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We have been studying the section of chapters 13-23, the judgments against the various nations surrounding Judah. Now we find that there is no home town discount – no free pass for God’s people in His appointed city of Jerusalem. In fact, we are familiar with God’s principle that greater light actually brings greater accountability. When you consider all of the privileges of God’s chosen people, His expectation for them (like the parable of the Vine in Chap. 5) is that they would flourish spiritually and produce good fruit. Unfortunately, as we see here from the prophecy God gave to His servant Isaiah, that was not the case.


We are going to see a people that are partying hard – they are feeding every fleshly lust imaginable – they have managed to tune out the message of God’s prophet with his warnings of coming judgment — but they are about to hit rock bottom.


“The oracle concerning the valley of vision.”

Cf. the contradictory designation of Babylon in 21:1 as the “desert of the sea”

Here we have the place of God-give revelation referred to as a valley when we would expect the designation, the mountain of God; Mount Zion

Beall: There is not much vision in a valley! (most think “valley” is used here metaphorically and ironically.)

Van Parunak: Jerusalem, though built upon three hills, is itself dominated by the Mount of Olives. Ps 125:2 reminds us that “the mountains are round about Jerusalem.” “In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills” (2:2), but today one looks up from Jerusalem to the mountains. When Jerusalem is depicted as a valley, we are looking at her as she is now, vulnerable, subject to sin, and needful of the Lord’s protection (here, Ps 125:2). When she is depicted as above the other mounts, we see her in her millennial glory (e.g., 2:2; Ps 48).

Young: The inclusion of Jerusalem in such a list [of pagan nations under God’s judgment], however, is really not incongruous, for Jerusalem has looked to flesh; she has placed her confidence not in the living God whose prophets dwell within her walls, but in that mighty power of man which finally came to supreme expression in the empire whose name heads the [list]. For this reason Jerusalem has in effect become like the worldly powers; and she, too, must be included in the list of oracles.

MacArthur: The unrepentant inhabitants displayed a marked lack of vision in their oblivion to the destruction that awaited them.

Oswalt: Surely the reference to “vision” is a sarcastic one, for the people described in this chapter are people whose paramount lack is vision. The jubilant people cannot see the inevitable destruction that waits them; the leaders cannot see that God the Sovereign Creator is a better defense than arms and fortifications; … In fact, then, the people of Israel are no better off than the Gentiles around them. Their perspective is the same as the world’s and therefore they fall under the same judgment as the world.


A. (:1b-2a) Bluster Replaced by Despair

1. (:1b) Despair – Last Ditch Retreat

“What is the matter with you now, that you have all gone up to the housetops?”

Borgman: Cf. words of Christ to His mother at the wedding feast of Cana – “What’s your problem, What’s up with you?” Expression of surprise and astonishment and rebuke and repudiation; they have been warned of the impending doom and their response should be repentance and seeking after God; they don’t get it; prophet expected a certain response from the people of God and they did not respond

Different reasons to go up to the flat roof tops – perhaps associated here with partying; or are they viewing in horror the enemy that is besieging them and certain to overwhelm them?? They woke up too late to their fate – seems to be some type of contrast with the beginning of verse 2

Were they rejoicing in the Lord’s deliverance from Sennacherib in 701 B.C. (chaps. 36-37)?

Were they still partying and oblivious to the coming judgment??

More likely, just having their eyes opened to the coming judgment –

2. (:2a) Bluster – Boisterous Party Time

“You who were full of noise, you boisterous town, you exultant city;”

Their lives were characterized by fleshly indulgence; exuberance, noisy partying – 2 Pet. 2:1-10 picture of false prophets excusing a life of sensuality and indulgence while oblivious to the signs of the times

Historical context has multiple layers like we have seen previously; there is the Babylonian Captivity under King Nebuchadnezzar and even end time events that we have difficulty anticipating in the day of the Lord

B. (:2b-3) Bravery in Battle Replaced by Capture in Flight

“Your slain were not slain with the sword, nor did they die in battle. All your rulers have fled together, and have been captured without the bow; All of you who were found were taken captive together, though they had fled far away.”

Death came through starvation or disease

Van Parunak: The city has been besieged, and its citizens die of famine. This was a prevalent problem in 586 BC. E.g.,

Lam 4:9-10 They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger: for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field. 10 The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children: they were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of my people.

Recall the flight of King Zedekiah from Jerusalem, when he was captured and brought to the King of Babylon.

Jer 39:4-7 And it came to pass, that when Zedekiah the king of Judah saw them, and all the men of war, then they fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king’s garden, by the gate betwixt the two walls: and he went out the way of the plain. 5 But the Chaldeans’ army pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him. 6 Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah. 7 Moreover he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon.

2 Kings 25:4-7 “Then the city was broken into, and all the men of war fled by night by way of the gate between the two walls beside the king’s garden, though the Chaldeans were all around the city. And they went by way of the Arabah. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho and all his army was scattered form him. Then they captured the king and brought him to the king of Babylon at Riblah, and he passed sentence on him. They slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, then put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him with bronze fetters and brought him to Babylon.”


“Therefore I say, ‘Turn your eyes away from me, Let me weep bitterly, Do not try to comfort me concerning the destruction of the daughter of my people.’”

“Remorse” = associated with deep grieving and compassion but has the awareness and acknowledgement of guilt as well

Isaiah refuses shallow attempts to cheer him up, to comfort hi

The harsh reality of the destruction of Judah overwhelms him


“Unilateral” = one-sided; this is God primarily at work in removing the defense of Judah and bringing about this attack on Jerusalem

A. (:5) Divinely Orchestrated Day of Destruction

1. Divine Control

“For the Lord God of hosts”

2. Terrifying Captivity

“has a day of panic, subjugation, and confusion”

  • Panic = very intense form of anguish

  • Subjugation = bondage and captivity

  • Confusion = disorientation; no clear vision and direction

3. Shameful Blindness

“in the valley of vision,”

4. Hopeless Despair

“A breaking down of walls and a crying to the mountain.”

