The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Isaiah 32

Isa 32:1

"With the destruction of the Assyrian host on the hills of Jerusalem, Isaiah provides a prophecy of a restored kingdom, and a glorious reign of glory and power. Hezekiah's reign is seen as a type of Messiah's greater dominion. The prophet commences his treatise with the bold 'Behold', drawing attention to the grand regal picture of a king and his associates under the divine blessing. Righteousness and Judgment establish the power of the throne (vv 1-8). Isaiah then presents a warning to Ladies of Leisure (vv 9-12).

"He indicts their careless unconcern in the face of impending peril. They seek for the enjoyment of the previous way of life, and are certain that their state will not be disturbed. Such are the nations of the future that refuse the law from Zion, and ignore the invitation of the everlasting gospel of salvation. For such, desolations are decreed (vv 13,14). It is typical of the state of Jerusalem under the Babylonians and Romans, and also of the Gentile nations who refuse the good hand of Christ's rulership in the future. The ch concludes with a glorious picture of restoration (vv 15-20). The wilderness is turned into fruit and provision. So the lovely picture concludes with the picture of the ox and ass: the ox for ploughing and the ass for transportation; One for sacrifice, the other for redemption. Co-operation and harmony settles over the scene of mankind's dilemma" (GEM).

RULERS WILL RULE IN JUSTICE: Sitting on thrones, ruling over 12 tribes of Israel: Mat 19:28.

Isa 32:2

EACH: KJV has "a". A particular man.

A SHELTER... A REFUGE: "And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said" (2Ch 32:7,8). The city of Jerusalem was spared from the "wind" and the "storm" (Isa 29:5,6; 30:30).


Isa 32:3

Vv 3-8: "When the student of prophecy encounters a passage like this one, full of abstract terms, it is important to remember that the prophets were not given to moralising in an abstract fashion (which is the way nearly all the commentators take this paragraph). Rather, it is necessary here to look for specific ref such as is appropriate to this Isaiah context. Already, several indications have been noted of corrupt administration in Hezekiah's kingdom during the critical period when his sickness compelled him to withdraw from government (Isa 29:4; 22:15...; etc). With the king's miraculous recovery there came, of course, a dramatic change in the quality of the men now handling the reins of authority. This has already been intimated in v 1... [This] is not to be read in general terms in praise of good wholesome men and decrying the value of those who show a mean or selfish spirit. It is to be understood as a prophecy of an imminent dramatic change for the better in the quality of the administration of Hezekiah's kingdom" (WIsa 321).

In LD, princes will rule in judgment along with Christ (Mat 19:28; Rev 20:4).

Isa 32:7

A series of terms descriptive not only of the wicked administrators of Judah, but esp of the Assyrian invaders (eg Nah 1:11; Isa 54:16; 13:5).

Isa 32:9

Vv 9-11: A connection and possible comparison with an earlier section: In Isa 3:1-5 there is sustained censure of the princes and rulers of Judah, followed (in Isa 3:16-24) with an exposure of the godless vanities of women, prob those associated with the temple service.

Isa 32:12

Vv 12-14: Lamentation for the desolation inflicted by Assyria upon the fields and vineyards of the whole Land, with the exception of Jerusalem.

Isa 32:14

THE DELIGHT OF DONKEYS: Perhaps a ref to the wild Bedouin tribes (cp description of Ishmael: Gen 16:12); whenever these wanderers saw an opportunity for forage or plunder in a countryside from which they were normally excluded, then they were prompt to take advantage.

Isa 32:15

TILL THE SPIRIT IS POURED UPON US FROM ON HIGH: A dramatic change in tone. "Spirit" = the great rains, bringing in the promised Year of Jubilee (cp Isa 44:3; and Joel 2:23,28).

Isa 32:17

"Poverty and destitution springing from man's selfishness and misrule, will vanish under Christ's reign. The burdens of past wars and preparations for possible future wars, will no longer cast their shadows on the lives of men. There will be no need for armies and navies, for guns and armaments by which nations today maintain their possessions and preserve their ways of life. Christ will be supreme. Unerring justice and swift judgment by omnipotent power will teach men the folly of disobedience. Jesus and his co-rulers will direct men: 'This is the way, walk ye in it' (Isa 30:21), and will lead them in right paths. When this king reigns in righteousness and his princes rule in judgment '...the work of righteousness shall be peace: and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever' (Isa 32:1,17)" (GW 168,169).

RIGHTEOUSNESS... PEACE: The work of the righteous Melchizedek king-priest -- the "king of righteousness" and then the "king of peace" (Heb 7:2; Gen 14).

Isa 32:18

"Peace and rest belong not to the unregenerate; they are the peculiar possession of the Lord's people, and of them only. The God of Peace gives perfect peace to those whose hearts are stayed upon Him. When man was unfallen, his God gave him the flowery bowers of Eden as his quiet resting places; alas! how soon sin blighted the fair abode of innocence. In the day of universal wrath when the flood swept away a guilty race, the chosen family were quietly secured in the resting-place of the ark, which floated them from the old condemned world into the new earth of the rainbow and the covenant, herein typifying Jesus, the ark of our salvation. Israel rested safely beneath the blood-besprinkled habitations of Egypt when the destroying angel smote the first-born; and in the wilderness the shadow of the pillar of cloud, and the flowing rock, gave the weary pilgrims sweet repose. At this hour we rest in the promises of our faithful God, knowing that His words are full of truth and power; we rest in the doctrines of His word, which are consolation itself; we rest in the covenant of His grace, which is a haven of delight. More highly favoured are we than David in Adullam, or Jonah beneath his gourd, for none can invade or destroy our shelter. The person of Jesus is the quiet resting-place of his people, and when we draw near to him in the breaking of the bread, in the hearing of the word, the searching of the Scriptures, prayer, or praise, we find any form of approach to him to be the return of peace to our spirits" (CHS).

Isa 32:19

Looking back to vv 12-14...

Isa 32:20

"This vision swings back to its lovely picture of a peaceful, settled, well-ordered society. The Land is cleared of Assyrians. The people are back at their normal occupations. The special blessing of God in their Jubilee Year -- 'opening the windows of heaven' (Lev 25:21) -- encourages assiduous cultivation... National recovery from the invasion goes forward at a phenomenal rate" (WIsa 324).

CATTLE AND DONKEYS: "The lovely pictures in this ch of a land and people enjoying tranquility and assurance tell of an even better Jubilee in which, both literally and spiritually, the wilderness becomes a fruitful field (v 15; Isa 35:1,2). And in that fruitful field the ox and the ass labour at the good work together -- Jew and Gentile will be one in the service of their Creator, and the ancient Law which was originally designed to keep them separate (Deu 22:10) will be abrogated forever in a new society where righteousness, quietness and assurance endure 'for ever' (v 17)" (WIsa 325).

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