Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;Isaiah 10:1-2. Wo, &c. — The first four verses of this chapter are closely connected with the foregoing, and ought to have been joined thereto, being a continuation of the subject treated of in it. We have here the fourth evil charged on the people, and the punishment of it. The sin complained of is the injustice of the magistrates and judges, who decreed unrighteous decrees — That is, made unjust laws, and gave forth unjust sentences, which is termed in the next clause, writing grievousness, or grievous things, edicts which caused grief and vexation to their subjects. To turn aside the needy from judgment — From obtaining a just sentence, because these rulers and judges either denied or delayed to hear their causes, or when they heard them decided unjustly; to take away the right from the poor — Whom I have, in a special manner, committed to your care; of my people — Whom I had taken into covenant with myself; and therefore this is an injury, not only to them, but also to me. The punishment assigned to this iniquity is, that they should be absolutely deserted and deprived of all help and protection from God, whose laws they had so shamefully perverted; and should perish miserably before their enemies, who should come from far.
To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!
And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?Isaiah 10:3-4. What will ye do — To save yourselves? in the day of visitation? — When I shall come to visit you in wrath, as the next words limit the expression. The desolation which shall come from far — From the Assyrians. This he adds, because the Israelites, having weakened the Jews, and being in amity with the Syrians, their next neighbours, were secure. To whom will ye flee for help — To the Syrians, as now you do? But they shall be destroyed together with you, 2 Kings 16:9; and where will you leave your glory — To be kept safe for your use, and to be restored to you when you call for it? By their glory, he means, either, 1st, their power and authority, which now they so wickedly abused; or, 2d, their wealth, gotten by injustice, as glory sometimes means: see Genesis 31:1; Psalm 49:16-17. Without me — Without my favour and help, which you have forfeited, and do not seek to recover; they shall bow down — Notwithstanding all their succours; under the prisoners — Or among the prisoners; and they shall fall under the slain — Or among the slain. The meaning is, that it was in vain for the Israelites to trust in their own strength, or in the assistance of the Syrians, or any other allies, since it was from God alone they could obtain deliverance, without whose aid, or when he deserted them, they should all bow down under the yoke of the Assyrians. In the Septuagint, and vulgar Latin, these words are joined to the foregoing verse, to this sense: “Whither will this people flee for refuge to preserve themselves, that they may not bow down, or be subdued among the captives, or destroyed among the slain?”
Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.Isaiah 10:5. O Assyrian, &c. — We have here the fourth section of the fifth sermon, which reaches to the end of this chapter, and which is two-fold; containing, 1st, A proposition in this verse; and, 2d, The unfolding of it in the following verses. It is a new and distinct prophecy, and, as the former part of it foretels the invasion of Sennacherib and the destruction of his army, it must have been delivered before the fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s reign. “In the former chapters the prophet had foretold the fate of the Ephraimites and Syrians, who had determined to attack, and, if possible, subvert the Jewish Church and state. He therefore now turns his discourse to the Assyrians, the executors of this judgment, who also in their time should make the same attempt against Judea, and denounces their punishment, teaching, at the same time, in what light they were held by God, and consequently were to be considered by the careful observers of the ways of God. The proposition in this verse is elegant, but very difficult to be turned into another language, according to its original force. Its immediate meaning is, ‘Wo to the Assyrian, who is the rod of mine anger, and the staff, which is in his hands, is my severity;’ that is, ‘whatever strength or power they have, which they have used in afflicting my people, would have been none at all, if my people had not provoked my wrath and severity; so that, not the Assyrians themselves, but my wrath and severity, and the decrees of my justice, ought to be esteemed the rod and staff beating my people; since, without that severity, the Assyrians themselves could have done nothing.’ Vitringa remarks, that all the characters of this prophecy belong to Sennacherib; though possibly it may have a more extensive scope, and refer to the destruction of all the enemies of God, and the following great empires, which God made use of as rods and scourges, to chastise and amend his people, till the manifestation of the kingdom of his Son in the world: see Jeremiah 51:20.” — Dodd. Be this as it will, the prophet here instructs us in a great and important truth: “That God often prospers wicked and tyrannical governments to be his scourge and the instruments of his vengeance upon others; and when they have done the work which God allots them, he then punishes them for those very oppressions which they have exercised toward their neighbours, and to which they were carried on purely by their own ambition and covetousness, although Providence made them serviceable to better ends and purposes.” — Lowth.
