The Coming King of Assyria Is 7:17-25 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
To punish Judah for its sins against the Lord, the king of Assyria comes to destroy them. When he comes in the days of Hezekiah, the Lord delivers Judah, but when he returns in the Tribulation, Israel will be nearly annihilated before Jesus returns to save them. Notice the prophetic details:
He is sent by the Lord – v.17 – the Lord warned Israel that he would send an enemy against them if they turned away from him [Deut 28:48-51] – he specifically prophesied that he would send the king of Assyria [Is 10:5-6] – his coming is worse than anything that Judah had experienced since the dividing of Israel into two kingdoms [2 Ki 18-19]. Assyria is the country that previously overthrew Ephraim [the ten northern tribes, 2 Ki 17]. This prophecy is given to “thee” [Ahaz], “thy people” [Judah], and to “thy father’s house” [the royal seed].
He comes with Egypt – v.18 – like 2 Ki 23:31-35 – Egypt is the “fly” and Assyria is the “bee” and they come in like a plague [Ex 8:24; Deut 1:44].
They cover the entire country – v.19 – like flies and bees, they will rest in desolate valleys and holes of the rocks, and upon thorns and briers – they’ll be everywhere.
They come armed – v.24a – they come with bows and arrows which are sophisticated artillery and they are highly skilled in the use of these weapons – in the 1500’s, Englishmen could shoot a target the size of a pigeon at 100 yards, 20 times in a row – their bows were deadly at 300 yards, though certainly not as accurate at that distance.
They destroy many in Judah – v.20 – they shave the head, feet and beard which makes sense when you read Ezek 5:1-8; 12-17.
Those who escape survive on butter and honey – v.21-22 – these are the ones “left in the land” who flee to safety [Matt 24:16] – each one has just three animals but he can survive on the butter [and buttermilk] they give and the honey they can find – John the Baptist pictures this group at the time of Christ’s first coming – he survived in the wilderness on locusts and wild honey [Mk 1:6].
The land becomes desolate with thorns and briers – v.23, 24b – they come up as a result of the land lying dormant and being neglected – Gen 3:17-18.
And cattle consume anything cultivated – v.25 – a “mattock” is similar to a pick axe – the land on the hills that is cultivated is not infested with thorns and briers – rather it is eaten and tread down by cattle [Is 27:10; Is 5:5].