Isaiah 10:12
Why it shall come to pass, that when the Lord has performed his whole work on 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.
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(12) Wherefore it shall come to pass . . .—Better, And it shall come to pass . . . The boast of the proud king is interrupted by the reassertion of the fact that he is but an instrument in the hand of Jehovah, and that when his work was done he too will be punished for his pride. The “fruit” of the “stout heart” includes all the words and acts in which his arrogance had shown itself.

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.”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?Wherefore ... - In this verse God, by the prophet, threatens punishment to the king of Assyria for his pride, and wicked designs.

His whole work - His entire plan in regard to the punishment of the Jews. He sent the king of Assyria for a specific purpose to execute his justice on the people of Jerusalem. That plan he would execute entirely by the hand of Sennacherib, and would "then" inflict deserved, punishment on Sennacherib himself, for his wicked purposes.

Upon mount Zion - Mount Zion was a part of Jerusalem (see the note at Isaiah 1:8), but it was the residence of the court, the dwelling-place of David and his successors; and perhaps here, where it is mentioned as distinct from Jerusalem, it refers to the court, the princes, nobles, or the government. 'I will execute my purposes against the government, and the people of the city.'

I will punish - Hebrew, 'I will visit;' but here, evidently used to denote punishment; see the note at Isaiah 10:3.

The fruit of the stout heart - Hebrew, 'The fruit of the greatness of the heart.' The 'greatness of the heart,' is a Hebraism for pride of heart, or great swelling designs and plans formed in the heart. "Fruit" is that which a tree or the earth produces; and then anything which is produced or brought forth in any way. Here it means that which a proud heart had produced or designed, that is, plans of pride and ambition; schemes of conquest and of blood.

The glory of his high looks - Hebrew, 'The glory of the lifting up of his eyes' - an expression indicative of pride and haughtiness. The word "glory," here, evidently refers to the self-complacency, and the air of majesty and haughtiness, which a proud man assumes. In this verse we see -

(1) That God will accomplish all the purposes of which he designs to make wicked people the instruments. "Their" schemes shall be successful just so far as they may contribute to "his" plans, and no further.

(2) When that is done, they are completely in "his" power, and under his control. He can stay their goings when he pleases, and subdue them to his will.

(3) The fact that they have been made to further the plans of God, and to execute his designs, will not free them from deserved punishment. They meant not so; and they will be dealt with according to "their" intentions, and not according to God's design to overrule them. "Their" plans were wicked; and if God brings good out of them, it is contrary to "their" intention; and hence, they are not to be screened from punishment because he brings good out of their plans, contrary to their designs.

(4) Wicked people "are in fact" often thus punished. Nothing is more common on earth; and all the woes of hell will be an illustration of the principle. Out of all evil God shall educe good; and even from the punishment of the damned themselves, he will take occasion to illustrate his own perfections, and, in that display of his just character, promote the happiness of holy beings.

12. whole work—His entire plan is regard to the punishment of the Jews (Isa 10:5-7).

Zion—the royal residence, the court, princes and nobles; as distinguished from "Jerusalem," the people in general.

fruit—the result of, that is, the plants emanating from.

stout—Hebrew, "greatness of," that is, pride of.


Wherefore; because of this impudent blasphemy.

Hath performed his whole work, of chastising his people so long and so much as he sees fit and necessary for them.

Punish, Heb. visit, to wit, in wrath, as before on Isaiah 10:3.

The glory of his high looks; his insolent words and carriages, proceeding from intolerable pride of heart. Wherefore it shall come to pass,.... It shall surely be; what God has purposed in his heart, and published in his word, shall certainly be fulfilled:

that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon Mount Zion, and on Jerusalem; in correcting, chastising, and humbling the inhabitants thereof, by suffering them to be besieged by the Assyrian army. God sometimes makes use of wicked men to chastise his people; this is his work, and not theirs; and when he begins, he goes on, and finishes it; and when he has done, punishes the instruments he uses; after he has scourged his children, he takes the rod, and breaks it to pieces.

I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks; that is, he would punish him for his wicked actions, which were the fruit of the haughtiness of his heart, and the pride of his eyes; or for that pride which filled his heart, and showed itself in his lofty looks. Kimchi joins this to the preceding clause, and makes the sense to be, that God would punish the Assyrian for his pride, in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem; for there his army died, or near it, being smitten by the angel. The Targum is,

"and it shall be, when the Lord hath finished to do all that he hath said in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem.''

Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed {h} his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart {i} of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.

(h) When he has sufficiently chastised his people (for he begins at his own house) then will he burn the rods.

(i) Meaning of Sennacherib.

12. The verse seems to interrupt what might well have been a single speech of the Assyrian King, by a threat of the doom reserved for him. The arrogant assumption that Jehovah is a mere tribal deity, who is defeated when His images are overthrown, rouses the prophet to this indignant outburst.

when the Lord hath performed] completed, lit. “cut off.” The figure is taken from the cutting off of the finished web from the loom. See ch. Isaiah 38:12; also Zechariah 4:9.

his whole work] The work of chastisement and purification, to be executed on mount Zion and on Jerusalem.

