Isaiah 10 (2 Nephi 20) — Isaiah Calls the Nation Out for Neglecting the Poor

Join me in a study of Isaiah 10 as the prophet calls out wicked leaders and the rich for neglecting the poor and needy

1883
Search Isaiah - Isaiah Calls Out Leaders and Rich for Neglect of Poor in Chapter 10 / 2 Nephi 20
Click here to read the Isaiah Chapters in the Book of Mormon

Being the prophet of social justice himself, in Isaiah 10 the prophet calls out wicked leaders and the rich who neglect the poor and needy among them. During his lifetime, Isaiah watched as both the kingdoms of Israel and Judah became increasingly worldly through trade and commerce. The wealthy “urban upper classes…increased taxes, land expropriations, and social inequities [on] the lower classes and rural dwellers. Idolatry and wickedness permeated all social levels. Thus, wealth, social injustices, immorality, and growing pagan worship came to characterize both”1 Judah and the Northern Kingdom of Israel, who had become the worse of the two.

Isaiah makes this chapter an extension of the last [Isaiah Chapter 9 (2 Nephi 19)], where he warned both kingdoms of pride among the wealthy, wicked leaders, and their wholesale turning from God. Isaiah issues another warning about “unrighteous decrees,” dire writings that turn away “the needy from judgment,” and rob “the right from the poor,” for which, God promises severe consequences. He also prophesies that God will use the Assyrian army to punish them, but even though Assyria will take every city in Israel and Judah, they will only terrify Jerusalem as Jehovah will defend it. Then following the destruction by Assyria, God will turn on it, wiping it out too. “The destruction of Israel and Assyria is a type showing the destruction of the wicked in any age; its prophesied parallel applies even for the latter days.”2

 THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET
ISAIAH

CHAPTER 10

The destruction of Assyria is a type of the destruction of the wicked at the Second Coming—Few people will be left after the Lord comes again—The remnant of Jacob will return in that day—Compare 2 Nephi 20.

 King James Version

Book of Mormon
2 Nephi 20

Expanded Notes and Commentary

 Joseph Smith Translation (JST) corrections in the Book of Mormon are in RED; commentary and notes are GREEN 

aWoe unto them that decree bunrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;

aWo unto them that decree bunrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;

The word woe means intense sorrow and suffering.Old Testament Study Guide (OTSG)

 

To turn aside the needy from ajudgment, and to take away the right from the bpoor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!

2 To turn away the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the apoor of my people, that bwidows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!

The Israelites unashamedly hardened their hearts against the poor and helpless, blatantly disobeying the Lord’s command.Victor LudlowUnlocking Isaiah in the Book of Mormon. Deseret Book, p 146
These verses refer to wicked leaders in society creating unrighteous and unjust laws that oppressed the poor, the needy, the widows, and the fatherless.(OTSG)

And what will ye do in the day of avisitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?

 And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory? In Isaiah 10:3–4 we learn that because the leaders and people of Israel had turned away from the Lord through their wickedness, they would be punished and not have the Lord’s help. (OTSG)
Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. This is the fifth of five times (Isa 5:25; 9:12; 9:17; 9:21; 10:4) that Isaiah uses this phrase: “but his hand is stretched out still.“—Madsen and Hokin, Opening Isaiah—a Harmony, p 38
¶ aAssyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.  O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is atheir indignation.

Assyria has been a tool of judgment in the Lord’s hands.—Madsen and Hokin, Opening Isaiah—a Harmony, p 38

