Isaiah 10:6
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.
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(6) I will send him against an hypocritical nation.—Better, impious. The verb admits of the various renderings, “I will send,” “I did send,” and “I am wont to send.” The last seems to give the best meaning—not a mere fact in history, nor an isolated prediction, but a law of the Divine government.

To take the spoil.—The series of words, though general in meaning, contains probably a special reference to the recent destruction of Samaria, walls pulled down, houses and palaces turned into heaps of rubbish, the soldiers trampling on flower and fruit gardens, this was what the Assyrian army left behind it. Judah had probably suffered in the same way in the hands of Sargon.

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.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?I will send him - Implying that he was entirely in the hand of God, and subject to his direction; and showing that God has control over kings and conqueror's; Proverbs 21:1.

Against an hypocritical nation - Whether the prophet here refers to Ephraim, or to Judah, or to the Jewish people in general, has been an object of inquiry among interpreters. As the designs of Sennacherib were mainly against Judah. it is probable that that part of the nation was intended. This is evidently the case, if, as has been supposed, the prophecy was uttered after the captivity of the ten tribes; see Isaiah 10:20. It need scarcely be remarked, that it was eminently the characteristic of the nation that they were hypocritical; compare Isaiah 9:17; Matthew 15:17; Mark 7:6.

And against the people of my wrath - That is, those who were the objects of my wrath; or the people on whom I am about to pour out my indignation.

To take the spoil - To plunder them.

And to tread them down - Hebrew, 'And to make them a treading down.' The expression is drawn from war, where the vanquished and the slain are trodden down by the horses of the conquering army. It means here, that the Assyrian would humble and subdue the people; that he would trample indignantly on the nation, regarding them with contempt, and no more to be esteemed than the mire of the streets. A similar figure occurs in Zechariah 10:5 : 'And they shall be as mighty men which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in battle.'

6. send him—"Kings' hearts are in the hand of the Lord" (Pr 21:1).

hypocritical—polluted [Horsley].

nation—Judah, against whom Sennacherib was forming designs.

of my wrath—objects of My wrath.

give … charge—(Jer 34:22).

and to tread, &c.—Horsley translates: "And then to make him (the Assyrian) a trampling under foot like the mire of the streets" (so Isa 10:12; Isa 33:1; Zec 10:5). But see Isa 37:26.

I will send him, not by express commission, but by the secret yet powerful conduct of my providence, giving him both occasion and inclination to this expedition. Hypocritical: See Poole "Isaiah 9:17".

The people of my wrath; the objects of my just wrath, devoted to destruction.

Give him a charge, by putting this instinct into his mind.

To tread them down like the mire of the streets; which signifies that he should easily conquer them, and utterly destroy them, as he did after this time. I will send him against a hypocritical nation,.... The people of Israel, who might well be called so, since everyone of them was a hypocrite, Isaiah 9:17 pretending to love, fear, and serve the Lord, when it was only outwardly, and by profession, and not in deed, and in truth; their character contains the reason of the Lord's calling and sending the Assyrian to correct and chastise them:

and against the people of my wrath: who provoked him to wrath, were deserving of it, and upon whom he was about to bring it; it was their hypocrisy that stirred up his wrath against them; nothing is more hateful to God than that:

will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey: that is, the Assyrian monarch, to make a spoil and a prey of the people of the Jews, not by any legal commission, or express command, but by the secret power of his providence, guiding and directing him into the land of Judea, to ravage and spoil it:

and to tread them down like the mire of the streets: which denotes the great subjection of the inhabitants of it to him; the very low and mean estate into which they should be brought; the great contempt they should be had in; the little account that should be had of them; and their inability to help and recover themselves.

I will send {f} him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I command him, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.

(f) That is, the Assyrians against the Jews who are hypocrites. In the sixth and seventh verse is declared the difference of the work of God and of the wicked in one very thing and act: for God's intention is to chastise them for their amendment, and the Assyrians purpose is to destroy them to enrich themselves. Thus in respect to God's justice, it is God's work, but in respect to their own malice, it is the work of the devil.

