Isaiah Chapter 32
Verses 32:1-20: The “king” who “shall reign in righteousness” is Christ Himself. The prophet foresees a time when government will exist that is totally characterized by “righteousness” and “judgment”. Such a description does not fit even Hezekiah, the best of Judah’s kings.
Rather, Isaiah sees a much greater day coming when the godly character of Judah will be “as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” This will be a time when the ignorant will “understand knowledge” (da’at, a moral discernment). He also sees a time of complete national conversion when the “spirit” will be “poured upon us” (Joel 2:28).
Isaiah 32:1 “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.”
“A king … princes”: In contrast to bad leaders already discussed (28:14-15; 29:15), the prophet turned to the messianic king and His governmental assistants during the future day of righteousness. These will be the apostles (Luke 12:13), and the saints (1 Cor. 6:2; 2 Timothy 2:12; Rev. 2:26-27; 3:21).
This is speaking of the coming Messiah. It is really speaking of the 1,000 year reign of Jesus as King. The Christians are the princes, spoken of, that will rule under Him.
Revelation 20:6 “Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
Jesus is the Judge of all the earth. He is righteousness. The righteousness of the Christian is actually the righteousness of Christ. We are clothed in His righteousness. This is the righteous Branch, spoken of, that will rule.
Jeremiah 23:5 “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.”
Isaiah 32:2 “And a man shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”
During the millennial reign of Christ, leaders will provide protection like “the shade of a huge rock in a parched land”, instead of posing threats to the people’s well-being.
This is also, speaking of Jesus (man). No other (man), has ever been a hiding place from the storm and a covering for us. Jesus gives us a river of living Water that comes from deep within. He told the woman at the well, He would give her water that she would not thirst again. He also, is the Rock of our salvation.
His shed blood even protects us from God’s judgment. We Christians, are clothed in white robes cleansed by His shed blood.
Revelation 7:14 “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Isaiah 32:3 “And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken.”
A future generation of Israelites will experience a reversal of receptivity compared to Isaiah’s generation (6:9-10; 29:18, 24; 30:20).
1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
We will have eyes to see and ears to hear. We will have our understanding opened to the things of the Lord. We will never grow old anymore.
Isaiah 32:4 “The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly.”
The stammerers were former drunkards who uttered nonsense in their drunken stupor (28:7-8; 29:9).
This is speaking of a time when all will understand. The fact that Jesus chose the uneducated to confound the wise in ministry here on the earth, tells us that He is our understanding. The gospel was spread by fishermen, and tax collectors, and uneducated men by world standards.
The day this is speaking of, is a day when knowledge of God will flourish.
Hebrews 8:10-11 “For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:” “And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.”
Moses gave the excuse that he could not speak well, and God asked him who made his mouth. God will empower the speakers in the day this is speaking of.
Isaiah 32:5 “The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said [to be] bountiful.”
In the future earthly kingdom envisioned by Isaiah, false appraisals of leadership qualities will be impossible, because everyone will see and speak clearly.
The vile person is someone who seeks to do evil. He will not be allowed to do this in the reign of Jesus. “Churl” is translated from a word that means niggardly, or withholding. Niggardly has nothing to do with the color of one’s skin, but is a statement of someone, white or black, of low character.
People of low character will not prosper in the reign of Jesus. In fact, they will be ruled over by the Christians. The word “bountiful” was translated from, is used to describe the wealthy in many other verses. The wealthy will get no special treatment from the Lord.
Verses 6-8: An unwillingness to care for the needy reflects the character of a fool, but the noble person in dependence on God provides for the poor. These qualities will be evident to all in the age to come.
Isaiah 32:6 “For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practice hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.”
This is a description of those who are not truly Christian. A person’s speech reveals what he is within. The vile person speaks the condition of his heart and that is why it is villany. Villany, in this verse, means wickedness. “Hypocrisy”, in this Scripture, is taken from the word choneph, which means, moral filth.
We see a people whose morals have turned to filth. The morality of our country (as a whole), today might be described as such. To utter error against the LORD would be to bring in false doctrines. The soul hungers after righteousness.
