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An Argument of the Book of Isaiah

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The restoration of God's created order will come to those in Israel and the world who trust in him after he judges the wicked.

I. Book One:1 YHWH will bring judgment upon Judah and the world for their unrighteousness, but will also later bring about the blessings of the kingdom for Israel2 1:1--39:8

A. Introduction: This book is the vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, concerning Judah and Jerusalem which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah 1:1

B. Through Isaiah YHWH indicts the nation Judah of breaking their covenant with Him leading to judgment in captivity, yet a remnant will return and Jerusalem will one day be the center of the nations 1:2--6:13

1. YHWH proclaims judgment on the nation due to their faithlessness toward Him, yet a remnant will be faithful and there will be restoration 1:2-31

a. YHWH accuses Israel of having broken her covenant relationship with Him 1:2-9

1) Israel, unlike an animal, does not even know who its master is 1:2-3

2) Israel has abandoned the LORD and been flogged by neighboring nations for her disobedience to the covenant 1:4-9

b. YHWH rejects the nation's external worship of Him because of her corrupt acts toward the needy 1:10-17

c. YHWH exhorts the nation to repent in their actions to find forgiveness and blessing or else to expect to receive judgment 1:18-20

d. Because Jerusalem has become overrun with evil God declares that He will bring about a just judgment upon sinners and a gracious restoration upon the city for the sake of the righteous 1:21-31

2. In the word given to Isaiah, Judah and Jerusalem are told of a time when their city will be the center of the world politically, but they will first undergo judgment from the Lord for their prideful sin 2:1--4:6

a. Setting: This is a word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem 2:1

b. In the last days the kingdom of God will flow from Jerusalem where the nations will come for instruction and judgment leading to peace 2:2-4

1) In the last days Jerusalem will become the center of all of the world's political activity 2:2-2

2) The nations will come to Jerusalem to be instructed in the Law of the YHWH 2:3

3) YHWH will become the judge for the nations leading to world-wide peace 2:4

c. The people and especially leaders of Judah are exhorted to walk in obedience to YHWH, warned of future judgment for their prideful sin, and promised a time of future blessing after they have been purged from their sin 2:5--4:6

1) The house of Jacob is exhorted to walk in YHWH's light 2:5

2) The house of David (Davidic leadership) has not led the people as is evidenced by their demonic activities, foreign alliances, self sufficient government, idolatry leading to human abasement 2:6-9

3) YHWH is going to come with a judgment which will abase men and exalt Him 2:10--22

4) YHWH God of Hosts is going to judge Jerusalem and Judah in order to take away her self-sufficiency because her leaders have rebelled against YHWH 3:1-12

5) YHWH contends with the people and especially their leaders who have crushed them because their arrogance is going to lead to humiliating judgment 3:13--4:1

6) YHWH promises to provide a future day of blessing for the nation after they have been purged from their sin 4:2-6

a) In a future day the branch of YHWH (cf. Isaiah 11; Jer. 23; Zech. 3:6) will be beautiful, and the bounty of the land will be the adornment of those who survive the judgment 2:2-3

b) YHWH promises to be the protective presence of the nation in the future when the nation has been washed and purged from its sin 4:4-6

3. Through the image of a vineyard planted by the Lord which produced bad fruit, the Lord promises to judge the nation for her rebellion against Him as expressed in evil upon the people 5:1-7

a. Setting: Isaiah sings a song of YHWH on behalf of His vineyard (the nation) 5:1a

b. The Lord (beloved) prepared well a vineyard and expected it to produce good fruit, but it produced worthless ones 5:1b-2

c. The nation is exhorted to be the judge concerning whether the Lord could have done anything else for the sake of His vineyard 5:3-4

d. The Lord of the vineyard promises to destroy the vineyard by taking away its defenses, and charging outside sources to bring about destruction 5:5-6

e. The Lord of Hosts vows to judge Israel (the vineyard) and Judah (His choice plant) because of their rebellion against the people 5:7

