1 An Expository commentary on the book of isaiah [A Work in Progress]. The translation used is the author's own unless otherwise indicated. James E. Smith January 2005. INTRODUCTION this name. Some English versions in NT references to him Anglicize the Greek and Latin spelling of GETTING ACQUAINTED WITH his name as Esaias or Isaias. isaiah Personal information about this prophet is scanty. His father was Amoz, not to be confused with the He has been called the Prince of the OT prophet According to tradition, isaiah was Prophets (Copass), the Saint Paul of the OT from the tribe of Judah. He was a citizen, if not a (Robinson) and the greatest prophet (Eusebius). native, of Jerusalem. isaiah was married, but the isaiah son of Amoz was a theologian, reformer, name of his wife is not known. She is simply called statesman, historian, poet, orator, prince, and the prophetess (8:3). His sons were given patriot. He was prophet of the gospel before the symbolic names that encapsulated prophecies.
2 The Gospel (Robinson), the fifth evangelist. first, Shear-jashub (7:3), means a remnant shall Naegelsbach refers to him as the great central- return. The second son has the longest name to prophet. His ministry was central in time. He appear in the English Bible Maher-shalal-hash- walked across the stage of history roughly half way baz (8:1). Roughly translated this name means between Moses and Christ. isaiah was central in swift is the booty, speedy is the prey. the events of history. He lived during the days of Prior to his call to the prophetic ministry, isaiah the mighty Assyrian Empire. He anticipated the served in the royal court as historiographer. He downfall of that empire and the rise of its two recorded the acts of King Uzziah from beginning successors, viz., the Chaldean and the Persian to end (2 Chr 26:22). Concerning King Hezekiah empires. This prophet was central in theological the record states: The other events of Hezekiah's emphasis.
3 He drove home the great principles of reign and his acts of devotion are written in the salvation through faith, substitutionary atonement, vision of the prophet isaiah son of Amoz in the the kingdom and resurrection. book of the kings of Israel and Judah (2 Chr isaiah was also central among the prophetic 32:32). books. According to Payne, he ranks third to isaiah was called to the prophetic ministry in the Ezekiel and Jeremiah in the most predictions (734 year that king Uzziah died (6:1). Scholars compute vv), first in the greatest number of separate that year to have been 739 BC. His ministry predictions (111) and second in the amount of extended for some sixty years through the reigns of material directly anticipatory of Jesus Christ (59 Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. According to tradition vv).1 While other prophets were called to isaiah died a martyr's death about 680 BC, early in illuminate single parts of the near or distant future, the reign of the wicked King Legend isaiah let the light of his prophetic word fall on the has it that he was sawed asunder by this king (cf.)
4 Great wide circumference of the entire future of Heb 11:37). Among the Major Prophets, isaiah was the preacher par excellence. He exhibits a vocabulary MINISTRY OF isaiah considerably larger than either Jeremiah or Ezekiel. He was a masterful writer as well as an orator. The message of isaiah was heralded by his name Isaianic expressions have found their way into the which means Yahweh is salvation. The name speech of many who have never read his book . Joshua has the same two components in reverse order. isaiah is the only person in Scripture to wear 3. A seal of Amoz the Scribe dating to the eighth century BC has been found. This seal may have belonged to the father of isaiah . 4. The last dated event in the book is the fourteenth year of Hezekiah 1. J. Barton Payne , EBP, 674. (701 BC). The Assyrian King Esarhaddon (681-699 BC) is, however, 2. On the centrality of isaiah , see Carl Naegelsbach, CHS, 1-2.
5 Mentioned in 37:38. 2. Sarcasm and irony were tools he used with skill. SIZE AND POSITION. His words reveal great earnestness, boldness and spirituality. He was a man of deep reverence. Although the book of isaiah has more chs than either Jeremiah or Ezekiel, by word count it ranks Insert third in The book of isaiah contains sixty-six Chart No. 1: Chronology of isaiah 's Ministry chs that are a microcosm of the Bible . The first thirty-nine chs, like the thirty-nine books of the , Though isaiah was known more for what he said speak mainly of condemnation. The last twenty- than for what he did, action parables are not seven chs, like the twenty-seven books of the NT, lacking in his ministry. Once he removed his outer speak mainly of redemption. garment and shoes and walked about the streets of Because of the respective sizes of the books, Jerusalem in the long linen tunic worn next to the ancient Jewish tradition listed Jeremiah and skin (ch 20).
