Matthew Henry's Commentary
Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;
10:1-4 These verses are to be joined with the foregoing chapter. Woe to the superior powers that devise and decree unrighteous decrees! And woe to the inferior officers that draw them up, and enter them on record! But what will sinners do? Whither will they flee?
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!
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?
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.
O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.
10:5-19 See what a change sin made. The king of Assyria, in his pride, thought to act by his own will. The tyrants of the world are tools of Providence. God designs to correct his people for their hypocrisy, and bring them nearer to him; but is that Sennacherib's design? No; he designs to gratify his own covetousness and ambition. The Assyrian boasts what great things he has done to other nations, by his own policy and power. He knows not that it is God who makes him what he is, and puts the staff into his hand. He had done all this with ease; none moved the wing, or cried as birds do when their nests are rifled. Because he conquered Samaria, he thinks Jerusalem would fall of course. It was lamentable that Jerusalem should have set up graven images, and we cannot wonder that she was excelled in them by the heathen. But is it not equally foolish for Christians to emulate the people of the world in vanities, instead of keeping to things which are their special honour? For a tool to boast, or to strive against him that formed it, would not be more out of the way, than for Sennacherib to vaunt himself against Jehovah. When God brings his people into trouble, it is to bring sin to their remembrance, and humble them, and to awaken them to a sense of their duty; this must be the fruit, even the taking away of sin. When these points are gained by the affliction, it shall be removed in mercy. This attempt upon Zion and Jerusalem should come to nothing. God will be as a fire to consume the workers of iniquity, both soul and body. The desolation should be as when a standard-bearer fainteth, and those who follow are put to confusion. Who is able to stand before this great and holy Lord God?
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.
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.
For he saith, Are not my princes altogether kings?
Is not Calno as Carchemish? is not Hamath as Arpad? is not Samaria as Damascus?
As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria;
Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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;
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.
And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them.
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.
10:20-34 By our afflictions we may learn not to make creatures our confidence. Those only can with comfort stay upon God, who return to him in truth, not in pretence and profession only. God will justly bring this wasting away on a provoking people, but will graciously set bounds to it. It is against the mind and will of God, that his people, whatever happens, should give way to fear. God's anger against his people is but for a moment; and when that is turned from us, we need not fear the fury of man. The rod with which he corrected his people, shall not only be laid aside, but thrown into the fire. To encourage God's people, the prophet puts them in mind of what God had formerly done against the enemies of his church. God's people shall be delivered from the Assyrians. Some think it looks to the deliverance of the Jews out of their captivity; and further yet, to the redemption of believers from the tyranny of sin and Satan. And this, because of the anointing; for his people Israel's sake, the believers among them that had received the unction of Divine grace. And for the sake of the Messiah, the Anointed of God. Here is, ver. 28-34, a prophetical description of Sennacherib's march towards Jerusalem, when he threatened to destroy that city. Then the Lord, in whom Hezekiah trusted, cut down his army like the hewing of a forest. Let us apply what is here written, to like matters in other ages of the church of Christ. Because of the anointing of our great Redeemer, the yoke of every antichrist must be broken from off his church: and if our souls partake of the unction of the Holy Spirit, complete and eternal deliverances will be secured to us.
The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.
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.
For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt.
For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction.
And the LORD of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb: and as his rod was upon the sea, so shall he lift it up after the manner of Egypt.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.
He is come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron; at Michmash he hath laid up his carriages:
They are gone over the passage: they have taken up their lodging at Geba; Ramah is afraid; Gibeah of Saul is fled.
Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim: cause it to be heard unto Laish, O poor Anathoth.
Madmenah is removed; the inhabitants of Gebim gather themselves to flee.
As yet shall he remain at Nob that day: he shall shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.
Behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror: and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled.
And he shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one.