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Isaiah 3

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The LORD of hosts judgment

The New American Commentary: Isaiah 1–39 (3) Removal of Judah’s Male Leaders (3:1–15)

HISTORICAL SETTING. R. E. Clements thinks this passage refers to the incompetent leaders who let the nation become an Assyrian vassal during the Syro-Ephraimite War (734–732 BC), while Childs prefers a time after the fall of Jerusalem (587 BC). Although the date of this message is not exactly signaled in the text, its structural and thematic integration into the larger unit in 2:1–4:6 implies that it comes from the time of Uzziah, just like 2:6–22. The political setting precedes a major decline in military and economic status (3:1–5, 8–9); there were still many wealthy women in Jerusalem (3:16). The era of Uzziah was a time of wealth and pride in Jerusalem that fits the cultural setting of chap. 3. Dating this event during Uzziah’s reign also could suggest that the judgment predicted in chap. 3 was fulfilled a few years later during the Syro-Ephraimite War.

Chaos and the breakdown of government
There will
Support and supply Lack of food and water
Things they were trusting in
The means to sustain life will be taken
The whole supply of bread and water
The people with capable military and civil authority expereience will be taken
Allowed: The strong man (physically strong) and military man, the judge and the prophet (spokes person), the elder, the captain of fifty, the honorable (famous and respected) man, the counselor (advice)
The judge and the prophet, the elder
Popular but not allowed: The diviner (fortune-teller), the skillful artisan (magician) the expert enchanter
The diviner and the elder
Hunger and thirst
The absence of capable authority
Will lead to boys (immature) and babes (capricious ones = given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behavior) leading the government
Will lead to discord and oppression in the neighborhoods and disrespect and disdain for authority
The Prophecy of Isaiah The Actual Jerusalem

In society as a whole there is divisiveness and ruthless self-advancement (the ‘rat-race’) and within society’s natural groupings, teenage rebellion. Rise up speaks not just of revolt but also of its arrogant, loud-mouthed spirit (it comes from √rāhaḇ, ‘to storm against’). In the moral order, honour is accorded without consideration of worth. The base is lit. ‘the one who ought to be thought nothing of’ and the honourable, the one ‘who merits honour’.

Will lead to anarchy and desperation in seeking someone to lead; finding no one capable or willing to lead
No one able or willing to rescue
Strong men and those with skills
The cause of their fall
Sin in word and deed openly witnessed by the glory of the Lord
Sin so openly known it is written all over their face and brings self-infliction to their soul
Reaping what you sow
The righteous will bear fruit
The wicked will receive just do
Galatians 6:7 NKJV
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
The self-centered leaders made God’s people vulnerable
The self-centered leaders left them open to be oppressed by juveniles and ruled by women
The Prophecy of Isaiah The Actual Jerusalem

Women possibly refers to the royal harem. If the king was a spoiled brat then likely enough his wives were numerous and manipulative, fitting what we sense of the reign of Ahaz (but cf. Am. 4:1). The reference may be to dominant and demanding women, the ‘power behind the throne’ and not only in the palace!

Jezebel would be a good example
They led God’s people astray and confused them about God’s directions for life
The self-centered leaders will be judged by God, Himself
The Lord stands to contend and judge the people
The Lord begins with the leaders
He charges them with destroying or taking the source of nourishment found in the vineyards
Leviticus 19:
Leviticus 19:9–10 NKJV
‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God.
He charges them with plundering the poor in their own houses
He charges them with crushing God’s people and grinding the face of the poor
Judgement on the Elite women of Jerusalem
Their ego craves attention
The Prophecy of Isaiah The Actual Jerusalem

Everything is designed to attract attention—posture, demeanour, movement, ornament.

Their appearance and behavior openly and willingly disobey the Lord
Their ego and efforts are noticed by the Lord
Scabs or sores on their heads, possibly made bald through leprous sore
Leviticus 13:2 NKJV
“When a man has on the skin of his body a swelling, a scab, or a bright spot, and it becomes on the skin of his body like a leprous sore, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests.
Stripped and embarrassed
The Prophecy of Isaiah The Actual Jerusalem

Thus sin and its due reward frustrate all life’s ambitions and would-be fulfilments.

Their fine things will be taken away
All that they desired will be reversed
Stench replaces sweet smell
Rope replaces sash
Baldness replaces well-set hair
Sackcloth replaces rich robe
Branding (burning scar) replaces beauty
Those she sought to attract will be killed in war
Her gates will be a place of lament and mourning
Her desolation will cause her to sit on the ground in sorrow
Lamentations 1:4 NKJV
The roads to Zion mourn Because no one comes to the set feasts. All her gates are desolate; Her priests sigh, Her virgins are afflicted, And she is in bitterness.
The absence of men will lead a woman bargaining for a husband
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