I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.Isaiah 10:6-7. I will send him — By my providence, giving him both opportunity and inclination to undertake this expedition; against a hypocritical nation — Or, a profane nation, as the word חנŠrather signifies; and against the people of my wrath — The objects of my just wrath, devoted to destruction. To tread them down like the mire of the streets — Easily to conquer them, and utterly to destroy them, as he did after this time. Howbeit, he meaneth not so — He does not design the execution of my will, but only to extend his conquests, and thereby to enlarge his empire, and gratify his ambition. Which is seasonably added, to justify God in his judgments threatened to the Assyrian, notwithstanding this service. But to destroy nations not a few — To sacrifice multitudes of people to his own pride and covetousness, which was abominable impiety.
Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.
For he saith, Are not my princes altogether kings?Isaiah 10:8-10. For he saith, Are not my princes, &c. — Are they not equal for power, and wealth, and glory, to the kings of other nations, though they be my subjects and servants? Is not Calno as Carchemish? — Have I not conquered one place as well as another, the stronger as well as the weaker? Have I not from time to time added new conquests to the old? None of those cities, against which he had turned his arms, had been able to resist him; but he had subjugated them all. Calno, Carchemish, Hamath, and Arpad, were cities of Syria and Israel, which this mighty monarch had subdued. Is not Samaria — Or, Shall not Samaria be, as Damascus? — Shall I not take that as I have done this city? For although Damascus, possibly, was not yet taken by the Assyrians, yet the prophet speaks of it as actually taken, because these words are prophetically delivered, and supposed to be uttered by the king of Assyria, at or about the time of the siege of Samaria, when Damascus was taken. As my hand hath found — Hath taken, as this word is often used, the kingdoms of the idols — Which worshipped their own idols, and vainly imagined that they could protect them from my power. He calls the gods of the nations, not excepting Jerusalem, idols, by way of contempt, because none of them could deliver their people out of his hands, and because he judged them to be but petty gods, far inferior to the sun, which was the god of the Assyrians. Whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem — Namely, in reputation and power. Which blasphemy of his proceeded from his deep ignorance of the true God.
Is not Calno as Carchemish? is not Hamath as Arpad? is not Samaria as Damascus?
As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria;
Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?
Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.Isaiah 10:12. Wherefore — Because of this impudent blasphemy; when the Lord hath performed his whole work — Of chastising his people as long as he sees fit. I will punish the fruit of the stout heart, &c. — Here it is foretold, says Bishop Newton, that when the Assyrians “shall have served the purposes of Divine Providence, they shall be severely punished for their pride and ambition, their tyranny and cruelty to their neighbours. Now there was no prospect of such an event” when Isaiah uttered this prediction, namely, “while the Assyrians were in the midst of their successes and triumphs; but still the word of the prophet prevailed; and it was not long after these calamities brought upon the Jews, that the Assyrian empire, properly so called, was overthrown, and Nineveh destroyed.”
