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Who are the seven women who want to marry one man in Isaiah 4:1?

In Isaiah 4:1 we read: “And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.” When you start reading in Isaiah 4, that verse is hard to understand. But it actually is the continuation of chapter 3.

God’s judgment on Israel

In chapter 3 Isaiah prophesies about God’s judgment on Israel. His judgment will be so severe, that most of the men will die in war. There will a shortage of men to marry. The women of Jerusalem, who were so haughty (Isaiah 3:16) will be humbled and humiliated to the point that several of them will pursue the same man to marry them. They are not even asking the man to take care of them, but only that he takes away their ‘reproach’. The reproach, the thing to be ashamed of, is being a single woman and especially being a woman without children.

The picture that Isaiah is painting here is of a land where most men have lost their lives and where most women have lost their honor. This is all a consequence of God’s judgment on Israel’s idolatry (Isaiah 2:6-8).

God is always gracious

Yet this is not the end of the story. God is always gracious. Immediately after the prophecy of judgment Isaiah paints a different picture: “In that day, the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious” (Isaiah 4:2). This points towards the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ. However bad we have sinned, God is always ready to wash away the filth of our sins and give us new life through Jesus Christ. But if we remain haughty and think we do not need God, in the end His judgment will come over our lives, and we will be destroyed like Jerusalem was.

Also read Does the Old Testament speak about the coming of Christ?

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Marten Visser

Marten Visser (1971), experienced a call from the Lord to be a missionary while in Kindergarten. He received M.Div., Th.M. in Missiology, M.A. in cultural anthropology degrees and a Ph.D. degree in Theology. In 2000 he became a church planting missionary in Thailand with OMF, together with his wife Esther. In 2015 he returned to the Netherlands where he founded GlobalRize. He continues to serve as GlobalRize’s director of evangelism.

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