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isaiah

Isaiah

Author

Isaiah 1:1, “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.” The book of Isaiah was written by the prophet Isaiah. What do we know about Isaiah? He was the son of Amoz. Isaiah was a prophet. He was married to a prophetess. Isaiah 8:3 (KJV), “And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the Lord to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz.” According to this verse, we see that Isaiah has a son named, Mahershalalhashbaz. Looking back to chapter 7:3 (KJV), “Then said the Lord unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son…” In this verse we find another son of Isaiah, Shearjashub. One other time, Isaiah and his family are mentioned. This is in Isaiah 8:18 (KJV), “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.” Isaiah and his sons would be for signs and wonders in Israel.

Date Written

The book of Isaiah would have been written during the life of Isaiah. Bible Wikipedia records Isaiah’s ministry from 740-686 B.C. His ministry covers the reign of four different kings of Judah. The reign of these kings can be found in II Kings 15-21.

Where does this story take place and why was it written? Judah was located in southern Palestine. Jerusalem, the capital, was where the book of Isaiah was recorded. Why was this book written? Isaiah was a prophet that God called to send his message to Judah. Verse one says the book was written about what Isaiah saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. Isaiah gave a message of repentance from sin, along with God’s deliverance.

Geisler writes in his book about three purposes of the book of Isaiah.

  1. Historical purpose. God sent Isaiah to warn Judah of their sins. If they didn’t heed the warning, it would lead to their destruction.
  2. Doctrinal purpose. The purpose of the book of Isaiah was to lead man to salvation through Christ. Also, the restoration of the earth was given.
  3. Christological purpose. In this book, we find the most complete description of Christ in the Old Testament. (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6, 11:1-2, and Chapters 40, 43, and 61)

Historical Setting

https://bible.org/article/introduction-isaiah

If you look to the bible.org article from June 14, 2004, written by David Malick, you will find the historical setting detailed. We see Isaiah's attempt to have King Ahaz turned to God, but he refused and turned to Assyria instead. We see that Israel was forced to pay a tribute tax. Assyria fought Samaria and took the people into captivity. As outlined below, there was unrest among the Israel nation and the surrounding neighbors.

A. Isaiah was a contemporary with Amos, Hosea and Micah for at least part of his ministry.

B. Tiglath-pileser had conquered all of northern Syria by 740 (the date of Uzziah’s death).

1. He conquered the Aramean city-state of Hamath.

2. He forced all small kingdoms, including Israel under Menahem to pay tribute (2 Kings 15:19f) and Judah under “Azariah” (Uzziah)1.

3. He entered Palestine in 734 B.C., set up a base of operations at the River of Egypt. Many small states rebelled against him including Israel in the Syro-Ephraimite war (733 B.C.).

4. Judah would not participate in the Syro-Ephraimite coalition. The coalition attempted to overthrow the Davidic dynasty to appoint a king who would join the coalition (2 Kings 15:37; 16:5; Isa. 7:1)

5. Isaiah exhorted Ahaz to trust in the YHWH; he refused and turned to Assyria (Isa. 7; 2 Kings 16:7-9).

6. Tiglath-pileser invaded Israel and almost came to Judah’s boarders (Isa. 15:29).

a. Israel’s king–Hoshea paid tribute to Tiglath-pileser (732).

b. Tiglath-pileser died (727) and Hosea (who overtook Pikah in Israel) refused (in alliance with So of Egypt) to pay tribute to Shalmaneser V as he had to Tiglath-pileser (2 Kings 17:4).

C. Assyria (Shalmaneser or his successor Sargon II) moved against Israel and after a three year siege, took the capital of Samaria (722/1) and carried the people into captivity.

D. Assyria expanded unto the northern boundary of Judah. Judah was also left alone when many of the city states of Palestine and Syria along with Egypt rebelled against Assyria and were put down in 720 B.C.

E. Judah (under Hezekiah) joined an uprising along with Egypt, Edom, and Moab against Assyria (713-711).

F. Sargon (of Assyria) took Ashdod and Gath leaving Judah vulnerable.

G. Sargon died in 705 leading to revolt by many including Judah under Hezekiah along with Babylon (2 kings 20:12-19; Isa. 39:1-4).

H. Sennacherib (of Assyria) retaliated in 701 defeating Sidon, receiving tribute from Ashdod, Ammon, Moab, and Edom, subjugating Ashkelon and Ekron, and surrounding Hezekiah2 and forcing him to pay tribute to Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:13-16).

