Isaiah 22:4

ESV Therefore I said: “Look away from me; let me weep bitter tears; do not labor to comfort me concerning the destruction of the daughter of my people.”
NIV Therefore I said, 'Turn away from me; let me weep bitterly. Do not try to console me over the destruction of my people.'
NASB Therefore I say, 'Look away from me, Let me weep bitterly, Do not try to comfort me concerning the destruction of the daughter of my people.'
CSB Therefore I said, "Look away from me! Let me weep bitterly! Do not try to comfort me about the destruction of my dear people."
NLT That’s why I said, 'Leave me alone to weep; do not try to comfort me. Let me cry for my people as I watch them being destroyed.'
KJV Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.

What does Isaiah 22:4 mean?

The people of Jerusalem seem to be in full party mode. The tightly packed city is full of celebration. Commentators say this is either because they escaped the siege of the Assyrians, in 701 BC, or because they don't know about Isaiah's vision of Jerusalem's upcoming destruction in 586 BC (Isaiah 22:1–2).

In either interpretation, the prophet refuses to join in on these celebrations. He tells the people to leave him alone. He wants to be left to mourn for his people. He doesn't want to be comforted about the destruction. He may be overcome with sorrow about the finality of the suffering and loss to come. Or perhaps Isaiah is gripped with sadness about all who have recently died at the hands of the Assyrians. This, even though the people of Jerusalem escaped in the end.

Ecclesiastes 3 says that there is a time for mourning and a time for celebration (Ecclesiastes 3:4). Isaiah tells the people of Jerusalem that they do not know what time it is. If they could see what he saw, they would be in mourning. Even more, they might be in repentance, bowing before the Lord in gratitude and in prayer for future salvation.
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