Audible 0 editions. CD Audiobook 0 editions. Project Gutenberg 0 editions. Google Books — Loading Local Book Search. Popular covers. Is this you? Become a LibraryThing Author. What makes one crime more serious than another, and why? Recently added by. For more help see the Common Knowledge help page. It was customary in Isaiah's day for people to squeeze the puss out of a wound, to pull a cut together with a bandage, and to pour olive oil on sores to aid healing.
Isaiah moved from describing Israel as a sick and injured body to a desolate, conquered land vv. The description "daughter of Zion" v. He loves her, has committed himself to protecting her, and takes pains to guard her from all evil and danger. Many Israelite families lived in villages but built little shelters in their fields and camped there during the harvest season. After the harvest these little shacks looked pitiful, abandoned, useless, and deteriorating.
This is also the first reference in Isaiah to the remnant, the faithful few in Israel who formed a distinct group within the apostate nation. This remnant lit. The prophet laid out two alternatives for the people to choose between in relating to God in their pitiful condition. They could continue to rely on religious ritual cult to manipulate God vv. The choice was theirs vv.
They thought that going through the motions of worshipping God exactly as He specified satisfied Him. They forgot that God intended their ceremonies to be symbolic of their attitude toward Him. Their attitude to Him was more important than their flawless performance of worship rituals. Even their prayers would be ineffective if their attitude to God was not right v. We have the same problem today. This passage repeats descriptions of the Israelites' worship so often that the reader gets tired of them, just as God did. Hands full of bloodshed v.
His demands are short and simple in contrast to the elaborate rituals described above cf. Three negative commands relate to the past and five positive ones to the future. Washing v. Acts ; ; Titus Such social injustices, however, could only be corrected by a change of heart upon the part of individuals. The Lord now challenged Israel to a formal trial. In the light of Israel's condition vv.
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The Israelites could continue as they were and be destroyed, or submit to God's will and be blessed. If they were disposed to consent and obey, God would again bless them with fertility cf. If they decided to refuse and rebel, He would allow their enemies to defeat and destroy them. Behavioral change, the fruit of repentance, needed to demonstrate an attitude of repentance. It always does. While God's invitation to repent was genuine vv. The prophet bemoaned the depth of Israel's apostasy and announced that the Lord would have to purify His people in the furnace of affliction before they would become what He intended them to be.
The structural form of verses is palistrophic, with verses 23 and 24 forming the center and focal point of the chiasm. Spiritual rot had penetrated even the capital of Israel, and what marked Jerusalem characterized the whole nation. The people, seen in the personification of their capital, who had formerly been devoted to the Lord, had become unfaithful to Him by pursuing other gods. Former glories were now tarnished, and what was once strong was now weak.
The leaders of the nation, who formerly had been pure and valuable, were now adulterated and cheap. Rather than serving the people, they served themselves. Idolatry had led to social injustice, as it always does unless checked. Isaiah's unusual three-fold description of God as the sovereign Lord God of armies hosts , who is the Mighty God of Israel, boded ill for Judah. Isaiah crowded together more names of God in verse 24 than he did anywhere else cf. The specter of God arising to judge His people for their sins just mentioned is a fearful prospect cf.
God judges sin wherever He finds it, among pagans and among His own people. God would subject His people to fires of adversity, but only to purify them, not destroy them. Just rulers would emerge and the city would once again enjoy a reputation for righteousness and faithfulness to God.
This is the first allusion in Isaiah to a coming Judge who will establish justice and create righteous conditions, about whom the prophet revealed much more later. The restoration described here will find fulfillment in the millennial reign of Christ. Even though Zion a poetic synonym for Jerusalem will experience redemption by God's justice and righteousness vv. This is the first occurrence of "redemption" as well as "Zion" in Isaiah, both of which received considerable attention from this prophet. The Israelites had turned to objects of idolatry "oaks" and places of idolatry "gardens," v.
God had chosen Israel, but Israel had chosen a tree! It is impossible to turn from the Lord and not turn to an idol. God's people would feel betrayed because of their choice one day cf. Those who consider themselves strong and self-sufficient, as oaks and gardens, but rely on the creation rather than the Creator to sustain them—will wither and dry up v. Both they and their works will inevitably burn in the fires of God's judgment, like felled trees. This second major segment of the introduction to the book chs.
