Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!
31:1 Horses - For Egypt had many and choice horses.
Yet he also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity.
31:2 He is safe - You think you are safe, in engaging the Egyptians; but God is not inferior to them in wisdom or strength, and therefore you have done foolishly, in preferring them before him, who will execute his judgments upon you, notwithstanding all the Egyptians can do. The help - The helpers, as it is explained in the next verse .
Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.
31:3 Flesh - Weak and frail.
For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.
31:4 For - Although you have done evil in sending to Egypt for help, yet the Lord himself will, of his own grace, give you that help which you do not deserve.
As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.
31:5 As birds - Which come from above, and so cannot be kept off; which fly swiftly, and engage resolutely, when their young ones are in danger. Passing over - The destroying angel shall pass over Jerusalem.
Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted.
For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin.
Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited.
31:8 The sword - Not of any man, but of an angel. Discomfited - Heb. shall melt away, a great part of them being destroyed by the angel; and the hearts of the rest melting for fear.
And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the LORD, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.
31:9 He - Sennacherib shall flee away, from Jerusalem, to his strong city of Nineveh. The ensign - Of the Lord's ensign, which he hath lifted up against them. Whose fire - Who is, and will appear to be in Zion, like a fire to defend his people, and to consume their enemies.