Scriptures/The Bible/The Old Testament/Isaiah/3

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Isaiah 3 at

This chapter is also Repeated in 2 Nephi 13

1 For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water,

2 The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient,

3 The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.

4 And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.

5 And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.

We live in a day and age where everyone is said to be "oppressed". It only occurred to me recently that this phenomena could apply here, and that Isaiah could be ironic as this applies to our day. The younger generation is seeking the overthrow of the old in a most proud and self-destructive fashion.

6 When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand:

7 In that day shall he swear, saying, I will not be an healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: make me not a ruler of the people.

8 For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory.

9 ¶ The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.

Definitely seems to apply to today, and perhaps applying even more as time goes on and wickedness becomes even more open, because I'm not entirely convinced that "sodomy" as we use the term today, encompasses all that went into the destruction of Sodom. Certainly the story of that destruction tells of more.

10 Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.

My hope, because we're getting plundered pretty bad here.

11 Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.

12 ¶ As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

The oppression of the young against the old, as with the last part of verse 5.
women rule over them This is particularly interesting. It's curious to ask why this is such a problem, though I can certainly think of ways that todays age is marred by a feminine pathology. I usually think of this more abstractly rather than thinking that the actual rulership of women is fundamentally problematic. It is certainly possible that it is problematic, but that's not where my mind naturally goes. The world has become ruled by an abhorrent safety-first mentality, coddling, and promotion of neuroticism that Jordan Peterson, for example, has described as something along the lines of an unbalanced excess of the feminine archetype. As with the discussion around the "daughters of Zion", below, perhaps these women are actually cities that dominate the political landscape and lord over the more rural locales.
they which lead thee: Per Peter Turchin, the fundamental driver of political instability is elite overproduction. Inter-elite competition leads people into waring factions.[1][2][3][4] This dynamic is apparent in the Pride Cycles of the Book of Mormon and in the Lord's solution to bringing about Zion in the Parable of the Olive Trees in Jacob 5.

13 The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.

14 The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses.

enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes: Today, these are the Boomers and elites, and the description and condemnation here seems apt. They have stolen the futures of our children. We have abandoned them and provided no space for them, because, starting with the boomers, parents stopped focusing on setting up for their kids' futures and started focusing on getting them out of the house so that they could have a fun retirement. (And also, there's the national debt and social security.)
the spoil of the poor is in your houses: (See: Isaiah 5:8) The Boomers have been heavily criticized by younger generations, and the criticism is not without merit, for buying up homes as investments to prepare for retirements, causing homes to become unaffordable for the average young family. It seems the Lord is unhappy with this as well.

15 What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts.

The legal system run by Boomers and elites, is grinding people to dust and exacerbating impoverishment.

16 ¶ Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:

the daughters of Zion are haughty: Between modern feminism and the tendency for even more sane modern women to, often enough, have little respect for their husbands, it is all too common for women, to, increasingly, have voracious appetites for trite consumer goods, but little appetite for work, and to make an immodest display of themselves. (Not that men are immune from this either. People have, very generally, become soft and lazy.). Apart from the current trend of man-hating, I don't really have many more especially contemporary observations on this subject. The use of the plural here is interesting, as the usual use of the term "daughter of Zion" as a reference to Jerusalem seems to be cut away here. If the daughters of Zion be taken to be a civic reference, it seems difficult to make it a reference to Jerusalem alone. I have tended to understand this as a reference to the women of North America. However, it may also describe cities of North America or some other group of cities that can be understood to be exercising similar haughtiness.
Theme: Wickedness of Women in the Last Days

17 Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.

Normally we think of this as an illness and a humiliation, but in the vein of Alma 3 we can see that these women can fulfill the prophesy by marking themselves and exposing themselves. The prominence of pussy hats, awful hair coloring/cuts, shaved heads, and the various protests in the nude (eg. Naked Athena, but that is only one of the less stunning examples), it seems that we are seeing this today. As cities, this may be a description of destruction to be visited on city leadership, or a wounded and healing state of the city leadership. This may be saying that the civic corruption will be aired publicly.

18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,

Presumably the day when he enters into judgement. I expect there is war, societal collapse, and economic collapse in this judgement. I wonder if all of these ornaments have a special civic significance.

19 The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,

20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,

headbands: Probably "girdles".[5]
tablets: Has Isaiah picked a particularly appropriate word for one of today's highly coveted gadgets, or, is it that he's referring to perfume bottles as, commentaries point out, this is how his words would have been understood in his day. Understanding this phrase in the the way it would have been understood in Isaiah's time means that this verse seems to stand in opposition to verse 24 in an intentional way. This does not, however, mean that the word was necessarily not intended to be understood in our modern way.[5]

21 The rings, and nose jewels,

22 The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,

23 The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the veils.

24 And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.

burning: The word used here is the word for "branding". Commentaries have sometimes identified this as a mark of slavery. It has long been my expectation that as wickedness increases, abuse of authority increases, and the foolish desperation of women increases, that human trafficking will increase as a result. Already, on the west coast, among the African American population, there are men who seduce young women into working for them as prostitutes and use branding or tattoos to mark women as belonging to them. It would not surprise me to hear that such marks are used among other human trafficking subcultures as well. I think that it has to be mentioned that in our modern time, the term "branding" is most often associated with business marketing strategies, and it has long been my view that heavy branding is to be avoided as prominent branding, as an aesthetic, is usually ugly, and it marks people as being being servants of corporate idols. (I would even go so far as to say this is the case for sports branding, and political branding.) Isaiah has occasionally demonstrated that he can pick out the right Hebrew term for our modern words such that they come across in translation in ways that speak to use very directly, so the idea that branding might be intended the way we usually intend the word doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility. Even within the realm of prostitution, it is often the products of corporate idols which attract young women into the job, so that they can receive expensive gifts or afford to furnish themselves with designed merchandise.[6]

25 Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.

