Isaiah: Chapter 10 | The Wolfe Notes

Welcome, Family! We're spending 2024 with the prophet Isaiah. While we claim no expertise, we're excited to sit with you as we both learn at the feet of Jesus. Each month, we offer a calendar that outlines daily exercises (adapted from Jenn Wilkin's Women of the Word Bible study process) to progress through Isaiah. Download February's calendar to begin with us and witness what we uncovered in our weekly "Wolfe Note" postings.

A man leans against a tree in an otherwise empty field. Text overlay quotes Isaiah 10:20.


  1. Different Versions Noting and clarifying differences between ESV & EASY.
  2. Annotation My thoughts, connections, clarifications, and questions.
  3. Research on injustice and oppression.
  4. Summary An approximately twenty word overview of the chapter.
  5. Memorize Why I chose to memorize Isaiah 10:20.
  6. Cross References Of Isaiah 10:20.
  7. Respond Based on reflections on God's character and my own.

Different Versions

I read Chapter 10 in the English Standard Version (ESV) and the EasyEnglish Bible (EASY). The ESV is a word-for-word translation and the EASY is a thought-for-thought translation.

Major differences I noticed (*My thoughts alone are in italics and designated with an asterisk.):
  • "his thorns and briers" ESV vs. "Assyria's soldiers will be like weeds and thorn bushes" EASY. Isaiah 10:17. *EASY adds clarification here by defining 'his' as the Assyrian soldiers. Other versions add Assyria (and king) clarification. Only the EASY likens the thorns and briers to the soldiers. Ellicott notes it is the Assyrian soldiers and uses these scriptures to equate wickedness with thorns and briers (Isaiah 9:18, 2 Samuel 23:6 & Ezekiel 2:6)
  • "will lop the boughs with terrifying power" ESV vs. "is ready to use his great power to destroy Assyria's strong army" EASY. Isaiah 10:33. *Again, EASY provides the subject where as there is no subject present in the ESV. The NLT also clarifies by adding Assyria. Ellicott notes it's a fitting end to the boasts of the Assyrians. As if God is saying "So far shall you go and no farther." He draws his line in the forest and prepares to show the "mighty cedars of Lebanon" how much more mighty is the "Mighty One of Israel".


Notes on my process*Denotes my thoughts alone. ! Denotes a connection. Researched quick answers are in italics. *Indicates a topic with more extensive notes under the research heading.
  1. Warning to Israel Leaders (10:1-4)
    1. Be warned, you who make evil laws and spread oppressive thoughts.
    2. You refuse to do what is right for those who rely on you. You take advantage of the lonely. You target the unprotected. 
      1. ! Isaiah 1:16-17 KJV: Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
    3. Punishment will come to you and you won't know what to do. You will have no one to help you and no safe place to store your treasures.
    4. Your only choices: hide with the prisoners or die.
  2. About the King of Assyria (10:5-11)
    1. Assyria is the tool of my anger. What you suffer through Assyria is an expression of my fury. 
    2. I command Assyria to take away what is precious to you to humble you. 
    3. The King of Assyria, however, thinks he acts of his own power and is bent on destroying as many nations as he can.
    4. He brags about his powerful army and that everyplace is just like any other place.
      1. ? Are Calno, Carchemish, Hamath, Arpad, Samaria, and Damascus all places?
    5. Jerusalem and its God, he thinks, will be as easily wiped out as every other place.
      1. ! But God says, "I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10
  3. Warning to the King of Assyria (10:12-19)
    1. But, when God finishes disciplining Jerusalem, he will turn on the king of Assyria.
    2. The Assyrian king arrogantly boasts in his own power, wisdom, and understanding that have destroyed kingdoms, plundered treasures, and cast down leaders.
    3. His victories were easy for him! Like taking candy from a baby (or eggs from an unwatched nest). 
    4. He boasts that the whole earth is his because there is none to act, speak out, or even whisper against him.
    5. But God wonders how a tool can think itself better than its operator. How can it determine the way it will be used?
    6. Because the king of Assyria thought he wielded complete control, God will weaken his warriors.
    7. A holy fire will consume all the unholy works (?) in one day.
      1. ? Is the "holy fire" the Holy Spirit?
      2. ? Are the thorns and briers representative of unholiness, as when Adam, by the sweat of his brow, would have to toil the earth with thorns and briers (Genesis 3:18)? 
    8. Everything the Assyrian king prided will be destroyed, including his spirit and health.
    9. Very little will remain.
  4. Promise to the Remnant (10:20-27)
    1. After Assyria is pruned, the remnant trusts God. 
      1. ? Who is the "house of Jacob" and how is it different than the "remnant of Israel"?
      2. ? What is the Jacob covenant? Spurgeon notes the ladders to heaven with angels ascending and descending with the covenant God - the Mighty God of Jacob -standing at the top (Morning and Evening).
    2. God keeps His promises.
    3. My people: don't fear! My fury will soon  end then my anger will turn to their destruction. 
      1. Does Zion represent spiritual Jerusalem?
      2. ! Soon! There's that word again. The Chosen reference, bout 36 minutes into Season 2: Episode 2 "I Saw You".
    4. As I've protected, defended, and brought justice to you before. I will do it again. 
      1. ? Can the Assyrian king be connected to Satan?
      2. ? What happened in Midian at the rock of Oreb and why does Isaiah keep referencing it?
    5. This earthly king's burden upon you will be lifted.
      1. ! "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:29-30
  5. Assyria is Coming! (10:28-34)
    1. The king of Assyria comes.
      1. ? What are these places? Is it the King of Assyria progressively coming closer?
    2. But behold God as He stops them in their tracks.
      1. *The overall message of this chapter: "You think you're powerful, but I'll show you you're not."


