X The woe of unjust oppressors, ver. 1-4. Of Assyria for their pride and ambition, his folly in it, ver. 5-19. A remnant of Israel shall be saved, and that speedily, ver. 20-27. Sennacherib marching toward Jerusalem, ver. 28-31. His judgment, ver. 32-34.
Verse 1. Woe - Unto those magistrates who make unjust laws, and give unjust sentences. Grievousness - Grievous things, such unjust decrees as cause grief and vexation to their subjects.
Verse 2. Judgment - From obtaining a just sentence.
Verse 3. From far - From the Assyrians. This he adds, because the Israelites, having weakened the Jews and being in amity with the Assyrians their next neighbours, were secure. Leave - To be kept safe for your use. Glory - Your wealth.
Verse 4. Without me - Without my favour and help, which you have forfeited. Shall bow down - Notwithstanding all your succors.
Verse 5. O Assyrian - This is God's invitation to him to take the charge, and set upon the work. The rod - The instrument of mine anger, wherewith I shall chastise my people. Anger - Mine anger against my people puts the weapons of war into their hand.
Verse 6. Send him - By my providence, giving him both occasion and inclination to this expedition.
Verse 7. Howbeit - He doth not design the execution of my will, but only to enlarge his own empire. Which is seasonably added, to justify God in his judgments threatened to the Assyrian. To cut off - To sacrifice multitudes of people to his own ambition and covetousness.
Verse 8. Kings - Equal for power and wealth, and glory, to the kings of other nations.
Verse 9. Is not - Have not I conquered one place as well as another, the stronger as well as the weaker? Samaria - Or, shall not Samaria be as Damascus? Shall I not take that, as I have done this city?
Verse 10. The kingdoms - Which worshipped their own idols, and vainly imagined that they could protect them from my power. He calls the gods of the nations, not excepting Jerusalem, idols, by way of contempt, because none of them could deliver their people out of his hands, and because he judged them to be but petty gods, far inferior to the sun, which was the God of the Assyrians.
Verse 12. Wherefore - Because of this impudent blasphemy. His work - Of chastising his people so long as he sees fit. Looks - His insolent words and carriage.
Verse 13. Removed - I have invaded their lands, and added them to my own dominions, Prov. xxii, 28. Put down - Deprived of their former glory and power.
Verse 14. Eggs - Which the dam left in her nest. Gathered - All the riches of the earth. An hyperbole not unusual in the mouths of such persons. Peeped - As birds do, which, when they see the robbing of their nest, express their grief and anger, by hovering about them, and by mournful cries.
Verse 15. The ax - How absurd is it, for thee, who art but an instrument in God's hand, to blaspheme thy Lord and master, who has as great powerover thee, as a man hath over the ax wherewith he heweth?
Verse 16. The Lord - The sovereign Lord of thine and all other armies, shall strip him and all his princes, of their wealth, and might, and glory; and destroy his numerous army, as the fire doth those combustible things which are cast into it.
Verse 17. The light - That God who is and will be a comfortable light to his people. A fire - To the Assyrians. Thorns - His vast army, which is no more able to resist God, than dry thorns and briars are to oppose the fire.
Verse 18. The glory - Of his great army, which may not unfitly be compared to a forest, for the numbers of men, who stood as thick as trees do in a forest. Field - Of his soldiers, who stood as thick as ears of corn in a fruitful field. Soul and body - Totally, both inwardly and outwardly. They shall be - Like that of an army when their standard-bearer is slain or flees away, which strikes a panic into the whole army.
Verse 19. The rest - The remainder of that mighty host.
Verse 20. And such - Such Jews as shall be preserved from that sweeping Assyrian scourge. Stay - Shall no more trust to the Assyrians for help.
Verse 22. A remnant - Or, a remnant only. The consumption - The destruction of Israel was already decreed by the fixed counsel of God, and therefore must needs be executed, and like a deluge overflow them. Righteousness - With justice, and yet with clemency, inasmuch as he has spared a considerable remnant of them, when he might have destroyed them utterly.
Verse 23. In the midst - In all the parts of the land, not excepting Jerusalem, which was to be preserved in the Assyrian invasion.
Verse 24. Therefore - This is an inference, not from the words immediately foregoing, but from the whole prophecy. Seeing the Assyrian shall be destroyed. Smite - He shall afflict, but not destroy thee. Egypt - As the Egyptians formerly did.
Verse 25. Indignation - Mine anger towards the Assyrian. Cease - As anger commonly does when vengeance is fully executed.
Verse 26. Stir up - Shall send a destroying angel. Midian - Whom God slew suddenly and unexpectedly, in the night. Oreb - Upon which one of their chief princes was slain, and nigh unto which the Midianites were destroyed. The sea - To divide it, and make way for thy deliverance, and for the destruction of the Egyptians.
Verse 27. Burden - The burden of the Assyrian. The anointing - Possibly this may be understood of David, who is often mentioned in scripture by the name of God's anointed; and for whose sake, God gave many deliverances to the succeeding kings and ages, as is expressly affirmed, 1 Kings xi, 32,
Verse 34. God declares that he would give this very deliverance from the Assyrian, for David's sake, 2 Kings xix, 34; xx, 6. But the Messiah is principally intended, of whom David was but a type; and who was in a particular manner anointed above his fellows, as is said, Psalm xlv, 7. For he is the foundation of all the promises, 2Cor i, 20, and of all the deliverances and mercies granted to God's people in all ages.
Verse 28. He - Here the prophet returns to the Assyrian invasion; which he describes, after the manner of the prophets, as a thing present, and sets down the several stages by which he marched towards Jerusalem. He, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, is come, in his way to Jerusalem. Laid up - Leaving such things there as were less necessary, that so he might march with more expedition.
Verse 29. Fled - The people fled to Jerusalem for fear of the Assyrian.
Verse 30. Daughter - Jerusalem was the mother city, and lesser towns are commonly called her daughters.
Verse 32. Shake - By way of comminution.
Verse 33. The bough - The top-bough, Sennacherib, with a most terrible stroke.
Verse 34. Iron - Or, as with iron, as the trees of the forest are cut down with instruments of iron. Lebanon - Or, his Lebanon, the Assyrian army, which being before compared to a forest, and being called his Carmel in the Hebrew text, ver. 18, may very fitly upon the same ground, be called his Lebanon here.