Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 3:17

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The Lord will smite "Will the Lord humble" - ταπεινωσει, Septuagint; and so Syriac and Chaldee. For שפח sippach they read שפל shaphal . Instead of יהוה Yehovah, many MSS. have אדני Adonai .

Will discover their secret parts "Expose their nakedness" - It was the barbarous custom of the conquerors of those times to strip their captives naked, and to make them travel in that condition, exposed to the inclemency of the weather; and the worst of all, to the intolerable heat of the sun. But this to the women was the height of cruelty and indignity; and especially to such as those here described, who had indulged themselves in all manner of delicacies of living, and all the superfluities of ornamental dress; and even whose faces had hardly ever been exposed to the sight of man. This is always mentioned as the hardest part of the lot of captives. Nahum, Nahum 3:5, Nahum 3:6, denouncing the fate of Nineveh, paints it in very strong colors: -

"Behold, I am against thee, saith Jehovah, God of hosts:

And I will discover thy skirts upon thy face;

And I will expose thy nakedness to the nations;

And to the kingdoms thy shame.

And I will throw ordures upon thee;

And I will make thee vile, and set thee as a gazing-stock."

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab - There is some diversity of rendering to this expression. The Septuagint reads it: ‹The Lord will humble the principal daughters of Zion‘ - those who belong to the court, or to the families of the princes. The Chaldee, ‹The Lord will prostrate the glory of the daughters of Zion.‘ The Syriac is the same. The Hebrew word שׂפח s'ı̂phach translated ‹will smite with a scab,‘ means to “make bald,” particularly to make the hair fall off by sickness. Our translation conveys the idea essentially, that is, that God would visit them with disease that would remove the hair which they regarded as so great an ornament, and on which they so much prided themselves. Few things would be so degrading and humiliating as being thus made bald. The description in this verse means, that God would humble and punish them; that they who so adorned themselves, and who were so proud of their ornaments, would be divested of their joyful attire, and be borne naked into captivity in a foreign land.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The prophet reproves and warns the daughters of Zion of the sufferings coming upon them. Let them know that God notices the folly and vanity of proud women, even of their dress. The punishments threatened answered the sin. Loathsome diseases often are the just punishment of pride. It is not material to ask what sort of ornaments they wore; many of these things, if they had not been in fashion, would have been ridiculed then as now. Their fashions differed much from those of our times, but human nature is the same. Wasting time and money, to the neglect of piety, charity, and even of justice, displease the Lord. Many professors at the present day, seem to think there is no harm in worldly finery; but were it not a great evil, would the Holy Spirit have taught the prophet to expose it so fully? The Jews being overcome, Jerusalem would be levelled with the ground; which is represented under the idea of a desolate female seated upon the earth. And when the Romans had destroyed Jerusalem, they struck a medal, on which was represented a woman sitting on the ground in a posture of grief. If sin be harboured within the walls, lamentation and mourning are near the gates.
Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 306

The outlook was particularly discouraging as regards the social conditions of the people. In their desire for gain, men were adding house to house and field to field. See Isaiah 5:8. Justice was perverted, and no pity was shown the poor. Of these evils God declared, “The spoil of the poor is in your houses.” “Ye beat My people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor.” Isaiah 3:14, 15. Even the magistrates, whose duty it was to protect the helpless, turned a deaf ear to the cries of the poor and needy, the widows and the fatherless. See Isaiah 10:1, 2. PK 306.1

With oppression and wealth came pride and love of display, gross drunkenness, and a spirit of revelry. See Isaiah 2:11, 12; 3:16, 18-23; Isaiah 5:22, 11, 12. And in Isaiah's day idolatry itself no longer provoked surprise. See Isaiah 2:8, 9. Iniquitous practices had become so prevalent among all classes that the few who remained true to God were often tempted to lose heart and to give way to discouragement and despair. It seemed as if God's purpose for Israel were about to fail and that the rebellious nation was to suffer a fate similar to that of Sodom and Gomorrah. PK 306.2

In the face of such conditions it is not surprising that when, during the last year of Uzziah's reign, Isaiah was called to bear to Judah God's messages of warning and reproof, he shrank from the responsibility. He well knew that he would encounter obstinate resistance. As he realized his own inability to meet the situation and thought of the stubbornness and unbelief of the people for whom he was to labor, his task seemed hopeless. Should he in despair relinquish his mission and leave Judah undisturbed to their idolatry? Were the gods of Nineveh to rule the earth in defiance of the God of heaven? PK 306.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 270

The prophecy of Isaiah 3 was presented before me as applying to these last days, and the reproofs are given to the daughters of Zion who have thought only of appearance and display. Read verse 25: “Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.” I was shown that this scripture will be strictly fulfilled. Young men and women professing to be Christians, yet having no Christian experience, and having borne no burdens and felt no individual responsibility, are to be proved. They will be brought low in the dust and will long for an experience in the things of God, which they have failed to obtain. 1T 270.1

War lifts his helmet to his brow;
O God, protect Thy people now.
1T 270.2


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