From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [1]

By the time of Isaiah, the Israelite nation had long been divided into two kingdoms – the northern kingdom Israel whose capital was Samaria, and the southern kingdom Judah whose capital was Jerusalem. Isaiah lived in Jerusalem, where he was an adviser to Judah’s royal court ( Isaiah 7:3;  Isaiah 37:2;  Isaiah 38:1;  Isaiah 39:3). He was married and had at least two sons ( Isaiah 7:3;  Isaiah 8:3;  Isaiah 8:18).

Holman Bible Dictionary [2]

The Historical Background Isaiah's ministry spanned the period from his call vision (about 740 B.C.) until the last years of Hezekiah (716-687) or the early years of Manasseh (687-642). The prophet lived during the reigns of the Judean kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and perhaps the first years of Manasseh. He was contemporary with the last five kings of Israel: Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah, and Hosea. The tragic fall of Samaria to the Assyrian King Sargon II in 722 B.C. occurred during his ministry.

In northwest Mesopotamia, the energetic monarch Tiglath-pileser III (745-727) founded the mighty Assyrian Empire. A series of vigorous successors succeeded him: Shalmaneser V (726-722), Sargon II (721-705), Sennacherib (704-681), and Esarhaddon (680-669). With Asshurbanipal (668-627) the empire began to crumble and ultimately fell to the Babylonians in 612-609 under the command of Nabopolassar (625-585).

During this same period Egypt experienced a resurgence of power in the 25th Dynasty (about 716-663) and occasioned international intrigue among the Palestinian states to overthrow Assyria. The petty states of Palestine—Syria, Philistia, Moab, Edom, Ammon, Arabia, Tyre, Israel, and Judah—were ultimately conquered or made tributary to Assyria. With strong feelings of nationalism these states fomented rebellion and duplicity, a world of intrigue born of political and economic frustrations. In this era Isaiah exercised his prophetic ministry, a large part of which was politically involved with Judah and to a lesser extent Israel. He advocated policies of state in line with the religious creed of authentic prophetism.

Personal Life of Isaiah Isaiah, the son of Amoz, was born in Judah, no doubt in Jerusalem, about 760 B.C. He enjoyed a significant position in the contemporary society and had a close relationship with the reigning monarchs. His education is clearly evident in his superb writing that has gained him an eminence in Hebrew literature hardly surpassed by any other. He had a thorough grasp of political history and dared to voice unpopular minority views regarding the state and the economy. His knowledge of the religious heritage of Israel and his unique theological contributions inspire awe. He was alive to what was transpiring in the court, in the marketplace, in high society with its shallowness, and in the political frustrations of the nation.

Isaiah was called to be a prophet of Yahweh in striking visions which he experienced in the Temple about 740 B.C., the year that the aged Judean king Uzziah died ( Isaiah 6:1 ). The elements in that vision forecast the major themes of his preaching, particularly the transcendent nature of Yahweh, which may serve as a modern translation of Hebraic “holiness.” God warned him that his ministry would meet with disappointment and meager results but also assured him that forgiveness would ever attend the penitent ( Isaiah 6:5-7;  Isaiah 1:19-20 ) and that the ultimate promises of God would be realized ( Isaiah 6:13 ).

The prophet was married and was the father of two sons whose names symbolized Isaiah's public preaching: Mahershalalhashbaz (the spoil speeds; the prey hastes), a conviction that Assyria would invade Syria and Israel about 734 B.C., and Sherajashub (a remnant shall return), a name that publicized his belief in the survival and conversion of a faithful remnant in Israel ( Isaiah 1:9;  Isaiah 7:3;  Isaiah 8:1 ,Isaiah 8:1, 8:4;  Isaiah 10:20-23 ).

During the dark days when the Assyrians took over one Palestinian state after another, Isaiah firmly contended that the Judean monarchs ought to remain as neutral as possible, to refrain from rebellious acts, and to pay tribute. When the Israelites and Syrians jointly attacked Judah for refusing to join the anti-Assyrian coalition ( Isaiah 7:1-9;  Isaiah 8:1-15 ), he deplored the dangerous policy of purchasing protection from the Assyrians. In 711 B.C. when the city of Ashdod rebelled against Assyria, Isaiah assumed the garb of a captive for three years calling on Hezekiah not to take the fatal step of joining the rebellion. No doubt he was instrumental in influencing Hezekiah to reject the seditious plot ( Isaiah 20:1-6 ). That same resolute policy assured Isaiah that Jerusalem would not fall to Sennacherib in 701 B.C. despite the ominous outlook the Assyrian envoys forecast ( Isaiah 36-37 ). Isaiah soundly castigated Hezekiah for entertaining the seditious Babylonian princelet whose real purpose was to secure military aid for a rebellion in south Babylonia in an effort to overthrow Sennacherib ( Isaiah 39:1 ).

Literary and Theological Pronouncements Israel made no clear separation of church and state; accordingly most of the utterances of Isaiah are religious and political in character in spite of their literary diversity. Underlying his conceptual world was his inaugural vision: Yahweh was the ultimate King; His nature was infinite holiness or transcendence; His holiness manifested itself in righteousness ( Isaiah 5:16 ). Yahweh was the electing, endowing, forgiving God, possessing plans and purposes for His servant Israel by which they might secure the Abrahamic promise of world blessedness. The vision of Isaiah indicated the resistance this program would encounter but concluded with the certainty of its performance.

With this theological perspective Isaiah inveighed against the errant nation of Judah ( Isaiah 1:2-9;  Isaiah 2:6-22;  Isaiah 3:1-4:1 ) even using the guise of a love song ( Isaiah 5:1-7 ). He pronounced six “woes” on the immoral nation. His wrath also attacked Israel ( Isaiah 9:8-21;  Isaiah 28:1-29 ). Among other travesties, Judah was rebellious, evil, iniquitous, alienated, corrupters, a sick people, unfilial in attitude, purposeless in their excessive religiosity, idolaters, proud ones whose land was filled with esoteric charlatans, brass in their defection, thankless and unappreciative, drunkards, monoplists of real estate, wise in their own eyes, morally indiscriminate. The character of true religion was absent; they needed to desist from evil, to learn to do good, to seek justice, correct oppression, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow ( Isaiah 1:17 ).

Though the indictments were severe, Isaiah still held out the hope of forgiveness to the penitent ( Isaiah 1:18-31 ) and pointed to days coming when God would establish peace ( Isaiah 2:1-4;  Isaiah 4:2-6 ). He promised the Messiah, the son of David, who would assume the chief role in the fulfillment of the Abrahamic-Davidic covenantal promises ( Isaiah 9:2-7;  Isaiah 11:1-9 ).

Isaiah is remembered for his magnificent conception of God. The thrice-repeated term “holy” is equivalent to holiness to the nth or infinite degree (  Isaiah 6:3 ). Yahweh is Lord of all, King of the universe, the Lord of history who exhibits His character in righteousness, that is, in self-consistent acts of rightness ( Isaiah 5:16 ). The prophet criticized the vanity and meaninglessness of religion's pride. He demanded social and religious righteousness practiced in humility and faith. He strongly affirmed God's plans that would not lack fulfillment, announcing that the Assyrian king was but the instrument of God and accountable to Him. He stressed, too, the Day of Yahweh, a time when the presence of God would be readily discoverable in human history. Isaiah was certain that a faithful remnant would always carry on the divine mission (Shearjashub,  Isaiah 1:9 ). The messianic hope was considered the blueprint of history fulfilled, the hope of humankind toward which all creation moves.

The Disciples of Isaiah During the ministry of Isaiah when the Judeans discounted his stern warnings, he ordered that his “testimony” and “teaching” be bound and sealed—no doubt in a scroll—and committed to his disciples until history proved his words true ( Isaiah 8:16 ). Most people did not accept Isaiah's message, but he had disciples who did. They formed the backbone of a prophetic party in Judah who preserved his writings, sustained his political and religious power so that he had access to the person of the king, and arranged the final form of his preaching in written form as can be seen by constant referral to the prophet in third person rather than first.

