Sorrows Awaiting Rebellious Children
In chapter 30, Isaiah takes on the rebellious nature of Judah in general for relentlessly pursuing an alliance with Egypt to save them from the Assyrians. His repetition in renouncing Judah underlines Yahweh's condemnation of Judah's actions as being pointless, defiant, absent of Holy Spirit guidance, and the source of piling up many other sins. Certainly sorrow was awaiting such departure from trust in Yahweh (1).
In putting trust in Egypt's strength and seeking to hide under the wing of Egypt's power, Judah had humiliated themselves and were posturing for certain disgrace. Even though Judah sent ambassadors of peace all the way to Zoan and Hanes, their labors of diplomacy would yield no gain except their own shame and disgrace.
Do-Nothing Rahab (6-8)
The envoys that went to Egypt to search for peace went through the Negeb, a wilderness loaded with much danger—wild animals, snakes, and more. Judah carried expensive gifts to Egypt through the Negeb to a people who promised way more than they could deliver. In the end, Isaiah nicknamed them “Rahab," the people who opened their doors for treasure but gave nothing back in return.
Coming Trouble (9-14)
Yahweh wanted it memorialized for all time how Judah refused to listen to His word (8). They were a people who resented Yahweh meddling in their affairs (9), who sought to corrupt the prophets and have them no longer prophesy Yahweh's heart. They pleaded with the prophets to prophesy things to their own liking and fancy, leaving the way of walking with and being ruled by Yahweh (10-11).
Because Judah no longer wanted to be ruled by the word of Yahweh but would rather risk their future to oppression and perversion, three judgments were pronounced upon them (12).
a) There would be such a weakness in their walls of defense that they would break open suddenly (13).
b) They would be shattered completely like a vessel shaped by a potter.
c) There would be nothing left of the vessel, not even a small part of the vessel to pick up a coal or a bit of water.
As a result of trusting in someone other than Yahweh for protection and hope, Judah would discover complete and immediate disgrace and destruction (14).
Final Picture of Judgment (15-17)
Judah's only hope was in turning to Yahweh, their true King; only in Him would they discover salvation, peace, and true national strength.
However, Judah rejected Yahweh (15); they prized the horses of Egypt to be of greater strength in battle than the help of Yahweh. Isaiah told Judah that 1,000 troops armed with Egypt's strength would flee at the threat of one, and the whole army of Judah would flee at the threat of five. All that would be left of them was a simple banner on a distant hill warning all other nations not to put their trust in any human king or military might but in Yahweh and His armies alone (16-17).
Yahweh, the Gracious Teacher (19-26)
In the midst of judgment, Yahweh would reveal His grace. A remnant would cry out to Him from Zion, and Yahweh would hear and show mercy and would bring justice to those who wait for Him to show His strength (18-19).
Their eyes would be opened and they would see their Teacher, Yahweh, as He would work salvation before their eyes. He would give them daily guidance by His Spirit, teaching them to listen moment by moment as He would tell them, as a voice from behind, to go this way and then that way (20-21).
They would know they were heeding the voice of Yahweh, for they would begin to destroy their idols (22).
When the remnant would return and listen to Yahweh, the whole universe would come back into order; rain would descend, making the land rich with produce and food for not only Judah but their livestock as well who worked the soil (23-24). After the wars were over and Yahweh reigned once again, the brooks would fill with water (25).
In that day, light would be much brighter, and even in the darkness of night the remnant would not be blinded but would see clearly. The sun would be seven times brighter, allowing the remnant to begin to see from the end of the creation week all the way into the millennium. Seeing the future Kingdom would be healing to broken hearts and those wounded with disillusionment (26).
The Defeat of Assyria (27-33)
Isaiah then returns to their present situation and begins to describe the defeat of the Assyrian army which would be laying siege to Jerusalem.
Yahweh is seen as coming from afar off, hidden in a cloud of smoke, speaking the word of judgment in fury. His breath would be rising like a flooding stream and then devouring them like a fire.
He gave two metaphors of their devastating defeat:
a) They would be pulverized as dust that could be sifted in a sieve.
b) They would be bridled as domesticated animals (27-28).
Isaiah then prophesied how Judah would celebrate Assyria's defeat. They would go to Jerusalem, to Yahweh the Rock of Israel, to celebrate with joy and much music (29).
When Judah considered the majestic voice of Yahweh, the great blow of His right arm, the fury of His anger as a devouring fire and a destroying storm, they were driven to worship in awe (30).
The Assyrians were terror-stricken at the voice of God as 185,000 lay dead in a hidden night act of God (31). Yet every blow of Yahweh on Judah's enemy created a corresponding beat on tambourines and the strumming of lyres. With scepter and rod, Yahweh lifted his mighty arm to fight the Assyrians and with corresponding might, the musicians of Jerusalem celebrated Yahweh's victory (32).
Topheth, the burning place, was a place just outside of Jerusalem in the Valley of Hinnom where children were sacrificed to the Ammonite god of Molech (2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 7:31-32; 19:6-14). Of course, the 185,000 soldiers who lay dead after they were mysteriously slain by Yahweh (2 Chronicles 32:20-24; 2 Kings 19:35-37) had to be burned. All credit for their destruction was totally given to Yahweh, even the burning of the bodies of the Assyrian soldiers (33).