Thus the progress of thought is from the ideal to the real and back to the ideal. Probably one appears here to set off the prophecies that follow in chs. An almost identical prophecy appears in Mic. Perhaps Isaiah quoted Micah here, or Micah quoted Isaiah, or both of them quoted another prophet. The Hebrews regarded history as a series of days, the days of their lives.
The title of the Books of Chronicles means literally "the words of the days. Here, it must mean after His second coming, since these conditions did not follow His first coming. It never refers to the course of history immediately following the time being, but invariably indicates the furthest point in the history of this life—the point which lies on the outermost limits of the speaker's horizon.
The term "mountain" is sometimes a symbol of a kingdom, nation, authority, or rule elsewhere in the prophetic writings e. The ancients also regarded mountains as the homes of the gods. If Isaiah was using "mountain" as a figure of speech, he meant that Israel and her God would be the most highly exalted in the earth eventually. This will be the case during Messiah's earthly reign. The reference to "the mountain of the house of Yahweh " v. He may have meant that the actual mountain on which the temple stood would be thrust higher in elevation.
This may happen cf. There is no basis for equating "the mountain of the house of the L ORD " with Christianity, as some interpreters do. Israel's God would be recognized as the God, and she would be seen as the nation among nations. Under the Old Covenant, the Israelites made pilgrimages to Jerusalem three times a year, but in the future the entire world will go there. In that day, Yahweh's instruction will go forth from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth v.
We Gentiles must not, while giving them the curse, deny them their peculiar blessing by spiritualizing it. Jerusalem will be Messiah's capital city at this time. Not only will there be no more war, but people will no longer know how to practice war. Isaiah's description pictures a return to paradisiacal conditions cf.
The amillennial interpretation of this passage sees the church as fulfilling what Isaiah wrote of Jerusalem and Judah, and the gospel as going out to the whole world, as illustrated by the following quotation. From the recognition that God is the source of all good, that our needs and our destiny can be submitted to his judgment, and from the knowledge that he does all things well. Disarmament now is suicide because of man's greed and aggression. Nevertheless, modern people should trust in the Lord more than in their military power, as the next section emphasizes.
In contrast to the hopeful tone of the sections that precede and follow it, this one is hopeless. In contrast to the dignity of humanity there, Isaiah presented its folly here. This emphasis is a major one in Isaiah 1—39, and the prophet introduced it at this point. Many in his day—and this is still true today—preferred to trust in strong people, especially nations, rather than in the Lord. In view of what the nations will do eventually, Isaiah appealed to the house of Jacob Israel to do the same thing immediately, namely: walk in the Lord's light presence and truth.
Commit to following the Lord. This motivation is also applicable to present-day Christians cf. Virtually all the commentators recognized that this verse is transitional. Some make it the end of the previous section and others the beginning of the next. Several facets of Israel's national life, all evidences of self-sufficiency rather than trust in Yahweh, invited judgment cf. Contrast the nations that will seek the Lord in the future v. Israel had stopped living as a distinct people in the world, had adopted the ways of other nations, and had relied on them rather than on the Lord.
She had looked to the east first Assyria and then Babylonia for light rather than to the Lord, and had become like her despised enemies, the uncircumcised Philistines. King Uzziah's successful reign brought material prosperity to Judah, but this wealth had only encouraged Jewish materialism and neglect of God. Judah had accumulated these things to make herself secure, but she was only trusting in what she herself had made. Contrast the nations that will seek spiritual benefits v.
Forgiveness is unthinkable when people do these things v. Idolatry is seen as an expression of this drive by which man seeks to exalt himself. Verses are a poem on the nature and results of divine judgment. Note the repetition of key words and phrases at the beginnings and ends of the sections and subsections. This section breaks down as follows:. The demonstration that the Lord is exalted over every exalted thing vv.
The demonstration that the Lord is exalted and idols are exposed vv. Having boasted in earthly resources vv. Contrast the nations that the Lord will accept in the future v. How different God's appraisal of preaching!