For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man:Isaiah 10:13-14. For he saith, &c. — “From hence to the twentieth verse we have a more full exposition and confirmation of what had gone before, particularly the pride of the Assyrian and his vain boasting in these verses; a refutation thereof in Isaiah 10:15; and the punishment ordained for him by God, in Isaiah 10:16-19. By the strength of my hand I have done it, &c. — Here the prophet sets forth his insolent boasting of the greatness of his deeds, the prosperity of his empire, and the success of his warlike expeditions, all which are ascribed by him to the prudence of his own counsels, and the valour and strength of his forces; but without any the least acknowledgment of any superior and overruling power.” I have removed the bounds of the people — I have invaded their lands, and added them to my own dominions, Proverbs 22:28. And have robbed their treasures — Hebrew, עתודתיהם, their prepared things, their gold and silver, and other precious things, which they had been long preparing and laying up in store. And I have put down the inhabitants — Deprived them of their former glory and power. And my hand hath found as a nest — As one finds young birds in a nest; and as one gathereth eggs — Which the dam hath left in her nest; have I gathered all the earth — All the riches of the earth: an hyperbole not unusual in the mouths of such boasters. “The comparison is elegant; and nothing could more strongly or significantly describe the insolent boasting of the Assyrian. It is remarkable, that birds, after they have laid their eggs in their nests, are most diligent in their care of them; and if, at any time, they are obliged, for fear of the spoiler, to forsake them, they hover about their nests, and flutter around, moving their wings, and peeping, chirping, or lamenting; thus imitating the affections of the human mind. The prophet elegantly implies by this simile the extreme dread of this proud and oppressing king which reigned in the minds of the conquered people, and we find that the mighty tyrants and conquerors of Asia did spread such terror.” See Lowth’s Twelfth Prelection, and Dodd.
And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped.
Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.Isaiah 10:15. Shall the axe boast itself, &c. — How absurd is it for thee, who art but an instrument in God’s hand, to blaspheme thy Lord and Master, who has as great power over thee as a man hath over the axe wherewith he heweth? As if the rod, &c. — See the margin; or, as if the staff, &c. — Should forget that it was wood, and should pretend, or attempt, to lift up itself — Either without, or against the man that moveth it. As if it were no wood — Literally translated, it is, As if the staff should lift up no wood; that is, should lift up man, who is very different from wood: as if the staff should lift the man instead of the man lifting the staff. In this way does the prophet refute the vain boasts of the Assyrian, and teach him, that, “in all his counsels, motions, and works, he was but the minister of the Divine Providence; incapable of doing any thing without the divine will and permission; and therefore his boasting was to be considered in no other light than as if the axe, or saw, or rod, should magnify themselves against him who handled them, and should ascribe to themselves that effect which was only caused by the mover.”
Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.Isaiah 10:16-19. Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts — The sovereign Lord and General of his and of all other armies; send among his fat ones leanness — Strip him, and all his great princes and commanders, of all their wealth, and might, and glory. And under his glory he shall kindle, &c. — He will destroy his numerous and victorious army, and that suddenly and irrecoverably, as the fire doth those combustible things which are cast into it; which was fulfilled 2 Kings 19:25. And the light of Israel — That God, who is, and will be, a comfortable light to his people; shall be a fire — To the Assyrians; and it shall devour his thorns and briers — His vast army, which is no more able to resist God than dry thorns and briers are to oppose the fire which is kindled among them. And shall consume the glory of his forest — “The briers and thorns,” says Bishop Lowth, “are the common people; and the glory of his forest are the nobles, and those of the highest rank and importance. The fire of God’s wrath shall destroy them, great and small.” And of his fruitful field — Of his soldiers, who stand as thick as ears of corn do in a fruitful field. Hebrew, Of his Carmel; an allusion possibly to the vain threat, which God foreknew the Assyrian would hereafter utter, with regard to Israel, I will enter into the height of his border, and the forest of his Carmel, Isaiah 37:24. Both soul and body — Hebrew, מנפשׁ ועד בשׂר, from the soul, even to the flesh, a proverbial expression. The fire of God’s wrath shall consume them entirely and altogether. And they shall be — The state of the king, and of his vast and valiant army, shall be as when a standard- bearer fainteth — Like that of an army, when either the standard-bearer is slain, or rather flees away, which strikes a terror into the whole army, and puts them to flight. Bishop Lowth, in this clause, follows the reading of the LXX., ως ο φευγων απο φλογος καιομενης, It shall be, as when one fleeth out of raging flames: that is, “The few that escape shall be looked upon as having escaped from the most imminent danger.” The rest of the trees of his forest — The remainders of that mighty host; a child may write them — A child, or the meanest accountant, may number and register them. It is justly observed by Dr. Dodd, that “the emphasis of this passage consists in the elegance of the metaphors.” The first, taken from leanness, destroying the fat, and marring the beauty of the human form, well describes that terrible plague which destroyed the flower of the Assyrian host. The second, taken from fire, which, with unconquerable fury, in a short time reduces combustible matter to ashes, gives us a striking picture of the quick and almost instantaneous ruin brought on that army, by the irresistible power of the destroying angel, especially as that fire is represented as kindled by the light of Israel. And the third metaphor of the thorns and briers, which are so far from having any power to withstand the fury of the flames, that they provoke and feed it, affords us a lively emblem of the utter inability of the Assyrian monarch, or his mighty host, to make the least resistance against that divine vengeance which their crimes had merited.
