A Commentary, Critical, Practical, and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments, by Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset and David Brown  at sacred-texts.com
isa 10:1Fourth strophe. (Isa 10:1-4)
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 65:6) [MAURER], (Isa 1:10, Isa 1:23).
isa 10:2To 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) [HORSLEY].
isa 10:3what will ye do--what way of escape will there be for you?
visitation--of God's wrath (Isa 26:14; Job 35:15; Hos 9:7).
from far--from Assyria.
leave . . . glory--rather, "deposit (for safekeeping) your wealth" [LOWTH]. So Psa 49:17.
isa 10:4Without me--not having Me to "flee to" (Isa 10:3).
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" [MAURER].
isa 10:5It 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 Isa 10:27). (Isa 10:9, Isa 10:11 show that Samaria was destroyed before this prophecy)
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, Jer 51:20; Psa 17:13). In their hands is Mine indignation" [HORSLEY, after JEROME]. I have put into the Assyrians' hands the execution of Mine indignation against My people.
isa 10:6send him--"Kings' hearts are in the hand of the Lord" (Pro 21:1).
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; Zac 10:5). But see Isa 37:26.
isa 10:7meaneth 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 (Psa 76:10; Mic 4:12). So Joseph's brethren (Gen 50:20; Pro 16:4). 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 (Isa 20:1-6; Zac 1:15).
isa 10:8Vauntings 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 (Eze 26:7; Ezr 7:12).
isa 10:9Is not . . . as--Was there any one of these cities able to withstand me? Not one. So Rab-shakeh vaunts (Isa 36:19).
Calno--Calneh, built by Nimrod (Gen 10:10), 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 (Jer 46:2).
Hamath--in Syria, north of Canaan (Gen 10:18). Taken by Assyria about 753 B.C. From it colonists were planted by Assyria in Samaria.
Damascus-- (Isa 17:1, Isa 17:3).
isa 10:10found--unable to resist me: hath overcome (so Psa 21:8).
and whose--rather, "and their." This clause, down to "Samaria," is parenthetical.
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; Isa 37:12). See in opposition, Isa 37:20; Isa 46:1.
As my hand . . . shall I not, as I have--a double protasis. Agitation makes one accumulate sentences.
isa 10:12whole work--His entire plan is regard to the punishment of the Jews (Isa 10:5-7).
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.
isa 10:13I 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 (Deu 32:8).
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 Psa 2:4; Psa 29:10; Psa 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 down,' compare Isa 36:1, Isa 36:10), the inhabitants" [MAURER].
isa 10:14nest--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 (Isa 8:19). No resistance was offered me, of deed, or even word.
isa 10:15Shall 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 Deu 32:21, "that which is not God;" Isa 31:8 shows that God is meant here by "not wood" [MAURER].
isa 10:16fat ones-- (Isa 5:17). The robust and choice soldiers of Assyria (Psa 78:31, where "fattest" answers in the parallelism to "chosen," or "young men," Margin).
leanness--carrying out the image on "fat ones." Destruction (Psa 106:15). Fulfilled (Isa 37:36).
his glory--Assyria's nobles. So in Isa 5:13, Margin; Isa 8:7.
kindle--a new image from fire consuming quickly dry materials (Zac 12:6).
isa 10:17light of Israel--carrying out the image in the end of Isa 10:16. Jehovah, who is a light to Israel, shall be the "fire" (Deu 4:24; Heb 12:29) that shall ignite the "thorns," (the Assyrians, like dry fuel, a ready prey to flame).
isa 10:18glory of his forest--The common soldiers, the princes, officers, &c., all alike together, shall be consumed (see on Isa 9:18).
in one day-- (Isa 37:36).
