Notes for Isa 10:1LEB

"Woe [to] those who decree evil decrees." On הוֹי (hoy, "woe, ah") see the note on the first phrase of 1:4.


"[to] the writers who write out harm." The participle and verb are in the Piel, suggesting repetitive action.


Notes for Isa 10:2LEB

Or "rob" (ASV, NASB, NCV, NRSV); KJV "take away the right from the poor."


"so that widows are their plunder, and they can loot orphans."


On the socio-economic background of vv. 1–2, see the note at 1:23.


Notes for Isa 10:3LEB

"the day of visitation" (so KJV, ASV), that is, the day when Yahweh arrives to execute justice on the oppressors.


Notes for Isa 10:4LEB

"except one kneels in the place of the prisoner, and in the place of the slain [who] fall." On the force of בִּלְתִּי (bilti, "except") and its logical connection to what precedes, see BDB 116 s.v. בֵלֶת. On the force of תַּחַת (takhat, "in the place of") here, see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:258, n. 6.


"in all this his anger was not turned, and still his hand was outstretched"; KJV, ASV, NRSV "his had is stretched out still."


Notes for Isa 10:5LEB

"Woe [to] Assyria, the club of my anger." On הוֹי (hoy, "woe, ah") see the note on the first phrase of 1:4.


"a cudgel is he, in their hand is my anger." It seems likely that the final mem (ם) on בְיָדָם (béyadam) is not a pronominal suffix ("in their hand"), but an enclitic mem. If so, one can translate literally, "a cudgel is he in the hand of my anger."


Notes for Isa 10:6LEB

Throughout this section singular forms are used to refer to Assyria; perhaps the king of Assyria is in view (see v. 12).


Or "defiled"; cf. ASV "profane"; NAB "impious"; NCV "separated from Yahweh."


"and against the people of my anger I ordered him."


"to make it [i.e., the people] a trampled place."


Notes for Isa 10:7LEB

"but he, not so does he intend, and his heart, not so does it think."


"for to destroy [is] in his heart, and to cut off nations, not a few."


Notes for Isa 10:8LEB

Or "For" (KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV).


Notes for Isa 10:9LEB

Calneh … Carchemish … Hamath … Arpad … Samaria … Damascus.

The city states listed here were conquered by the Assyrians between 740–717 b.c. The point of the rhetorical questions is that no one can stand before Assyria’s might. On the geographical, rather than chronological arrangement of the cities, see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:264, n. 4.


Notes for Isa 10:10LEB

"Just as my hand found the kingdoms of the idol[s]." The comparison is expanded in v. 11a (note "as") and completed in v. 11b (note "so").


Notes for Isa 10:11LEB

The statement is constructed as a rhetorical question in the Hebrew text: "Is it not [true that] just as I have done to Samaria and its idols, so I will do to Jerusalem and its idols?"


This statement indicates that the prophecy dates sometime between 722–701 b.c.


Notes for Isa 10:12LEB

The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on "in the future" in 2:2.


The Hebrew term translated "sovereign master" here and in vv. 16, 23, 24, 33 is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).


"his work on/against." Cf. NAB, NASB, NRSV "on"; NIV "against."


Yahweh is speaking here, as in vv. 5–6a.


"I will visit [judgment] on the fruit of the greatness of the heart of the king of Assyria, and on the glory of the height of his eyes." The proud Assyrian king is likened to a large, beautiful fruit tree.


Notes for Isa 10:13LEB

"removed the borders of nations"; cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV "boundaries."


The consonantal text (Kethib) has כְּאַבִּיר (abir, "like a strong one"); the marginal reading (Qere) is כַּבִיר (kavir, "mighty one").


"and I brought down, like a strong one, ones sitting [or "living"]." The participle יוֹשְׁבִים (yoshévim, "ones sitting") could refer to the inhabitants of the nations, but the translation assumes that it refers to those who sit on thrones, i.e., rulers. See BDB 442 s.v. יָשַׁב and HALOT 444 s.v. ישׁב.