the fruit of the stout heart (lit. “fruit of the pride of heart,” see ch. Isaiah 9:9) of the king of Assyria] The “fruit” is the outcome of his pride in such language as Isaiah 10:8-11; Isaiah 10:13 f.Verse 12. - Wherefore; rather, but. The final result shall be such as "the Assyrian" little expected. When the Lord hath performed his whole work. The "work" assigned to Assyria was the destruction of the kingdom of Israel, and a share in the trial, punishment, and discipline of Judah. The last task seems to have been the humiliation of Manasseh, which brought about his repentance (2 Chronicles 33:11-13). Soon after this the troubles began which led to her destruction. I will punish. The sudden change from the third to the first person is harsh and abnormal, but not without parallels in other passages of Isaiah (see Isaiah 3:1-4; Isaiah 5:3, 4, etc.). The fruit of the stout heart; i.e. the actions, language, etc., which flowed from the stoutness of heart - such language, e.g., as that of vers. 8-11 and 13, 14. Of the King of Assyria. The menace is not leveled against any one particular king, as Sargon, or Sennacherib; but against the monarchy itself, which from first to last was actuated by the same spirit, and breathed the same tone, of pride, selfishness, and cruelty. (See the royal inscriptions, passim, which become more revolting as time goes on.) The law of contrast prevails in prophecy, as it does also in the history of salvation. When distress is at its height, it is suddenly brought to an end, and changed into relief; and when prophecy has become as black with darkness as in the previous section, it suddenly becomes as bright and cloudless as in that which is opening now. The hoi (woe) pronounced upon Israel becomes a hoi upon Asshur. Proud Asshur, with its confidence in its own strength, after having served for a time as the goad of Jehovah's wrath, now falls a victim to that wrath itself. Its attack upon Jerusalem leads to its own overthrow; and on the ruins of the kingdom of the world there rises up the kingdom of the great and righteous Son of David, who rules in peace over His redeemed people, and the nations that rejoice in Him: - the counterpart of the redemption from Egypt, and one as rich in materials for songs of praise as the passage through the Red Sea. The Messianic prophecy, which turns its darker side towards unbelief in chapter 7, and whose promising aspect burst like a great light through the darkness in Isaiah 8:5-9:6, is standing now upon its third and highest stage. In chapter 7 it is like a star in the night; in Isaiah 8:5-9:6, like the morning dawn; and now the sky is perfectly cloudless, and it appears like the noonday sun. The prophet has now penetrated to the light fringe of Isaiah 6:1-13. The name Shear-yashub, having emptied itself of all the curse that it contained, is now transformed into a pure promise. And it becomes perfectly clear what the name Immanuel and the name given to Immanuel, El gibbor (mighty God), declared. The remnant of Israel turns to God the mighty One; and God the mighty is henceforth with His people in the Sprout of Jesse, who has the seven Spirits of God dwelling within Himself. So far as the date of composition is concerned, the majority of the more recent commentators agree in assigning it to the time of Hezekiah, because Isaiah 10:9-11 presupposes the destruction of Samaria by Shalmanassar, which took place in the sixth year of Hezekiah. But it was only from the prophet's point of view that this event was already past; it had not actually taken place. The prophet had already predicted that Samaria, and with Samaria the kingdom of Israel, would succumb to the Assyrians, and had even fixed the years (Isaiah 7:8 and Isaiah 8:4, Isaiah 8:7). Why, then, should he not be able to presuppose it here as an event already past? The stamp on this section does not tally at all with that of Isaiah's prophecy in the times of Hezekiah; whereas, on the other hand, it forms so integral a link in the prophetic cycle in chapters 7-12, and is interwoven in so many ways with that which precedes, and of which it forms both the continuation and crown, that we have no hesitation in assigning it, with Vitringa, Caspari, and Drechsler, to the first three years of the reign of Ahaz, though without deciding whether it preceded or followed the destruction of the two allies by Tiglath-pileser. It is by no means impossible that it may have preceded it.

The prophet commences with hoi (woe!), which is always used as an expression of wrathful indignation to introduce the proclamation of judgment upon the person named; although, as in the present instance, this may not always follow immediately (cf., Isaiah 1:4, Isaiah 1:5-9), but may be preceded by the announcement of the sin by which the judgment had been provoked. In the first place, Asshur is more particularly indicated as the chosen instrument of divine judgment upon all Israel. "Woe to Asshur, the rod of mine anger, and it is a staff in their hand, mine indignation. Against a wicked nation will I send them, and against the people of my wrath give them a charge, to spoil spoil, and to prey prey, to make it trodden down like street-mire." "Mine indignation:" za‛mi is either a permutation of the predicative הוּא, which is placed emphatically in the foreground (compare the אתּה־הּוּא in Jeremiah 14:22, which is also written with makkeph), as we have translated it, though without taking הוּא as a copula ( equals est), as Ewald does; or else בידם הוּא is written elliptically for בידם הוּא אשׁר, "the staff which they hold is mine indignation" (Ges., Rosenmller, and others), in which case, however, we should rather expect הוא זעמי בידם ומטה. It is quite inadmissible, however, to take za‛mi as a separate genitive to matteh, and to point the latter with zere, as Knobel has done; a thing altogether unparalleled in the Hebrew language.

(Note: In the Arabic, such a separation does occur as a poetical licence (see De Sacy, Gramm. t. ii.270).)

The futures in Isaiah 10:6 are to be taken literally; for what Asshur did to Israel in the sixty year of Hezekiah's reign, and to Judah in his fourteenth year, was still in the future at the time when Isaiah prophesied. Instead of וּלשׂימו the keri has וּלשׂוּמו, the form in which the infinitive is written in other passages when connected with suffixes (see, on the other hand, 2 Samuel 14:7). "Trodden down:" mirmas with short a is the older form, which was retained along with the other form with the a lengthened by the tone (Ewald 160, c).

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