The Book of Isaiah Bible Study Chapter 5 Part 3

We go on to Isaiah 5:11-17

v12: The harp…strings….tambourine….flute: These instruments were supposed to make music unto the L-rd – to glorify, praise and thank Him. Instead, they were being used for personal parties and self-gratification. 

  • Their feasts: This is not referring to the Biblical feasts, but to personal parties or banquets.
  • Do not regard: They don’t pay attention to what G-d is doing. 
  • Do not consider the operation (work) of His hands: They are not interested in G-d – they are neither interested in what He is doing nor in what He has done. What motivates these people is their strong drink, their wine, their parties. They delight in doing what pleases themselves, rather than doing those things which are pleasing to G-d. 

Note: Although Isaiah’s prophecy first and foremost affected the people in his day it still has ramifications for us, as it teaches us principles that will be most relevant in the last days. 

v13: Therefore: This is going to happen to them as a consequence of G-d’s displeasure with them. 

  • My people have gone into captivity: Although this was yet future in Isaiah’s day it is written in the past tense. G-d had already made His decision (based on their rejection of His Word, their assimilation into the ways of the nations etc) and was not going to change His mind. This exile was as good as done. 
  • Captivity: Exile. This meant that the people would be leaving the land of Israel. When Israel is in the land, obeying G-d’s Word and serving Him, His program goes forward. When Israel is disobedient or rebellious then G-d causes them to leave the land and His program goes on hold. For almost 2000 years Israel was out of the land of Israel. After 2000years they once again became a nation – on the 14th May 1948 (Isaiah 66:8)
  • Knowledge: This implies knowledge that is provided or given to a person as a result of serving, as a result of obedience, as a result and outcome of faithfully carrying out the will of G-d. They were going to go into exile without this understanding.
  • Honourable men: G-d’s purpose for them was that they would be instruments of His truth and demonstrate His glory. 
  • Famished (dying of hunger)…dried up with thirst: G-d had a different call for these people, He had a different purpose for them, and He wanted a different result. However, their rebellion, lack of faithfulness and rejection of His call, caused what should have been glorious to die – the exact opposite of what G-d intended to place upon them. 

v14: Note: Disobedience and faithlessness has eternal consequences for Israel as a people. 

Israel will come to faith (Roms 11:26-27), but not these individuals. They were going to die in exile. They were going to reap the consequences of their sin. 

  • Sheol: This is a place of death. Sheol, it is thought, had two compartments that all people, who died before Messiah’s death and resurrection, went into when they died. The one compartment was called Gehenna or hell. This is commonly thought of as a place of torment. The other compartment that made up Sheol is called Abraham’s bosom and is also sometimes translated ‘paradise’ (Luke 16:22-23). 
  • Enlarged itself: Sheol was going to be expanded, made broader (Matt 7:13). 
  • Opened (her) mouth: Sheol is written in the feminine. 
  • Beyond measure: Without measure. The point here is that the number of those who choose the ‘broad way’ are beyond what anyone can think. Although G-d’s desire is that all be brought to repentance and find life (2 Peter 3:9) it does not mean that all will. Many, many people have chosen, are choosing and will choose to reject the salvation that G-d has provided for them. 
  • Jubilant: They rejoice in the things that bring about G-d’s judgment.  

v15: Brought (bow) down: A word of being made submissive.

  • The lofty (haughty ones): Those who are high-minded. They think too much of themselves. 

v16: Exalted: Made high. 

  • L-rd of hosts…G-d who is holy: These two are parallel, showing that there is a relationship between these two concepts. 
  • Judgment…righteousness: These two concepts are also parallel. It’s through G-d’s judgment that righteousness and holiness are established. 

v17: Note: This verse gives us a clue as to what to expect through G-d’s judgment. 

  • Lambs: The rabbis interpret this word to be referring to the righteous ones. 
  • Pasture: They are in their right location. They are where they are meant to be, doing what they are meant to be doing.
  • The fat ones: Referring to the unrighteous people, ungodly individuals. 
  • Strangers shall eat: This is a matter of interpretation because there are no clear grammatical clues that lead to a sure conclusion. One possible interpretation is that ‘foreigners’ refer to believers who are also called ‘strangers, aliens, pilgrims’ just passing through this world. If we are going to inherit the earth (Matt 5:5) then this could mean that the prosperity that the wicked have accumulated in this world will be transferred over into our account – leaving them desolate – ‘waste places’.

Another interpretation is that foreigners (Babylon etc) are going to partake of the destruction of Israel – the Israel that had grown fat and sinful through her rebellion. 

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