Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. them that decree--namely, unrighteous judges.
write grievousness, &c.--not the scribes, but the magistrates
who caused unjust decisions (literally, "injustice" or "grievousness")
to be recorded by them
(Isa 1:10, 23).
2. To turn aside, &c.--The effect of their conduct is to pervert the
cause of the needy [HORSLEY]. In English Version
"from judgment" means "from obtaining justice."
take away the right--"make plunder of the right" (rightful claim)
3. what will ye do--what way of escape will there be for you?
visitation--of God's wrath
from far--from Assyria.
leave . . . glory--rather, "deposit (for safekeeping)
your wealth" [LOWTH]. So
4. Without me--not having Me to "flee to"
bow down--Bereft of strength they shall fall; or else, they shall
lie down fettered.
under . . . under--rather, "among" (literally, "in the place of")
[HORSLEY]. The "under" may be, however, explained,
"trodden under the (feet of the) prisoners going into captivity," and "overwhelmed
under the heaps of slain on the battlefield"
and Isa 11:12.
DESTRUCTION OF THE
Isa 10:9, 11
show that Samaria was destroyed before this prophecy. It was written
when Assyria proposed (a design which it soon after tried to carry out
under Sennacherib) to destroy Judah and Jerusalem, as it had destroyed
Samaria. This is the first part of Isaiah's prophecies under Hezekiah.
Probably between 722 and 715 B.C. (see
5. O Assyrian, &c.--rather, "What, ho (but
MAURER, Woe to the)
Assyrian! He is the rod and staff of Mine anger
(My instrument in punishing,
In their hands is Mine indignation" [HORSLEY,
after JEROME]. I have put into the Assyrians'
hands the execution of Mine indignation against My people.
6. send him--"Kings' hearts are in the hand of the Lord"
nation--Judah, against whom Sennacherib was forming designs.
of my wrath--objects of My wrath.
give . . . charge--
and to tread, &c.--HORSLEY translates: "And
then to make him (the Assyrian) a trampling under foot like the
mire of the streets" (so
7. meaneth not so--He is only thinking of his own schemes, while God
is overruling them to His purposes.
think--intend. Sinners' plans are no less culpable, though they
by them unconsciously fulfil God's designs
So Joseph's brethren
The sinner's motive, not the result (which depends on
God), will be the test in judgment.
heart to destroy . . . not a few--Sennacherib's ambition was not
confined to Judea. His plan was also to conquer Egypt and Ethiopia
8-11. Vauntings of the Assyrians. Illustrated by the self-laudatory
inscriptions of Assyria deciphered by HINCKS.
princes . . . kings--Eastern satraps and governors of provinces
often had the title and diadem of kings. Hence the title, "King of
kings," implying the greatness of Him who was over them
9. Is not . . . as--Was there any one of these cities able to
withstand me? Not one. So Rab-shakeh vaunts
Calno--Calneh, built by Nimrod
once his capital, on the Tigris.
Carchemish--Circesium, on the Euphrates. Taken afterwards by Necho,
king of Egypt; and retaken by Nebuchadnezzar: by the Euphrates
Hamath--in Syria, north of Canaan
Taken by Assyria about 753 B.C. From it
colonists were planted by Assyria in Samaria.
(Isa 17:1, 3).
10, 11. found--unable to resist me: hath overcome (so
and whose--rather, "and their." This clause, down to "Samaria," is
excel--were more powerful. He regards Jerusalem as idolatrous, an
opinion which it often had given too much ground for: Jehovah was in his
view the mere local god of Judea, as Baal of the countries where it
was adored, nay, inferior in power to some national gods
(Isa 36:19, 20; 37:12).
See in opposition,
Isa 37:20; 46:1.
As my hand . . . shall I not, as I have--a double protasis.
Agitation makes one accumulate sentences.
