Question: What is the Lord’s “Strange Work” in Isaiah 28:21?
Answer: Word links in the Book of Isaiah show that the Lord’s “work” or “act” (Isaiah 5:19; 10:12; 40:10; 45:9; 62:11) is twofold: (1) the destruction of the wicked; and (2) the deliverance of the righteous. Both define the Lord’s “great and marvelous work” in the Book of Isaiah and Book of Mormon and are two halves of the same coin. As in Isaiah 28:21, the work’s destructive aspect is “strange” or “unwonted” (zar), “alien” or “bizarre” (nokriya), because in this case the Lord is “stirred to anger” and “rises up” against his own people instead of against their enemies as he normally does when delivering them.
His rising up as he did on “Mount Perazim”—literally the “Mount of Breakings Forth”—that defines the strange work in this verse harks back to his breaking forth upon his own people who transgressed their bounds at Mount Sinai anciently (Exodus 19:20–24) and also to his breaking forth upon Israel’s enemies the Philistines who sought to destroy Israel (2 Samuel 5:18–20). His being stirred to anger “as in the Valley of Gibeon” refers to Joshua’s victory over an alliance of Amorites, when the sun stood still upon Gibeon for an entire day until the Israelites had slaughtered them and Jehovah had helped them by casting great hailstones on their enemies (Joshua 10:10–14). These things bode ill for both the Lord’s end-time people and their enemies—for all who rebel against him as they did in the past. See also Apocalyptic Commentary of the Book of Isaiah, pp 172–173.