Isaiah 52:3-5 this is what the LORD says: "You were
sold for nothing, and without money you will be redeemed." For this is
what the Sovereign LORD says: "At first my people went down to Egypt to
live; lately, Assyria has oppressed them. "And now what do I have here?"
declares the LORD. "For my people have been taken away for nothing, and
those who rule them mock," declares the LORD. "And all day long my name
is constantly blasphemed.
By the rhetoric God uses here it's as if he forgot that He himself led
Israel into captivity. He called upon Assyria to take them captive because
of their sinfulness, as even He acknowledged previously in Isaiah. Why
then is He offended at Israel's oppression, since He brought to upon them?
Then he also implies a similarity between the Egyptian captivity to the
Assyrian captivity. But the people had not been led into Egypt because
of their sinfulness. At least God never said so explicitly. No, rather
they went to Egypt to endure the famine - as Joseph had prophecied. It
wasn't until later that they were oppressed and that not due to some fault
in themselve. But the Assyrian captivity, far from being voluntary, was
judgement upon them because of their violating the covenant of the Law.
However, taken what Isaiah had already prophecied, I would say that
the Assyrians went too far. Mockery, for example, goes too far. It goes
beyond simple discipline. When discipline is applied it must be applied
with respect. Even children can distinguish the difference between discipline
and unjust punishment. Consider also what the law says:
Deut 25:2,3 "If the guilty man
deserves to be beaten, the judge shall make him lie down and have him flogged
in his presence with the number of lashes his crime deserves, but he
must not give him more than forty lashes. If he is flogged more than that,
your brother will be degraded in your eyes."
God punishes - but with respect. So when you must punish others, do so with respect