Isaiah 3-4

Sunday Morning Bible Study

January 31, 1999


As we’ve said before, there will be times that the prophetic message is aimed close to Isaiah’s time. There will be times when the prophetic message is aimed far in the future. There will be times when the message has a double effect with both a near and far prophecy. Last week, we looked at a prophecy that dealt with future things, the time in the future known as "The Day of the Lord".

The following two chapters could be separate from chapter two. Some scholars have seen it as a possible prophecy about the coming destruction of Jerusalem that took place in 586 BC and AD 70. But the language doesn’t indicate that it’s separate from chapter two, hence could fall into the category of "double fulfillment", being partly fulfilled already, yet the complete fulfillment won’t take place until the Tribulation period.

Isaiah 3:1-8 Coming Judgment

:1 the stay and the staff …

Both words describe something you lean on. There’s going to be a famine.

:2 the prudent

prudent – (NIV) soothsayer, (NKJV) diviner – This profession was forbidden by the Lord (Deut. 18:10-14), the people were still counting on them for direction. Today, this describes people who are astrologers, palm readers, "psychics", etc. It’s kind of like the Christian who says they don’t really believe in horoscopes, but they still read them every day.

:3 the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.

cunning artificer – skilled craftsman

eloquent orator – (NIV) clever enchanter, (NASB) skillful enchanter. Again, another forbidden profession, but one the people had been counting on.

All these different kinds of men will be removed as well as the supplies of food and water.

:6 Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler

It’s like saying, "Hey buddy, you actually have clothes, why don’t you be in charge?"

:7 I will not be an healer

Those that are qualified won’t be interested in ruling.

:9-15 Reasons for judgment

:9 The show of their countenance doth witness against them

(NLT) The very look on their faces gives them away and displays their guilt.

:9 they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not

One of the qualities of Sodom was that the people had no sense of shame over their sin. They not only disobeyed God, but they were proud of it.

:10 Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him


Hang in there.

This is an encouragement for those who are holding out and doing what is right. Sometimes we get discouraged and feel like it’s not worth it. It is. The righteous will reap from their doing right.

Gal 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.


There are years in South Africa when locusts swarm the land and eat the crops. They come in hordes, blocking out the sun. The crops are lost and a hard winter follows. The "years that the locusts eat" are feared and dreaded. But the year after the locusts, South Africa reaps its greatest crops, for the dead bodies of the locusts serve as fertilizer for the new seed. And the locust year is restored as great crops swell the land. This is a parable of our lives. There are seasons of deep distress and afflictions that sometimes eat all the usefulness of our lives away. Yet, the promise is that God will restore those locust years if we endure. We will reap if we faint not. Although now we do not know all the 'whys', we can be assured our times are in His hands. -- Ron Hembree in, Fruits of the Spirit, (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1969).

:11 Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him

Gal 6:7-8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. {8} For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

:12 children are their oppressors, and women rule over them.

This might refer to actual children and women becoming rulers, or it might be meant in a derogatory way, calling the rulers inexperienced and weak.

:12 they which lead thee cause thee to err

The leaders of a nation were leading people away from God and into sin.

:15 What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces

(Isa 3:15 NLT) How dare you grind my people into the dust like that!

:16-26 Judgement against the outer appearance

:16 Because the daughters of Zion are haughty …

haughtygabahh – to be high, be exalted; to be haughty, be arrogant (bad sense)

These gals were very, very proud of their appearance. Yesterday we went to the mall. As we walked through Nordstrom, I couldn’t help but think of all the stuff that’s described here. As Solomon said, there’s nothing new under the sun.

wanton eyes – (NLT) "Their eyes rove among the crowds, flirting with the men"

mincingtaphaph – to skip, trip, take quick little steps

:17 a scab the crown of the head … discover their secret parts

scab the crown of the head – their hair, their pride and joy will be full of scabs.

discover their secret parts – they will be exposed.


There are no secrets with God.

Part of the judgment on these people is that their secrets would be exposed. For some of us, this is the thing we fear most, that some day the things we’ve tried so hard to keep secret would be exposed.

Luke 12:1-3 … Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. {2} For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. {3} Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

There’s times I’m upset with Bill Clinton, but there’s also times I feel very sorry for him. He knows what this is all about. He’s had some of his secrets exposed against his will. It’s sad to think that he’s an excellent representative of what many people are like in America.

God’s goal for us is that we become more and more real. If someone were to delve into our private lives and follow us around with a hidden camera, there would be no surprises.

Becoming real starts when we stop pretending to be something we’re not. God isn’t looking for people to "pretend" they’re Christians, He’s looking for people who have been changed by His Holy Spirit and are Christians. If you have struggles, admit them. Ask for help. Keep seeking God for help until He changes you.

:18-23 their round tires like the moon …

:18 round tires … – is this saying that the gals had a "spare tire" around them? Or is this talking about their automobiles? Other translations call them "crescent ornaments" or "necklaces".

:19 mufflers – aha! I knew there was something about cars in here! First tires, now mufflers! – actually this would be their "scarves" or "veils".

