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TitleIsaiah 10
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsParry, Donald W.
EditorHalverson, Taylor
Book TitleOld Testament Minute: Isaiah
PublisherBook of Mormon Central
CitySpringville, UT

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Isaiah 10

Isaiah 10:5–19 God Destroys Assyria for Its Wickedness

To fulfill His divine purposes, God sends Assyria’s wicked king and his armies to wage war against Israel, which had conducted itself very wickedly and had neglected its God. The Lord is fully engaged: “I will send [Assyria] against a godless nation,” referring to ancient Israel, and “I will command” Assyria “to take spoil” (10:6). The Lord controls all nations and their armies: “Do I not hold the destinies of all the armies of the nations of the earth?” (Doctrine and Covenants 117:6). Thus, the Lord reveals to Isaiah that Assyria is “the rod of My anger” (10:5). Isaiah’s prophecy against the kingdom of Assyria consists of two parts: Assyria is an instrument in God’s hand (10:5–11), and God destroys Assyria, which is a type of the destruction of the wicked at the Second Coming (10:12–19). Note that the Lord speaks in 10:5–7, and Assyria’s king makes a pronouncement in 10:8–11.

Isaiah 10:5

Woe to Assyria. Isaiah prophesies against Assyria, a wicked and warring nation. rod of My anger/staff of My fury. Despite Assyria’s great wickedness, God permitted it to war against His covenant people. Symbolically, Assyria was like a rod in God’s hands, correcting and chastising Israel. But Assyria had a different idea—it was determined “to destroy and to cut off nations” (10:7).

Isaiah 10:8–14

Assyria’s king is pompous and arrogant. are not my princes all kings? The king maintained that his territorial princes were as powerful as the kings of neighboring kingdoms. Calno . . . Damascus. The king recounts the great cities that he had already destroyed.

Isaiah 10:12

I will punish the . . . king of Assyria. God punishes the king of Assyria because of his great pride.

Isaiah 10:13–14

By the strength of my hand and by my wisdom. In his own words, Assyria’s king boasts about his own strength and wisdom rather than acknowledging God. one finds a nest. The king states that he has collected the wealth of nations as easily as one can finds eggs in a bird’s nest.

Isaiah 10:15

Will the ax boast itself over him who hews with it? Isaiah refers to four instruments—ax, saw, rod, staff—which refer to the king of Assyria; but God held the instruments in His hand, so He is greater than the Assyrian king. The Assyrian king’s boastful nature, versus God’s power to save His people, is as absurd as an iron ax being more powerful than the wielder or the staff lifting itself against the mortal (for example, nonwood) who holds the staff in his hand.

Isaiah 10:16

Lord . . . will send leanness; . . . he will burn with a burning. Leanness (such as famine, scarcity of food, and more) and burning symbolize God’s judgments on Assyria.

Isaiah 10:17

Light of Israel and Holy One are sacred designations of God. burn and devour [Assyria’s] thorns and briars in one day. God will destroy Assyria as easily as one burns “thorns and briars.”

Isaiah 10:19

child may write them. After the Lord destroys the wicked, their number will be so few that a child can count and write their number.

Isaiah 10:20–27 The Remnant of Israel Will Return

Despite the fact that Assyria would devastate the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, God promises that a remnant of Israel will return to Him. 2 Chronicles 30:6–9 presents the formula for a wayward people’s return to God: repent and return to the Lord God, return to His temple and serve Him there, and return to the land of promise. As Isaiah prophesies, “The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God” (10:21). Isaiah selects his words carefully, so that the reader can see a near fulfillment of his prophecy (the return of the Jews to their God and their homeland in ancient times) and a distant fulfillment of his prophecy, which will be fulfilled in the last days, when a remnant of Israel returns to God and His temples. Assyria, Egypt, Edom (Idumea), and Babylon were all ancient kingdoms, but these nations are also types and shadows of ungodly peoples in the last days.

Isaiah 10:21

remnant will return. This expression recalls the name of Isaiah’s son, Shear-jashub (Hebrew “a remnant will return”), who was a sign unto the house of Israel (8:18).

Isaiah 10:22

Israel, will be as the sand of the sea. This expression recalls the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 22:17; Abraham 3:14). destruction has been decreed, overflowing with righteousness. The destruction, which will originate with the Lord (10:23), will be a just and righteous act on His part—it will overflow “with righteousness.”

Isaiah 10:24–25

O My people. The Lord Himself tenderly consoles His people with words of comfort—although the Assyrians will smite you for a period, He says “my indignation will cease” against you and I will turn “my anger” against the Assyrians “to its destruction.”

Isaiah 10:24, 26

[Assyria] will smite you with a rod. In these two verses, Isaiah creatively contrasts two different rods: (1) Assyria smote Israel with a rod because of Israel’s disobedience, and (2) Moses’s special rod saved Israel as they crossed the Red Sea.

Isaiah 10:26

lash it with a whip, like the smiting of Midian. After Assyria serves God’s purposes by smiting the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, God will “lash [Assyria] with a whip” and punish it for its wickedness. “Like the smiting of Midian” recalls the time when God saved Israel from the Midianites (Judg. 6–7) by the hand of Gideon.

Isaiah 10:26–27

The Lord’s smiting of Midian and removing the shoulder’s burden and the neck’s yoke recall Isaiah 9:4 and the work of the Messiah. Compare also Jesus’s teaching about the yoke (Matthew 11:28–29).

Isaiah 10:27

burden from your shoulder/yoke from off your neck. The Lord will remove Assyria’s yoke from off of Israel. the {anointing} oil. This probably refers to the Messiah (Hebrew “anointed one”); through His power, or through the power of the “anointing oil,” Israel’s burden and yoke will be destroyed.

Isaiah 10:28–32 Assyria Marches to Jerusalem

Some scholars maintain that “He” in verse 28 refers to King Sennacherib, who invaded Judah in 701 BC (37:36–37); others hold that “he” relates to King Sargon and his invasion in 715 BC. “They” in verse 29 refers to the Assyrian army, which marches south to Jerusalem, destroying several villages in its path—Aiath, Migron, Michmash, Geba, Ramah, Gibeah, Gallim, Laish, Anathoth, Madmenah, Gebim, and Nob. Terrified Israelites “cry out” (10:30) as the Assyrians march toward Jerusalem. The immense army lays up supplies at Michmash (10:28), stays the night at Geba (10:29), and stops at Nob (10:32). When the army arrives at Jerusalem, it makes a threatening gesture toward the sacred temple mountain.

Isaiah 10:33–34 The Lord Is a Lumberjack

This section is bound to the previous section (10:28–34), which pertains to the Assyrian army’s march against Jerusalem, and to the next section (11:1–5), which continues the theme of a tree and its stump. In these two verses, Isaiah prophesies that Jehovah is symbolically depicted as a lumberjack or forester, who will destroy Assyria, which is depicted as a great tree. Jehovah wields a mighty ax, and with “awe-inspiring power,” He will cut down Assyria—Israel’s dreadful enemy—as easily as a lumberjack cuts down branches and trees. Assyria was indeed destroyed when an angel, the forester’s agent, destroyed 185,000 Assyrians who camped around Jerusalem. (37:36–37).

Isaiah 10:34

Lebanon. The cedars of Lebanon, here, simply rendered “Lebanon,” were mighty and towering trees. Mighty One. “The Mighty One” is none other than Jehovah

Scripture Reference

Isaiah 10:1