Isaiah 3:16
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:
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(16) Because the daughters of Zion . . .—From the princes that worked evil, Isaiah turns to their wives, sisters, concubines, who were showing themselves degenerate daughters of Sarah and Rebecca. A like denunciation meets us in Isaiah 32:9-12, but this is without a parallel in the minuteness of its detail. It is as though the prophet had gone into the boudoir of one of the leaders of the fashions of Jerusalem, and taken an inventory of what he found there. Possibly we may trace the influence of the prophetess-wife of Isaiah (Isaiah 8:3), seeking to recall those of her own sex to a higher life. We note, on a smaller scale, a like teaching in the married apostle (1Peter 3:3-4). Twenty-one distinct articles are mentioned. Their names for the most part appear to have a foreign stamp on them. Then, as at other times, luxury imported its novelties, and the women of Judah took up the fashions of those of Tyre or Damascus or Philistia. It is not without interest to compare the protests of Juvenal (Sat. vi.), Dante (Purgat. xxiii. 106-111), Chrysostom, and Savonarola against like evils.

With stretched forth necks . . .—The corruption which the prophet paints showed itself then, as it has done in later times, in the adoption by the decent classes of society of the gait and glances of the harlots of alien birth (comp. Proverbs 7:9-21), with, perhaps, the difference of a certain affectation of coyness.

Making a tinkling with their feet.—Small silver bells were fastened on the ankles, and so the beauties of Jerusalem carried, as it were, their music with them. The custom still exists in Syria and Arabia, though forbidden by the Koran. English nursery rhymes seem to recall a time when it was not unknown in Western Europe.

Isaiah 3:16. Moreover, the Lord saith — After God had reproved the rulers of the Jews for their iniquity, injustice, and rapacity in spoiling the people, “he draws an argument of the same kind from the pride and luxury of the noble matrons and virgins, whose ornaments, collected from the spoils of the people, were borne proudly and insolently by them; upon whom therefore he denounces judgments; for of these two parts consists this last period of his reproving discourse: urging, 1st, In this verse the crimes of luxury and wanton haughtiness; denouncing, 2d, The punishment with which God would pursue these crimes, Isaiah 3:17 to chap. 4:1:” see Vitringa and Dodd. Because the daughters of Zion are haughty — Proud and disdainful; and walk with stretched-forth necks — Affecting stateliness, (Psalm 75:5,) and endeavouring to appear tall; and wanton eyes — Hebrew, משׂקרות, falsifying their eyes; that is, falsely setting off their eyes with paint, as Bishop Lowth translates it, observing that he takes it to be the true meaning and literal rendering of the word; walking and mincing as they go — Taking petty tripping steps in their walking, that they may appear the younger; making a tinkling with their feet — Dr. Waterland renders this clause, and with chains, or shackles, upon their feet. The prophet is thought, by some learned men, to “allude to a custom among the eastern ladies of wearing on their legs large hollow rings, or circles, with little rings hanging round them; the cavities of these rings being filled with small flints, which caused them to sound like bells on the least motion.” Bishop Lowth translates the last two clauses, “Mincing their steps as they go, and with their feet lightly tripping along.”

3:16-26 The prophet reproves and warns the daughters of Zion of the sufferings coming upon them. Let them know that God notices the folly and vanity of proud women, even of their dress. The punishments threatened answered the sin. Loathsome diseases often are the just punishment of pride. It is not material to ask what sort of ornaments they wore; many of these things, if they had not been in fashion, would have been ridiculed then as now. Their fashions differed much from those of our times, but human nature is the same. Wasting time and money, to the neglect of piety, charity, and even of justice, displease the Lord. Many professors at the present day, seem to think there is no harm in worldly finery; but were it not a great evil, would the Holy Spirit have taught the prophet to expose it so fully? The Jews being overcome, Jerusalem would be levelled with the ground; which is represented under the idea of a desolate female seated upon the earth. And when the Romans had destroyed Jerusalem, they struck a medal, on which was represented a woman sitting on the ground in a posture of grief. If sin be harboured within the walls, lamentation and mourning are near the gates.Moreover, the Lord saith - In the previous parts of this prophecy, the prophet had rebuked the princes, magistrates, and the people generally. In the remainder of this chapter, he reproves with great severity the pride, luxury, and effeminacy of the female part of the Jewish community. Some interpreters have understood this as designed to reprove the pride and luxury of the "cities" and "towns" of Judah, regarded as "daughters of Zion;" see the note at Isaiah 1:8. But this interpretation is far-fetched and absurd. On this principle everything in the Bible might be turned into allegory.

