This is the third article from our good friend Rod MacArthur as he guides us through the book of Isaiah. Rod’s careful analysis is solid and helpful, so be sure to read each article carefully. Here are the two previous articles #1 #2
There is an unfortunate chapter break between 921 & 101. The section continues unbroken through 101–4; as we see by the four-fold use of the phrase: “In all this, His anger does not turn away; And His hand is still stretched out.” It connects and escalates the warning of what Isaiah mentioned next: the onslaught of the Assyrians!
Isa. 101–4—Israel’s corrupt legal system
Woe to those who enact evil statutes
And to those who constantly record unjust decisions,
So as to deprive the needy of justice
And rob the poor of My people of their rights,
So that widows may be their spoil
And that they may plunder the orphans.
Now what will you do in the day of punishment,
And in the devastation which will come from afar?
To whom will you flee for help?
And where will you leave your wealth?
Nothing remains but to crouch among the captives
Or fall among the slain.
In all this, His anger does not turn away
And His hand is still stretched out.
Isaiah pointed to corruption in the highest places; the courts and the rulers used their authority and power to extort and extract even from the most poverty stricken among them to take what they had. Thus Yahweh called for a day of punishment on their land.
Please notice the end of each of these last four sections: 912, 17, 21 and 104: “In all this his anger does not turn away and his hand is still stretched out.” His hand was not out-stretched as though to supplicate Israel to return; though some have taken it thusly. That was not Isaiah’s point. Earlier, God brought Israel out of Egypt with an outstretched hand. That is, He delivered them through vengeance poured out on the enemy. The out-stretched hand poured out wrath. In Exodus His hand was stretched out against Egypt; here in Isaiah, it was stretched out against Israel. His anger hadn’t been spent. God pointed to four categories of Isaiah’s society against which Yahweh’s anger was still burning and His hand was still stretched out. Which is why, in chapter 10, He turned to Assyria: the rod of indignation in His hand. Find it interesting that Isaiah said four times: “In all this My anger does not turn away.” This exactly corresponds to the four-fold escalation we saw in Leviticus.
More to come…