Isaiah 3:1-13

Isa 3:1

For, behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water,


Then the LORD tells them that he is going to take away from Jerusalem the stay and the staff.  The stay carries with it the meaning of “support” which roots from another Hebrew word which means “to trust in or have confidence in.”  The LORD is telling them in plain words that he is going to remove their food and water from them which means their supplies will be exhausted and they will not be able to replenish.  The staff was something people used to walk with or lean on for support.  By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. (Hebrews 11:21)  What God was promising here was that a famine was coming to Judah and Jerusalem.


Isa 3:2

The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient,


Then others whom Judah was trusting in will also be removed before them.  The mighty men who were their powerful or valiant men who were probably their generals or leaders.  The man of war who was their regular army members would not have any strength against the invaders.  The judge is the one who adjudicated all legal matters according to the law. The prophet will also be gone that is they will be without any word from the LORD which the prophets were normally chosen to bring.  The prudent were the ones who divined by enchantments.  The ancients were the old or the elders of Judah.


Isa 3:3

The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counseller, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.


The captains of fifty were like half-centurions as fifty was a company of fighting men in the army.  It was likened to a platoon in the U.S. Army.  The honorable men were the ones who had power and authority within Judah but were not evil in their lifestyles.  The counsellor was one who gave advice and even acted as an arbiter which settled disputes among people.  The cunning artificer was a person gifted with the ability to create nice things like furniture or things made out of gold, brass, or silver.  They had the ability of the mechanical arts like Bezaleel who made the Ark.  The eloquent orator was the person who had the ability to speak a word in season to those who had specific needs and was gifted in speech.  Aaron was gifted in speech and spoke for Moses at the confrontation with Pharaoh.


Isa 3:4

And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.


The leaders will not make proper decisions but will think as children.  Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! (Ecclesiastes 10:16)  This verse is pointing to the fact that the ruling princes were making decisions like children and were exhibiting child-like behavior.  They were people who were careless, impulsive, or ruthless.  Their behavior as princes were so bad they were likened to babes which could not even make a cognizant decision of any kind.


Isa 3:5

And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.


Now with the deportation of the leaders, the people shall oppress one another and their neighbors will now become their enemies.  With anarchy ruling, people will put other people to death for just an accusation and there would be no peace among the people.  The children and young people will oppose the ancients or the elders.  Rehoboam did this when he took over as king and he consulted with the elders and then instead of listening to them, he listened to the younger men which were his friends.  This caused the major split in the kingdom.  Then those who were vile in nature would oppose those who were the honorable men in Judah.  It seems that there would be class struggles. 


Isa 3:6

When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand:


Then once chaos has taken hold, whenever they come across one of their own people who have nice clothing, they will ask him to be ruler over them as they attempt to bring order within the chaos.  They will ask him in the midst of all the ruin that he come and rule and take over any effort to help and rebuild the city.  The fact that they have to take hold of one means that no one is volunteering to rule since they know they are under the LORD’s judgment and they might feel that they would be asking for the LORD’s judgment upon them as if they were rebelling against him.


Isa 3:7

In that day shall he swear, saying, I will not be an healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: make me not a ruler of the people.


Then the man will refuse to be the leader.  The healer is one who would heal the land and bring order where there is chaos thus stopping any further destruction.  He would refuse to do it because he knows the people have brought judgment down upon their own heads.  He tells them that his house suffers the same fate as theirs in that he lacks food and clothing in his own house so his house is not above the other houses under judgment.


Isa 3:8

For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the LORD, to provoke the eyes of his glory.


Now Isaiah looks to the future because it was only 75 years after the prophecy of Isaiah that the deportations began in 605 B.C.  He is also prophesying that they will not change their ways until the time they are removed from the land by the Babylonians.  They have spoken against the LORD and their deeds were also carried out in rebellion against the LORD.  They thought the LORD did not see them and the things they were doing but he saw every evil move they did.  Zephaniah prophesied of their treachery and how they viewed God as being neutral.  And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil. (Zephaniah 1:12)  Searching with candles means that he will search every dark area and expose their sins to the light and deal with them.  Zephaniah prophesied from 640-609 B.C. primarily during the reign of Josiah.  4 years before the deportations began.


Isa 3:9

The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.


Their facial expressions did not hide their sins as they displayed their sins.  Declaring their sin as Sodom mean their sins were open and public, no hiding them but allowing themselves to sin in the sight of the others without shame.  A woe or judgment is pronounced by God upon their souls.  Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. (Ezekiel 18:4)  Ezekiel prophesied the end of their sinning which results in the death of their soul which is eternal damnation.  Their sins have given them the reward of everlasting death of their souls.  They could have stopped and returned to the LORD and he would have healed them and their land but they chose to go deeper and deeper into sin.


Isa 3:10

Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.


Then there will be those who have remained righteous and did not partake of the evil doings of the others.  When the time of famine comes and the fact that there will be no good clothes to wear, the righteous will be satisfied during those times when the evil ones will be suffering.  The righteous will experience the blessing of the LORD during the tough times.


Isa 3:11

Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.


Then in contrast to the righteous enjoying the blessings of God, the wicked will reap the rewards of the evil life they have sown.  If they wanted to partake in the sins of the false religions and the evil lifestyles associated with it, then they will receive all the rewards which accompany the sinful lifestyle.  You reap what you sow and there will be no crop failure.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:8)


Isa 3:12

As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.


Here God is rebuking the rulers that they do not have the common sense of a child and even today many men do not show maturity in their words and in their deeds.   Then we are told that the women rule over them, that is, just like Jezebel ruled over Ahab because he was a weak male, the wives rule over these weak husbands who have no common sense.  Many times there are marriages where the men have become like children around their wives and so for the welfare of the family the wife has to take over the leadership.  Then God condemns the rulers because they were the ones who caused the people to err, that is, to depart from the teachings of the LORD.  When one is led astray from the LORD, the only result is destruction as one walks the broad path to destruction while confidently believing they are on the right path.  Isaiah prophesied later in his prophecy that Judah did not want the LORD at all.  Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. (Isaiah 30:11) So their departure was fully intentional.


Isa 3:13

The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.


The LORD here is standing as the prosecuting attorney as he brings the accusation of apostasy and departure from his law and idolatry against them.  Not only is he the prosecutor, he also stands as the final judge in all these matters.  He has created Judah and has the right to judge them according to his law which they have disdained.  This scenario will also be played out on Judgment day when all the world will stand before the LORD and be judged.