Isaiah 10


God's judgments against oppressive rulers, 1-4.

The prophet foretells the invasion of Sennacherib, and the

destruction of his army. That mighty monarch is represented as

a rod in the hand of God to correct his people for their sins;

and his ambitious purposes, contrary to his own intentions, are

made subservient to the great desires of Providence, 5-11.

Having accomplished this work, the Almighty takes account of

his impious vauntings, 12-14;

and threatens utter destruction to the small and great of his

army, represented by the thorns, and the glory of the forest,


This leads the prophet to comfort his countrymen with the

promise of the signal interposition of God in their favour,


Brief description of the march of Sennarherib towards

Jerusalem, and of the alarm and terror which he spread every

where as he hastened forward, 28-32.

The spirit and rapidity of the description is admirably suited

to the subject. The affrighted people are seen fleeing, and

the eager invader pursuing; the cries of one city are heard by

those of another; and groan swiftly succeeds to groan, till at

length the rod is lifted over the last citadel. In this

critical situation, however, the promise of a Divine

interposition is seasonably renewed. The scene instantly

changes; the uplifted arm of this mighty conqueror is at once

arrested and laid low by the hand of heaven; the forest of

Lebanon, (a figure by which the immense Assyrian host is

elegantly pointed out, is hewn down by the axe of the Divine

vengeance; and the mind is equally pleased with the equity of

the judgment, and the beauty and majesty of the description,

33, 34.


Verse 2. My people] Instead of ammi, my people, many MSS.,

and one of my own, ancient, read ammo, his people. But this is

manifestly a corruption.

Verse 4. Without me] That is, without my aid: they shall be

taken captive even by the captives, and shall be subdued even by

the vanquished. "The yod in bilti is a pronoun, as in

Ho 13:4."

-Kimchi on the place. One MS. has lebilti.

As the people had hitherto lived without God in worship and

obedience; so they should now be without his help, and should

perish in their transgressions.

Verse 5. O Assyrian-"Ho to the Assyrian"] Here begins a new and

distinct prophecy, continued to the end of the twelfth chapter:

and it appears from Isa 10:9-11 of this chapter, that this

prophecy was delivered after the taking of Samaria by Shalmaneser;

which was in the sixth year of the reign of Hezekiah: and as the

former part of it foretells the invasion of Sennacherib, and the

destruction of his army, which makes the whole subject of this

chapter it must have been delivered before the fourteenth of the

same reign.

The staff in their hand-"The staff in whose hand"] The word

hu, the staff itself, in this place seems to embarrass the

sentence. I omit it on the authority of the Alexandrine copy of

the Septuagint: nine MSS., (two ancient,) and one of my own,

ancient, for umatteh hu, read mattehu, his

staff. Archbishop Secker was not satisfied with the present

reading. He proposes another method of clearing up the sense, by

reading beyom, in the day, instead of beyadam, in

their hand: "And he is a staff in the day of mine indignation."

Verse 12. The Lord-"JEHOVAH"] For Adonai, fourteen MSS.

and three editions read Yehovah.

The fruit-"The effect"] " peri, f. tsebi, vid.

Isa 13:19,

sed confer, Pr 1:31; 31:16, 31."-SECKER. The

Chaldee renders the word peri by obadey, works;

which seems to be the true sense; and I have followed it.-L.

Verse 13. Like a valiant man-"Strongly seated." Twelve MSS.

agree with the Keri in reading kabbir, without the

aleph. And Sal. ben Melec and Kimchi thus explain it: "them who

dwelled in a great and strong place I have brought down to the


Verse 15. No wood-"Its master."] I have here given the meaning,

without attempting to keep to the expression of the original,

lo ets, "the no-wood;" that which is not wood like itself,

but of a quite different and superior nature. The Hebrews have a

peculiar way of joining the negative particle lo to a noun, to

signify in a strong manner a total negation of the thing expressed

by the noun.

"How hast thou given help ( lelo choach) to the


And saved the arm ( lo oz) of the no-power?

How hast, thou given counsel ( lelo chochmah)

to the no-wisdom?"

Job 26:2, 3.

That is, to the man totally deprived of strength, power, and


"Ye that rejoice ( lelo dabar) in nothing."

Am 6:13.

That is, in your fancied strength, which is none at all, a mere


"For I am God, ( velo ish,) and no-man;

The Holy One in the midst of thee, yet do not frequent


Ho 11:9.

"And the Assyrian shall fall by a sword ( lo ish)

of no-man;

And a sword of ( lo adam) no-mortal, shall devour him."

Isa 31:8.

"Wherefore do ye weigh out your silver ( belo lechem)

for the no-bread."

Isa 55:2.

