|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?
Verses 5-19. - ASSYRIA, AFTER BEING GOD'S INSTRUMENT TO PUNISH ISRAEL, SHALL HERSELF BE PUNISHED IN HER TURN. The wicked are a sword in the hand of God (Psalm 17:13), wherewith he executes his judgments; but this fact is hid from them, and they imagine that they are successful through their own strength and might. So it was with Assyria (vers. 5-14), which its long career of victory had made proud and arrogant above measure. God now, by the mouth of Isaiah, makes known his intention of bringing down the pride of Assyria, and laying her glory in the dust, by a sudden and great destruction (vers. 15:19), after she has served his purposes. Verse 5. - O Assyrian; literally, Ho! Asshur. "Asshur" is the nation personified, and is here addressed as an individual. The transition from vers. 1-4 is abrupt, and may be taken to indicate an accidental juxtaposition of two entirely distinct prophecies. Or Assyria may be supposed to have been in the prophet's thought, though not in his words, when he spoke of "prisoners" and "slain" in the first clause of ver. 4. The rod of mine anger (comp. Jeremiah 51:20, where it is said of Babylon, "Thou art my battle-axe and weapons of war; for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy the kingdoms"). So Assyria was now the "rod" wherewith God chastised his enemies. The true "staff" in the hand of Assyria, wherewith she smote the peoples, was "God's indignation."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger,..... Either as calling him to come against the land of Israel to spoil it, so Kimchi; or as grieving that he was obliged to make use of him in such a manner against his people; or as threatening him with ruin. So the Targum, Septuagint, and all the Oriental versions render it, "woe to the Assyrian"; wherefore this, and what follows, serve to comfort the people of God; that though they should be carried captive by the Assyrians, yet they should be utterly destroyed, and a remnant of the Jews should be saved. The Assyrian monarch is called the "rod of God's anger", because he was made use of by him as an instrument to chastise and correct Israel for their sins:
and the staff in their hand is mine indignation; that is, the staff which was in the hand of the king of Assyria, and his army, with which they smote the people of Israel, was no other than the wrath and indignation of God against that people, and the execution of it, which he committed to them as instruments. Kimchi interprets "their hand" of the land of Israel, into which this staff was sent, the Assyrian, to smite and chastise them. The Targum is,
"woe to the Assyrian, the government of my fury; and an angel sent from before me against them for a curse.''
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Isa 10:5-34 and Isa 11:12. Destruction of the Assyrians; Coming of Messiah; Hymn of Praise.
Isa 10:9, 11 show that Samaria was destroyed before this prophecy. It was written when Assyria proposed (a design which it soon after tried to carry out under Sennacherib) to destroy Judah and Jerusalem, as it had destroyed Samaria. This is the first part of Isaiah's prophecies under Hezekiah. Probably between 722 and 715 B.C. (see Isa 10:27).
5. O Assyrian, &c.—rather, "What, ho (but Maurer, Woe to the) Assyrian! He is the rod and staff of Mine anger (My instrument in punishing, Jer 51:20; Ps 17:13). In their hands is Mine indignation" [Horsley, after Jerome]. I have put into the Assyrians' hands the execution of Mine indignation against My people.
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