In Isaiah's time the great military power that threatened the Palestinian states was Assyria. In much of the book that now bears the name of Isaiah, the reigning power was Babylon, which did not rise to power until after 625 B.C., over 50 years after Isaiah's death. Some Bible students think that the writings that reflect the Babylonian period may be the work of the disciples of Isaiah, who projected his thought into the new and changed situation of the Babylonian world. Others would say in the Spirit Isaiah was projected supernaturally into the future, thus able to know even the name of Cyrus, King of Persia ( Isaiah 44:28;  Isaiah 45:1 ).

The Prophetic Critique of Foreign Affairs Israel's prophets such as Amos, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah devoted considerable attention to political pronouncements regarding foreign nations. Those thus singled out included Babylon ( Isaiah 13-14 ), Moab ( Isaiah 15-16 ), Damascus ( Isaiah 17:1-14 ), Ethiopia ( Isaiah 18:1 ), Egypt ( Isaiah 19-20 ), and Tyre ( Isaiah 23:1 ). The importance of these prophetic utterances are historical, though political and religious principles can be profitably drawn from them.

Every national capital hosted embassies of other friendly nations with their diplomatic staffs. Such visiting ambassadors were responsible to their home governments to report the relevant news. These prophetic speeches to the nations proved significant in that they represented a strong minority group feeling, the religious and political thought of a traditional Yahwistic block with strong backing from the right wing of the government. The speeches of Isaiah or his disciples would be relayed to the foreign capitals as a significant utterance on foreign affairs. They also informed God's people of His world plans, giving encouragement of final victory.

The “Little Apocalypse” ( Isaiah 24–27 ) Midway between prophetic prediction and apocalypticism are these four chapters. Apocalypticism is an expressive term which denotes the unveiling of the future. Portions of Ezekiel, Joel, and Daniel are written in this style marked by cosmological orientation, proximate pessimism, symbolism with few historical allusions, suprahistorical perspective—that is, the future was so bewildering and the events so vaguely perceived that the writer penned his forecast in the symbolic language of faith, pointing to a resolution of world history. In  Isaiah 24-27 two opposing forces were pitted in conflict: they were presented as two cities. In the tension of history when the city of chaos triumphs, the city of God laments; when it suffers defeat, the city of God breaks forth into song. Some four hymns are in   Isaiah 24-27 . Ultimately, the kingdom of God is victorious with such blessing as the removal of national hatred, the overcoming of sorrow, the overcoming of death, the resurrection, in short, the resolution of history as the kingdom of God.

A Collection of Prophetic Oracles ( Isaiah 28–35 ) Since five in this series of prophecies commence with an introductory “woe,” it suggests that much of this block of materials will be negative in its criticism. Thus in  Isaiah 28:1 the inebriated aristocracy of Israel failed to discern the fading flower of their nation; and they were supported in their dereliction by the priests and prophets. Indeed, they mimicked sarcastically Isaiah's plain speech as childish prattle, to which he retorted that if they did not understand simple Hebrew, Yahweh would speak to them in Assyrian! Yet, those that trusted in God stood on a firm foundation, a foundation laid in righteousness and justice. It alone would stand (  Isaiah 28:16-22 ).

 Isaiah 29-35 are largely directed to Judah; elements of severe censure are often followed by oracles of comfort. The Judeans were reproved for their rejection of the authentic voice of prophecy, their defiant atheism, their meaningless parade of religion, their rebellious plotting with the Egyptians, and their buildup of the military. Such passages as   Isaiah 28:5-6;  Isaiah 29:5-8 ,Isaiah 29:5-8, 29:17-24;  Isaiah 30:18-33;  Isaiah 31:4-9;  Isaiah 32:1-5 ,Isaiah 32:1-5, 32:8 ,Isaiah 32:8, 32:15-20;  Isaiah 33:2-6 ,Isaiah 33:2-6, 33:17-24 contrast with these passages. The conclusion of this segment includes the juxtaposition of a negative oracle against Edom, here symbolic of evil, with a paradisiacal contrast involving Israel (  Isaiah 34-35 ). Much like the theme of  Isaiah 24-27 , it forecasted the ultimate fulfillment of divine purposes in history.

The Historical Appendage With the exception of  Isaiah 38:9-21 , an original thanksgiving song of Hezekiah after a severe illness, the rest of  Isaiah 36-39 duplicates   2 Kings 18:13-20:19 . A similar insertion of historical materials from the Book of Kings ( 2 Kings 24:18-25:30 ) concludes the Book of Jeremiah. ( Jeremiah 52:1 ). It provides the reader of the prophet with an historical background for the understanding of the book.

The Book of Consolation ( Isaiah 40–55 )

Its Historical Background. The setting of these chapters is incontestably that of the later years of the Babylonian Exile when Cyrus ( Isaiah 44:28;  Isaiah 45:1 ) was beginning his conquests which would ultimately overthrow the Babylonian power (550 B.C.). The city of Jerusalem and its Temple had been destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 B.C., and a considerable segment of the upper classes had been forcibly exiled to Babylon. The writer hailed Cyrus as the shepherd of Yahweh who would build Jerusalem and set the exiles free ( Isaiah 44:26-45:1 ). For some forty years the Judeans had lived as hostages in a strange land; they were discouraged by the seeming unimprovable situation. Was it their unforgivable guilt; had God forgotten them? The stunning victory of Cyrus over the mighty Babylonian power (538 B.C.) and his decree of liberation for the Jewish exiles were events too joyous to recount. But what of the long, arduous journey through the desert with its multiplied dangers? The prophetic voice assured the exiles that God would prepare a level highway for their journey, provide for their sustenance, and lead them back to their homeland ( Isaiah 40:1 ). The exiles were assured of divine pardon, comforted in every major problem area, and promised the restoration of Zion and its Temple.

Its Literary Structure. The prophetic voice of  Isaiah 40-55 affirmed the purpose of God in the dark days of the Babylonian Exile. Most of the chapters articulate the various theological affirmations designed to comfort, challenge, and advise the hostage people. However, arising from the messages of comfort and dialogue are four so-called Servant Songs (  Isaiah 42:1-4;  Isaiah 49:1-6;  Isaiah 50:4-9; and  Isaiah 52:13-53:12 ). These songs reiterate the role of Israel as the chosen servant of God, the nation that would evangelize all nations, whose endowment by the Spirit would provide the enablement for that mission and the concomitant suffering attendant the people of God addressing a sinful society, and the ultimate success of the divine mission by his faithful servants. There can be no doubt but that the authentic Israel was the servant the prophet had in mind ( Isaiah 49:3 ). While these songs unquestionably identify the Suffering Servant as the godly in Israel, they find their ultimate fulfillment in the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. The cross-bearing Christian church ( Galatians 6:14-16 ) carries on the Servant's mission.

The religious affirmation of  Isaiah 40–55 . The overwhelming majesty of these chapters have ever impressed the faithful with its sublime consolation. Against the gloom of Exile, the prophet portrayed the One Sovereign God, Creator, incomparable, unfailing, the Lord of history. What a sorry contrast was the Babylonian idolatry with its vaunted pretensions ( Isaiah 46-47 ).

The prophetic announcement disclosed the movement of God in history—the Exile was over. The Persians were about to take over the Babylonian power; they would be trustworthy and friendly to the exiles. The difficulties of the journey would be provided for by the God who programmed the Exodus and would once more duplicate that performance in the release of the exiles from Babylonian tyranny. It was Yahweh who had stirred up Cyrus, and through him His purpose would be secured. Assured of divine forgiveness and comforted in their grief, the exiles were exhorted to identify with their ancient role in the blessing of the earth's population through the dissemination of the religion through which the world would be blessed ( Genesis 12:3 ). The Servant Songs were the blueprint for Israel's devotion and adherence—to love, to serve, to suffer, to teach the knowledge of God for the salvation of humankind.

The Concluding Prophetic Oracles ( Isaiah 56–66 )

Its Historical Setting. Here is a change of venue from  Isaiah 40-55; no longer was Babylon the focus; Palestine was, with the Temple restored and sacrifice and worship being conducted. Many scholars place this collection sometime around 460 B.C. and attribute the diverse fields of interest, style, and religious affirmation to prophetic voices of this period addressing themselves to major issues of their day. Others think God transported the eighth century prophet into the fifth century setting.