4. After Isaiah pronounces woes upon the nation for its hubris against the people in a breaking of the Law of the Lord, he tells of a humbling judgment which the Lord will bring from foreigners against His people 5:8-30

a. Isaiah pronounces woe in the form of talionic justice to those who take much land from the people--they will be alone in their land due to judgment 5:8-9

b. Isaiah pronounces woe upon those who party with no consideration for the work of the Lord 5:11-12

c. The nation will go into a humble captivity which will exalt the Lord and restore rightful places 5:13-17

d. Isaiah pronounces woe upon those who overtly sin and dare God to show Himself as avenger 5:18-19

e. Isaiah pronounces woe upon those who switch God's moral law (call evil good and good evil) 5:20

f. Isaiah pronounces woe upon those who are wise in themselves rather than in the Lord 5:21

g. Isaiah pronounces woe upon those who are strong in partying and defending those who are wicked 5:22-23

h. The Lord promises that the He will crush the arrogant through a foreign judgment of Judah 5:24-25

1) The Lord will crush the arrogant pride of the nation with consuming judgment 5:24-25

2) The Lord will call a powerful nation to come and overtake Judah in certain judgment 5:26-30

5. In the year of King Uzziah's death Isaiah received a call from the King of the earth at Jerusalem to proclaim his word to the nation which will not repent, but will go into captivity even though a remnant will continue 6:1-12

a. Setting: In the year of King Uzziah's death (740 B.C.) Isaiah saw the Lord in His holiness as King of the earth from Jerusalem 6:1-4

1) Isaiah had the vision in the year of King Uzziah's death 6:1a

2) Isaiah had a vision of the Lord as a holy King of the earth who was located in the temple 6:1b-4

a) The Lord was sitting on a throne in all of His greatness 6:1b

b) The Lord was attended by Seraphim who announced that He was perfectly holy filling the earth with His greatness 6:2-3

c) The earth trembled with the announcement while the temple was filled with God's presence 6:4

b. When Isaiah sees the Lord as King, he realizes that he, along with his generation, is guilty before the Lord 6:5

c. Isaiah is cleansed by the Lord through his messenger 6:6-7

d. Isaiah responds to the Lord's request for someone to send for Him 6:8

e. Isaiah is told to proclaim the word of YHWH to a nation which will not repent, and will be taken into captivity, even though a remnant will continue 6:9-13

1) Isaiah is told to proclaim God's word to the nation which will not hear it and repent 6:9-10

2) Isaiah is told that he is to proclaim God's word until the nation is taken away in the judgment of captivity even though there will be a remnant which will survive 6:11-12

C. Prophecies of Deliverance: Isaiah proclaims a series of prophecies concerning the deliverance the nation3 7:1--12:6

1. Shear-jashub: When the Syrian-Israelite coalition threatened Ahaz, Isaiah told the king to not fear because it would be destroyed, but Ahaz would not receive God's confirmation, therefore, the house of David is given a sign of when God would be with them, Ahaz is told that the coalition will be destroyed in twelve years and that Judah will come under the judgment of Egypt and Assyria 7:1-25

a. Setting: (734/3 B.C.) While Ahaz was king of Judah, it was attacked, but not conquered, by the coalition of Syria (Aram under king Rezin), and Israel (under king Pekah) 7:1

b. Ahaz (the house of David) and the people of Judah became extremely fearful when they learned that Syria was in Ephriam 7:2

c. YHWH sent Isaiah with his son to tell Ahaz that the Syrian-Israelite coalition will not succeed, but be destroyed, also warning that Judah itself will be destroyed if it does not believe His word 7:3-9

1) The Lord sent Isaiah and his son Shear jashub ( rav bwvy ) a remnant will return to meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway to the fuller's field 7:3

2) Isaiah is told to tell Ahaz that the Syrian-Israelite coalition will not be successful in its attempt to replace him with the son of Tabeel because God will defeat Syria and Israel 7:4-9a

