August 29 – Isaiah 3 thru 5 from the Old Testament

Isaiah 3 thru 5 – A Coming Leadership Crisis

3:1 Look, the sovereign Lord who commands armies

is about to remove from Jerusalem and Judah

every source of security, including

all the food and water,

3:2 the mighty men and warriors,

judges and prophets,

omen readers and leaders,

3:3 captains of groups of fifty,

the respected citizens,

advisers and those skilled in magical arts,

and those who know incantations.

3:4 The Lord says, “I will make youths their officials;

malicious young men will rule over them.

3:5 The people will treat each other harshly;

men will oppose each other;

neighbors will fight.

Youths will proudly defy the elderly

and riffraff will challenge those who were once respected.

3:6 Indeed, a man will grab his brother

right in his father’s house and say,

‘You own a coat –

you be our leader!

This heap of ruins will be under your control.’

3:7 At that time the brother will shout,

‘I am no doctor,

I have no food or coat in my house;

don’t make me a leader of the people!’”

3:8Jerusalem certainly stumbles,

Judah falls,

for their words and their actions offend the Lord;

they rebel against his royal authority.

3:9 The look on their faces testifies to their guilt;

like the people of Sodom they openly boast of their sin.

Too bad for them!

For they bring disaster on themselves.

3:10 Tell the innocent it will go well with them,

for they will be rewarded for what they have done.

3:11 Too bad for the wicked sinners!

For they will get exactly what they deserve.

3:12 Oppressors treat my people cruelly;

creditors rule over them.

My people’s leaders mislead them;

they give you confusing directions.

3:13 The Lord takes his position to judge;

he stands up to pass sentence on his people.

3:14 The Lord comes to pronounce judgment

on the leaders of his people and their officials.

He says, “It is you who have ruined the vineyard!

You have stashed in your houses what you have stolen from the poor.

3:15 Why do you crush my people

 and grind the faces of the poor?”

The sovereign Lord who commands armies has spoken.

Washing Away Impurity

3:16 The Lord says,

“The women of Zion are proud.

They walk with their heads high

and flirt with their eyes.

They skip along

and the jewelry on their ankles jingles.

3:17 So the sovereign master will afflict the foreheads of Zion’s women with skin diseases,

the Lord will make the front of their heads bald.”


3:18 At that time the sovereign master will remove their beautiful ankle jewelry, neck ornaments, crescent shaped ornaments, 3:19 earrings, bracelets, veils, 3:20 headdresses, ankle ornaments, sashes, sachets, amulets, 3:21 rings, nose rings, 3:22 festive dresses, robes, shawls, purses, 3:23 garments, vests, head coverings, and gowns.

3:24 A putrid stench will replace the smell of spices,

a rope will replace a belt,

baldness will replace braided locks of hair,

a sackcloth garment will replace a fine robe,

and a prisoner’s brand will replace beauty.

3:25 Your men will fall by the sword,

your strong men will die in battle.

3:26 Her gates will mourn and lament;

deprived of her people, she will sit on the ground.

4:1 Seven women will grab hold of

one man at that time.

They will say, “We will provide our own food,

we will provide our own clothes;

but let us belong to you –

take away our shame!”

The Branch of the Lord

4:2 At that time

the crops given by the Lord will bring admiration and honor;

the produce of the land will be a source of pride and delight

to those who remain in Israel.

4:3 Those remaining in Zion, those left in Jerusalem,

will be called “holy,”

all in Jerusalem who are destined to live.

4:4 At that time the sovereign master will wash the excrement from Zion’s women,

he will rinse the bloodstains from Jerusalem’s midst,

as he comes to judge

and to bring devastation.

4:5 Then the Lord will create

over all of Mount Zion

and over its convocations

a cloud and smoke by day

and a bright flame of fire by night;

indeed a canopy will accompany the Lord’s glorious presence.

4:6 By day it will be a shelter to provide shade from the heat,

as well as safety and protection from the heavy downpour.

A Love Song Gone Sour

5:1 I will sing to my love –

a song to my lover about his vineyard.

My love had a vineyard

on a fertile hill.