*Thoughts that are mine alone are marked with an asterisk and italicized.
What iniquitous decrees and oppressive writing are being referenced in Isaiah 10:1?

From Bible Hub commentaries:

  • Continuation of Isaiah 9:8-21. Outlines the sins and discipline of Israel. An example of reaping what they had sown.
    • Sin of pride and arrogance disciplined by the devouring of Israel by the Syrians and Philistines (Isaiah 9:8-12
    • Sin of following someone other than God disciplined by God's silence - no rejoicing, no compassion. (Isaiah 9:13-17)
    • Sin of greed disciplined by turning them upon each other. (Isaiah 9:18-21)
    • Sin of injustice disciplined by losing all their gain by imprisonment or death. (Isaiah 10:1-4)
  • The iniquitous decrees and oppressive writing. 
    • Were "perversion[s] of judgment from the judgment seat." - Pulpit *How many of us (all of humanity, if we're honest) are guilty of this today? Thinking we have the right to judge what is fair. After all, we did eat from the tree.
    • Judges and rulers denied or refused to hear the causes of their subjects and when they heard, judged unfairly. -Benson
*Conclusions: Here, God speaks directly to those in authority and how they are flexing their power in direct opposition to God's definition of justice. It's still applicable to us today. We don't define what is just; He does. We are called to walk justly: to make decisions that fall in alignment with His will for us.


God will use Assyria to judge the injustice of the Israelites. Then, will turn on Assyria because of their pride.


I chose to memorize Isaiah 10:20:
In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them but will lean on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.

...because it reminds me to always think about where my help comes from. To not put my faith in anything that isn't from God, because only God is truth.

Cross References

*Thoughts that are mine alone are marked with an asterisk and italicized.

To Isaiah 10:20

In that day...

*When God finishes His gardening work.

  • John 15:1-2 ESV: "I [Jesus] am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit."
  • Isaiah 5:1-2 ESV: Let me [Isaiah] sing for my beloved [God] my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he build a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.
  • Isaiah 1:9 ESV: If the Lord of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we should have been like Sodom, and become like Gomorrah.
...the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob...

*What is not taken away, removed, or cut off.

    • John 15:1-2 ESV: "I [Jesus] am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit."
    • Isaiah 6:13 ESV: "And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned [or purged] again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled." The holy seed [or offspring] is its stump. (Holy seed here meaning the remnant of Israelites and later Jesus.)
    • Isaiah 4:2 ESV: In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel.
    ...will no more lean on him who struck them...

    *Will reject lies and deception.

    •  Isaiah 2:22 EASY: Do not trust people to help you. They are weak and they will all die one day. They are not strong enough to help you.
    • Isaiah 8:11 ERV: The LORD spoke to me with his great power and warned me not to be like these people.  
    • Hosea 5:13 ERV: Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, so they went to Assyria for help. They told their problems to the great king, but he cannot heal you or cure your wound.
    ...but will lean on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel...

    *And fix their eyes upon Jesus.

    •  Isaiah 17:7 ERV: Then the people will look up to the one who made them. Their eyes will see the Holy One  of Israel.
    • 2 Chronicles 14:11 ERV: Asa called out to the Lord his God and said, "Lord, only you can help weak people against those who are strong! Help us, LORD our God! We depend on you. We fight against this large army in your name. LORD, you are our God. Don't let anyone defeat you!"
    • Isaiah 26:3-4 ERV: God, you give true peace to people who depend on you, to those who trust in you. So trust the LORD always, because in the LORD YAH you have a place of safety forever.
    • "We all need somebody to lean on" (Lyric from "Lean on Me" by Bill Withers) *And no one better to lean on than Jesus. truth.

    *In wholeness of heart, not just motions.

    • Isaiah 1:12-13 ESV "When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations. I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly."
    • Isaiah 48:1 ESV: "Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and who came from the waters of Judah, who swear by the name of the LORD and confess the God of Israel, but not in truth or right.
    • John 4:24 ESV: God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
    • "I will offer up my life in spirit and truth pouring out the oil of love as my offering to you." (Lyrics from "I Will Offer Up My Life" by Matt Redman)
    *Conclusions: God never stops working to get us to for our good. He longs for us to see the truth of who He is, to reject deceptions, and worship Him in spirit and truth. 



    1. God is just. I am not. Though I think I know what is fair, only God is truly qualified to make that judgment. I must hand judgment back to Him and willingly do what He tells me to do.
    2. God is in control. I am not. I must surrender any power I think I have back to Him and trust His ways even when I don't understand them.
    3. God's desire is for me. My desire is for Him. Whenever I feel like something is missing, I must start and end with Him. He is the rock I can lean on, the gardener who cultivates, protects, and nourishes me. The lover of my soul.

    In Closing

    God, what you really want is me - all of me. To trust completely in You, no matter the circumstance or the decision I'm facing. Here's my life Lord, in spirit and truth, I'm leaning on You.

    Learning with You,

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