Isaiah 10:20 Commentaries: Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 10:20
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 on him that smote them; but shall stay on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) The remnant of Israel . . .—For the remnant of Assyria there is as yet no word of hope. (See, however, Isaiah 19:23.) For that of Israel, the prophet, falling back on the thought embodied in the name Shear-jashub (see Note on Isaiah 7:3), predicts a brighter future.

Shall no more again stay upon him that smote them.—The smiter is the king of Assyria, whose protection Ahaz and his counsellors had courted instead of trusting in the Holy One of Israel. Their experience of the failure of that false policy should lead them to see that faith in God was, after all, the truest wisdom.

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.10:20-34 By our afflictions we may learn not to make creatures our confidence. Those only can with comfort stay upon God, who return to him in truth, not in pretence and profession only. God will justly bring this wasting away on a provoking people, but will graciously set bounds to it. It is against the mind and will of God, that his people, whatever happens, should give way to fear. God's anger against his people is but for a moment; and when that is turned from us, we need not fear the fury of man. The rod with which he corrected his people, shall not only be laid aside, but thrown into the fire. To encourage God's people, the prophet puts them in mind of what God had formerly done against the enemies of his church. God's people shall be delivered from the Assyrians. Some think it looks to the deliverance of the Jews out of their captivity; and further yet, to the redemption of believers from the tyranny of sin and Satan. And this, because of the anointing; for his people Israel's sake, the believers among them that had received the unction of Divine grace. And for the sake of the Messiah, the Anointed of God. Here is, ver. 28-34, a prophetical description of Sennacherib's march towards Jerusalem, when he threatened to destroy that city. Then the Lord, in whom Hezekiah trusted, cut down his army like the hewing of a forest. Let us apply what is here written, to like matters in other ages of the church of Christ. Because of the anointing of our great Redeemer, the yoke of every antichrist must be broken from off his church: and if our souls partake of the unction of the Holy Spirit, complete and eternal deliverances will be secured to us.And it shall come to pass - The prophet proceeds to state the effect on the Jews, of the judgment that would overtake the army of the Assyrian. One of those effects, as stated in this verse, would be, that they would be led to see that it was in vain to look to the Assyrians any more for aid, or to form any further alliance with them, but that they should trust in the Lord alone.

The remnant of Israel - Those that would be left after the Assyrian had invaded and desolated the land.

Shall no more again stay - Shall no more depend on them. Alliances had been formed with the Assyrians for aid, and they had resulted as all alliances formed between the friends and the enemies of God do. They are observed as long as it is for the interest or the convenience of God's enemies to observe them; and then his professed friends are made the victims of persecution, invasion, and ruin.

Upon him that smote them - Upon the Assyrian, who was about to desolate the land. The calamities which he would bring upon them would be the main thing which would open their eyes, and lead them to forsake the alliance. One design of God's permitting the Assyrians to invade the land, was, to punish them for this alliance, and to induce them to trust in God.

But shall stay ... - They shall depend upon Yahweh, or shall trust in him for protection and defense.

The Holy One of Israel - see Isaiah 10:17.

In truth - They shall serve him sincerely and heartily, not with feigned or divided service. They shall be so fully satisfied that the Assyrian cannot aid them, and be so severely punished forever, having formed an alliance with him, that they shall now return to Yahweh, and become his sincere worshippers. In this verse, the prophet refers, doubtless, to the times of Hezekiah, and to the extensive reformation, and general prevalence of piety, which would take place under his reign; 2 Chronicles 32:22-33. Vitringa, Cocceius, Schmidius, etc., however, refer this to the time of the Messiah; Vitringa supposing that the prophet refers "immediately" to the times of Hezekiah, but in a secondary sense, for the complete fulfillment of the prophecy, to the times of the Messiah. But it is not clear that he had reference to any other period than that which would immediately follow the invasion of Sennacherib.

20-22. The effect on the "remnant" (contrasted with the Assyrian remnant, Isa 10:19); namely, those who shall be left after the invasion of Sennacherib, will be a return from dependence on external idolatrous nations, as Assyria and Egypt (2Ki 18:21; 16:7-9), to the God of the theocracy; fulfilled in part in the pious Hezekiah's days; but from the future aspect under which Paul, in Ro 9:27, 28 (compare "short work" with "whole work," Isa 10:12, here), regards the whole prophecy, the "remnant," "who stay upon the Lord," probably will receive their fullest realization in the portion of Jews left after that Antichrist shall have been overthrown, who shall "return" unto the Lord (Isa 6:13; 7:3; Zec 12:9, 10; 14:2, 3; Zep 3:12). The remnant of Israel, and 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 were destroyed, and from their succeeding calamities. For that this place looks beyond the deliverance from the Assyrian army, and unto the times of the New Testament, seems probable,

1. From the following verses, which belong to that time, as we shall see.

2. From the state of the Jewish nation, which, after that deliverance, continued to be very sad and 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 sincere trusting in God alone.

