“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.”
armies, and as a title of God it emphasizes His omnipotence.
As has been
noted already Jerusalem, meaning dual peace shall be taught: lay (set) ye
double peace, represents the peace which God desires all men to possess;
and the association of teaching with that peace is the reminder that we who
enjoy it are responsible to teach others how they too may possess it: we
must present them with the Gospel, which believed, brings with it “the peace
of God which passeth all understanding,” Philippians 4:7.
Judah means he shall be praised, and its association here with
Jerusalem reminds us that peace and praise are spiritual Siamese twins: they
go together. God was going to put an end to the hollow charade which
rebellious Judah called worship. Since she didn’t hunger and thirst after
righteousness He would ensure that she would suffer literal hunger and
thirst. Since however, bread is a symbol of the written Word as spiritual
food; and water the symbol of that same Word in its power to refresh and
cleanse the obedient believer, only the spiritually blind will fail to see
in Judah’s chastening the foreshadowing of that under which a professing,
but apostate church languishes today.
appalling ignorance of the spiritual riches lying beneath the literal
language of Scripture, is abundant testimony to the measure in which she has
grieved and quenched the Holy Spirit.
to stay and staff reminds us that to the obedient believer the
written Word is not only a stay, i.e., a support which aids his walk;
it is also a staff, which in addition to aiding his walk is also a
weapon against his foes. Christendom is equally ignorant of this aspect of
Scripture, for it is almost totally unaware of the fact that we are besieged
by a host of infernal foes seeking our destruction, see Ephesians 6:12, “For
we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against
powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual
wickedness in high places.”
“The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the
prudent, and the ancient,”
also would be the hero (courageous man), and the warrior (soldier), the
honest judge, the prophet, the prudent, i.e., the one possessed of special
insight given by God; and the ancient, i.e., wise elder. This was fulfilled
in 597 BC by Nebuchadnezzar.
As all of
these were to be taken from rebel Judah, so for the most part have their
spiritual counterparts been taken away from apostate Christendom. The
spiritual strong man is a very rare individual today.
“The captain of fifty, and the honorable man, and the counsellor, and the
cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.”
or any multiple of it, is the number of responsibility, the captain of fifty
represents the spiritually dependable man. Such a one is difficult to find
today, even among professing Christians.
in the present context means worthy of honor because of his good character
rather than because of his wealth, position, etc. Sadly, all too often it
is his wealth or position rather than sterling character that brings a man
honor in today’s society.
means one who is capable of giving wise advice. Such men are hard to find
today even in the professing church.
artificer” in the present context means to be wise or skillful in
creating things of beauty and/or usefulness. This man’s spiritual
counterpart is an equally rare individual.
the “eloquent orator,” he is all too common in today’s society, but
regrettably has little or nothing of value to say when it comes to preaching
the Gospel, or expounding Scripture.
“And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over
The remarks of
The Liberty Bible Commentary are as clear and succinct as any I’ve
seen: they refer to Archer’s comments as follows, ”... this was actually
fulfilled when Manasseh came to the throne at the age of twelve to begin his
long and wicked reign. It was certainly also true politically in the
instability and childish behavior of Judah’s last three kings (Jehoiakim,
Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah).”
It is scarcely
necessary to mention that not infrequently political leaders of our own
times, though not literal children, have displayed similar incompetence, and
been guilty of analogous folly.
“And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by
his neighbor: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient,
and the base against the honorable.”
This state of
things marked conditions during the time mentioned in the preceding verse,
but there can be little question that they foreshadow what will be in the
impending Great Tribulation, and that are even now manifesting themselves in
“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
conditions exist in some backward countries even today, they do not yet
apply worldwide; but only wilful myopia will obscure the fact that they are
present everywhere in embryo.
The picture is
of a world tottering on the brink of chaos: of our world about to undergo
the terrible judgments of the impending Great Tribulation.
“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.”
“In that day”
can scarcely refer to anything other than the Great Tribulation; and the
man’s refusal to be a healer, simply means that the anarchy and privation of
those three-and-a-half years will be of such extent as to be beyond remedy
or control. The world will be reduced to ruin as described in Revelation
“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.”
here is prophetic perfect, the fulfillment being so certain as to be spoken
of as already accomplished, though it was still approximately one hundred
and fifty years in the future.
and deeds were against the Lord, “to provoke the eyes of his glory,” i.e.,
they rebelled with shameless arrogance, in contemptuous defiance of His
authority, as does also today’s evil world.
brazenly-provoked Divine retribution of that day was delayed for a hundred
and fifty years, but relative to this present age all the signs point to the
imminence of the long-foretold terrible judgments of the Great Tribulation.
“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.”
clause is also translated their very look bears witness against them:
their insolent airs witness against them: their insolence condemns them.
They made no attempt to hide their sin, but like the Sodomites, they
practiced it openly and shamelessly. The very same can be said of today’s
society; and as it was then so is it still: these defiant rebels are heaping
up for themselves a terrible judgment: eternal torment in the terrible lake
“Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat
the fruit of their doings.”
contrast with the awful fate of the unrepentant rebels is the blessed and
glorious eternal future of the righteous, i.e., those who confess themselves
sinners, and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. It will be well with
them. They will enjoy eternally the reward of their righteousness, that
reward being in proportion to their faithfulness, the Lord Jesus Christ
Himself being the unerring Judge of the value of their obedience to Him
during their lives here on earth.
eating is always symbolic of satisfaction, so that their eating “the fruit
of their doings” declares the eternal contentment that will be enjoyed by
“Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands
shall be given him.”
