|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 18. - Forest... fruitful field. "Forest" and "fruitful field" (carmel) are sometimes united together, sometimes contrasted. Literally, they denote wild and cultivated woodland. Used symbolically, as here, they are not so much intended to designate different parts of Assyria's glory, as to convey the idea that the destruction will be universal. Both soul and body. Here metaphor is suddenly dropped, and Isaiah shows that he is speaking of the Assyrian people, not of the land or its products. Their destruction, wicked as they were, would be one both of body and soul. As when a standard-bearer fainteth; rather, as when one that is faint fainteth. Utter prostration and exhaustion is indicated, whichever way the passage is translated.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And shall consume the glory of his forest,.... The Assyrian army is compared to a "forest", for the number of men in it; and for the mighty men in it, comparable to large and tall trees, such as oaks and cedars; and like a wood or forest a numerous army looks, when in rank and file, in proper order, and with banners, and having on their armour, their shields, spears, bows and arrows; and the "glory" of it intends either the princes and nobles that were in it, the principal officers, generals, and captains; or the riches of it, the plunder of the Egyptians and Ethiopians, as Kimchi observes, which were all destroyed at once:
both soul and body, or "from the soul even to the flesh" (o); which denotes the total consumption of them, nothing of them remaining; the Targum is,
"the glory of the multitude of his army, and their souls with their bodies, it shall consume;''
and so some understand this of the eternal destruction of soul and body in hell: the Rabbins are divided about the manner of the consumption of the Assyrian army; some say their bodies and souls were both burnt, which these words seem to favour; and others, that their souls were burnt, and not their bodies, their lives were taken away, and their bodies unhurt; which they think is favoured by Isaiah 10:16 where it is said, "under his glory", and not "his glory" (p):
and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth; who when he fails, the whole company or army is thrown into confusion, and flees; and so the Targum,
"and he shall be broken, and flee.''
Some render it, "as the dust of the worm that eats wood" (q); so Jarchi; signifying that they should be utterly destroyed, and become as small as the dust that falls from a worm eaten tree; which simile is used, a forest being made mention of before.
(o) "ab anima usque ad carnem", V. L. Montanus, Piscator. (p) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 113. 2. & Sanhedrin, fol 94. 1, 2. See Kimchi in loc. (q) "at pulvis teredinis", Tigurine version.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. glory of his forest—The common soldiers, the princes, officers, &c., all alike together, shall be consumed (see on Isa 9:18).
in one day—(Isa 37:36).
fruitful field—literally, "Carmel," a rich mountain in the tribe of Asher. Figurative for Sennacherib's mighty army. Perhaps alluding to his own boasting words about to be uttered (Isa 37:24), "I will enter the forest of his Carmel."
soul and body—proverbial for utterly; the entire man is made up of soul and body.
as when a standard bearer fainteth—rather, "they shall be as when a sick man" (from a Syriac root) wastes away." Compare "leanness," that is, wasting destruction (Isa 10:16) [Maurer]. Or, "there shall be an entire dissipation, like a perfect melting" (namely, of the Assyrian army) [Horsley].
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