(When I taught my two year long Bible study on Isaiah, I used The Pulpit Commentary Volume 10: Isaiah edited by H.D.M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell to give me a starting point and rough outline of the material covered in the chapters. In this article, when you read the phrase “my commentary”, I am referring to this volume.)
In this chapter Isaiah prophecies regarding a future judgment against Judah, specifically against her capital city Jerusalem. The only sign of the God of grace and compassion given in this chapter is verse 10, when He promises that it will be well for the righteous.
Read Isaiah 3:1-3. ” — the Lord Almighty” Once more Isaiah is emphasizing the ruler, warrior aspects of God; the God of judgment.
” — supply and support”
Judah is not only going to lose her physical supplies (food and water), but also the support of her society, her men of any rank or station. Isaiah gives us a list of roles that were essential for a healthy, functional society of that time. If we were to work up a list for modern society today, it might read something like this:
The fireman, the policeman, the government official, the teacher, the pastor or priest, the soldier, the judge, the contractor and architect, the businessman
Imagine what our lives would be like if there was a war and all these people were suddenly gone. Judah didn’t have the luxury of having “exemptions” for certain positions like we do, nor did they have the luxury of allowing their women to be trained for these positions, allowing society to survive and function while the majority of men went off (and died) in war. Isaiah’s predictions regarding what is going to happen after all these prominent men are gone follow quite logically: there will be chaos and anarchy.
Read Isaiah 3:4-5. There will be no men left of the ranking class, so their sons will be prematurely put into positions of authority, positions for which they are not ready. They will be weak and ineffectual, perhaps because they will act childishly, and the people that they are supposed to be governing won’t respect them.
There will be no one to keep the rowdier elements in line ‘” no police force or home guard ‘” no mature men of character to step in and prevent abuse and oppression.
Think about it ‘” who is likely to stay home from battle? The women (which had no political power in that society), the young, the old, the infirm, and those of weak character (those afraid to fight.) A society without the support of strong men will fall and there will be no one to prevent the young or craven from abusing the old and infirm, or the few honorable people left. Those of lower stations in life will not respect the few authorities left over them. The elderly will no longer be respected by the young. It will not be a pleasant place to be.
Read Isaiah 3:6-7. There will be total anarchy and leaders will be chosen not on their abilities to lead but whether they have even the most minimal of the bare necessities, such as a cloak. To even have a cloak will be a sign of wealth at that time.
But who would want to be a leader in such circumstances? With no other strong men to help you lead, no supplies, no shelter (the city will be a heap of ruins), no nothing. It would be discouraging, disheartening, and almost impossible to get anything done.
H.D.M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell (editors). The Pulpit Commentary Volume 10: Isaiah