NASB - 17 Therefore the Lord will afflict the scalp of the daughters of Zion with scabs, And the LORD will make their foreheads bare.
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From the wording of the passage, it appears to me that God is angry with them because their behavior is indicative of pride, superficiality, and self-absorption, while being oblivious to the sin that characterizes Jerusalem, including the wealthy oppressing the poor (Isaiah 3:14-15). God makes it clear from the beginning of the book of Isaiah that it is not only the women of Jerusalem with whom He is displeased and whom He plans to judge, but its entire population and social structure for sins such as idolatry (Isaiah 2:8), the use of divination and other pagan customs (Isaiah 2:6), arrogance and pride (Isaiah 2:17), murder (Isaiah 1:21), and injustice (Isaiah 1:23). (In Isaiah 1:5-6, God describes Jerusalem as a whole in His view in the same terms as are applied to the women of the city in Isaiah 3:24 after God will have judged them.) Despite the devastation that had already been visited on the rest of Judah by foreign nations (as described in Isaiah 1:7) as a judgment from God, the people of Jerusalem had not changed. They had continued their ritual sacrifices and ceremonies to God, but their hearts were unrepentant, and their worship was therefore detestable to God (Isaiah 1:11-14), to the point where He calls Jerusalem Sodom and Gomorrah (Isaiah 1:10). However, even after denouncing Jerusalem in such terms, God still calls on the people to repent (Isaiah 1:18-19a). He also indicates that, after Jerusalem has been judged and punished, it will one day be restored (Isaiah 1:26-27).
Although not much in the bible is devoted specifically to the conduct of women, God does have true concern for the welfare and judgment of women, and especially the women of Zion. They, like the men, are held to a higher standard than the countries surrounding Israel. In addition to the coming judgment by Babylon over the horizon, these verses may refer to a future time, since the phrase "In that day" is used in Isaiah 3:18. Continuing on to chapter 4, we have two additional "In that day" usages in verses 1 and 2. The whole passage from Isa 3:16 to 4: 6 could refer to the time prophesied by Zech 14:2 "For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city." Connecting the situation after the Babylonian invasion and the time of Zechariah is a well known prophetic device found in other passages of the bible.
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