This may also
be translated: what he has done shall be done unto him; he will reap the
reward that he has earned; what he has done will be his own undoing.
The Lord Jesus
Christ has borne the punishment for every man’s sins, but only those who
trust Him as Savior benefit by His death, the Father imputing Christ’s death
to every believer; but leaving every unbeliever to suffer the eternal
consequences of his own sins. Every unbeliever will exist for ever in the
torment of the lake of fire, God being able to do what transcends human
thought: apportion degrees of suffering in the midst of that unquenchable
“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
rendered this verse, “O My people! Can’t you see what fools your rulers
are? Weak as women! Foolish as little children playing king ... True
leaders? No, misleaders! Leading you down the garden path to destruction.”
This was never
truer than today, for as noted above, some of Judah’s kings were mere
children, and some of today’s rulers have as little wisdom as children when
it comes to governing according to Scriptural principles. Consider for
example, the legalizing of same-sex marriage, which God declares to be a
capital offence, Leviticus 20:13; and the Supreme Court fiat forbidding the
teaching of creation in our schools, thus leaving the theory - and it is
only a theory - of evolution as the only alternative, and one of the most
puerile ever advanced, for it begins with a single cell, the origin of which
the evolutionist cannot explain, and continues to assert that that cell then
evolved into a higher form, and this in spite of the fact, that without
exception, regression governs everything in nature.
evolutionist is also unable to explain why nothing can reproduce itself
outside its kind; and where man has crossed different kinds the offspring is
always sterile, e.g., mules.
The grim fact
is that in spite of its motto “In God We Trust,” America is doing everything
in its power to deny His existence, because His inherent holiness condemns
man’s sinfulness, His warning being of the need of a new spiritual birth to
save men from hell, and fit them for heaven, see John 3:3,7.
“The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.”
twice-repeated “standeth” emphasizes the importance of the matter, and “to
plead” means to contend, argue His case, to arraign; and “to judge the
people” means in this case to give judgment against them. That earthly
arraignment of guilty Judah foreshadows the final terrible judgment of
unbelievers at the great white throne, their punishment being to be cast
into the eternal torment of the lake of fire.
“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.”
here are the elders; and the princes are the officers responsible for
carrying out the various duties of government. Both had acted as tyrants:
their eating up the vineyard meaning that the elders had perverted judgment
so as to give a semblance of legality to their illegal seizure of property;
and the spoil of the poor in their houses means that neither they nor the
officers had any compunction about defrauding even the poor to enrich
corruption pervades government today from the highest national level down to
the smallest local village council.
“What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the
poor? saith the Lord God of hosts.”
In the present
context, to beat the people to pieces means to crush, bruise, grind them
down under oppressive laws and unjust taxation, a tyranny exercised against
rich and poor alike. In all too many parts of today’s world the same
despotism reigns with an iron fist.
“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:”
malaise was pervasive, for in their dress and general demeanor even the
women displayed arrogant wantonness; and only those whose own moral values
are questionable will deny that exactly the same conditions prevail in
defined as “walking with short, affectedly dainty steps,” and the tinkling
came from their ankle ornaments.
“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.”
God was going
to change their pride into shame, by causing loathsome scabs to cover their
heads, and by stripping them naked. This did happen in the Assyrian and
Babylon captivities, and in the sack of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 AD, but the
absolute fulfillment awaits the now imminent Great Tribulation, for it is to
be remembered that all past judgments have been also precursors of those
that will ravage the earth in that awful era.
“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.”
means beauty, finery, luxury, ornaments; tinkling ornaments, their ankle
bands; cauls, their tiaras, headbands, new-work caps, sun-shaped ornaments,
and others in the shape of crescent moons. These sun and moon shaped
ornaments may indicate, that like their idolatrous neighbors, they too
worshiped the sun and moon.
“The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,”
were their earrings, lockets, pendants, etc.; bracelets, their arm bands;
and mufflers, their veils and scarfs.
“The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the
tablets, and the earrings,”
Bonnet is the
general name for varied forms of headdress; and tablets were perfume boxes,
“The rings, and nose jewels,”
“The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the
top tunics, cloaks, wraps, gowns; wimples were shawls, cloaks, stoles, wide
skirts; while crisping pins were satchels, purses, handbags, flounced
“The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.”
were mirrors of polished bronze; the hoods, high head-dresses, turbans; and
vails included cloaks, wraps, mantles, kerchiefs, etc.
changed since that distant day, for exactly the same vanities fascinate
women today, both primitive and modern, and by no means excluding professing
Christians, in spite of the injunction given them in 1 Timothy 2:9, “In like
manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with
shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or
costly array. But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good
“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.”
In the present
context “rent” means rope or cord, and is synonymous with captivity and
slavery. A stomacher was a broad plaited girdle.
refers to branding, i.e., their being branded as the slaves of their
“Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.”
“And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon
need no comment. The calamities occurred at the hands of Judah’s Assyrian
and Babylonian captors, and again at the hands of the Romans under Titus in
70 AD; these being but foreshadowings of the still more terrible
catastrophes that will leave the whole world a desolate ruin in the now
imminent Great Tribulation.