The daughters of Zion - Jewish females; they who dwelt in "Zion." Perhaps he means particularly those who dwelt in Zion, the capital - or the females connected with the court. It is probable that the prophet here refers to the prosperous reign of Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:5, ...), when by successful commerce luxury would naturally abound.

Are haughty - Are proud.

And walk with stretched-forth necks - Displaying the neck ostentatiously; elevating or extending it as far as possible. Septuagint, ὑψηλῷ τραχήλῳ hupsēlō trachēlō, with elevated or exalted neck; that is, with that indication of pride and haughtiness which is evinced by a lofty demeanour. 'When the females dance (in India), they stretch forth their necks, and hold them away, as if their heads were about to fall from their shoulders.' - "Roberts."

And wanton eyes - עינים וּמשׁקרות ûmeshaqerôth ‛ēynāyı̂m. The word שׁקר shâqar usually means "to lie, to deceive," and may here refer to the art of alluring by a wanton or fascinating glance of the eye. There has been great diversity of opinion about the meaning of this expression. Lowth proposes to read it, 'and falsely setting off their eyes with paint,' in allusion to a custom known to prevail in the East, of coloring the eye-lids with stibium, or the powder of lead ore. This was done the better to exhibit the white of the eye, and was supposed by many to contribute to the healthful action of the eye itself. This practice is known to prevail extensively now; but it is not clear that the prophet here has reference to it. The expression is usually interpreted to mean 'deceiving with the eyes,' that is, "alluring" or "enticing" by the motion of the eyes. The "motion" of the eyes is mentioned Proverbs 6:13-14 as one mode of "deceiving" a person:

He winketh with his eyes,

He speaketh with his feet,

He teacheth with his fingers;

Frowardness is in his heart,

He deviseth mischief continually.

Compare the notes at Job 42:14. The meaning here, doubtless, is, that they attempted to entice by the "motion" or "glance" of the eye. The Chaldee seems to have understood this of staining the eyes with stibium.

Mincing as they go - Margin, 'Tripping nicely;' that is, walking with an affected gait - a mode which, unhappily, is too well known in all ages to need a more particular description. Roberts, speaking of the dance in India, says, 'Some parts of the dance consist of a tripping or mincing step, which they call tatte-tatee. The left foot is put first, and the inside of the right keeps following the heel of the former.'

And making a tinkling with their feet - That is, they adorn themselves with "ankle rings," and make a tinkling or noise with them to attract attention. The custom of wearing rings on the fingers and wrists has been common every where. In addition to this, Oriental females often wore them on the "ankles" - a custom in itself not more unreasonable or absurd. The custom is mentioned by travelers in Eastern countries in more modern times. Thus, Michaelis says, 'In Syria and the neighboring provinces, the more opulent females bind ligaments around their feet, like chains, or bracelets, united by small chains of silver and gold, and exhibit them by their sound as they walk.' And Pliny ("Nat. Hist.," lib. xxiii., ch. 12) says, 'Silver has succeeded to gold in the luxury of the females who form bracelets for their feet of that, since an ancient custom forbids them to wear gold.' Frequent mention is made of these ornaments, says Rosenmuller, in the Arabic and Persian poems. Roberts, speaking of the ornaments on the feet of females in India, says, 'The first is a large silver curb like that which is attached to a bridle; the second is of the same kind, but surrounded by a great number of small bells; the third resembles a bracelet; and the fourth is a convex hoop, about two inches deep.'

16. Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, &c.—Luxury had become great in Uzziah's prosperous reign (2Ch 26:5).

stretched forth—proudly elevated (Ps 75:5).

wanton—rather, "making the eyes to glance about," namely, wantonly (Pr 6:13) [Maurer]. But Lowth, "falsely setting off the eyes with paint." Women's eyelids in the East are often colored with stibium, or powder of lead (see on [691]Job 42:14; Jer 4:30, Margin).

mincing—tripping with short steps.

tinkling—with their ankle-rings on both feet, joined by small chains, which sound as they walk, and compel them to take short steps; sometimes little bells were attached (Isa 3:18, 20).

