Isaiah 3:1-15 A Commentary

Isaiah decries injustice by the elite against the poor. As a fit punishment, social order will be upset, leaving the people in leaderless chaos.

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Text: 3:10-15 Because You Crush My People

10. Say ye of the righteous, that it shall be well with him; 

For they shall eat the fruit of their doings.

11. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him;

For the work of his hands shall be done to him.

12. As for My people, a babe is their master,

And women rule over them.

 My people, they that lead thee cause thee to err,

And destroy the way of thy paths.

13. The LORD standeth up to plead,

And standeth to judge the peoples.

14. The LORD will enter into judgment

With the elders of His people, and the princes thereof:

'It is ye that have eaten up the vineyard;

The spoil of the poor is in your houses;

15. What mean ye that ye crush My people,

And grind the face of the poor?'

Saith the LORD, the God of hosts.

Commentary on 3:10-15

3:10‑11 Say ye of the righteous ... woe unto the wicked! Since these verses interrupt the sequence, Krauss agrees with modern scholars that they are a later insertion but they can also be described as having some connection with the preceding verses which speak of perverting justice. They condemn the righteous and vindicate the wicked; and the prophet therefore calls upon them to depart from this sin but to vindicate the righteous and condemn the wicked.

3:12 A babe is their master and women rule over them.  The same word here is used for "babe" as in Verse 4, and the commentators translate it as either a symbol of weak rulers or of mockers and cynics. Kimchi adds that, because of their sexuality (it has been a common misconception, from ancient times up to the present day, that women are more sexually enticing, and more sexually motivated, than men are), the men will fall under the domination of women. Krauss calls attention to the fact that the word for "women" (nashim) can also be read as "creditors," and that all the ancient translations indicate that one of the misfortunes that will come to them is that they will be always in the hands of their creditors.

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Dr. Solomon B. Freehof

Dr. Solomon Bennett Freehof (1892-1990) was a prominent Reform rabbi, posek, and scholar. Rabbi Freehof served as president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the World Union for Progressive Judaism. Beginning in 1955, he led the CCAR's work on Jewish law through its responsa committee.