We go on to Isaiah 10:5-11
Note: This next section of Isaiah deals with how G-d is going to punish the people – this ‘day of catastrophe’.
v5: Woe: How awful it will be if there is no change.
- Assyria: Assyria was the vessel that G-d used to mete out His judgment to the Northern kingdom (Israel). Babylon was the vessel G-d used to mete out His judgment on the Southern kingdom (Judah).
v6: Nation: Written in the singular; this is a hermeneutical clue that this is a reference to Israel.
- Tread them down like the mire: The word translated ‘clay’ or ‘mire’ here is a word for the material that makes up the street – whether it be stone, brick, mud, etc. When we walk on a street, we trample on it without much thought to the material that makes it up. This is the image being used here. In the same way that we trample on the street, without any second thought, so too would G-d allow the Assyrians to trample the Northern kingdom – like it was just clay beneath their feet.
v7: He: Referring to the Assyrians.
- He does not mean so, nor does his heart think so: Just because G-d uses someone doesn’t mean that He is pleased with them. The fact that He uses them is not an affirmation that what they are doing is right or proper. Although the Assyrians were G-d’s vessels, to carry out His judgment, they did not have any thought or imagination that they were doing it out of obedience to G-d.
- It is in his heart to destroy: Obedience or submission to G-d was not Assyria’s motivation. Their hearts were bent on destruction. The goal of Assyria was to expand their empire and to take control of many nations. They achieved this through anger and hatred for the nations (including Israel) that they conquered.
v8: Princes: These would be nations that were either enslaved and brought under Assyria’s authority, or those who entered into a confederacy with him.
- Are not my princes altogether kings: This is Assyria’s boast. He is trying to reveal how great he is. Assyria is intimating that small insignificant kingdoms (princes) have become great in his hands (kings).
v9: Note: These places are a list of different kingdoms that Assyria brought into his confederacy, and he caused them to submit to him. Even Samaria (Northern Kingdom) was under his authority. They submitted to Assyria and were dominated by them.
v10: My hand: G-d is speaking here. His hand is a reference to His authority or power. G-d caused these nations to be brought into submission. He caused them to cease and to be destroyed.
- The kingdoms of the idols: All the kingdoms mentioned in Isaiah 10:9 were places of idolatry.
- Carved images: Statues. The people in these kingdoms thought that their idols would give them power and success.
- Of Jerusalem and Samaria: Like these other nations that had fallen, due to their idolatry, so too were Jerusalem and Samaria going to fall because of their idolatry.
v11: Idols: Images. This is a word that relates to something carefully designed. When we fashion idols for ourselves the outcome is grief and sadness.