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Bible Commentaries

Layman's Bible Commentary

Isaiah 3

Verses 1-15

The Coming Social Chaos (3:1-15)

In the coming disaster, law, order, decency, and leadership will come to an end. Food, water, and leaders will be no more (vss. 1-3). Boys will be government officials (“princes,” vs. 4), and oppression will be the rule (vs. 5). The whole people will be in anarchy (vss. 6-12); indeed, their leaders have misled and confused them.

For this reason God has entered his courtroom to bring formal charges against his nation for their Covenant violation (vss. 1315). He has entered his legal brief against the elders and government officials, making against them this charge: they have crushed the poor and have used the poverty and defenselessness of the weak as their source of wealth and strength.

The Women of Jerusalem (3:16—4:1)

Yet the fault does not lie only with the leaders in Jerusalem. Their women are every bit as bad and will suffer terribly in the days to come. They will be widowed and humbled until as many as seven will beg a man to marry them to give them a home and protection (3:25—4:1). In the ancient world the lot of a widow was certainly not to be envied. She had no independence of action such as is the case today; she had no life unless attached to a household.

Verses 18-24 give one of the most detailed listings from the ancient Near East of the fine attire worn by wealthy women of court society. It is unfortunate that we cannot be sure about what the terms all mean, except that the prophet’s meaning is perfectly clear. These irresponsible society women will suffer in the coming day, for they, too, have been completely heedless of the purpose of their lives.

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"Commentary on Isaiah 3". "Layman's Bible Commentary".