:21 nose jewels – nose rings. It used to be that this would have been something we couldn’t relate to, but today jewelry on the nose is getting more and more common.

:22 wimples – "cloaks", "capes"

:22 crisping pins – "bag" or "purse"

:23 fine linen – "linen garments" or "undergarments"

The New Living Translation …

(Isa 3:18-23 NLT) The Lord will strip away their artful beauty--their ornaments, headbands, and crescent necklaces; {19} their earrings, bracelets, and veils of shimmering gauze. {20} Gone will be their scarves, ankle chains, sashes, perfumes, and charms; {21} their rings, jewels, {22} party clothes, gowns, capes, and purses; {23} their mirrors, linen garments, head ornaments, and shawls.

:24 instead of sweet smell there shall be stink …

Perfume has been replaced by stink.

girdle … rent – "instead of a sash, there will be a rope"

stomacher – "rich robes"

:26 And her gates shall lament and mourn …

The city will be completely devastated. All the "beautiful people" will lose their beauty.


Be careful about putting your trust in your outer appearance.

This is a hard concept for many of us to grasp because that part of us that we see the easiest is the outer part.

(1 Pet 3:1-4 NASB) In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, {2} as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.

Gals who have husbands that aren’t walking with the Lord, they are "disobedient to the word". We often think that if we just kept talking about the Lord enough, if we just kept needling him enough, that he’d come around. But Peter says that the way you will win him is through your behavior and through the way you are on the inside.

{3} And let not your adornment be merely external-- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; {4} but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

I like the way the New American Standard adds the "merely". I don’t think God is opposed to women fixing their hair or putting on makeup any more than He is opposed to women "putting on dresses". As an old farmer used to say, "If the barn needs painting, paint it!"

The problem is when we get too fixated on our outward appearance and neglect the more important things, what’s going on in the inside.

And this isn’t just a problem with women. Sometimes I think some of us guys can spend as much time looking in the mirror as the gals.

(1 Tim 4:1-9 KJV) Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; {2} Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; {3} Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

The idea is that people will be teaching that we ought to stay away from certain foods, possibly as a way of getting closer to God.

{4} For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: {5} For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

I claim this every Tuesday morning when we have donuts with the Men’s Prayer group!

{6} If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. {7} But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

Just as you go to a gym and work out with your physical body, exercise your inner person to be more like Jesus.

{8} For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. {9} This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.

It’s not that physical exercise is worthless. It does have a "little" value. But having your inner person grow to be more and more like Jesus is good all around. Your physical body is going to get old and die one day. Your inner person will live forever. It’s not unwise to take care of your physical body, but don’t be neglecting the part of you that lives forever.

Isaiah 4

:1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man

I think some of the guys are thinking right now that this sounds kind of cool. But the point is that most of the men have died off. There are very few men to go around.

:1 only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach

The gals will pay their own way, if a guy will just marry them and give them children.

:2-6 Millennium

It’s somewhere at this point that Jesus has come back and the Tribulation is over.

:2 the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious,

The "Branch" is a term used to describe the Messiah:

(Jer 23:5-6 KJV) Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. {6} In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Jesus came the first time to bear our sins on the cross and give us the righteousness of God in exchange.

(Zec 6:12 KJV) And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD

:3 he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy

holyqadowsh – sacred, holy, Holy One, set apart, saint

The only ones remaining in Jerusalem will be those that have been set apart for God’s use. The only ones left are the "saints". By the way, that doesn’t mean a special class of people who have the title "Saint" in front of their name. It refers to people just like you and me, people who have been made "holy" by Jesus Christ.

:4 by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning

Though we are cleansed now by the blood of Jesus, there will be a sense in which Jerusalem will be cleansed through the coming judgment, as through fire. (Mat. 3:11-12)

:5 a cloud and smoke by day …

A cloud to protect from the bright sun in the daytime. A fire by night to give light in the darkness. This takes us back to the time of the exodus from Egypt (Ex. 13:21-22; 40:34-38; Num.9:15-23). God will once again demonstrate His physical presence among His people.

:6 a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat

It seems that the picture is that the cloud over the city will become the "tabernacle", a kind of protection over the city.

:3 even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:

This could simply referring to those left alive in Jerusalem when Jesus comes back.

I wonder if it might also refer to something else, those who have been written in the "book of life". This is something that will play very much into the end times:

Those not in the "book of life" will worship the antichrist:

(Rev 13:8 KJV) And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Those not in the "book of life" will be thrown into the lake of fire:

(Rev 20:15 KJV) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.


Are you in the "book of life"?

Are you going to make it into the correct side of eternity?

It’s the "overcomers" who have their names in the book of life.

(Rev 3:5 KJV) He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

The way you become an "overcomer" is by believing that Jesus is the Son of God.

(1 John 5:4-5 KJV) For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. {5} Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

There is a very practical side of being an "overcomer". It means that we become victorious over sin. It means that we can conquer temptation. But it all starts by putting our lives in the hands of Jesus Christ. It all starts by trusting Him, by asking Him to help you.