GOD'S JUDGMENT UPON
The general denunciations against
turned especially against
more honorable classes (vs. 1-3); and will give her "children" for her rulers
(v. 4). There will be continued oppression, and the rise of an insolent and undutiful
spirit (v. 5). Those fit to bear rule will refuse to do so (vs. 6-7).
1 “For, behold, the Lord, the
LORD of hosts, doth take away from
stay of water,” The Lord, the Lord of hosts (see note on ch.1:24). The stay and
the staff; rather, stay and staff. Neither word has the article. The latter is the
feminine form of the former; and the intention is to announce that all support
of every kind is about to be withdrawn. The whole stay of bread... of water.
Mr. Cheyne agrees with Hitzig and Knobel that this clause is probably a
gloss on the text, subsequently introduced into it, and a gloss which (did not
proceed from a very enlightened commentator. The "stay" and "staff"
intended are certainly not, literal "bread" and "water," but the powerful and
respectable classes enumerated in the two following verses. If the words
are Isaiah's, he must have intended them to be taken metaphorically.
2 “The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and
the prudent, and the ancient,” The mighty man, and the man of war; or,
hero and warrior. The first rank is given to those distinguished in war, as being
held in the highest esteem, and perhaps as actually, under the coming
circumstances (I am 77 years old and I have always believed the Bible.
2020 is the year for the first time that I believe all Americans and perhaps
all the flesh of the world can understand the above phrase the coming
circumstances), the men of most importance to the country. It is thus implied,
as later (vs. 25-26) it is expressly taught, that the impending visitation
will be a terrible invasion. The judge, and the prophet; literally, judge and
prophet. The judge holds his place as one of the highest officers of the state
(see ch. 1:26); the prophet holds a lower position than might have been expected,
on account of the writer's humility. The prudent; rather, the diviner, as the
as in Joshua 13:22. Isaiah arranges the classes, not so much according to the
order in which he values them, as to that in which they were valued by
the people. The ancient; i.e. "the elder," as the word is translated commonly.
The "elders" had an ascertained position in the state under the monarchy
3 “The captain of fifty, and the honorable man, and the counselor, and the
cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.” The captain of fifty. "Captains of
fifties" were scarcely at this period "civil officers" (Cheyne). They represent
simply the lowest grade of officers in the army (II Kings 1:9, 11, 13). Honorable.
Job 22:8. The cunning artificer. "All the craftsmen and
carried away by Nebuchadnezzar in the captivity of Jehoiachin (II Kings 24:14;
compare Jeremiah 24:1). They were among the most valuable of the population,
in time of war no less than of peace, since on them depended the construction
and repair of the military engines which were regarded as of so much
importance (II Chronicles 26:15). The eloquent orator; rather, the expert
4 “And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.”
I will give children to be their princes; rather, youths than "children." The extreme
of the later kings of
After Hezekiah, only one was as much as twenty-five years old when he came
to the throne.
· Jehoahaz was twenty-three (II Kings 23:31);
· Amon, twenty-two (ibid. 21:19);
· Zedekiah twenty-one (ibid. 24:18);
· Jehoiachin, eighteen (ibid. v. 8);
· Manasseh, twelve (ibid. 21:1); and
· Josiah eight (ibid. 22:1).
Thus this prophecy was fulfilled to the letter. And babes shall rule over them;
literally, puerilities (silly, trivial, juvenile children) shall rule over them; i.e.
the youths shall behave in a childish way.
5 “And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by
his neighbor: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and
the base against the honorable.” And the people shall be oppressed, etc.; rather,
shall oppress each man his fellow, and each man his companion. This would
be no new thing (see ch. 1:17, 21, 23), but perhaps might be more widely spread,
having passed from the upper classes to the lower ones, as is usual with vices.
The child; rather, the youth. Shall behave himself proudly; or, insolently.
The respect for age inculcated by the Law (Leviticus 19:32) shall disappear.
Youths shall set at naught the counsel of the aged. The spirit of Rehoboam shall
prevail over that of Solomon, with the usual result - rashness, recklessness,
and FAILURE! And the base, etc. Respect for station shall likewise disappear.
The dregs of the people shall grow insolent towards those above them in the
social scale; and thus the old social order shall be inverted.