3) The LORD warns Ahaz that the nation will not last if it does not believe His words 7:9b

d. When YHWH urges Ahaz to ask for a sign, and Ahaz arrogantly refuses, the LORD promises to give a sign to the house of David of a virgin birth to a son who will be characterized as God with us, to destroy the coalition by the time that Isaiah's son is old enough to know the difference between good and evil (12 years), and that judgment will coming upon Judah from Egypt and Assyria 7:10-25

1) YHWH again speaks to Ahaz urging him to ask for any kind of a confirming sign 7:10-11

2) Ahaz, faithlessly, says that he will not ask for a sign and tempt YHWH (he intends to seek Assyria's help (cf. 2 Ki. 16:7-9; 2 Chron. 28:16) 7:12

3) Because of Ahaz' arrogance toward the Lord, Isaiah prophecies that God will give a sign to the house of David of a virgin born youth who will be characterized as God with us, that the coalition will be abolished within twelve years (the future age of Isaiah's son with him), and that judgment will come upon Judah from Egypt and Assyria 7:13-25

a) Isaiah questions the gull of the House of David to try the patience of God as they do with men 7:13

b) Isaiah proclaims that the Lord will give to the house of David (note the you is plural-- <k#l* ) a sign, namely that a virgin will become pregnant, bear a son and that (she/he the king of the house of David tar*q*w+) will call his name Immanuel (la@ WnM*u! God with us) 7:14

c) Isaiah proclaims that by the time that the son with him (cf. 7:3) knows enough to refuse evil and choose good (age 12), the coalition of Syria and Israel will be forsaken (if this is 734 this is prophetic of Israel's fall in 722/21) 7:15-16

d) Isaiah prophecies that the Lord will bring about a judgment from Egypt and Assyria (701 B.C.) upon the house of David and the people of Judah 7:17-25

(1) The Lord is going to bring about a judgment upon Judah such as she has not had since the division of the nation 7:17

(2) The Lord is going to bring Egypt and Assyria against Judah 7:18-20

(3) The coming judgment is going to leave the nation in a state of devastation 7:21-25

2. Maher-shalal-hash-baz: Isaiah prophecies of the nearness of Judah's deliverance from the Syria-Israel alliance, and of judgment for those who will not wait on God and His word 8:1-22

a. Isaiah prophecies the nearness of the destruction of Syrian-Israelite alliance by Assyria 8:1-4

1) The Lord told Isaiah to write zB vj llv rhm (swift is the booty, speedy is the prey) on a large tablet 8:1

2) The Lord says that He will have two witnesses to witness to the truth of this statement--Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah 8:2

3) Isaiah gave birth to a son through the prophetess to be named zB vj llv rhm (swift is the booty, speedy is the prey) because he pictures the soon defeat of Syria and Israel by Damascus 8:3-4

b. The Lord will use Assyria to judge Israel for their rejection of Him and trust in Syria and will have Assyria come down into Judah as well 8:5-8

1) The Lord is going to bring Assyria upon Israel for her rejection of Him and her trust in Syria 8:5-7

2) Assyria will also come down into Judah in a siege 8:8a

c. In confidence that the nations will be scattered by God who is with Israel, the people are exhorted to not be afraid of the alliance but of YHWH 8:8b-15

1) Because God is with His people (Emmanuel) the nations will certainly be scattered 8:8b-10

2) Isaiah exhorts the people not to be influenced by the nation's fear of men (the alliance), but to have confidence in the Lord's provision for deliverance 8:11-15

d. Isaiah is going to wait for the Lord to work in Judah because he and his children are signs of the certainty of the Lord's future work on behalf of the nation 8:16-18

1) Isaiah and his disciples are going to wait with the word of the LORD for the Lord to work in Jacob 8:16-17

2) Isaiah and his children are signs of God's promises for the nation Israel 8:18

e. Those who consult the occult rather than God for their future will experience judgment 8:19-22

