|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 7. - Howbeit he meaneth not so. "Assyria," i.e., "does not view the matter in this light - is not aware that she is merely God's instrument in working out his will. On the contrary, it is in her heart to destroy the nations for her own advantage, and she imagines that she is doing it by her own strength."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so,.... His purposes, intentions, and thoughts, were not as the Lord's; he did not imagine that he was only the rod of his anger, and the staff of his indignation, a minister of his wrath, and the executioner of his vengeance; he thought he was his own lord and master, and acted by his own power, and according to his own will, and was not under the direction and restraints of another; his intention was not to chastise and correct the people of the Jews, but utterly to destroy them, and not them only, but many other nations; as follows:
but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations, not a few; not the nation of the Jews only, but many others, and so establish an universal monarchy; and what flushed him with hope and expectation of success were the magnificence of his princes, and the conquests he had already made.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. meaneth not so—He is only thinking of his own schemes, while God is overruling them to His purposes.
think—intend. Sinners' plans are no less culpable, though they by them unconsciously fulfil God's designs (Ps 76:10; Mic 4:12). So Joseph's brethren (Ge 50:20; Pr 16:4). The sinner's motive, not the result (which depends on God), will be the test in judgment.
heart to destroy … not a few—Sennacherib's ambition was not confined to Judea. His plan was also to conquer Egypt and Ethiopia (Isa 20:1-6; Zec 1:15).
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