Isaiah 3:14-26

Isa 3:14

The LORD will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses.


In verse 13 we saw that God himself is the prosecutor and judge.  Here we have the fact that the LORD himself will enter into the judgment of the elders and the princes or political leaders.  He will not send someone as his agent but will do it himself.  This means God will judge both the religious and the political.  In chapter five God refers to Israel as his vineyard.  The word “eaten” carries with it the meaning of “consume” as something which is consumed in a fire.  The “spoil” speaks about the wealthy stealing from the poor as a conqueror takes the plunder from a battle victory. 

Isa 3:15

What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord GOD of hosts.


“What mean ye” means “what authority or who gave you the authority” to beat the people, that is, to crush them underneath the feet of your greed and brutality.  Grinding them was placing the people into such bad circumstances because they were being plundered by the wealthy to the point they were being starved for a need for food.  That is how exacting the greedy wealthy were.  Isaiah was not asking the question but the Lord was asking them directly.


Isa 3:16

Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:


Then the LORD speaks about the women that many of them were no better than the men they were married to.  First it states they were haughty which means they were filled with pride.  Stretching forth their necks was a pagan ritual.  In Hindu temples girls were trained for service in idolatrous temples and when they danced, they would stretch out their necks and it would also representing a high look as they looked down on the poor people.  An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin. (Proverbs 21:4)  They also rolled their eyes as they continued in their dancing.  Walking and mincing meant they were taking short steps and jumping in their strides.  The tinkling with their feet means they were wearing anklet jewelry like the ancient Egyptian women did.  They literally had to hop and bring their feet together to make the anklets hit each other and make a tinkling sound.  In other words, the Israelite women were imitating the false religions which were also taken up by the men.


Isa 3:17

Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts.


The LORD will deal with these prideful women by striking them with a scab which would be a leprous scab and that would force them to shave their heads and they will no longer be able to stick them out in pride.  For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. (1 Corinthians 11:6)  Then they will have the nice clothing removed and they will be dressed in rags to the point their nakedness will be shown.  The word “discover” means to “expose.”


Isa 3:18

In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,


The day will be the Babylonian invasion which will begin in 605 B.C.  Those ankle bracelets the women wore will be taken from them by the invaders as part of the plunder.  The cauls were some type of head ornament but is most likely a cap for the head as the word “caul” comes from the French for “small cap.”  The round tires were moon-shaped ornaments that were hung around the neck.  They were used on the necks of camels.  Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us: for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' necks. (Judges 8:21)


Isa 3:19

The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,


The chains were probably pendants or ear drops.  The bracelets were made of gold wire which were woven.  The mufflers were the thin vails.  They were so named by the Hebrews because of their fluttering action in the wind.


Isa 3:20

The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,


The bonnets were not like those the women wore in the 19th century but were like the turbans which the men wore but were made of finer materials and were not as heavy as the men’s turbans.  Then the women could put gold and other jewelry were added according to taste of the wearer.  The ornaments of the legs were step chains which the women wore to the ankles of the feet which limited their steps to short and mincing steps.  The headbands were placed on the hair or some type of girdle on the hair to hold it in place.  The tablets are believed to be bottles of perfume which are attached to the necklace or the girdle.  The earrings are thought to be charms or amulets with engraved serpents on them which are worn from the ears.


Isa 3:21

The rings, and nose jewels,


And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head. (Ezekiel 16:12)   The nose jewels were something which hung from the forehead down to the nose.  The rings were worn on the fingers like today’s rings. 


Isa 3:22

The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,


The changeable suits of apparel were those costly garments which were used on festive occasions.  The mantles are thought to be cloaks with ample folds in them and worn outside of other garments.  The wimples were wide upper garments.  The crisping pins were purses of gold which looked like a cone that was inverted.


Isa 3:23

The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.


The glasses were small metallic mirrors where the women adored themselves.  The fine linen was some kind of shirt which were inner garments or tunics.  The hoods were some kind of covering for the head and the difference between them and the bonnet is lost in antiquity.  The vails were worn on the head and the tail went down the back and normally the women wore them at home.  It was made of very light material.


Isa 3:24

And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.


Instead of there being a sweet smell in the house owing to various oils, there will now be stink in the house which emanates from disease sores like the leprosy they will be struck with.  The girdle was designed to keep the hair in place and also to keep the shape of the torso.  Now they will become useless as they will be rent or torn and will have no strength to hold anything in place.  The women of the Middle East were always concerned about how their hair looked and would always do something to keep it looking nice but now their hair will be gone and there will be baldness which means they are under judgment.  The stomacher was a wide loose flowing mantle which was characteristic of luxury and immorality but now they will have to wear one made of sackcloth which means they will be humbled under the time of judgment.  Instead of beauty they will suffer the humiliation of being branded as a slave or disfigured by burning.


Isa 3:25

Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.


The defense of the city and the country will be futile as it will cause the deaths of many of the army and all those mighty men which the people put their trust in will be destroyed.  There will be no defense left for the city as the Babylonians will come in and will be relentless. 


Isa 3:26

And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.


The gates of the city shall lament and mourn because they will have been destroyed.  The gates would not be repaired until the time of Nehemiah around 445 B.C.  Then the city will be desolate as a woman who sits on the ground that mourns the loss of husband or children.  Sitting on the ground was a sign of distress just as Job’s friends sat with him on the ground.  By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. (Psalm 137:1)  When the captives went to Babylon they sat down on the ground as a symbol of being under the judgment of God.  The city of Jerusalem was desolate as one who sits on the ground under judgment.