O Assyrian, the rod of my anger, and the staff in their hand is my indignation.…
in Christ's sense, that flood of successful, heartless, unscrupulous, scornful forces which burst on our innocence, with their challenge to make terms and pay tribute, or go down straightway in the struggle for existence...It is useless to think that we common men cannot possibly sin after the grand manner of this imperial monster. In our measure we fatally can. In this commercial age private persons very easily rise to a position of influence which gives almost as vast a stage for egotism to display itself as the Assyrian boasted. But after all the human Ego needs very little room to develop the possibilities of atheism that are in it. An idol is an idol, whether you put it on a small or a large pedestal. A little man with a little work may as easily stand between himself and God as an emperor with the world at his feet. Forgetfulness that he is a servant, a trader on graciously intrusted capital — and then at the best an unprofitable one — is not less sinful in a small egoist than in a great one; it is only very much more ridiculous than Isaiah, with his scorn, has made it to appear in the Assyrian.
(Prof. G. A. Smith, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.