1) Isaiah affirms that it is not logical to consult the occult rather than God for the affairs of life 8:19-20

2) Those who do not speak according to God's Law and testimony will experience judgment 8:21-22

3. Man of Galilee: The deliverance of the nation is seen as coming through a man of Galilee who will establish the kingdom forever 9:1-7

4. Captivity of Northern Kingdom: Isaiah predicts the captivity of the northern kingdom due to their faithlessness and continual refusal to turn to YHWH 9:8--10:4

5. Destruction of Assyria: Even though Assyria will be used by YHWH to judge Israel, they will become self-sufficient and be destroyed by YHWH for their arrogance 9:5--10:19

6. Return of Remnant: Israel is assured that YHWH's anger is but for a short time, whereupon, he will judge Assyria and the remnant will return 10:20-34

7. Rise of a Righteous Judge: One day the Lord will raise Israel with a righteous judge; then there will be peace in creation, and Israel will praise God to the nations 11:1--12:6

D. Isaiah foretells a series of oracles which proclaim judgment upon the nations4 13:1--23:18

1. The utter destruction of Babylon is predicted by YHWH with Israel living again in the land5 13:1--14:27

2. The Philistines will be judged for their rejoicing over Israel's destruction 14:28-32

3. The destruction of Moab is foretold to occur within three years because it is proud 15:1--16:14

4. The destruction of Damascus is foretold whereupon the Holy One of Israel will be revealed and all will turn to Him 17:1-14

5. The land of whirring wings (Ethiopia?) will have its harvest cut off, its land left to wild animals, and bring gifts to God at Zion 18:1-7

6. Egypt, through internal troubles, will be destroyed and Judah will control it with worship going to YHWH6 19:1--20:6

7. There will be confusion and anxiousness in the desert (Negeb) due to the political situation7 21:1-10

8. Jerusalem will be destroyed because they are uncaring and trusting in other nations rather than YHWH8 22:1-25

9. The Lord will destroy Tyre whereupon the world will mourn the loss of such materialism but one day its money will go to God 23:1-18

E. Isaiah proclaims coming punishment for the world and Israel to be followed by Kingdom blessings for Israel9 24:1--27:13

1. There is going to be judgment upon the earth and upon all people equally because very few will praise God10 24:1-23

2. In His kingdom the Lord will judge the wicked but protect and provide for His people 25:1-12

3. The redeemed praise the LORD because He saved them and protected the remnant during judgment 26:1-21

4. Leviathan (a serpent representing the enemies of God) will be judged and the remnant restored in the day of Israel after the judgment on the nation 27:1-13

F. Isaiah proclaims oracles (woes) of judgment upon the nation Israel along with a hope of deliverance and blessing11 28:1--33:24

1. Ephraim and Judah mock Isaiah's warning so God will speak to them through invaders--for a time 28:1-29

2. Judgment is coming upon Israel through many nations because they are faking their faith, but the future will be better 29:1-24

3. Israel will be judged by God because they trust in Egypt and not God, yet when they change, God will deliver them 30:1--31:9

4. Isaiah describes a time when rule will be just and righteous in that the wicked will not rule 32:1-8

5. The nation will be judged and in mourning, but in the future there will be blessing 32:9-20

6. The enemies of God's people will be judged, but righteous men will not be judged, and in the future there will be blessing 33:1-24

G. Isaiah proclaims details of YHWH's vengeance upon the nations and blessing for the remnant12 34:1--35:10

1. Edom is an example of how the LORD will completely destroy all nations, yet, a remnant will be gathered 34:1-17

2. In the LORD's Day of blessing, the curse will be removed and the remnant will dwell in joy 35:1-10

H. Historical Interlude:13 Although Assyria attempted to overtake Jerusalem in 701, Hezekiah's faith led to the Lord's defeat of Assyria, but Hezikiah's pride in showing the riches of his kingdom led to the latter captivity of Judah by Babylon 36:1--39:8

1. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, threatens Hezekiah (701) and all of Jerusalem and mocks God causing all of the people to mourn, but Hezikiah shows faith in Isaiah's words 36:1--37:7

2. In response to Hezekiah's faith, YHWH defeated Assyria and had Sennacherib die in his own land 37:8-38

3. When Hezekiah was ill, he prayed to YHWH who healed Him through Isaiah which led to praise 38:1-22

4. Hezekiah pridefully showed all of his treasures to those of Babylon which led to Judah and the royal line going into captivity in Babylon, but Hezekiah is glad that it will not be during His life 39:1-8

II. Book Two--Babylon is the Background: YHWH is the source of salvation and deliverance for the nation of Israel and those of God in the world 40:1--66:24

A. The deliverance of all of God's people (in Israel and the world) will be accomplished by God who controls history14 40:1--48:22

1. The majesty of God, the Comforter, who is going to restore His prepared-people Israel is denoted 40:1-31

2. YHWH challenges the nations who are against Israel in that He will protect Israel and in that nature will show that He is God and creates history 41:1-29

3. The Servant of YHWH will save Israel (His servant) and give a light to the Gentiles) while the earth gives praise to the Lord and Israel is called to see their sin 42:1-25

4. YHWH promises to regather His unworthy servant (Israel) from Babylon for His glory, therefore, they should not fear 43:1--44:5

5. YHWH proclaims Himself to be the only God due to His sovereignty over history and His prediction that Cyrus will shepherd Israel and be His avenger to the nations 44:6--45:8

6. YHWH is sovereign because He is the creator, therefore, the nations will bow to Israel, but are asked to seek Him in order to be saved 45:9-25

7. YHWH shows His superiority over the God's of Babylon since HE can control history to deliver Israel 46:1-13

8. Babylon will fall due to their arrogance and misuse of Israel: their sources cannot save them 47:1-15

9. YHWH exhorts Israel to note His greatness in His former prophecies, and that He redeems them for his sake. Therefore, He tells them to flee Babylon which will be judged 48:1-22

B. Restoration will come to the Israel and the Gentiles through the Suffering Servant15 49:1--57:21

1. YHWH describes how His Servant will be rejected by Israel and be a light to the Gentiles, whereupon, both will return and worship in the land 49:1-26

2. YHWH exhorts the sons of Zion to walk by faith during the time of the Servant's rejection 50:1-11

3. YHWH states that the righteous remnant will be delivered from the Gentiles. Therefore, they are exhorted to go home with God's protection 51:1--52:12

4. The sacrificial work, rejection and future exaltation of the Servant is recounted because He did God's will 52:13--53:12

5. The LORD promises to restore and increase Israel over all other nations and that their existence will be eternal and peaceful 54:1-17

6. The LORD has opened salvation to the Gentiles in His wise plan 55:1-13

7. God promises to gather together and give converted Gentiles a place in the inheritance of Israel 56:1-8

8. Condemnation will come upon evil leaders of Israel in that there will be no peace for the wicked 56:9--57:21

C. The LORD will bring about the realization of the restoration of the Kingdom for Israel (with a place for Gentiles) after they repent16 58:1--66:24

1. The LORD requires obedience to the covenant before He will restore the nation 58:1-14

2. Israel's continual depravity shows that salvation and deliverance must come by God's initiative 59:1--21

3. The LORD will bring prosperity and peace for those whom He has redeemed in that the world will look to Israel and glorify God 60:1-22

4. The coming of Messiah will bring blessing upon the people of God and rejoicing by the nation 61:1-11

5. Preparation is made in the nation for the coming of the LORD through exhortation to be righteous and through prayer 62:1-12

6. The coming of the LORD is described as being in vengeance 63:1-6

7. The nation, remembering God's past works and recognizing their sin, prays to God for deliverance 63:7--64:12

8. The LORD answers their prayer stating why He had to punish the nation, that the remnant will be saved, that the wicked will be punished and that the kingdom will be set up 65:1-25

9. The LORD, who cannot be stopped, will fulfill His promises to punish false worshipers, give land to the nation, and continue Abraham's seed 66:1-21

10. The new heaven and the new earth is described in detail 66:22-24

1 Assyria is the background; Judah is crumbling.

2 Throughout this section the nation is accused of faithlessness, and the theme of destruction arises constantly as the consequence for their behavior. This leads to YHWH's choice of Isaiah to be Judah's prophet of doom. Yet, within his message there is hope for the remnant.

