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Chapter 10

Perversion of Justice

[a]Ah! Those who enact unjust statutes,
    who write oppressive decrees,(A)
Depriving the needy of judgment,
    robbing my people’s poor of justice,
Making widows their plunder,
    and orphans their prey!(B)
What will you do on the day of punishment,
    when the storm comes from afar?
To whom will you flee for help?
    Where will you leave your wealth,
Lest it sink beneath the captive
    or fall beneath the slain?
For all this, his wrath is not turned back,
    his hand is still outstretched![b]

Judgment on Assyria

[c]Ah! Assyria, the rod of my wrath,
    the staff I wield in anger.(C)
Against an impious nation[d] I send him,
    and against a people under my wrath I order him
To seize plunder, carry off loot,
    and to trample them like the mud of the street.
But this is not what he intends,
    nor does he have this in mind;
Rather, it is in his heart to destroy,
    to make an end of not a few nations.
For he says, “Are not my commanders all kings?”
    [e]“Is not Calno like Carchemish,
Or Hamath like Arpad,
    or Samaria like Damascus?
10 Just as my hand reached out to idolatrous kingdoms
    that had more images than Jerusalem and Samaria—
11 Just as I treated Samaria and her idols,
    shall I not do to Jerusalem and her graven images?”

12 But when the Lord has brought to an end all his work on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,

I will punish the utterance
    of the king of Assyria’s proud heart,
    and the boastfulness of his haughty eyes.
13 For he says:
“By my own power I have done it,
    and by my wisdom, for I am shrewd.
I have moved the boundaries of peoples,
    their treasures I have pillaged,
    and, like a mighty one, I have brought down the enthroned.
14 My hand has seized, like a nest,
    the wealth of nations.
As one takes eggs left alone,
    so I took in all the earth;
No one fluttered a wing,
    or opened a mouth, or chirped!”
15 Will the ax boast against the one who hews with it?
    Will the saw exalt itself above the one who wields it?
As if a rod could sway the one who lifts it,
    or a staff could lift the one who is not wood!
16 Therefore the Lord, the Lord of hosts,
    will send leanness among his fat ones,[f]
And under his glory there will be a kindling
    like the kindling of fire.(D)
17 The Light of Israel will become a fire,
    the Holy One, a flame,
That burns and consumes its briers
    and its thorns in a single day.(E)
18 And the glory of its forests and orchards
    will be consumed, soul and body,
    and it will be like a sick man who wastes away.
19 And the remnant of the trees in his forest
    will be so few,
    that any child can record them.
20     On that day
The remnant of Israel,
    the survivors of the house of Jacob,
    will no more lean upon the one who struck them;
But they will lean upon the Lord,
    the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
21 A remnant will return,[g] the remnant of Jacob,
    to the mighty God.
22 Though your people, O Israel,
    were like the sand of the sea,(F)
Only a remnant of them will return;
    their destruction is decreed,
    as overflowing justice demands.(G)

23 For the Lord, the God of hosts, is about to carry out the destruction decreed in the midst of the whole land.(H)

24 [h]Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts: My people, who dwell in Zion, do not fear the Assyrian, though he strikes you with a rod, and raises his staff against you as did the Egyptians. 25 For just a brief moment more, and my wrath shall be over, and my anger shall be set for their destruction. 26 Then the Lord of hosts will raise against them a scourge such as struck Midian at the rock of Oreb;(I) and he will raise his staff over the sea as he did in Egypt.(J) 27 On that day,

His burden shall be taken from your shoulder,
    and his yoke shattered from your neck.(K)

The March of an Enemy Army[i]

He has come up from Rimmon,
28     he has reached Aiath, passed through Migron,
    at Michmash he has stored his supplies.
29 He has crossed the ravine,
    at Geba he has camped for the night.
Ramah trembles,
    Gibeah of Saul has fled.
30 Cry and shriek, Bath-Gallim!
    Hearken, Laishah! Answer her, Anathoth!
31 Madmenah is in flight,
    the inhabitants of Gebim seek refuge.
32 Even today he will halt at Nob,
    he will shake his fist at the mount of daughter Zion,
    the hill of Jerusalem!
33 [j]Now the Lord, the Lord of hosts,
    is about to lop off the boughs with terrible violence;
The tall of stature shall be felled,
    and the lofty ones shall be brought low;
34 He shall hack down the forest thickets with an ax,
    and Lebanon in its splendor shall fall.