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:”
When a man shall take hold of his brother. A new departure. In the general
anarchy described (vs. 4-5) it will be felt that something must be done. A man
will take hold of his brother (i.e. his fellow) in his (i.e. the latter's) father's house,
where he lives in seclusion, and say to him, Thou hast clothing (or, "thou art
decently clad"), thou must be our ruler; let this ruin (i.e. "this ruined state")
be under thy hand. This ruin; literally, this stumbling-block (see Zephaniah 1:3;
and compare the uniform translation of the kindred noun mikshol (ch. 57:14;
The Jewish community is meant, which was full of stumbling itself, and
might well cause all those to stumble who came into contact with it.
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.”
In that day shall he swear; or, lift up his voice - speaking with emotion (Kay).
I will not be an healer; literally, a binder-up (compare ch. 1:6); "I will not
undertake to heal the calamities of the state." In my house is neither bread
nor clothing; i.e. "I am not a wealthy man; I have no stores laid up; I am
quite unfit to be the people's ruler." Make me not; or, ye shall not make me.
The decently clad man entirely declines to be advanced to the helm of the state.
THE CAUSE OF THE JUDGMENT SHOWN TO BE
THE SINS OF
· The sins of the men. (vs. 8-15). These are declared to be partly sins of
speech, but mainly sins of act (v. 8). Of sins of speech the only one
specified is the open and shameless declaration of their wickedness (v. 9).
Under the head of sins of act are enumerated
Ø childishness and effeminacy;
Ø irreligion and leading people away from God (v. 12);
Ø oppression of the poor and afflicted (vs. 14-15).
The enumeration of the sins is mixed with exhortation and comment in
such a way as to give rise to the conjecture that we have here, not the
original prophecy as the author penned it, but a later "summary" of
several prophetical discourses, which summary itself is "a little fragmentary"
doings are against
the LORD, to provoke the eyes of His glory.”
ruined; or, has come to ruin - the "perfect of prophetic certainty" (Cheyne -
I learned over half a century ago, from the Pulpit Commentary, that “prophetic
certainty” is speaking of something in the future as if it was in the past – it
reminds me of something I learned this year from Vines Expository Dictionary
of New Testament Words, that the word Amen:
Ø when spoken by men, means “so let it be”,
Ø when spoken by God, it means “It is and it shall be so.”
(CY – 2020)
Compare Amos 5:2, "The virgin of
Sins of the tongue are denounced in the Old Testament as well as in the New,
metaphor. God's glory seems here to be identified with Himself, as being of
His very essence; and thus "provoking the eyes of his glory" is simply provoking
Him to look on them with anger.
9 “The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare
their sin as
evil unto themselves.” The show of their countenance doth witness against them.
This is not in itself a sin, but it is a sign of frequent and habitual sin.
Vice, long indulged in, stamps its mark upon the countenance, giving men what
is called "a bad expression" - a guilty and hardened look. It does not require
a skilled physiognomist (a person supposedly able to judge character from facial
characteristics) to detect at a glance the habitual criminal or sensualist. They
declare their sin as
like the Sodomites (Genesis 19:5, 9), they boldly and impudently declare
their wicked purposes beforehand, and make no attempt at concealment.
Hypocrisy has been said to be the homage that vice pays to virtue. Where there
is none, where vice has ceased to shroud or veil itself, a very advanced stage
of wickedness has been reached. They have rewarded evil unto themselves.
They have "received in themselves the recompense of their error which was meet"
(Romans 1:27). Their sins have at once marred their countenance and injured their
10 “Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the
fruit of their doings.” Say ye to the righteous. The mention of the fact that the
"rewarded evil to themselves," leads the prophet to declare at this point,
parenthetically, the general law, which extends alike to the evil and the good –
that men receive in themselves the recompense of their deeds.
The righteous raise their moral nature, become better, and, in becoming better,
become happier. "It is well with them, for of the fruit of their doings they eat."
The wicked deprave and corrupt themselves, lower their moral nature,
become worse than they were, and, in becoming worse, become more
miserable. "Woe unto them! with them it is ill; for the achievement of their
hands is given them."
11 “Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands
shall be given him.”
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. As for my people. Return is now made to the sins of the
the childishness and effeminacy of their rulers. The rulers are called "oppressors"
by the way here, the sin of oppression being dwelt on later (vs. 14-15).
Here the emphatic words are "children," "women." Children (see v. 4).
The rulers are "children," or rather "babes":
Ø capricious (unaccountable moods swings or behavior),
It is not clear that any prince in particular is meant; rather, by the plural form,
the upper class generally seems to be intended, as in ch. 1:10, 17, 23, etc.
