O Assyrian, the rod of my anger, and the staff in their hand is my indignation.…
which have swept upon the knowledge of this generation with the novelty and impetus with which the northern hosts burst across the horizon of Israel. Men today, in the course of their education, become acquainted with laws and forces which dwarf the simpler theologies of their boyhood, pretty much as the primitive beliefs of Israel dwindled before the arrogant face of Assyria. The alternative confronts them either to retain, with a narrowed and fearful heart, their old conceptions of God, or to find their enthusiasm in studying, and their duty in relating themselves to, the forces of nature alone. If this be the only alternative, there can be no doubt but that most men will take the latter course. We ought as little to wonder at men of today abandoning certain theologies and forms of religion for a downright naturalism — for the study of powers that appeal so much to the curiosity and reverence of man — as we wonder at the poor Jews of the eighth century before Christ forsaking their provincial conceptions of God as a tribal Deity for homage to this great Assyrian who handled the nations and their gods as his playthings. But is such the only alternative? Is there no higher and sovereign conception of God, in which even these natural forces may find their explanation and term? Isaiah found such a conception for his problem, and his problem was very similar to ours. Beneath his idea of God, exalted and spiritual, even the imperial Assyrian, in all his arrogance, fell subordinate and serviceable. The prophet's faith never wavered, and in the end was vindicated by history. Shall we not at least attempt his method of solution? We could not do better than by taking his factors. Isaiah got a God more powerful than Assyria, by simply exalting the old God of his nation in righteousness.
(Prof. G. A. Smith, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.