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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Isaiah 3



Verse 1

1. For—continuation of :-.

Lord of hosts—therefore able to do as He says.

doth—present for future, so certain is the accomplishment.

stay . . . staff—the same Hebrew word, the one masculine, the other feminine, an Arabic idiom for all kinds of support. What a change from the previous luxuries ( :-)! Fulfilled in the siege by Nebuchadnezzar and afterwards by Titus (Jeremiah 37:21; Jeremiah 38:9).

Verse 2

2. Fulfilled ( :-).

prudent—the Hebrew often means a "soothsayer" ( :-); thus it will mean, the diviners, on whom they rely, shall in that day fail. It is found in a good sense ( :-), from which passage the Jews interpret it a king; "without" whom Israel long has been ( :-).

ancient—old and experienced (1 Kings 12:6-8).

Verse 3

3. captain of fifty—not only captains of thousands, and centurions of a hundred, but even semi-centurions of fifty, shall fail.

honourable—literally, "of dignified aspect."

cunning—skilful. The mechanic's business will come to a standstill in the siege and subsequent desolation of the state; artisans are no mean "stay" among a nation's safeguards.

eloquent orator—rather, as Vulgate, "skilled in whispering," that is, incantation (Psalms 58:5). See Psalms 58:5- :, below; and on "prudent," see on Psalms 58:5- :.

Verse 4

4. children—in ability for governing; antithesis to the "ancient" (see Isaiah 3:12; Ecclesiastes 10:16).

babes—in warlike might; antithesis to "the mighty" and "man of war."

Verse 5

5. The anarchy resulting under such imbecile rulers (Isaiah 3:4); unjust exactions mutually; the forms of respect violated (Isaiah 3:4- :).

base—low-born. Compare the marks of "the last days" (Isaiah 3:4- :).

Verse 6

6. Such will be the want of men of wealth and ability, that they will "take hold of" ( :-) the first man whom they meet, having any property, to make him "ruler."

brother—one having no better hereditary claim to be ruler than the "man" supplicating him.

Thou hast clothing—which none of us has. Changes of raiment are wealth in the East ( :-).

ruin—Let our ruined affairs be committed to thee to retrieve.

Verse 7

7. swear—literally, "lift up," namely, his hand; the gesture used in solemn attestation. Or, his voice, that is, answer; so Vulgate.

healer—of the body politic, incurably diseased ( :-).

neither . . . clothing—so as to relieve the people and maintain a ruler's dignity. A nation's state must be bad indeed, when none among men, naturally ambitious, is willing to accept office.

Verse 8

8. Reason given by the prophet, why all shrink from the government.

eyes of his glory—to provoke His "glorious" Majesty before His "eyes" (compare Isaiah 49:5; Habakkuk 1:13). The Syriac and LOWTH, by a slight change of the Hebrew, translate, "the cloud of His glory," the Shekinah.

Verse 9

9. show—The Hebrew means, "that which may be known by their countenances" [GESENIUS and WEISS]. But MAURER translates, "Their respect for person"; so Syriac and Chaldee. But the parallel word "declare" favors the other view. KIMCHI, from the Arabic, translates "their hardness" ( :-, Margin), or impudence of countenance ( :-). They have lost not only the substance of virtue, but its color.

witness—literally, "corresponds" to them; their look answers to their inner character (Hosea 5:5).

declare— (Hosea 5:5- :). "Foaming out their own shame"; so far from making it a secret, "glorying" in it (Hosea 5:5- :).

unto themselves—Compare "in themselves" (Proverbs 1:31; Proverbs 8:36; Jeremiah 2:19; Romans 1:27).

Verse 10

10. The faithlessness of many is no proof that all are faithless. Though nothing but croaking of frogs is heard on the surface of the pool, we are not to infer there are no fish beneath [BENGEL]. (See Isaiah 1:19; Isaiah 1:20).

fruit of doings— (Isaiah 1:20- :) in a good sense (Galatians 6:8; Revelation 22:14). Not salvation by works, but by fruit-bearing faith (Isaiah 45:24; Jeremiah 23:6). GESENIUS and WEISS translate, Declare as to the righteous that, &c. MAURER, "Say that the righteous is blessed."

Verse 11

11. ill—antithesis to "well" (Isaiah 3:10); emphatic ellipsis of the words italicized. "Ill!"

hands—his conduct; "hands" being the instrument of acts (Ecclesiastes 8:12; Ecclesiastes 8:13).

Verse 12

12. (See :-).

oppressors—literally, "exactors," that is, exacting princes ( :-). They who ought to be protectors are exactors; as unqualified for rule as "children," as effeminate as "women." Perhaps it is also implied that they were under the influence of their harem, the women of their court.

leadHebrew, "call thee blessed"; namely, the false prophets, who flatter the people with promises of safety in sin; as the political "rulers" are meant in the first clause.

way of thy paths— ( :-). The right way set forth in the law. "Destroy"—Hebrew, "Swallow up," that is, cause so utterly to disappear that not a vestige of it is left.