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The Lord's day of reckoning v. The day of any one in Hebrew often means the day in which something memorable happens to him, or is done by him …" . Isaiah used nature and the works of man to symbolize people cf. Here several of these symbols represent the spiritual pride of Israel cf. Probably Isaiah and the other prophets had no idea of the lengthy time span that would intervene between those exiles and this later time of judgment. Though many of the predictions in happened when Assyria and Babylon attacked Israel and Judah, the passage looks ahead to a cataclysmic judgment on the whole world 'when He rises to shake the earth,' vv.
Here the similarity of Isaiah's description of the eschatological judgment is very close to the apostle John's in the Book of Revelation cf. When God acts in judgment, all attempts to glorify the creation over the Creator will appear vain. Valuable idols will be cast aside to the bats and mice and consigned to the dark, unattractive places where those creatures live. They are always our hard-won silver and gold. That's why we prize them. They are beautiful, but also contemptible.
Tolkien portrayed this in The Lord of the Rings. Everyone who wears the golden ring of power morphs into something weirdly subhuman, like Gollum, who cherishes it as 'My Precious. Tolkien understood that the key to life is not only what we lay hold of but also what we throw away. First, the very concept of the Lord's 'day' derives ultimately from the ancient Near East, where conquering kings would sometimes boast that they were able to consummate a campaign in a single day.
This section closes as it opened, with an exhortation, this one being negative. Isaiah called on his hearers to stop trusting in man. His life, after all, comes from God, who should be trusted cf. Human beings have no real value as objects of trust. Idolatry is but a result of man's self-glorification, not its cause. Human beings will never bring about Israel's glorious destiny.
Only God can and will do that. This verse, like verse 5, is transitional, and bridges the preceding proclamation of universal judgment with the following more specific judgment. This section gives particular examples of the general statements that precede it. Isaiah's point was that depending on people will not yield the glorious destiny of Israel depicted in The prophet used imagery to make his point rather than logical argumentation.
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The emphasis in this pericope is on the lack of qualified leaders and the consequent collapse of society that would result because God's people put their trust in people rather than in Him. The name "the Lord [sovereign] God of Hosts [the Almighty]" forms an inclusio around this section vv. Unless the greatness comes from within the community itself, a condition which is ultimately the result of trust in God, no great leaders will rise from it.
Instead, the leaders will merely reflect the spiritual poverty of the community. The multiple names of God again hint at judgment to come cf. God was going to remove what was essential from Judah and Jerusalem. The figures of bread and water stand for food and drink—famine will come—but in a larger sense these things also represent all that is essential to the nation.
These were people the Israelites depended on. This happened when the Babylonians conquered the city and the land cf. Verse 4 is reminiscent of the reign of King Rehoboam. Looking ahead, wicked King Manasseh began ruling over Judah when he was only 12, and Kings Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah, who followed him later, proved capricious. How great then is the sin of those who refuse to concern themselves with their responsibilities as citizens of the state!
Any type of superiority will seem like an indication that the possessor can provide desperately needed authority and power. Yet the chosen leader will refuse to take responsibility, even lying about his resources, because what he would rule is only a ruin and because he knows he lacks the qualifications to lead. Note the stages in Israel's degradation that verses trace. Good leaders disappear vv. Society becomes divided as age gaps open up and respect for the respectable breaks down v.
Unqualified people get pressed into leadership, and a spirit of despair dominates elections vv. Even though Israel and Judah were monarchies, the people did have the opportunity and responsibility for choosing some of their leaders. So it would go hard for them. This Hebrew word, 'oy , and its companion, hoy , occur 22 times in Isaiah, more frequently than in any other prophetic book. The Israelites had brought the judgment of God on themselves by their pride. Sin does bring its own wages Rom.
Here the long-term blessing of the righteous contrasts with the short-term blasting of the unrighteous. There were these two groups among God's chosen people then as there are now. The faithful frequently suffer along with the unfaithful, but their ultimate ends are very different cf. In his day, women did not have the educational advantages that men enjoyed, and so were less equipped to lead than men. Children, in spite of their lack of maturity, experience, perspective, and wisdom, were nonetheless needed to lead adults. Unqualified leaders were leading the people astray and giving them confusing directions concerning God's will.
