirely destroy his magnificence and pride, as when a fire is kindled beneath a magnificent temple. A similar passage occurs in Zechariah 12:6 :

In that day I shall make the governors of Judah

Like a hearth of fire among the wood,

And like a torch of fire in a sheaf;

And they shall devour all the people round about.

16. fat ones—(Isa 5:17). The robust and choice soldiers of Assyria (Ps 78:31, where "fattest" answers in the parallelism to "chosen," or "young men," Margin).

leanness—carrying out the image on "fat ones." Destruction (Ps 106:15). Fulfilled (Isa 37:36).

his glory—Assyria's nobles. So in Isa 5:13, Margin; Isa 8:7.

kindle—a new image from fire consuming quickly dry materials (Zec 12:6).

The Lord of hosts; the sovereign Lord and General of thine and all other armies.

Send among his fat ones leanness; strip him, and all his great princes and commanders, of all their wealth, and might, and glory. He shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire; he will destroy his numerous and victorious army, and that suddenly and irrecoverably, as the fire doth those combustible things which are cast into it; which was fulfilled 2 Kings 19:25. Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts,.... Because of the pride, and arrogance, and vain boasting of the Assyrian monarch, which was resented by the Lord, he is threatened with what follows; and in order to humble him, and to show that God is above him, these titles are used; "the Lord", the Lord of the whole earth, and the King of kings, and Lord of lords; "the Lord of hosts", of armies above and below, of more and greater armies than what the king of Assyria was lord of; and therefore he might be assured that what is hereafter threatened would be fulfilled, namely,

send among his fat ones leanness; the Targum is, among his princes, who abounded in riches and honour; or his army, and the chiefs in it, the mighty and strong; and by "leanness" is meant destruction and death, which came upon his army, and the great men of it, immediately from the hand of God; see Psalm 106:15 compared with Numbers 11:33,

and under his glory he shall kindle a burning, like the burning of a fire; that is, under his army, which was great and glorious, very numerous, and well accoutred with clothes and arms, and made a very splendid and glittering show, and of which the Assyrian monarch gloried; this army the Jews say was destroyed by fire, and that the bodies of the men were burnt, and their clothes untouched; but Jarchi interprets this glory of their garments, which give a man glory, and says these were burnt; the Targum calls them their vessels of glory; perhaps meaning their glittering arms, which were burnt along with them.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. the Lord, the Lord of hosts] as in ch. Isaiah 1:24. The ordinary printed editions have the unparalleled expression Adônâi Tsěbâôth, for which Baer rightly restores Yahveh Tsěbâôth.

send among his fat ones] Better, “send into his fat limbs,” the image being that of a human body. For the metaphor see ch. Isaiah 17:4.

he shall kindle … fire] Better, there shall burn a burning like the burning of fire. The monotony is as marked in the Hebrew as in this translation.

Isaiah 10:17. The same figure as in ch. Isaiah 9:18.

Isaiah 10:18. both soul and body] For similarly abrupt changes of metaphor, cf. ch. Isaiah 5:24, Isaiah 8:8, Isaiah 28:18.

and they shall be … fainteth] Render with R.V. marg., and it shall be as when a sick man pineth away, a return to the figure with which Isaiah 10:16 opens. The participle nôṣçṣ occurs nowhere else: A.V. connects it with nçṣ a standard; the translation “sick man” rests on the analogy of the Syriac.

Isaiah 10:19. And the rest] the remnant (R.V.); the same word as in Isaiah 10:20-22. shall be few] lit. “a number,” a numerable quantity.

a child may write them] i.e. make a list of them.

