Isaiah 10:1-11

Isa 10:1

Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;


These woes are pronounced against the lawmakers of both Israel and Judah who created unrighteous decrees that would benefit them against the people.  Then not only are the ones who created the unrighteous decrees but also the woe is pronounced against the Scribes who write down the decrees and publish them.  These decrees had perverted justice in both Israel and Judah.  The creators of these decrees had only one thing in mind and that was to increase their power and wealth while oppressing the poor people of the land.


Isa 10:2

To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!


The only recourse that the poor people had was to bring their grievances before the court in hopes of receiving a proper judgment.  The problem was that the judges and leaders were all accepting bribes and made their judgments according to the highest bidder.  The widows became the prey of these political vultures as widows and orphans were considered the lowest social class in Israel but they were protected by the Lord and the law. 


Isa 10:3

And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?


Then the question is posed that what will they do in the day of visitation when Assyria comes for the north and Babylon comes for the south.  Will they be able to keep all the wealth they amassed from robbing the people with their decrees?  When the desolation of the land comes will you still maintain your positions?  When these invading armies come, then who will you flee to for help as the poor people fled to you for help but were denied proper justice?  Their glory was their positions and their wealth and all of it will be taken as the spoils of war and they will have nothing left and will be treated like they treated those who came to them for help.  No matter where they would try to hide their wealth, it would be discovered.


Isa 10:4

Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.


The Lord will have departed from them because of the way they violated the law of God by oppressing the widows and the orphans.  Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. (Exodus 22:22)  Therefore their enemy will have their way with them.  They will either be in one of two groups, they will be either a prisoner or they will be among the slain who will attempt to resist and no doubt attempt to bribe the leaders to let them go.  This will not happen because they will be under the judgment of God for their violation and departing from the law.  The LORD’s anger is against them and it is not stayed yet because their judgment is not fully completed.


Isa 10:5

O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.


The destruction of the kingdom of Israel that was done by Shalmaneser was foretold in chapter 9 of Isaiah and was completed in the sixth year of Hezekiah.  And at the end of three years they took it: even in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken. (2 Kings 18:10)  Assyria was the means by which God was going to punish Israel for their rank idolatry and their departing from the LORD.  The staff of a shepherd was used to both help and to chastise.  Here the staff is the weapons of Assyria which will be wielded against the northern kingdom under the judging hand of God.


Isa 10:6

I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.


Here God is stating plainly that Assyria will be coming against Israel which was a hypocritical nation.  They pretended to be a good people and that they were obedient to  the law when in reality they were living their lives in stark contrast to the law of God and were disobedient and corrupt people.  This is why they were called hypocrites and the people of his wrath because his wrath was kindled against Israel for their godless lives.  Assyria was given the charge to attack them as instruments of the judgment of God.  They were to take all the spoils which they stole from the people and they were to be treated like prey in a forest that hunters go after.  They were to be tread down in the streets like mire which means they could offer no appreciable resistance to their invasion and will be of no hindrance as if they were mud or mire in the streets that people easily trample on.


Isa 10:7

Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.


The king of Assyria will be unaware of the fact that he is acting as God’s agent for this particular task of removing the northern kingdom.  They had purposed to take as many nations as they can and add them to the Assyrian empire thus enlarging their borders.  The king will think that he is acting of his own accord and it never enters his mind he is acting on behalf of God.  His only desire is to make his empire greater and thus increase his kingdom and rule.  His boast is that he has already done the same thing to many other nations who were now incorporated into the Assyrian kingdom.


Isa 10:8

For he saith, Are not my princes altogether kings?


He boasts of the fact that the kings of the nations he conquered have now become his princes or his servants.  He boasts that he was able to reduce them to his servants who will rule in different areas in the kingdom but be under his authority.


Isa 10:9

Is not Calno as Carchemish? is not Hamath as Arpad? is not Samaria as Damascus?


By about 717 B.C. the chief cities of western Asia had been conquered by Assyria.  Carchemish was on the Euphrates river and was a capitol of the Hittite empire and was conquered by Sargon II in 717 B.C.  Calno was about 55 miles (88 KM) southwest of Assyria was conquered by Tiglath-Pileser in 738 B.C.  Arpad was 6 miles (10 KM) northwest of Calno near modern Aleppo.  Hamath was on the Orontes River which begins in Lebanon and flows though Syria.  Damascus was conquered and destroyed in 732 B.C.  Then Samaria was destroyed in 722 B.C.


Isa 10:10

As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria;


The Assyrian kings also boasted that they were stronger than the gods of the lands they had taken.  They took upon themselves the title of “King of the Universe.”  The other pagan lands who had better representations of their false gods in silver and gold than Samaria and Jerusalem.  Now that Samaria has been taken, the king of Assyria now turned his eyes upon Jerusalem thinking that Jerusalem would fall as quickly as Samaria did.  His big mistake was that he had included in those false gods the God of Jerusalem and thought that he was powerful enough to overtake the true God in Heaven.  He did not entertain the reality that he was being used of the LORD for the task of taking Samaria but he would not be allowed to take Jerusalem.


Isa 10:11

Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?


Then in his arrogant thoughts he pondered on the belief that what he had done to Samaria he would be able to easily accomplish with Jerusalem.  He mentions the idols because he thought the true God was just another creation of their priests along with the idols they created to represent him.  His arrogance would be his downfall and would eventually lead to the destruction of Assyria.