So here lo ets means him who is far from being an inert

piece of wood, but is an animated and active being; not an

instrument, but an agent.

Verse 16. The Lord-"JEHOVAH."] For Adonai, fifty-two

MSS., eleven editions, and two of my own, ancient, read ,

Yehovah, as in other cases.

And under his glory] That is, all that he could boast of as

great and strong in his army, (Sal. ben Melec in loc.,) expressed

afterwards, Isa 10:18, by the glory of his forest, and of his

fruitful field.

Verse 17. And it shall burn and devour his thorns-"And he shall

burn and consume his thorn."] The briers and thorns are the common

people; the glory of his forest are the nobles and those of

highest rank and importance. See Clarke on Isa 9:17, and

compare Eze 20:47. The fire of God's wrath shall destroy them, both

great and small; it shall consume them from the soul to the flesh;

a proverbial expression; soul and body, as we say; it shall

consume them entirely and altogether; and the few that escape

shall be looked upon as having escaped from the most imminent

danger; "as a firebrand plucked out of the fire," Am 4:11; ωςδια

πυρος, so as by fire, 1Co 3:15; as a man when a house is burning

is forced to make his escape by running through the midst of the


I follow here the reading of the Septuagint, kemash

noses, ωςοφευγωναπωφλογοςχαιομενης, as he who flees from the

burning flame. Symmachus also renders the latter word by φευγων,


Verse 21. The remnant shalt return-unto the mighty God.]

El gibbor, the mighty or conquering God; the Messiah, the same

person mentioned in Isa 9:6 of the preceding chapter.

Verse 22. For though thy people Israel] I have endeavoured to

keep to the letter of the text as nearly as I can in this obscure

passage; but it is remarkable that neither the Septuagint, nor St.

Paul, Ro 9:28, who, except in a few words of no great importance,

follows them nearly in this place, nor any one of the ancient

Versions, take any notice of the word shoteph, overflowing;

which seems to give an idea not easily reconcilable with those

with which it is here joined. I. S. Maerlius (Schol. Philolog. ad

Selecta S. Cod. loca) conjectures that the two last letters of

this word are by mistake transposed, and that the true reading is

shophet, judging, with strict justice. The Septuagint might

think this sufficiently expressed by ενδικαιοσυνη, in

righteousness. One MS., with St. Paul and Septuagint Alex., omits

bo in Isa 10:22;

sixty-nine of Kennicott's and seventeen of De Rossi's MSS.

and eight editions, omit col, all, in Isa 10:23; and so

St. Paul, Ro 9:28.

The learned Dr. Bagot, dean of Christ Church, Oxford, afterwards

Bishop of Bristol and Norwich, in some observations on this place,

which he has been so kind as to communicate to me, and which will

appear in their proper light when he himself shall give them to

the public, renders the word kilayon by accomplishment,

and makes it refer to the predictions of Moses; the blessing and

the curse which he laid before the people, both conditional, and

depending on their future conduct. They had by their disobedience

incurred those judgments which were now to be fully executed upon

them. His translation is, The accomplishment determined overflows

with justice; for it is accomplished, and that which is determined

the Lord God of hosts doeth in the midst of the land.-L. Some

think that the words might be paraphrased thus: The determined

destruction of the Jews shall overflow with righteousness, (

tsedakah,) justification, the consequence of the Gospel of

Christ being preached and believed on in the world. After the

destruction of Jerusalem this word or doctrine of the Lord had

free course,-did run, and was glorified.

Verse 24. After the manner of Egypt-"In the way of Egypt."] I

think there is a designed ambiguity in these words. Sennacherib,

soon after his return from his Egyptian expedition, which, I

imagine, took him up three years, invested Jerusalem. He is

represented by the prophet as lifting up his rod in his march from

Egypt, and threatening the people of God, as Pharaoh and the

Egyptians had done when they pursued them to the Red Sea. But God

in his turn will lift up his rod over the sea, as he did at that

time, in the way, or after the manner, of Egypt; and as

Sennacherib has imitated the Egyptians in his threats, and came

full of rage against them from the same quarter; so God will act

over again the same part that he had taken formerly in Egypt, and

overthrow their enemies in as signal a manner. It was all to be,

both the attack and the deliverance, bederech, or

kederech, as a MS. has it in each place, in the way, or after

the manner, of Egypt.

Verse 25. The indignation-"Mine indignation."] Indignatio mea,

Vulg. ηοργη, Sept. μουηοργηκατασου, MS. Pachom.

μουηοργηκατασου, MS. I. D. II. So that zaami, or

hazzaam, as one MS. has it, seems to be the true reading.

