Isaiah 3 - Outline of Isaiah (Book Notes menu page)
This chapter is a continuation of chapter 2.
The thought follows directly from Isa 2:22.
1. For, behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, doth take away
from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff,
the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water,
2 The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge,
and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient,
3 The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor,
and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.
the LORD... doth take away from...- Note again, that the message applies to Jerusalem and Judah.
the stay and staff... of bread... of water...-
The words 'stay' and 'staff' refer to the things which 'support' or 'sustain' life. During the siege of Jerusalem, these essentials would be in very short supply. eg., Eze 4:16,17
the mighty man... the prudent... etc.-
Those who were trusting in man would soon be disappointed, because through death or deportation, the nation would lose the political, religious, military and economic leaders, in whom they trusted.
     This was clearly fulfilled, when, about nine years before the destruction of Jerusalem, the Babylonians took away king Jehoiakim and other leaders, 2Chr 36:5-7 (Daniel was among the captives, Dan 1:1-3). A few months later, king Jehoiachin and many other leaders were taken, 2King 24:11-16 (Ezekiel was among the captives, Eze 1:1,2). (Also, about eleven years prior to Jehoiakim's captivity to Babylon, king Jehoahaz had been taken captive to Egypt (2Kin 23:31-34.) All of these kings were wicked men, who had not followed the ways of the few godly kings who had preceded them (such as Hezekiah and Josiah). While ungodly men held positions of power, the nation lacked the type of leadership which was sorely needed.
4 And I will give children [to be] their princes,
and babes shall rule over them.
5 And the people shall be oppressed,
every one by another, and every one by his neighbour:
the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient,
and the base against the honourable.
{cp. 2Tim 3:1-5}
6 When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father,
[saying], Thou hast clothing,
be thou our ruler, and [let] this ruin [be] under thy hand:
7 In that day shall he swear, saying, I will not be an healer;
for in my house [is] neither bread nor clothing:
make me not a ruler of the people.
children... babes shall rule over them-
In place of wise leaders, who would be taken away, new leaders would arise who would be childish, lacking wisdom, and behaving selfishly, and without respect to their elders (v.5). cp. Ecc 10:16,17; 2Chr 33:1-9 (eg., the wickedness of Manasseh, the son of good king Hezekiah)
thou hast clothing... be our ruler.-
The people seek leaders without meaningful qualifications.
As the city would fall into poverty, anyone whose clothing was in relatively decent condition would be regarded as a candidate for leadership. But recognizing (1) the inadequacy of his resources to fulfill the duties of the office, and (2) also the hopeless condition of the city, such a man would decline the position.
let this ruin be under thy hand.- ie., 'take charge to repair this mess.'
I will not be an healer {ie., one who binds up the wound}.-
8 For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen:
because their tongue and their doings [are] against the LORD,
to provoke the eyes of his glory.
This is a key verse in this message. It declares the reason for the decline of Judah.
It is also the reason for the decline of any nation, that turns from the light of God's Word.
cp. Psa 33:12 (re: Israel); Psa 144:15 (re: any people); Heb 3:12; Php 3:18,19
9. The shew of their countenance doth witness against them;
and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide [it] not.
Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.
they declare their sin... they hide it not...-
Shameful things, once done in secret, are now done in the open. There is no shame because the people have no regard for the LORD and His Word. Psa 36:1; Rom 1:32
they have rewarded evil {HB=ra, hurt, misery} unto themselves.- Rom 3:15-18
10 Say ye to the righteous, that [it shall be] well [with him]:
for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
11 Woe unto the wicked! [it shall be] ill [with him]:
for the reward of his hands shall be given him.
to the righteous... it shall be well.-
Here is a word of comfort: God's own people will be delivered. 2Pet 2:9
Woe unto the wicked... the reward of his hands shall be given him.- cp. Gal 6:7,8
12 [As for] my people,
children [are] their oppressors, and women rule over them.
O my people, they which lead thee cause [thee] to err,
and destroy the way of thy paths.
13 The LORD standeth up to plead,
and standeth to judge the people.
14 The LORD will enter into judgment
with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof:
for ye have eaten up the vineyard;
{cp. Isa 5:7}
the spoil of the poor [is] in your houses.
15 What mean ye [that] ye beat my people to pieces,
and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord GOD of hosts.
women rule over them...- This is not a statement concerning the place of the woman.
Rather it speaks of the quality of the male leadership (v.14). They are like women, in that they are too soft and weak to stand against the enemies (including the oppressing children) and to stand for the old paths. cp. Nah 3:13; Jer 6:16; Psa 23:3
the ancients... the princes...(see v.2,3) beat my people to pieces...-
Those who had the responsibility to protect and guide the nation, were protecting their own interests at the expense of the citizens (v.14b), and causing great damage to God's people (v.15). cp. Mic 2:1,2; 6:10-12
     But the people, being sinful, were complicit in their leader's crimes. Jer 5:31
16. Moreover the LORD saith,
Because the daughters of Zion are haughty,
and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes,
walking and mincing [as] they go,
and making a tinkling with their feet:
17 Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab
the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion,
and the LORD will discover their secret parts.
the daughters... are haughty...-
In scripture, daughters are often described as tender, delicate, and fair (eg., Jer 6:2). Yet, even 'innocent' young ladies are not sinless. The Lord faults the women for fleshly obstinance and obsession with external ornamentation.
wanton {ie., deceiving, flirty} eyes, walking and mincing {ie., short skipping steps}...-
As they walked, they drew attention to themselves, by the sound of their trinkets (some worn on the ankles). They displayed their bodies with overt seductive sensuality. But the LORD was not pleased with what He saw in their hearts (cf. 1Pet 3:1-4).
the Lord will smite with a scab... discover their secret parts.-
The Lord would reward their careless wantoness with the effects of venereal disease and the nakedness of slaves in captivity. cp. Isa 47:2,3; Eze 16:36,37
18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of
[their] tinkling ornaments [about their feet],
and [their] cauls
{ie., hair bands},
and [their] round tires like the moon
{ie., gawdy ornaments},
19 The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers
{ie., face veils},
20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs,
and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,
21 The rings, and nose jewels,
22 The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles
{ie., blouses},
and the wimples
{ie., jackets, vests (in Ruth 3:15 'veil')},
and the crisping pins
{ie., purses (in 2Kin 5:23 'bags')},
23 The glasses
{ie., mirrors}, and the fine linen,
and the hoods, and the vails
{ie., shawls (in Song 5:7 'veil')}.
24 And it shall come to pass, [that] instead of sweet smell there shall be stink;
and instead of a girdle
{ie., a surrounding band of fabric} a rent {ie., a torn garment};
and instead of well set hair baldness;
and instead of a stomacher
{ie., an expensive robe} a girding of sackcloth;
[and] burning
{ie., branding (as a slave)} instead of beauty.
25 Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.
26 And her gates shall lament and mourn;
and she [being] desolate shall sit upon the ground.
the Lord will take away the bravery {ie., beauty, splendor, glory} of their... ornaments... etc.-
Many of the accessories listed sound strange to us. This is the only place where some of the items are mentioned in scripture, so their meanings are somewhat obscure. However, it is clear that this list describes the trappings of vain and luxurious living.
Their life of luxury would end suddenly, 'in that day' when the Lord would exercise judgment upon the nation. cp. Isa 32:9-11; Jer 6:26
her gates shall lament... she being desolate...-
These things were fulfilled at the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon in 586 BC (cp. Lam 1:1-9). Yet, the ultimate fulfillment awaits the great Tribulation.

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