Footnotes

  1. 10:1–4 This is another hoy-oracle; cf. note on 5:8–24. It may originally have been part of the collection at 5:8–24.
  2. 10:4 For all this…outstretched!: this refrain appears to be out of place here; cf. 9:11, 16, 20.
  3. 10:5–34 These verses contain a series of oracles directed against Assyria. Verses 5–15 portray Assyria as simply the rod God uses to punish Israel, though Assyria does not realize this. The original conclusion to this unit may be the judgment found in vv. 24–27a, which continues the imagery and motifs found in vv. 5–15. Verses 16–23, because of the quite different imagery and motifs, may originally have been an insertion directed against Aram and Israel at the time of the Syro-Ephraimite War.
  4. 10:6 Impious nation: Judah. It was God’s intention to use Assyria merely to punish, not to destroy, the nation.
  5. 10:9–10 The cities mentioned were all cities captured, some more than once, by the Assyrians in the eighth century B.C. Verse 9 suggests a certain historical order in the fall of these cities, and v. 10 suggests that all of them had fallen before Samaria (cf. Am 6:2). That implies that one should think primarily of events during the reign of Tiglath-pileser III (745–727).
  6. 10:16 His fat ones: the strong men of the enemy army.
  7. 10:21 A remnant will return: in Hebrew, shear-jashub, an allusion to the name of Isaiah’s son, Shear-jashub; cf. 7:3.
  8. 10:24 This verse with its reference to Assyria’s rod may introduce the original conclusion to vv. 5–15.
  9. 10:27b–32 A poetic description of the march of an enemy army from the north, advancing south to the very gates of Jerusalem, where the enemy waves his hand in a gesture of derision against the city. Though Sennacherib’s troops took a different route, advancing down the coast and then approaching Jerusalem from the southeast, the arrogant attitude toward God’s chosen city was the same. Aiath: the Ai of Jos 7:22–8:29. Migron: modern Makrun north of Michmash. The ravine: the deep valley between Michmash and Geba (cf. 1 Sm 14:1–5). Ramah…Gibeah…Bath-Gallim…Laishah…Anathoth…Madmenah…Gebim: cities north of Jerusalem threatened by the sudden appearance of this enemy army. Nob: probably to be identified with the present Mount Scopus from where one has a clear view of Jerusalem.
  10. 10:33–34 Just when the enemy is about to capture Jerusalem, God intervenes and destroys the hostile army. Cf. 29:1–8; 31:4–9.

10 Woe(A) to those who make unjust laws,
    to those who issue oppressive decrees,(B)
to deprive(C) the poor of their rights
    and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,(D)
making widows their prey
    and robbing the fatherless.(E)
What will you do on the day of reckoning,(F)
    when disaster(G) comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?(H)
    Where will you leave your riches?
Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives(I)
    or fall among the slain.(J)

Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,(K)
    his hand is still upraised.

God’s Judgment on Assyria

“Woe(L) to the Assyrian,(M) the rod(N) of my anger,
    in whose hand is the club(O) of my wrath!(P)
I send him against a godless(Q) nation,
    I dispatch(R) him against a people who anger me,(S)
to seize loot and snatch plunder,(T)
    and to trample(U) them down like mud in the streets.
But this is not what he intends,(V)
    this is not what he has in mind;
his purpose is to destroy,
    to put an end to many nations.
‘Are not my commanders(W) all kings?’ he says.
    ‘Has not Kalno(X) fared like Carchemish?(Y)
Is not Hamath(Z) like Arpad,(AA)
    and Samaria(AB) like Damascus?(AC)
10 As my hand seized the kingdoms of the idols,(AD)
    kingdoms whose images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria—
11 shall I not deal with Jerusalem and her images
    as I dealt with Samaria and her idols?(AE)’”

