Isaiah chapter 3

English Standard Version

1For behold, the Lord GOD of hosts is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah support and supply, all support of bread, and all support of water; 2the mighty man and the soldier, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder, 3the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counselor and the skillful magician and the expert in charms. 4And I will make boys their princes, and infants shall rule over them. 5And the people will oppress one another, every one his fellow and every one his neighbor; the youth will be insolent to the elder, and the despised to the honorable. 6For a man will take hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying: “You have a cloak; you shall be our leader, and this heap of ruins shall be under your rule”; 7in that day he will speak out, saying: “I will not be a healer; in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; you shall not make me leader of the people.” 8For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the LORD, defying his glorious presence. 9For the look on their faces bears witness against them; they proclaim their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves. 10Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds. 11Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him. 12My people—infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, your guides mislead you and they have swallowed up the course of your paths. 13The LORD has taken his place to contend; he stands to judge peoples. 14The LORD will enter into judgment with the elders and princes of his people: “It is you who have devoured the vineyard, the spoil of the poor is in your houses. 15What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor?” declares the Lord GOD of hosts. 16The LORD said: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go, tinkling with their feet, 17therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will lay bare their secret parts. 18In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; 20the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21the signet rings and nose rings; 22the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.
New International Version

New American Standard Bible

1For behold, the Lord God of armies is going to remove from Jerusalem and Judah Both supply and support, the entire supply of bread And the entire supply of water; 2The mighty man and the warrior, The judge and the prophet, The diviner and the elder, 3The captain of fifty and the esteemed person, The counselor and the expert artisan, And the skillful enchanter. 4And I will make mere boys their leaders, And mischievous children will rule over them, 5And the people will be oppressed, Each one by another, and each one by his neighbor; The youth will assault the elder, And the contemptible person will assault the one honored. 6When a man lays hold of his brother in his father’s house, saying, 'You have a cloak, you shall be our ruler! And these ruins will be under your authority,' 7He will protest on that day, saying, 'I will not be your healer, For in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; You should not appoint me ruler of the people.' 8For Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen, Because their speech and their actions are against the Lord, To rebel against His glorious presence. 9 The expression of their faces testifies against them, And they display their sin like Sodom; They do not even conceal it. Woe to them! For they have done evil to themselves. 10Say to the righteous that it will go well for them, For they will eat the fruit of their actions. 11Woe to the wicked! It will go badly for him, For what he deserves will be done to him. 12My people! Their oppressors treat them violently, And women rule over them. My people! Those who guide you lead you astray And confuse the direction of your paths. 13The Lord arises to contend, And stands to judge the people. 14The Lord enters into judgment with the elders and leaders of His people, 'It is you who have devoured the vineyard; The goods stolen from the poor are in your houses. 15What do you mean by crushing My people And oppressing the face of the poor?' Declares the Lord God of armies. 16Moreover, the Lord said, 'Because the daughters of Zion are haughty And walk with heads held high and seductive eyes, And go along with mincing steps And jingle the anklets on their feet, 17The Lord will afflict the scalp of the daughters of Zion with scabs, And the Lord will make their foreheads bare.'
Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

What does Isaiah chapter 3 mean?

Isaiah 3 describes more of what the Lord will take away from the people of Judah and Jerusalem in response to their faithlessness to Him. This includes qualified men and all the expensive adornments of beauty worn by women.

The previous chapter ended with a warning from Isaiah to the people: Stop trusting men to provide for and save you. They are one breath away from death (Isaiah 2:22).

Now Isaiah shows the problem with trusting in men. The Lord is going to take away all the powerful men and soldiers from Judah. As well as the judges, prophets, military leaders, counselors, and even the occult magicians and charms experts (Isaiah 3:1–3). When the Lord's judgment falls, in the form of invading armies, every man of substance will be killed or carried off.

The leaders left behind will be young, inexperienced, and weak (Isaiah 3:4). In the power vacuum that follows, the people will turn on each other, with the strong oppressing the poor and the old (Isaiah 3:5). Every person will fend for themselves. The people will try to convince any man with a cloak to become their leader (Isaiah 3:6). Overwhelmed, those elected will refuse the job (Isaiah 3:7).

Why will this happen? The people have been defying the Lord to His face. They sin boldly and out in the open. Isaiah says woe to them for they brought this upon themselves. The righteous will benefit from their good choices, but the wicked will get the same vile treatment they have given to others (Isaiah 3:8–12).

The Lord stands, as if in court, to present His charges against Israel's leaders. They are guilty of refusing the right path that Israel should be following. Instead of helping to provide for God's people, these selfish leaders have taken the food and belongings from the poor and have abused the needy (Isaiah 3:13–15).

Next, the Lord brings charges against the wealthy, haughty women of Jerusalem and Judah. Instead of being humble before the Lord because of their sin, they hold their heads high and constantly look around with seductive eyes. The Lord will take away the glory of their hair, leaving their heads bald and scabbing. He will strip them of their fancy clothes and leave them shamed and naked (Isaiah 3:16–17).

Isaiah provides a lengthy list of the clothes, jewelry, and accessories worn and carried by the rich women of his day. He says the Lord will take away everything from their anklets to their mirrors, from their pendant earrings to their occultic amulets (Isaiah 3:18–23). When judgment comes, their perfume will be replaced by stench, their fine belts with rough ropes, their styled hair with baldness, and their beauty with the brands of their enemies (Isaiah 3:24).

Speaking next of Jerusalem as a woman, Isaiah writes that her men will die in battle leaving her unprotected (Isaiah 3:25). The enemy will carry off everything and everyone of value. This is likely a reference to the eventual conquest of Jerusalem and the captivity of the people (2 Kings 24:14). This would leave Jerusalem's remnants to mourn while she sits empty and broken on a hill (Isaiah 3:26).
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