Its Literary Structure. The subjects handled in this section include an oracle on sabbath keeping ( Isaiah 56:1-8 ), censure of civil and religious leaders ( Isaiah 56:9-57:12 ), an analysis of the meaning of fasting ( Isaiah 58:1 ), the dilemma of the unfulfilled divine promises ( Isaiah 59:1 ), hopeful encouragement to be anticipated ( Isaiah 60-64 ), the grievous sin of Judah and the blessedness of the righteous remnant ( Isaiah 65:1 ), and brief fragments on a number of subjects ( Isaiah 66:1 ).

Its Theological Affirmation. This portion of inspired Scripture contains some very remarkable and advanced concepts. It places the reader in the midst of a discordant community where the righteous struggle against their powerful opponents. It censures the moral depravity of rulers, of those who succumb to pagan practices, of those who practice external rites without true identification with their meaning. A most interesting affirmation regards foreigners and eunuchs ( Isaiah 56:3-7 ), they would no longer be excluded from the Temple worship. This injected grace and hope into the law of  Deuteronomy 23:1 . Other choice verses praise humility ( Isaiah 66:1-2 ), announce the new heaven and the new earth ( Isaiah 66:22 ); and report the anointing by the Spirit ( Isaiah 61:1-4 ). This remarkable conclusion to the Book of Isaiah discloses the struggles and aspirations of the post-exilic community. Without it we should be impoverished in our knowledge of that period.


I. God Knows His Peoples' Sins But Calls Them Back to Himself ( Isaiah 1:1-12:6 ).

A. Though your sins are many, forgiveness is possible ( Isaiah 1:1-5:30 ).

B. People need God, but God also needs people to call His people ( Isaiah 6:1-13 ).

C. National leaders may refuse God's help ( Isaiah 7:1-8:15 ).

D. Waiting for God to act is part of serving Him ( Isaiah 8:16-22 ).

E. With God the future is bright ( Isaiah 9:1-7 ).

F. Fallen nations teach lessons ( Isaiah 9:8-10:4 ).

G. Pride destroys individuals and nations ( Isaiah 10:5-19 ).

H. God can do His work with a righteous few ( Isaiah 10:20-23 ).

I. Faith in God conquers fear of all else ( Isaiah 10:24-34 ).

J. An ideal age is a human dream, but a divine accomplishment ( Isaiah 11:1-16 ).

K. Anytime is the right time for thanksgiving ( Isaiah 12:1-6 ).

II. God's Sovereignty Extends to All Nations Whether Acknowledged or Not ( Isaiah 13:1-23:18 ).

A. God's judgment is real ( Isaiah 13:1-21:17 ).

B. God's judgment is impartial ( Isaiah 22:1-23:18 ).

III. God's Triumph Over Evil Means Deliverance for His People ( Isaiah 24:1-27:13 ).

A. God's judgment time is a time of mourning and singing ( Isaiah 24:1-23 ).

B. God's judgment time is a time of thanksgiving ( Isaiah 25:1-12 ).

C. God's judgment time is a time of victory ( Isaiah 26:1-27:13 ).

IV. God's People Must Be Different ( Isaiah 28:1-39:8 ).

A. Tragedy strikes when leaders fail ( Isaiah 28:1-29:4 ).

B. The power of God overshadows the power of nations ( Isaiah 30:1-35:10 ).

C. A triumphant faith is a faith that will not let go ( Isaiah 36:1-39:8 ).

V. God's Word for His Confused People ( Isaiah 40:1-55:13 ).

A. God comes to His people when judgment has passed ( Isaiah 40:1-31 ).

B. God holds His people by the hand ( Isaiah 41:1-29 ).

C. Send the light of truth to those in darkness ( Isaiah 42:1-25 ).

D. God alone is Savior of His people ( Isaiah 43:1-28 ).

E. Homemade gods can never save ( Isaiah 44:1-28 ).

F. God may use an unbeliever ( Isaiah 45:1-25 ).

G. False gods make life's load heavier ( Isaiah 46:1-13 ).

H. Ruin follows wickedness as night follows day ( Isaiah 47:1-15 ).

I. Let the redeemed of the Lord proclaim it ( Isaiah 48:1-52:15 ).

J. Healing comes to many through the suffering of One ( Isaiah 53:1-12 ).

K. God keeps His promises ( Isaiah 54:1-17 ).

L. God's finest invitation: Return to Me ( Isaiah 55:1-13 ).

VI. God's Word to His Imperfect People ( Isaiah 56:1-66:24 ).

A. Salvation is for all people ( Isaiah 56:1-12 ).

B. Idolatry is an ever present temptation ( Isaiah 57:1-21 ).

C. Worship and right living are inseparable ( Isaiah 58:1-14 ).

D. Repentance brings reconciliation with God ( Isaiah 59:1-21 ).

E. Light from God brings life ( Isaiah 60:1-62:12 ).

F. Prayer brings God's help ( Isaiah 63:1-65:25 ).

G. Judgment and deliverance are rights of God alone ( Isaiah 66:1-24 ).

Edward Dalglish

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [3]

Υeshayahu or Ιsaiahuw (?), Hebrew "the salvation of Jehovah," his favorite expression, which means the same as the name "Jesus", who is the grand subject of his prophecies, and in whom in the New Testament the name Jehovah merges, being never found in Scripture after the Old Testament. The Υahu (or Jahu ) in Υeshayahu shows that Υahweh (or Jahveh ) is the more correct form than Jehovah . Son of Amoz (not Amos), a younger contemporary of Jonah, Amos, and Hosea in Israel, and of Micah in Judah. His call to the full exercise of the prophetic office ( Isaiah 6:1) was in the same year that king Uzziah died, probably before his death, 754 B.C., the time of the building of Rome, Judah's destined scourge, whose kingdom was to stretch on to the Messianic times which form the grand subject of Isaiah's prophecies. Whatever prophecies were delivered by Isaiah previously were oral, and not recorded because not designed for all ages.

(1) Isaiah 1-6, are all that were written for the church universal of the prophecies of the first 20 years of his ministry. New epochs in the relations of the church to the world were fittingly marked by revelations to and through prophets. God had given Judah abundant prosperity during Uzziah's reign of 52 years, that His goodness might lead the people to loving obedience, just as in northern Israel He had restored prosperity daring the brilliant reign of Jeroboam II with the same gracious design. Israel was only hardened in pride by prosperity, so was soon given over to ruin. Isaiah comes forward at this point to warn Judah of a like danger. Moreover, in the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah Israel and Judah came into conflict with the Asiatic empires. (See Ahaz ; HEZEKIAH.) The prophets were now needed to interpret Jehovah's dealings, that the people might recognize His righteous judgments as well as His merciful longsuffering.

(2) Isaiah 7 - Isaiah 10:4 relate to Ahaz' reign.

(3) Isaiah 10:5 - Isaiah 12 to the first 15 years of Hezekiah's reign probably.

(4) As also Isaiah 13-23 as to foreign nations.

(5) Isaiah 24-27 on the last times of the world, and of Judah, the representative and future head of the churches.

(6) Isaiah 28-33 concern Ephraim's overthrow, Judah's impious folly, the danger of the league with Egypt, their straits and deliverance from Assyria; Isaiah 28 before the sixth year of Hezekiah, when Israel fell; the rest before his 14th year of reign.

(7) Isaiah 34-35, denounce God's judgments against His people's enemies of whom Edom is representative, and the blessed state that shall follow.

(8) The historical section (Isaiah 36-39) as to Sennacherib, Assyria, and Babylon, forms the fitting appendix to the prophecies concerning Assyria mainly, and the preface to the latter portion of the book, concerning the deliverance from Babylon. Isaiah's generation had before their eyes the historical fact of the Assyrian invasion, and the extraordinary deliverance from it, as recorded by Isaiah. The prophet further announced to Hezekiah that all his treasures which he had ostentatiously shown to the Babylonian ambassadors should be carried off to that very land, and his descendants be made eunuchs in the Babylonian king's palace, the world on which Judah rested instead of on God being made her scourger. Fittingly, then followed the cheering prophecy, "Comfort ye My people," etc. Ages should elapse before the realization of this comforting assurance of deliverance.