The verse above is speaking of a person who has been starving for spiritual food, because it is food for the soul, not the stomach. The water, spoken of, is the thirst for spiritual water.
Jesus is the Spiritual Water. He is also, the Spiritual Bread. The sad thing to me about this, is the fact that this seems to be the people in the church. To be a Christian, in name only, will not be enough.
Isaiah 32:7 “The instruments also of the churl [are] evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right.”
We discovered, above, that this churl meant someone of very low character. The person, spoken of here, takes advantage of the poor. He lies to get his way. You might even say he was of a fraudulent character. The poor might be in the right, but it seems they had no power to overcome this evil person.
Isaiah 32:8 “But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.”
Liberal, in the verse above, is translated from a word that means generous. The generous person is the opposite of the person (in verse 7). You cannot out give God. The generosity of the person (in verse 8), will sustain the man.
Verses 9-14: The prophet warns the women of Judah against complacency (3:16 – 4:1). God’s eventual blessing on their nation gave no excuse for business as usual, i.e. the dependence on Egypt instead of God.
Isaiah 32:9 “Rise up, ye women that are at ease; hear my voice, ye careless daughters; give ear unto my speech.”
“At ease” … careless”: “At ease” translates the word rendered “quiet” and “complacent” the word rendered “secure” (in verse 18). The difference between the bad senses here and the good senses (in verse 18), is the object of trust, Egypt or God. Ease and security in God are proper.
This is saying, the women felt secure in their present state, and were not aware of the coming judgment. Isaiah addresses them directly here to become more involved. Listen to his speech and take heed.
They were careless, because they were taking everything for granted and not checking it out for themselves. He was speaking to literal women here, but the message was prophetic, as well.
The church of the Lord Jesus is spoken of as a woman. The church is the bride of Christ. This is speaking of the church who is self-satisfied. Look with me, at the type of church this is.
Revelation 3:14-17 “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;” “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.” “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.” “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:”
This is speaking of the self-satisfied church.
Isaiah 32:10 “Many days and years shall ye be troubled, ye careless women: for the vintage shall fail, the gathering shall not come.”
Perhaps specifying a time when the Assyrian army came and pillaged the land, the prophet warned of how God’s coming judgment was to spoil agricultural production.
Isaiah says, wake up and realize what is about to happen. To be called a careless Christian is quite an indictment. As we said in the verse above, this is spoken to physical women, but it is, also, speaking to the church.
Complacency in the church will cause a great falling away and not produce fruit for God the Husbandman.
Present satisfaction with the status quo shortly gave way to an entirely different set of emotions.
Isaiah 32:11 “Tremble, ye women that are at ease; be troubled, ye careless ones: strip you, and make you bare, and gird [sackcloth] upon [your] loins.”
This is just a strong warning of the things to come to those who do not take the things of the Lord seriously. He is saying, “You should be afraid”. Sackcloth has to do with repentance and mourning. This is actually a call to repentance for their luke-warm attitude.
Isaiah 32:12 “They shall lament for the teats, for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine.”
And here the sense doubtless is that they would mourn over the fields which once contributed to sustain life, but which were now desolate. The fruitful earth being compared to a woman, its fields are like breasts or paps, which yield food and nourishment, but now should not afford any, and therefore there would be cause of lamentation.
Alas! how many careless ones there are, who support self-indulgence by shameful niggardliness! We deserve to be deprived of the supports of life, when we make them the food of lusts. Let such tremble and be troubled.
Isaiah 32:13 “Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns [and] briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy [in] the joyous city:”
Without harmony with God, the land of God’s people became just as desolate as any other forsaken territory (1:7; 5:6; 7:23).
The word ‘yea’ will express the sense, meaning that desolation, indicated by the growth of thorns and briers would come upon the cities that were then filled with joy.
