Introductory Issues✦ Title – Isaiah means “Yahweh is Salvation”✦ Date of Events – 739–681 b.c. ✦ Uzziah (791–740) ✦ Hezekiah (716–687)✦ Canon ✦ book of Sirach (190 b.c.), aka Ecclesiasticus ✦ Qumran ✦ placed directly after Kings
…it stands, in the Hebrew ordering of the books,back-to-back with Kings, the last book of the Former Prophets. That interface … is fortuitous because the books of Kings and Isaiah are together preoccupiedwith the destiny of Jerusalem. The books of Kings endwith an account of the sorry end of the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonians and the ensuing deportation and exile. The book of Isaiah, in its turn, is a meditation, albeit in complexconﬁguration, about the destiny of Jerusalem into the crises of exile and the promise of Jerusalem out of exile into new well-being.
The Structure of Isaiah Threat of Promises of Historical Connecting Link Judgment DeliveranceChapters 1–35 Chapters 36–37 Chapters 38–39 Chapters 40–66 Coming of Coming of Babylonian Assyrians Assyrian Attack Babylonians Conquest Anticipated Anticipated Assumed
Working Outline of Isaiah1. Judgment & Salvation of God’s People (1–12)2. Judgment & Salvation for the Nations (13–39)3. Prophecies Relating to the Return from Babylon (40–55)4. Isaiah’s Final Prophecies (56–66)
Thus says the LORD, “Preserve justice and do righteousness, For My salvation isabout to come And My righteousness to be revealed.” Isaiah 56:1
Here the imminent becoming-revealed of thedivine saving righteousness is the reason forthe demand to human beings to bring about justice and righteousness themselves.
1 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, And for Jerusalems sake I will not keep quiet, Until herrighteousness goes forth like brightness, And her salvation like a torch that is burning. 2 Thenations will see your righteousness, And all kingsyour glory; And you will be called by a new name Which the mouth of the LORD will designate. Isaiah 62:1–2
And in that day you will say, “Give thanks to theLord, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted.” Isaiah 12:4
Judgment & Salvation of the Nations (13–23)✦ Why follow reuniﬁcation & praise with scene of massive judgment on nations?✦ Why is Babylon ﬁrst?✦ Not primarily oracles of salvation for Israel.✦ Rather, establish God’s sovereignty over the nations, particularly human pride.✦ The judgment of these nations would result in peace and tribute for Yahweh (16:5; 18:7; 19:21–25; 23:15–18).
Judgment & Salvation of the Nations (13–23)✦ Words of salvation and blessing: ✦ Moab – 16:5 ✦ Damascus – 17:7 ✦ Cush – 18:7 ✦ Egypt – 19:18–25 ✦ Tyre – 23:17–18
Apocalyptic Vision (24–27)✦ 24–27: Eschatological focus on destruction of all nations and humankind (cf. ch. 13) ✦ means God’s kingdom is established in Jerusalem (24:23) ✦ response of praise by Isaiah (25:1–12) and by inhabitants of Judah (26:1–21) ✦ return of God’s people (ch. 27)
Justice (34–35)✦ Edom is used as an example, as the archenemy of the nation.✦ According to the scroll (34:16–17)✦ Note the connections between chs. 35 & 40 … so why are they separated by 36–39?
Historical Insertion (36–39)✦ see 10:12✦ When would Isaiah’s earlier prophecies happen?✦ The narrative shifts the focus from Assyria to Babylon.✦ The point is to locate the prophecies in the future rather than the past or present.✦ The scope is messianic and eschatological, a time after the exile.✦ Hezekiah becomes an example of the trust God desired.
✦ addresses post-exilic situation✦ In 56:1–8 salvation is close at hand and extends beyond Israel.✦ Even after the exile, many would forsake Yahweh (57:3–11). Those who did live righteously would suffer (vv. 1–2).✦ The only recourse was to trust in Yahweh (vv. 12–13).
✦ Sin had separated them from the Lord (59:1–8), which Isaiah acknowledged (vv. 9–15).✦ Since they could not help themselves (vv. 16– 19), God would send His Redeemer to Zion (v. 20).✦ New Covenant (v. 21)