Isaiah 3

1 For now the Sovereign, the Lord of hosts, is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah support and staff— all support of bread, and all support of water—
2 warrior and soldier, judge and prophet, diviner and elder,
3 captain of fifty and dignitary, counselor and skillful magician and expert enchanter.
4 And I will make boys their princes, and babes shall rule over them.
5 The people will be oppressed, everyone by another and everyone by a neighbor; the youth will be insolent to the elder, and the base to the honorable.
6 Someone will even seize a relative, a member of the clan, saying, "You have a cloak; you shall be our leader, and this heap of ruins shall be under your rule."
7 But the other will cry out on that day, saying, "I will not be a healer; in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; you shall not make me leader of the people."
8 For Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence.
9 The look on their faces bears witness against them; they proclaim their sin like Sodom, they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.
10 Tell the innocent how fortunate they are, for they shall eat the fruit of their labors.
11 Woe to the guilty! How unfortunate they are, for what their hands have done shall be done to them.
12 My people—children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, your leaders mislead you, and confuse the course of your paths.
13 The Lord rises to argue his case; he stands to judge the peoples.
14 The Lord enters into judgment with the elders and princes of his people: It is you who have devoured the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor? says the Lord God of hosts.
16 The Lord said: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go, tinkling with their feet;
17 the Lord will afflict with scabs the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.
18 In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents;
19 the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarfs;
20 the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets;
21 the signet rings and nose rings;
22 the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags;
23 the garments of gauze, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.
24 Instead of perfume there will be a stench; and instead of a sash, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a rich robe, a binding of sackcloth; instead of beauty, shame.
25 Your men shall fall by the sword and your warriors in battle.
26 And her gates shall lament and mourn; ravaged, she shall sit upon the ground.

Isaiah 3 Commentary

Chapter 3

The calamities about to come upon the land. (1-9) The wickedness of the people. (10-15) The distress of the proud, luxurious women of Zion. (16-26)

Verses 1-9 God was about to deprive Judah of every stay and support. The city and the land were to be made desolate, because their words and works had been rebellious against the Lord; even at his holy temple. If men do not stay themselves upon God, he will soon remove all other supports, and then they must sink. Christ is the Bread of life and the Water of life; if he be our Stay, we shall find that is a good part not to be taken away, Joh. 6:27 . Here note, 1. That the condition of sinners is exceedingly woful. 2. It is the soul that is damaged by sin. 3. Whatever evil befals sinners, be sure that they bring it on themselves.

Verses 10-15 The rule was certain; however there might be national prosperity or trouble, it would be well with the righteous and ill with the wicked. Blessed be God, there is abundant encouragement to the righteous to trust in him, and for sinners to repent and return to him. It was time for the Lord to show his might. He will call men to a strict account for all the wealth and power intrusted to and abused by them. If it is sinful to disregard the necessities of the poor, how odious and wicked a part do they act, who bring men into poverty, and then oppress them!

Verses 16-26 The prophet reproves and warns the daughters of Zion of the sufferings coming upon them. Let them know that God notices the folly and vanity of proud women, even of their dress. The punishments threatened answered the sin. Loathsome diseases often are the just punishment of pride. It is not material to ask what sort of ornaments they wore; many of these things, if they had not been in fashion, would have been ridiculed then as now. Their fashions differed much from those of our times, but human nature is the same. Wasting time and money, to the neglect of piety, charity, and even of justice, displease the Lord. Many professors at the present day, seem to think there is no harm in worldly finery; but were it not a great evil, would the Holy Spirit have taught the prophet to expose it so fully? The Jews being overcome, Jerusalem would be levelled with the ground; which is represented under the idea of a desolate female seated upon the earth. And when the Romans had destroyed Jerusalem, they struck a medal, on which was represented a woman sitting on the ground in a posture of grief. If sin be harboured within the walls, lamentation and mourning are near the gates.

Footnotes 1

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH 3

In this chapter the Jews are threatened with various calamities, on account of their sins, which would issue in their entire ruin and destruction. They are threatened with a famine, Isa 3:1 with a removal of useful men in church and state, and in common life, Isa 3:2,3 with ignorant and effeminate governors; the consequences of which would be oppression and insolence, Isa 3:4,5 yea, that such would be their state and condition, that men, though naturally ambitious of honour, would refuse to have the government of them, Isa 3:6,7 the reasons of these calamities, and of this ruin and fall of them, are their evil words and actions against the Lord, which were highly provoking to him; and their impudence in sinning like Sodom, which was to their own harm, Isa 3:8,9 yet, in the midst of all this, it is the will of God that the righteous should be told it shall be well with them, with the reason of it; when it shall be ill with the wicked, as a just recompence of reward, Isa 3:10,11 the errors and mistakes of the people are attributed to their childish and effeminate governors, Isa 3:12 wherefore the Lord determines to plead their cause, and contend with their elders and rulers, because they had spoiled and devoured the poor, Isa 3:13-15 and particularly the women are threatened, for their pride and luxury, to have their ornaments taken from them, which are particularly mentioned, Isa 3:16-24 and the chapter is concluded with a prophecy, that their mighty men should perish by the sword in war, and the city should be desolate, Isa 3:25,26.

Isaiah 3 Commentaries