Assyria’s pride and punishment (10:5-34)
God is angry with the rebellious people of Israel and has used Assyria to punish them (5-6). Assyria, however, has no concern for God’s purposes and thinks it has won its victories by its own might. It therefore decides to attack Jerusalem, confident that it will conquer Judah as it has conquered other nations (7-9). It thinks that because the gods of other nations have not been able to save them from Assyria’s might, the God of Judah will not be able to save Jerusalem (10-11). This boastful self- confidence and lack of respect for Yahweh is Assyria’s big mistake. God will not allow it to go unpunished (12-14).
Assyria is merely a tool that God uses to do his work, but when that tool tries to make itself greater than the one who uses it, it must be destroyed. Assyria will come to a humiliating end. It will be like a mighty forest that is burnt down, like a strong soldier who grows sick and dies (15-19).
Israel may be destroyed and Judah attacked, but God will always preserve the remnant of faithful believers who trust in him and not in military alliances. Those who trust in Assyria will come under Assyria’s power, and in the end will cause their nation to be taken into captivity. But a remnant will return and rebuild the nation (20-23).
On the basis of these certainties, Isaiah appeals to Judah once again not to fear Assyria nor to ask help from it. Assyria will be defeated, just as enemies in Israel’s past history have been (24-27). Isaiah then paints a vivid picture of an Assyrian attack on Jerusalem – the setting up of the base camp, the rapid approach over the mountains and through the valleys, the conquest of towns along the way, the flight of the citizens (28-32). But the Assyrian army is suddenly smashed by God, like a giant tree that is chopped down and comes crashing to the ground (33-34).