Isaiah Chapter 32
PROPHECY OF PEACE FOR ISRAEL
As we come to chapter 32, we see immediately in the first verse that the theme has again changed to the end times, to the Millennium. This chapter also has three sections: 1) The deliverance and rule of the righteous King, 2) a call to the women, and 3) more promises regarding the Millennium.
The deliverance and rule of the righteous King
Isaiah 32:1-8, NAS:
1 Behold, a king will reign righteously, and princes will rule justly.
2 And each will be like a refuge from the wind, and a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry country, like the shade of a huge rock in a parched land.
3 Then the eyes of those who see will not be blinded, and the ears of those who hear will listen.
4 And the mind of the hasty will discern the truth, and the tongue of the stammerers will hasten to speak clearly.
5 No longer will the fool be called noble, or the rogue be spoken of as generous.
6 For a fool speaks nonsense, and his heart inclines toward wickedness, to practice ungodliness and to speak error against the LORD, to keep the hungry person unsatisfied and to withhold drink from the thirsty.
7 As for a rogue, his weapons are evil; He devises wicked schemes to destroy the afflicted with slander, even though the needy one speaks what is right.
8 But the noble man devises noble plans; and by noble plans he stands.
The destruction of the Assyrian army points prophetically to the final world conflict, which will usher in the rule of Christ, the perfect King of Israel.
In the Millennium, the King, that is Jesus Christ, will reign in righteousness (Isaiah 11:1-5; Jeremiah 23:5). There will be rulers under Him; the Christians of previous ages who had died will reign during this time.[fn] These rulers will also be very just. In fact, every person entering the Millennium will be a believer and each one will be protective of others like a shelter from the storm and will refresh others like streams of water in a dry country and a rock that gives shade from the desert heat.[fn]
Christ’s kingdom will fulfill God’s ideal of a holy commonwealth; that is it will be made up of a collection or group of nations who are all loyal to the King, the Lord Jesus. This kingdom will administer perfect righteousness throughout the earth. God’s King will provide complete shelter to all who seek refuge in Him, and He will satisfy their thirsty souls with living water. He will bestow upon believers the ability to see clearly and to hear accurately so that they will understand God’s truth. God will also give believers an understanding heart and they will give a clear testimony resulting from the complete transformation of their new birth.
Under Jesus’ government and influence, men and women will no longer be deceived by the prince of lies, Satan, because he will be locked in the pit for a 1000 years. Instead they will clearly see the difference between moral wisdom and foolishness, appreciating how foolish a person is who seeks a life without Christ. God’s standards of judgment will at last become mankind’s standards.[fn]
A call to the women
Isaiah 32:9-14, NAS:
9 Rise up you women who are at ease, and hear my voice; give ear to my word, you complacent[fn] daughters.
10 Within a year and a few days, you will be troubled, O complacent daughters; for the vintage is ended, and the fruit gathering will not come.
11 Tremble, you women who are at ease; be troubled, you complacent daughters; strip, undress, and put sackcloth on your waist,
12 Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine,
13 For the land of my people in which thorns and briars shall come up; yea, for all the joyful houses, and for the jubilant city.
14 Because the palace has been abandoned, the populated city forsaken. Hill and watch-tower have become caves forever, a delight for wild donkeys, a pasture for flocks.
You may be asking, “Why does God pick on women here?” Well, He’s not. Instead He’s being an “equal opportunity” Judge. You see, we have sayings in our culture about the hidden influence of women on men; such as, “Behind every great man is a woman,” or, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” God is acknowledging here that wives have great influence on their husbands and that mothers also have a great deal of impact on the direction of the culture by what they teach their children. Merrill Unger puts it this way:
“The spiritual state of the women is a sensitive barometer of the moral state of any nation.”[fn]
So we see here that behind the selfish rulers of Judah, and influencing them for evil, were the “aristocratic women” of Jerusalem, who were complacent and self-confident in a time of grave national crisis.[fn] In verse 10 Isaiah is warning them that in a little more than a year the land and the cities would be desolate. This actually took place in 701 B.C. when Sennacherib’s Assyrian army invaded Judah and devastated the land. The Jews confined in Jerusalem were greatly concerned about future harvests, and in verses 12 and 13 Isaiah had a word for them (see Isaiah 37:30-31 as well). But before the siege ended and God delivered Jerusalem, these worldly women in Jerusalem had to sacrifice not only their luxuries, but also their necessities.[fn]
More promises about the Millennium
Isaiah 32:15-20 NAS:
15 Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fertile field and the fertile field is considered as a forest.
16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness will abide in the fertile field.
17 And the work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.
18 Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation, and in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places;
19 And it will hail when the forest comes down, and the city will be utterly laid low.
20 How blessed will you be, you who sow beside all waters, who let out freely the ox and the donkey.
Isaiah returns to his description of the messianic kingdom and emphasizes the restoration of peace and prosperity. None of these changes took place after the deliverance of Jerusalem in 701 B.C. or when the remnant returned to Jerusalem from Babylon in 536 B.C., so we must assign these prophecies to the future kingdom during the Millennium. Because of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, there will be peace and plenty because there will be righteousness in the land (Joel 2:28–32; Zechariah 12:10; Ezekiel 36:26–27). The land will be so productive that the desert will be like a fruitful field and the fruitful field like a forest. The people will fear no enemies, and their work will be rewarded.
Judah could have enjoyed safety, quietness, and assurance had they trusted wholly in the Lord and not turned to Egypt for help (Isaiah 30:15–18; 32:17–18). Righteousnessis the key word in verse 17, for there can be no true peace without a right relationship with God (Romans 5:1; James 3:13–17). When sinners trust Christ and receive the gift of righteousness, then they can have peace in their hearts and peace with one another.[fn]
[fn] 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 5:10; 20:6; 22:5.
[fn] Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. 1983-c1985. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.
[fn] Pfeiffer, C. F. 1962. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary: Old Testament. Moody Press: Chicago.
[fn] Feeling or showing an often excessive or unjustified satisfaction and pleasure in one’s status, possessions, or attainments.
[fn] Unger, M. F. 1967. Unger’s Bible Handbook, p. 325. Moody Press: Chicago.
[fn] See Isaiah 3:16-26; Amos 4:1-3; 6:1-6.
[fn] Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1992. Be Comforted. An Old Testament Study. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.
[fn] Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1992. Be comforted. An Old Testament study. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.