Isaiah

  • Isaiah Facts

    66 chapters
    1,292 verses
    35,272 words
    Major Prophets Genre

  • Isaiah Word Cloud

    This word cloud picture shows the most repeated words in Isaiah

  • Isaiah Videos

    These are short videos about Isaiah, most include slides.

  • Writings about Isaiah

    Christian education materials about Isaiah, including book overviews, reading guides for the Major Prophets genre, discussion questions, discipleship lessons, and thought-provoking essays.

  • Audio about Isaiah

    Audio companion guides for reading as well as book overviews

  • Isaiah Daily Readings

    Start reading or listening to Isaiah and its associated daily readers on Day 173 when Isaiah begins

Daily Reader for Day 175: Isaiah 7 - 9


by Dave Moore

So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son.  Come up and rescue me from the hand of the king of Syria and from the hand of the king of Israel, who are attacking me.”  2 Kings 16:17

It’s important to remember that prophecy is launched in a time and a place, with an original author and hearer and situation into which the prophet speaks.  Ahaz, grandson of Uzziah, is now on the throne in Jerusalem and is threatened by an alliance between Syria and Israel.  Isaiah is sent out to counsel him to trust that these two kingdoms will not stand.  The sign of a child that the LORD promises – which Ahaz resisted – will be fulfilled more than once. 

This is one of the few narratives in Isaiah, and you’ll notice that it flips between first- and third-person accounts.  The underlying themes are fear and faith.  When the northern threat emerges, the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.   When the LORD promises Ahaz that Ephraim and Syria will not stand, he warns “If you are not firm in the faith, you will not be firm at all.”  Later, when speaking to Isaiah alone, the LORD likewise cautions him, “Do not fear what [the people] fear…But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy.  Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.” 

As we read earlier from Kings, Ahaz did not head this counsel.  Indeed, within a decade, the kingdom of Israel itself will be washed away.  And Isaiah, in chapter 8, is given the sign that Ahaz forfeited.  But Assyria will not be satisfied with Samaria and Damascus, for the Lord will allow the “River of Assyria” to rise over all its channels and go over all its banks, and it will sweep on into Judah…

Chapter 9 is devoted to the LORD’s anger and judgment against the Northern Kingdom.  In fact, just so there is no misunderstanding, in one sequence all the synonymous titles for the Northern Kingdom – Jacob, Israel, Ephraim, and Samaria – come in brisk succession.  You’ll remember from the book of Kings that this is not simply because they have risen against Judah, but because they had abandoned the LORD from the very beginning. 

But embedded in this is a message of hope for the land of Zebulun and Naphtali, for in the latter time [the LORD] has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations… For the child will be born as promised, and of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. 

Our verse for this week is James 1:22: But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Isaiah 7 through 9.  Now let’s read it!

Isaiah 7 - 9

7:1 In the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah the king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but could not yet mount an attack against it. When the house of David was told, “Syria is in league with Ephraim,” the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.

And the LORD said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer's Field. And say to him, ‘Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah. Because Syria, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has devised evil against you, saying, “Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it for ourselves, and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it,” thus says the Lord GOD:

  “‘It shall not stand,
    and it shall not come to pass.
  For the head of Syria is Damascus,
    and the head of Damascus is Rezin.
  And within sixty-five years
    Ephraim will be shattered from being a people.
  And the head of Ephraim is Samaria,
    and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.
  If you are not firm in faith,
    you will not be firm at all.’”

Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz: “Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.” And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. The LORD will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your father's house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria!”

In that day the LORD will whistle for the fly that is at the end of the streams of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. And they will all come and settle in the steep ravines, and in the clefts of the rocks, and on all the thornbushes, and on all the pastures.

In that day the Lord will shave with a razor that is hired beyond the River—with the king of Assyria—the head and the hair of the feet, and it will sweep away the beard also.

In that day a man will keep alive a young cow and two sheep, and because of the abundance of milk that they give, he will eat curds, for everyone who is left in the land will eat curds and honey.

In that day every place where there used to be a thousand vines, worth a thousand shekels of silver, will become briers and thorns. With bow and arrows a man will come there, for all the land will be briers and thorns. And as for all the hills that used to be hoed with a hoe, you will not come there for fear of briers and thorns, but they will become a place where cattle are let loose and where sheep tread.

8:1 Then the LORD said to me, “Take a large tablet and write on it in common characters, ‘Belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz.’ And I will get reliable witnesses, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah, to attest for me.”

And I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the LORD said to me, “Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz; for before the boy knows how to cry ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria.”

The LORD spoke to me again: “Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently, and rejoice over Rezin and the son of Remaliah, therefore, behold, the Lord is bringing up against them the waters of the River, mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks, and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.”

  Be broken, you peoples, and be shattered;
    give ear, all you far countries;
  strap on your armor and be shattered;
    strap on your armor and be shattered.
  Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing;
    speak a word, but it will not stand,
    for God is with us.

For the LORD spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.”

Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples. I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.

9:1  But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

   The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
  those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
    on them has light shone.
  You have multiplied the nation;
    you have increased its joy;
  they rejoice before you
    as with joy at the harvest,
    as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
  For the yoke of his burden,
    and the staff for his shoulder,
    the rod of his oppressor,
    you have broken as on the day of Midian.
  For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
    and every garment rolled in blood
    will be burned as fuel for the fire.
  For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
  and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
  Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
  on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
  with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
  The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

  The Lord has sent a word against Jacob,
    and it will fall on Israel;
  and all the people will know,
    Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria,
    who say in pride and in arrogance of heart:
  “The bricks have fallen,
    but we will build with dressed stones;
  the sycamores have been cut down,
    but we will put cedars in their place.”
  But the LORD raises the adversaries of Rezin against him,
    and stirs up his enemies.
  The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west
    devour Israel with open mouth.
  For all this his anger has not turned away,
    and his hand is stretched out still.
  The people did not turn to him who struck them,
    nor inquire of the LORD of hosts.
  So the LORD cut off from Israel head and tail,
    palm branch and reed in one day—
  the elder and honored man is the head,
    and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail;
  for those who guide this people have been leading them astray,
    and those who are guided by them are swallowed up.
  Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men,
    and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows;
  for everyone is godless and an evildoer,
    and every mouth speaks folly.
  For all this his anger has not turned away,
    and his hand is stretched out still.
  For wickedness burns like a fire;
    it consumes briers and thorns;
  it kindles the thickets of the forest,
    and they roll upward in a column of smoke.
  Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts
    the land is scorched,
  and the people are like fuel for the fire;
    no one spares another.
  They slice meat on the right, but are still hungry,
    and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied;
  each devours the flesh of his own arm,
  Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim devours Manasseh;
    together they are against Judah.
  For all this his anger has not turned away,
    and his hand is stretched out still.

(ESV)

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