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Isaiah 30:1–17 Judah Rejects Its Prophets and Walks with Egypt
Isaiah gave this prophecy in view of the mighty and cruel Assyrians, who were at war, conquering nations and kingdoms. During this time period, members of the Kingdom of Judah) sought deliverance from Egypt and its armies rather than from the Lord. Thus, the Lord rebuked them for taking “refuge in the stronghold of Pharaoh” and seeking “shelter in the shadow of Egypt” (30:2).
The Lord called them “stubborn children” and stated that they sinned when they sought Egypt’s help (“they add sin to sin”). What was the sin? The Lord states that they formed “an alliance that is not of [His] Spirit” (30:1) and they went “down to Egypt without asking at [His] mouth” (30:2). Therefore, Pharaoh’s stronghold will be Judah’s “shame” and Egypt their “insult” (30:3).
Isaiah prophesies about beasts in the Negev (the desert region between Judah and Egypt); he refers to the pack animals (“donkeys” and “camels”) that are carrying Judah’s “riches” and “treasures.” Judah was unwisely trying to buy Egypt’s protection from the Assyrian army, but as the Lord declares, “Egypt is worthless! They will help in vain!” (30:7).
Its Arrogance Has Ceased! The Hebrew is difficult, and scholars present different views regarding the meaning of these words.
seers . . . propets. Isaiah uses two different Hebrew words to denote “seers.” The first word (ro’eh) literally means “one who sees” and the second word (chozeh) denotes “one who has visions” or “prophets.”
Isaiah records (“write it on a tablet/inscribe it on a book”) Judah’s rebelliousness—Judah rejected the Lord’s seers and the Lord Himself (“cause the Holy One of Israel to cease before us”).
The Lord promises disaster to Judah for rejecting Him and His seers.
One thousand before the threat of one. When God’s people are wicked, a thousand flee before one enemy (compare Leviticus 26:17), a reversal of when they are righteous—“And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword” (see Leviticus 26:8).
Isaiah 30:18–26 God’s Grace and Compassion for Zion
Whereas the previous section presented woe and misery to the disobedient, this section gives prominence to God’s grace and compassion to the obedient. Isaiah addresses the “people in Zion” (30:18) and prophesies that they will receive a multitude of marvelous blessings: they “will weep no longer” (30:19), God will hear and answer their prayers (30:19), He will be their Teacher who will show them the way to walk (30:20–21), He will bless the soil so that it will increase its produce for the sake of His people (30:22–23), and He will heal their wounds (30:26).
grant you grace. For emphasis, this expression is repeated twice (see also 30:19). God’s grace for His children is an important Old Testament teaching (Psalm 84:11; Ezra 9:8). Jesus is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). blessed are all who wait for Him. Our timetable is not always the same as the Lord’s, but we are blessed as we wait for Him to fulfill His promises. O people in Zion, who dwell at Jerusalem. Isaiah artistically uses language that pertains to his immediate audience as well as to God’s people in a future time. In the contemporary view, Isaiah is addressing members of the kingdom of Judah in Jerusalem; in the distant future, he addresses Zion of the last days and beyond. For example, “surely you will weep no longer” calls to mind Isaiah 65:19 and the Millennium.
bread of adversity/water of oppression. When we are disobedient, God gives us afflictions, as common as bread and water, so that we will humble ourselves before Him; then He, our Teacher, “will no longer hide Himself” and our “eyes will see” Him. In fact, the Lord will whisper in our ears, “This is the way; walk in it” and carefully direct us to turn right or to turn left, meaning, He will direct us.
defile your idols. Throughout their history, both the kingdoms of Israel and Judah had defiled themselves with idolatry; but Isaiah prophesies that in a future day, the Lord’s people will defile their idols and “cast them away as menstrual cloth” (see Leviticus 15:33; 20:18), and they will say to their idols, “Go out!”
Wickedness is often associated with the earth’s infertility and drought (24:4; Deuteronomy 11:17), but righteousness brings blessings and plenty, including “rich and fat” produce, well-fed beasts who work the ground, and an abundance of water flowing from the mountains and hills.
light of the sun will be sevenfold. This prophecy pertains to an increase of the Lord’s glory and light upon His covenant people and the wonderful glory and blessings of the Millennium. Lord binds up the brokenness of His people. “His people” refers to God’s covenant people, those who make covenants with the Lord. The Lord speaks about the power of Jesus’s Atonement to heal both our physical and spiritual illnesses.
Isaiah 30:27–33 Joy for the Righteous During God’s Judgments
Isaiah’s prophecy in this section of judgments and destruction has both an ancient fulfillment (the destruction of the Assyrians, 30:31) and a distant future fulfillment, when the Lord will destroy the “nations” and “peoples” at His glorious Second Coming (30:28). Indeed, Assyria is a symbol of the wicked nations in the last days. Isaiah prophesies of “burning,” “devouring fire” (twice), “destruction,” “indignation of anger,” “tempest and hailstones,” “stream of brimstone,” and more. Meanwhile, the righteous, Zion’s inhabitants, will receive the Lord’s protection during this time, and they will sing, rejoice with their hearts, and attend the temple (30:29).
Lord comes from a distance. From the distant heavens. burning/devouring fire/overflowing stream. These terms express the means by which God will destroy the wicked. Other terms in the section also describe burning: “flame of devouring fire” (30:30), “burning place,” “pyre . . . with much fire and wood,” “stream of brimstone, sets fire to it” (30:33).
Your song . . . rejoicing of the heart. During the Lord’s judgments against the wicked, the righteous will peacefully sing sacred hymns, “as on the night when a festival is sanctified” (meaning the sacred festivals of the Law of Moses). The musical instruments—flute, tambourines, and harps (see verses 29 and 32)—are representative of the joy and peace associated with music. to come to the mountain of the Lord. During God’s judgments, righteous Saints will attend the temple and worship the Lord there. to the Rock of Israel. When we attend the temple, we are approaching the “Rock of Israel,” who is Jehovah. Finding joy during God’s judgments is God’s gift to us. 1 John 4:17 states, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment.”
These verses provide a description of the Lord’s judgments; key words include “devouring fire,” “cloudburst,” “tempest,” “hailstones,” “He smites,” “stroke . . . the Lord lays upon them,” and “He will fight.”
The Hebrew in this verse presents difficult and obscure forms.
burning place was arranged long ago. God laid plans long ago to destroy the wicked, rebellious, and unrepentant souls. Its pyre was made deep and wide. The destruction of the wicked is symbolically like a funeral ceremony, where the corpse is formally burned on a pyre. breath of the Lord. Wicked souls will be destroyed by the Lord as easily as one breathes air.
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