What does the seven women of Isaiah 4:1 represent?
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“And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, “we will eat our own food and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by your name, to take away our reproach” (Isaiah 4:1).
The message of Isaiah 3:16 to 4:1 was originally addressed to the people of Jerusalem living in the prophet’s own day. During times of war, men may be led off into captivity or die. This would cause the number of women to increase in comparison to men.
The women would then appeal to the few men who remained, to marry them. A number of these women, would seek one man asking for protection and support as a marriage might provide. They would declare their willingness to work for their own food and clothing which is normally the responsibility of the men (Exodus 21:10).
Isaiah 4:1 directly applies to the church today. The “seven women” represent nominal Christians, and the “one man,” Christ. These women (churches) “take hold” of Christianity, not in sincerity (Matt. 25:1–13), but superficially, hypocritically, and only for personal advantage and gain. The “seven women” may refer also to religious groups in Christianity that have “a form of godliness” but deny “the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:5). There is no true essence of spirituality in them.
The “seven women” propose to “eat” their “own bread”(follow the traditions of men) rather than accept the truth of Christ the “true bread from heaven” (John 6:32), and to “wear” their “own apparel”—the “filthy rags” of Isaiah 64:6—rather than the perfect robe of Christ’s righteousness (Matthew 22:11–12). Thus applied, Isaiah 4:1 emphasizes the value of sincerity in religious life, as opposed to self-righteousness and hypocrisy.
Therefore, Jesus calls these Christians “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see” (Revelation 3:18). Here, gold represents faith and eye salve represents God’s grace that enables the Christian to distinguish between truth and error and provides the power to live a righteous life.