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read Isaiah 3

Judgment on Jerusalem and Judah

See now, the Lord,
    the Lord Almighty,
is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah
    both supply and support:
all supplies of food and all supplies of water,
    the hero and the warrior,
the judge and the prophet,
    the diviner and the elder,
the captain of fifty and the man of rank,
    the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter.

“I will make mere youths their officials;
    children will rule over them.”

People will oppress each other—
    man against man, neighbor against neighbor.
The young will rise up against the old,
    the nobody against the honored.

A man will seize one of his brothers
    in his father’s house, and say,
“You have a cloak, you be our leader;
    take charge of this heap of ruins!”
But in that day he will cry out,
    “I have no remedy.
I have no food or clothing in my house;
    do not make me the leader of the people.”

Jerusalem staggers,
    Judah is falling;
their words and deeds are against the Lord,
    defying his glorious presence.
The look on their faces testifies against them;
    they parade their sin like Sodom;
    they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
    They have brought disaster upon themselves.

10 Tell the righteous it will be well with them,
    for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.
11 Woe to the wicked!
    Disaster is upon them!
They will be paid back
    for what their hands have done.

12 Youths oppress my people,
    women rule over them.
My people, your guides lead you astray;
    they turn you from the path.

13 The Lord takes his place in court;
    he rises to judge the people.
14 The Lord enters into judgment
    against the elders and leaders of his people:
“It is you who have ruined my vineyard;
    the plunder from the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean by crushing my people
    and grinding the faces of the poor?”
declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.

16 The Lord says,
    “The women of Zion are haughty,
walking along with outstretched necks,
    flirting with their eyes,
strutting along with swaying hips,
    with ornaments jingling on their ankles.
17 Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion;
    the Lord will make their scalps bald.”

18 In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, 19 the earrings and bracelets and veils, 20 the headdresses and anklets and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, 21 the signet rings and nose rings, 22 the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses 23 and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls.

24 Instead of fragrance there will be a stench;
    instead of a sash, a rope;
instead of well-dressed hair, baldness;
    instead of fine clothing, sackcloth;
    instead of beauty, branding.
25 Your men will fall by the sword,
    your warriors in battle.
26 The gates of Zion will lament and mourn;
    destitute, she will sit on the ground.

Go Deeper

In Isaiah 3 we see a harsh rebuke from God through the prophet Isaiah to the people of Jerusalem and Judah because of their wickedness, idolatry, and rebellion. God didn’t just bring judgment to them by withholding them of food and water, but He also withheld godly and adequate leaders from them. There is harsh judgment for the consequences of their sin! 

In verse 8 it says, “For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence.” It’s evident that God’s glory and majesty are offended by the sin and disobedience of His children. Romans 6:23 tells us that the consequence or judgment for our sin is eternal death, and yet God has made a way through faith in Jesus to have eternal life. 

Throughout the story of Scripture, God has made a way to bless and protect the righteous even in the midst of judgment. The righteous are often mercifully spared from the harsh consequences of the wicked. In Isaiah 3:10-11 we see this to be true in the text, and this is true today for those of us who have put our faith in Jesus. Though we are wicked like the people of Jerusalem and Judah, we can be made righteous because of what Christ has done for us through His death and resurrection. Second Corinthians 5:21 tells us that “for our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” He no longer deals with us according to our sin, for those of us that are in Christ, but rather He deals with us according to the finished work of Jesus and offers us mercy instead of condemnation. 

Towards the end of the chapter God rebukes the Judean women for their pride, lust, and their desire for material things. God punishes them because they were devoted to the wrong things. How often does this mark us today? Whether we are mothers, fathers, teenagers, single young adults, married folk, or senior adults, we lust after the things of this world more than we crave for God. We want nicer cars, more clothes, more money, or a better house. We are prone, in our flesh, to find so much identity in our image. God has provided a better way, through faith in Jesus, where we can walk in righteousness by the help of the Spirit and find our identity in Him. God has graciously preserved this text so that we might remove idols in our life that we are prone to worship more than we worship God Himself. He is the only one worthy to be praised. This chapter began with the language, “See now, the Lord Almighty,” emphasizing the majesty and glory of God as the One who is in command. Let’s worship Him as such today.


  1. What material things are you prone to worship?
  2. Do you believe that Jesus died and resurrected from the grave to rescue you from God’s eternal judgment and offer you eternal life through faith?
  3. What’s one way you can actively behold God in worship today?

Watch This

Watch this overview of the first 39 chapters of Isaiah from The Bible Project gain greater clarity on the context of this chapter and where it fits in the greater narrative of Isaiah. .

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3 thoughts on “Isaiah 3”

  1. I’m reminded that we all suffer from idolatry. We take status, stuff, and trinkets and give them preeminence over our God. We disobey his teachings and offend Him greatly by placing our affections on worldly, shifting things while feeling no shame. We become blind to the needs of those around us because we are so self-absorbed. How foolish we are! Isaiah speaks of God’s justice especially for the poor. We have been given much, and much is required of us. Let’s remind ourselves of the greatest commandments Christ gave and live accordingly, “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important, love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).

  2. I like things, mostly these days comfortable things or things to make life “easier”. We buy a robot vacuum that runs around sweeping and/or mopping for us when 1.sweeping and mopping are good exercise, 2. you know it is clean 3. it is most likely by far cheaper, but it is soooo convenient. We live in a microwave minute world where we want it all yesterday and do not like waiting for it. I am so guilty of this to make my life more ‘comfortable’, but that is placing affections on worldly stuff so I must change this way of thinking. For me food is another idol, it is not something to keep me functioning, it is a continual thought that is very unhealth. Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. It is a progression, a changing by thinking different thoughts to get away from idols .Proverbs 19:21 Many plans are in a man’s mind, But it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (be carried out).( but you have to want it). You make choices every second, good or bad with a consequence good or bad, freedom of will that God gave you.
    Thank You God for freedom of will and making good choices that allow me to remain and ABIDE in You. Thank You for Loving me. Thank You for my hearts desire to choose You. Help me to pursue and chase that desire moment by moment with every word and action today, in Jesus name amen.

  3. I’m going to go out on a limb and say, I think age has a lot to do with prioritizing God. The older you get, the more tired you become of chasing after your identity and the stress of it all becomes overwhelming and irrelevant. I’m reminded of the story about the fisherman and the businessman. Or the one about the man who grew up fishing in a simple, small boat with his dad and dreamed of having a bigger boat, so he worked hard and finally bought one. Only to sell everything he had to buy another small boat and reminisce about his days fishing with his dad.
    Pray for wisdom. Pray about your money management. Pray to see the whole reason why we were created. Yes, creation-our home-was the first gift of God for us to enjoy. But we, the guests, was God’s greatest creation. For His purpose—to be good stewards of His gifts by how we serve, worship, and strive to be holy.

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