Theme

Chuck Swindoll (https://www.insight.org/resources/bible/the-major-prophets/isaiah)

  • Isaiah’s overall theme receives its clearest statement in chapter 12: “Behold, God is my salvation, / I will trust and not be afraid” (Isaiah 12:2). This echoes the meaning of Isaiah’s name, which means the “salvation of Yahweh.” Having read the book, one might wonder about the strong presence of judgment that runs through the first thirty-nine chapters when the theme is salvation. How can the two coexist? The presence of judgment indicates its necessity for salvation to occur. Before we can have salvation, we must have a need for it! *

https://bible.org/seriespage/1-introduction-study-book-isaiah

  • The book is a collection of oracles, prophecies, and reports; but the common theme is the message of salvation.

Chuck Swindoll and the Bible.org article both say the theme of Isaiah is salvation. Norman Geisler starts his chapter about Isaiah by saying, The name Isaiah means Jehovah is salvation. By studying name origins and definitions, we can see that God chose the man Isaiah to record, with the Holy Spirit's guidance, the book of Isaiah, because the theme of Isaiah is salvation.

Book Outline

The chart above is from Chuck Swindoll. This chart shows the judgment and deliverance of God, and the corresponding chapters for each. Also on this chart are the emphasis, theme, key verses, as well as, how the chapters of Isaiah relate to the books of the Bible.

Turning to page 243, of Norman Geisler, A Popular Survery of the Old Testament, Geisler says that Isaiah has been called a miniature Bible. There are 66 chapters in Isaiah which correspond to the books of the Bible. There are 39 chapters relating to the 39 chapters of the Old Testament. The last 27 chapters relate to the New Testament. You can also see this comparison in Swindoll's chart above. These chapters are speaking mostly about the messianic kingdom. What an interesting thought as we study through the chapters of Isaiah.

The following Analysis of Isaiah has taken the book of Isaiah and broken it into these difference topics. J. Vernon McGee. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ttb/isaiah.html

I. Discourses Concerning Judah and Israel, Chs. 1-12.

1. Some promises and rebukes, Chs. 1-6. 2. The book of Immanuel, Chs. 7-12.

II. Prophesies against Foreign Nations, Chs. 13-23.

III. The Judgment of the World and the Triumph of God’s People, Chs. 24-27.

1. The judgments. Ch. 24. 2. The triumph. Chs. 25-27.

IV. Judah’s Relation to Egypt and Assyria, Chs. 28-32.

V. The Great Deliverance of Jerusalem, Chs. 33-39.

VI. The Book of Consolation, Chs. 40-66.

1. God’s preparation for cert ain deliverance, Chs. 40-48. 2. Jehovah’s servant, the Messiah, will bring this deliverance. Chs. 49-57. 3. The restoration of Zion and the Messianic Kingdom, with promises and warnings for the future. Chs. 58-66.

Chapter Content

The book of Isaiah was written because the people of Judah were living in a life of sin. The people didn't think about God; they just didn't care. God sent Isaiah to bring accusations against the people. God wanted to get Judah's attention. They had rebelled. Since they were living in a life of rebellion, God warned them and sent punishment to the nation. Knowing that the theme of Isaiah is salvation, God also sends a message of promise through the prophetic scripture references to the birth of a Savior and also to the second coming of Christ.

Let's look at some of the prophetic promises given in Isaiah about the coming Messiah.

  • Isaiah 7:14, Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. This verse was fulfilled in Luke 1:26-27.
  • Isaiah 9:1-2, Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. This was fulfilled in Matthew 4:14-16.
  • Isaiah 9:6, For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. This was fulfilled in Luke 2:11.
  • Isaiah 9:7, Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. This was fulfilled in Luke 1:32-33.
  • Isaiah 11:4-5, But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. This was fulfilled in Luke 19:22.
  • Isaiah 50:6, I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. This verse was fulfilled in Matthew 26:67.

“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.” (Isaiah 1:2 KJV) At the very beginning, Isaiah identified that Israel and Judah have rebelled against the Lord. God is a loving God, but He also is a holy God who will judge the nations of Israel for their sins. King Ahaz was a very evil king. He worshiped other gods. He worshiped idols, and even sacrificed his own sons in the fire. He was an evil king who brought the people of Judah deeper and deeper into sin. The people fell into idolatry.

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” (Isaiah 2:2 KJV) The temple was built high on top of a hill or mountain. Everyone could look and see the temple. Someday, God's house will be for all nations to gather together and worship. What a great day that will be!

Isaiah warns of the judgment from God on the tribe of Judah, yet God's people will be cleansed. In chapter five, there is a lesson about a vineyard. This tells a story that God's people are to bear fruit. “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20 KJV) Judah was not known for good fruit. These sins became a burden for Judah. Some sins people continue day to day and refuse to repent. These become heavy loads that wear the sinner down. God calls Isaiah to warn Judah. “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” (Isaiah 6:8 KJV) This verse shows us that Isaiah was a man that God called, and he was willing to go. He said, Here I am, send me. What great words spoken by the prophet Isaiah! He was a man that was dependable and willing to do our heavenly Father's will.