Women; compare Herod., 8:88, where Xerxes says that "his men have shown
themselves women, and his women men;" and see also Virg., 'AEneid' –
and are therefore called actual "women." There is no allusion to female sovereigns.
They which lead thee cause thee to err; or, they which direct thee lead thee astray.
Professing to point out the right path, they led men away from it. Destroy the way;
literally, swallow it up, or obliterate it.
13 “The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.”
The Lord standeth up to plead. The great sin of the time was oppression of the
poor by the rich, and especially by the rulers (ch. 1:15, 17, 21). In noticing
this, the prophet, to give more weight to his denunciation, introduces Jehovah as
standing up, and coming forward on the popular side, to plead the people's cause,
and remonstrate with their oppressors. (Now if this is the case in contemporary
things into their own hands? Natural man can never improve himself this
way, my experience has been just the opposite, that when I, without authority
or commission, try to take things into my own hands, it has always created a mess!
Things have always worked out well when I let the God of all the heavens and
earth take care of it! CY – 2020) There is great force in this sudden entrance
on the scene of JEHOVAH HIMSELF, as Pleader and Judge. (Perhaps this
is what is occuring in the
sixty-two times, it mentions “and they shall know that I am the Lord.”
(see below – CY - 2020) And.....judge the people. Rather, the peoples. Primarily,
are also under His protection.
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.” The ancients... the princes. These were the chief oppressors.
They delivered the judgments, and it was by them that justice was perverted.
Jehovah therefore enters specially into judgment with them. For ye have eaten
up; rather, So ye have eaten up. Jehovah is supposed to address the unjust judges.
He reproaches them with having "eaten up," or rather "scorched up," His vineyard,
i.e. Israel (compare ch. 5:1-7), and taxes them with having still their ill-gotten gains
in their houses. "So ye," He says, "have thus acted - ye whose duty it was to have
acted so differently."
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? i.e. "What has
come over you?" or "What strange perversity has possessed yon?" (Kay).
That ye beat my people to pieces, etc. The strongest possible expressions
are used to mark God's abhorrence of the oppression to which the poor
were subjected. Under the Law, He constituted himself the champion of such
persons (see Exodus 22:22-24).
· The sins of the women. (vs. 16-26.) These may be summed up under the
three heads of:
Ø wanton manners (v. 16), and
Ø love of dress and ornament (vs. 18-23).
more frequent communication with foreign nations, such as
and quite in accordance with Eastern ideas that the luxury should particularly
show itself in the dress and adornment of the women. The Egyptian remains
show an advanced state of luxury among the women at a time anterior to
Moses; and in
indications of a similar kind. The Jews, whose regard for their women
was high, are not likely to have been behindhand in the gallantry which
shows itself in heaping ornament and the newest appliances of civilization
on the weaker sex.
16 “Moreover the
LORD saith, Because the
and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing
go, and making a tinkling with their feet:”
The daughters of
It is over-fanciful to go beyond the plain meaning of the words here, and suppose
allegory. "The daughters of
or, proud - like the men (ch. 2:11-12, 17). Walk with stretched forth necks and
wanton eyes. Mr. Cheyne translates, "ogling eyes." Both actions indicate the desire
to attract men's attention, and are shameless and immodest. Walking and
mincing as they go; i.e. taking short steps in an affectedly childish way.
Making a tinkling with their feet. This meaning is generally accepted,
though not very certain. It has been suggested that the anklets which they
wore (v. 18) had silver bells attached to them.
17 “Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the
Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab. Thus destroying their beauty
by producing baldness (compare v. 24; and for the meaning "smite with a scab,"
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 bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet; rather,
of their anklets. Anklets were worn by the Egyptian women from the time of
the twelfth dynasty (about B.C. 1900). They were, in general, plain rings
of metal, but appear to have been sometimes set with precious stones
(see Lepsius, 'Denkmaler,' pt. 2. pls. 128, 129). No bells appear attached
to any; but bells were known in
('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 1. p. 417, 2nd edit.). Their cauls; margin,
networks. The marginal rendering is probably correct (compare the
Septuagint, ἐμπλόκια – emplokia). Network caps to contain the
hair seem to be intended (so Kimchi, Saadiah, Jarchi, Rosenmüller, Kay).
Mr. Cheyne prefers "wreaths worn round the forehead, reaching from
one ear to the other." Round tires like the moon; rather, crescents.
Flat ornaments in metal, like a young moon, generally worn
suspended round the neck (see Judges 8:26, where the same word occurs).