The history of the deliverance from Assyria, accomplished according to the previous prophecy, was the pledge that the far off deliverance from Babylon also, because foretold, would surely come to pass. Thus, the historical section, midway between the earlier and later parts of Isaiah's book, forms the connecting link spiritually and historically between the two; it closes the one epoch, and introduces the other, so combining all Isaiah's prophecies in one unity. The fulfillment of his past prophecies constituted the prophet's credentials to the unborn generation on which the Babylonian captivity should fall, that they might securely trust his word. foretelling the future deliverance by Cyrus. "It is incredible that the latter chapters, if not Isaiah's but of a later date, should have been tacked on to his existing prophecies with the interval of the four historical chapters: thrown in as a connecting link to complete the unity of his alleged writings as a whole" (Stanley Leathes).

The "comfort" applies mainly to ages subsequent to his own; this accords with the principle stated  1 Peter 1:10-1;  1 Peter 1:9;  2 Peter 1:20-21. But it also applied to his own and all ages before Christ's consummated kingdom. For the law of prophetical suggestion carried him on to the greater deliverance from the spiritual Babylon and the God-opposed world power and Satan, by Cyrus' Antitype, Messiah, the Saviour of the present elect church gathered from Jews and Gentiles, and the Restorer of Israel and Head of the worldwide kingdom yet to come.

Even in the former part Babylon's downfall through Elamite and Persian assailants is twice foretold (Isaiah 13 and Isaiah 21). The mellowness of tone in the second part implies that it was the ripe fruit of his old age, some time after the beginning of Hezekiah's last 15 years. He is no longer the godly politician taking part in public life in vindication of the truth, but is far away in the spirit amidst the Babylonian exiles whom he cheers. More contemplative and ideal in this part, he soars aloft in glorious visions of the future, no longer tied down to the existing political circumstances of his people, as in the former part.

The threefold theme of this latter part is stated at the outset ( Isaiah 40:2):

(1) Jerusalem's warfare is accomplished;

(2) her iniquity is pardoned;

(3) she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins. The divisions are marked by the ending twice the "salvation" foretold is not for the unfaithful, but for the believing and waiting true Israelites; for, "there is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."

(9) Isaiah 40 - Isaiah 48:22;

(10) Isaiah 49-57;

(11) Isaiah 58-66, which exchanges the previous refrain for the awful one that with moving pathos describes the apostates' final doom, "their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched, and they shall be an abhorring to all flesh!"

The first of the three concerns the outward deliverance from Babylon by Cyrus. The second, Messiah's advent prefigured by Cyrus. The third, the coming glory of God's kingdom on earth, along with judgments on the ungodly. The contemporary Micah ( Micah 4:8-10) foretells the same exile in Babylon and the return from it, so that it is no objection to the genuineness of Isaiah 40-66, that herein Isaiah passes from Assyria to the restoration from Babylon much more than a century later.

Moses' general prophecy ( Leviticus 26:33;  Deuteronomy 28:64) had assumed more definiteness in Ahijah's specification of the direction of the exile, "beyond the river," in Jeroboam's time  1 Kings 14:15), and  Amos 5:27, "beyond Damascus"; and now the place is defined, Babylon. Moreover, Isaiah's reproof of the prevailing neglect of the temple worship, and his allusion to the slaying of children in the valleys ( Isaiah 57:5), and mention of Hephzibah (Hezekiah's wife) in  Isaiah 62:4, all accord with the times of Isaiah. The former part ends with the Babylonian exile ( Isaiah 39:6); the latter part begins with the deliverance from it, to remove the deep gloom which the prophecy of the captivity caused to all who looked for redemption in Israel. Isaiah 40-66, has no heading of its own, which is accounted for best by its connection with the previous part, bringing it under the same heading,  Isaiah 1:1.

The whole book falls into the sacred seven divisions:

(1) Isaiah 1-12;

(2) Isaiah 13-27, the burdens and their sequel;

(3) Isaiah 28-35;

(4) Isaiah 36-39; and

(5-7) the three divisions (a sacred ternary) of Isaiah 40-66. The former part itself also, before the historic, may be divided into seven; see above.

The return of the Lord's ransomed with everlasting joy in the last chapter of the former part ( Isaiah 35:10) is the starting point of and the text expanded in the latter part; compare  Isaiah 51:11. Josephus (Ant. 11:1, section 1-2) says that Cyrus was indued by Isaiah's prophecies ( Isaiah 44:38;  Isaiah 45:1;  Isaiah 45:13) to help the Jews to return and rebuild their temple. Ezra 1 confirms this. Cyrus in his edict refers to the prophecies of the latter portion, which assign him the kingdoms from Jehovah and the duty of rebuilding His temple. Probably he adopted from them his historical name Cyrus ( Κoresh ). Subsequent prophets imitate the latter portion ( Jeremiah 1:34, compare  Isaiah 47:4;  Jeremiah 51:6;  Jeremiah 51:45 with  Isaiah 48:20). "The Holy One of Israel" is a characteristic phrase in the latter as in the former parts, and occurs but three times elsewhere in Old Testament. It marks God's holy faithfulness to His covenanted promises. Jeremiah borrows it.

Luke ( Luke 4:17) quotes Isaiah 61 as Isaiah's, the passage read by Jesus Christ in the Nazareth synagogue. The definiteness of the prophecies makes it impossible that they were shrewd political guesses from probabilities. Thus Isaiah foretells Judah's deliverance from the Assyrian invasion, not by Egyptian aid (the only seeming possible deliverer), but by the Lord directly. On the other hand Isaiah announces the captivity in Babylon when as yet it was but a secondrate power and moreover in alliance with Judah, and further the return of the exiles. Eichhorn admits that they are not vague poetical fancies, but "veiled historical descriptions." Blunt (Undesigned Coincidences) notices the absence of such allusions as one in the Babylonian captivity would have made and the presence of allusions to idolatry which had almost no place in Judah after the captivity.

This and such allusions as that to the stopping of the water fountains outside the city, the display of Hezekiah's treasure, all accord with Isaiah's prophesying under Hezekiah. Isaiah 53 minutely depicts Messiah's sufferings ages before the event, as Jews, unwilling witnesses, admit, while evading the acceptance of Jesus by various makeshifts. Its testimony convinced the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8) and must convince all who seek the truth. Israel in the Babylonian exile, suffering as God's representative amidst pagan conquerors, is viewed as "the servant of Jehovah"; but as the mass of Jews were suffering for their sins the idea of "servant of Jehovah" limited itself to the elect, the holy seed of Israel's future. Then in the fullest sense Israel, the "elect servant of Jehovah," becomes concentrated in MESSIAH, the innocent sufferer atoning for the guilty, the seed of an everlasting and holy generation ( Isaiah 42:1-7;  Isaiah 44:1;  Isaiah 49:3-25;  Isaiah 49:52;  Isaiah 49:53).

Messiah appears as Prophet ( Isaiah 42:4), as Priest (Isaiah 53), as King ( Isaiah 49:7;  Isaiah 52:15). His sufferings are the appointed path to His glory ( Isaiah 53:11-12). They are borne as a vicarious penalty for us: "the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; ... the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" ( Isaiah 53:4-6). The mystical union of Messiah the Head and the members is implied in His being called "Israel," just as the New Testament church is called "Christ" ( 1 Corinthians 12:12;  Romans 16:7). He is the top-most "Branch" of which Israel is the body of the tree. He is also "the Root of David" as well as the "rod out of the stem of Jesse" ( Isaiah 11:1;  Revelation 22:16), "a tender plant, a root out of a dry ground" ( Isaiah 53:2). Prophecy is not soothsaying at random. It rests on law, and that law the character of God.

