• Akiva Murguia

Isaiah 32 - G-d's Promise to Restore Us To the Land


"Indeed, a king reigns for justice and officers rule for judgment." - Isaiah 32:1

The futile effort of seeking help from Egypt and the effortless salvation of Jerusalem through Chizkiyahu's (Hezekiah's) merits brought home the message that the goal of a king is to do justice and not to wage war. Many blessings will come in the merit of such righteous leaders and, all the more so, in that of the king Messiah.

Chizkiyahu shall save them in his merit - he shall be for them "like a shelter from wind." He will teach them the sweetness of G-d's Word which they were previously lacking - he will be "like streams of water in the desert." And he will carry out justice and save the oppressed - he will be "like the shade of a boulder in a parched land."

Under Chizkiyahu's reign, they shall see and hear G-d. He will teach them the wisdom which had been beyond them so that they, in turn, will be able to teach others eloquently.

Truth shall reign in Chizkiyahu's day and each person will be treated as he deserves. So the miser cannot possibly be called charitable when all he talks about is acquiring money and all he thinks about is outdoing others. He will do anything for his personal gain, be it flattery or swindling the poor. He has no qualms about doing this, for he claims - falsely - that G-d does not see. If it was G-d's will to support the poor, says he, He Himself would do so.

"The tools of the niggard are defective - he devises plans to harm the poor with false words, and the needy when they speak justly." - Isaiah 32:7

He uses his talents, his "tools," only for personal gain and never for the benefit of others.

"But the charitable plans charity and stands behind charity." - Isaiah 32:8

But the charitable person thinks how to be charitable - he gives first to teach others to give and then gives again last to make up the shortfall. He plans carefully how to be charitable - to give in the proper time and at the proper place. And even after he gives, he "stands behind" it and does not regret anything he gave.

"Complacent women! Rise and hear my voice! Confident daughters! Pay attention to my words! For a year and days, the confident ones shall tremble, for though the vintage shall be over, the harvest shall not come." - Isaiah 32:9-10

Despite the salvation which Yehudah shall have, their days of greatness are numbered. They will grow complacent, having been saved from Sancheiriv, and will revert to their wayward ways. Those who had sat in the Land complacently will then tremble during Nevuchadnetzar's siege. For a year and a few months, the besieged Jerusalemites will starve, trembling also by the knowledge that even outside there is nothing to eat, for the enemies have eaten the produce.

"Be terrorized, complacent ones! Tremble, confident ones! - stripped and naked, with just a loincloth on the waist." - Isaiah 32:11

When exile comes, they will beat their breasts in mourning over the ruination of their fertile fields and over the destruction of the houses where they once rejoiced - they shall now be overgrown with thorns and thistles.

"For the palace is abandoned, the city's multitude is gone. Fortresses and citadels shall become eternal caves, the grazing place of donkeys and the pasture of flocks - until a spirit from on High is poured upon us and the desert becomes farmland and the farmland becomes like a forest." - Isaiah 32:14-15

The Temple, the "palace," shall be destroyed and the multitude of people who visited it shall come no more. It shall be a place where beasts and animals graze. This shall all last for what seems like an eternity, but eventually a spirit of G-d's reconciliation and compassion will bring us back to a restored Land.

"Justice shall then dwell in the desert and righteousness shall settle in the farmland." - Isaiah 32:16

Jerusalem, hitherto a "desert," shall then be resettled with just people, and righteous people will live in the Land. People will act justly even in the desert, outside the jurisdiction of the law, because it will be the right thing to do and not just out of fear of punishment.

"My people shall dwell in a dwelling place of peace; in secure homes, in tranquility and confidence. And when hail falls, it shall be in the forest, and the city shall spread down to the valley." - Isaiah 32:18-19

The entire Jewish people will then live peacefully, confident that they will stray no more. They shall even dwell safely from natural harm - "hail shall fall only in the valley." They shall no more have to fear the attack of an enemy and will be able to live in the valley, outside city walls.

"Happy are you, who plant all over on water and let loose the ox and the donkey." - Isaiah 32:20

"Happy are you!" exclaims Isaiah to those who do righteousness for its own sake - who "plant it on water" with no thought of recompense. Happy are you who "let loose the ox and donkey," who let go of their attachment to the material world.


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