4 And He will make boys their rulers, And babes shall govern them.
v’-na-ta-TEE n’-a-REEM sa-ray-HEM v’-ta-a-lu-LEEM yim-sh’-lu VAM
ד וְנָתַתִּי נְעָרִים שָׂרֵיהֶם וְתַעֲלוּלִים יִמְשְׁלוּ־בָם׃
3:4 And He will make boys their rulers
After the removal of the competent and qualified leadership of Yehuda (verses 1-3), young and inexperienced leaders will rule in their place. These rulers will lead the people even further astray from Hashem. The chapter describes a collapse of social order under their governance; the people oppress one another, there is a lack of respect between friends and the young behave with arrogance towards their elders, as the nation continues on its path of Sodom-like behavior (verse 9). In verses 10-11, Yeshayahu promises that Hashem will reward the righteous and punish the wicked. Leadership carries with it tremendous responsibility: A leader has the potential to carry his nation to great heights or to lead it to its downfall. Jewish leadership in the Land of Israel is charged with the responsibility to lead the nation in justice and morality. Anything less than that is intolerable in Hashem’s eyes, and will be punished.