|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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?
Verse 10. - As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols. "Found" here means "reached," "punished... subjugated." It is quite in accordance with Assyrian ideas that the conquered countries should be called "kingdoms of the idols" (literally, "no gods"). The Assyrian monarchs regarded their own gods as alone really deserving of the name, and made war very much with the object of proving the superiority of their deities over those of their neighbors. Hence their practice of carrying off the idols from the various cities which they conquered, or else of inscribing on them "the praises of Asshur." And whose graven images; rather, and their graven images. Did excel. In preciousness of material or in workmanship, or both. The Assyrians went near to identifying the idols with the gods themselves. Those of Jerusalem and of Samaria. The chief Samaritan idols were the golden calves at Dan and Bethel; but, in addition to these, "images and groves were set up in every high hill and under every green tree" (2 Kings 17:10), images of Baal, and Ashtoreth, and perhaps Beltis, and Chemosh, and Moloch. Even in Judah and in Jerusalem itself there were idols. Ahaz "made molten images for Baalim" (2 Chronicles 28:2). The brazen serpent was worshipped as an idol at Jerusalem until Hezekiah destroyed it; and probably, even after the reformation of Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:4), many Jews retained privately the images, which he required them to destroy (2 Chronicles 31:1). Isaiah had already declared, speaking of Judah rather than of Israel, "Their land is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made" (Isaiah 2:8).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols,.... Which worship idols, as the Targum paraphrases it. He speaks of them as being very easily taken by him; he had no trouble in subduing them; no sooner did he come up to them, and looked on them, and saw where they were, but they fell into his hands; they gave up themselves to him at once, and he took possession of them.
And whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria; being made of better metal, or more richly ornamented, or worshipped in a more pompous manner; or were "more" than they of Jerusalem and Samaria, exceeded them in number; or were "stronger" and mightier than they, as Kimchi supplies it, and yet could not protect them; or were "from Jerusalem, and from Samaria"; the wicked men of Israel, Jarchi says, supplied all the nations with images, they all sprung from them; and if the idols which came from hence could not secure the nations of the earth from falling into the hands of the Assyrian monarch, neither could they preserve Jerusalem and Samaria from being taken by him.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10, 11. found—unable to resist me: hath overcome (so Ps 21:8).
and whose—rather, "and their." This clause, down to "Samaria," is parenthetical.
excel—were more powerful. He regards Jerusalem as idolatrous, an opinion which it often had given too much ground for: Jehovah was in his view the mere local god of Judea, as Baal of the countries where it was adored, nay, inferior in power to some national gods (Isa 36:19, 20; 37:12). See in opposition, Isa 37:20; 46:1.
As my hand … shall I not, as I have—a double protasis. Agitation makes one accumulate sentences.
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