Bible Commentary: Isaiah 31-32

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Bible Commentary

Isaiah 31-32

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Deliverance Is from God

Chapter 31 restates much of the theme of chapter 30: The people were looking to Egypt for help instead of looking to God. And ultimately Assyria would fall, but not because of Egypt. This was true of the destruction that came upon Sennacherib's army in Isaiah's day. And it will also be true of what happens at the return of Jesus Christ—when He destroys the armies of the nations, including Assyria, that come against Him.

The Righteous King

Indeed, this is all primarily an end-time prophecy, since chapter 32 carries right on from God's victory. The king who would reign in righteousness was not a reference to Hezekiah, who already sat on the throne of Judah. Rather, this speaks of the reign of the Messiah. Verses 5-8 describe how, under His righteous rule, there will be no more labeling of right as wrong and wrong as right. Everything will be seen for what it truly is. Evil will be decried and judged, and good will at last be exalted.

Verse 10 says, "In a year and some days..." The King James Version has "many days and years." The literal wording is "days upon a year" (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown's Commentary, note on verse 10). If it really does mean a year and some days, this was perhaps a reference by Isaiah to the coming destruction of Sennacherib in 701 B.C. The women and daughters of verses 9-11 are possibly understood to mean "the cities and villages of Judea" (note on verses 9-20). Many of them will be ravaged and destroyed. Jerusalem will not be: "Not Jerusalem itself, but other cities destroyed by Sennacherib in his march... However, the prophecy, in its full accomplishment, refers to the utter desolation of Judea and its capital [Jerusalem] by Rome [soon after Christ's first coming], and subsequently [by the end-time resurrection of Rome—the final Assyria and Babylon], previous to the second coming of the King (Ps. 118:26; Luke 13:35; 19:38); 'the joyous city' is in this view, Jerusalem" (note on verse 13).

But the days of trouble will not last forever. On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was given to the apostles, Peter cited the book of Joel to explain what was occurring (Acts 2:16-21; Joel 2:28-32). Of course, prophecies of God pouring out His Spirit were not limited to Joel. Isaiah 32:15, for instance, also describes this outpouring—though, as with Joel, its ultimate fulfillment is yet to occur, when God's Spirit is available to all mankind (see also Isaiah 44:3; Proverbs 1:23; Ezekiel 39:29; Zechariah 12:10).

It is this outpouring of God's Spirit, in concert with the direct rule of Jesus Christ, that will at last bring peace to the world. For God's Spirit (Isaiah 32:15) enables righteousness (verse 16)—the keeping of God's commandments (Psalm 119:172). And the keeping of God's commandments results in peace (Isaiah 32:17)—which Jesus Himself will maintain throughout His rule (verse 18).