And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day;
And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth.
And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.Isaiah 10:20. And it shall come to pass, &c. — The prophet having, 1st, Explained the cause for which God had decreed to permit the Assyrians to have such power over his people, namely, for the punishment of hypocrites, and the purification of his church; and having also shown the crimes which the kings of Assyria would commit in executing his judgments, and the punishment ordained for them, Isaiah 10:6-12; and having, 2d, Confirmed these things, and given a new exhibition of the pride of the Assyrian, with a yet fuller declaration of the divine judgment upon him, Isaiah 10:13-19; proceeds now, 3d, To predict, that a two-fold consequence, friendly to the state of the church, should arise from this memorable judgment; opposed to the two-fold vice of the people, before the execution of it. 1st, There were among them men fearing God, but who yet regarded the power of the Assyrian with greater fear than they ought. These, by this great deliverance granted to the church, would be henceforth confirmed, as to their faith and confidence in the power and goodness of God. 2d, There were, besides these, many others totally alienated from God, who, by means of this great miracle, would be brought to repentance, and a serious acknowledgment of the God of Israel. Nay, not only the pious of those, but of future times, would, by this means, be confirmed in their faith, and adherence to the true God. Thus the prophet: Such as are escaped of the house of Jacob — Such Jews as shall be preserved from that sweeping Assyrian scourge, by which great numbers, both of Israel and Judah, shall be destroyed, and from the succeeding calamities. For that this place looks beyond the deliverance from the Assyrian army, unto the times of the New Testament, seems probable, 1st, From the following verses, which belong to that time, as we shall see: 2d, From the state of the Jewish nation, which, after that deliverance, continued to be very corrupt, and averse from that reformation, which Hezekiah and Josiah prosecuted with all their might; and therefore the body of that people had not yet learned this lesson, of sincerely trusting in God alone. 3d, From St. Paul’s explication and application of these words, Romans 9:27. Shall no more stay upon him that smote them — Shall learn by this judgment, not to trust to the Assyrians, or any other allies, for help, as Ahaz and his people now did; but shall stay upon the Lord in truth — Not by profession only, but sincerely.