I tend to think of this very literally, but I was recently thinking of current events in a way that made me think that maybe this has already happened, in a sense, or is in the process of happening. In essence, a cultural war is already being waged, and one of the evident casualties of this war has been the men. According to data gathered and analyzed by OKCupid a few years back, some 40% of men were not recognized by women as being men at all. That is, on a scale of 0 to 10, some 40% of men were generally considered to be zeros. Taking Isaiah 4's 7 to one ratio at face value and doing a (extremely) rough calculation, one expects that one should find that, at that time, (assuming men haven't literally died) that women will be finding only about 15% of men to be attractive, whereas, this data suggests that women find only about 20% of men to be attractive. This is again rough, because physical attractiveness is not the only measure of attractiveness.[7][8][9] Another set of data indicates that this tendency for women to be picky in their mate selection is accelerating over time.[10] Per Isaiah, in Isaiah 4, it is the lack of eligible men that will drive a future demand for polygamy from women, and modern commentators are pointing out that this is a likelihood.[11] In fact, societal acceptance of polygamy has been increasing steadily over the past two decades.[12] Now, this isn't the only reason why women are having trouble finding men. Societal attitude and legal frameworks have made dating and marriage increasingly dangerous for men and the rise of the MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way) movement is indicative of a trend of men who are otherwise eligible and interested in dating, choosing to forgo dating and marriage because it has become too perilous. Additionally, dropping graduation rates among men, and evident increased feminization of men, have combined to create a crop of weak and incapable men who would not be expected to fare well against the usual desire among women to marry up the social hierarchy (hypergamy). This would also be affected by the current tendency for society's social pyramid to be getting ever more and more stretched. The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. This comes around to the elite overproduction problem I am keen to highlight. The overall trend is that women just won't find most men to be as attractive as they would have 30 years ago.
One way in which that analysis doesn't line up, is in the second verse of Isaiah 4. The currently projected return of polygamy would seem to coincide with a very dark time. I would not describe these people as "escaped". The idea that the people at this time are "escaped" suggests that these men will be falling in a more literal war. That suggests that the described return of polygamy will come after elites (and many others) have been purged in violent turmoil. (Perhaps polygamy will return in both contexts?) That suggests that this verse is describing an actual violent conflict to come, and not just the loss of manliness caused by social influences. (Certainly, in the mode of Isaiah, this verse can encompass both eventualities.)
Theme: Men Will Become Rare in the Last Days

26 And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.

The daughter of Zion is frequently an allusion to Jerusalem. I think, however, that Isaiah is describing actual women. The allusion to the city is figurative here, while the women are literal, rather than the other way around. It is both the city AND the actual women who will suffer because the men fall by the sword. The impact on the women is described in the next chapter. Could this impact also be an allegory for the influence the Lord, or Zion, will obtain after all this destruction? Isaiah's employment of double-meanings and layered allegory is not to be underestimated.
See my notes on the previous verse regarding why women are finding themselves to be alone today and are likely to be more completely alone in the future.


It feels like there are strong echoes of Isaiah 32 here.


  1. Peter Turchin, "Cliodynamics is Not “Cyclical History”", Cliodynamica: A Blog about the Evolution of Civilizations, 18 Sep 2020
  2. Peter Turchin, "Why Theory Is Important: Responding to two reviews by Scott Alexander", Cliodynamica: A Blog about the Evolution of Civilizations, 5 Sep 2019
  3. Peter Turchin, "Below the Surface: the Structural-Demographic Roots of the Current Political Crisis", Cliodynamica: A Blog about the Evolution of Civilizations, 16 Oct 2013
  4. Peter Turchin, "Bimodal Lawyers: How Extreme Competition Breeds Extreme Inequality", Cliodynamica: A Blog about the Evolution of Civilizations, 10 Nov 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1
  7. Christian, "Your Looks and Your Inbox", OKTrends, 17 Nov 2009, via Wayback Machine, 21 Nov 2009
  8. Mark Dent, "Why you never see “attractive” people on your OKCupid page: Founder reveals dating site’s secrets during Philly visit", Billy Penn, 10 Feb 2015
  9. Christine Schoenwald, "Women Find 80% Of Men Unattractive, Says Crazy Study", Your Tango, 19 Mar 2018
  10. Alexander Grace, "You Won’t Believe What These Graphs Reveal About Women! - 3:08", YouTube, 10 Dec 2020
  11. Alexander Grace, "The Future Is Polygamous (The New Feminism)", YouTube, 14 Dec 2020
  12. Frank Newport, "Understanding the Increase in Moral Acceptability of Polygamy", Gallup, 26 June 2020