Having deep insight into the eternal principles on which God governs the world, that sin entails judgment but that God's covenant mercy to His people is unchangeable, the prophets speak accordingly. Babylon was then under Assyria. It had revolted unsuccessfully, but the elements of its subsequent greatness were existing. The Holy Spirit enlightened Isaiah's natural powers to foresee its rise and his spiritual faculties to foresee its fall, the sure result, in God's ways, of the pride which pagan success generates; also Judah's restoration as the covenant people with whom God according to His immutable faithfulness would not be wroth forever. Isaiah's politics consisted in insisting on conversion as the only remedy for the nation's disorders. Rebuke, threatening, invitation, and promise succeed in regular order. The fundamental idea is in  Isaiah 26:7-9; compare  Leviticus 10:3;  Amos 3:2.

His wife is called "the prophetess," and must therefore have had the prophetic gifts. His children "were for signs." (See Immanuel .) Shearjashub, "the remnant shall return," and Maher-shalal-hash-baz, "speeding to the spoil he hasteth to the prey," intimate the two chief points of his prophecies, Jehovah's judgments on the world yet His mercy to the elect. Isaiah's garment of sackcloth was a silent preaching by action, he embodied the repentance he taught. History as written by the prophets is retroverted prophecy. Spiritual insight into the past, inspired by God, implies insight into the future and vice verse. Hence the Old Testament histories (1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings) were written by contemporary prophets, Samuel, Nathan, Iddo, Isaiah, etc., and are classed with the prophetic books. The Chronicles are not classed so, and therefore can hardly be their composition, but probably Ezra's, gathered from the public records and historical monographs of the prophets (as Isaiah's life of Uzziah and of Hezekiah:  2 Chronicles 26:22;  2 Chronicles 32:32). (See Chronicles .)

The historical books from Joshua onwards and the prophetic books from Isaiah form a bipartite whole of prophetic writings called "the prophets"; for the history of the past in the former part is as prophetic as the history of the future in the latter part. His ministry was exercised at Jerusalem. "The valley of vision" ( Isaiah 22:1) may imply that it was in "the lower city" he resided and saw visions, though "valley" may refer to Jersalem generally, surrounded by hills higher than Zion and Moriah. The Talmud, from an old genealogical roll found in Jerusalem, and from the Palestinian Targum on  2 Kings 21:16, states that king Manasseh "sawed Isaiah asunder" with a wooden saw, to which the allusion may be in  Hebrews 11:37.  Isaiah 1:1 shows that none of the collection of prophecies of which that is the heading were written under Manasseh. They were collected by Isaiah himself in the close of Hezekiah's reign.

Then at the beginning of Manasseh's reign Isaiah fell a victim to the persecuting idolatry which superseded Jehovah's worship. The pretext was that Isaiah had said he had seen Jehovah (Isaiah 6), in opposition to  Exodus 33:20. This agrees with  2 Kings 21:16, "Manasseh shed innocent blood very much." That Isaiah served Hezekiah appears implied in  2 Chronicles 32:32. The chronological arrangement favors the view that Isaiah himself collected his prophecies into one volume. Excepting a few of similar contents grouped together, the several portions are placed according to their dates. The former part ending with the historical section was more for the public in general; the latter part is his prophetic legacy to the faithful few, analogous to Moses' last speech and our Lord's closing discourses to His chosen disciples. The Messianic hopes in Isaiah are so vivid that Jerome (Ad Paulinum) calls his book not a prophecy but the "Gospel," "he is not so much a prophet as an evangelist."

The " Shiloh " ("tranquilizer") of  Genesis 49:10 appears in Isaiah as "the Prince of peace" ( Isaiah 9:6). He is represented as "King" in Psalm 2, Psalm 45, Psalm 72, Psalm 110. Isaiah develops most His priestly and prophetic offices; Psalm 110. His royal priesthood, Isaiah His suffering priesthood; this last, especially in the latter portion, addressed to the faithful elect, whereas in the former part, addressed to the whole people, he dwells on Messiah's glory, the antidote to the fears of the people and the pledge to assure them that the kingdom of God, represented by Judah, would not be overwhelmed by Syria, Israel, and Assyria; so that they should trust wholly in Him and not in Egypt. His style is simple and sublime, intermediate between the lowly tenderness of Jeremiah and the bold exuberance of Ezekiel.

The variation of style in the latter portion proves, not its spuriousness, but Isaiah's power to vary his style with his subject. In it he is tender, and abounds in repetitions such as suit comforting exhortations. The many epithets attached to God's name are designed as so many stays whereon faith may rest and repel despair. Peculiarities which are characteristic of Isaiah occur in the latter portion as in the former, e.g. "to be called," i.e. to be; instead of synonyms the same words repeated in the parallel members of verses; hymns interspersed; "the remnant of olive trees," etc., for the remnant of people who escape judgments. Compare also  Isaiah 65:25 with  Isaiah 11:6;  Isaiah 51:11 with  Isaiah 35:10. The form is Hebrew poetical parallelism, varied however according to the subject. Judah and Jerusalem, not the more apostate and doomed Israel, are the people addressed.

No prophet is quoted so frequently by our Lord and His apostles. His sacred scows are a prominent feature. Thus, Isaiah 12, closing the section of Isaiah 7-12, aptly called "the book of Immanuel," is the future song of redeemed Israel, answering to that at the Red Sea (Exodus 15; compare  Revelation 15:2-3). Again Isaiah 25-27, is the lyric prophecy of the downfall of the world city, the coming blessed personal epiphany of the Lord to His people, and the destruction of the foe (Isaiah 25), Judah's and Israel's resurrection politically and spiritually (Isaiah 26), the church vineyard ever kept by Jehovah (Isaiah 27); it forms the finale to Isaiah 13-23, concerning the pagan foes of Israel. The frequent alliteration of like sounds in Isaiah 25-27, effectively realizes to the ear, as well as the eye and the understanding, the deeply moving finale. His elegiac power appears in Isaiah 15-16, concerning Moab.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [4]

Though fifth in the order of time, the writings of the Prophet Isaiah are placed first in order of the prophetical books, principally on account of the sublimity and importance of his predictions, and partly also because the book which bears his name is larger than all the twelve minor prophets put together. Concerning his family and descent, nothing certain has been recorded, except what he himself tells us,  Isaiah 50:1 , namely, that he was the son of Amos, and discharged the prophetic office "in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah," who successively flourished between A.M. 3194 and 3305. There is a current tradition that he was of the blood royal; and some writers have affirmed that his father Amoz or Amos was the son of Joash, and consequently brother of Uzziah, king of Judah. Jerom, on the authority of some rabbinical writers, says, that the prophet gave his daughter in marriage to Manasseh, king of Judah; but this opinion is scarcely credible, because Manasseh did not commence his reign until about sixty years after Isaiah had begun to discharge his prophetic functions. He must, indeed, have exercised the office of a prophet during a long period of time, if he lived to the reign of Manasseh; for the lowest computation, beginning from the year in which Uzziah died, when he is by some supposed to have received his first appointment to that office, brings it to sixty-one years. But the tradition of the Jews, which has been adopted by most Christian commentators, that he was put to death by Manasseh, is very uncertain; and Aben Ezra one of the most celebrated Jewish writers, is rather of opinion that he died before Hezekiah; which Bishop Lowth thinks most probable. It is, however, certain, that he lived at least to the fifteenth or sixteenth year of Hezekiah; which makes the least possible term of the duration of his prophetic office to be about forty-eight years. The name of Isaiah, as Vitringa has remarked after several preceding commentators, is in some measure descriptive of his high character, since it signifies the salvation of Jehovah; and was given with singular propriety to him, who foretold the advent of the Messiah, through whom "all flesh shall see the salvation of God,"   Isaiah 40:5;  Luke 3:6;  Acts 4:12 . Isaiah was contemporary with the Prophets Amos, Hosea, Joel, and Micah.

