Isaiah 10

Isaiah 10  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 10
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They would still practice deceit and treachery and oppression, and bring upon themselves what is described as “the day of visitation”. Having forsaken their God, He would be no refuge for them in that hour of distress, and His hand would still be against them. This brings us to the Assyrian, in verse 5.
But we pause a moment to remark that, as so often in Old Testament prophecy, there is an ultimate fulfillment as well as a more immediate one, and this surely is the case here. For instance, there were prophets speaking falsely in Isaiah’s day, but the very special “prophet that speaketh lies”, who is “the tail” {9:15}, is a reference to the antichrist of the last days; just as “the day of visitation” looks on to that special day of trial that is yet to come. Similarly “the Assyrian”, that now we are to consider, has this double application— the then existing great power centered in Nineveh, and also that “king of the North”, which was Assyria, that we read of in the last days.
In Isaiah’s day the power of Assyria was threatening all the nations. God had taken that people up as the rod of His anger to chastise many a nation that was far from Him and Israel among them. Later God used the Chaldeans in the same way, and this it was that disturbed the mind of Habakkuk, and led him to protest that, bad as Israel might be, the Chaldeans, whom God was going to use against them for their discipline, were worse. We see here what we see also in Habakkuk; that God may use an evil nation to chastise His faithless people, but only under His strict supervision and control. God was now sending him, as verse 6 says, against an hypocritical nation evidently the ten tribes and Samaria.
But the Assyrian himself did not realize this, and therefore “he meaneth not so”, but intended to ravage Jerusalem as well as Samaria, doing to them what he had already done to many of the surrounding peoples. As we know from the historical Scriptures, though he distressed and threatened Jerusalem he did not take it. As verse 12 intimates, he would be used to perform on Jerusalem that which God intended and then he himself would be punished and humbled. He was only like an ax or a rod in the hand of the Lord and could not dictate to the One who wielded him. The Holy One of Israel would consume him and bring down his pride and importance.
We know how all this was fulfilled in the days of Hezekiah. Samaria was led captive, but when Sennacherib attempted with proud boasts to take Jerusalem his forces received a conclusive blow directly from the hand of God, and he himself was shortly after slain by two of his sons, as we read in 2 Kings 19:3737And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esar-haddon his son reigned in his stead. (2 Kings 19:37).
The double application of the latter part of chapter 10 is, we think, quite evident. In verses 20-23, God pledges Himself to preserve a remnant though He was to permit a great consuming in the land, according to His holy government. This promise of a remnant covers the whole “house of Jacob”, for it must have been given some years before the ten tribes were taken into captivity. God did preserve a remnant in those far-off days when the prophecy was given, and He will yet do so in the coming days at the end of this age.
So again, in verses 24-34, there was the plain assurance to the inhabitants of Jerusalem that they need not fear the Assyrian. He would afflict them as with a rod, yet God would destroy him eventually. This came to pass, as we have seen, though he would come to the very gates of the city and “shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.” His progress through the towns, as he approached, is very graphically described. He would seem to be like a great cedar of Lebanon, stretching his mighty bough over the city, but Jehovah of hosts would lop his bough with terror.