Isaiah 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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(33) Behold, . . . the Lord of hosts . . .—The sudden change of tone indicates another pressure of the “strong hand” of Jehovah (Isaiah 8:11), another burst of intensest inspiration. So far shalt thou go, the prophet says to Sargon, as he said afterwards to Sennacherib (Isaiah 37:28-32), and no farther. In the “boughs” that are to be lopped, and the “thickets of the forest” that are to be cut down, we have the same imagery as in Isaiah 10:17-19. The constant boasts of the Assyrian kings that they cut down the forests of the nations they conquered, gave a special fitness to this emblem of the work of the Divine Nemesis. High as the cedars of Lebanon might rise in their majesty, the “Mighty One” of Israel (better, Glorious One; comp. Isaiah 10:18, Isaiah 33:21; Psalm 93:4) would lay them low.

Isaiah 10:33-34. The Lord of hosts shall lop the bough — The top bough, Sennacherib; with terror — Hebrew, במערצהbemagnaratza, with a dreadful crash, as Bishop Lowth renders it, expressed by the very sound of the Hebrew word; by a most terrible and unexpected blow; and the high ones, &c. — The lofty boughs, Hebrew, ורמי הקומהexcelsi statura, the high of stature: that is, his valiant soldiers, or the great commanders of his army, compared to the tall trees of a forest; shall be hewn down — By a sudden and irresistible stroke; and the haughty — The proud, self- confident boasters, elati animo, the high-minded, as חגבהיםsignifies; shall be humbled — Shall be laid motionless in the dust, namely, by the invisible power of the destroying angel. And he shall cut down the thickets, &c., with iron — Or, as with iron, as the trees of the forest are cut down with instruments of iron; and Lebanon — Or, his Lebanon, the Assyrian army, which being before compared to a forest, and being called his Carmel in the Hebrew text, (Isaiah 10:18,) may very fitly, upon the same ground, be called his Lebanon here. Shall fall by a mighty one — By a mighty angel, Isaiah 37:36. 10:20-34 By our afflictions we may learn not to make creatures our confidence. Those only can with comfort stay upon God, who return to him in truth, not in pretence and profession only. God will justly bring this wasting away on a provoking people, but will graciously set bounds to it. It is against the mind and will of God, that his people, whatever happens, should give way to fear. God's anger against his people is but for a moment; and when that is turned from us, we need not fear the fury of man. The rod with which he corrected his people, shall not only be laid aside, but thrown into the fire. To encourage God's people, the prophet puts them in mind of what God had formerly done against the enemies of his church. God's people shall be delivered from the Assyrians. Some think it looks to the deliverance of the Jews out of their captivity; and further yet, to the redemption of believers from the tyranny of sin and Satan. And this, because of the anointing; for his people Israel's sake, the believers among them that had received the unction of Divine grace. And for the sake of the Messiah, the Anointed of God. Here is, ver. 28-34, a prophetical description of Sennacherib's march towards Jerusalem, when he threatened to destroy that city. Then the Lord, in whom Hezekiah trusted, cut down his army like the hewing of a forest. Let us apply what is here written, to like matters in other ages of the church of Christ. Because of the anointing of our great Redeemer, the yoke of every antichrist must be broken from off his church: and if our souls partake of the unction of the Holy Spirit, complete and eternal deliverances will be secured to us.Behold, the Lord ... - The prophet had described, in the previous verses, the march of the Assyrians toward Jerusalem, station by station. He had accompanied him in his description until he had arrived in full sight of the city, which was the object of all his preparation. He had described the consternation which was felt at his approach in all the smaller towns. Nothing had been able to stand before him; and now, flushed with success, and confident that Jerusalem would fall, he stands before the devoted city. But here, the prophet announces that his career was to close; and here his arms to be stayed. Here he was to meet with an overthrow, and Jerusalem would still be safe. This is the design of the prophecy, to comfort the inhabitants of Jerusalem with the assurance that they still would be safe.

Will lop the bough - The word "bough" here (פארה pû'râh) is from פאר pâ'ar to adorn, to beautify; and is given to a branch or bough of a tree on account of its beauty. It is, therefore, descriptive of that which is beautiful, honored, proud; and is applied to the Assyrian on account of his pride and magnificence. In Isaiah 10:18-19, the prophet had described the army of the Assyrian as a magnificent forest. Here he says that the glory of that army should be destroyed, as the vitality and beauty of the waving bough of a tree is quickly destroyed when it is lopped with an axe. There can scarcely be conceived a description, that would more beautifully represent the fading strength of the army of the Assyrian than this.

With terror - In such a way as to inspire terror.

The high ones of stature - The chief men and officers of the army.

33. bough—literally, the "beauty" of the tree; "the beautiful branch."

high ones of stature—"the upright stem," as distinguished from the previous "boughs" [Horsley].

The bough; the top bough, Sennacherib; or,

the boughs, his valiant soldiers or commanders of his army, which he compareth to a forest, Isaiah 10:18,34.

With terror; with a most terrible and amazing stroke by an angel. Behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror,.... Cut off the king of Assyria and his army, in a most terrible manner; "the glory" of it, as in Isaiah 10:18 the word signifies that which is the ornament, the beauty and glory, of the tree. The Septuagint render it, "the glorious ones"; and the Arabic version, "the nobles", the generals, and principal officers of the army; the Targum is,

"behold, the Lord of the world, the Lord of hosts, shall cast forth the slain in his camp, as grapes that are trod in a winepress.''