Isaiah is uniformly spoken of in the Scriptures as a prophet of the highest dignity: Bishop Lowth calls him the prince of all the prophets, and pronounces the whole of his book to be poetical, with the exception of a few detached passages. It is remarkable, that his wife is styled a prophetess in  Isaiah 8:3; whence the rabbinical writers have concluded that she possessed the spirit of prophecy: but it is very probable that the prophets' wives were called prophetesses, as the priests' wives were termed priestesses, only from the quality of their husbands. Although nothing farther is recorded in the Scriptures concerning the wife of Isaiah, we find two of his sons mentioned in his prophecy, who were types or figurative pledges; and their names and actions were intended to awaken a religious attention in the persons whom they were commissioned to address and to instruct. Thus, Shear-jashub signifies, "a remnant shall return," and showed that the captives who should be carried to Babylon should return thence after a certain time,  Isaiah 7:3; and Maher-shalal-hash-baz, which denotes, "make speed (or run swiftly ) to the spoil," implied that the kingdoms of Israel and Syria would in a short time be ravaged,  Isaiah 8:1;  Isaiah 8:3 . Beside the volume of prophecies, which we are now to consider, it appears from  2 Chronicles 26:22 , that Isaiah wrote an account of "the acts of Uzziah," king of Judah: this has perished with some other writings of the prophets, which, as probably not written by inspiration, were never admitted into the canon of Scripture. There are also two apocryphal books ascribed to him, namely, The Ascension of Isaiah, and The Apocalypse of Isaiah; but these are evidently forgeries of a later date, and the Apocalypse has long since perished.

The scope of Isaiah's predictions is threefold, namely,

1. To detect, reprove, aggravate, and condemn, the sins of the Jewish people especially, and also the iniquities of the ten tribes of Israel, and the abominations of many Gentile nations and countries; denouncing the severest judgments against all sorts and degrees of persons, whether Jews or Gentiles.

2. To invite persons of every rank and condition, both Jews and Gentiles, to repentance and reformation, by numerous promises of pardon and mercy. It is worthy of remark, that no such promises are intermingled with the denunciations of divine vengeance against Babylon, although they occur in the threatenings against every other people.

3. To comfort all the truly pious, in the midst of all the calamities and judgments denounced against the wicked, with prophetic promises of the true Messiah, which seem almost to anticipate the Gospel history, so clearly do they foreshow the divine character of Christ.

Isaiah has, with singular propriety, been denominated the evangelical prophet, on account of the number and variety of his prophecies concerning the advent and character, the ministry and preaching, the sufferings and death, and the extensive permanent kingdom, of the Messiah. So explicit and determinate are his predictions, as well as so numerous, that he seems to speak rather of things past than of events yet future; and he may rather be called an evangelist than a prophet. No one, indeed, can be at a loss in applying them to the mission and character of Jesus Christ, and to the events which are cited in his history by the writers of the New Testament. This prophet, says Bishop Lowth, abounds in such transcendent excellencies, that he may be properly said to afford the most perfect model of prophetic poetry. He is at once elegant and sublime, forcible and ornamented; he unites energy with copiousness, and dignity with variety. In his sentiments there is uncommon elevation and majesty; in his imagery, the utmost propriety, elegance, dignity, and diversity; in his language, uncommon beauty and energy; and, notwithstanding the obscurity of his subjects, a surprising degree of clearness and simplicity. To these we may add, that there is such sweetness in the poetical composition of his sentences, whether it proceed from art or genius, that, if the Hebrew poetry at present is possessed of any remains of its native grace and harmony, we shall chiefly find them in the writings of Isaiah: so that the saying of Ezekiel may most justly be applied to this prophet:—

"Thou art the confirmed exemplar of measures, Full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty."

 Ezekiel 28:12 .

Isaiah also greatly excels in all the graces of method, order, connection, and arrangement: though in asserting this we must not forget the nature of the prophetic impulse, which bears away the mind with irresistible violence, and frequently in rapid transitions from near to remote objects, from human to divine. We must likewise be careful in remarking the limits of particular predictions, since, as they are now extant, they are often improperly connected, without any marks of discrimination; which injudicious arrangement, on some occasions, creates almost insuperable difficulties.

Bishop Lowth has selected the thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth chapters of this prophet, as a specimen of the poetic style in which Isaiah delivers his predictions, and has illustrated at some length the various beauties which eminently distinguish the simple, regular, and perfect poem contained in those chapters. But the grandest specimen of his poetry is presented in the fourteenth chapter, which is one of the most sublime odes occurring in the Bible, and contains the noblest personifications to be found in the records of poetry. The prophet, after predicting the liberation of the Jews from their severe captivity in Babylon, and their restoration to their own country,  Ezekiel 28:1-3 , introduces a chorus of them, expressing their surprise and astonishment at the sudden downfall of Babylon, and the great reverse of fortune that had befallen the tyrant, who, like his predecessors, had oppressed his own, and harassed the neighbouring kingdoms. These oppressed kingdoms, or their rulers, are represented under the image of the fir trees and the cedars of Libanus, which is frequently used to express any thing in the political or religious world that is supereminently great and majestic: the whole earth shouts for joy; the cedars of Libanus utter a severe taunt over the fallen tyrant, and boast their security now he is no more,  Ezekiel 28:4-8 . This is followed,  Ezekiel 28:9 , by one of the boldest and most animated personifications of hades, or the regions of the dead, that was ever executed in poetry. Hades excites his inhabitants, the shades of princes, and the departed spirits of monarchs. These illustrious shades rise at once from their couches as from their thrones; and, advancing to the entrance of the cavern to meet the king of Babylon, they insult and deride him on being reduced to the same low state of impotence and dissolution with themselves,  Ezekiel 28:10-11 . The Jews now resume the speech,  Ezekiel 28:12; they address the king of Babylon as the morning star fallen from heaven, as the first in splendour and dignity, in the political world fallen from his high state: they introduce him as uttering the most extravagant vaunts of his power and ambitious designs in his former glory; these are strongly contrasted, in the close, with his present low and abject condition,  Ezekiel 28:13-15 . Immediately follows a different scene, and a most happy image, to diversify the same subject, and give it a new turn and additional force. Certain persons are introduced, who light upon the corpse of the king of Babylon, cast out and lying naked upon the bare ground, among the common slain, just after the taking of the city, covered with wounds, and so disfigured, that it is some time before they know him. They accost him with the severest taunts, and bitterly reproach him with his destructive ambition, and his cruel usage of the conquered; which have deservedly brought upon him this ignominious treatment, so different from what those of his high rank usually meet with, and which shall cover his posterity with disgrace,  Ezekiel 28:16-20 . To complete the whole, God is introduced, declaring the fate of Babylon; the utter extirpation of the royal family, and the total desolation of the city; the deliverance of his people, and the destruction of their enemies; confirming the irreversible decree by the awful sanction of his oath,  Ezekiel 28:21-26 . How forcible, says Bishop Lowth, is this imagery, how diversified, how sublime! How elevated the diction, the figures, the sentiments! The Jewish nation, the cedars of Lebanon, the ghosts of departed kings, the Babylonish monarch, the travellers who find his corpse, and last of all Jehovah himself, are the characters which support this beautiful lyric drama. One continued action is kept up, or rather, a series of interesting actions are connected together in an incomparable whole: this, indeed, is the principal and distinguished excellence of the sublimer ode, and is displayed in its utmost perfection in this poem of Isaiah, which may be considered as one of the most ancient, and certainly one of the most finished, specimens of that species of composition which has been transmitted to us. The personifications here are frequent, yet not confused; bold, yet not improbable; a free, elevated, and truly divine spirit pervades the whole; nor is there any thing wanting in this ode to defeat its claim to the character of perfect pathos and sublimity. There is not a single instance in the whole compass of Greek and Roman poetry which, in every excellence of composition, can be said to equal or even to approach it.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [5]

Isaiah . Of the four prophets of the 8th cent. b.c., some of whose prophecies are preserved in the OT, Isaiah appeared third in the order of time some twenty years after Amos preached at Bethel, and a few years after Hosea had begun, but before he had ceased, to prophesy. Isaiah’s prophetic career apparently began before, but closed after, that of Micah. Hosea was a native of the Northern Kingdom, and addressed himself mainly, if not exclusively, to his own people. Amos was a native of Judah, but prophesied in and to Israel; and thus Isaiah is the earliest of these four prophets who addressed himself primarily to Judah, and even he in his earlier years, like his fellow-countryman Amos, prophesied also against Israel (see   Isaiah 9:7 to   Isaiah 10:4;   Isaiah 5:26-30;   Isaiah 17:1-11 ).