6. I will send him, &c.] Rather: I send him against a profane nation (R.V.). See ch. Isaiah 9:17. In a general description of the mission of Assyria it is not advisable to limit the reference to Judah or Israel. The meaning is that Jehovah sends the Assyrian against any nation that deserves punishment.

people of my wrath] See Isaiah 9:19.

like the mire of the streets] Cf. Psalm 18:42; Micah 7:10.Verse 6. - I will send him against an hypocritical nation; or, against a corrupt nation. Israel in the wider sense, inclusive of Judah, seems to be intended. The people of my wrath; i.e. "the people who are the object of my wrath." Will I give him a charge. In 2 Kings 18:25 Sennacherib nays, "Am I come up without the Lord (Jehovah) against thin, lace, to destroy it? The Lord (Jehovah) said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it" (compare below, Isaiah 36:10). It has been usual to consider Sennacherib's words a vain boast; but if God instructed Nebuchadnezzar through dreams, may he not also by the same means have "given charges" to Assyrian monarchs? To take the spoil, and to take the prey; rather, to gather spoil, and seize prey. The terms used carry the thoughts back to Isaiah 8:1-4, and to the symbolic name, Maher-shalal-hash-baz. And to tread them down; literally, to make it a trampling. "It" refers to "nation" in the first clause. Strophe 3. "For the wickedness burneth up like fire: it devours thorns and thistles, and burns in the thickets of the wood; and they smoke upwards in a lofty volume of smoke. Through the wrath of Jehovah of hosts the land is turned into coal, and the nation has become like the food of fire: not one spares his brother. They hew on the right, and are hungry; and devour on the left, and are not satisfied: they devour the flesh of their own arm: Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: these together over Judah. With all this His anger is not turned away, and His hand is stretched out still." The standpoint of the prophet is at the extreme end of the course of judgment, and from that he looks back. Consequently this link of the chain is also past in his view, and hence the future conversives. The curse, which the apostasy of Israel carries within itself, now breaks fully out. Wickedness, i.e., the constant thirst of evil, is a fire which a man kindles in himself. And when the grace of God, which damps and restrains this fire, is all over, it is sure to burst forth: the wickedness bursts forth like fire (the verb is used here, as in Isaiah 30:27, with reference to the wrath of God). And this is the case with the wickedness of Israel, which now consumes first of all thorns and thistles, i.e., individual sinners who are the most ripe for judgment, upon whom the judgment commences, and then the thicket of the wood (sib-che,

(Note: The metheg (gaya) in סבכי (to be pronounced sib-che) has simply the caphonic effect of securing a distinct enunciation to the sibilant letter (in other instances to the guttural, vid., ‛arboth, Numbers 31:12), in cases where the second syllable of the word commences with a guttural or labial letter, or with an aspirate.)

as in Isaiah 10:34, from sebac, Genesis 22:13 equals sobec), that is to say, the great mass of the people, which is woven together by bands of iniquity (vattizzath is not a reflective niphal, as in 2 Kings 22:13, but kal, to kindle into anything, i.e., to set it on fire). The contrast intended in the two figures is consequently not the high and low (Ewald), nor the useless and useful (Drechsler), but individuals and the whole (Vitringa). The fire, into which the wickedness bursts out, seizes individuals first of all; and then, like a forest fire, it seizes upon the nation at large in all its ranks and members, who "whirl up (roll up) ascending of smoke," i.e., who roll up in the form of ascending smoke (hith'abbek, a synonym of hithhappēk, Judges 7:13, to curl or roll). This fire of wickedness was no other than the wrath (ebrâh) of God: it is God's own wrath, for all sin carries this within itself as its own self-punishment. By this fire of wrath the soil of the land is gradually but thoroughly burnt out, and the people of the land utterly consumed: עתם ἁπ λεγ to be red-hot (lxx συγκέκαυται, also the Targum), and to be dark or black (Arabic ‛atame, late at night), for what is burnt out becomes black. Fire and darkness are therefore correlative terms throughout the whole of the Scriptures. So far do the figures extend, in which the prophet presents the inmost essence of this stage of judgment. In its historical manifestation it consisted in the most inhuman self-destruction during an anarchical civil war. Destitute of any tender emotions, they devoured one another without being satisfied: gâzar, to cut, to hew (hence the Arabic for a butcher): zero'o, his arm, according to Jeremiah 19:9, equivalent to the member of his own family and tribe, who was figuratively called his arm (Arabic ‛adud: see Ges. Thes. p. 433), as being the natural protector and support. This interminable self-immolation, and the regicide associated with the jealousy of the different tribes, shook the northern kingdom again and again to its utter destruction. And the readiness with which the unbrotherly feelings of the northern tribes towards one another could turn into combined hostility towards Judah, was evident enough from the Syro-Ephraimitish war, the consequences of which had not passed away at the time when these prophecies were uttered. This hostility on the part of the brother kingdoms would still further increase. And the end of the judgments of wrath had not come yet.

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