3. From St. Paul’s explication and application of these words, Romans 9:27, of which more may be said when I come thither. And for the words in that day, which may seem to restrain this to the time of the Assyrian invasion, they are frequently used in the prophets of the times of the gospel, as Isaiah 2:2 4:2 11:10, &c.

Shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; shall learn by this judgment and experience never to trust to the Assyrians for help, as Ahaz and his people now did. In truth; not only by profession, but sincerely. And it shall come to pass in that day,.... Here begins a prophecy relating to the people of Israel, and concerns things that should befall them after the destruction of the Babylonish monarchy, which after Nebuchadnezzar did not last long; there were but two kings after him mentioned in Scripture, Evilmerodach, and Belshazzar; so that its tall trees, its kings, were very few, so few that a child might count them; and what is after said is for the comfort of that people, and seems to refer to the times of the Gospel, as appears by some words in the context cited by the Apostle Paul:

that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob; who should return from the Babylonish captivity, and be settled in their own land:

shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; either on the kings of Egypt, who were originally their oppressors, and in whom they had been so foolish as to put their trust and confidence, they being but a broken staff and reed, Isaiah 30:2 or on the king of Assyria, in the time of Ahaz, who made him pay tribute, and afterwards fought against him:

but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth; that is, upon Christ, the Lord of all, and King of saints; the Lord their righteousness, and from whom they have their holiness: to stay or lean on him is expressive of faith in him, of reliance and dependence on him, and trust in him; which is done in sincerity and uprightness of soul, unfeigned and without dissimulation; not in profession only, but in reality, and as nakedly revealed in the Gospel, without type and figure; for this respects Gospel times, in which the shadows of the law are gone, and Christ, as the object of faith, appears unveiled, being come a High Priest of good things to come. The Targum is they

"shall no more lean on the people whom they served; but they shall lean upon the Word of the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth;''

that is, on the essential Word, the Messiah: this was the case of a few of them, a remnant according to the election of grace, as the following words show.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as have escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again lean upon him that smote them; but shall {p} lean upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.

(p) This is the end of God's plagues toward his, to bring them to him, and to forsake all trust in others.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. such as are escaped] cf. ch. Isaiah 4:2.

shall no more again stay (themselves) upon him that smote them] an allusion to the Assyrian alliance contracted by Ahaz (2 Kings 16:7 ff.), a policy, however, whose evil consequences were not fully realised till the reign of Hezekiah. From the false situation in which the nation was then placed no escape was possible except by the intervention of Jehovah. After that deliverance the survivors shall adopt the attitude, consistently advocated by Isaiah, of steadfast reliance on Jehovah alone; they shall stay (themselves) upon Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, in truth (in faithfulness).

20–23. The conversion of the survivors of Israel.Verses 20-34. - CONSOLATION FOR THE FAITHFUL IN ISRAEL. The destruction of Assyria shall be followed - how soon, is not said - by the return of a "remnant of Israel," not so much to their own land, as to God (vers. 20, 21). The remnant, however, shall be but a remnant - judgment shall have overtaken the balk of the people (vers. 22, 23). Still, there is reason for the faithful to take courage and be of good heart; Assyria will shortly receive a check (vers. 24-27) - when her armies swoop upon Jerusalem, God will swoop down on her (vers. 28-34). Verse 20. - In that day; i.e. "at that time" - the time of the destruction of Assyria. The remnant of Israel (see Isaiah 1:9). Isaiah had indicated his firm belief in the existence of this faithful remnant and its return, in the name which he had given to his son, Shear-Jashub (see note on Isaiah 7:3). The escaped. Those who escape from the destruction to be caused by the Assyrian invasion. Shall no more again stay upon him that smote them. We are told in the Second Book of Chronicles (2 Chronicles 28:23) that Abaz "sacrificed to the gods of Damascus which smote him" - and we know that he also trusted to Tiglath-Pileser, who "distressed him and strengthened him not" (2 Chronicles 28:21). Among the "remnant" there shall be no such mistaken confidences. But shall stay upon the Lord; i.e. "shall put their trust in God; and him only" (comp. 2 Samuel 22:19; Psalm 18:18). 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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