References in Isaiah to the Northern Kingdom include Israel, Jacob, Ephraim, and sometimes Manasseh. The prophecy now turns up pressure on the Northern Kingdom to repent and trust Yahweh, but finds an iron-headed unwillingness to seek godliness.
Pride again is the cause. They have refused to accept the effects of judgment (9:8-9). The cause has not changed, but they expect a different result. They arrogantly believe they can simply rebuild their nation and their way of life. Indeed, things will even be better! (9:10). Enemies, however, will come from two directions like jaws closing around them (9:11-12a). Their refusal to wake up strengthens God’s resolve (9:12b).
Israel is stubborn, but they have met their match (9:13-14). Judgment begins with leaders who should have proven honorable, and with prophets who should have declared truth (9:15-16a). Each citizen, however, stands under his or her own accountability to the Lord. He finds a nation thoroughly sold out to sin and degradation (9:16b-17a). The divine grip grows tighter (9:17b).
Stubborn rebellion is not a victimless crime. It consumes everything it touches, burning like a wildfire (9:18). The fury of its intensity can only be outmatched by the fury of God’s judgment (9:19a). Unbridled self-destruction rules the people (9:19b-20). Manasseh and Ephraim were brothers, sons of Joseph, but their descendants devour each other, while they blame Judah for their troubles (9:21a). God’s wrath has had no effect, even toward family ties. Once again, divine tenacity overmatches flagrant rebellion (9:21b).
Israel’s idea of social justice is social but not justice. Leaders again come under judgment, especially legislative and judicial leaders (10:1). By twisting justice for their own benefit, they deprive the disenfranchised of basic rights and crush the poor under their hand of oppression (10:2). Yet judgment will come and the tables will be turned (10:3). Here is a trademark of judgment in Isaiah: At the specific point at which people have denied or twisted justice, it is at that very point that judgment comes against the guilty - These leaders have denied resource and recourse to the poor, so they will be denied resource and recourse in judgment (10:4a). “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7; Galatians 6:7). They remain defiant, so “His hand is still stretched out” (Isa. 10:4b).
Dr. David Moore is a Baptist preacher in Pampa and an online instructor in Bible and theology for Taylor University and Nations University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org