God's special gift to His people throughout history involved furnishing inspired leaders. Now He would withdraw them. Their possessions witnessed to their stealing from their neighbors. The vineyard is a common figure for Israel cf. The people belonged to the Lord, not these abusing leaders who crushed them and ground them down to get out of them as much as they could for themselves cf.
Like a Bird in a Cage
The Lord's condemnation of His people continues, but there is a change in focus. In verses it was the male leaders who received criticism, but in this section the female citizens are more prominent. Undoubtedly what the Lord said about these women was true of them as females, but we should not limit their indictment to females alone.
Men have been just as guilty of these sins as women, though in Isaiah's day they were more blatant among some women. The point is that the whole nation of Judah was guilty, not just the men. They glanced coyly to see whether others noticed their elegance. They took small steps to give the appearance of humility and drew attention even to their feet.
Everything they did was designed to attract attention. God would humble them by making the hair that they loved so much a patch of scabs and the foreheads they decorated so carefully bare. Having delighted in immodest exposure, God gave them over to it cf. He did not condemn their luxurious lifestyle as much as their arrogant spirit, which their lifestyle demonstrated.
Many of these items originated in cult and in magic rituals. In fact, the theme of the whole address is the way of universal judgment leading on from the false glory to the true. These five exchanges and more took place when God humbled Israel in exile. They all represent the results of divine judgment for self-exaltation. She is seen as having lost her providers and defenders and all on whom she depended.
She is utterly without joy and alone cf. Jerusalem alone. War has always resulted in the decimation of the male population. For example, approximately one million French, one million German, and half a million English male soldiers died in World War I. So many men would die in Israel that women would be desperate for male companionship and support. They would be willing to humiliate themselves to escape the reproach of being unmarried and childless. Long gone is the hope to gain a man through seduction of the eyes cf.
Now even begging and pleading would be ineffective. Women providing their own food and clothing is the reverse of God's intention in marriage cf. Likewise, women taking men's places and leading them, as Eve led Adam Gen. We will become dependent in the most degrading and disadvantageous ways. All this will happen on "that day" , 18; , namely, when God judges His people for trusting in other human beings—and themselves—rather than Him.
Many of the judgments prophesied in this section took place during the Babylonian Captivity, and during the Assyrian Captivity of the Northern Kingdom, but "that day" also anticipates Tribulation times. Having begun this oracle by clarifying God's desire for Israel , the prophet proceeded to contrast her present condition.
She depended on people rather than Himself, a condition that would result in divine discipline — Next, and in conclusion, he revealed that God would indeed bring what He determined for His chosen people to completion in the future Israel's destiny would be glorious—in spite of intervening judgment. However, here we learn that "that day" will be a day of glory and vindication for Israel, as well as retribution and judgment. In a general sense "The Branch of the Lord" refers to Israel, but this is also a messianic title here as elsewhere cf.
It was regarded as a messianic reference here as early as the Targums, the Aramaic interpretive translation of the Old Testament that dates after the Babylonian exile or possibly during it. God would provide a source of fruitfulness and blessing, which a tree branch stemming from David and ultimately from the Lord is, to Israel cf. The nation would not produce this on her own by trusting in people, but God Himself would provide it.
God promised earlier to judge Israel with lack of fruitfulness because of her sin Many conservative interpreters have understood "the fruit of the earth" to be a second messianic title, which is possible. Some of them felt that the first title referred to Messiah's divine nature, and the second to His human nature. Since the time of these judgments includes the Exile and the Tribulation, and since the reference to the Branch points to messianic times, these survivors will probably be Jews who will still be alive at the end of the Tribulation cf.
The daughters of Jerusalem previously sought to beautify themselves , 18; , but now the Lord would adorn them with fruitfulness. Those left alive to the end will be holy in conduct, as well as set apart by God for His purposes. Similarly, God purified the Israelites through their oppression in Egypt and then liberated them so they could be a holy nation Exod. In both cases God Himself did it.
This purification was only true to a very limited extent of those Israelites who returned from the Exile, as the post-exilic books of the Old Testament reveal. The "daughters of Zion" throughout this oracle represent all the Israelites, not just the females in the nation cf. The "spirit" in view v. A less probable view is that the spirit is the Holy Spirit. Failure in leadership marked Israel in Isaiah's day , but God Himself would lead the nation in the future. In the past, God had done this by sheltering the wilderness wanderers with a cloudy pillar, but in the future a similar covering would protect the dwellers at Mount Zion.