6 He thus played the role of one who Ezekiel before isaiah . The placement of the book had been taken captive to warn the citizens of of isaiah as first among the Major Prophets can be Jerusalem against an alliance with Egypt. When justified, however, on chronological grounds. Hezekiah was sick unto death isaiah ordered a isaiah 's ministry ended about seventy-five years clump of figs to be placed on his boil to before the call of Jeremiah. The pre-Christian symbolize the beginning of healing (ch 38). On Greek Septuagint was guided by the chronological another occasion he wrote the name of his second principle in the arrangement of the Major Prophets. son on a large scroll that was serving as a kind of The English translators have followed the lead of billboard (ch 8). the Latin Vulgate, which in turn was based on the Valeton evaluated the ministry of isaiah in these Septuagint. The Septuagint, however, had the poignant words: Never perhaps has there been twelve Minor Prophets before the Major Prophets.
7 Another prophet like isaiah , who stood with his head in the clouds and his feet on the solid earth, UNITY OF THE book . with his heart in things of eternity and with mouth and hand in the things of time, with his spirit in the The majority of OT scholars are convinced that eternal counsel of God and his body in a very the book of isaiah is not the product of a single definite moment of history. 5 author. According to these critics, chs 40-66 (and several chs in the first half of the book as well). book OF isaiah were written by some anonymous prophet living a century and a half after isaiah . This anonymous The book of isaiah has been called the Mount prophet is called Deutero- isaiah . Some critics Everest of prophetic literature. The intrinsic have gone so far as to designate isaiah as a library grandeur of this book attracts those who are of prophetic books compiled by any number of connoisseurs of great literature.
8 Students of authors over several centuries. One writer refers to theology find here sublime revelations of God's the book of isaiah as the garbage can of character. The evangelical emphasis of the book prophecy. 7. has made it a favorite of Christian preachers On what grounds do the critics deny that isaiah through the ages. Those who defend biblical was the author of the entire book that bears his revelation find in these prophecies abundant name? An anti-supernatural bias permeates the evidence of supernatural revelation. Simple writers who advocate the multiple authorship believers rejoice in a treasure trove of passages that encourage them in their Christian pilgrimage. 6. Jeremiah contains fifty-two chapters, 42,659 words; Ezekiel has forty-eight chapters, 39,407 words; isaiah is organized into sixty-six chapter, but contains only 37,044 words. 5 7. Valeton cited by Robinson, BI, 22. Edwin M. Good, I, 115.
9 3. theory. They simply do not believe in pinpoint 5. The two complete isaiah manuscripts among predictive prophecy. Their bias is camouflaged in the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate no break at the end of the following dictum: circumstances reflected in a ch 39. These manuscripts date to about a century book are evidence of the time of composition. The and a half before Christ. biblical view, however, is that God on occasion 6. Josephus attributes the Cyrus prophecy of revealed to a prophet the circumstances of the 44:28 and 45:1 the most controversial prophecy future. The multiple authorship theory undercuts in the book to isaiah the son of the powerful evidence of prediction found in this 7. Jesus in the synagogue at Nazareth read from book . Isa 61 and attributed it to isaiah (Lk 4:16ff). Critics point to linguistic and stylistic differences 8. In the NT several passages from Deutero- between the two halves of isaiah that they believe isaiah are quoted and attributed simply to isaiah .
10 Support their multiple authorship theory. Yet a 9. The literary style of the second half of isaiah is writer's vocabulary and style may vary depending so similar to the first that even critics admit that on his age at the time of writing, the subject matter Deutero- isaiah must have been a disciple of involved, and the audience for whom he is writing. isaiah who tried to imitate his master. Without question the last chs of isaiah were written 10. A certain circle of ideas appears throughout late in the prophet's life. In these chs he is the book binding it together as the work of one addressing new subjects. author. The concepts of a highway, Zion, the holy Again critics point out that certain theological one of Israel, and pangs of a woman in travail are concepts appear in the latter half of the book that but a few of the many that might be listed. are not attested in the days of isaiah . Yet this 11. Many of the passages found in Deutero- argument begs the question.