Sorry, I might just be asking the obvious.

Isaiah 17:3-7 New American Standard Bible 1995

3 “The [a]fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, And [b]sovereignty from Damascus And the remnant of Aram; They will be like the glory of the sons of Israel,” Declares the Lord of hosts.

4 Now in that day the glory of Jacob will [c]fade, And the fatness of his flesh will become lean. 5 It will be even like the [d]reaper gathering the standing grain, As his arm harvests the ears, Or it will be like one gleaning ears of grain In the valley of Rephaim. 6 Yet gleanings will be left in it like the [e]shaking of an olive tree, Two or three olives on the topmost bough, Four or five on the branches of a fruitful tree, Declares the Lord, the God of Israel. 7 In that day man will have regard for his Maker And his eyes will look to the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 17:3-7 New King James Version

3 The fortress also will cease from Ephraim, The kingdom from Damascus, And the remnant of Syria; They will be as the glory of the children of Israel,” Says the Lord of hosts.

4 “In that day it shall come to pass That the glory of Jacob will [a]wane, And the fatness of his flesh grow lean. 5 It shall be as when the harvester gathers the grain, And reaps the heads with his arm; It shall be as he who gathers heads of grain In the Valley of Rephaim. 6 Yet gleaning grapes will be left in it, Like the shaking of an olive tree, Two or three olives at the top of the uppermost bough, Four or five in its most fruitful branches,” Says the Lord God of Israel.

7 In that day a man will look to his Maker, And his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel.

Ezekiel 6:8 New American Standard Bible 1995

8 “However, I will leave a remnant, for you will have those who escaped the sword among the nations when you are scattered among the countries.

1 Kings 19:18 New American Standard Bible 1995

18 Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

Isaiah 17:4-6 suggests that the aftermath of the reaping/harvesting/gleaning will lead to some being left alone. However, Isaiah 17:7 implies man will look up to his Maker & the Holy One of Israel who is God.

Is Isaiah 17:4-6 theme in the same vein as Ezekiel 6:8 and 1 Kings 19:18?

In other words, are the people who are remnants(or leftovers) after the reaping/harvesting/gleaning of Israel, which is described in Isaiah 17:4-6, meant to represent the Godly remnant of Israelites who are mercifully, compassionately & graciously spared by God?

1 Answer 1


In Old Testament, the remnant refers to a small faithful number of people (Israelites) amidst larger unfaithful populations. These faithful people were preserved by God to serve as the foundation for the future restoration of Israel.

The remnant mentioned in Ezekiel 6:8 and 1 Kings 19:18 completely complied to the above definition, for they were people preserved by God. However, whether the allusion of Isaiah 17:6 refer to the remnant is plausible.

6 Yet some gleanings will remain, as when an olive tree is beaten, leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches, four or five on the fruitful boughs,” declares the Lord, the God of Israel. (Isaiah 17:6 NIV)

First of all, Isaiah 17:5 described a scene of "reapers harvest the grain". In Israel, the reapers were forbidden to reap the very edges of the field where the grain was left for the poor and the foreigner (Lev 19:9). When they beat the olives from trees, it was forbidden to do a second time and left what remained for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow (Deu 24:20).

Therefore, the remain in Isaiah 17:6 described, whether it belonged to the portion that God preserved for Himself, or they were just lucky to stay is debatable. Continue reading to Isaiah 17:7

In that day people will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 17:7 NIV)

The word "people" does not specific to the remnant of Isaiah 17:6. It could mean the people of Judah, as Isaiah was a prophet of Judah. It could also mean the people who read his book. These people would learn a lesson from the destruction of Samaria that whoever unfaithful and disobedient to God would find their own destruction.

In my opinion, the remnants in Isaiah 17:4-6 do not refer to the Godly remnant, comparing to Ezekiel 6:8 and 1 Kings 19:18, as

  • the main audience of the book of Isaiah at that time was the people of Judah
  • Samaria was never rebuilt and hence the remnant described didn't serve a Godly purpose.

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