Isaiah 10:5-11 Assyrian Arrogance, Part 1

Isaiah 10:5-7 Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hands is My indignation I send it against a godless nation and commission it against the people of My fury to capture booty and to seize plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets. Yet it does not so intend, nor does it plan so in its heart, but rather it is its purpose to destroy and to cut off many nations.

Assyria is described as a “shebet”. That is the Hebrew word for rod, staff, branch, shaft (of spear, dart), club (of shepherd’s implement), or a scepter (mark of authority) per Strong’s Concordance. In today’s vernacular, a whoopin’ stick!

Assyria is the beating stick in God’s hand. He is in control of Assyria. God is going to use Assyria as a stick to punish His godless people. Their job is to pack them down like mud in the street.

Notice, it is the mental attitude that leads to its conquest for power and expansion. See the words “intend”, “plan…in its heart”, and “purpose”. These are mental words of thought. Assyria is calculating and devising from the inner part of their soul, mind, and conscience according to the language and Hebrew vocabulary.

The “stick” has other ideas. Israel is not enough. The “rod” wants more and history shows us how Assyria expanded. The Assyrians built an empire that stretched from Egypt on the southwest to Persia (modern day Iran) on the east and from the Persian Gulf on the southeast to Anatolia (modern day Turkey) on the north.

Isaiah 10:8-11 For it says, “Are not my princes all kings? Is not Calno like Carchemish, or Hamath like Arpad, or Samaria like Damascus? As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols, whose graven images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria, shall I not do to Jerusalem and her images just as I have done to Samaria and her idols?”

At this point, God reminds Assyrian leadership of his boastful and arrogant attitude. Calno, Carchemish, Hamath, Arpad, Samaria, and Damascus are city states that were conquered by the Assyrian Empire (NET Bible). Assyrian leadership is reminding God of their resume. They have handled these places in the past and they can handle Jerusalem.

“We have conquered powers greater than Israel and little Jerusalem,” Assyria. They are effectively telling God that He cannot stop Assyria. This is a shot at God’s sovereignty and power. Assyria has handled other countries and their “gods”. We can handle Jerusalem and their “god”. We, Assyria are in control. This is the mindset.

This also speaks to how Assyria saw Israel. They saw Israel as a nation who worshipped idols. They did not see Israel as a country who was worshipping God of the Bible.

Assyria did not ultimately realize they were going up against the Creator. God is in charge and Assyria is in the palm of God’s hand.

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