Picture of hopelessness and helplessness

B. (:6) Emboldening of Enemies — Minor Players Given Starring Roles – Piling On

1. Elam

“And Elam took up the quiver”

2. Military Might

“with the chariots, infantry, and horsemen;”

3. Kir

“And Kir uncovered the shield.”

Motyer: The Hebrew of verse 6 is very rhythmical, being three lines of three words each. It has a drum-beat, marching effect, matching its content. . . “If you could see coming what I see coming, there would be no rejoicing” – Such a forward view makes the reference to Elam intelligible. Isaiah has long known that Jerusalem will fall to some foe, though not to Assyria. It was revealed to him at the time of the Babylonian visit (chapter 39) that Babylon would be the destroyer. This truth is here veiled by referring to Babylon’s remoter ally, Elam, and to the unidentifiable Kir in verse 6. Consequently, the perfect tenses of verses 3-7 must be prophetic perfects, the certainty of the already-decided acts of God.

C. (:7-8a) Description of Defeat

1. Pervasive Penetration

“Then your choicest valleys were full of chariots,”

The enemy was everywhere; superior numbers and superior military strength;

Judah unable to protect their most important valleys

2. Strategic Vulnerability

“And the horsemen took up fixed positions at the gate.”

No way of escape; point of entry was now in enemy control; could be a long term siege or a quick assault; no way to dislodge the enemy from their positions of strategic advantage; the war was essentially over

3. Divine Abandonment = Explanation for such a surprising and total defeat

“And He removed the defense of Judah.”

The divine protective covering has been removed


A. (:8b-11a) Depending on the Arm of the Flesh

1. Weapons

“In that day you depended on the weapons of the house of the forest,”

MacArthur: Constructed by Solomon out of cedars (1 Ki 7:2-6), the structure housed weaponry (1 Ki 1017) and other valuables (2 Ch 9:20; Is 39:2).

2. Walls

“And you saw that the breaches In the wall of the city of David were many;”

Then you counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you tore down houses to fortify the wall.”

3. Water

“And you collected the waters of the lower pool.”

“And you made a reservoir between the two walls for the waters of the old pool.”

Motyer: When God [chose to set His name on the city of Jerusalem] he knew all about its vulnerable water supply. It was no accident or oversight; the potter made it so on his wheel. He did not leave his city short of water; Hezekiah did not improve the supply, he only redirected it. But the Lord arranged the supply in such a way that living in Jerusalem was a perpetual exercise of faith, a perpetual challenge to find security in the Lord – and Hezekiah’s tunnel contradicted the way of faith.

B. (:11b) Rejecting Trust in God

“ But you did not depend on Him who made it,

Nor did you take into consideration Him who planned it long ago.”

Van Parunak: vv. 9-11a describe two steps that they take to prepare for attack: improve the fortifications, and secure the water supply. They are arranged as an alternation. . . The gathering together may refer to routing the rain water collection system to ensure that all possible water is captured in the city’s reservoirs.

The reference here may be to the 1750’s tunnel that Hezekiah dug under the Ophel to bring the water of Siloam to a reservoir within the city walls, in preparation for the anticipated siege of Sennacherib.

2Ki 20:20 And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

2Ch 32:30 This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David.


A. (:12) Clear Call To Repentance

“Therefore in that day the Lord God of hosts, called you to weeping, to wailing, to shaving the head, and to wearing sackcloth.”

Distinction between God’s general call to all men to repent and trust in Him = the gospel message and the effectual call where God sovereignly saves those whom He has elected to salvation; Here we are talking about that all important general call to repent:

– This was the message of the prophets throughout the OT

– This was the message of John the Baptist – Repent and prepare the way for the King who is coming to offer entrance into His kingdom

– This was the message of Peter on the day of Pentecost – Acts 2:38

– This was the message of the Apostle Paul and all preachers in the NT church

– This had better be the call we are extending every day to those around us

When Christian think of the call to repentance, they usually think of that initial salvation experience – the requirement to repent and believe the gospel. But repentance should be part of the ongoing pattern of a godly walk of growing in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Col. 2:6 “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him”

1 John 1:9 what characterizes a genuine believer is this ongoing pattern of repentance –

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

B. (:13) Continuation in Unrepentant State of Fleshly Indulgence

“Instead, there is gaiety and gladness, Killing of cattle and slaughtering of sheep, eating of meat and drinking of wine: ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we may die.’”

I like Ian Wright’s sermon title: Party Time on the Titanic.

Hedonistic life philosophy quoted by Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 15:32 “If the dead are not raised” – if this life is all there is … gets back to the certainty of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ; there is future accountability

C. (:14) Confirmed Condition of Condemnation – The Unpardonable Sin

“But the LORD of hosts revealed Himself to me, ‘Surely this iniquity shall not be forgiven you until you die,’ says the Lord God of hosts.”

Better translation: “even unto death” – not trying to imply that death will bring any relief or improvement in their status; they remain confirmed in their state of guilt and unforgiveness until the end


Christ talked about the unpardonable in terms of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Anyone who is not receptive to the ministry of the Holy Spirit which is essential for salvation, has doomed themselves to eternal judgment. The warnings in the Book of Hebrews speak to the issue of Apostasy – for those who have been associated with all of the blessings of the true faith, but choose to turn their back and spurn God’s goodness and kindness, there is no recovery.

Heb. 10:26-39