Verse 26. And as his rod was upon the sea-"And like his rod

which he lifted up over the sea"] The Jewish interpreters suppose

here an ellipsis of ke, the particle of similitude, before

mattehu, to be supplied from the line above; so that here are two

similitudes, one comparing the destruction of the Assyrians to the

slaughter of the Midianites at the rock of Oreb; the other to that

of the Egyptians at the Red Sea. Aben Ezra, Kimchi, Sal. ben


Verse 27. From off thy shoulder] Bishop Lowth translates the

whole verse thus:-

"And it shall come to pass in that day,

His burden shall be removed from off thy shoulder;

And his yoke off thy neck:

Yea, the yoke shall perish from off your shoulders."

On which he gives us the following note: I follow here the

Septuagint, who for mippeney shamen read

mishshichmeychem, αποτωνωμωνυμων, from your shoulders, not

being able to make any good sense out of the present reading. I

will add here the marginal conjectures of Archbishop Secker, who

appears, like all others, to have been at a loss for a probable

interpretation of the text as it now stands. "o. leg. shakam;

forte legend. mibbeney shamen, vide cap. v. 1.

Zec 4:14:

Et possunt intelligi Judaei uncti Dei, Ps 105:15,

vel Assyrii, mishmannim, hic Isa 10:16,

ut dicat propheta depulsum iri jugum ab his impositum: sed hoc

durius. Vel potest legi mippeney shami."

Verse 28. He is come to Aiath] A description of the march of

Sennacherib's army approaching Jerusalem in order to invest it,

and of the terror and confusion spreading and increasing through

the several places as he advanced; expressed with great brevity,

but finely diversified. The places here mentioned are all in the

neighbourhood of Jerusalem; from Ai northward, to Nob westward of

it; from which last place he might probably have a prospect of

Mount Sion. Anathoth was within three Roman miles of Jerusalem,

according to Eusebius, Jerome and Josephus. Onomast. Loc. Hebr. et

Antiq. Jud. x. 7, 3. Nob was probably still nearer. And it should

seem from this passage of Isaiah that Sennacherib's army was

destroyed near the latter of these places. In coming out of Egypt

he might perhaps join the rest of his army at Ashdod, after the

taking of that place, which happened about that time, (see

Isa 20:1-6;) and march from thence near the coast by

Lachish and Libnah, which lay in his way from south to north,

and both which he invested till he came to the north-west of

Jerusalem, crossing over to the north of it, perhaps by Joppa and

Lydda; or still more north through the plain of Esdraelon.

Verse 29. They are gone over the passage-"They have passed the

strait"] The strait here mentioned is that of Michmas, a very

narrow passage between two sharp hills or rocks, (see

1Sa 14:4, 5,) where a great army might have been opposed with

advantage by a very inferior force. The author of the Book of

Judith might perhaps mean this pass, at least among others:

"Charging them to keep the passages of the hill country, for by

them there was an entrance into Judea; and it was easy to stop

them that would come up, because the passage was strait for two

men at the most," Judith 4:7. The enemies having passed the strait

without opposition, shows that all thoughts of making a stand in

the open country were given up, and that their only resource was

in the strength of the city.

Their lodging] The sense seems necessarily to require that we

read lamo, to them, instead of lanu, to us. These

two words are in other places mistaken one for the other.

Thus Isa 44:7, for

lamo, read lanu, with the Chaldee; and in the same

manner Ps 64:6, with the

Syriac, and Ps 80:7, on the authority of the

Septuagint and Syriac, besides the necessity of the sense.

Verse 30. Cause it to be heard unto Laish, O poor

Anothoth-"Hearken unto her, O Laish; answer her, O Anathoth!"] I

follow in this the Syriac Version. The prophet plainly alludes to

the name of the place, and with a peculiar propriety, if it had

its name frown its remarkable echo. " anathoth, responsiones:

eadem ratio nominis, quae in beith anath, locus echus; nam

hodienum ejus rudera ostenduntur in valle, scil. in medio montium,

ut referent Robertus in Itiner. p. 70, et Monconnysius, p. 301."

Simonis Onomasticon Vet. Test.-L. Anathoth-Answers, replies; for

the same reason that Bethany, beith anath, had its name,

the house of echo; the remains of which are still shown in the

valley, i.e., among the mountains.

Verse 33. Shall lop the bough with terror] purah; but

purah, wine-press, is the reading of twenty-six of

Kennicott's and twenty-three of De Rossi's MSS., four

ancient editions, with Symmachus, Theodotion, and the Chaldee.

Verse 34. Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one] beaddir,

the angel of the Lord, who smote them, Kimchi. And so Vitringa

understands it. Others translate, "The high cedars of Lebanon

shall fall:" but the king of Assyria is the person who shall be


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