The Book of Isaiah Bible Study Chapter 3 Part 1

Next up is Isaiah 3:1-12

v1: Behold: This is a word that encourages us to pay attention and to anticipate that something significant (a proclamation of great importance) is about to take place. 

  • L-rd (Adon): This is not the same word for ‘L-rd’.  It is a word which means the Master. This is a word of authority, a word of power, and it’s used commonly as a term of respect.
  • L-RD (YHWH): The name of G-d used here (different to the name used above) is a name referring to the transcendent G-d – the G-d who is over all. 
  • Hosts: Armies. ‘The L-rd of hosts’ is a very common prophetic name. When this name of G-d is used it usually foreshadows a judgment that is coming. G-d is not pleased with His people and there is going to be a consequence for their behaviour, their thought processes etc. 
  • Takes away: Removes. Written in the present tense. This is a rare tense in the prophets (the past tense and future tense are much more common throughout the prophetic books). This grammatical construction shows significance (due to its rarity) and it indicates to us that something significant is happening. 
  • Whole supply of bread… and water: G-d is removing what sustains their lives and He is doing it completely. He is emptying out the stores of their provisions. Bread and water are the necessities of life. Because G-d is not pleased with His people (they are rejecting His authority, not interested in His ways, not committed to His Commandments, not worshiping Him as they should) He is removing all blessing from them. Instead of being active in their lives or in their situations He is retreating from them. When G-d retreats from His people it opens them up to enemy attack.  

v2: Note: This verse speaks about the leadership in Judah who are going to be affected by G-d’s judgment. Even the judges, prophets and elders have allowed this corruption to be present within the society. They did not seem to have a problem with it. When G-d removes Himself, G-dly leadership evaporates. Except for the diviner, all the leaders mentioned here are acceptable. The problem is that the diviner has got a foothold in this leadership, and he brings problems into it. 

  • Mighty man: The hero. A male who is powerful. 
  • Diviner: The magician, the person who uses the occult. These people do not worship G-d but instead use what is forbidden for spiritual purposes. 

v3: Note: This verse is referring to those leaders who are looked up to, honoured, in a society. 

  • Counsellor: The wise one
  • Skillful artisan: A skilled labourer. Those who are able to produce things are a great asset in a society, in a culture or in a community. 
  • The expert enchanter: A little bit of arsenic ruins a perfectly good meal. Like we saw in Isaiah 3:2 with the diviner being the “bad apple” amongst the leadership, so too do we find the enchanter being given a foothold into the ranks of these honourable leaders. The resulting outcome: it leads to their corruption. An enchanter does that which is improper. He also uses the occult and idolatry – two spiritual practices that the Torah (law) forbids. When we allow forbidden things to function in our society then we are opening wide the doors for our destruction.  

v4: Children: Young ones. The youth. Instead of elders, experienced people, G-d is going to give them inexperienced people to lead them.

  • Their: G-d has removed His presence from them, but even in His language He is distancing Himself from them. He is not speaking to them directly (‘you’ or ‘your’) but is speaking about them. 
  • Babes: Literally: PranksterA jester. Someone who behaves very immaturely and someone who does not take things seriously. 

v5: Insolent: Not showing respect or honour. This leadership sets aside the standards that G-d has set for a society. As a result, this society becomes one that is in conflict with the righteousness of the law (Rom 8:4).

  • Base (frivolous) toward the honourable: This society is going to plummet into chaos. 

v6: Takes hold of his brother in the house of his father: Within the individual households there is going to be desperation. When there is improper leadership in a society it is going to affect individual homes, it will impact family. 

  • Clothing: Literally: A mantle. This mantle was an instrument or a symbol of authority (2 Kings 2:8-14).
  • Ruler: A word in Hebrew today that refers to a military officer.
  • Ruins: Society (In Jerusalem and Judah) was spiritually, socially and economically failing. 

v7: He will protest: He will not want this leadership position as he will not want to be the one to solve this problem. 

  • Do not make me a ruler: The situation is so dire that no one wants to run for office, so to speak. Those who could have been leaders in the past feel that have nothing to give (no bread) and that they have no authority (no garment/mantle). Why is the situation so dire? Because G-d, the L-rd Almighty, has removed Himself from society. These people are now making their decisions on what they think is right, but it is not based on revelation from the L-rd. As a result, chaos ensues. 

v8: Tongue: This relates to their words.

  • Against the L-rd: They are rebelliousThey are acting in opposition to G-d in their words and by their deeds. 
  • The eyes of His glory: G-d sees what they are doing, and it is an affront before His glory. 

v9: They declare their sin: They enjoy their sin. They are not ashamed of it and nor do they cover it up. 

  • Woe: How awful it is going to be for them if they do not change. This is a word of Divine threat or warning. 
  • They have brought evil upon themselves: G-d is not acting out of revenge but out of retribution (payback). He is giving them the wages that they have earned. Their behaviour has natural consequences. Their offenses affect their own bodies, they receive in themselves the penalty of their error (Rom 1:27). 

v10: Righteous: G-d makes a distinction between those who behave righteously and those who don’t. For those who think and behave righteously their retribution (payback) will be blessing – those things which are in line with G-d’s will i.e good. 

v11: Wicked: The wicked ones can expect death and curse – those things which are not in G-d’s perfect will (i.e evil things). 

  • Reward: Retribution. Payment. What he has earned. 
  • His hands: Referring to his deeds or actions.

v12: Note: The leaders in this society are immature people and women. 

  • Cause you to err: These improper leaders are taking the people in the wrong direction. G-d is revealing to the people of Judah that the path they are heading down is a path of destruction. It is a path where they make poor decisions and have no spiritual discernment.  Biblical culture has been overtaken. It is a thing of the past. 

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