|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
10:1-4 These verses are to be joined with the foregoing chapter. Woe to the superior powers that devise and decree unrighteous decrees! And woe to the inferior officers that draw them up, and enter them on record! But what will sinners do? Whither will they flee?
Verses 1-4. - The prophecy begun in Isaiah 9:8 terminates with this stanza, which contains a warning against injustice and oppression, addressed to Israel and Judah equally, and accompanied by the threat of a "day of desolation," when those who have refused to make God their Refuge will have no resource, but to go into captivity with the "prisoners," or to perish with the "slain." A foreign conquest, accompanied by slaughter, and the deportation of captives, is not obscurely intimated. Verse 1. - Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees (comp. Isaiah 1:17, 20, 26; Isaiah 5:23, etc.). The perversion of judgment from the judgment-seat is the sin rebuked. It was certainly prevalent in Judah, it may also have been practiced in Israel. And that write grievousness, etc. Translate, and unto the writers that enregister oppression. The decrees of courts were, it is clear, carefully engrossed by the officials, probably upon parchment, every outward formality being observed, while justice itself was set at naught.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees,.... Or, "O ye that decree", &c. being a sign of the vocative case, and an interjection of calling, as Aben Ezra observes; though the Targum and other versions understand it of a threatening denounced; and is to be understood as lying against lawgivers and judges, political rulers and governors of the people, that made unrighteous laws; laws which were not agreeable to the law of God, nor right reason; and were injurious to the persons and properties of men; and which were calculated for the oppression of good men, especially the poor, and for the protection of wicked men, who made no conscience of spoiling them:
and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; laws grievous and intolerable being made by them, they wrote them, or ordered them to be written, to be engrossed and promulgated, published them, and obliged the people to be subject to them. This some understand of the scribes of judges, who sat in court, and wrote out the decrees and sentences made by them; but it rather intends the same persons as before; and not ecclesiastical but political governors are meant, and such as lived before the Babylonish captivity; or otherwise the whole is applicable to the Scribes and Pharisees, to the Misnic doctors, the authors of the oral law, the fathers of tradition, whose decisions and decrees were unrighteous and injurious, and contrary to the commands of God; heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and very oppressive of the poor, the fatherless, and the widow; for which they are reproved by Christ, Matthew 15:3 Jarchi says it is an Arabic (g) word, which signifies scribes.
(g) So and Scriba, Golius, col. 1999; so the word is used in the Chaldee and Syriac languages. See Castel. col. 1828, 1829.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Isa 10:1-4. Fourth strophe.
1. them that decree—namely, unrighteous judges.
write grievousness, &c.—not the scribes, but the magistrates who caused unjust decisions (literally, "injustice" or "grievousness") to be recorded by them (Isa 65:6) [Maurer], (Isa 1:10, 23).
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