Isaiah 10:12-22

Isa 10:12

Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.


Once the LORD had accomplished all he wanted to do and one of the main things he wanted to accomplish was to bring to light the sins they were committing and that they would realize it and come back to their senses and to humble them back into obedience and once that truly takes place and Judah and Jerusalem are once again walking in obedience, then God will turn his judging hand upon Assyria because they are a pagan nation and their leaders are filled with pride thinking they were a juggernaut, an unstoppable nation and could have whatever they wanted but their doom because of their pride and paganism was sure.


Isa 10:13

For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man:


Here the Assyrian king ascribes the successful conquests to his own wisdom and might.  He also brags that he was prudent which means skillful.  He assesses himself as a skillful king.  Removing the bounds of the people which means he has included many different people groups within the boundaries of his kingdom.  He also boasts that he has robbed or taken the spoils from each of these countries that he has invaded and conquered and boasts he did it as a valiant or brave man who puts down the weaker people.


Isa 10:14

And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped.


Then he boasts that just as he found a nest the riches of the people, that is, he took the spoils of war as one would take eggs out of a nest where there is no hen or mother bird protecting it.  He claims that he gathered all the earth, that is, wherever he attacked he conquered.  As a bird would cluck or flutter its wings to defend its eggs, there was none who resisted the armies of Assyria so they just went in and conquered without any or little resistance.


Isa 10:15

Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.


Here the prophet attacks the boasting of the king of Assyria.  The axe is used as an instrument to chop wood but it is at the mercy of the one using it and cannot boast.  The principle here is that Assyria is the axe and God is the one who is wielding the axe.  The axe does not work on its own but must be utilized in the proper way to chop wood.  The same situation is found in Assyria as they are the ones whom God is directing and they are not working out of their own reasons but God is the one who is directing them as his instruments of judgment against Judah and Israel.  In the same manner the saw does not work independently of the one who is using it.  In 10:5 we read that God called Assyria the rod of God’s anger.  The rod which can be used for a walking stick or a fighting stick will not have its usage identified until it is picked up and used.  The rod also does not act independently of the usage its owner decides on.  God is sovereign owner of the people on earth by means of creation and can use them for whatever he decides on.  Then the staff will be in the same category as the others.  It will not make its own decisions as to what it will be used for because it is only wood and has no mind of its own.  It too is under the authority of the one who uses it for whatever it is needed for.


Isa 10:16

Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.


Since the king of Assyria has boasted of great things and not realizing that he is acting under the leadership of the LORD, he will also suffer loss.  His great army will be diminished as a fat person who contracts a major disease and becomes emaciated.  Then the LORD will destroy their army as a fire destroys dry thorns or briers.  They will be consumed.  Assyria met its defeat at the Battle of Carchemish in 605 B.C. when they were conquered by the Babylonians.  Even though Assyria was under the leadership of God at this time, their arrogant attitudes still had to be punished plus they were a very cruel people as history exposes.


Isa 10:17

And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day;


Just as God is the one who brought Assyria against Judah and Israel, it will be he who will destroy the Assyrian army.  Fire is used as a symbol for their destruction and the use of briers and thorns means that the destruction will be swift and not stretched out over a long period of time.  The thorns and briers represents the vast Assyrian army which will be destroyed in one day which means very quickly.  The Egyptians will ally with Assyria but will be destroyed along with the Assyrian army at Carchemish.


Isa 10:18

And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth.


The Assyrian army is compared to a forest which contains many trees and some who are very big.  Then the fruitful field is another term for the army as they have stood as tall as corn in a field and many corn stalks in a small area meaning the army had many soldiers.  They will be destroyed both soul and body, which means they will fall in death in battle and because they are worshippers of the false gods, their soul will also be destroyed in hell after they will be judged for their sins on the last day.  The standardbearer was the one on the battlefield who carried the emblem of the army and if the standardbearer was killed or fell, it could panic the army.  In the American Civil War, when a standardbearer was killed, anther took up the battle flag and continued to march toward the destination or goal.


Isa 10:19

And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them.


Once the main body of the Assyrian army has been destroyed, there may still be a few left which God had allowed to live.  They will be so few in number that a child would be able to record their names and the number of them left.  Before there were hundreds of thousands but now there is probably only a few hundred, if that much.


Isa 10:20

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.


Then once the kingdom of Assyria is destroyed and their army is no longer an ally of King Ahaz as he desired. Those that escaped in Judah from the Assyrian invasion will no longer look to Assyria as their helper which also symbolizes the fact that they should look no longer to any earthly power.  Now since Isaiah has revealed the fact that Assyria was acting on behalf of the LORD and that their cruelty and arrogant attitudes were condemned by the LORD, they were now to return to the LORD and they were to stay upon him.  Stay means “rest or rely.”  This is also what the true believer in Christ does, they rest in Calvary for their salvation.  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isaiah 26:3)  We will have perfect peace when our minds are resting on Christ, no matter what situation is encountered by the believer.


Isa 10:21

The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.


This is one of those verses which carry a dual meaning.  First, those who accepted the alliance with Assyria will no longer look to them as their protectors but those who escaped the sword of Assyria will come back to the LORD.  The word “mighty” carries with it the meaning of “champion, strong or valiant.”  Earthly men may be strong but compared to the LORD, their valiance fades in comparison and God is the valiant or strong God of Israel who will be their real protector.  Then the second meaning in this verse speaks about salvation as the Apostle Paul requotes this verse in a different manner speaking about the remnant who will become saved.  Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: (Romans 9:27)  Out of ancient Israel there will be a remnant of true believers.  There will also be those in the northern kingdom who will become saved and return unto the LORD.


Isa 10:22

For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.


God had made a promise to Abraham that his descendants would be numerous like the sand of the sea which cannot be counted by man but out of that great number through the ages a remnant will become saved and will return unto the LORD.  That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; (Genesis 22:17)  The destruction of the nation of Israel has already been divinely decreed and it was going to happen.  The fact that the judgment will be coming from God, it will also be permeated with righteousness and there will be no frivolous judgments coming.  All will be done from a righteous framework.  It will be according to the sins they committed and will not go any further than God has decreed.  Two times in the New Testament is the term “righteous judgment” used describing God’s judgments.


But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; (Romans 2:5)


Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (2 Thessalonians 1:5)