Isaiah 10:1
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression,

King James Bible
Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;

American Standard Version
Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and to the writers that write perverseness;

Douay-Rheims Bible
WOE to them that make wicked laws: and when they write, write injustice:

English Revised Version
Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and to the writers that write perverseness:

Webster's Bible Translation
Woe to them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;

Isaiah 10:1 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Strophe 2. "But the people turneth not unto Him that smiteth it, and they seek not Jehovah of hosts. Therefore Jehovah rooteth out of Israel head and tail, palm-branch and rush, in one day. Elders and highly distinguished men, this is the head; and prophets, lying teachers, this is the tail. The leaders of this people have become leaders astray, and their followers swallowed up. Therefore the Lord will not rejoice in their young men, and will have no compassion on their orphans and widows: for all together are profligate and evil-doers, and every mouth speaketh blasphemy. With all this His anger is not turned away, and His hand is stretched out still." As the first stage of the judgments has been followed by no true conversion to Jehovah the almighty judge, there comes a second. עד שׁוּב (to turn unto) denotes a thorough conversion, not stopping half-way. "The smiter of it" (hammaccēhu), or "he who smiteth it," it Jehovah (compare, on the other hand, Isaiah 10:20, where Asshur is intended). The article and suffix are used together, as in Isaiah 24:2; Proverbs 16:4 (vid., Ges. 110, 2; Caspari, Arab. Gram. 472). But there was coming now a great day of punishment (in the view of the prophet, it was already past), such as Israel experienced more than once in the Assyrian oppressions, and Judah in the Chaldean, when head and tail, or, according to another proverbial expression, palm-branch and rush, would be rooted out. We might suppose that the persons referred to were the high and low; but Isaiah 9:15 makes a different application of the first double figure, by giving it a different turn from its popular sense (compare the Arabic er-ru 'ūs w-aledhnâb equals lofty and low, in Dietrich, Abhandlung, p. 209). The opinion which has very widely prevailed since the time of Koppe, that this v. is a gloss, is no doubt a very natural one (see Hitzig, Begriff der Kritik; Ewald, Propheten, i. 57). But Isaiah's custom of supplying his own gloss is opposed to such a view; also Isaiah's composition in Isaiah 3:3 and Isaiah 30:20, and the relation in which this v. stands to Isaiah 9:16; and lastly, the singular character of the gloss itself, which is one of the strongest proofs that it contains the prophet's exposition of his own words. The chiefs of the nation were the head of the national body; and behind, like a wagging dog's tail, sat the false prophets with their flatteries of the people, loving, as Persius says, blando caudam jactare popello. The prophet drops the figure of Cippâh, the palm-branch which forms the crown of the palm, and which derives its name from the fact that it resembles the palm of the hand (instar palmae manus), and agmōn, the rush which grows in the marsh.

(Note: The noun agam is used in the Old Testament as well as in the Talmud to signify both a marshy place (see Baba mesi'a 36b, and more especially Aboda zara 38a, where giloi agmah signifies the laying bare of the marshy soil by the burning up of the reeds), and also the marsh grass (Sabbath 11a, "if all the agmim were kalams, i.e., writing reeds, or pens;" and Kiddsin 62b, where agam signifies a talk of marsh-grass or reed, a rush or bulrush, and is explained, with a reference to Isaiah 58:5, as signifying a tender, weak stalk). The noun agmon, on the other hand, signifies only the stalk of the marsh-grass, or the marsh-grass itself; and in this sense it is not found in the Talmud (see Comm on Job, at Isaiah 41:10-13). The verbal meaning upon which these names are founded is evident from the Arabic mâ āgim (magūm), "bad water" (see at Isaiah 19:10). There is no connection between this and maugil, literally a depression of the soil, in which water lodges for a long time, and which is only dried up in summer weather.)

The allusion here is to the rulers of the nation and the dregs of the people. The basest extremity were the demagogues in the shape of prophets. For it had come to this, as Isaiah 9:16 affirms, that those who promised to lead by a straight road led astray, and those who suffered themselves to be led by them were as good as already swallowed up by hell (cf., Isaiah 5:14; Isaiah 3:12). Therefore the Sovereign Ruler would not rejoice over the young men of this nation; that is to say, He would suffer them to be smitten by their enemies, without going with them to battle, and would refuse His customary compassion even towards widows and orphans, for they were all thoroughly corrupt on every side. The alienation, obliquity, and dishonesty of their heart, are indicated by the word Chânēph (from Chânaph, which has in itself the indifferent radical idea of inclination; so that in Arabic, Chanı̄f, as a synonym of ‛âdil,

(Note: This is the way in which it should be written in Comm on Job, at Isaiah 13:16; ‛adala has also the indifferent meaning of return or decision.)

has the very opposite meaning of decision in favour of what is right); the badness of their actions by מרע (in half pause for מרע

(Note: Nevertheless this reading is also met with, and according to Masora finalis, p. 52, Colossians 8, this is the correct reading (as in Proverbs 17:4, where it is doubtful whether the meaning is a friend or a malevolent person). The question is not an unimportant one, as we may see from Olshausen, 258, p. 581.)

equals מרע, maleficus); the vicious infatuation of their words by nebâlâh. This they are, and this they continue; and consequently the wrathful hand of God is stretched out over them for the infliction of fresh strokes.

Isaiah 10:1 Parallel Commentaries

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woe

Isaiah 3:11 Woe to the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.

Isaiah 5:8,11,18,20-22 Woe to them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place...

Jeremiah 22:13 Woe to him that builds his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that uses his neighbor's service without wages...

Habakkuk 2:6,9,12,15,19 Shall not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say...

Matthew 11:21 Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon...

Matthew 23:13-16,23,27,29 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves...

Matthew 26:24 The Son of man goes as it is written of him...

Luke 11:42-44,46,47,52 But woe to you, Pharisees! for you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God...

Jude 1:11 Woe to them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward...

them

1 Kings 21:13 And there came in two men, children of Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth...

Esther 3:10-13 And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it to Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews' enemy...

Psalm 58:2 Yes, in heart you work wickedness; you weigh the violence of your hands in the earth.

Psalm 94:20,21 Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with you, which frames mischief by a law...

Daniel 6:8,9 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians...

Micah 3:1-4,9-11 And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and you princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment...

Micah 6:16 For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab, and you walk in their counsels...

John 9:22 These words spoke his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already...

John 19:6 When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate said to them...

that write grievousness. or, to the writers that write grievousness

Cross References
Psalm 58:2
No, in your hearts you devise wrongs; your hands deal out violence on earth.

Psalm 94:20
Can wicked rulers be allied with you, those who frame injustice by statute?

Isaiah 3:14
The LORD will enter into judgment with the elders and princes of his people: "It is you who have devoured the vineyard, the spoil of the poor is in your houses.

Isaiah 5:23
who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right!

Isaiah 29:21
who by a word make a man out to be an offender, and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate, and with an empty plea turn aside him who is in the right.

Isaiah 59:4
No one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity.

Isaiah 59:13
transgressing, and denying the LORD, and turning back from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words.

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