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Isaiah 3:1-8

Context
A Coming Leadership Crisis

3:1 Look, the sovereign Lord who commands armies 1 

is about to remove from Jerusalem 2  and Judah

every source of security, including 3 

all the food and water, 4 

3:2 the mighty men and warriors,

judges and prophets,

omen readers and leaders, 5 

3:3 captains of groups of fifty,

the respected citizens, 6 

advisers and those skilled in magical arts, 7 

and those who know incantations.

3:4 The Lord says, 8  “I will make youths their officials;

malicious young men 9  will rule over them.

3:5 The people will treat each other harshly;

men will oppose each other;

neighbors will fight. 10 

Youths will proudly defy the elderly

and riffraff will challenge those who were once respected. 11 

3:6 Indeed, a man will grab his brother

right in his father’s house 12  and say, 13 

‘You own a coat –

you be our leader!

This heap of ruins will be under your control.’ 14 

3:7 At that time 15  the brother will shout, 16 

‘I am no doctor, 17 

I have no food or coat in my house;

don’t make me a leader of the people!’”

3:8 Jerusalem certainly stumbles,

Judah falls,

for their words and their actions offend the Lord; 18 

they rebel against his royal authority. 19 

1 tn Heb “the master, the Lord who commands armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts].” On the title “the Lord who commands armies,” see the note at 1:9.

2 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

3 tn Heb “support and support.” The masculine and feminine forms of the noun are placed side-by-side to emphasize completeness. See GKC 394 §122.v.

4 tn Heb “all the support of food, and all the support of water.”

5 tn Heb “elder” (so ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV); NCV “older leaders.”

6 tn Heb “the ones lifted up with respect to the face.” For another example of the Hebrew idiom, see 2 Kgs 5:1.

7 tn Heb “and the wise with respect to magic.” On the meaning of חֲרָשִׁים (kharashim, “magic”), see HALOT 358 s.v. III חרשׁ. Some understand here a homonym, meaning “craftsmen.” In this case, one could translate, “skilled craftsmen” (cf. NIV, NASB).

8 tn The words “the Lord says” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The prophet speaks in vv. 1-3 (note the third person reference to the Lord in v. 1), but here the Lord himself announces that he will intervene in judgment. It is unclear where the Lord’s words end and the prophet’s pick up again. The prophet is apparently speaking again by v. 8, where the Lord is referred to in the third person. Since vv. 4-7 comprise a thematic unity, the quotation probably extends through v. 7.

9 tn תַעֲלוּלִים (taalulim) is often understood as an abstract plural meaning “wantonness, cruelty” (cf. NLT). In this case the chief characteristic of these leaders is substituted for the leaders themselves. However, several translations make the parallelism tighter by emending the form to עוֹלְלִים (’olÿlim, “children”; cf. ESV, NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV, NRSV). This emendation is unnecessary for at least two reasons. The word in the MT highlights the cruelty or malice of the “leaders” who are left behind in the wake of God’s judgment. The immediate context makes clear the fact that they are mere youths. The coming judgment will sweep away the leaders, leaving a vacuum which will be filled by incompetent, inexperienced youths.

10 tn Heb “man against man, and a man against his neighbor.”

11 tn Heb “and those lightly esteemed those who are respected.” The verb רָהַב (rahav) does double duty in the parallelism.

12 tn Heb “[in] the house of his father” (so ASV); NIV “at his father’s home.”

13 tn The words “and say” are supplied for stylistic reasons.

14 tn Heb “your hand”; NASB “under your charge.”

sn The man’s motives are selfish. He tells his brother to assume leadership because he thinks he has some wealth to give away.

15 tn Or “in that day” (KJV).

16 tn Heb “he will lift up [his voice].”

17 tn Heb “wrapper [of wounds]”; KJV, ASV, NRSV “healer.”

18 tn Heb “for their tongue and their deeds [are] to the Lord.”

19 tn Heb “to rebel [against] the eyes of his majesty.” The word כָּבוֹד (kavod) frequently refers to the Lord’s royal splendor that is an outward manifestation of his authority as king.



TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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