The daughters of Zion; the women; as hitherto he reproved the men.

Walk with stretched forth necks; affecting stateliness, Psalm 75:5, and to seem tall.

Wanton eyes; or, as others, twinkling with their eyes in a lascivious manner.

Walking and mincing as they go, after the manner of loose and wanton persons. Making a tinkling with their feet, by some ornaments which they wore upon their shoes.

Moreover the Lord saith, because the daughters of Zion are haughty,.... The wives or daughters of the rulers, princes, or elders; these were "high", affected to look high and tall, and therefore stretched out their necks, and walked on tiptoes; or "were lifted up" with pride, which is the root and source of all the vanity expressed in their gesture and ornaments.

And walk with stretched forth necks or "throats"; looking high, and above others, and upon them with contempt and disdain; this is a sign of pride; see Psalm 75:5,

and wanton eyes; either winking with their eyes to others to follow them to their houses, as Kimchi interprets it; so Jarchi thinks it is expressive of their looks, as we, of wanton looks; and the Septuagint render it, "with winking of eyes"; so the Syriac and Arabic versions, or painting their eyes; so the Targum,

"they walk with their eyes painted,''

as Jezebel painted her face, 2 Kings 9:30 in the Talmudic language, is used (q) for vermilion, or red lead, with which they painted their eyes, as they did also with (r) black lead.

Walking and mincing as they go: jumping and dancing as children in the streets; or using the like gesture as those who beat upon a drum; or walking in even paces, in a soft and delicate manner; all which senses Kimchi (s) observes in the word. The whole is rendered by the Septuagint, "and in the walk of their feet", or as they walk "together, drawing their coats" upon the ground after them, which makes a noise. The Targum is, "with hair rolled up", bound up and plaited.

And making a tinkling with their feet; having a sort of bells hanging on them, as Kimchi thinks, which made a noise as they went. Of the word here used, and the sense of it; see Gill on Isaiah 3:18. The Targum renders it, "provoking with their feet"; either the lust of men; or the anger of the Lord, as the Syriac version; the Septuagint and Arabic versions, "playing with the feet".

(q) T. Bab. Roshhashanah, fol. 18. 1. Misn. Sabbat. c. 12. sect. 4. Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. (r) Targum on 2 Kings 30. (s) Sepher Shorash. rad.

Moreover the LORD saith, {n} Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with {o} extended necks and {p} wanton eyes, walking and {q} mincing as they go, and making a {r} tinkling with their feet:

(n) He means the people because of the arrogancy and pride of their women who gave themselves to all wantonness and dissolution.

(o) Which declared their pride.

(p) As a sign that they were not chaste.

(q) Which showed their wantonness.

(r) They delighted then in slippers that creaked or had little plates sewn on them which tinkled as they went.

16. daughters of Zion] The “haughtiness” of the daughters of Zion is displayed in their gestures as they walk abroad. They walk with outstretched neck, and ogling with their eyes; tripping along they go, and tinkling with their feet. The reference in the last words is to the jingling sound of the anklets (Isaiah 3:18) and the short chain uniting them (Isaiah 3:20); the latter also produced the tripping gait mentioned in the previous clause.

