Isaiah – Chapter 32

A Prophecy for the Next King

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Achaz was a wicked king, but he would be succeeded by his son Chizkiyahu (Hezekiah), who was righteous. Chizkiyahu would be a source of merit and protection for the nation. In his day, people’s eyes and ears would not be closed to the word of G-d. The people will understand and speak clearly, unlike the confusion described in chapter 28.

Evil and deceitful people would not be honored in Chizkiyahu’s day. Insincere people plot evil, while speaking flattery and lying about what G-d sees or wants from us. (We still have this today: “Why would G-d care if we…?”) Such people care only about themselves, even at the expense of the truly needy. But there are also generous people who will thrive because of their goodness.

Isaiah warns the nation not to be complacent. The people’s sins are mounting up and payback is coming. They will cry and mourn for all the thorns that will come up in the fields. The palace – possibly referring to the Temple – will be abandoned, towers will become ruins. However, it will be great for donkeys, probably referring to the descendants of Ishmael, who is compared to a donkey in Genesis 16:12.

Eventually, however, the spirit of G-d will pour out on the nation and deserts will bloom into fields and fields will grow into forests. Justice and righteousness will reign in these places. The people will dwell in security and peace. Just as the lowly are raised, the arrogant – the Persian capital according to Rashi – will be humbled. The people of Israel are fortunate because the lands will be so fertile that they can plant and animals can graze anywhere.

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