The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.Isaiah 10:21-23. The remnant shall return — Hebrew, שׁאר ישׁוב, shear- jashub, the name given to one of the prophet’s sons, (see Isaiah 7:3,) in confirmation of the truth of God’s promises. It may be rendered, as here, the remnant, or, a remnant, or, but a remnant, shall return; unto the mighty God — Hebrew, אל גבור, the very appellation given to Christ, Isaiah 9:6. For though thy people Israel — Or, thy people, O Israel; to whom the prophet, by an apostrophe, directs his speech; be as the sand, &c., yet a remnant — Or, a remnant only, as before; shall return — For that this is a threatening in respect of some, as well as a promise in respect of others, is evident from the rest of this, and from the following verse. The consumption decreed shall overflow — God’s judgments are said to overflow when they spread generally, the metaphor being taken from an inundation that sweeps all before it. The destruction of the people of Israel was already decreed by the fixed counsel of God, and therefore must needs be executed, and like a deluge overflow them, with, or in righteousness, as the word is rendered Romans 9:28, that is, with justice, and yet with clemency, inasmuch as he spared a considerable remnant of them, when he might have destroyed them utterly. In the midst of the land — In all the parts of the land, not excepting Jerusalem, which was to be preserved in the Assyrian invasion. Bishop Lowth translates these verses, “Though thy people, O Israel, shall be as the sand of the sea, a remnant of them only shall return. The consummation decided overfloweth with strict justice: For a full and decisive decree shall Jehovah, the Lord of hosts, accomplish in the midst of the land.” The prophet’s affirming, that only a remnant of Judah and Ephraim should be preserved, and return in true repentance to God, might justly cause wonder and offence, both to Jews and Israelites, at the time when he spoke these things: for it implied that far the greater part of the people should perish, which they must have conceived highly improbable, especially as they were at that time very numerous and flourishing. The prophet, therefore, declares repeatedly, and more explicitly, that God had determined, by an absolute and precise decree, thus to exercise his justice and severity upon them. This, it is evident, is the sense of the present passage, though there is some difficulty in the expressions. This prophecy was, in part, fulfilled at the Babylonish captivity, but there can be no doubt that it has also a reference to the times of the Messiah: see note on Romans 9:27. Indeed, as Lowth observes, the remnant, so miraculously preserved in Jerusalem from Sennacherib’s invasion, were a type or figure of that small number of converts under the gospel, styled σωζομενοι, (Acts 2:47,) such as should be saved, namely, such as should escape the vengeance which fell upon the main body of the Jewish nation, for their sin in rejecting Christ. And there shall be another remnant of them that shall be saved in the latter days of the Christian Church.
For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt.Isaiah 10:24. Therefore, &c. — We have here the fourth part of the enarration, or unfolding of the proposition, mentioned Isaiah 10:5, namely, the application of it to the consolation of the people of God: to which, having digressed a little, the prophet returns, it being the true and proper scope of his discourse, to comfort the pious with respect to the evils that threatened their republic. The words are an inference, not from the verses immediately foregoing, but from the whole prophecy: as if he had said, Seeing the Assyrian shall be destroyed, and the remnant of my people preserved and restored, thus saith the Lord God of hosts — The Lord of all the armies of earth and heaven, the God superior to all human, yea, to all crested power; O my people that dwellest in Zion — Where I dwell; where are the ordinances of my worship and service, my temple, my priests; the thrones of justice which I have established, and the princes of the house of David mine anointed; where my people assemble to worship me, and where I am present to defend them: Be not afraid of the Assyrian — A man that shall die, the son of man that shall be as grass; forgetting the Lord thy maker, that stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth. With his staff indeed shall he smite thee, (as Bishop Lowth translates it,) and his rod shall he lift up against thee. He shall threaten and correct, yea, afflict thee, but not destroy thee; after the manner of Egypt — As the Egyptians formerly did, and with the same ill success to themselves, and comfortable issue to you.
