|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 17. - The light of Israel. A new name of God. The idea on which it is based may be found in the Psalms (Psalm 27:1; Psalm 84:11), and again in Isaiah (Isaiah 60:19). God enlightens his people, cheers them, comforts them spiritually, as the light of the sun enlightens, cheers, and comforts men physically. Christ, as true God, is "the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9). Shall be for a fire. As the same material fire which gives light, warmth, and comfort may burn and destroy, so the spiritual light, finding fit material, scorches and consumes. The fire which devours Assyria is to be kindled by God. His Holy One; i.e. "the Holy One of Israel" (see Isaiah 1:4). It shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers. The destruction of Assyria shall resemble that of Israel, in which Assyria was the instrument (Isaiah 9:18). It shall be as complete, as terrible, and as final. In one day. Scarcely "in one battle" (Cheyne); for the destruction of Assyria was effected by many battles, many sieges, and much exhausting ravage. "In one day" rather means "at one and the same time," "within a brief space." It is not to he taken literally.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the light of Israel shall be for a fire,.... That is, the Lord, who is the light of his people; who enlightens them by his word and Spirit, and by his grace effectually calls them out of darkness into marvellous light, to the light of grace here, and to the light of glory hereafter; and who comforts and refreshes them with his gracious presence, and with the light of his countenance when in affliction and distress, which is sometimes signified by darkness; and the same Lord, who is as light to his people, and gives light and comfort to them, is as a consuming fire to others:
and his Holy One for a flame; that is, the Holy One of Israel, the God of Israel, who is holy in himself, and the sanctifier of others; the Syriac version reads, "his Holy Ones": so Jarchi observes it as the sense of some, that the righteous of that generation are meant; the Targum is,
"and there shall be the Lord, the light of Israel, and his Holy One; and his word strong as fire, and his word as a flame;''
see Jeremiah 23:29 so Jarchi interprets it of the law Hezekiah studied:
and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day; the Targum interprets it, his rulers and governors; and so Jarchi, his princes and mighty men; the chief in the Assyrian army, called briers and thorns, because mischievous and hurtful, and caused grief; but rather the multitude of the common soldiers is designed, who were all destroyed in one night, 2 Kings 19:35 by an angel; who, according to Aben Ezra, is the light and Holy One of Israel here spoken of.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17, 18. light of Israel—carrying out the image in the end of Isa 10:16. Jehovah, who is a light to Israel, shall be the "fire" (De 4:24; Heb 12:29) that shall ignite the "thorns," (the Assyrians, like dry fuel, a ready prey to flame).
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