Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 10:17

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And it shall burn and devour his thorns "And he shall burn and consume his thorn" - The briers and thorns are the common people; the glory of his forest are the nobles and those of highest rank and importance. See note on Isaiah 9:17, and compare Ezekiel 20:47. The fire of God's wrath shall destroy them, both great and small; it shall consume them from the soul to the flesh; a proverbial expression; soul and body, as we say; it shall consume them entirely and altogether; and the few that escape shall be looked upon as having escaped from the most imminent danger; "as a firebrand plucked out of the fire," Amos 4:11; ὡς δια πυρος, so as by fire, 1 Corinthians 3:15; as a man when a house is burning is forced to make his escape by running through the midst of the fire.

I follow here the reading of the Septuagint, נסס כמאש kemash noses, ὡς ὁ φευγων απω φλογος χαιομενης, as he who flees from the burning flame. Symmachus also renders the latter word by φευγων, flying.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And the light of Israel - That is, Yahweh. The word “light” here, אור 'ôr is used also to denote a “fire,” or that which causes light and heat; see Ezekiel 5:2; Isaiah 44:16; Isaiah 47:14. Here it is used in the same sense, denoting that Yahweh would be “the fire” אור 'ôr that would cause the “flame” (אשׁ 'êsh ) which would consume the Assyrian. Jehovah is often compared to a burning flame, or fire; Deuteronomy 4:24; Deuteronomy 9:3; Hebrews 12:29.

Shall be for a fire - By his power and his judgment he shall destroy them.

His Holy One - Israel‘s Holy One; that is, Yahweh - often called in the Scriptures the Holy One of Israel.

And it shall burn - That is, the flame that Yahweh shall kindle, or his judgments that he shall send forth.

And devour his thorns and his briers - An expression denoting the utter impotency of all the mighty armies of the Assyrian to resist Yahweh. As dry thorns and briers cannot resist the action of heat, so certainly and speedily would the armies of Sennacherib be destroyed before Yahweh; compare the note at Isaiah 9:18. Lowth supposes, that by ‹briers and thorns‘ here, the common soldiers of the army are intended, and by ‹the glory of his forest‘ Isaiah 10:18, the princes, officers, and nobles. This is, doubtless, the correct interpretation; and the idea is, that all would be completely consumed and destroyed.

In one day - The army of Sennacherib was suddenly destroyed by the angel; see the notes at Isaiah 37:36.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
See what a change sin made. The king of Assyria, in his pride, thought to act by his own will. The tyrants of the world are tools of Providence. God designs to correct his people for their hypocrisy, and bring them nearer to him; but is that Sennacherib's design? No; he designs to gratify his own covetousness and ambition. The Assyrian boasts what great things he has done to other nations, by his own policy and power. He knows not that it is God who makes him what he is, and puts the staff into his hand. He had done all this with ease; none moved the wing, or cried as birds do when their nests are rifled. Because he conquered Samaria, he thinks Jerusalem would fall of course. It was lamentable that Jerusalem should have set up graven images, and we cannot wonder that she was excelled in them by the heathen. But is it not equally foolish for Christians to emulate the people of the world in vanities, instead of keeping to things which are their special honour? For a tool to boast, or to strive against him that formed it, would not be more out of the way, than for Sennacherib to vaunt himself against Jehovah. When God brings his people into trouble, it is to bring sin to their remembrance, and humble them, and to awaken them to a sense of their duty; this must be the fruit, even the taking away of sin. When these points are gained by the affliction, it shall be removed in mercy. This attempt upon Zion and Jerusalem should come to nothing. God will be as a fire to consume the workers of iniquity, both soul and body. The desolation should be as when a standard-bearer fainteth, and those who follow are put to confusion. Who is able to stand before this great and holy Lord God?