For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction.Isaiah 10:25-26. For yet a very little while, &c. — Here the prophet proceeds to assign the reasons why the Lord would not have his people to fear the Assyrians, because, in a short time, he would take vengeance upon them, and that in a very singular and extraordinary manner, as he did upon the Midianites and Egyptians: the consequence of which would be the removal of the yoke now imposed, or to be imposed upon them. The indignation — My displeasure at my people, which is the rod and staff in their hand, Isaiah 10:5; shall cease — And, when it ceaseth, they will be disarmed, and disabled from doing any farther mischief. And mine anger in their destruction — Hebrew, על תבליתם, upon, or, with their destruction, as Dr. Waterland properly renders the words, namely, the destruction of the Assyrians. The enemy that threatens and afflicts God’s people, shall himself be reckoned with and punished. The rod wherewith God corrected them shall not only be laid aside, but put into the fire, and it shall appear by its destruction that his anger is turned away from them. The reader will recollect that, upon the destruction of the Assyrian army, the calamities wherewith God had chastised his people in a great measure ceased, at least for a time. The Lord of hosts — Who is well able; shall stir up a scourge for him — He lifted up his staff against Zion; and God will now lift up a scourge for him: he was a terror to God’s people, and God will be a terror to him. The destroying angel shall be his scourge, which he can neither flee from nor contend with. According to the slaughter of Midian — Whom God slew suddenly and unexpectedly in the night. At the rock of Oreb — Upon which one of their chief princes was slain, and nigh unto which the Midianites were destroyed. And as his rod was upon the sea — To divide it, and make way for thy deliverance, and for the destruction of the Egyptians. So shall he lift it up after the manner of Egypt — As he did in Egypt, to bring his plagues upon that land and people. Thus the prophet, for the encouragement of God’s people, quotes precedents, and puts them in mind of what God had done formerly against the enemies of his church, who were very strong and formidable, but were brought to ruin. Respecting the last clause of this verse, “I think,” says Bishop Lowth, “there is a designed ambiguity in these words. Sennacherib, soon after his return from his Egyptian expedition, which, I imagine, took him up three years, invested Jerusalem. He is represented by the prophet as lifting up his rod, in his march from Egypt, and threatening the people of God, as Pharaoh and the Egyptians had done, when they pursued them to the Red sea. But God, in his turn, will lift up his rod, as he did at that time over the sea, in the way, or, after the manner of Egypt: and as Sennacherib had imitated the Egyptians in his threats, and came full of rage against them from the same quarter; so God will act over again the same part that he had taken formerly in Egypt, and overthrow their enemies in as signal a manner.”
And the LORD of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb: and as his rod was upon the sea, so shall he lift it up after the manner of Egypt.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.Isaiah 10:27. In that day his burden shall be taken away, &c. — The burden imposed on the Jews by the Assyrian. They shall not only be eased of the Assyrian army, now quartered upon them, and which was a grievous yoke and burden on them; but they shall no more pay that tribute to the king of Assyria which, before this invasion, he had exacted from them, 2 Kings 18:14; shall no longer be at his service, nor lie at his mercy, as they had done; nor shall he ever again put the country under contribution. Perhaps, as some think, the promise may look to the deliverance of the Jews from the captivity of Babylon, if not also to the redemption of believers from the tyranny of sin and Satan. Because of the anointing — Hebrew, מפני שׁמן, literally, Because of, from before, or, from the presence of, the oil, ointment, or fatness. Leigh says, “Est nomen generale ad omnem pinguedinem sive naturalem, sive conditam: It is a general name for every kind of fatness, whether natural or artificial.” Hence some translate the sentence, “The yoke shall be loosed because of the fatness;” supposing the meaning to be, that the affairs of the Jews would be in so good a condition, signified by fatness, after this destruction of the Assyrian army, that the Assyrians would not pretend any longer to lay any burden of tribute, or any impositions upon them, as they had done, ever since Ahaz put himself under their protection, and, as it were, made a surrender of himself and people to them, to become tributary to them. But the common interpretation given of the text seems preferable, namely, The yoke shall be destroyed, because of the (oil, unction, or) anointing — That is, out of regard to the holy unction, which God had established among his people. Or, for the preservation of the priesthood and kingdom, priests and kings being both initiated into their offices by the ceremony of anointing. The Jews, therefore, and some others, apply this to Hezekiah, who was the anointed of the Lord, an active reformer, and very dear to God, and in answer to whose prayers, as we read, (Isaiah 37:15,) God gave this deliverance. But possibly it might be better understood of David, who is often mentioned in Scripture by the name of God’s anointed; and for whose sake God gave many deliverances to the succeeding kings and ages, as is expressly affirmed 1 Kings 11:32; 1 Kings 11:34. And, which is more considerable, God declares that he would give this very deliverance from the Assyrian for David’s sake, 2 Kings 19:34; 2 Kings 20:6. But the Messiah is principally intended, of whom David was but a type; and who was in a particular manner anointed above his fellows, as is said Psalm 45:7. For he is the foundation of all the promises, (2 Corinthians 1:20,) and of all the deliverances and mercies granted to God’s people in all ages. Vitringa is of opinion, that “the prophet, in this last passage, rises in his ideas; and, having expressed the temporal deliverance of the church in the preceding clauses, here seals up the period with a consolatory clause, admonishing the pious of their deliverance from a spiritual yoke, that is, from all the power of sin and Satan, and their vindication into the full and perfect liberty of the sons of God, through Jesus Christ, the king of his church, who, for this purpose, would communicate an abundance of the anointing spirit of wisdom, knowledge, prayer, liberty, and adoption: see Zechariah 4:6.” The reader may see an explication and defence of this interpretation in Vitringa on the place.
