Chapter ten opens with a final “verse” of the chapter nine prophecy. The arrogance of the leaders of Israel made them think they were immune from judgment, so they could do anything they wanted to anyone they wanted (Isaiah 10:1-4). “What will you do on judgment day?” was God’s question to them. “You will have no place to go.”
The next section (and others like it) causes problems for some people, because God promised to punish Assyria for attacking Israel. How could he do this, since he himself sent them to do it? (Isaiah 10:5-6) The reason is because of their attitude toward God. He explained that he would not have had to judge Assyria if they would have recognized his sovereignty, that he was using them to punish Israel. Instead, they viewed Israel as just another victory and Jehovah as just another tribal deity weaker than their own gods (Isaiah 10:7-11). In the same way that God punished Israel for their pride, he would punish Assyria for theirs as well (Isaiah 10:12-14). Using a series of instruments as illustrations (ax, saw, scepter, staff), God asked, “Does a tool really tell the hand how to use it?” Because of this, God promised that the wealth of Assyria would be demolished and their glory diminished (Isaiah 10:15-19).
Whereas Assyria would be destroyed, Israel will one day be restored (Isaiah 10:20-23). There are two keys to this restoration. First, it will take place when they repent and return to Jehovah (Matthew 23:39). Second, only a remnant will return to the land. The rest will be destroyed. Because of the certainty of their punishment and restoration, God told them to not be afraid, because Assyria would be cut down like a great tree (Isaiah 10:24-34).