3 The LORD begins this section by offering deliverance for the nation from the Syrian-Israel alliance. Ahaz refuses, and the fall of the nation is prophesied. However, Isaiah is quick to add that YHWH will save those who trust in Him. Deliverance is pictured as coming through a man of Galilee, and the destruction of Israel's captors is predicted because of their arrogance.

4 Due to the pride and false worship of the nations, destruction is predicted (in an east to west movement) for Babylon, the Philistines, Moab, Damascus, Ethiopia, Egypt and Jerusalem and Tyre

The point of these prophecies is as follows: (1) Assyria is a threat, (2) These nations are forming a coalition against Assyria and seek for Judah to join in (cf. Jeremiah 27 which is 140-150 years later but describing the same problem with different players), (3) therefore Isaiah says to Judah to not join in in view of the nations: (a) God will destroy all of these nation, and (b) The Babylonians will capture you one day (13--14), (c) God will take care of Assyria (14:24-27).

5 There is a day coming when God is going to deal with all nations (13:1-16)--then He will deal with Babylon (13:17ff). Also note that the Medes in 13:17 are probably not the nation but mercenaries (cf. 22:6 where Elan is a mercenary).

6 20:1-6: The coast land says no hope, therefore, turn to the Lord.

7 Verse two probably reads, The Chaldeans say .... The Chaldeans are trying to take over Babylon from Assyria. They call on others to defeat Assyria, but they will fall!

8 This was probably during the time of Hezekiah (cf. 2 Chron. 32:1-7).

9 Isaiah proclaims that YHWH will bring judgment upon the world because very few will praise Him, but He will also protect the remnant and provide for them in the Kingdom.

10 Note that there is an enclusio with the Day of the LORD in chapters 13--24.

11 The nation rejects Isaiah's warnings, chooses to trust in Egypt rather than YHWH and will thus be judged by YHWH through other nations. However, a promise is given of future restoration and blessing for the righteous.

12 Edom is given as an example of God's judgment upon the nations. However, the remnant is reported to be gathered and to live in joy in the Day of the Lord.

13 This unit is a prime example of how YHWH judges for independence and blesses for expressions of trust in Him. Assyria is self-sufficient towards YHWH and is destroyed while Hezekiah shows faith and is spared. However, Hezekiah then becomes arrogant in displaying his wealth and consequently places the nation under God's judgment through Babylon.

14 The nation Israel is primarily in view in this unit, however, Gentiles do play a part (see chapter 42). The LORD demonstrated that He is the only God by means of creation and His rule over history, and that He will deliver His people from Babylon, whereupon all nations will bow to Israel. Then He seeks the nations to trust in Him for their deliverance.

15 God's plan for the restoration of His people (both Jew and Gentile) is through His Suffering Servant who will do His will. The Servant will be rejected by Israel, though they are warned not to do so, and will be a light to the Gentiles. In the end God will gather His people who will all have a place in the Kingdom.

16 Isaiah begins by exhorting Israel to be obediant to the covenant, but it becomes clear that it is God who must save the nation since its depravity is too great. The promise of prosperity and peace with the coming of Messiah continues to be proclaimed for the people. The nations are exhorted to be righteous in order to prepare for the coming of the LORD. Finally, the consummation is depicted as the Lord coming in vengeance, the nation responding in faith and prayer to Him, the remnant being saved while the wicked are punished, and creation is restored with a new heaven and earth.

Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines

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