Notes for Isa 10:14LEB

The Assyrians’ conquests were relatively unopposed, like robbing a bird’s nest of its eggs when the mother bird is absent.


Notes for Isa 10:15LEB

"the one who pushes it back and forth"; KJV "him that shaketh it"; ASV "him that wieldeth it."


Notes for Isa 10:16LEB

The irrational arrogance of the Assyrians (v. 15) will prompt the judgment about to be described.


"will send leanness against his healthy ones"; NASB, NIV "will send a wasting disease."


"and in the place of his glory burning will burn, like the burning of fire." The highly repetitive text (יֵקַד יְקֹד כִּיקוֹד אֵשׁ, yeqad yiqod kiqod esh) may be dittographic; if the second consonantal sequence יקד is omitted, the text would read "and in the place of his glory, it will burn like the burning of fire."


Notes for Isa 10:17LEB

In this context the "Light of Israel" is a divine title (note the parallel title "his holy [Set-apart] one"). The title points to Yahweh’s royal splendor, which overshadows and, when transformed into fire, destroys the "majestic glory" of the king of Assyria (v. 16b).


See the note on the phrase "the Holy One (Set-apart) of Israel" in Isa 1:4LEB.


"his." In vv. 17–19 the Assyrian king and his empire is compared to a great forest and orchard that are destroyed by fire (symbolic of Yahweh).


Notes for Isa 10:18LEB

"from breath to flesh it will destroy." The expression "from breath to flesh" refers to the two basic components of a person, the immaterial (life’s breath) and the material (flesh). Here the phrase is used idiomatically to indicate totality.


The precise meaning of this line is uncertain.

מָסַס (masas), which is used elsewhere of substances dissolving or melting, may here mean "waste away" or "despair." נָסַס (nasas), which appears only here, may mean "be sick" or "stagger, despair." See BDB 651 s.v. I נָסַס and HALOT 703 s.v. I נסס. One might translate the line literally, "like the wasting away of one who is sick" (cf. NRSV "as when an invalid wastes away").


Notes for Isa 10:19LEB

"and the rest of the trees of his forest will be counted, and a child will record them."


Notes for Isa 10:20LEB

Or "in that day." The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on "in the future" in 2:2.


"house" (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV).


"on one who strikes him down." This individual is the king ("foreign leader") of the oppressing nation (which NLT specifies as "the Assyrians").


Or "sincerely"; KJV, ASV, NAB, NRSV "in truth."


See the note on the phrase "the Holy One of Israel" in Isa 1:4LEB.


Notes for Isa 10:21LEB

The referent of אֵל גִּבּוֹר (’el gibbor, "mighty Yahweh") is uncertain. The title appears only here and in 9:6, where it is one of the royal titles of the coming ideal Davidic king. (Similar titles appear in Deut 10:17LEB and Neh 9:32LEB ["the great, mighty, and awesome Yahweh"] and in Jer 32:18LEB ["the great and mighty Yahweh"]. Both titles refer to Yahweh.) Though Hos 3:5LEB pictures Israel someday seeking "David their king," and provides some support for a messianic interpretation of Isa 10:21LEB, the Davidic king is not mentioned in the immediate context of Isa 10:21LEB (see Isa 11, however). The preceding verse mentions Israel relying on Yahweh, so it is likely that the title refers to Yahweh here.


The twofold appearance of the statement "a remnant will come back" (שְׁאָר יָשׁוּב, shear yashuv) in vv. 21–22 echoes and probably plays off the name of Isaiah’s son Shear-jashub (see 7:3). In its original context the name was meant to encourage Ahaz (see the note at 7:3), but here it has taken on new dimensions. In light of Ahaz’s failure and the judgment it brings down on the land, the name Shear-jashub now foreshadows the destiny of the nation. According to vv. 21–22, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that a remnant of Yahweh’s people will return; the bad news is that only a remnant will be preserved and come back. Like the name Immanuel, this name foreshadows both judgment (see the notes at Isa 7:25LEB and Isa 8:8LEB) and ultimate restoration (see the note at 8:10).