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 (Isa 37:24), "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 (Isa 10:16) [MAURER]. Or, "there shall be an entire dissipation, like a perfect melting" (namely, of the Assyrian army) [HORSLEY].
isa 10:19rest--those who shall survive the destruction of the host.
his forest--same image as in Isa 10:18, for the once dense army.
child . . . write--so few that a child might count them.
isa 10:20The effect on the "remnant" (contrasted with the Assyrian remnant, Isa 10:19); namely, those who shall be left after the invasion of Sennacherib, will be a return from dependence on external idolatrous nations, as Assyria and Egypt (Kg2 18:21; Kg2 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 Rom 9:27-28 (compare "short work" with "whole work," Isa 10:12, 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; Isa 7:3; Zac 12:9-10; Zac 14:2-3; Zep 3:12).
isa 10:21mighty God-- (Isa 9:6) 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.
isa 10:22yet--rather in the sense in which Paul quotes it (Rom 9:27), "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; Isa 8:8) with justice"; that is, the infliction of just punishment (Isa 5:16) [MAURER].
isa 10:23even 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 (Rom 9:28), "upon the earth."
isa 10:24Therefore--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 Isa 10:26 requires this interpretation [MAURER].
isa 10:25For--Be not afraid (Isa 10:24), for, &c.
indignation . . . cease--The punishments of God against Israel shall be consummated and ended (Isa 26:20; Dan 11:36). "Till the indignation be accomplished," &c.
mine anger--shall turn to their (the Assyrians') destruction.
isa 10:26slaughter of--"stroke upon."
Midian-- (Isa 9:4; Jdg 7:25).
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" (Exo 14:16, Exo 14:26). His "rod" on the Assyrian (Isa 10:24, Isa 10:26) stands in bold contrast to the Assyrian used as a "rod" to strike others (Isa 10:5).
after the manner of Egypt--as He lifted it up against Egypt at the Red Sea.
isa 10:27his burden--the Assyrians' oppression (Isa 9:3). Judah was still tributary to Assyria; Hezekiah had not yet revolted, as he did in the beginning of Sennacherib's reign.
because of-- (Hos 10:15).
the anointing--namely, "Messiah" (Dan 9:24). Just as in Isa 9:4-6, 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 (Deu 32:15). So Isa 10:16 above, and Isa 5:17, "fat ones."
isa 10:28Onward 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 (Gen 34:27).
Aiath--same as Ai (Jos 7:2; Neh 7:32). 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, Act 21:15) at Michmash, so as to be more lightly equipped for the siege of Jerusalem. So Sa1 17:22; Sa1 25:13; Sa1 30:24 [JEROME and MAURER].
isa 10:29passage--the jaws of the wady or defile at Michmash (Sa1 13:23; Sa1 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 (Sa1 11:4), distinct from Gibeah of Judah (Jos 15:57).
isa 10:30daughter of Gallim--Gallim and her sons (see on Isa 1:8; Kg2 19:21). "Cry aloud in consternation."
Laish--not the town in Dan (Jdg 18:7), 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.
isa 10:31Madmenah--not the city in Simeon (Jos 15:31), but a village near Jerusalem.
removed--fled from fear.
gather themselves to flee--"put their goods in a place of safety" [MAURER].
isa 10:32that 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 (Neh 11:32).
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.
isa 10:33bough--literally, the "beauty" of the tree; "the beautiful branch."
high ones of stature--"the upright stem," as distinguished from the previous "boughs" [HORSLEY].
isa 10:34This verse and Isa 10:33 describe the sudden arrest and overthrow of Sennacherib in the height of his success; Isa 10:18-19; Eze 31:3, Eze 31:14, &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 (Kg2 19:35). The "Mighty One" is Jehovah (Isa 10:21; Isa 9:6).
From the local and temporary national deliverance the prophet passes by the law of suggestion in an easy transition to the end of all prophecy--the everlasting deliverance under Messiah's reign, not merely His first coming, but chiefly His second coming. The language and illustrations are still drawn from the temporary national subject, with which he began, but the glories described pertain to Messiah's reign. Hezekiah cannot, as some think, be the subject; for he was already come, whereas the "stem of Jesse" was yet future ("shall come") (compare Mic 4:11, &c.; Mic 5:1-2; Jer 23:5-6; Jer 33:15-16; Rom 15:12).