Our knowledge of the life and teaching of Isaiah rests on the book that bears his name, which, however, is not a book compiled by him, but one containing, together with other matter, such of his prophecies as have been preserved, and narratives relating to him; see, in detail, next article.

Isaiah received the call to be a prophet ‘in the year that king Uzziah (or Azariah) died’ ( Isaiah 6:1 ). The year is not quite certain. If Azariah king of Judah and the Azriau king of Jaudi mentioned in Tiglath-pileser’s annals of the year 738 be identical, Isaiah’s call cannot be placed earlier than 738. But if the identification be not admitted, and it is by no means certain, his call may with more probability be placed a few years earlier. His activity extended at least down to the invasion of Sennacherib in 701, and some years later, if the theory be correct that chs. 36 39 refer to two invasions of Sennacherib, of which that in 701 was the first. In any case Isaiah’s public career covered at the least close on forty years, whence we may infer that, like Jeremiah (  Jeremiah 1:6 ), he became a prophet in early life. Unlike his contemporary Micah, his life, so far as we can trace it, was spent in Jerusalem. Not improbably he was a man of rank, at least he had easy access to the king (  Isaiah 7:1 ff.), and was on terms of intimacy with persons of high position (  Isaiah 8:2 ). His father’s name, Amoz , has in Hebrew no resemblance to that of the prophet Amos . Isaiah was married, and his wife is termed the prophetess (  Isaiah 8:3 ). Like Hosea, he gave to his children, Shear-jashub (  Isaiah 7:3 ) and Maher-shalai-hash-baz (  Isaiah 8:3 ), names which briefly stated characteristic elements in his teaching; his own name, though of a normal and frequent Hebrew type, also happened to have a significance (‘help of Jahweh’ or ‘Jahweh helps’) of which he could have made use; that he actually did so we may perhaps infer from   Isaiah 8:18 , if we do not rather interpret that statement, so far as Isaiah himself is concerned, of such symbolic conduct as that which he pursued when he went ‘half-clad and barefoot’ (ch. 20).

It is impossible either to construct a complete biography of the prophet or to trace with any elaboration developments in his thought and teaching. His prophecies have obviously not come down to us in chronological order, and many are without any clear indication of the date when they were delivered; any attempt to date accurately much of the material must therefore be exceedingly uncertain, and the numerous attempts that have been made naturally differ widely in their results. But there are four periods at which we can clearly trace the prophet and his thought or teaching: these are the time of his call, about b.c. 740 (ch. 6); of the Syro-Ephraimitish War (b.c. 735 734:  Isaiah 7:1 to   Isaiah 8:18 ); of the siege of Ashdod in b.c. 711 (ch. 20); and of the invasion of Sennacherib in b.c. 701 (chs. 36 39). The last-mentioned narratives are, however, of a later age than that of Isaiah, and require to be carefully used.

At the time of his call Isaiah became conscious that he was to be a teacher whose primary task was to warn his people of judgment to come, of judgment which was to issue in the extermination of his nation ( Isaiah 6:10-13 the last clause is absent from the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] , and probably not original). This judgment of Jahweh on His people was to be executed by means of Assyria, which, since the accession of Tiglath-pileser in 745, had entered on a course of conquest, and, as early as 740, had achieved marked success in Northern Syria. The causes of this coming judgment, Isaiah, like Amos before him, and not improbably in part owing to the influence on him of the teaching of Amos, found in the prevalent social and moral disorder (see e.g.   Isaiah 2:6 to   Isaiah 4:1 ,   Isaiah 5:8-24 for the kind of offences which he denounced), in the ingratitude ( e.g.   Isaiah 1:8 ,   Isaiah 5:1-7 ) of the people to Jahweh, and in their failure to trust Him or to understand that what He required was not sacrifice, which was offered by the people in wearisome abundance, but justice and humanity (cf. e.g.   Isaiah 1:2-31 ). In this teaching, as in his lofty conception of God, Isaiah did not fundamentally advance beyond the already lofty moral and religious standpoint of Amos and Hosea, though there are naturally enough differences in the details of the presentation. But, so far as we can see, he exercised a more direct, immediate, and decisive influence, owing to the fact that over a long period of years he was able to apply this teaching to the changing political conditions, insisting, for example, at the several political crises mentioned above, that the duty of Jahweh’s people was to trust in Jahweh, and not in political ailiances, whether with Assyria, Egypt, or Ethiopia (cf. e.g.   Isaiah 7:4-9;   Isaiah 7:20 , and [in b.c. 701]   Isaiah 30:1-6;   Isaiah 30:15 ,   Isaiah 31:1-3 ); and to the fact that from the first he set about the creation of a society of disciples who were to perpetuate his teaching (cf.   Isaiah 8:16 ).

Although judgment to come was the fundamental note of Isaiah’s teaching, there was another note that marked it from the outset: Israel-Judah was to perish, but a remnant was to survive. This at least seems to be the significance of the name of Shear-jashub , who must have been born very shortly after the call, since in 735 he was old enough to accompany his father on his visit to Ahaz (  Isaiah 7:3 ). Beyond the judgment, moreover, he looked forward to a new Jerusalem, righteous and faithful (  Isaiah 1:26 ). How much further was Isaiah’s doctrine of the future developed? Was he the creator of those ideas more particularly summed up in the term ‘Messianic,’ which exercised so powerful an influence in the later periods of Judaism, and which are doubtless among those most intimately connected with the prophet in the minds of the majority of students of the Bible? In particular, was the vision (  Isaiah 9:1-6 ) of the Prince of Peace with world-wide dominion his? Or, to take another detail, did he hold that Zion itself was invincible, even though hostile hosts should approach it? These are questions that have been raised and have not yet received a decisive answer. On the one hand, it is exceedingly probable that in the several collections of the ancient prophecies later passages of promise have in some instances been added to earlier prophecies of judgment; that later prophecy in general is fuller than the earlier of promises; and that several of the Messianic passages, in particular, in the Book of Isaiah, stand isolated and disconnected from passages which bear unmistakably the impress of Isaiah or his age. On the other hand, Isaiah’s belief in a remnant, which seems secured (apart from individual and perhaps doubtful passages) by the name of his son, forms a certain and perhaps a sufficient basis for the more elaborate details of the future. Further, from the very fact that they deal with the future, the passages in question, even if they were by Isaiah, might naturally bear less unmistakable evidence of their age than those which deal with the social and political conditions of his own time. And again, had Isaiah prophesied exclusively of judgment and destruction, we might have expected to find his name coupled with Micah’s in   Jeremiah 26:18 f.

G. B. Gray.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [6]

ISAIAH. —There are seven instances recorded in the Gospels in which Jesus quotes from the prophecies of Isaiah, besides numerous other cases in which His language is more or less manifestly reminiscent of expressions in the book. The most notable passages are two in which our Lord applies to Himself the terms used by the prophet of the Exile with regard to the Servant of Jehovah, viz.  Luke 4:16-22, where Jesus reads and expounds the words of  Isaiah 61:1-2; and  Luke 22:37, where He adopts as a prediction of His own experience a clause of  Isaiah 53:12. Our Lord thus plainly taught that, alike in the mission and in the vicarious suffering of the ideal Servant of Deutero-Isaiah, His own person and work were typified and foreshadowed. More general is the application of  Isaiah 6:9-10 to the people of His own time ( Matthew 13:14-15,  Mark 4:12,  Luke 8:10); and also His use of  Isaiah 29:13 of the Pharisees and scribes ( Matthew 15:7-9,  Mark 7:6-7). All three Synoptists record the quotation from  Isaiah 56:7 with which He rebuked the temple-traders ( Matthew 21:13 ||). St. John alone gives the quotation of a general character from  Isaiah 54:13 ( John 6:45), while St. Mark records an expression which manifestly comes from  Isaiah 66:24 ( Mark 9:48). In only three of the above seven cases is Isaiah mentioned by name, and in no case is there any indication that bears in the slightest degree upon the question as to the authorship of the various parts of the book.

