God’s Judgment on Y’hudah and Yerushalayim ~ Part 3 ~ Yesha’yahu 3:16-4:1

In my last post, we continued our look at God’s Judgment on Y’hudah and Yerushalayim ~ Part 2 beginning in Yesha’yahu 3:8-15. In this post, we conclude our examination of God’s Judgment on Y’hudah and Yerushalayim in Part 3 covering Yesha’yahu 3:16-4:1.

In ancient society, a woman’s wardrobe was frequently a barometer of society. In this passage which is about to unravel, the women dressed seductively. The little cymbals they wore on their feet caused others to turn and see them. The jewelry, headbands, and costly material were all meant to entice. And because of the moral vacuum of their society, not only would their beauty be lost, but they would have to deal with some brutal consequences – not because God would punish them but because, by ignoring His ways and His Word, they would bring a plague upon themselves.

16 Moreover Adonai says: “Because Tziyon’s women are so proud, walking with their heads in the air and throwing seductive glances, moving with mincing steps and jingling their anklets.

The proud daughters of Tziyon stand for the city and the inhabitants of Yerushalayim (1:8), not just its female inhabitants. Though clearly, the inhabitants included its share of rich, snooty women, the fact that such a female personification clearly describes the city in Yesha’yahu 3:25-36 confirms the view that the daughters should not be restricted to the female population.

Anklets were solid rings usually made of bronze. The same word is also used of the irons used to hobble camels. Some burials of the Iron Age evidence arm and ankle rings still on the body.

Kefa wrote: “Let it be the inner character of your heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit. In God’s sight, this is of great value.” 1 Peter 3:4 (CJB) That kind of beauty is never lost, ladies.

17 Adonai will strike the crown of the heads of Tziyon’s women with sores, and Adonai will expose their private parts.” 18 On that day Adonai will take away their finery – their anklets, medallions and crescents, 19 their pendants, bracelets and veils; 20 their headbands, armlets, sashes, perfume bottles, amulets, 21 rings and nose-jewels; 22 their fine dresses, wraps, shawls, handbags, 23 gauze scarves, linen underclothes, turbans and capes. 24 Then, there will be instead of perfume, a stench; instead of a belt, a rope; instead of well-set hair, a shaved scalp; instead of a rich robe, a sackcloth skirt; and a slave-brand instead of beauty.

God will humiliate these proud women who represent the city and inhabitants of Yerushalayim. Their physical appearance will be spoiled, and their finery will be removed. They will end up wearing sackcloth, ugly and uncomfortable. While this language should be understood figuratively of the city of Yerushalayim, it also has a literal significance. Wealthy, beautiful, well-dressed women would be reduced to such a state during the coming military siege.

The Hebrew in verse 17 for private parts is hard to translate. Some Bibles translate it as referring to a “bald head” which in that culture would have been as equally humiliating as exposing their private anatomy.

25 Your men will fall by the sword and your warriors in battle. 26 Her gates will lament and mourn; ravaged, she will sit on the ground. 1 On that day, seven women will grab hold of one man and say, “We will supply our own food and wear our own clothes. Just let us bear your name; take away our disgrace.” ~ Isaiah 3:16-4:1 (CJB)

War will severely reduce the male population of Yerushalayim. Presumably, these seven women have lost their husbands and sons and are therefore left socially defenseless even though they are not without means. This was a common aftermath of war. It was contractually and legally the husband’s responsibility to provide food and clothing. These women are not looking for financial provision and would certainly be willing to bypass the usual conventions of the bride price. Not only would the women be affected by the dark days that lie ahead, but the men of Yerushalayim would die, and the entire city would fall. That is why God sent Yesha’yahu with this word of warning.

In my next blog, we will move on the explore The Branch of the Lord in Yesha’yahu 4:2-6.

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