The Condemnation of Man’s Kingdoms Isaiah 1-39, cont’d.
Isaiah 7-12 The Coming of the Messiah
2 Kings 16:5-18 and 2 Chronicles 28:5-21 contain the historical setting for this chapter. Aram (Syria) and Ephraim (10 northern tribes of Israel) rebelled against Assyria. They tried to force Judah to join them, even if it was necessary to overthrow King Ahaz. Isaiah knew that Ahaz did not trust in God, but in power through political alliances.
Isaiah 7:1-2-Aram and Ephraim send their armies against Jerusalem...and camp outside the city. They try to conquer it but are unable.
Isaiah 7:3-9-God sends Isaiah to Ahaz and tells him to not be afraid of this attack...it will not succeed.
Rabbinic tradition tells us that his father was Amoz, a brother of King Amaziah…making him a first cousin to King Uzziah, and grandson of King Joash…thus a man of royal blood.
Halley’s Bible Handbook, Henry H. Halley, Isaiah, p. 285
Verses 8-9 are clarified in the Message Translation…
But God, the Master, says, “It won’t happen. Nothing will come of it Because the capital of Aram is Damascus and the king of Damascus is a mere man, Rezin. As for Ephraim, in sixty-five years it will be rubble, nothing left of it. The capital of Ephraim is Samaria, and the king of Samaria is the mere son of Remaliah. If you don’t take your stand in faith, you won’t have a leg to stand on.”
Isaiah 7:10-25-God tells Ahaz to ask Him for a sign to prove that it is Him who is speaking, not just Isaiah. He tells him to ask for anything he wanted…it didn’t matter how big it was. But Ahaz refuses. His response sounds pious...but it is really just a lack of faith. God knows this and chastises him for not making the request.
Isaiah 7:14-The Prophecy of the Coming of the Messiah
So, the Lord tells Ahaz that He is going to give him a sign (:14). It is the sign of the birth of a child. This sign would have a double meaning, a double significance. A child would be born during the lifetime of Ahaz and that birth would be a sign to Ahaz that it had been God who spoke, and not just Isaiah. But there would be a second, and far more significant, fulfillment of that sign. Another child would be born. And this time…the birth would me miraculous, indeed. It would be the birth of the Messiah, Jesus. And, it would be a supernatural birth…a birth by a virgin, Mary.
7:14-16 God's sign to Ahaz was that of a virgin (when the prophecy was spoken, it probably referred to the woman, a virgin at the time, whom Isaiah took later as his second wife, 8:1-4) and whose son would not be more than 12 to 14 years old before Syria and Israel would be captured. The virgin of Isaiah's prophecy is a type of the virgin Mary...within 12 years of this prophecy, Damascus was captured by Assyria (732) and Israel had fallen (722).
The Ryrie Study Bible, Charles Ryrie, footnote on Isaiah 7:14-16, p. 1024
(2.) The Messiah shall be introduced on a glorious errand, wrapped up in his glorious name: They shall call his name Immanuel-God with us, God in our nature, God at peace with us, in covenant with us. This was fulfilled in their calling him Jesus-a Saviour (Mt. 1:21-25), for, if he had not been Immanuel-God with us, he could not have been Jesus-a Saviour. Now this was a further sign of God's favour to the house of David and the tribe of Judah; for he that intended to work this great salvation among them no doubt would work out for them all those other salvations which were to be the types and figures of this, and as it were preludes to this. "Here is a sign for you, not in the depth nor in the height, but in the prophecy, in the promise, in the covenant made with David, which you are no strangers to. The promised seed shall be Immanuel, God with us; let that word comfort you (ch. 8:10), that God is with us, and (v. 8) that your land is Immanuel's land. Let not the heart of the house of David be moved thus (v. 2), nor let Judah fear the setting up of the son of Tabeal (v. 6), for nothing can cut off the entail on the Son of David that shall be Immanuel.' Note, The strongest consolations, in time of trouble, are those which are borrowed from Christ, our relation to him, our interest in him, and our expectations of him and from him. Of this child it is further foretold (v. 15) that though he shall not be born like other children, but of a virgin, yet he shall be really and truly man, and shall be nursed and brought up like other children: Butter and honey shall he eat, as other children do, particularly the children of that land which flowed with milk and honey. Though he be conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, yet he shall not therefore be fed with angels' food, but, as it becomes him, shall be in all things made like unto his brethren, Heb. 2:17. Nor shall he, though born thus by extraordinary generation, be a man immediately, but, as other children, shall advance gradually through the several states of infancy, childhood, and youth, to that of manhood, and growing in wisdom and stature, shall at length wax strong in spirit, and come to maturity, so as to know how to refuse the evil and choose the good. See Lu. 2:40, 52. Note, Children are fed when they are little that they may be taught and instructed when they have grown up; they have their maintenance in order to their education.
