Isaiah 3:12
(12) Children are their oppressors . . .--This points, as before (Isaiah 3:4), to the youth and yet more the character of Ahaz. The influence of the queen-mother or of the seraglio was dominant in his counsels. Cowardly (Isaiah 7:2), idolatrous, delighting in foreign worships and foreign forms of art (2Kings 16:10), such was the king who then sat on the throne of Judah. And the evil worked downwards from the throne. Those who should have been the leaders of the people were quick only to mislead. Princes, priests, judges were all drifting with the current of debasement.

Verse 12. - As for my people. Return is now made to the sins of the dwellers in Jerusalem, and the first thing noted is that the people suffer from the childishness and effeminacy of their rulers. The rulers are called "oppressors" by the way here, the sin of oppression being dwelt on later (vers. 14, 15). Here the emphatic words are "children," "women." Children (see ver. 4). The rulers are "children," or rather "babes" - foolish, capricious, cowardly. It is not clear that any prince in particular is meant; rather, by the plural form, the upper class generally seems to be intended, as in Isaiah 1:10, 17, 23, etc. Women; comp. Herod., 8:88, where Xerxes says that "his men have shown themselves women, and his women men;" and see also Virg., 'AEneid '-

"O vere Phrygia, neque enim Phryges." The rulers were womanly, i.e. weak, wavering, timid, impulsive, passionate, and are therefore called actual "women." There is no allusion to female sovereigns. They which lead thee cause thee to err; or, they which direct thee lead thee astray. Professing to point out the right path, they led men away from it. Destroy the way; literally, swallow it up, or obliterate it.

3:10-15 The rule was certain; however there might be national prosperity or trouble, it would be well with the righteous and ill with the wicked. Blessed be God, there is abundant encouragement to the righteous to trust in him, and for sinners to repent and return to him. It was time for the Lord to show his might. He will call men to a strict account for all the wealth and power intrusted to and abused by them. If it is sinful to disregard the necessities of the poor, how odious and wicked a part do they act, who bring men into poverty, and then oppress them!As for my people, children are their oppressors,.... Or rulers; for in the Ethiopic language, signifies a king: or "exactors", as in Isaiah 60:17 princes are so called, because they exact tribute of their subjects, and sometimes in a tyrannical and oppressive manner, and so get the name of oppressors. The sense is the same with Isaiah 3:4. The words may be rendered, "as for my people, everyone of their governors, is a child" (n); not in age, but in understanding:

and women rule over them, or "over him" (o); either over the people of Israel, as Alexandra before Hyrcanus, and Helena queen of the Adiabenes; or over the child their governor, as women had great influence over their husbands, the governors of Judea, in those times, as Herodias, Bernice, and Drusilla; or it may be understood of men, weak, effeminate, and given to pleasure:

O my people, they which lead thee: as the former may design their political governors, this their ecclesiastic rulers, who were to direct and lead them in the paths of religion and truth. Some render the words, "who praise thee", as the Targum; "or bless you", or "call you blessed", as the Septuagint and Arabic versions, though guilty of the most flagitious crimes:

cause thee to err, or wander from the way of God's commandments,

and destroy the way of the paths, by turning them out of the right way; by enjoining them the traditions of the elders; by taking away the key of knowledge from them, and not suffering them to go into the kingdom of heaven, or attend the ministry of the Gospel and ordinances; as did the Scribes and Pharisees, who were blind leaders of the blind.

(n) "exactorum ejus quisque parvulus est", Piscator. (o) "in eum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "in illum", Cocceius.

Isaiah 3:11
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