12 When the Lord has finished all his work(AF) against Mount Zion(AG) and Jerusalem, he will say, “I will punish the king of Assyria(AH) for the willful pride(AI) of his heart and the haughty look(AJ) in his eyes. 13 For he says:

“‘By the strength of my hand(AK) I have done this,(AL)
    and by my wisdom, because I have understanding.
I removed the boundaries of nations,
    I plundered their treasures;(AM)
    like a mighty one I subdued[a] their kings.(AN)
14 As one reaches into a nest,(AO)
    so my hand reached for the wealth(AP) of the nations;
as people gather abandoned eggs,
    so I gathered all the countries;(AQ)
not one flapped a wing,
    or opened its mouth to chirp.(AR)’”

15 Does the ax raise itself above the person who swings it,
    or the saw boast against the one who uses it?(AS)
As if a rod were to wield the person who lifts it up,
    or a club(AT) brandish the one who is not wood!
16 Therefore, the Lord, the Lord Almighty,
    will send a wasting disease(AU) upon his sturdy warriors;(AV)
under his pomp(AW) a fire(AX) will be kindled
    like a blazing flame.
17 The Light of Israel will become a fire,(AY)
    their Holy One(AZ) a flame;
in a single day it will burn and consume
    his thorns(BA) and his briers.(BB)
18 The splendor of his forests(BC) and fertile fields
    it will completely destroy,(BD)
    as when a sick person wastes away.
19 And the remaining trees of his forests(BE) will be so few(BF)
    that a child could write them down.

The Remnant of Israel

20 In that day(BG) the remnant of Israel,
    the survivors(BH) of Jacob,
will no longer rely(BI) on him
    who struck them down(BJ)
but will truly rely(BK) on the Lord,
    the Holy One of Israel.(BL)
21 A remnant(BM) will return,[b](BN) a remnant of Jacob
    will return to the Mighty God.(BO)
22 Though your people be like the sand(BP) by the sea, Israel,
    only a remnant will return.(BQ)
Destruction has been decreed,(BR)
    overwhelming and righteous.
23 The Lord, the Lord Almighty, will carry out
    the destruction decreed(BS) upon the whole land.(BT)

24 Therefore this is what the Lord, the Lord Almighty, says:

“My people who live in Zion,(BU)
    do not be afraid(BV) of the Assyrians,
who beat(BW) you with a rod(BX)
    and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did.
25 Very soon(BY) my anger against you will end
    and my wrath(BZ) will be directed to their destruction.(CA)

26 The Lord Almighty will lash(CB) them with a whip,
    as when he struck down Midian(CC) at the rock of Oreb;
and he will raise his staff(CD) over the waters,(CE)
    as he did in Egypt.
27 In that day(CF) their burden(CG) will be lifted from your shoulders,
    their yoke(CH) from your neck;(CI)
the yoke(CJ) will be broken
    because you have grown so fat.[c]

28 They enter Aiath;
    they pass through Migron;(CK)
    they store supplies(CL) at Mikmash.(CM)
29 They go over the pass, and say,
    “We will camp overnight at Geba.(CN)
Ramah(CO) trembles;
    Gibeah(CP) of Saul flees.(CQ)
30 Cry out, Daughter Gallim!(CR)
    Listen, Laishah!
    Poor Anathoth!(CS)
31 Madmenah is in flight;
    the people of Gebim take cover.
32 This day they will halt at Nob;(CT)
    they will shake their fist(CU)
at the mount of Daughter Zion,(CV)
    at the hill of Jerusalem.

33 See, the Lord, the Lord Almighty,
    will lop off(CW) the boughs with great power.
The lofty trees will be felled,(CX)
    the tall(CY) ones will be brought low.(CZ)
34 He will cut down(DA) the forest thickets with an ax;
    Lebanon(DB) will fall before the Mighty One.(DC)

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 10:13 Or treasures; / I subdued the mighty,
  2. Isaiah 10:21 Hebrew shear-jashub (see 7:3 and note); also in verse 22
  3. Isaiah 10:27 Hebrew; Septuagint broken / from your shoulders

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