The same fire that judged His people, God Himself, would warm and protect them in all of their circumstances cf. He would control the forces of nature that the pagans believed the gods controlled. The Israelites saw a literal cloudy pillar in the wilderness, and perhaps this one in the future will be literal too, symbolic of His presence.
This oracle — reveals events that would happen in a "day" yet future from Isaiah's perspective. History has shown that some of the predictions of judgment found partial fulfillment in the exiles of Israel that preceded Messiah's appearing. However, most of the judgment, and all the blessing connected to Messiah, lies in the future from our perspective cf. It is mainly the Tribulation, and Messiah's blessing of Israel in the Millennium to follow, that is in view here. This is the third and last of Isaiah's introductory oracles. The first one ch. The second, chiastic one chs. This third prophetic sermon ch.
It starts out deceptively as a casual song, transforms into a courtroom drama, and ends with pure condemnation. Isaiah lured his listeners into hearing him with a sweet song and then proceeded to burn them with fiery preaching. Isaiah, like a folk singer, sang a parable about a vineyard that compared Israel to a vineyard that Yahweh had planted and from which He legitimately expected to receive fruit. One cannot help but wonder if this passage lay behind Jesus' teaching on the vine and the branches in John The prophet's original audience did not realize what this song was about at first.
It started out sounding like a happy wedding song, but it turned out to be a funeral dirge announcing Israel's death. This chiastic "song" is only the first part of Isaiah's unified message in this chapter. His song flowed into a sermon. This is the first of several songs in Isaiah cf. Song of Sol. Actually, this song contains a harsh message about another person and His "vineyard," namely: Yahweh and Israel. Isaiah painted a picture of a man cultivating his relationship with his wife, only to have her turn out to be disappointing.
But, as would shortly become clear, he was really describing God's careful preparation of Israel to bring forth spiritual fruit. The man double-fenced his vineyard and built a watchtower and a wine vat storage tank in it, indicating that He intended it to satisfy Him for a long time. Yet all His work was for naught; His finest vines Heb. Ezekiel observed that if a vine does not produce fruit, it is good for nothing Ezek. John He asked them for their opinion. What more could he have done to ensure a good crop? Why did his vines produce worthless sour grapes?
In view of what the owner had done vv. He would stop protecting it and abandon it to the elements and to its enemies. He would invest no more labor on it and would even stop providing it with the nourishment it needed to flourish. Furthermore, he would assist in its destruction. This sounded like another Hosea and Gomer story Hos. His well-beloved and the owner of the vineyard was Yahweh of Hosts, not some unnamed friend; the vineyard was Israel, not his friend's wife cf. The prophets did not countenance the division, and whether specifically called to prophesy to north or south they tended to embrace the whole in their ministry cf.
Isaiah thus addresses the whole nation and then narrows his vision to the specially privileged men of Judah …" . The good fruit God looked for was justice the righting of wrongs; Heb. Isaiah used paronomasia a pun to make his contrasts more forceful and memorable. Instead of mishpat God got mispakh , and instead of tsedaqah He received tse'aqah. In appearance at least the nation seemed to be the people of God. As the vineyard disappointed the Lord, so this song disappointed its original hearers. It proved to be confrontation, not entertainment.
Yahweh's crop was worthless because it produced wild grapes that manifested six blights. The word "woe" Heb. Amos ; ; Rev. The same word is translated 'Ah! Remember that 'woe' is the opposite of the word 'blessed' cf. Luke Two double "therefore" sections break the laments into two groups by concluding them vv. The "woe" sections emphasize the crop produced, and the "therefore" sections the harvest judgment to come. In the "woes" there is a chiastic progression. One writer saw saw six things the Lord hates in these sections: greed v.
This section identifies sins that marked the people among whom Isaiah lived—and their consequences. They are still very much with us. The Israelites were buying out their neighbors, as they had opportunity or made the opportunity, to increase their land holdings. The wealthier or smarter members of the community took advantage of their less fortunate brethren and so deprived them of their opportunity to live on land that God had given them cf. The carpetbaggers who descended on the South following America's Civil War similarly took advantage of many southerners whose farms had been decimated by invading northern troops.
