After the manner of Egypt "In the way of Egypt" - I think there is a designed ambiguity in these words. Sennacherib, soon after his return from his Egyptian expedition, which, I imagine, took him up three years, invested Jerusalem. He is represented by the prophet as lifting up his rod in his march from Egypt, and threatening the people of God, as Pharaoh and the Egyptians had done when they pursued them to the Red Sea. But God in his turn will lift up his rod over the sea, as he did at that time, in the way, or after the manner, of Egypt; and as Sennacherib has imitated the Egyptians in his threats, and came full of rage against them from the same quarter; so God will act over again the same part that he had taken formerly in Egypt, and overthrow their enemies in as signal a manner. It was all to be, both the attack and the deliverance, בדרך bederech, or כדרך kederech, as a MS. has it in each place, in the way, or after the manner, of Egypt.
Therefore - In this verse the prophet returns to the main subject of this prophecy, which is to comfort the people of Jerusalem with the assurance that the army of the Assyrian would be destroyed.
O my people - An expression of tenderness, showing that God regarded them as his children, and notwithstanding the judgments that he would bring upon them for their sins In the midst of severe judgments, God speaks the language of tenderness; and, even when he punishes, has toward his people the feelings of a father; Hebrews 12:5-11.
That dwelleth in Zion - literally, in mount Zion; but here taken for the whole city of Jerusalem; see the note at Isaiah 1:8.
Be not afraid - For his course shall be arrested, and he shall be repelled and punished; Isaiah 10:25-27.
He shall smite thee - He shall, indeed, smite thee, but shall not utterly destroy thee.
And shall lift up his staff - Note, Isaiah 10:5. The “staff” here is regarded as an instrument of punishment; compare the note at Isaiah 9:4; and the sense is, that by his invasion, and by his exactions, he would oppress and punish the nation.
After the manner of Egypt - Hebrew, ‹In the way of Egypt.‘ Some interpreters have supposed that this means that Sennacherib would oppress and afflict the Jews in his going down to Egypt, or on his way there to attack the Egyptians. But the more correct interpretation is that which is expressed in our translation - “after the manner of Egypt.” That is, the nature of his oppressions shall be like those which the Egyptians under Pharaoh inflicted on the Jews. There are “two” ideas evidently implied here.
(1) That the oppression would be heavy and severe. Those which their fathers experienced in Egypt were exceedingly burdensome and cruel. So it would be in the calamities that the Assyrian would bring upon them. But,
(2) Their fathers had been delivered from the oppressions of the Egyptians. And so it would be now. The Assyrian would oppress them; but God would deliver and save them. The phrase, ‹in the way of,‘ is used to denote “after the manner of,” or, as an example, in Amos 4:10, ‹I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt;‘ Hebrew, ‹In the way of Egypt;‘ compare Ezekiel 20:30.
In a time of grave national peril, when the hosts of Assyria were invading the land of Judah and it seemed as if nothing could save Jerusalem from utter destruction, Hezekiah rallied the forces of his realm to resist with unfailing courage their heathen oppressors and to trust in the power of Jehovah to deliver. “Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him,” Hezekiah exhorted the men of Judah; “for there be more with us than with him: with him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles.” 2 Chronicles 32:7, 8. PK 349.1
It was not without reason that Hezekiah could speak with certainty of the outcome. The boastful Assyrian, while used by God for a season as the rod of His anger for the punishment of the nations, was not always to prevail. See Isaiah 10:5. “Be not afraid of the Assyrian,” had been the message of the Lord through Isaiah some years before to those that dwelt in Zion; “for yet a very little while, ... and the Lord of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb: and as His rod was upon the sea, so shall He lift it up after the manner of Egypt. And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.” Verses 24-27. PK 349.2Read in context »