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. When Jehovah had punished to such an extent that He could not go any further without destroying Israel - a result which would be opposed to His mercy and truth - His punishing would turn against the instrument of punishment, which would fall under the curse of all ungodly selfishness. "For he hath said, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my own wisdom; for I am prudent: and I removed the bounds of the nations, and I plundered their stores, and threw down rulers

(Note: Thronende, lit., those who sat (on thrones).)

like a bull. And my hand extracted the wealth of the nations like a nest: and as men sweep up forsaken eggs, have I swept the whole earth; there was none that moved the wing, and opened the mouth, and chirped." The futures may be taken most safely as regulated by the preterites, and used, like German imperfects, to express that which occurs not once merely, but several times. The second of these preterites, שׁושׂיתי, is the only example of a poel of verbs ל ה; possibly a mixed form from שׁסס (poel of שסס) and שהסה (piel of שסה). The object to this, viz., ‛athidoth (chethib) or ‛athudoth (keri), is sometimes used in the sense of τὰ μέλλοντα ; sometimes, as in this instance, in the sense of τὰ ὑπάρχοντα . According to the keri, the passage is to be rendered, "And I, a mighty one, threw down kings" (those sitting on thrones), cabbir being taken in the same sense as in Job 34:17, Job 34:24; Job 36:5. But the chethib câ'abbı̄r is to be preferred as more significant, and not to be rendered "as a hero" (to which the Caph similitudinis is so little suitable, that it would be necessary to take it, as in Isaiah 13:6, as Caph veritatis), but "as a bull," 'abbı̄r as in Psalm 68:31; Psalm 22:13; Psalm 50:13. A bull, as the excavations show, was an emblem of royalty among the Assyrians. In Isaiah 10:14, the more stringent Vav conv. is introduced before the third pers. fem. The Kingdoms of the nations are compared here to birds' nests, which the Assyrian took for himself ('âsaph, as in Habakkuk 2:5); and their possessions to single eggs. The mother bird was away, so that there was not even a sign of resistance; and in the nest itself not one of the young birds moved a wing to defend itself, or opened its beak to scare the intruder away. Seb. Schmid has interpreted to correctly, "nulla alam movet ad defendendum aut os aperit ad terrendum." Thus proudly did Asshur look back upon its course of victory, and thus contemptuously did it look down upon the conquered kingdoms.

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