The third chapter of Isaiah is an oracle (a command from God) of judgment. It foretells the destruction of Jerusalem and Judah as a consequence of rebellion against God. This oracle was given in response to the vices and mismanagement of civil and religious leaders. In the beginning of Isaiah, God is about to remove the capable and gifted people from Judah, which included the best and brightest of the ruling classes of Jerusalem. This included the removable of the “hero”, the “warrior”, the “judge”, the “prophet”, the “elder”, the “men of rank”, the “counselor”, the “skilled craftsmen.”

Israel had benefited from wise counsel, leadership, and heroic action of certain men and women, but with time only the poorest, weakest and unskilled would be left. A government of confusion and ineffectiveness resulted. Anarchy and extortion would follow.

Isaiah could have been referring to the prominent women in the royal court, most likely the “haughty women of Zion”, wealthy and influential, who Isaiah denounced in Isaiah 3:16. Isaiah could have been referring to the week, young, inexperienced, and wicked king, Ahaz.

Isaiah use metaphors to indicate the leaders were “children” and “women” to indicate the leaders will be childish, inexperience, foolish and ineffective. In ancient times, to call a man a “child” or a “women” was an insult. However, the original word for “women” was “creditors.” The Septuagint was translated from Hebrew to Greek centuries before the Masoretes added their system to vowel points to the Hebrew text. The Septuagint’s version of Isaiah 3:12 reads: “O my people, your extractors strip you, and extortioners rule over you.” So the message of the third chapter of Isaiah is creditors would extort Judah. No matter how you may translate the original word for “women”, it is clear God was saying Judah would be led and bullied by incompetent leaders.

We must keep in mind in the Old Testament some women were civil leaders (Sheerah), some were prophets, religious leaders (Miriam). Deborah was a judge and prophet as stated in Isaiah 3:1. Men in the Old Testament often took advice from women (Josh.2:16, 22; Judges 4:6,8; 1Sam. 25:23; 2Sam. 20:15; 1Kings 2:19; Prov. 31:1; Chron. 34:19; Esth. 4:17). These women were used by God and respected by men. So it is the leadership by fools and corrupted creditors that constituted God’s judgment on Judah, which is the theme in Isaiah 3:12-16.

In closing, does not Isaiah reveal a society of those who should not be leading and those who should? Does not such weak, inexperienced, childish leaders of our government lead to such immoral and irresponsible actions we are seeing today. Does this chapter not say we are suffering from a serious lack of experienced and qualified leadership with the wisdom to lead in this country?