Isaiah 1:1, 10-20 (1/14/13)
Isaiah is another prophet who tells us exactly when he preached and to whom. You know that he was a contemporary of Hosea because the list of the kings of Judah in whose reigns Isaiah and Hosea were active is identical. Another interesting thing about Isaiah and Hosea is that we know their fathers’ names, Amoz and Beeri. The rabbis consider the father of a prophet to be a prophet also, if the father’s name is given. We have nothing written by Amoz or Beeri, however.
Although both Isaiah and Hosea preached to both the northern and southern kingdoms, it appears that Hosea was a little more focused on the north, and Isaiah on the south. I say “appears” because you really need a study Bible with footnotes to know who is who in the prophets. When Isaiah says in vs. 10, “You rulers of Sodom! You rulers of Gomorrah!” he isn’t talking to Sodom and Gomorrah – they’re long gone. He’s talking to the political and religious rulers of Judah, but he’s telling them that they are no better than Sodom and Gomorrah. That’s harsh.
It’s also scary, because now we
are the devout people who are always in worship, making offerings and praying. We need to make sure our behavior for the other 6 and ¾ days per week is something that God will approve of, so that God won’t say to us, “even though you go on making prayers, I will not give ear: your hands are full of blood.”
2 Kings 15:1-7; Isaiah 1:4-9 (1/15/13)
Man, you should have been there to hear me in church Sunday! Pastor Craig was trying to remember the name of King Hezekiah’s mother. “Jecoliah,” I called out confidently. Wrong! That’s King Uzziah’s mother, and if Pastor Craig had read it for himself
(which, to be fair, he was trying
to do), I wouldn’t have made such a public mistake. It’s all his fault. But seriously, you must read the Bible for yourself, and not rely on pastors who can’t remember and Bible teachers who make mistakes.
The prophet Isaiah preached to King Uzziah, who is called Azariah in parts of 2 Kings. We know that King Azariah and King Uzziah of Judah are the same person, partly because they have the same mother and were the same age when they came to the throne. So even if you read the book of Isaiah and the book of 2 Kings at the same time, you have to pay close attention to determine who the prophet Isaiah is talking about. And while we’re on the topic of dual names, you know that Zion equals Jerusalem, and sometimes Israel equals Judah, as in Isaiah 1:4.
2 Chronicles 26:1-23 (1/16/13)
King Uzziah has a lot more coverage in 2 Chronicles than in 2 Kings, and we are not surprised that a fair amount of the coverage in 2 Chronicles has to do with Uzziah’s actions in the Temple. The key to this passage, I think, is in verse 16, “Uzziah became proud of his power, and this led to his downfall.” Judah was rich and powerful in the time of Uzziah, but instead of giving glory to God, Uzziah was proud of himself. It’s okay to be rich and powerful; it’s not okay to take God’s credit for yourself.
Isaiah 6:1-13 (1/17/13)
Remember when I said that the books of the prophets are not necessarily chronological even within the book? Chapter 6 of Isaiah’s book is almost universally taken to be a record of the vision that came to him when he was called to be a prophet. Notice that his first reaction is that he’s doomed; the prophets we know the most about all had about the same reaction
. Nevertheless, when God says, “Whom shall I send?,” Isaiah is compelled to answer, “Send me!” The bones of God’s message through Isaiah is this: “You people won’t listen, and you are in trouble now! But I will preserve a remnant of my people for myself.”
Reader Question: Regarding Isaiah 6:9-10, if they wanted to turn to him, why did he not want them to be healed?
Isaiah 7:1-9 (1/18/13)
Answer: (1/21/13) I believe that John Wesley summarizes the consensus of scholars in saying that the people had refused for so long to turn back to God that now they were incapable of turning back to God. This is an observation and prediction, not a command.
This verse is quoted or paraphrased in Matthew 13:4, John 12:14, and Acts 28:26. Here are Wesley’s comments:
- Isaiah 6:9 “Perceive not – The Hebrew words are imperative; yet they are not to be taken as a command what the people ought to do, but only as a prediction what they would do. The sense is, because you have so long heard my words, and seen my works, to no purpose, and have hardened your hearts, and will not learn nor reform, I will punish you in your own kind, your sin shall be your punishment. I will still continue my word and works to you, but will withdraw my Spirit, so that you shall be as unable, as now you are unwilling, to understand.”
- Matthew 13:14 “Hearing ye will hear, but in nowise understand – That is, Ye will surely hear. All possible means will be given you: yet they will profit you nothing; because your heart is sensual, stupid, and insensible; your spiritual senses are shut up; yea, you have closed your eyes against the light; as being unwilling to understand the things of God, and afraid, not desirous that he should heal you. ”
- Acts 28:26 “Hearing ye shall hear – That is, ye shall most surely hear, and shall not understand - The words manifestly denote a judicial blindness, consequent upon a willful and obstinate resistance of the truth. First they would not, afterward they could not, believe. ”
Wesley apparently did not comment on John 12:14.
Remember that Hosea’s children were named Jezreel, Not-Loved, and Not-My-People. Isaiah’s children, on the other hand, were named Shearjashub (7:3) and Maher-shalal-hash-baz (8:3). Shearjashub means “A Remnant Shall Return,” and Maher-shalal-hash-baz means “Speed Spoil, Hasten Prey.”
These names are signs of mixed blessings, at best. To tell King Ahaz that “a remnant shall return” implies that most of the people will not
return, don’t you think? God will certainly save a remnant of his people, no matter how bad things get, but that is small comfort for those not in the remnant.
Isaiah’s younger son’s name points forward a couple of years to the ruin of Samaria (the northern kingdom of Israel) and its ally Syria by the king of Assyria. Since Israel and Syria were ganging up on Ahaz’s kingdom of Judah, this was good news. Sort of. Because what it really meant was that in two years, Assyria, the international superpower of its day, would be on Judah’s doorstep.
All in all, you need to pay careful attention to the names of the prophets’ children. If your Bible doesn’t interpret them, look them up on the Internet.
More of The Rest of the Story
Week 1. Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 1. More on the Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Abraham … But Not Lot
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Isaac…But not Ishmael or the sons of Keturah
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Jacob…But not Esau
Week 3. Joseph Preserves Two Nations
Week 4. Deliverance
Week 4. More on Deliverance
Week 5. New Commands and a New Covenant
Week 6. Wandering
Week 6. More on the Wandering
Week 7. The Battle Begins
Week 8. A Few Good Men...and Women
Week 9. The Faith of a Foreign Woman
Week 10. Standing Tall, Falling Hard
Week 11. From Shepherd to King
Week 12. The Trials of a King
Week 13. The King Who Had It All
Week 14. A Kingdom Torn in Two
Weeks 15 and 16. God's Messengers and The Beginning of the End
Week 17. The Kingdoms' Fall
Jeremiah, Prophet of the Exile
Story 19. The Return Home
in the Old Testament
Story 21. Rebuilding the Walls
Story 22. The Birth of the King
Story 23. Jesus’ Ministry Begins
Story 24. No Ordinary Man
Story 25. Jesus, the Son of God
Story 26. The Hour of Darkness
Story 27. The Resurrection
Story 28. New Beginnings
James, Brother of the Lord
John and Jude
Story 31. The End of Time
Copyright 2013 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.
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errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.
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