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. Isaiah 10:6The 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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