6 I will send him against an ahypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
I will send him aagainst hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. aIE against Israel.
In other words, “I sent Assyria against Israel.—Madsen and Hokin, Opening Isaiah—a Harmony, p 38
Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither adoth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few. Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but in his heart it is to destroy and cut off nations not a few. Assyria, however, failed to recognize God’s hand in their rise to power but rather boasted in their own strength— Terry Ball and Nathan Winn, Making Sense of Isaiah, Deseret Bookshelf
 For he saith, Are not my princes altogether kings? For he saith: Are not my aprinces altogether kings? The leaders in the Assyrian armies commanded more men than the kings of the small city-states they conquered.—Madsen and Hokin, Opening Isaiah—a Harmony, p 38
Is not Calno as Carchemish? is not Hamath as Arpad? is not Samaria as Damascus? Is not aCalno as bCarchemish? Is not Hamath as Arpad? Is not Samaria as cDamascus? Assyria’s conquests are listed north to south, ending at the border of Judah. Carchemish (falls 717 BC) is on a bend of the Euphrates (continued below).
350 miles north of Jerusalem; Calneh/Calno (falls 738 BC) is about 50 miles southwest of Carchemish; Arpad (falls 740 BC) is just south of Calneh/Calno; Hamath (falls 738 BC and again on 720 BC) is on the Orontes River and about 100 miles south of Arpad and 100 miles north of Damascus; Damascus is the capital of Syria and is 100 miles northeast of Israel; Samaria (falls ca. 722 BC) is the capital of Israel and is just to the north of Judah. See Map Isaiah 10:9 below—Madsen and Hokin, Opening Isaiah—a Harmony, p 38—Madsen and Hokin, Opening Isaiah—a Harmony, p 40
10 As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria; 10 As amy hand hath founded the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria; The king [of Assyria] boasts about all the cities his forces have conquered so far. Each city had idols of gods that were supposed to protect them, but all were overcome and rendered powerless.Victor LudlowUnlocking Isaiah in the Book of Mormon. Deseret Book, p 159
11 Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols? 11 Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her aidols, so do to Jerusalem and to her idols? The king believes that since Israelite Samaria and her idols had recently fallen, the Judean city of Jerusalem and the God of the Jews would fall as well.—Ludlow,  ibid.
 12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will apunish bthe fruit of the stout heart of the king of cAssyria, and the glory of his high looks. 12 Wherefore it shall come to pass that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon Mount Zion and upon Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of aAssyria, and the glory of his high looks. Isaiah prophesied that after the Assyrians had fulfilled the Lord’s purposes in punishing the Northern Kingdom of Israel, the Lord would destroy the Assyrians also because of their pride and wickedness. This destruction is symbolic of the destruction the proud and wicked will experience at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. —(OTSG)
13 For he saith, By the astrength of my hand I have done it,and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man: 13 For ahe saith: By the strength of bmy hand and by my wisdom I have done these things; for I am prudent; and I have moved the borders of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man; In their conceit and pride, the Assyrians had fallen into a trap that has snared humankind in every age and estranged them from their Maker. They failed to see the influence of God i… and thus arrogantly concluded that everything they accomplished was done by their own power and genius.—Terry Ball and Nathan Winn, Making Sense of Isaiah, Deseret Bookshelf
14 And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped. 14 And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people; and as one gathereth eggs that are left have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped. The eggs in the nest represent Israel’s riches (10:13). The fact that Israel was not able to move her wings or to make a peep signifies that she, like a little chick, was helpless before Assyria’s ravenous armies. —Parry, Donald W., Understanding IsaiahDeseret Book Company, (Also see 3 Ne. 10:4–6; D&C 10:65; 29:1–2).

Note: Isaiah next uses some very fascinating imagery in describing the absurdity of the king of Assyria’s taking credit to himself for his “amazing” accomplishments. There is an important message in this for all of us who might at times take or accept credit for accomplishments in the work of the Lord. 

As you read verse 15 [below], you might even find it a bit humorous.
15 Shall the ax (king of Assyria) boast itself against him (the Lord) that heweth (chops) therewith (shall the ax brag that it is doing all the work by itself)? Shall the saw magnify itself against (German Bible: defy) him that shaketh it (uses it)? As if the rod (wooden club) should shake itself against them that lift it up (as if a wooden club should suddenly turn to the man who is swinging it and say, “Let go of me. I can do it myself!”), or as if the staff should lift up itself as if it were no wood (as if the staff were not simply a piece of wood)!—Ridges, David J., The Book of Mormon Made Easier, Part 1 (The Gospel Studies Series) (p. 285). Cedar Fort, Inc. Kindle Edition.

