18 And this will happen: On that day, Yahveh will whistle for the fly at the end of the stream of Egypt and the bee in the land of Assyria. 19 And all of them will come and stay in the rivers of the cliffs and in the clefts of the rocks and on all of the thorn bushes and watering places. 20 On that day, the Lord will shave the head and the hair of the feet with a razor of the one hired from beyond the river–with the king of Assyria–and it will even remove the beard. 21 And this will happen: on that day, a young man will keep a young cow of his herd and two sheep alive. 22 And this will happen: because of the they will produce lots of milk, he will eat curds, because every one that is left in the midst of the land will be eating curds and honey. 23 And this will happen on that day: Every place where there are a thousand vines for a thousand silver pieces briers will appear, and there will be thorn bushes. 24 One will go there with arrows and bow, because all of the land will be a brier and a thorn bush. 25 And all of the hills that they previously hoed with the hoe, you will not go there, for fear of brier and thorn bush. And it will become like cattle pastureland and sheep trampling land.
barbers and bushes
Isaiah continues to tell Ahaz what is really going to happen, as opposed to what Ahaz (king of Judah) is preparing for. Ahaz wants to take care of things himself. Isaiah says it is not going to work that way. God is going to send Assyria as a barber, who will give Judah a shave they will never forget.
Recently I asked a barber to cut my hair for a trip to Africa. She must have thought I meant to cut my hair and shave my beard so that I could walk all across Africa before it grows back, because she really cut me too close.
Isaiah said that Assyria was going to figuratively cut Judah’s hair so close that he would wind up bald and beardless. He said that once Assyria was finished, Judah would be crop-less, a place where one could only raise animals, because all the land formerly hoed for crops would be deserted pastureland. The briers and thorn bushes will have taken over, because the people who had managed the land will have gone into exile.
LORD, give us the wisdom to seek you, and not try to solve all our problems in our own strength. We do not want to have to learn the embarrassing lesson that you had to teach Ahaz. We know you love us, and you want to be the answer that we are seeking.