Much of the prophecy or Isaiah 2-5 (which chapters compile a single prophetic utterence) parralell closely the prophecy of chapter 1; this prophecy (chapters 2-5) covers much of the same ground with a slightly different perspective. With that being the case, chapter 3 covers quite comprehensively the judgment on Judah and Jerusalem for their rejection of Messiah. This prophecy is written by Isaiah to Judah, and Jerusalem (Is. 2:1), i.e. the spiritual rulers of Israel, and their place of rulership. In Isaiah’s day, the nation of Judah was seperated from the nation of Israel; Israel had forsaken worship of the One True God via the covenant of Abraham, and the Law of Moses. Judah was figuratively (and quite literally at the time) the elect who maintained the temple worship – in Jerusalem. Isaiah’s prophecy, however, would be aplied to the future in a time when the nation was, again whole (in fact, as I discussed in commentary of the previous verses, the fact that the nation was a unified Israel at the comming of Messiah was necessary to show that God completely fulfilled the promise of the Old Covenant, in order that He could supercede it with the last days Messianic Covenant: the spiritual covenant of Jesus Christ).
Isaiah is prophesying to the future (for him) Judah, and Jerusalem of the last days (which began at Christ’s 1st coming, and ends when Christ returns); as mentioned, the portion of this prophecy found in chapter 3 is about the judgment that follows Jerusalem’s rejection of Messiah. It is astounding how specifically these prophecies (of Is. 3) were fulfilled in the historic destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (for a specific historical account see Josephus’ ‘Wars of the Jews,’ which historical account I will be referencing quite a bit in this post, as this chapter specifically predicts the days following Jerusalem’s rejection of Messiah). In Matthew 23, Jesus specifically decreed the judgment which Isaiah had already predicted in this chapter, declaring of Jerusalem, and its rulers (the Sanhedrin) should be left desolate until such time as they recognized their Messiah (Matt 23:38,39). Jesus further declared that after the desolation of Jerusalem, the Gospel of THE KINGDOM (that is the kingdom of God, not of Israel – see prior post commentary) would be preached to all nations before the ‘day of the Lord’ (i.e. the return of Christ) (Matt 24:14). Interestingly enough, this is how Isaiah started this prophecy (see Is. 2:2-4), declaring the nations would flock to Christ’s kingdom.
Jesus also specifically warns His disciples that when the last days ‘abomination of desolation’ should come, we must FLEE from Judah, and not look back (Matt 24:15-21). Some have claimed that the time Jesus spoke of here was already fulfilled and that this prophecy of Jesus meant Pompei’s burnning swine in the temple, however, that occurred before Christ’s coming (Pompei invaded the temple before the time of Herod the great whereas it was Titus who was the final conqueror of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. which Christ prophesied in Matt 23 (in fact, Titus did not want to destroy the temple, it was the madness of the rebels in the city which caused the temple to burn despite Titus’ efforts to preserve the religion of the Jews) again, see ‘Wars of the Jews’ by Josephus). In Matt 24, Jesus is prophesying of the days before His return, and in that context (after He has already declared Jerusalem would be left desolate) He warns His disciples to FLEE FROM Judah (wherein is Jerusalem). Why then, is there such a fixation on flocking TO Israel in our day? The sanhedrin is attempting to replace the UN with a world council of nations to meet in Jerusalem in the very days about which Jesus refers when He warns us to flee Judah. But I digress; the words of Isaiah the prophet came to pass exactly, so shall the words of Christ (as history and Matthew 23 already proved).
Isaiah 3 reveals the same judgment upon Jerusalem which Jesus decreed in Matthew 23; chapter 4 affirms the elect who follow Jesus Messiah, and chapter 5 largely summarizes the prophecy.
The text, itself, will be in italics; my commentary un-italicized, and in [brackets] wherever inserted into the text. Any emphasis (bold, or underlined) by me.
1 For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water.
All of the sustenance of help from God will be removed; His provision, and blessing. The authority of the rulers (the stay, and the staff), and the provision of His Word (stay of bread), and His Spirit (stay of water). We must primarily understand that this speaks of spiritual drought, however, it also speaks of the literal physical drought. In the siege of Jerusalem the drought was so severe that people would literally attack and pull food from people’s throats as they ate it.
2 The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient,
3 The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.
Jesus pronounced judgment upon the rulers of the city (Matt 23:1-36). When the Romans came to conquer Israel, the leaders’ counsel was despised (according to Josephuse, King Agrippa (before whom Paul had spoken (Acts 25 & 26) had made speeches to the unruly rebels not to make war with the Romans); rebellion after rebellion led to the destruction of the leaders, the despots, and heads of the zealots then became the targets and victims of Rome.
4 And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.
5 And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.
These things took place at the destruction of Jerusalem; as mentioned many rebels and despots rose up – in fact, speaking of a literal breaking of the stay of bread and water, Josephus records that two rebel groups fighting in Jerusalem (before the Romans even reached it) burned the cities food and grain storage to starve eachother out. Rebellion from leadership was the first and primary instogator of the city’s destruction, and inexperienced thugs and reprobates became the terrible rulers of the city.
6 When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand:
7 In that day shall he swear, saying, I will not be an healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: make me not a ruler of the people.
According to Josephus, this literally happened as well; the famine (again, before even the Romans conquered) became severe to a degree that is shameful to describe; the people begged anyone with clothes to take some semblance of authority because the rebels who had taken charge were so evil they destroyed their own people. Especially those who appeared to have anything (food or clothing) were harrassed raided, and killed.
8 For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory.
Again, this is the direct judgment that Jesus pronounced at the end of Matthew 23; and its wording is accurate of their treatment of Jesus: their tongue and their doings were against Him: they conspired and acted out murder against Him.
9 The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.
‘They declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not’ it is interesting that at the judgment of Christ, Pilate gave the Jewish leaders the option between Jesus and Barrabas for release. Pilate had declared that he found Jesus innocent, the sanhedrin had also failed to even bring a charge against Him (John 18:29 & 30). When Pilate brought up Barrabas it was a political tactic; Barrabas was a notoriojs criminal whom EVERYONE knew was guilty. In fact, he was guilty of everything they tried to condemn Jesus for AND MORE. If they chose to release Barrabas, they would prove to everyone that they deliberately acquitted a guilty man in order to kill a man who had been declared innocent by the judge (Luke 23:22). In broad daylight, and in front of not only their own nation, but also the entire Roman world theh declared their intent to murder Messiah. Another interesting historical (if not biblical) point made by Josephus was that one of the murderous rebel groups in Jerusalem at the time of the siege wore women’s clothing.
10 Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
Those who seek the Lord are not subject to the judgement of the city, and can escape it.
11 Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.
Interestingly, the people seemed to go completely mad (as according to Josephus’ account); they were several times offered terms of surrender by the Romans, and Vespatian, and Titus seemed fully reluctent to completely destroy Jerusalem, but the rebels who owned the city fought visciously with eachother and with the Romans, even killing any who they suspected would surrender to Rome.
To continue reading: Isaiah 3:12-26