- Here is another sign in particular of the speedy destruction of these potent princes that were now a terror to Judah, v. 16. "Before this child (so it should be read), this child which I have now in my arms' (he means not Immanuel, but Shear-jashub his own son, whom he was ordered to take with him for a sign, v. 3), "before this child shall know how to refuse the evil and choose the good' (and those who saw what his present stature and forwardness were would easily conjecture how long that would be), "before this child be three or four years older, the land that thou abhorrest, these confederate forces of Israelites and Syrians, which thou hast such an enmity to and standest in such dread of, shall be forsaken of both their kings, both Pekah and Rezin,' who were in so close an alliance that they seemed as if they were the kings of but one kingdom. This was fully accomplished; for within two or three years after this, Hoshea conspired against Pekah, and slew him (2 Ki. 15:30), and, before that, the king of Assyria took Damascus, and slew Rezin, 2 Ki. 16:9. Nay, there was a present event, which happened immediately, and when this child carried the prediction of in his name, which was a pledge and earnest of this future event. Shear-jashub signifies The remnant shall return, which doubtless points at the wonderful return of those 200,000 captives whom Pekah and Rezin had carried away, who were brought back, not by might or power, but by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts. Read the story, 2 Chr. 28:8-15. The prophetical naming of this child having thus had its accomplishment, no doubt this, which was further added concerning him, should have its accomplishment likewise, that Syria and Israel should be deprived of both their kings. One mercy from God encourages us to hope for another, if it engages us to prepare for another.
Matthew Henry :: Commentary on Isaiah 7,
Once again God’s sovereignty is on display (:18-19). He will simply “whistle for the fly” (speaking of Egypt) and “for the bee” (speaking of the most mighty nation on earth, Assyria)…and they will run to do His bidding. Egypt and Assyria clashed in war in the year 701 B.C. Assyria would the battle and then turn its fury on Judah. It was reduced to poverty and desolation (:20-25).
Isaiah 8:1-22-This prophecy is a continuation from chapter 7…in which God had told Ahaz that Israel (the northern kingdom) and Syria would not be able to overthrow Judah. But instead of listening to Isaiah…Ahaz had sought the help of Assyria. By entering into this alliance they were not just accepting help from Assyria, but they were rejecting the help of God (:6). "Maher-shalal-hash-baz" means "Swift is the booty, speedy is the prey", or “Speed to the spoil, hurry to the plunder”. This is the name given to Isaiah's second son. It speaks of the sudden and swift attack of the enemy…Assyria. Isaiah tells Ahaz that he should have trusted in the Lord instead of men (Assyria). Now God is going to let them live (or die) with their decision…and the one that they trusted to protect would be the very one who will destroy them (:9). Isaiah tells them that it isn’t Assyria that they should fear…but God (:12). If they feared (respected) God…then there is nothing that Assyria could do to them (:13-14). He then tells them that when all of this comes to pass don’t turn to “mediums and the spiritists…the dead”. They should instead consult with God and listen to His law (:19-20). But he knows that they will not do that. In fact, when the day comes that Assyria is destroying them, they will not accept the responsibility for their actions, but instead will blame God for their condition (:21).
Isaiah 9:1-7-The Prophecy of the Character of the Messiah
But Isaiah says that there is still hope. Israel, though decimated…is not destroyed. God would bring a Messiah to Israel. A deliverer. This Messiah would come from the region of “Zebulun and Naphtali”. Because of their rebellion, God had treated them with “contempt” (9:1) and allowed them to be conquered by Assyria. As a result, later they had become inhabited largely by a Gentile (meaning non-Jewish) population. But God is going to use these same tribes to do something “glorious”…He will bring the Messiah from their midst. This area will then be called, “the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles” (:1). God is going to bring a Messiah not just for the Jewish nation, but for all nations…even to the Gentile nations.
