Old Testament Reading
Isaiah 3:1-4:1 consist of two distinct sections, 3:1-15 and 3:16-4:1. The first section, Isaiah 3:1-3:15, concerns itself with the leaders of Jerusalem and Judah. The second section, Isaiah 3:16-4:1, concerns itself with the women of Zion. The good news here is limited to verse 10, “Tell the innocent how fortunate they are, for they shall eat the fruit of their labors.” This good news is paired with a woe in verse 11, “Woe to the guilty! How unfortunate they are, for what their hands have done shall be done to them.” It is as if the prophet was saying, “What goes around comes around.”
In the first section, 3:1-15, we have the presentation of the collapse of a society. This collapse is characterized by the loss of food, water, protection, justice, understanding, wisdom, leadership, and the ordinary structures that allow society to function. All those to whom the people could turn are taken away. Chaos takes over. The conclusion of this section implies that the poor are God’s people, “What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor? says the Lord God of hosts.”
In the second section, 3:16-4:1, we hear the prophet using the reasoning of the well-known proverb, “pride proceedeth the fall.” This section deals with pride in terms of sexual promiscuity. The consequences of that pride are presented in terms of the apparent disease ridden results of that promiscuity. This pride (promiscuity) leads eventually to the loss of protection and death, “Your men shall fall by the sword and your warriors in battle. And her gates shall lament and mourn; ravaged, she shall sit upon the ground.”
Are we as individuals, families, churches, and communities looking forward to eating the fruit of our labors?