Or "predetermined"; cf. ASV, NASB "is determined"; TEV "is in store."



צְדָקָה (tsédaqah) often means "righteousness," but here it refers to Yahweh’s just judgment.


Or "is about to overflow."


Notes for Isa 10:23LEB

"Indeed (or perhaps "for") destruction and what is decreed the sovereign master, Yahweh who commands armies, is about to accomplish in the middle of all the land." The phrase

כָלָא וְנֶחֱרָצָה (khala venekheratsah, "destruction and what is decreed") is a hendiadys; the two terms express one idea, with the second qualifying the first.


Notes for Isa 10:24LEB

"therefore." The message that follows is one of encouragement, for it focuses on the eventual destruction of the Assyrians. Consequently "therefore" relates back to vv. 5–21, not to vv. 22–23, which must be viewed as a brief parenthesis in an otherwise positive speech.


"in the way [or "manner"] of Egypt."


Notes for Isa 10:25LEB

The Hebrew text has simply "fury," but the pronominal element can be assumed on the basis of what immediately follows (see "my anger" in the clause). It is possible that the suffixed yod (י) has been accidentally dropped by virtual haplography. Note that a vav (ו) is prefixed to the form that immediately follows; yod and vav are very similar in later script phases.


Notes for Isa 10:26LEB

"him" (so KJV, ASV, NASB); the singular refers to the leader or king who stands for the entire nation. This is specified by NCV, CEV as "the Assyrians."


According to Judg 7:25, the Ephraimites executed the Midianite general Oreb at a rock which was subsequently named after the executed enemy.


The Hebrew text reads literally, "and his staff [will be] against the sea, and he will lift it in the way [or "manner"] of Egypt." If the text is retained, "the sea" symbolizes Assyria’s hostility, the metaphor being introduced because of the reference to Egypt. The translation above assumes an emendation of עַל הַיָּם (’al hayyam, "against the sea") to עַלֵיהֶם (’alehem, "against them"). The proposed shift from the third singular pronoun (note "beat him" earlier in the verse) to the plural is not problematic, for the singular is collective. Note that a third plural pronoun is used at the end of v. 25 ("their destruction"). The final phrase, "in the way/manner of Egypt," probably refers to the way in which Yahweh used the staff of Moses to bring judgment down on Egypt.


Notes for Isa 10:27LEB

Or "in that day" (KJV). The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on "in the future" in 2:2.


"he [i.e., Yahweh] will remove his [i.e, Assyria’s] burden from upon your shoulder."


The meaning of this line is uncertain. The Hebrew text reads literally, "and the yoke will be destroyed (or perhaps, "pulled down") because of fatness." Perhaps this is a bizarre picture of an ox growing so fat that it breaks the yoke around its neck or can no longer fit into its yoke. Fatness would symbolize Yahweh’s restored blessings; the removal of the yoke would symbolize the cessation of Assyrian oppression. Because of the difficulty of the metaphor, many prefer to emend the text at this point. Some emend וְחֻבַּל (vékhubbal, "and it will be destroyed," a perfect with prefixed vav), to יִחְבֹּל (yikhbol, "[it] will be destroyed," an imperfect), and take the verb with what precedes, "and their yoke will be destroyed from your neck." Proponents of this view (cf. NAB, NRSV) then emend עֹל (’ol, "yoke") to עָלָה (’alah, "he came up") and understand this verb as introducing the following description of the Assyrian invasion (vv. 28–32). מִפְּנֵי־שָׁמֶן (mippéney-shamen, "because of fatness") is then emended to read "from before Rimmon" (NAB, NRSV), "from before Samaria," or "from before Jeshimon." Although this line may present difficulties, it appears best to regard the line as a graphic depiction of Yahweh’s abundant blessings on his servant nation.


