Isaiah 3


‘See now, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support: all supplies of food and all supplies of water, the hero and the warrior, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder, the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counsellor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter. “I will make mere youths their officials; children will rule over them.” People will oppress each other—man against man, neighbour against neighbour. The young will rise up against the old, the nobody against the honoured. A man will seize one of his brothers in his father’s house, and say, “You have a cloak, you be our leader; take charge of this heap of ruins!” But in that day he will cry out, “I have no remedy. I have no food or clothing in my house; do not make me the leader of the people.” Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling; their words and deeds are against the LORD, defying his glorious presence. The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves.’ Isaiah 3:1-9

Judgment On Jerusalem And Judah

This chapter gives us a picture of doom and gloom for Jerusalem and Judah and we see the judgment and effects on the leadership of the people.

All was perfect, Jerusalem was the centre of all the worlds religion peace went throughout the earth. The problem was Jerusalem failed to shine out, this was against what God wanted, He wanted the word to go out.

We read of famine and drought and the essential supplies are going to stop and so is their leadership. If the bread was removed, the life of the people was removed, Leviticus 26:26 / Psalm 105:16.

They couldn’t trust in their supply of water that came into the walls of Jerusalem through the conduit that Hezekiah built, Jeremiah 38:21 / Jeremiah 38:9 / Lamentations 4:4.

There is a lot of insecurity because there was no direction or leadership, 2 Kings 24:14. God would replace them with youths and children, or those who behaved as mischievous children and insolent novices.

The trust that Israel placed in man was the besetting sin in Isaiah’s day. It appears if you had a cloak you would be picked as a leader. Anybody who has clothes on his back would be counted worthy enough to rule.

Jerusalem and Judah have sinned in what they say and in what they do, Matthew 12:36-37. Just like Sodom, Genesis 19:5, they didn’t care who saw their sins, Romans 1:27 / Ephesians 5:12.

We see the actual Jerusalem, immoral and corrupt, there was no true religion just weakness and insecurity, they are standing on the edge, all God was to do was to give a push that would cause an end to their wickedness.

When they suffered God’s judgment they would ten understand that they brought their disaster upon themselves. In other words, if they tried to blame God, they would realise they forsook God’s laws.

‘Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done. Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. My people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path.’ Isaiah 3:10-12

God is going to be just, Genesis 18:25, and so, the righteous who were left in the land would escape, Isaiah 1:19-20, and all will reap what they sowed, Jeremiah 6:19 / Galatians 6:8.

Notice the youth oppress God’s people, this has reference to the nature of the rulers. Their leaders led them into apostasy because they didn’t stand up for that which was right. In other words, the rulers didn’t have enough backbone to rule right, James 3:1.

‘The LORD takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people. The LORD enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people: “It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?” declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.’ Isaiah 3:13-15

God speaks against the leaders and He is coming in judgement. God’s people were God’s vineyard, Psalm 80:9-13 / Isaiah 5:1-7, and they had taken away that which belonged to the poor as their own. The rulers had, by their exactions and oppressions, ruined the people, and destroyed the country.

The leaders and elders have looked after their own needs and oppressed the poor, Psalm 94:5. The rulers reigned with little concern for the poor and they ruled for their own sake, and not for the sake of the people, Micah 3:2-3.

Hailey, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Micah describes how easy it is for a false prophet to lead the people astray. ‘If a man walking in a spirit of falsehood do lie, saying I will prophecy unto thee of wine and strong drink, he shall even be the prophet of this people’, Micah 2:11. The same principle can be observed today. Our country is on the verge of political and economic ruin because of unsound leadership. Also, the church has experienced apostasy and spiritual chaos because of the leadership of elders, preachers, and leaders who regard not the Lord’s way, but follow their own.’

‘The LORD says, “The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, strutting along with swaying hips, with ornaments jingling on their ankles. Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the LORD will make their scalps bald.” In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and bracelets and veils, the headdresses and anklets and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, the signet rings and nose rings, the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls. Instead of fragrance there will be a stench; instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-dressed hair, baldness; instead of fine clothing, sackcloth; instead of beauty, branding. Your men will fall by the sword, your warriors in battle. The gates of Zion will lament and mourn; destitute, she will sit on the ground.’ Isaiah 3:16-26

The remaining part of this chapter, speaks against the daughters of Zion. We see the abnormal luxury of the women of Judah and Jerusalem is condemned.

They were ‘haughty’, that is, they were proud of themselves, they were ‘walking with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes’, that is, they were walking while giving seductive glances, Proverbs 6:13-14, they were strutting their stuff, so to speak and they were wearing expensive ankle bracelets.

In other words, the women are noted to be wearing these twenty-one items and they parading themselves, Titus 2:5, and attracting attention to themselves by using all means possible, 1 Peter 3:3-4. They did all these things and wore all these things to attract the men to them.

Notice their worldly possessions will be taken away. All those things with which they dressed themselves would be traded for the rags of a captive.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The contrast between sash and rope is especially tragic. When Assyria led the northern kingdom into captivity, some 30,000 were herded in long lines to Nineveh with ropes joining the captives by being passed through their ears. These are indeed tragic words for God’s apostate people. The significance of Isaiah 3:26, is that it unconsciously shifts from ‘the women of Jerusalem’, to Jerusalem itself, indicating that the vainglorious women were a type of Jerusalem in its apostasy.’

The war to come would takes the lives of the all the mighty warriors, and in desperation because of a lack of males, seven women would try to get the same man for her husband, Isaiah 4:1.

As a result, ‘the gates of Zion will lament and mourn, destitute, and she will sit on the ground.’ To sit on the ground, was the usual posture of grief and mourning, denoting great depression and humiliation, Lamentations 2:10 / Lamentations 3:28 / Jeremiah 15:17 / Job 3:13 / Ezra 9:3-5.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘It is a remarkable coincidence, that in the medals which were made by the Romans to commemorate the captivity of Judea and Jerusalem, Judea is represented under the figure of a female sitting in a posture of grief, under a palm tree, with this inscription, ‘judea capta’. The passage here, however, refers not to the captivity by the Romans, but to the first destruction by Nebuchadnezzar. It is a tender and most affecting image of desolation. During the captivity at Babylon, it was completely fulfilled and for ages since, Judea might be appropriately represented by a captive female sitting pensively on the ground.’

Go To Isaiah 4


"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Matthew 11:29