And the high ones of stature shall be hewn down; the princes of Assyria, so boasted of as kings, Isaiah 10:8 comparable to tall trees, to oaks and cedars:

and the haughty shall be humbled; who, like their monarch, boasted of their wisdom and strength, Isaiah 10:12 but now both he and they will be brought very low.

Behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, shall lop the {z} bough with terror: and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled.

(z) Fear and destruction will come on Judah for the princes and the people will all be led away captive.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
33, 34. Just when the Assyrian is in sight of his goal, Jehovah smites him down. The description naturally passes into figurative and somewhat vague language. The image is that of a stately forest laid low by the axe-man.

Isaiah 10:33. The Lord Jehovah of Hosts, as in Isaiah 10:16.

The “high ones of stature,” and the “lofty ones” (R.V.) are the great trees; the epithets keep within the limits of the figure. For be humbled read lie low.

Isaiah 10:34. the thickets of the forest (R.V.) cf. ch. Isaiah 9:18. The verb in the first clause is probably passive: “shall be cut down.” Lebanon] Better, the Lebanon. Lebanon means “the white (mountain)”—either from its snows or its chalk cliffs—and in Hebr. prose always retains the art.; here, however, the reference is to its forests, which supply a figure for the Assyrian army.

a mighty one] or “a majestic One”—Jehovah Himself.Verse 33. - The Lord... shall lop the bough with terror. A check to the Assyrian arms is intended, but of what nature is not clear. The "lopping of the bough with terror" might indicate a panic, such as that which seized the Syrians and made Benhadad II. raise the siege of Samaria (2 Kings 7:6, 7). But the expressions used later on," hewn down," "cut down," "shall fall," rather imply a defeat. The yoke of the imperial power would then burst asunder. "And it will come to pass in that day, its burden will remove from thy shoulder, and its yoke from thy neck; and the yoke will be destroyed from the pressure of the fat." We have here two figures: in the first (cessabit onus ejus a cervice tua) Israel is represented as a beast of burden; in the second (et jugum ejus a collo tuo), as a beast of draught. And this second figure is divided again into two fields. For yâsūr merely affirms that the yoke, like the burden, will be taken away from Israel; but chubbal, that the yoke itself will snap, from the pressure of his fat strong neck against it. Knobel, who alters the text, objects to this on the ground that the yoke was a cross piece of wood, and not a collar. And no doubt the simple yoke is a cross piece of wood, which is fastened to the forehead of the ox (generally of two oxen yoked together: jumenta equals jugmenta, like jugum, from jungere); but the derivation of the name itself, ‛ol, from ‛âlal, points to the connection of the cross piece of wood with a collar, and here the yoke is expressly described as lying round the neck (and not merely fastened against the forehead). There is no necessity, therefore, to read chebel (chablo), as Knobel proposes; chubbal (Arabic chubbila) indicates her a corrumpi consequent upon a disrumpi. (On p'nē, vid., Job 41:5; and for the application of the term mippenē to energy manifesting itself in its effects, compare Psalm 68:3 as an example.) Moreover, as Kimchi has observed, in most instances the yoke creates a wound in the fat flesh of the ox by pressure and friction; but here the very opposite occurs, and the fatness of the ox leads to the destruction of the yoke (compare the figure of grafting employed in Romans 11:17, to which Paul gives a turn altogether contrary to nature). Salvation, as the double turn in the second figure affirms, comes no less from within (Isaiah 10:27) than from without (Isaiah 10:27). It is no less a consequence of the world-conquering grace at work in Isaiah, than a miracle wrought for Israel upon their foes.

The prophet now proceeds to describe how the Assyrian army advances steadily towards Jerusalem, spreading terror on every hand, and how, when planted there like a towering forest, it falls to the ground before the irresistible might of Jehovah. Eichhorn and Hitzig pronounce this prophecy a vaticinium post eventum, because of its far too special character; but Knobel regards it as a prophecy, because no Assyrian king ever did take the course described; in other words, as a mere piece of imagination, as Ewald maintains. Now, no doubt the Assyrian army, when it marched against Jerusalem, came from the southwest, namely, from the road to Egypt, and not directly from the north. Sennacherib had conquered Lachish; he then encamped before Libnah, and it was thence that he advanced towards Jerusalem. But the prophet had no intention of giving a fragment out of the history of the war: all that he meant to do was to give a lively representation of the future fact, that after devastating the land of Judah, the Assyrian would attack Jerusalem. There is no necessity whatever to contend, as Drechsler does, against calling the description an ideal one. There is all the difference in the world between idea and imagination. Idea is the essential root of the real, and the reality is its historical form. This form, its essential manifestation, may be either this or that, so far as individual features are concerned, without any violation of its essential character. What the prophet here predicts has, when properly interpreted, been all literally fulfilled. The Assyrian did come from the north with the storm-steps of a conqueror, and the cities named were really exposed to the dangers and terrors of war. And this was what the prophet depicted, looking as he did from a divine eminence, and drawing from the heart of the divine counsels, and then painting the future with colours which were but the broken lights of those counsels as they existed in his own mind.

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