In my last post, we examined a prophecy concerning The Women of Yerushalayim in Yesha’yahu 32:9-20. In this post, we learn of A Woe Against Those on Whom the King Will Take Vengeance ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 33:1-13.
This is the sixth and final woe in chapters 28-33. The woe pronounces the destruction of a betrayer. Many interpreters believe the reference is to Sancheriv, whom King Hizkiyah of Y’hudah paid to back off from the siege of Yerushalayim that we will explore later in chapters 36-37. But others believe it is a general reference to the deception of the nations.
1 Woe, destroyer, yourself undestroyed! Woe, betrayer, yourself unbetrayed! When you stop destroying, you will be destroyed; when you tire of betraying, they will betray you.2 Adonai, show us mercy; we have waited for you. Be their arm every morning, and our salvation in time of trouble. 3 At the sound of the tumult, the peoples wander off; when you exalt yourself, the nations are scattered.
Since the nations have let them down, Adonai’s people have no recourse but to wait for Adonai to save them.
4 Your spoil is gathered as if stripped by shearer-worms; they run over it like a swarm of locusts.
In Scripture, locusts are often symbols of a large destroying army. The irony here is that the former destroyer, Ashur, is now to be picked over even more thoroughly than were its victims.
5 Adonai is exalted, for He dwells on high; He has filled Tziyon with justice and right. 6 He will be the stability of your times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge, and fear of Adonai, which is His treasure.
Tziyon’s treasure is not gold, silver, or weapons. Its treasure is the fear of the Adonai. A relationship of dependence and trust leads to action by a warring Adonai on behalf of His people. We all need to be dependant upon and trust in the Lord for all your needs.
Verses 7-13 describe a future attack (perhaps Sancheriv’s attack on Yerushalayim in 701 BCE) as if it were happening in the present.
7 Hear their brave men crying out for help! The envoys of peace weep bitterly.
The envoys of peace weep bitterly as warriors control the streets. Diplomacy has broken down. Of late, that seems to be a recurring theme in our international relationships.
8 The highways are deserted; there are no travelers. He has broken the covenant, despised the cities; he has no regard for human life.
He here appears to be Sancheriv. He has broken the covenant may be a direct reference to the agreement that Sancheriv made to withdraw from Yerushalayim after being paid tribute – a promise he did not honor. Since the army is on the brink of attack, all travel has ceased.
9 The land is mourning and wilting away. The L’vanon is withering with shame. The Sharon has become like the ‘Aravah. Bashan and Karmel have been shaken bare.
The shattering of nature’s normal function, coupled with a gloomy recital of areas known for their fertility, once again reflects Adonai’s displeasure. The locales generally run north to south: from the lush forests of L’vanon, south to the fertile plain of Sharon on the coastal plain, east of the Galilee to the Bashan plateau and its excellent grazing areas, and then south again to the Karmel range is also known for its herding. The reference to ‘Aravah is to the desert plain south of the Dead Sea.
10 “Now I will arise,” says Adonai, “Now I will exalt and lift myself up.
At this moment of tension, a time when Isra’el’s abilities are insufficient, Adonai will rise up. This shows He is about to make an appearance as a warrior. Several psalms call on Adonai to arise to fight on behalf of the psalmist and his people.
11 You conceive chaff and give birth to stubble; your breath is a fire devouring you. 12 The peoples will be as if burned into lime, like thorns cut off to burn in the fire.
In spite of the efforts of the enemy to win a victory, they will accomplish nothing productive. They conceive and give birth, not to life but death, here represented by dead vegetation that is good for nothing (chaff and stubble).
13 You living far off, hear what I have done! You who are near, acknowledge my strength!” ~ Isaiah 33:1-13 (CJB)
Adonai’s warring activity will be a testimony to the whole world, both near and far, of His strength.
In my next post, we continue to explore A Woe Against Those on Whom the King Will Take Vengeance ~ Part 2 in Yesha’hayu 33:14-24.