16–19. The destruction of the Assyrian army is described under the two figures of sickness and a conflagration. There is a certain amount of confusion in the metaphors, and undoubtedly the style deteriorates at this point.Verse 16. - Therefore shall the Lord... send among his fat ones leanness. A continuation of ver. 12, showing what the nature of Assyria's punishment shall be. The prophet expresses it by two images - first, that of a wasting sickness; and secondly, that of a fire. The first image expresses that gradual decay of national spirit which saps the vital strength of a nation; the second is more suited to denote some external attack under which the weakened nation should succumb. There are traces, in the later history of Assyria, both of increasing internal weakness through luxury and effeminacy, and of violent external attacks culminating in the combined Median and Babylonian invasion, before which her power collapsed (Abyden. ap. Euseb., 'Chronicles Can.,' pars i.e. 9; Syncell., 'Chronograph.,' p, 210, B; Tobit 14:15). Asshur was to be an instrument of divine wrath upon all Israel; but it would exalt itself, and make itself the end instead of the means. Isaiah 10:7 "Nevertheless he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; for it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few." Asshur did not think so (lo'-cēn), i.e., not as he ought to think, seeing that his power over Israel was determined by Jehovah Himself. For what filled his heart was the endeavour, peculiar to the imperial power, to destroy not a few nations, i.e., as many nations as possible, for the purpose of extending his own dominions, and with the determination to tolerate no other independent nation, and the desire to deal with Judah as with all the rest. For Jehovah was nothing more in his esteem than one of the idols of the nations. Isaiah 10:8-11 "For he saith, Are not my generals all kings? Is not Calno as Carchemish, or Hamath as Arpad, or Samaria as Damascus? As my hand hath reached the kingdoms of the idols, and their graven images were more than those of Jerusalem and Samaria; shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, do likewise to Jerusalem and her idols?" The king of Asshur bore the title of the great king (Isaiah 36:4), and indeed, as we may infer from Ezekiel 26:7, that of the king of kings. The generals in his army he could call kings,

(Note: The question is expressed in Hebrew phraseology, since sar in Assyrian was a superior title to that of melek, as we may see from inscriptions and proper names.)

because the satraps

(Note: Satrapes is the old Persian (arrow-headed) khshatra (Sanscr. xatra) pâvan, i.e., keeper of government. Pâvan (nom. pâvâ), which occurs in the Zendik as an independent word pavan (nom. pavao) in the sense of sentry or watchman, is probably the original of the Hebrew pechâh (see Spiegel, in Kohler on Malachi 1:8).)

who led their several contingents were equal to kings in the extent and splendour of their government, and some of them were really conquered kings (cf., 2 Kings 25:28). He proudly asks whether every one of the cities named has not been as incapable as the rest, of offering a successful resistance to him. Carchemish is the later Circesium (Cercusium), at the junction of the Chaboras with the Euphrates (see above); Calno, the later Ctesiphon, on the left bank of the Tigris; Arpad (according to Mershid, i. p. 47, in the pashalic of Chaleb, i.e., Aleppo) and Hamath (i.e., Epiphania) were Syrian cities, the latter on the river Orontes, still a large and wealthy place. The king of Asshur had also already conquered Samaria, at the time when the prophet introduced him as uttering these words. Jerusalem, therefore, would be unable to resist him. As he had obtained possession of idolatrous kingdoms (ל מעא, to reach, as in Psalm 21:9 : hâ-'elil with the article indicating the genus), which had more idols than Jerusalem or than Samaria; so would he also overcome Jerusalem, which had just as few and just as powerless idols as Samaria had. Observe there that Isaiah 10:11 is the apodosis to Isaiah 10:10, and that the comparative clause of Isaiah 10:10 is repeated in Isaiah 10:11, for the purpose of instituting a comparison, more especially with Samaria and Jerusalem. The king of Asshur calls the gods of the nations by the simple name of idols, though the prophet does not therefore make him speak from his own Israelitish standpoint. On the contrary, the great sin of the king of Asshur consisted in the manner in which he spoke. For since he recognised no other gods than his own Assyrian national deities, he placed Jehovah among the idols of the nations, and, what ought particularly to be observed, with the other idols, whose worship had been introduced into Samaria and Jerusalem. But in this very fact there was so far consolation for the worshippers of Jehovah, that such blasphemy of the one living God would not remain unavenged; whilst for the worshipers of idols it contained a painful lesson, since their gods really deserved nothing better than that contempt should be heaped upon them. The prophet has now described the sin of Asshur. It was ambitious self-exaltation above Jehovah, amounting even to blasphemy. And yet he was only the staff of Jehovah, who could make use of him as He would.

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