Isaiah 10:19
And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them.
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(19) And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few.—To number the host of an army, to count killed and wounded after a battle, was commonly the work of the royal scribe, who appears so often as in that employment in Assyrian sculptures. Here the survivors (the “remnant” as before) were to be so few (literally, a number) that even the boy who could hardly count but on his fingers would be skilled enough to number them.

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?And the rest of the trees ... - Keeping up still the image of a large and once dense forest, to which he had likened the Assyrian army. 'The rest' here means that which shall be left after the threatened judgment shall come upon them.

That a child may write them - That a child shall be able to number them, or write their names; that is, they shall be very few. A child can number or count but few; yet the number of those who would be left, would be so very small that even a child could count them with ease. It is probable that a few of the army of Sennacherib escaped (see the note at Isaiah 37:37); and compared with the whole army, the remnant might bear a striking resemblance to the few decaying trees of a once magnificent forest of cedars.

19. rest—those who shall survive the destruction of the host.

his forest—same image as in Isa 10:18, for the once dense army.

child … write—so few that a child might count them.

The rest of the trees of his forest; the remainders of that mighty host.

That a child may write them; that they may be easily numbered by the meanest accountant. A child may be their muster-master.

And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few,.... Which were left unconsumed, that escaped this destruction, those of the Assyrian army that fled with Sennacherib their king; which, the Rabbins say (r), were no more than ten, as Jarchi and Kimchi observe; yea, some say there were but five left who escaped, and name them, Sennacherib and his two sons, Nebuchadnezzar and Nebuzaradan:

that a child may write them; count them, and take down their names; and it may be understood of a military muster, and the sense be, that the army should be reduced to so small a number by this stroke upon them, that there would be no need of an able muster master to take the account of them, a child would be equal to such a task. The Targum is,

"and the rest of his warriors shall fail, that the people shall be a small number, and shall be reckoned a weak kingdom.''

(r) T. Bab. ib. fol. 95. 2. Praefat. Echa Rabbati, fol. 41. 1.

And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them.
Verse 19. - The rest of the trees; i.e. these that escape the burning - shall be few; literally, a number; i.e. so few that their number shall be apparent. Isaiah 10:19"And the glory of his forest and his garden-ground will He destroy, even to soul and flesh, so that it is as when a sick man dieth. And the remnant of the trees of his forest can be numbered, and a boy could write them." The army of Asshur, composed as it was of many and various nations, was a forest (ya‛ar); and, boasting as it did of the beauty of both men and armour, a garden ground (carmel), a human forest and park. Hence the idea of "utterly" is expressed in the proverbial "even to soul and flesh," which furnishes the occasion for a leap to the figure of the wasting away of a נסס (hap. leg. the consumptive man, from nâsas, related to nūsh, 'ânash, Syr. n‛sı̄so, n‛shisho, a sick man, based upon the radical notion of melting away, cf., mâsas, or of reeling to and fro, cf., mūt, nūt, Arab. nâsa, nâta). Only a single vital spark would still glimmer in the gigantic and splendid colossus, and with this its life would threaten to become entirely extinct. Or, what is the same thing, only a few trees of the forest, such as could be easily numbered (mispâr as in Deuteronomy 33:6, cf., Isaiah 21:17), would still remain, yea, so few, that a boy would be able to count and enter them. And this really came to pass. Only a small remnant of the army that marched against Jerusalem ever escaped. With this small remnant of an all-destroying power the prophet now contrasts the remnant of Israel, which is the seed of a new power that is about to arise.
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