5:2 He built a hedge around it, removed its stones,

and planted a vine.

He built a tower in the middle of it,

and constructed a winepress.

He waited for it to produce edible grapes,

but it produced sour ones instead.

5:3 So now, residents of Jerusalem,

people of Judah,

you decide between me and my vineyard!

5:4 What more can I do for my vineyard

beyond what I have already done?

When I waited for it to produce edible grapes,

why did it produce sour ones instead?

5:5 Now I will inform you

what I am about to do to my vineyard:

I will remove its hedge and turn it into pasture,

I will break its wall and allow animals to graze there.

5:6 I will make it a wasteland;

no one will prune its vines or hoe its ground,

and thorns and briers will grow there.

I will order the clouds

not to drop any rain on it.

5:7 Indeed Israel is the vineyard of the Lord who commands armies,

the people of Judah are the cultivated place in which he took delight.

He waited for justice, but look what he got – disobedience!

He waited for fairness, but look what he got – cries for help!

Disaster is Coming

5:8 Those who accumulate houses are as good as dead,

those who also accumulate landed property

until there is no land left,

and you are the only landowners remaining within the land.

5:9 The Lord who commands armies told me this:

“Many houses will certainly become desolate,

large, impressive houses will have no one living in them.

5:10 Indeed, a large vineyard will produce just a few gallons,

and enough seed to yield several bushels will produce less than a bushel.”

5:11 Those who get up early to drink beer are as good as dead,

those who keep drinking long after dark

until they are intoxicated with wine.

5:12 They have stringed instruments, tambourines, flutes,

and wine at their parties.

So they do not recognize what the Lord is doing,

they do not perceive what he is bringing about.

5:13 Therefore my people will be deported

because of their lack of understanding.

Their leaders will have nothing to eat,

their masses will have nothing to drink.

5:14 So Death will open up its throat,

and open wide its mouth;

Zion’s dignitaries and masses will descend into it,

including those who revel and celebrate within her.

5:15 Men will be humiliated,

they will be brought low;

the proud will be brought low.

5:16 The Lord who commands armies will be exalted when he punishes,

the sovereign God’s authority will be recognized when he judges.

5:17 Lambs will graze as if in their pastures,

amid the ruins the rich sojourners will graze.

5:18 Those who pull evil along using cords of emptiness are as good as dead,

who pull sin as with cart ropes.

5:19 They say, “Let him hurry, let him act quickly,

so we can see;

let the plan of the Holy One of Israel take shape and come to pass,

then we will know it!”

5:20 Those who call evil good and good evil are as good as dead,

who turn darkness into light and light into darkness,

who turn bitter into sweet and sweet into bitter.

5:21 Those who think they are wise are as good as dead,

those who think they possess understanding.

5:22 Those who are champions at drinking wine are as good as dead,

who display great courage when mixing strong drinks.

5:23 They pronounce the guilty innocent for a payoff,

they ignore the just cause of the innocent.

5:24 Therefore, as flaming fire devours straw,

and dry grass disintegrates in the flames,

so their root will rot,

and their flower will blow away like dust.

For they have rejected the law of the Lord who commands armies,

they have spurned the commands of the Holy One of Israel.

5:25 So the Lord is furious with his people;

he lifts his hand and strikes them.

The mountains shake,

and corpses lie like manure in the middle of the streets.

Despite all this, his anger does not subside,

and his hand is ready to strike again.

5:26 He lifts a signal flag for a distant nation,

he whistles for it to come from the far regions of the earth.

Look, they come quickly and swiftly.

5:27 None tire or stumble,

they don’t stop to nap or sleep.

They don’t loosen their belts,

or unstrap their sandals to rest.

5:28 Their arrows are sharpened,

and all their bows are prepared.

The hooves of their horses are hard as flint,

and their chariot wheels are like a windstorm.

5:29 Their roar is like a lion’s;

they roar like young lions.

They growl and seize their prey;

they drag it away and no one can come to the rescue.

5:30 At that time they will growl over their prey,

it will sound like sea waves crashing against rocks.

One will look out over the land and see the darkness of disaster,

clouds will turn the light into darkness.

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