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TitleIsaiah 3
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsParry, Donald W.
EditorHalverson, Taylor
Book TitleOld Testament Minute: Isaiah
PublisherBook of Mormon Central
CitySpringville, UT
KeywordsBible; Isaiah (Book); Isaiah (Prophet); Old Testament

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Isaiah 3

Isaiah 3:1–12 Woe to the Wicked! Hope for the Righteous!

Isaiah prophesies anarchy and ruin to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah, because of their considerable sins (see verses 8–12), which are likened to those sins committed in Sodom before its destruction (Genesis 19:1–29; Ezekiel 16:49). But “to the righteous,” Isaiah states, “It is well” (3:10). This prophecy was likely fulfilled when the Babylonians conquered Judah and Jerusalem (see 2 Kings 24–25) and removed their food supply as well as their leadership, skilled workers, and others. The words in brackets are from the JST and 2 Nephi 13.

Isaiah 3:1

supply and the support. Isaiah skillfully employs here a feminine form (Hebrew mash‘enah) and a masculine form (Hebrew mash‘en) of the same word to emphasize the totality of the Lord’s removal of food. supply of bread/supply of water. The Lord’s judgment on the inhabitants of Judah constituted of the removal of bread (food) and water, or physical sustenance. Bread and water here may also pertain to a spiritual famine, the removal of the bread of life (John 6:33, 48) and living water (John 4:6–14; 7:37–38), referring to the Lord.

Isaiah 3:2–3

warrior . . . caster of spells. Isaiah lists eleven categories of individuals—that Israel considered to have honor and status—that will be removed from Judah (note that “prophet,” identified in verse 2 refers to a false prophet). Their removal symbolizes the mayhem that will exist in Judah and Jerusalem.

Isaiah 3:4–5

The result of the lack of food and water and the downfall of the community’s icons resulted in anarchy. Thus “young people” became Judah’s leaders, and “babes” ruled “over them.” Everyone was “oppressed,” and the young disrespected those who were once honored.

Isaiah 3:6–7

With the loss of food and water and because of anarchic conditions, people are now going to relatives or friends and asking for food, clothing, and leadership.

Isaiah 3:8–12

These verses present a list of the sins of the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.

Isaiah 3:8

their tongues and their deeds are against the Lord. The wicked speak against the Lord and their actions are against Him.

Isaiah 3:9

The look of their faces testifies against them. The very countenance of evil persons reveals their guilt (see also Genesis 4:5–6; 3 Nephi 13:16). their sin is like Sodom. They declare it; they do not conceal it. This statement reveals three items: the wicked were committing sins that recall those of Sodom, which was destroyed because of its wickedness; the wicked were broadcasting their sins to others; and the wicked did not attempt to hide their sins from others. In short, they glorified their ungodly lifestyles with a lack of shame.

Isaiah 3:10

Say to the righteous that it is well. During the judgments against the wicked, the Lord promises that matters will be well for the righteous and “they will eat the fruit of their deeds,” perhaps meaning “the fruits of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 9:10; Hebrews 12:11; Galatians 5:22–23).

Isaiah 3:11

Woe to the wicked! The two “woes” (verses 9, 11) indicate that trouble, sorrow, or affliction will come to the wicked because of their sins.

Isaiah 3:12

My people—your guides cause you to err. Guides, including government officials, false religious leaders, and others (see 3:2–3), beguiled inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem, leading them into paths of evil.

Isaiah 3:13–4:1 Judgment against the Daughters of Zion

This section continues the theme of the previous passage (3:1–12). Isaiah presents a courtroom scene, where the Lord is both the attorney and the judge (3:13). The Lord first makes a judicial declaration that the elders and leaders of Judah had shamelessly plundered the poor (3:13–14). Then the Lord judges the “daughters of Zion” for their haughtiness (3:16); the women were wearing fine ornaments and ostentatious clothing, which likely was purchased after the elders and leaders plundered the poor. The Lord then pronounces a judgment on the women (3:17–24), followed by a judgment on the men (3:25).

Isaiah 3:13

Lord takes His place to plead a cause/judge peoples. Jesus Christ is both an attorney or advocate (1 John 2:1; Doctrine and Covenants 45:3–5; 29:5; 32:3) and judge (Mosiah 3:10; Moroni 10:34; Moses 6:57). consumed the vineyard. The house of Israel (5:7; Psalm 80:8–14) plundered the poor, perhaps by robbery, high taxation or assessments, booty taken during wartime, or by other means. Elsewhere, in his writings, Isaiah looks after the poor (for example, 10:2; 11:4; 26:6; 32:7; 58:7).

Isaiah 3:14

You crush My people/grind the faces of the poor. Referring to actual physical punishments? Or economic hardships? “Grind the faces,” as if between two millstones (not literal), refers to how the leaders were treating the poor.

Isaiah 3:15

Lord of Hosts. Generally refers to the Lord’s hosts of angels.

Isaiah 3:16

daughters of Zion. (see also verse 17). May refer to both males and females, during Isaiah’s time or in the last days. flirtatious eyes/strutting steps/jingling anklets. Seductively and provocatively.

Isaiah 3:17

Lord will bring scabs on the heads . . . lay bare their private parts. These expressions indicate the Lord’s judgments on the daughters of Zion; the judgments may speak of physical blighting or spiritual ruination, meaning shame and disgrace.

Isaiah 3:18–23

anklets/brow bands/crescents/ear pendants, etc. A few of the Hebrew words that deal with ornaments, jewelry, and clothing are rare and their precise meaning is uncertain. Some of these ornaments were likely charms or amulets (thought to have magic powers against evil or disease).

Isaiah 3:18

Lord will take away the glory. The sins of the daughters of Zion were twofold: (1) their ostentatious clothing and luxurious items signified “glory” to them, but God should have been their glory (“your God is your glory,” Isaiah 60:19); and the temple was supposed to be their glory (“strength and glory are in His sanctuary,” Psalm 96:6; author’s translation). And (2) their ostentatious things were probably acquired as a result of the taxes, assessments, or plundering of the poor. The daughters of Zion benefitted by the crushing of the poor and the grinding of their faces.

Isaiah 3:24

burning instead of beauty. DSS Isaiah reads “shame instead of beauty.”

Isaiah 3:25

sword/war. The Lord continues to pronounce judgments on His people; “sword,” here, symbolizes various weapons of war.

Isaiah 3:26

{Zion’s} entrances will lament, . . . she will sit on the ground. The judgments are so harsh that Zion’s entrances, speaking poetically, will lament and mourn; and Zion herself (again symbolically) will sit on the ground (a symbol for mourning).

Isaiah 4:1

seven women . . . Take away our disgrace. Why will seven women “grasp one man”? Because many men will be killed in the war (see 3:25), thus leaving fewer males for the union of marriage. The number seven may be symbolic; it may signify multiple women, or it may signal a literal number. Could this passage also speak symbolically concerning the Lord (“one man”) and His covenant people (“seven women”), whose disgrace will be taken away when they are called by His name?

Scripture Reference

Isaiah 3:1
Isaiah 4:1