We begin the week by going on to Isaiah 32:9-20
Note: In the next few verses there is an emphasis on women. Frequently in the Bible, when women are at the forefront of a passage, we can expect redemption and the consequences (or the lack thereof) of redemption (Shiphrah and Puah in Ex 1:15-17, Rahab, Ruth etc).
v9: Rise up: G-d is calling for there to be a change in position. They should no longer trust in the things of the world. A worldly perspective is not going to lead them to the place where they need to be.
- Women who are at ease: Women who are complacent, relaxed, still and quiet. They are not burdened or upset about the status quo of wickedness (those things which are in conflict with the rule and authority of G-d). These women are at ease with the world in its present state.
- Voice: G-d’s Word or revelation. His instruction.
v10: In a year and some days: G-d has mercifully given them an allotment of time in which they can change their ways. They still have time for action. G-d is warning them, however, that a critical time is fast approaching when things will be very different and the time for change will be over.
- Troubled: Those who are going along with the status quo, the way that the world is heading, are going to, very shortly, be greatly disturbed.
- The vintage: The grape harvest. This is usually a time of joy and celebration. The status quo of how the world is being administered – this time of ease, joy and happiness, not being burdened for the things of G-d – is about to come to an end.
- The gathering: The gleanings.
- Will not come: In a short while there is going to be a dramatic end to life as they know it. G-d will reach a point when He cannot tolerate anymore.
v11: Tremble: This is a word for great fear. G-d wants them to fear, as this fear will lead them to repentance. In modern Hebrew it is the word used for being in medical shock – the body goes through a dramatic physical change and if medical attention is not received there is a high risk of death.
- Troubled: Disturbed
- Strip yourselves, make yourselves bare, and gird sackcloth on your waists: This means that they need to take off their current garments and put on sackcloth and ashes – garments of repentance. Now is a time to repent. Now is the time to mourn over the unrighteousness and injustice in this world.
v12: Mourn upon their breasts: An idiom meaning to beat their chests. This is the action that goes along with sorrow, grief and repentance. Mourning needs to be commenced because things are about to change.
- Pleasant (desirable) fields: Good land, land which was very prosperous for them.
- Pleasant fields… fruitful vine: These are all going to be done away with. When G-d’s righteous King comes, He is coming for judgment and discipline. All the things that were a source of joy, provision and wealth are going to be dramatically and drastically changed.
v13: Thorns and briars: The ground will no longer be fertile. No one will be able to sow or produce a harvest in this ground.
- Happy homes … joyous city: When G-d’s judgment comes, every house and city, who lived the so-called good lives, will suffer.
v14: Palaces: This can be a king’s palace, or it can simply mean a very beautiful estate of the wealthy.
- Forsaken…deserted: People just leave their homes and cities.
- Towers will become lairs (dens for the animals): They are not going to be used for their intended purposes. These places that were meant to provide protection are going to be dealt with severely. They gave people a false sense of security and turned their eyes off G-d as their protector.
- A joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks: Wild animals are going to make their homes in these places once inhabited by humans. This foreshadows G-d’s utter contempt for the corruption that took place on this land.
v15: Until: This word speaks of a change that is going to happen, an interruption. G-d is speaking here primarily to Israel and the people of Judah. The implication here is that if G-d did not act, then nothing would change…this desolation would have gone on forever.
- The Spirit is poured upon us: G-d’s Holy Spirit is going to be poured out upon individuals. A time of refreshing is coming for the Jewish people (Acts 3:19-21). G-d’s Spirit brings about a change.
- Fruitful: Fertile.
- The fruitful field is counted as a forest: An elevation of the land takes place in the eyes of the peoples. This land will become abundant and will produce fruit. This is what a righteous and just rule will bring about.
v17: The work of righteousness will be peace: The deeds of righteousness will bring about peace. Peace is what we experience as the fulfilment of G-d’s will.
- Quietness: Being relaxed, being at ease, being still.
- Assurance: Security or safety.
v18: Peaceful habitation…quiet resting places: Absolute tranquillity. This is how we are going to live in the Kingdom of G-d.
v19: Note: This verse ushers in the same dichotomy found in Revelation 22:14-15. In the city of G-d (the New Jerusalem) will be those who live in a blessed way, outside the city will be darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth. This same concept is at play here in Isaiah.
- Hail: A sign of G-d’s judgment (hail was one of the plagues in Egypt).
- The city is brought low (humbled): G-d’s judgment will be on certain places.
v20: Blessed: Happy.
- All (types of) waters: We tend to think of still or calm water as the desired waters (Ps 23:2). However, those who have great power benefit from all types of waters. These people can overcome all things. They are not dependent upon a perfect situation but are overcomers in every situation. These are people who are fruitful in calm waters and in rushing waters.
- Send out freely the feet of the ox and the donkey: These people set their animals free. They do not need the work or the labour of their ox or donkey. They are in a place of fruitfulness and abundance and do not need to rely on others to maintain this place for them. G-d gives them abundance and He is the One who maintains it for them.