- TO: Judah and Jerusalem
- ABOUT: Judah and Jerusalem
- CONTEXT: Comparison of Judah and Jerusalem to Assyria and Samaria. Prophecy of the Messiah during the time when Judah and Jerusalem were to be destroyed like Assyria and Samaria for their wickedness.
Chapter 7 begins with a historical account of Assyria and Samaria (Israel – northern tribes) coming against Jerusalem under the rule of king Ahaz, a wicked king. This is also recorded in 2 Kings 16 and 2 Chronicles 28.
God tells Ahaz to ask of God a sign. Ahaz refuses claiming that he does not want to tempt Jehovah. God responds with a prophecy concerning the virgin birth of the Messiah.
Important to our discussion is the fact that God says that he will bring on the Jews in the days of the Messiah, in “days that have not come”, in these days, God will bring destruction against the Jews such that it will be desolate. Again the image of briers and thorns like chapter 5 is used. During this time period, God uses the borders of Egypt and Assyria to encompass the land of Judah:
7:18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.
This idea of “hissing” is the Hebrew word sharaq¸ which means “to whistle” kind of like a signal like we might whistle for a dog or a horse. Reading other passages it is often used like that low whistle someone gives when they hear of bad news. Here, God is using that whistle at the sight of desolation to be found between Egypt and Assyria.
Chapters 8-9 concern a prophecy of Assyria conquering Israel:
8:4 For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.
The army of Assyria that will come up against Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom, is compared to a river meaning that the army will be strong and many (8:6). During this time, Judah will look to make a confederacy with Assyria, but God warns against it. He tells Judah to look to Him for safety, not to foreign nations.
Using the idea of looking to God for protection, Isaiah flows into another prophecy concerning Immanuel (God with us):
8:13 Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel
This passage concerning Christ is quoted by both Paul (Romans 9:33) and Peter (1 Peter 2:8). Christ will be a stumbling block to both houses of Israel (both kingdoms). The Jews are told to seek after God rather than witches and wizards, but if they do not, they will enter into a time of trouble and darkness. Yet within this darkness shall walk a great light.
9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
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. 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.
Given these prophecies, its no wonder the Jews hated Jesus for claiming to be the Annointed King when he did not fit their assumptions.
After this, Isaiah returns to speaking of what will happen to Israel, the northern kingdom for not seeking after God. Israel is given the same terms used to speak of desolation, the briers and thorns. Judgment fire is used against the nation so that not even the briers and thorns are left (9:18).
This warning is given to Judah because ultimately this will all lead to the destruction of the Jews.
The prophet begins a section written about the king of Assyria, but again it is written to the Jews. After Assyria makes Israel desolate (vs. 3) by bringing the entire northern kingdom into captivity, the king of Assyria will look to conquer Judah as well:
10:11 Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?
But God will punish the king of Assyria for thinking that it is the king that took out Israel rather than God’s will. His arrogance leads the king of Assyria to look at Judah for conquering. God compares the king to an axe and asks “should the axe boast about chopping down the tree to the hewer?”
- [This is an axiom that I would take a brief moment to note can be applied to today. Guns do not kill people, people kill people. Guns are just the tool to do it.]
Assyria will come against the southern kingdom like Assyria went after Egypt, but will not win against Judah. Assyria then will be punished for its arrogance. It will fall as a kingdom.
The entirety of chapters 11-12 is about the coming of Christ and how his kingdom will be (peaceful). Isaiah writes here that the northern tribes, lost and dispersed through Assyrian captivity, will have opportunity to become part of this new kingdom.
11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. 11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
The islands of the sea are the Gentiles in general. We will see this symbol throughout the book of Isaiah.
There will be a high way available to Israel (and Judah which is being warned here) to become part of this kingdom, just as there was available from Egypt to the land of Canaan crossing the red sea. The crossing of the red sea typified NT immersion and the crossing of the wilderness represented the 40 years of establishment of the church between Pentecost and the destruction of Jerusalem.
When the Messiah comes and his kingdom is established, then the remnant of Judah and Jerusalem, those who were added to that kingdom, would praise God for his mercy.
12:3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
This ends the specific context begun in chapter 7.
Isa. 7:14 – Quoted in Matt. 1:23
Isa. 8:18 – Quoted in Heb. 2:13 to speak of the people of the 1st century AD
Isa. 9:1-2 – Jesus refers to the Jews of his day in Matt. 4:15-16.
Isa. 10:22-23 – Paul speaks of this prophecy being fulfilled in his day in Romans 9:27-28.
Isa. 11:4 – Paul quotes this verse referring to events that took place in the first century in 2 Thess. 2:8.
Isa. 11:1, 10 – Paul declares these passages fulfilled in his day in Romans 15:12.
In Truth and Love.
- Introduction - Chapters 1-6
- Assyria and Samaria - Chapters 7-12
- Babylon - Chapters 13-14
- Moab and Damascus - Chapters 15-18
- Egypt, Tyre, and Sidon - Chapters 19-23
- Desolation and songs of Praise - Chapters 24-26
- Main Premise Explicitly Stated - Chapter 27
- Out With the Old, In With the New - Chapters 27-35
- Historical Events and the Coming of John and the Messiah - Chapters 36-43
- The Coming Messiah - Chapters 44-59
- The Last Days - Chapters 60-66