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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 3

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-11

God's Threat of Punishment

v. 1. For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, a most solemn designation of the almighty Ruler of the universe, doth take away from Jerusalem, as the capital and center, and from Judah, the entire southern kingdom, the stay and the staff, He is engaged in this act, it is a judgment which is continuing, the whole stay of bread and the whole stay of water, the heaping of synonyms indicating the seriousness of the situation and the Lord's responsibility for sending famine and depriving the people of the things upon which they depended,

v. 2. the mighty man and the man of war, the military power of the nation, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, the diviner, and the ancient, those whose counsel was based upon experience,

v. 3. the captain of fifty, the. smallest unit of the Jewish army, and the honorable man, the preferred favorite of the king, and the counselor, and the cunning artificer, the state engineer and inventor, one versed in mechanical and military arts, and the eloquent orator, the expert enchanter. No definite order is observed in the enumeration of these officers, the specific Jewish being named together with the heathen, in order to show, how easily the Lord can overthrow all their pomp and power.

v. 4. And I will give children to be their princes, weak and inexperienced young men, and babes shall rule over them, incompetent and wanton youngsters, exercising power as they please.

v. 5. And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbor, all respect for the God-given rights of others having vanished; the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, without the slightest regard for his superiors, and the base against the honorable, not only by ignoring all distinction of rank, but by setting aside the government instituted by God. In other words, tyranny is followed by mob-rule, and this, in turn, by anarchy, so that everything is in a turmoil, every semblance of governmental control has vanished.

v. 6. When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, having saved at least a decent suit of clothes in the general overthrow, be thou our ruler and let this ruin, what is left of the former nation, be under thy hand, in order to see whether there is still some chance of relief in this great emergency,

v. 7. in that day shall he, refusing to take this obligation upon himself, swear, saying, calling out loudly in protest, I will not be an healer, in trying to save the wreck; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing, he is just as poor and ragged as the others; make me not a ruler of the people, rather, with greater emphasis, "You shall not make me a ruler. " The entire description sets forth the disintegration, the decay, of the nations preceding the end.

v. 8. For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen, outward and inward decay is evident, because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, their apostasy and blasphemy have reached the limit, to provoke the eyes of His glory, the glorious appearance of His holy essence, for they challenge the wrath of the Lord by deliberately planning and executing evil.

v. 9. The show of their countenance, their whole appearance, the boldness expressed in their entire conduct, doth witness against them, their vices being imprinted upon their foreheads; and they declare their sin as Sodom, boasting of it without the slightest evidence of shame, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves, they are bound to bring punishment upon themselves. With a few strokes the prophet draws a picture of wantonness and moral filth, which fills the reader with loathing of such depths of wickedness.

v. 10. Say ye to the righteous, to the few who are still found in the midst of the general decay, that it shall be well with him; for they shall eat of the fruit of their doings, their good works, the fruit of their faith, do follow them, Revelation 14:13.

v. 11. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him, his will be a lamentable fate; for the reward of his hands, that which he earned by his evil deeds, shall be given him. The godless will have no one to blame but themselves when everlasting destruction comes upon them.

Verses 12-26

The Vanity of the Women of Jerusalem

v. 12. As for My people, still looked upon by the Lord with loving regard, children, incompetent and ruthless youngsters, are their oppressors, and women, subject to whims and moods, rule over them. O My people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, the leaders becoming misleaders, and destroy the way of thy paths, devouring it by their false, erroneous preaching, so that the way of divine truth is no longer visible.

v. 13. The Lord standeth up to plead, to take up the case of the world, and standeth to judge the people, all the nations of the world, to convict them of their wickedness.

v. 14. The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of His people, who were supposed to be their leaders, and the princes thereof, to whose guidance He had entrusted Israel; for ye have eaten up the vineyard, crushing the Church of God; the spoil of the poor, of whom the Church largely consists, is in your houses, due to the persecution of the rulers.

v. 15. What mean ye that ye beat My people to pieces, crushing them with the most severe tyranny, and grind the faces of the poor? in trampling them under foot, saith the Lord God of hosts. That is a special sign of the time preceding the Last Judgment: oppression and persecution of the Church of God, and for this the Lord will punish the wicked in full measure. However, it is not only the princes and rulers of the people who have brought God's judgment upon themselves, but also the women of the land.

v. 16. Moreover, the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with stretched-forth necks, proudly thrown back, and wanton eyes, winking in feigned innocence, but with hidden invitation, walking and mincing, with affected, tripping steps, as they go and making a tinkling with their feet, the ankle-chains, which brought about the mincing steps, also producing a delicate ringing,

v. 17. therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, where long hair now is decorated handsomely, will be found nothing but loathsome uncleanness, and the Lord will discover their secret parts, exposing them to shame and disgrace before the whole world.

v. 18. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery, the adornment, of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, the ankle-rings with their chains, and their cauls, braided ornaments fastened to the forehead, and their round tires like the moon, half-moon-shaped decorations fastened about the neck,

v. 19. the chains, the ear-pendants, and the bracelets, or chains worn on wrist or arm, and the mufflers, fluttering veils,

v. 20. the bonnets, turban-shaped diadems, and the ornaments of the legs, the step-chains connecting the ankle-bracelets, and the head-bands, beautiful girdles, and the tablets, perfume capsules, the favorite odor being musk, and the earrings, small amulets with verses of magic,

v. 21. the rings, usually seal-rings, and nose-jewels, suspended from the septum of the nose,

v. 22. the changeable suits of apparel, the finest street dresses, and the mantles, roomy tunics with sleeves, and the wimples, costly shawls, and the crispingpins, beautifully worked hand-bags or boxes,

v. 23. the glasses, small metal mirrors, and the fine linen, shirtlike garments of the finest India linen, and the hoods, colored turbans, and the veils, mufflerlike throws for the neck, a total of twenty-one objects being named without special order, to indicate the contempt which the Lord felt for the vanity of women in making such toilet articles their chief concern, to the neglect and detriment of more important matters.

v. 24. And it shall come to pass that instead of sweet smell, the delicate perfume of balsam, there shall be stink and instead of a girdle a rent, nothing but a rope to hold the garments together, and instead of well-set hair, such as was artistically curled and built up, baldness, and instead of a stomacher, the splendid mantles now worn, a girding of sackcloth, and burning, a mark such as was branded upon slaves, instead of beauty. The entire passage is surcharged with a holy sarcasm and may therefore well serve to warn many of the modern girls and women who find their greatest delight in objects such as are named here.

v. 25. Thy men shall fall by the sword, the defenders of Jerusalem a prey of war, and thy mighty in the war.

v. 26. And her gates, where the chief. men of the city were wont to discuss the welfare of the city, shall lament and mourn, because the seats of the men are empty; and she, the daughter of Zion, the city itself, being desolate, shall sit upon the ground, a picture of desolation. Chapter 4:1. And in that day, due to the fact that the men have fallen in battle, seven women shall take hold of one man, in an unnatural denial of womanly modesty, saying, We will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel, not depending upon him for support; only let us be called by thy name, that they might be known as his wives, to take away our reproach, for it was considered a disgrace not to be married and hear children. Such are the scenes which preceded the fall of Jerusalem, and similar scenes will precede the end of the world.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Isaiah 3". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/isaiah-3.html. 1921-23.
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