Verse 16. - The daughters of Zion. It is over-fanciful to go beyond the plain meaning of the words here, and suppose allegory. "The daughters of Zion" are the female inhabitants of Jerusalem. Are haughty; or, proud - like the men (Isaiah 2:11, 12, 17). Walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes. Mr. Cheyne translates, "ogling eyes." Both actions indicate the desire to attract men's attention, and are shameless and immodest. Walking and mincing as they go; i.e. taking short steps in an affectedly childish way. Making a tinkling with their feet. This meaning is generally accepted, though not very certain. It has been suggested that the anklets which they wore (ver. 18) had silver bells attached to them. Isaiah 3:16But notwithstanding the dramatic vividness with which the prophet pictures to himself this scene of judgment, he is obliged to break off at the very beginning of his description, because another word of Jehovah comes upon him. This applies to the women of Jerusalem, whose authority, at the time when Isaiah prophesied, was no less influential than that of their husbands who had forgotten their calling. "Jehovah hath spoken: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk about with extended throat, and blinking with the eyes, walk about with tripping gait, and tinkle with their foot-ornaments: the Lord of all makes the crown of the daughters of Zion scabbed, and Jehovah will uncover their shame." Their inward pride (gâbah, as in Ezekiel 16:50; cf., Zephaniah 3:11) shows itself outwardly. They walk with extended throat, i.e., bending the neck back, trying to make themselves taller than they are, because they think themselves so great. The Keri substitutes the more usual form, נטוּית; but Isaiah in all probability intentionally made use of the rarer and ruder form netuvoth, since such a form really existed (1 Samuel 25:18), as well as the singular nâtu for nâtui (Job 15:22; Job 41:25 : Ges. 75, Anm. 5). They also went winking the eyes (mesakkeroth, for which we frequently find the erratum mesakkeroth), i.e., casting voluptuous and amatory glances with affected innocence (νεύματα ὀφθαλμῶν, lxx). "Winking:" sâkar is not used in the sense of fucare (Targ. b. Sabbath 62b, Jome 9b, Luther) - which is all the more inappropriate, because blackening the eyelids with powder of antimony was regarded in the East of the Old Testament as indispensable to female beauty - but in the sense of nictare (lxx, Vulg., Syr., syn. remaz, cf., sekar, Syr. to squint; Targ. equals shâzaph, Job 20:9). Compare also the talmudic saying: God did not create woman out of Adam's ear, that she might be no eavesdropper (tsaithânith), nor out of Adam's eyes, that she might be no winker (sakrânith).

(Note: Also b. Sota 47b: "Since women have multiplied with extended necks and winking eyes, the number of cases has also multiplied in which it has been necessary to resort to the curse water (Numbers 5:18)." In fact, this increased to such an extent, that Johanan ben Zakkai, the pupil of Hillel, abolished the ordeal (divine-verdict) of the Sota (the woman suspected of adultery) altogether. The people of his time were altogether an adulterous generation.)

The third was, that they walked incedendo et trepidando. The second inf. abs. is in this case, as in most others, the one which gives the distinct tone, whilst the other serves to keep before the eye the occurrence indicated in its finite verb (Ges. 131, 3). They walk about tripping (tâphop, a wide-spread onomato-poetic word), i.e., taking short steps, just putting the heel of one foot against the toe of the other (as the Talmud explains it). Luther renders it, "they walk along and waggle" (schwnzen, i.e., Clunibus agitatis). The rendering is suitable, but incorrect. They could only take short steps, because of the chains by which the costly foot-rings (achâsim ) worn above their ankles were connected together. These chains, which were probably ornamented with bells, as is sometimes the case now in the East, they used to tinkle as they walked: they made an ankle-tinkling with their feet, setting their feet down in such a manner that these ankle-rings knocked against each other. The writing beraglēhem (masc.) for beraglēhen (fem.) is probably not an unintentional synallage gen.: they were not modest virgines, but cold, masculine viragines, so that they themselves were a synallage generis. Nevertheless they tripped along. Tripping is a child's step. Nevertheless they tripped along. Tripping is a child's step. Although well versed in sin and old in years, the women of Jerusalem tried to maintain a youthful, childlike appearance. They therefore tripped along with short, childish steps. The women of the Mohammedan East still take pleasure in such coquettish tinklings, although they are forbidden by the Koran, just as the women of Jerusalem did in the days of Isaiah. The attractive influence of natural charms, especially when heightened by luxurious art, is very great; but the prophet is blind to all this splendour, and seeing nothing but the corruption within, foretells to these rich and distinguished women a foul and by no means aesthetic fate. The Sovereign Ruler of all would smite the crown of their head, from which long hair was now flowing, with scab (v'sippach, a progressive preterite with Vav apodosis, a denom. verb from sappachath, the scurf which adheres to the skin: see at Habakkuk 2:15); and Jehovah would uncover their nakedness, by giving them up to violation and abuse at the hands of coarse and barbarous foes - the greatest possible disgrace in the eyes of a woman, who covers herself as carefully as she can in the presence of any stranger (Isaiah 47:3; Nahum 3:5; Jeremiah 13:22; Ezekiel 16:37).

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