He is come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron; at Michmash he hath laid up his carriages:Isaiah 10:28-32. He is come to Aiath — Here the prophet returns to his former discourse concerning Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah, of whose march toward Jerusalem, the route of his army, and their several stations, he gives so minute a detail, that though the description is a prophecy, he seems rather to speak like an historian, who is relating facts already past. This is the fifth part of the prophet’s discourse, in which we have, 1st, the expedition of the Assyrian monarch, described in the most lively manner in these verses; and, 2d, the unhappy success of that expedition, with its consequences, Isaiah 10:33-34. The several places here mentioned, are those where Sennacherib may be supposed to have pitched his camp; and were most of them towns of Benjamin, though some were in Judah, as appears from other scriptures. He is passed to Migron — Namely, Sennacherib, in his way to Jerusalem. At Michmash he hath laid up his carriages — Leaving such things there as were less necessary, that so he might march with more expedition. They are gone over the passage — Some considerable passage, then well known. Gibeah of Saul is fled — The people fled to Jerusalem for fear of the Assyrians. Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim — Jerusalem was the mother city, and lesser towns were commonly called her daughters. O poor Anathoth — Hebrew, ענתות עניה, Aniah Anathoth, where the former word, rendered poor, relates to the signification of Anathoth; “a beauty frequently to be met with in the original of the sacred Scriptures, but which can seldom be preserved in any translation.” He shall shake his hand against the mount of Zion — By way of commination. But, withal, the prophet intimates, that he should be able to do no more against it; and that there his proud waves should be stayed, as is declared in the following verses, and in the history.
They are gone over the passage: they have taken up their lodging at Geba; Ramah is afraid; Gibeah of Saul is fled.
Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim: cause it to be heard unto Laish, O poor Anathoth.
Madmenah is removed; the inhabitants of Gebim gather themselves to flee.
As yet shall he remain at Nob that day: he shall shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.
Behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror: and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled.Isaiah 10:33-34. The Lord of hosts shall lop the bough — The top bough, Sennacherib; with terror — Hebrew, במערצהbemagnaratza, with a dreadful crash, as Bishop Lowth renders it, expressed by the very sound of the Hebrew word; by a most terrible and unexpected blow; and the high ones, &c. — The lofty boughs, Hebrew, ורמי הקומהexcelsi statura, the high of stature: that is, his valiant soldiers, or the great commanders of his army, compared to the tall trees of a forest; shall be hewn down — By a sudden and irresistible stroke; and the haughty — The proud, self- confident boasters, elati animo, the high-minded, as חגבהיםsignifies; shall be humbled — Shall be laid motionless in the dust, namely, by the invisible power of the destroying angel. And he shall cut down the thickets, &c., with iron — Or, as with iron, as the trees of the forest are cut down with instruments of iron; and Lebanon — Or, his Lebanon, the Assyrian army, which being before compared to a forest, and being called his Carmel in the Hebrew text, (Isaiah 10:18,) may very fitly, upon the same ground, be called his Lebanon here. Shall fall by a mighty one — By a mighty angel, Isaiah 37:36.
And he shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one.