He shall not return into the land of Egypt, and the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.…
So the wise man teaches, "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 16:25). We have here -
I. ISRAEL'S BANE. They insisted on thinking their own way better than God's. This is brought out in the different expressions: "They refused to return" (ver. 5); "Because of their own counsels" (ver. 6); "My people are bent on backsliding from me" (ver. 7); "None at all would exalt him" (or exalt themselves, raise themselves up to God). They were in error, but they would not be persuaded of it. They were hugging a delusion, but they clung to it as wisdom. They thought their own way right, and the way which the prophets pointed out to them silly, stupid, contemptible. This is the folly of the sinner. He sets himself up as wiser than God. He snaps his fingers at those who call him to the Most High (ver. 7). The folly of his way might seem self-evident, but, unwarned by the lessons of the past, he sounds its praises as if reason and experience were entirely on his side.
II. ISRAEL'S PUNISHMENT. The roads of sin, unhappily, lead to destruction, whether those who walk in them are persuaded of the fact or not. So Israel found it. Their own counsels, which they preferred to God's, cost them:
1. Relegation to bondage. (Ver. 5.) The freedom God had bestowed upon them (ver. 1) he would again deprive them of. Their destination, however, would not be the literal Egypt, but Assyria. The principles of God's moral administration abide, but they seldom embody themselves in precisely the same outward forms.
2. A whirling sword. (Ver. 6.) The sword would whirl and devour till it had devastated the whole kingdom. A type of the more terrible wrath that will consume the sinner. - J.O.
Parallel VersesKJV: He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.