Isaiah 3:16
(16) Because the daughters of Zion . . .--From the princes that worked evil, Isaiah turns to their wives, sisters, concubines, who were showing themselves degenerate daughters of Sarah and Rebecca. A like denunciation meets us in Isaiah 32:9-12, but this is without a parallel in the minuteness of its detail. It is as though the prophet had gone into the boudoir of one of the leaders of the fashions of Jerusalem, and taken an inventory of what he found there. Possibly we may trace the influence of the prophetess-wife of Isaiah (Isaiah 8:3), seeking to recall those of her own sex to a higher life. We note, on a smaller scale, a like teaching in the married apostle (1Peter 3:3-4). Twenty-one distinct articles are mentioned. Their names for the most part appear to have a foreign stamp on them. Then, as at other times, luxury imported its novelties, and the women of Judah took up the fashions of those of Tyre or Damascus or Philistia. It is not without interest to compare the protests of Juvenal (Sat. vi.), Dante (Purgat. xxiii. 106-111), Chrysostom, and Savonarola against like evils.

With stretched forth necks . . .--The corruption which the prophet paints showed itself then, as it has done in later times, in the adoption by the decent classes of society of the gait and glances of the harlots of alien birth (comp. Proverbs 7:9-21), with, perhaps, the difference of a certain affectation of coyness.

Making a tinkling with their feet.--Small silver bells were fastened on the ankles, and so the beauties of Jerusalem carried, as it were, their music with them. The custom still exists in Syria and Arabia, though forbidden by the Koran. English nursery rhymes seem to recall a time when it was not unknown in Western Europe.

Verse 16. - The daughters of Zion. It is over-fanciful to go beyond the plain meaning of the words here, and suppose allegory. "The daughters of Zion" are the female inhabitants of Jerusalem. Are haughty; or, proud - like the men (Isaiah 2:11, 12, 17). Walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes. Mr. Cheyne translates, "ogling eyes." Both actions indicate the desire to attract men's attention, and are shameless and immodest. Walking and mincing as they go; i.e. taking short steps in an affectedly childish way. Making a tinkling with their feet. This meaning is generally accepted, though not very certain. It has been suggested that the anklets which they wore (ver. 18) had silver bells attached to them.

3:16-26 The prophet reproves and warns the daughters of Zion of the sufferings coming upon them. Let them know that God notices the folly and vanity of proud women, even of their dress. The punishments threatened answered the sin. Loathsome diseases often are the just punishment of pride. It is not material to ask what sort of ornaments they wore; many of these things, if they had not been in fashion, would have been ridiculed then as now. Their fashions differed much from those of our times, but human nature is the same. Wasting time and money, to the neglect of piety, charity, and even of justice, displease the Lord. Many professors at the present day, seem to think there is no harm in worldly finery; but were it not a great evil, would the Holy Spirit have taught the prophet to expose it so fully? The Jews being overcome, Jerusalem would be levelled with the ground; which is represented under the idea of a desolate female seated upon the earth. And when the Romans had destroyed Jerusalem, they struck a medal, on which was represented a woman sitting on the ground in a posture of grief. If sin be harboured within the walls, lamentation and mourning are near the gates.Moreover the Lord saith, because the daughters of Zion are haughty,.... The wives or daughters of the rulers, princes, or elders; these were "high", affected to look high and tall, and therefore stretched out their necks, and walked on tiptoes; or "were lifted up" with pride, which is the root and source of all the vanity expressed in their gesture and ornaments.

And walk with stretched forth necks or "throats"; looking high, and above others, and upon them with contempt and disdain; this is a sign of pride; see Psalm 75:5,

and wanton eyes; either winking with their eyes to others to follow them to their houses, as Kimchi interprets it; so Jarchi thinks it is expressive of their looks, as we, of wanton looks; and the Septuagint render it, "with winking of eyes"; so the Syriac and Arabic versions, or painting their eyes; so the Targum,

"they walk with their eyes painted,''

as Jezebel painted her face, 2 Kings 9:30 in the Talmudic language, is used (q) for vermilion, or red lead, with which they painted their eyes, as they did also with (r) black lead.

Walking and mincing as they go: jumping and dancing as children in the streets; or using the like gesture as those who beat upon a drum; or walking in even paces, in a soft and delicate manner; all which senses Kimchi (s) observes in the word. The whole is rendered by the Septuagint, "and in the walk of their feet", or as they walk "together, drawing their coats" upon the ground after them, which makes a noise. The Targum is, "with hair rolled up", bound up and plaited.

And making a tinkling with their feet; having a sort of bells hanging on them, as Kimchi thinks, which made a noise as they went. Of the word here used, and the sense of it; see Gill on Isaiah 3:18. The Targum renders it, "provoking with their feet"; either the lust of men; or the anger of the Lord, as the Syriac version; the Septuagint and Arabic versions, "playing with the feet".

(q) T. Bab. Roshhashanah, fol. 18. 1. Misn. Sabbat. c. 12. sect. 4. Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. (r) Targum on 2 Kings 30. (s) Sepher Shorash. rad.

Isaiah 3:15
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