Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Isaiah 4 - Seven women and one man

I spent a lot of time pondering the first verse of Isaiah 4:


And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.


It sounds pretty salacious at first blush, but I feel Isaiah is trying to say something profound, so I will try to dig deeper:


And in that day

This chapter is a continuation of chapter 3 where “that day” refers to the time(s) when the Jews (Isreal) will be scourged and suffer the consequences of their disobedience and pride.  I believe “that day” also refers to a time hence when the Lord will purify his kingdom through fire, as is mentioned in verse 4:


When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.


seven women

Isaiah uses women as a metaphor for the weak.  They are the ones left after the great and mighty have been taken away and/or killed.  I think we can also assume that we are talking about the remnants of Israel and not necessarily all of the world.


shall take hold of one man,

conversely, the man is used a metaphor of the strong.  Verse 3 seems to indicate that the “man” refers to those who keep themselves unspotted from the world and keep their covenants:


And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:


To “take hold” indicates, I think, the earnestness of the plea.  These ladies know exactly what they want and they are determined to get it.


saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel:

The motive will not be for food or clothing, even though Zion should have plenty of that.  The weak will recognize the spiritual integrity of Zion, that that is what they will yearn for, not simply to be fed and clothed as often seen in times of disaster.  I think they will recognize that it is not a hand-out that they want, but rather the ability to prosper in the way that Zion does, as mentioned in verse 2:


In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.


only let us be called by thy name,

When we are baptized, we take upon ourselves the name of Christ.  So in other words, this could be rephrased as “let us be called by the name of Christ.”   The weak will recognize that it is association with the true church that provides the spiritual power they seek.    They will want to be united with it, presumably through baptism and repentance.


to take away our reproach.

Reproach means “an expression of rebuke or disapproval”.   The remnants of Israel will come to understand that God has been unhappy with them because of the detour they have taken from righteousness.  They will feel the shame of it and that will be their motive for coming back into the fold.



As I think about what I have written here, I feel like there are two ways that I can (and should) take this:  First, I aught to realize that as a sinner, I am one of the weak.  I should strive to be aware of where God may disapprove of what I do and seek to repent.  I should also seek after righteousness and seek after the name of Christ.  My motives should not be any of the worldy motives of prestige or wealth, they should be the pure motives of peace and prosperity through living by covenants, the desire to have the Lord be my protector and my light.


Second, I think should also understand that these prophecies paint a picture of the day in which I am living and the role that I can play in the Lords plan.  There will be pure in heart and I can be one of them.  There will be those who are escaped from the world and they will be the rescuers of the residue of Israel.  This is our task in the last days.




Monad said...

I think that this verse may refer to the modern woman who is "independent" and has her own career, with no need for a man and the resultant consequences that we see in western society (and pervading into other cultures).

Women seem to have no idea that it was men who provided the standard of living they now enjoy and this is the only reason why feminism could take hold.

It is now not politically correct to critizise women and certainly not anymore, to be a masculine man.

Jesus got angry and threw the tables over of the money lenders...he was angry. Rightious anger is holy, masculinity is holy.

Anyway, this is my interpretation.

Eric Jorgensen said...

That's an interesting thought. I think it is true to say that some women have been fooled by feminism to derive their value by the same standards that men derive their value. It makes about as much sense as saying that a sprinter should be measured on the same course as a long distance runner. Sprinters and distance runners are different, yet both are equally appreciated and respected in spite of their different scales of measurement.

This is, in my mind, the great disservice of feminism. Instead of exhalting womanhood, feminism denigrated women's roles and forced women to act like men or else they would be unappreciated. It remains true today that feminism has very little respect for a mother. This has created problems for virtually all women.