12. whole work--His entire plan is regard to the punishment of
Zion--the royal residence, the court, princes and nobles; as
distinguished from "Jerusalem," the people in general.
fruit--the result of, that is, the plants emanating from.
stout--Hebrew, "greatness of," that is, pride of.
13. I am prudent--He ascribes his success to his own prudence, not
to God's providence.
removed the bounds--set aside old, and substituted new boundaries of
kingdoms at will. A criminal act, as Jehovah Himself had appointed the
boundaries of the nations
treasures--"hoarded treasures" [HORSLEY].
put down . . . inhabitants like, &c.--rather, "as a
valiant man, I have brought down (from their seats) those
seated" (namely, "on thrones"; as in
Ps 2:4; 29:10; 55:19).
The Hebrew for "He that abideth," is He that sitteth on a
throne); otherwise, "I have brought down (as captives
into Assyria, which lay lower than Judea; therefore 'brought
Isa 36:1, 10),
the inhabitants" [MAURER].
14. nest--implying the ease with which he carried off all before him.
left--by the parent bird.
none . . . moved . . . wing--image from an
angry bird resisting the robbery of its "nest."
peeped--chirped even low
No resistance was offered me, of deed, or even word.
15. Shall the instrument boast against Him who uses it? Through
free in a sense, and carrying out his own plans, the Assyrian was
unconsciously carrying out God's purposes.
shaketh it--moves it back and forward.
staff . . . lift . . . itself . . . no wood--rather, "as if the staff
(man, the instrument of God's judgments on his fellow man) should set
aside (Him who is) not wood" (not a mere instrument, as man). On
"no wood" compare
"that which is not God;"
shows that God is meant here by "not wood"
16. fat ones--
The robust and choice soldiers of Assyria
where "fattest" answers in the parallelism to "chosen," or "young men,"
leanness--carrying out the image on "fat ones." Destruction
his glory--Assyria's nobles. So in
kindle--a new image from fire consuming quickly dry materials
17, 18. light of Israel--carrying out the image in the end of
Jehovah, who is a light to Israel, shall be the
that shall ignite the "thorns," (the Assyrians, like dry fuel, a ready
prey to flame).
18. glory of his forest--The common soldiers, the
princes, officers, &c., all alike together, shall be consumed
in one day--
fruitful field--literally, "Carmel," a rich mountain in the tribe of
Asher. Figurative for Sennacherib's mighty army. Perhaps alluding to his
own boasting words about to be uttered
"I will enter the forest of his Carmel."
soul and body--proverbial for utterly; the entire man is made up
of soul and body.
as when a standard bearer fainteth--rather, "they shall be as when a
sick man" (from a Syriac root) wastes away." Compare "leanness,"
that is, wasting destruction
[MAURER]. Or, "there shall be an entire
dissipation, like a perfect melting" (namely, of the
Assyrian army) [HORSLEY].
19. rest--those who shall survive the destruction of the host.
his forest--same image as in
for the once dense army.
child . . . write--so few that a child might count them.
20-22. The effect on the "remnant" (contrasted with the Assyrian
namely, those who shall be left after the invasion of Sennacherib, will
be a return from dependence on external idolatrous nations, as Assyria
(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,"
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;
21. mighty God--
the God who shall have evinced such might in destroying Israel's
enemies. As the Assyrians in Sennacherib's reign did not carry off
Judah captive, the returning "remnant" cannot mainly
refer to this time.
22. yet--rather in the sense in which Paul quotes it
"Though Israel be now numerous as the sand, a remnant only of them
shall return"--the great majority shall perish. The reason is added,
Because "the consumption (fully completed destruction) is decreed
(literally, decided on, brought to an issue), it overfloweth
(Isa 30:28; 8:8)
with justice"; that is, the infliction of just punishment
23. even determined--"A consumption, and whatever is determined,"
or decreed [MAURER].
midst--Zion, the central point of the earth as to Jehovah's presence.
land--Israel. But the Septuagint, "in the whole
habitable world." So English Version
"upon the earth."