15 aShall the axe bboast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that cshaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood. 15 Shall the aax boast itself against him that heweth therewith? Shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? As if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself as if it were no wood! In their conceit and pride, the Assyrians had fallen into a trap that has snared humankind in every age and estranged them from their Maker. They failed to see the influence of God in their lives. They did not seek the will of the Lord and thus could not comprehend it. They did not understand their role in God’s eternal plans and thus arrogantly concluded that everything they accomplished was done by their own power and genius. — Terry Ball and Nathan Winn, Making Sense of Isaiah, Deseret Bookshelf
16 Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his afat ones leanness; and under bhis glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire. 16 Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of Hosts, send among his fat ones, leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire. Condemning them for their pride and arrogance, the Lord warns that ultimately Assyria will be decimated— Terry Ball and Nathan Winn, Making Sense of Isaiah, Deseret Bookshelf
x
17 And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his athorns and his briers in one day; 17 And the light of Israel shall be for a afire, and his Holy One for a flame, and shall burn and shall devour his thorns and his briers in one day; These names for the God of Israel are appropriate in this context because it is Jehovah’s light and glory that consumed ancient Assyria and will consume the wicked at his coming.—Parry, Donald W., Understanding IsaiahDeseret Book Company. Kindle Edition 
18 And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both asoul and body: and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth. 18 And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body; and they shall be as when a standard-bearer fainteth. The prophecy of destruction upon Assyria, given in verse 17, above, happened suddenly. 185,000 Assyrians died of devastating sickness in one night as they prepared to attack Jerusalem; see 2 Kings 19:35–37. The prophecy is continued with additional repetition in verses 18 and 19.—Ridges, David J.. The Book of Mormon Made Easier, Part 1 (The Gospel Studies Series) (p. 286). Cedar Fort, Inc. Kindle Edition.
19 And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them. 19 And the arest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them. So few Assyrians will remain that a small child could count them with his limited counting ability.—Ridges, David J., The Book of Mormon Made Easier, Part 1 (The Gospel Studies Series) (p. 286). Cedar Fort, Inc. Kindle Edition.
20 ¶ And it shall come to pass in athat daythat the remnant of Israel, and such as are bescaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again cstay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. 20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the ahouse of Jacob, shall no more again bstay upon him that smote them, but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The Lord picks up the ax and levels the Assyrians. The forests of Lebanon are used by Isaiah as a type for the proud and haughty, as described by Ezekiel: “Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs” (Ezekiel 31:3).—Bytheway, John. Isaiah For AirheadsDeseret Book Company. Kindle Edition.
21 The aremnant shall
breturneven the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.
21 The aremnant shall return, yea, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. The Lord then assures that a righteous remnant of Israel will survive the onslaught of Assyria— Terry Ball and Nathan Winn, Making Sense of Isaiah, Deseret Bookshelf
22 For though thy people Israel be as the  asand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall breturn:  cthe
dconsumption edecreed shall overflow with righteousness.

22 For though thy people aIsrael be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall breturn; the cconsumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.

The task of the surviving remnant will, of course, be to accomplish the work of the Abrahamic covenant, to see to the work of converting the nations to peace and to the worship of the true God.—Spencer, Joseph M., The Vision of All: Twenty-five Lectures on Isaiah in Nephi’s Record, Greg Kofford Books. Kindle Edition.
23 For the Lord God of hosts shall amake a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.

23 For the Lord God of Hosts shall make a aconsumption, even determined in all the land.

At end of the world…the glory of the Savior will consume the wicked at the Second Coming; see Doctrine & Covenants 5:19; 2 Nephi 12:10. — Ridges, David J., The Book of Mormon Made Easier, Part 1 (The Gospel Studies Series), Cedar Fort, Inc. Kindle Edition.
24 ¶ Therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall asmite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of bEgypt.

24 Therefore, thus saith the Lord God of Hosts: O my people that dwellest in Zion, abe not afraid of the Assyrian; he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the bmanner of Egypt.

Those who stay committed to the Lord need not fear the Assyrians or any other oppressors, ancient or modern. …Yes, there will be times of trial, but the righteous will endure and be preserved. Though in the last days the Saints of Zion will suffer persecution, the Lord’s compensatory blessings are found in Zion, wherein we learn of and receive the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. To dwell in Zion is to enjoy a pure life. To be pure is to “stay upon the Lord in truth.”—Christensen, Reg. Unlocking Isaiah, Covenant Communications Inc., Kindle Edition.
25 For yet a very little awhile, and the bindignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction.

25 For yet a very little while, and the aindignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction.

The plea is for the Israelites to rely upon the Lord. While they may have trials and tribulations, these will be short-lived and the promised blessings of Israel will be restored.—Nyman, Monte S., Great are the Words of Isaiah, Cedar Fort, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
26 And the Lord of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of aMidian at the rock of bOreb: and as his crod was upon the sea, so shall he lift it up after the manner of dEgypt.  26 And the Lord of Hosts shall astir up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of bMidian at the rock of Oreb; and as his rod was upon the sea so shall he lift it up after the manner of cEgypt. [The Rock of Oreb, Judges 7:23–25, is] where Gideon and his 300 miraculously defeated the overwhelming armies of the Midianites; His power came upon the Red Sea to drown the Egyptian armies…God will stop Assyria like he did the Egyptians when they pursued the Children of Israel.—Ridges, David J., The Book of Mormon Made Easier, Part 1 (The Gospel Studies Series)(p. 287). Cedar Fort, Inc. Kindle Edition. 

27 And it shall come to pass in that day, that his aburden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the byoke shall be destroyed because of the canointing.