Just when we think there is no hope, in chapter 9, we see that a child is born. Jesus who will redeem his people from their sins. In chapter 12, we have a hymn of praise when Jesus comes to reign. In chapter 13, the Lord will punish the world for their sins and Babylon will be overthrown. In the next several chapters, we see prophecy against Moab, Syria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Babylon, Edom, Arabia, Tyre, Samaria, Jerusalem, and against rebels. We see God's judgment on the land.

In chapter 25-26, we see the people praise the Lord and and sing to God. God will destroy his enemies. Looking faithfully to the promises in Isaiah, we see in the last half of the book that God will feed his flock; He will help Israel; He will send a Savior and there is no other; Jehovah is the one true God; The Lord will rescue his people; Israel will be rebuilt; Blessings for those who seek him; the godly shall rest in peace; promises of glory for God's people; the new heavens and the new earth; and lastly, the world will see God's goodness. Life Application Study Bible (KJV), 1996

Controversial Passages

Isaiah 1:1 (KJV), “The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.” With this verse of scripture, it states that Isaiah is the vision of the man, Isaiah.

Critics have argued as to whether this book was written by one man named Isaiah, or whether two and possibly three men wrote this book. We will take a look at the theory of Norman Geisler, as well as other possible theories. Geisler, on page 244, says, that he believes that evidence clearly supports one Isaiah. He gives seven claims as to why he believes that there is only one author.

  1. The book of Isaiah claims to be one author. The following verses name Isaiah as the author. (Isaiah 1:1, 7:3, 20:2, 38:4, 39:5)
  2. All of Jewish tradition names the whole book to one author.
  3. The same writing style, ideas, phrases, and even figure of speech is consistent throughout the book. Geisler especially mentions the phrase, “Thus saith the Lord” and “the Holy One of Isreal” is found a dozen times or more, but rarely anywhere else in the Old Testament.
  4. The complete book is Palestinian. If critics would be correct, the end of the book would have to be Assyrian.
  5. There is the failure of the critics to come up with any other author. The book of Isaiah found among the Dead Sea Scrolls all adhere to the one complete book of Isaiah with one author.
  6. Isaiah contains supernatural prophecy. An example of this is Isaiah names Cyrus (who became king of Persia) more than a hundred fifty years before he lived. Critics feel that another man in later years compiled the end of the book, instead they should believe a God who knows all things can record this.
  7. The New Testament confirms the author of the book as Isaiah, and none other.

On the opposite side of the page, we have theories who say that the book of Isaiah was really written by more than one author. Look at the article on the following webpage. http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/features/1.739403 You will see that the subtitle says, “At least parts of Isaiah were written after the prophet had died. The use of different language style is also a telltale clue.” I find this very interesting that both sides of the debate about the authorship of Isaiah use the language style as a difference.

  • The King Hezekiah Theory. According to Jewish law, the book was written by King Hezekiah and his aides.Their theory states that Isaiah was written during the reign of Hezekiah and he and his scribes would have detailed records of the events and prophecies in this book. Modern Bible scholars think the prophecies kept in Mari and Nineveh are practical and they possibly could be fulfilled with enough time. The prophecies in Isaiah are more specific and this causes a problem verifying these.
  • Isaiah the younger. This theory supports the idea that the prophet Isaiah truly did write some of the book, but not all. A 12th century Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra, said the prophesies in chapters 40 to 66, and chapters 34 and 35, were written differently from the rest of Isaiah. These chapters also do not mention of Isaiah. Since the writer's name is not given, this theory gives the name of the Second Isaiah. Some even say there might be a Third Isaiah.
  • Apocalypse Very Soon. This theory states that in chapters 36 to 39 are not prophecies at all, but actually speak of the life of Isaiah. A remark is made that Isaiah 37:6 is almost identical to 2 Kings 19:6. These people believe this part of Isaiah was actually added on later, during the exile or even later. “Chapters 24 to 27 are also suspect. Many scholars think these chapters were written much later. They espouse an apocalyptic ideology, that is, that the end of times is nigh and God will intervene in the world and punish the wicked and reward the good.”

As you can see this theory has a very different idea about the author of Isaiah. What I see is that this theory does not take into consideration that these are prophecies given by a God who knows all things. There are specific details that this theory can only explain by a different author who wrote these chapters after they already took place.

For Further Study

isaiah.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/23 02:25 by mike