Notes for Isa 10:28LEB

Verses 28–31 display a staccato style; the statements are short and disconnected (no conjunctions appear in the Hebrew text). The translation to follow strives for a choppy style that reflects the mood of the speech.


"he," that is, the Assyrians (as the preceding context suggests). Cf. NCV "The army of Assyria."


Verses 28–32 describe an invasion of Judah from the north. There is no scholarly consensus on when this particular invasion took place, if at all. J. H. Hayes and S. A. Irvine (Isaiah, 209–10) suggest the text describes the Israelite-Syrian invasion of Judah (ca. 735 b.c.), but this proposal disregards the preceding context, which prophesies the destruction of Assyria. Some suggest that this invasion occurred in conjunction with Sargon’s western campaign of 713–711 b.c., but there is no historical evidence of such an invasion at that time. Many others identify the invasion as Sennacherib’s in 701 b.c., but historical records indicate Sennacherib approached Jerusalem from the southwest. J. N. Oswalt (Isaiah [NICOT], 1:274–75) prefers to see the description as rhetorical and as not corresponding to any particular historical event, but Hayes and Irvine argue that the precise geographical details militate against such a proposal. Perhaps it is best to label the account as rhetorical-prophetic. The prophecy of the invasion was not necessarily intended to be a literal itinerary of the Assyrians’ movements; rather its primary purpose was to create a foreboding mood. Geographical references contribute to this purpose, but they merely reflect how one would expect an Assyrian invasion to proceed, not necessarily how the actual invasion would progress. Despite its rhetorical nature, the prophecy does point to the invasion of 701 b.c., as the announcement of the invaders’ downfall in vv. 33–34 makes clear; it was essentially fulfilled at that time. For further discussion of the problem, see R. E. Clements, Isaiah (NCBC), 117–19. On the geographical details of the account, see Y. Aharoni, Land of the Bible, 393.


"came against," or "came to."


Notes for Isa 10:30LEB

The Hebrew text reads "Poor [is] Anathoth." The parallelism is tighter if עֲנִיָּה (’aniyyah,"poor") is emended to עֲנִיהָ (’aniha, "answer her"). Note how the preceding two lines have an imperative followed by a proper name.


Notes for Isa 10:32LEB

The consonantal text (Kethib) has "a mountain of a house (בֵּית, bet), Zion," but the marginal reading (Qere) correctly reads "the mountain of the daughter (בַּת, bat) of Zion." On the phrase "Daughter Zion," see the note on the same phrase in 1:8.


Notes for Isa 10:33LEB

The Hebrew text reads "with terrifying power," or "with a crash."

מַעֲרָצָה (maaratsah, "terrifying power" or "crash") occurs only here. Several have suggested an emendation to מַעֲצָד (maatsad, "ax") parallel to "ax" in v. 34; see HALOT 615 s.v. מַעֲצָד and H. Wildberger, Isaiah, 1:448.


As in vv. 12 (see the note there) and 18, the Assyrians are compared to a tree/forest in vv. 33–34.


"the exalted of the height." This could refer to the highest branches (cf. TEV) or the tallest trees (cf. NIV, NRSV).


Notes for Isa 10:34LEB

The Hebrew text has, "and Lebanon, by/as [?] a mighty one, will fall." The translation above takes the preposition בְּ (bet) prefixed to "mighty one" as indicating identity, "Lebanon, as a mighty one, will fall." In this case "mighty one" describes Lebanon. (In Ezek 17:23LEB and Zech 11:2LEB the adjective is used of Lebanon’s cedars.) Another option is to take the preposition as indicating agency and interpret "mighty one" as a divine title (see Isa 33:21LEB). One could then translate, "and Lebanon will fall by [the agency of] the Mighty One."