Isaiah 22:3

ESV All your leaders have fled together; without the bow they were captured. All of you who were found were captured, though they had fled far away.
NIV All your leaders have fled together; they have been captured without using the bow. All you who were caught were taken prisoner together, having fled while the enemy was still far away.
NASB All your rulers have fled together, And have been captured without the bow; All of you who were found were taken captive together, Though they had fled far away.
CSB All your rulers have fled together, captured without a bow. All your fugitives were captured together; they had fled far away.
NLT All your leaders have fled. They surrendered without resistance. The people tried to slip away, but they were captured, too.
KJV All thy rulers are fled together, they are bound by the archers: all that are found in thee are bound together, which have fled from far.

What does Isaiah 22:3 mean?

This continues a description of a terrible event for Judah or Jerusalem (Isaiah 22:1–2). Bible scholars and historians differ about what exact event he mentions. This incident could be the failed siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrians in 701 BC. It may have been the successful siege by the Babylonians in 586 BC. Or, perhaps, some other moment in Jerusalem's history.

Either way, Isaiah gives the people of Jerusalem reasons why they should be more sober before the Lord. The events described in this verse fit closely to the attempted escape by Judah's King Zedekiah. This ruler attempted to flee from the city and the Babylonians. He was indeed chased down and captured without a fight (2 Kings 25:1–7). It also somewhat fits what happened when the angel of the Lord wiped out the Assyrian army and spared Jerusalem in 701 BC (2 Kings 19:35). The leaders and important people all fled into the city and were captured inside of Jerusalem during the siege, though they did survive.
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