The houses of nobles, princes, and rich men, who lived voluptuously, in great sensuality and carnal mirth, drinking wine in bowls, and chanting to the sound of the viol, and using all instruments of music; but now their houses, in which they enjoyed so much pleasure, should be demolished, and briers and thorns should grow upon the spot where they stood.
This does not refer to Jerusalem, which was not taken by Sennacherib, but to the other cities that were destroyed by him in his march, and this account accords with the statement in Isaiah 7:20-25.
Isaiah 32:14 “Because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left; the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks;”
“Multitude of the city”: Jerusalem too was to become desolate through the Lord’s purging judgments of the nation (Luke 21:24).
The world and all of its people are in a desperate condition, just before God pours out His Spirit.
(In verses 15-20), the promised kingdom was to eventually come to Israel with its accompanying fruitfulness, peace and security.
Isaiah 32:15 “Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.”
“The spirit be poured upon us”: The infusion of God’s Spirit was to transform the land into productive fruitfulness. (Joel 2:28 – 3:1).
The very same time is mentioned in Acts, and in the following Scripture.
Joel 2:28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:”
We see in this that, the Lord will pour His Spirit on all flesh. There will be a time when God will open the understanding of the people, and they will produce much fruit. The church will be fruitful. It will be so fruitful; it is compared to a forest.
Isaiah 32:16 “Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.”
“Judgment … righteousness”: Noble spiritual values were to thrive in the future messianic reign.
This fruitful field is speaking of the church. The church is righteous, because we have taken on the righteousness of Christ. The church shall reign with Christ over the world, with Christ as Judge.
Isaiah 32:17 “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”
Where righteousness dwells, there is perfect peace. This quietness and assurance comes when the King of Righteousness reigns on the earth.
Isaiah 32:18 “And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;”
The people of Israel will enjoy lasting security with the Messiah personally present to ensure peace.
The 1,000 year reign of Christ upon the earth will be a time of perfect peace on the earth. We will not even have to lock our doors at night, because of the perfect peace we will live in at that time.
Isaiah 32:19 “When it shall hail, coming down on the forest; and the city shall be low in a low place.”
“City … laid low”: Jerusalem must learn humility before the prophesied ideal conditions can become reality.
Isaiah 32:20 “Blessed [are] ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth [thither] the feet of the ox and the ass.”
As with the beatitudes of Christ (Matt. 5:3-12), Isaiah pronounced the blessedness of those who participate in the future glory of Christ’s kingdom.
This speaks of a time when the water flows and the seed grows that is planted. It also speaks of a time when the Word (seed), that was planted in many lands will be fruitful and produce believers. There will be those saved from all nations of the world.
The ox and ass speak of work. There are many missionaries who have worked like beasts of burden to plant the gospel in many lands. They will truly be blessed of God.
Isaiah Chapter 32 Questions
- What is the first verse speaking of?
- Who are the princes in verse 1 speaking of?
- ________ is the Judge and is Righteousness.
- Who is the Righteous Branch?
- Who is the “man” in verse 2?
- Where does the river of living water come from?
- Who is the Rock of our salvation?
- What protects the Christian from God’s judgment?
- We will have eyes to _____ and ears to _______.
- What time is verse 4 speaking of?
- Who was the gospel spread by?
- Who will empower these people to speak?
- Who is the vile person?
- What does “churl” mean?
- Does niggardly refer to a black person? Explain.
- “Bountiful” in verse 5, could be referring to whom?
- What does the word that “hypocrisy” was translated from mean?
- How do we know verse 6 is speaking of spiritual food?
- What kind of character is the person in verse 7 said to have?
- What does ease in verse 9 mean?
- Who is Isaiah addressing directly?
- Who is Isaiah speaking to prophetically in verse 9?
- Which of the 7 churches in Revelation is the church in verse 9 like?
- What will complacency in the church cause?
- What can you associate sackcloth with?
- What is the “teat” in verse 12 speaking of?
- The fruitful field, in verse 16, is speaking of whom?
- The work of righteousness shall be __________.
- When Christ reigns on the earth, what will be the state of our habitation?
- What is verse 19 and 20 saying about the blessed?