9:6 Messiah will come as a baby who is born as a gift from God to be a ruler (Luke 1:31-33). His perfections are described as follows: Wonderful Counselor. “Wonderful” regularly means supernatural (cf. Judg. 13:18), so the phrase refers to Messiah as the supernatural Counselor who, at His first coming, brought words of eternal life, and who, when He comes again, will rule with perfect wisdom (Isa. 11:2). Mighty God. A term applied to Yahweh…in Deut. 10:17; Isa. 10:21; Jer. 32:18, and which predicts the ultimate victory of Messiah over evil. Eternal Father. Lit., Father of Eternity; i.e., Messiah is eternally a Father to His people, guarding, supplying, and caring for their needs. Prince of Peace. The One who brings peace in the fullest sense of wholeness, prosperity and tranquility. Individual can know His peace (Eph. 2:13-18), and one day the world will experience it as well (Isa. 2:4).
The Ryrie Study Bible, footnote on 9:6, p. 1026
(1.) See the dignity he is advanced to, and the name he has above every name. He shall be called (and therefore we are sure he is and shall be) Wonderful, Counsellor, etc. His people shall know him and worship him by these names; and, as one that fully answers them, they shall submit to him and depend upon him.[1.] He is wonderful, counsellor. Justly is he called wonderful, for he is both God and man. His love is the wonder of angels and glorified saints; in his birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, he was wonderful. A constant series of wonders attended him, and, without controversy, great was the mystery of godliness concerning him. He is the counsellor, for he was intimately acquainted with the counsels of God from eternity, and he gives counsel to the children of men, in which he consults our welfare. It is by him that God has given us counsel, Ps. 16:7; Rev. 3:18. He is the wisdom of the Father, and is made of God to us wisdom. Some join these together: He is the wonderful counsellor, a wonder or miracle of a counsellor; in this, as in other things, he has the pre-eminence; none teaches like him. [2.] He is the mighty God-God, the mighty One. As he has wisdom, so he has strength, to go through with his undertaking: he is able to save to the utmost; and such is the work of the Mediator that no less a power than that of the mighty God could accomplish it. [3.] He is the everlasting Father, or the Father of eternity; he is God, one with the Father, who is from everlasting to everlasting. He is the author of everlasting life and happiness to them, and so is the Father of a blessed eternity to them. He is the Father of the world to come (so the Septuagint reads it), the father of the gospel-state, which is put in subjection to him, not to the angels, Heb. 2:5. He was, from eternity, Father of the great work of redemption: his heart was upon it; it was the product of his wisdom as the counsellor, of his love as the everlasting Father. [4.] He is the prince of peace. As a King, he preserves the peace, commands peace, nay, he creates peace, in his kingdom. He is our peace, and it is his peace that both keeps the hearts of his people and rules in them. He is not only a peaceable prince, and his reign peaceable, but he is the author and giver of all good, all that peace which is the present and future bliss of his subjects.
Matthew Henry :: Commentary on Isaiah 9,
Isaiah 9:8-10:4-Isaiah tells about the coming judgment of Israel (the northern 10 tribes). Though God is the one Who has sent this judgment, they refuse to turn from their sins.
For a brief summary from a Jewish perspective of the destruction of both of the Jewish kingdoms (Israel and Judah) see:
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the promise of the Messiah. Thank You that Jesus is not just a Messiah for the Jewish people…but for all people. Thank You that You have provided the means for our salvation. Lord, I see here in the history of the nation of Israel the results of trusting in man. They should have listened to Your prophet Isaiah and trusted in You. But that took faith. Right in front of them they could see the incredible military power of Assyria. To them it might have even appeared that You had sent Assyria to protect them. But Isaiah warned them to not trust in man’s power, but Yours. Please Lord…help me to listen to You through Your Word. Help me to have discernment and to know what You would have me to do. Don’t let me be deceived into trusting in man’s power. But, please help me to always trust in You, and You alone.