Verse 13

13. standeth up—no longer sitting in silence.

plead—indignant against a wicked people (Isaiah 66:16; Ezekiel 20:35).

Verse 14

14. ancients—Hence they are spoken of as "taken away" (Isaiah 3:1; Isaiah 3:2).

vineyard—the Jewish theocracy (Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalms 80:9-13).

eaten up—"burnt"; namely, by "oppressive exactions" (Psalms 80:9-19.80.13- :). Type of the crowning guilt of the husbandmen in the days of Jesus Christ (Psalms 80:9-19.80.13- :).

spoil . . . houses— (Psalms 80:9-19.80.13- :).

Verse 15

15. What right have ye to beat, c. (Psalms 94:5 Micah 3:2; Micah 3:3).

grind—by exactions, so as to leave them nothing.

faces—persons; with the additional idea of it being openly and palpably done. "Presence," equivalent to "face" (Hebrew).

Verse 16

16. Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, c.—Luxury had become great in Uzziah's prosperous reign (2 Chronicles 26:5).

stretched forth—proudly elevated (Psalms 75:5).

wanton—rather, "making the eyes to glance about," namely, wantonly (Psalms 75:5- :) [MAURER]. But LOWTH, "falsely setting off the eyes with paint." Women's eyelids in the East are often colored with stibium, or powder of lead (see on Psalms 75:5- : Jeremiah 4:30, Margin).

mincing—tripping with short steps.

tinkling—with their ankle-rings on both feet, joined by small chains, which sound as they walk, and compel them to take short steps; sometimes little bells were attached (Isaiah 3:18; Isaiah 3:20).

Verse 17

17. smite with a scab—literally, "make bald," namely, by disease.

discover—cause them to suffer the greatest indignity that can befall female captives, namely to be stripped naked, and have their persons exposed ( :-; compare with Isaiah 47:3; Isaiah 20:4).

Verse 18

18. bravery—the finery.

tinkling—(See :-).

cauls—network for the head. Or else, from an Arabic root, "little suns," answering to the "tires" or neck-ornaments, "like the moon" (Judges 8:21). The chumarah or crescent is also worn in front of the headdress in West Asia.

Verse 19

19. chains—rather, pendants, hanging about the neck, and dropping on the breast.

mufflers—veils covering the face, with apertures for the eyes, close above and loosely flowing below. The word radically means "tremulous," referring to the changing effect of the spangles on the veil.

Verse 20

20. bonnets—turbans.

ornaments of the legs—the short stepping-chains from one foot to another, to give a measured gait; attached to the "tinkling ornaments" ( :-).

headbands—literally, "girdles."

tablets—rather, "houses of the breath," that is, smelling boxes [Vulgate].

earrings—rather, amulets suspended from the neck or ears, with magic formulæ inscribed; the root means to "whisper" or "conjure."

Verse 21

21. nose jewels—The cartilage between the nostrils was bored to receive them; they usually hung from the left nostril.

Verse 22

22. Here begin entire articles of apparel. Those before were single ornaments.

changeable—from a root, "to put off"; not worn commonly; put on and off on special occasions. So, dress-clothes ( :-).

mantles—fuller tunics with sleeves, worn over the common one, reaching down to the feet.

wimples—that is, mufflers, or hoods. In Ruth 3:15, "veils"; perhaps here, a broad cloak, or shawl, thrown over the head and body.

crisping pins—rather, money bags (2 Kings 5:23).

Verse 23

23. glasses—mirrors of polished metal (Exodus 38:8). But the Septuagint, a transparent, gauze-like, garment.

hoods—miters, or diadems (Isaiah 62:3; Zechariah 3:5).

veils—large enough to cover the head and person. Distinct from the smaller veils ("mufflers") above (Zechariah 3:5- :). Token of woman's subjection (Zechariah 3:5- :).

Verse 24

24. stink—arising from ulcers (Zechariah 14:12).

girdle—to gird up the loose Eastern garments, when the person walked.

rent—the Septuagint, better, a "rope," an emblem of poverty; the poor have nothing else to gird up their clothes with.

well-set hair— (1 Peter 3:3; 1 Peter 3:4).

baldness— (1 Peter 3:4- :).

stomacher—a broad plaited girdle.

sackcloth— (1 Peter 3:4- :).

burning—a sunburnt countenance, owing to their hoods and veils being stripped off, while they had to work as captives under a scorching sun (1 Peter 3:4- :).

Verse 25

25. Thy men—of Jerusalem.

Verse 26

26. gates—The place of concourse personified is represented mourning for the loss of those multitudes which once frequented it.

desolate . . . sit upon . . . ground—the very figure under which Judea was represented on medals after the destruction by Titus: a female sitting under a palm tree in a posture of grief; the motto, Judæa capta (Job 2:13; Lamentations 2:10, where, as here primarily, the destruction by Nebuchadnezzar is alluded to).

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.