Our reading today begins with an oracle against Israel. Israel has been so arrogant as to believe they could provide for themselves better than God has provided for them (9:10). So God has brought foreign nations against them: Syria (2 Kings 13:3 for example) and the Philistines (like all of Israel’s history!). And God did this to call them to repentance, nut they would not repent (v. 13). So God will punish the leaders of Israel who have led the people astray (vv. 15-16), and all of Israel with them (v. 17). God compares the wickedness of Israel as a destructive fire (v. 18), and His judgment as a fire (v. 19 – see Rev 14:11). Israel has never learned to be satisfied with what God has given her (v. 20), so they fight against each other and against Judah (v. 21).
Chapter 10 begins with a pronouncement of woe on Israel for injustice (10:1-2 – see 5:23). Isaiah indicts them for preying on the weak. And then he asks what they will do when Assyria comes (v. 3)? Then he answers the question: they will be killed or captured just like everyone else (v. 4). However, Assyria will not escape judgment, either. So God pronounces woe on them, as well (v. 5). God will use them as an instrument of His judgment (vv. 5-6), but they are still responsible for their actions (v. 7). Assyria is not doing God’s work. And they count God’s people just as any other nation (v. 9). And Assyria intends to take Judah, too (vv. 10-11). So God will punish Assyria and her king (v. 12 – see 2 Kings 19:35-37).
God then indicts Assyria for pride. She believes her strength is her own (vv. 13-14). But God is sovereign even over foreign nations (v. 15). So God will judge Assyria (vv. 16-19). The language here is similar to that pronounced against Israel. God will use Babylon to judge Assyria about 100 years after the fall of Israel.
In verse 20, we see that “in that day” once again (see Isaiah 2:17 and 4:2). That day is a day of both judgment and restoration. Here, Isaiah prophesies of restoration. The remnant of both Israel and Jacob will turn to the Lord “in truth” (v. 20). In verse 22, God uses language from the promise to Abraham (Gen 22:17), and to Jacob (Gen 32:12). He had fulfilled that promise to Jacob, but now will undo what He has done, and is perfectly just to do so (v. 23).
God then tells Judah not to fear Assyria (v. 24), because His judgment will turn to Assyria (v. 25). God then describes the path of Assyria from Israel in the north, down through Judah, ultimately to Jerusalem (vv. 28-32). Once Assyria gets to Jerusalem, as we have seen, God will turn His wrath against them and “lop their boughs” (vv. 33-34).
Chapter 11 returns to the “stump” imagery from 6:13. It also incorporates language from 2:2-4 and 9:1-7. The shoot that will grow from the stump (remnant of physical Israel) is Christ, the Son of David, the son of Jesse (11:1). He is the branch that will bear fruit (through the church – see John 15:1-8). The Spirit of the Lord resting upon Christ is fulfilled at His baptism (v. 2 – Matt 3:16). We see counsel and might ascribed to Him (see 9:6). This answers Solomon’s question in 1 Kings 3:9 – Christ is able to govern God’s people! In light of Israel’s injustice (10:1-2) and God’s righteous justice (10:22), Isaiah points us to the One in Whom ultimate justice is done (vv. 3-5). He will not judge by outward appearances (a quality of YHWH Himself – see 1 Sam 16:7). This also goes hand in hand with the remnant language, as the true remnant is the church (see Rom 2:28). His judgment of the poor and meek is pronounced in the Beatitudes (see Matt 5:3, 5).
In verses 6-9, we are given a description of the New Heaven and New Earth, where our Prince of Peace (9:6) will restore creation to its original design. Note again the mountain imagery (v. 9 – see 2:2-3). In verse 10, we have that “in that day” repeated. The shoot (v. 1 has now become the root (see John 15:1-8 and Rom 11:17-23). All nations and people will come to Him nd His rest (v. 10). The remnant that God will draw to Himself comes from all the nations (vv. 11-12). This is spiritual Israel, not physical Israel. This is when Israel will be united once again (v. 13 – see Ezek 37:19). Verses 14-15 speak of the judgment of that day. We will plunder the nations like Israel did to Egypt at the Exodus (v. 14), which pointed to the true exodus from sin and death in that day (see the comparison in verse 16).
Chapter 12 records the song we will sing in that day. God has turned His wrath away (12:1). God is our salvation (v. 2). Note that some of these song lyrics are form Moses’s song after the Exodus from Egypt (see Ex 15). Again, Isaiah is saying that was not the true Exodus, but a type of the true exodus God will provide in Christ. In verse 3, Psalms 105, 145, and 148 are merged to sing of the fulfillment of all things. In verse 6, Zion is the church, the singular inhabitant. The “your” is also singular. In the church resides the Holy One of Israel by His Spirit. In that day, He will be with us physically, forever.