They bought up their land for a fraction of its worth and drove the former owners into destitute poverty. Buying additional land is not wrong in itself, but when it involves abusing other people it becomes wrong. Isaiah was not decrying large farms or estates per se; he was condemning squeezing out the small man to make oneself more prosperous, secure, and admired. Those who did this in his day ended up isolated, rather than enjoying the fellowship of their brethren cf.
God would judge this greed by causing the families of these isolated rich people to dwindle v. Ironically, by the time a person has enough money to build a mansion he is often too old to enjoy it, his family has grown up and moved out, and his spouse may die soon because she is usually old too. God would judge the farmers by decreasing the productivity of their crops v. The land-hungry would become hungry. No matter how many acres a person may own, God still controls the weather. Agricultural productivity was one of God's promised blessings under the Old Covenant Deut ; cf.
In Isaiah's day this vice manifested itself in drinking too much wine and strong drink, usually at a continuous round of parties cf. These people were "party animals" who paid no attention to the Lord or His works. Seeking pleasure is not wrong in itself unless it becomes too absorbing, as it had with many Israelites. Too much partying produces insensitivity to spiritual things. Instead of more food and drink there would be famine and parched throats for all the people cf. Each of the two double "therefore" sections contains a short description of the immediate consequences of the sins just mentioned vv.
Carousing would end in captivity. This divine punishment would befall all the people because they shared the pride that marked the property-hungry and the pleasure-mad cf. The offenders' actions showed that they really did not know Yahweh in any life-changing way; the knowledge of God had had no practical effect on the way they lived.
This difference between God and His people is an aspect of His holiness i. When God's people were humiliated and He would be exalted, innocent lambs and unknown strangers would enjoy the property that the proud sought to secure. The Israelites had once been the strangers in this land, but now other strangers would dispossess them. God does not delight in taking revenge, but He has committed Himself to remaining true to His covenant with Israel.
Isaiah proceeded to expose the attitude that resulted in the people not allowing their knowledge of God to affect the way they lived cf. They thought that God would not act and that they knew what was better for themselves, better than He did. The prophet identified more "sour grapes" that issued from these attitudes. They had not innocently fallen into sin, but they were pursuing it willfully.
Rather than fleeing from it, they were holding it close to themselves. Even worse, they were doing so in an attempt to bait God to respond. They believed that He would not punish them. Their ties with sin were like the cords that the people used to lead their animals and the cart ropes that were much stronger and harder to break.
The people were calling good what God called evil, and vice versa. For example, glorifying adultery and treating committed believers as dangerous radicals turns the truth on its head. They were mocking God's ways publicly and privately. They refused to accept the standard of God's revelation. They thought they were wiser and cleverer than Yahweh. They glorified the "macho man" who did things that appeared great but were nothing more than sophisticated childishness.
The more a person could drink, the greater the people honored him. They thought it "smart" to profit from the misfortune of others, even though that ran counter to God's will. Corrupt judges could do this easily cf. Injustice and crookedness prevail, and the righteous man is falsely accused. They are medicating their despair. The second double "therefores" cf. The condemnation is cumulative. God in judgment is seen as an external fire that would consume His people.
He would also be to them as an internal disease that decimates a whole plant, from roots to shoots. The reason for judgment is the people's rejection of mighty Yahweh's revealed will cf. God was removing the hedge and breaking down the wall around His vineyard cf. Nevertheless the nation had not repented, so more judgment would come.
The two brief sections explaining the reasons for Judah's judgment vv. This section is the climax of Isaiah's message in chapter 5. The syntax of the verb in classical Hebrew prose by Alviero Niccacci. On humour and the comic in the Hebrew Bible by Radday. Lawson Younger Jr. The alien in Israelite law by Christiana Van Houten. Glen Taylor. Property and the family in biblical law by Raymond Westbrook. Narrative and novella in Samuel : studies by Hugo Gressmann and other scholars, by Stephen P. Judahite burial practices and beliefs about the dead by Elizabeth Bloch-Smith. Law and ideology in monarchic Israel by Baruch Halpern.
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Topic, focus and foreground in ancient Hebrew narratives by Jean-Marc Heimerdinger. Daniel Carroll R.