19 “The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,” rather, the ear-drops,
and the armlets, and the veils. Earrings were worn from very ancient times by
both the Assyrians and the Egyptians. The ring had frequently a pendant
hanging from it. Men wore armlets in
in the East as almost a necessary part of female attire.
20 “The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands,
and the tablets, and the earrings,” The bonnets; rather, the headgear.
It is quite uncertain what this was, since we have no representations of
Hebrew women. Egyptian women commonly wore a mere fillet with
pendant ends. The Hebrew word here employed is used in Exodus of the
head-dress of the priests (Exodus 39:28). The ornaments of the legs.
These are explained as chains connecting the two anklets together.
The headbands, and the tablets, and the ear-rings; rather, the girdles,
and the scent-bottles, and the amulets. Scent-bottles and jars for holding
sweet-smelling unguents are among the most frequent toilette articles
recovered from Egyptian tombs and Assyrian palaces. Amulets (good luck
charms) have been worn in the East from very ancient times, and are still
trusted in as much as ever. They frequently take the form of ornaments.
21 “The rings, and nose jewels,” The rings; literally, seal-rings, or
Such were known in
(Genesis 41:42), and probably earlier. It would seem from the
present passage that their use was not confined to men. Nose-jewels.
Actual nose-rings are not represented in any of the ancient remains;
and the use of them seems to be confined to very barbarous
communities. Probably the "nose-jewels" here mentioned were
ornaments appending from the forehead and touching the upper part
of the nose,
22 “The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and
the crisping pins,” The changeable suits of apparel; rather, the festival robes
(Revised Version), or the full-dress suits; i.e. those worn upon grand occasions,
and then put off and set aside. The mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping-pins;
rather, the upper petticoats, the wraps, and the purses. An inner and an outer tunic
or petticoat were commonly worn by females of the higher class in the East.
The inner tunic was a simple linen vest; but the outer was generally of a better
material, and richly ornamented. Outside this, a sort of wrap, or cloak,
was worn occasionally (see Ruth 3:15). Purses were, no doubt, carried by
wealthy persons of both sexes; but their mention in this list does not seem
very appropriate. Perhaps toilet-bags of some kind or other are intended
(see II Kings 5:23).
23 “The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.”
The glasses; rather, the mirrors. In ancient times these were not made of
glass, but of some metal which took a high polish. Most commonly, the
material seems to have been bronze. Many such mirrors have been found
small size, intended to be carried in the hand, and have for that purpose a
metal or a wooden handle, which is sometimes highly artistic. The fine linen;
rather, the muslin robes. Sedin, the Hebrew word used, is probably a corruption
or analogue of sindin, the Greek name for Indian fabrics. It is only used here and
and the scarfs. The word translated" hood" is nearly the same as that which
designates the headdress of the high priest in Exodus (Exodus 28:4,37,39;
a "turban" (see note on Exodus 28:4). The other word, here translated
"vail," occurs only in this place and Song of Solomon 5:7. Its exact meaning
is uncertain; but it can scarcely be a veil; since "veils" have been already
mentioned (v. 19).
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.”
Stink; rather, rottenness, as translated in ch.5:24 (compare the cognate verb
in Leviticus 26:39). Instead of a girdle a rent. So Lowth and Kay; but most
moderns prefer the meaning given by the Septuagint and Vulgate, "instead
of a girdle, a rope." The word used occurs only in this place. Instead of
well-set hair baldness (compare above, v. 17). By "well-set hair" seems to
be meant "hair arranged with such exactness and order as to look like a
work of art." The exact arrangement of the hair is very remarkable, both
in the Egyptian and the Assyrian sculptures. Instead of such elaborate
attempts to improve their looks, the daughters of
pluck their hair out by the roots, or shave it off, in mourning. A girding of
This meaning is now generally acknowledged, the sense of "burning" being
the cognate noun used in Exodus 21:25. The" burning" intended is probably
branding by a barbarous enemy (see Herod., 7:233; 'Hist. Tamerlau.,' p. 320).
25 “Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.”
Thy men; rather, thy people; i.e. the inhabitants of
Note here the first distinct statement that the coming visitation will be one of war.
26 “And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall
sit upon the ground.” Her gates. The sudden change of person is common
in Oriental poetry. Shall lament and mourn. On account of their destruction,
Conquerors could not do more than break breaches in the walls of a town,
but they carefully destroyed the gates. Being desolate; or, emptied - plundered
of everything, and so far "cleansed" from her abominations. Shall sit
2:10). So in the coin of Vespasian, the
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