 27 And it shall come to pass in that day that his aburdenshall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the banointing. This may refer to the Messiah (Hebrew “anointed one”), who was anointed with olive oil and the Holy Ghost (Acts 10:38). In addition, 10:26–27 contains symbols that represent Jesus the Messiah, including rock, rod, and the removal of the yoke and burden (Matt. 11:28–29).—Parry, Donald W., Understanding Isaiah Deseret Book Company, Kindle Edition.
28 aHe is come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron; at Michmash he hath laid up his carriages:  28 aHe is come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron; at Michmash he hath laid up his carriages. aThe Assyrian invasion forces introduced in v. 5 progress toward Jerusalem.
Isaiah foretells how the Assyrian armies will gobble up city after city and will come right up to the gates of Jerusalem, and then will be stopped in their tracks by the Lord. What remains of their army will then go home. Isaiah speaks of the future as if it has already happened. He is a master at building dramatic tension. —Ridges, David J.. The Old Testament Made Easier Part 3 (Kindle Locations 1951-1955). Cedar Fort, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

29 They are gone over the passage: they have taken up their lodging at Geba; Ramah is afraid; Gibeah of Saul is fled.

 29 They are gone over the apassage; they have taken up their lodging at bGeba; Ramath is afraid; cGibeah of Saul is fled. The Assyrians are renowned for their brutality in warfare. They tortured their captives. Their armies were seemingly invincible!—Gerald N. Lund, “Making the Scriptures Live: Levels of Effective Scripture Teaching” audiocassette, Side A
30 Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim: cause it to be heard unto Laish, O poor Anathoth. 30 Lift up the voice, O daughter of aGallim; cause it to be heard unto Laish, O poor bAnathoth. In verses 28–32, Isaiah described as if standing on the wall of Jerusalem, the progress of the Assyrian army toward Jerusalem, featuring in Hebrew a superb example of alliteration. …This idealized sequential conquest narrative apparently symbolizes also the future siege called Armageddon (see Isaiah 40:1–2; 51:19–20; Ezekiel 38–39).—Ogden, D. Kelly. Verse by Verse, Old Testament: Volume Two, Deseret Book Company. Kindle Edition.
31 Madmenah is removed; the inhabitants of Gebim gather themselves to flee.  31 Madmenah is removed; the inhabitants of Gebim gather themselves to flee. Another Assyrian unit apparently marched against Jerusalem via the province of Samaria, conquering a series of towns as it passed through the district of Benjamin —Aharoni, Land of the Bible, p 339
32 As yet shall he remain at Nob that day: he shall shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.  32 As yet shall he remain at aNob that day; he shall shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem. With a map, (see above], it teaches a powerful lesson. The armies reach all the way to Nob, and “shake their hands” at those on the hill of Jerusalem.—Bytheway, John. Isaiah For AirheadsDeseret Book Company. Kindle Edition. 
33 Behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, shall lop the bough with aterror: and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the bhaughty shall be humbled.  33 Behold, the Lord, the Lord of Hosts shall lop the bough with terror; and the ahigh ones of stature shall be bhewndown; and the chaughty shall be humbled. Those who refuse the beckoning hand of the Lord and who persist in their lustful greed will be pruned away: “Behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror: and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled. And he shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one” (Isa. 10:33–34).—Christensen, Reg. Unlocking Isaiah, Covenant Communications Inc., Kindle Edition.
34 And he shall cut down the athickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall bby a mighty one. 34 And he shall cut down the thickets of the forests with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one. Historically this was fulfilled as leaders of Assyria were lopped off and hewn down, but the figure is also future (see Zechariah 14:2; Revelation 11). The Lord of hosts will do the cutting down in both eras.—Ogden, D. Kelly. Verse by Verse, Old Testament: Volume Two, Deseret Book Company. Kindle Edition.

Footnotes

1Victor LudlowIsaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet, Deseret Book, (1982), pp.19-25
2 Old Testament Student ManualChapters of Isaiah Quoted in the Book of Mormon

Don't Miss a Post!

Stay up to date with the latest news, fulfilled prophecies, and study tips

You have Successfully Subscribed!

SHARE
I am a retiree from Scouting. There I blogged for VoiceOfScouting.org, a site with more than 250,000 readers. During 42 years in the workplace, I've had many years senior level management with the BSA, professional associations, and high tech user groups. My background includes capital fundraising; outdoor adventure program development; property and construction management; event/conference planning; risk management and safety; lobbying federal, state and local government agencies; public relations; strategic planning; member advocacy and staff/volunteer training. Along the way, I have also taught Gospel Doctrine Classes and been both the ward and stake Sunday School President. In these settings, I have seen teachers and class members minimize Isaiah, a book Christ has commanded us to "search diligently." (3 Ne 23:1) With that in mind, I will do my best to explore and post my discoveries about the book of Isaiah. I am not a Bible scholar; like you, I read Isaiah in the Old Testament cycle of study in LDS Gospel Doctrine Classes and again in the Book of Mormon Cycle, so this is a whole new scripture adventure for me.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here