24. Therefore--Return to the main proposition, Assyria's ultimate
punishment, though employed as God's "rod" to chastise Judea for a time.
O my people--God's tenderness towards His elect nation.
after the manner of Egypt--as Egypt and Pharaoh oppressed thee.
Implying, too, as Israel was nevertheless delivered from them, so now
it would be from the Assyrian Sennacherib. The antithesis in
requires this interpretation [MAURER].
25. For--Be not afraid
indignation . . . cease--The punishments of God against Israel shall
be consummated and ended
"Till the indignation be accomplished," &c.
mine anger--shall turn to their (the Assyrians') destruction.
26. slaughter of--"stroke upon."
as his rod was upon the sea--rather, understanding "stroke" from the
previous clause, "according to the stroke of His rod upon the Red Sea"
(Ex 14:16, 26).
His "rod" on the Assyrian
(Isa 10:24, 26)
stands in bold contrast to the Assyrian used as a "rod" to strike
after the manner of Egypt--as He lifted it up against Egypt at the
27. his burden--the Assyrians' oppression
Judah was still tributary to Assyria; Hezekiah had not yet revolted, as
he did in the beginning of Sennacherib's reign.
the anointing--namely, "Messiah"
Just as in
the "breaking of the yoke of" the enemies' "burden and staff" is
attributed to Messiah, "For unto us a child is born,"
&c., so it is here. MAURER not so well translates,
"Because of the fatness"; an image of the Assyrians fierce and wanton
pride drawn from a well-fed bull tossing off the yoke
28-32. Onward gradual march of Sennacherib's army towards Jerusalem,
and the panic of the inhabitants vividly pictured before the eyes.
come to--come upon as a sudden invader
Aiath--same as Ai
In the north of Benjamin; so the other towns also; all on the line of
march to Jerusalem.
Michmash--nine miles northeast of Jerusalem.
laid up . . . carriages--He has left his heavier baggage (so
"carriages" for the things carried,
at Michmash, so as to be more lightly equipped for the siege of
1Sa 17:22; 25:13; 30:24
[JEROME and MAURER].
29. passage--the jaws of the wady or defile at Michmash
(1Sa 13:23; 14:4, 5).
lodging--their quarters for the night, after having passed the defile
which might have been easily guarded against them.
Ramah--near Geba; seven miles from Jerusalem.
Gibeah of Saul--his birthplace and residence, in Benjamin
distinct from Gibeah of Judah
30. daughter of Gallim--Gallim and her sons
"Cry aloud in consternation."
Laish--not the town in Dan
but one of the same name near Jerusalem (1 Maccabees 9:9).
Anathoth--three miles from Jerusalem in Benjamin; the birthplace of
Jeremiah. "Poor" is applied to it in pity, on account of the impending
calamity. Others translate, Answer her, O Anathoth.
31. Madmenah--not the city in Simeon
but a village near Jerusalem.
removed--fled from fear.
gather themselves to flee--"put their goods in a place of safety"
32. that day--literally, "As yet this (one only) day (is allowed
to the soldiers) for remaining (halting for rest) at Nob"; northeast of
Jerusalem on Olivet; a town of the priests
daughter--rightly substituted for the Chetib reading, house. His "shaking his hand" in menace implies that he is now at Nob,
within sight of Jerusalem.
33. bough--literally, the "beauty" of the tree; "the beautiful branch."
high ones of stature--"the upright stem," as distinguished from
the previous "boughs" [HORSLEY].
34. This verse and
describe the sudden arrest and overthrow of Sennacherib in the height
of his success;
Isa 10:18, 19;
Eze 31:3, 14,
&c., contain the same image; "Lebanon" and its forest are the Assyrian
army; the "iron" axe that fells the forest refers to the stroke which
destroyed the one hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrians
The "Mighty One" is Jehovah