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Isaiah chapter 4

What does Isaiah chapter 4 mean?

Isaiah 4 begins with the end of Isaiah's prophecy from the previous chapter. He described how the proud and wealthy women of Jerusalem and Judah would be brought terribly low (Isaiah 3:16–24). This would include having their men killed and all their adornments taken from them. In fact, they would be left in reproach: as widows with no status in their community.

He concludes this thought by noting that when all the men of Judah have been killed or exiled, very few will remain in the land. Those that do remain will receive offers from seven women at a time to become their wives with no strings attached (Isaiah 4:1). In that era, men were expected to provide wives with food, resources, and other necessities. The situation Isaiah describes is so desperate that women want nothing more than a name and family and permanent place in the community.

Isaiah then turns back to where this section began in Isaiah 2. In Isaiah 2:1–5, he described the glorious time in Israel's far future when the Messiah would rule over Israel and the world from the mountain of the Lord in Jerusalem. Now Isaiah returns to that setting in this chapter to describe the Messiah as "the branch of the LORD" who is also the fruit of the land (Isaiah 4:2). This shall be the honor of the people of Israel.

Pictured now is a nation of Israelites dramatically changed from the unfaithful people he has been describing in the previous chapters. All those who have survived and remain in Jerusalem will be called holy, recorded for life. This will happen after the Lord has washed away all the sin of the people of Israel and Jerusalem has been cleansed. He will do this by a "spirit of judgment and spirit of burning", perhaps describing the judgment poured out on the Messiah on the cross for the sins of the world (Isaiah 4:2–4).

At that time, the Lord will create a canopy over Mount Zion, with a cloud for the day and smoke and fire for the night. This canopy of cloud and fire will serve as protection for God's people once and for all, so that neither sun or rain and storm can ever hurt them (Isaiah 4:5–6).
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