In addition to these more direct references, there are many expressions in the discourses of Jesus in which we have echoes of Isaiah’s language. Our Lord’s mind was filled with the OT, and it was to be expected that His utterances should be cast in the mould, and often expressed in the very words, of psalm and prophecy. In  Matthew 5:34-35 we perceive a reminiscence of  Isaiah 66:1;  Matthew 21:33 ff., || at once suggests  Isaiah 5:1-2. Other less obvious instances are probably to be found in  Matthew 11:23 (cf.  Isaiah 14:13;  Isaiah 14:15)  Matthew 16:19 ( Isaiah 22:22)  Matthew 6:6 ( Isaiah 26:20); and various expressions in the eschatological discourses of Matthew 24 and Luke 21. To these others might possibly be added; but it is not warrantable to find in every case of verbal similarity a reference to, or even a reminiscence of, the words of the OT. But apart from doubtful cases, it will be seen that the Book of Isaiah, both in its earlier and in its later portions, is fully acknowledged and used in the teaching of Jesus.

It is not less so with the Evangelists themselves. All four quote  Isaiah 40:3 with regard to the mission of John the Baptist ( Matthew 3:3 and ||); while Mt., who uses the OT so largely in connexion with the ministry of Jesus, applies to His coming and mission the passages  Isaiah 7:14 ( Matthew 1:23)  Isaiah 9:1-2 ( Matthew 4:14-16)  Isaiah 53:4 ( Matthew 8:17)  Isaiah 42:1-4 ( Matthew 12:18-21). St. John ( John 12:38-41) quotes  Isaiah 53:1;  Isaiah 6:10 in reference to the rejection of Christ by the people; and the Synoptists all record the voice heard at the Baptism and the Transfiguration as using the language of  Isaiah 42:1.

As with the words of Jesus Himself, so, in the case of the Evangelists, no theory with regard to the actual authorship of any part of the book can claim to be supported by the manner of the references. ‘Isaiah,’ even when named, stands manifestly for the reputed author, and (as in  John 12:38) the mode of expression is naturally and rightly that popularly used and understood. No critical conclusions can be drawn from any of the references.

With regard to the original Messianic import of the passages applied in the Gospels to Jesus Christ and His work, there is no difficulty in those cases where the ‘Servant of Jehovah’ is identified with the Messiah. And even in such passages as  Isaiah 7:14;  Isaiah 9:1-2 quoted by Mt., we must recognize, beneath and beyond the immediate prophetic reference, an ideal element which permitted and justified the specific application by the Evangelist. Especially is this so with the prophetic conception of ‘Immanuel,’ an ideal figure in whom we find the earliest portraiture of the Messianic King ( Isaiah 7:14;  Isaiah 8:8;  Isaiah 8:10;  Isaiah 9:6-7). Though it might in some cases be without historical or critical exactitude (as in  Matthew 4:15-16 from  Isaiah 9:1-2), it was quite legitimate to find unexpected correspondences between the earlier and the later stages of Providence and Revelation, based on the deep underlying unity and consistency of the Divine purpose and methods.

J. E. M‘Ouat.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [7]

The son of Amoz, (not Amos,) one of the most distinguished of the Hebrew prophets. He began to prophesy at Jerusalem towards the close of the reign of Uzziah, about the year 759 B. C., and exercised the prophetical office some sixty years, under the three following monarchs, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah,  Isaiah 1:1 . Compare  2 Kings 15:1-20:21   2 Chronicles 26:1-32:33 . The first twelve chapters of his prophecies refer to the kingdom of Judah; then  Isaiah 13:1-23:18 , directed against foreign nations, except  Isaiah 22:1-23 , against Jerusalem. In  Isaiah 24:1-35:10 , which would seem to belong to the time of Hezekiah, the prophet appears to look forward in prophetic vision to the times of the exile and of the Messiah.  Isaiah 36:1-39:8 gives a historical account to Sennacherib's invasion, and of the advice given by Isaiah to Hezekiah. This account is parallel to that in   2 Kings 18:13-20:19; and indeed  Isaiah 37:1-38 is almost word for word with   2 Kings 19:1-37 . The remainder of the book of Isaiah,  Isaiah 40:1-66:24 , contains a series of oracles referring to the future times of temporal exile and deliverance, and expanding into glorious views of the spiritual deliverance to be wrought by the Messiah.

Isaiah seems to have lived and prophesied wholly at Jerusalem; and disappears from history after the accounts contained in  Isaiah 39:1-8 . A tradition among the Talmudist and fathers relates that he was sawn asunder during the reign of Manasseh,  Hebrews 11:37; and this tradition is embodied in an apocrtphal book, called the "ascension of Isaiah;" but it seems to rest on no certain grounds.

Some commentators have proposed to divide the book of Isaiah chronologically into three parts, as if composed under the three kings, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. But this is of very doubtful propriety; since several of the chapters are evidently transposed and inserted out of their chronological order. But a very obvious and striking division of the book into two parts exists; the first part, including  Isaiah 1:1-39:8 , and the second, the remainder of the book,  Isaiah 40:1-66:24 .

The first part is made up of those prophecies and historical accounts which Isaiah wrote during the period of his active exertions, when he mingled in the public concerns of the rulers and the people, and acted as the messenger of God to the nation in reference to their internal and external existing relations. These are single prophecies, published at different times, and on different occasions; afterwards, indeed, brought together into one collection, but still marked as distinct and single, either by the superscriptions, or in some other obvious and known method.

The second part, on the contrary, is occupied wholly with the future. It was apparently written in the later years of the prophet, when, having left all active exertions in the theocracy to his younger associates in the prophetical office, he transferred his contemplations for the present to that which was to come. In this part therefore, which was not, like the first, occasioned by external circumstance, it is not so easy to distinguish in like manner between the different single prophecies. The whole is more like a single gush of prophecy. The prophet first consoles his people by announcing their deliverance from the approaching Babylonish exile, which he had himself predicted,  Isaiah 39:6,7; he names the monarch whom Jehovah will send to punish the insolence of their oppressors, and lead back the people to their home. But he does not stop at this inferior deliverance. With the prospect of freedom from the Babylonish exile, he connects the prospect of deliverance from sin and error through the Messiah. Sometimes both objects seem closely interwoven with each other; sometimes one of them appears alone with particular clearness and prominency. Especially is the view of the prophet sometimes so exclusively directed upon the latter object, that, filled with the contemplation of the glory of the spiritual kingdom of God and of its exalted Founder, he loses sight for a time of the less distant future. In the description of this spiritual deliverance also, the relations of time are not observed. Sometimes the prophet beholds the Author of this deliverance in his humiliation and sorrows; and again, the remotest ages of the Messiah's kingdom present themselves to his enraptured vision-when man, so long estranged from God, will have again returned to him; when every thing opposed to God shall have been destroyed, and internal and external peace universally prevail; and when all the evil introduced by sin into the world, will be for ever done away. Elevated above all space and time, the prophet contemplates from the height on which the Holy Spirit has thus placed him, the whole development of the Messiah's kingdom, from its smallest beginnings to its glorious completion.

Isaiah is appropriately named "the evangelical prophet," and the fathers called his book "the Gospel according to St. Isaiah." In it the wonderful person and birth of "Emmanuel-God with us," his beneficent life, his atoning death, and his triumphant and everlasting kingdom, are minutely foretold,  Isaiah 7:14-16   9:6-7   11:1-10   32:1-20   42:1-25   49:1-26   52:13-15   53:1-12   60:1-21   61:1-3 . The simplicity, purity, sweetness, and sublimity of Isaiah, and the fullness of his predictions respecting the Messiah, give him the preeminence among the Hebrew prophets and poets.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [8]

Isaiah ( Î-Zâ'Yah or Î-Zä'Yah ), Salvation Of Jehovah. One of the great Hebrew prophets. Of Ms personal history very little is known. He was the son of Amoz,  Isaiah 1:1, whom rabbinical tradition represents as the brother of king Amaziah. He was married, his wife being called "the prophetess,"  Isaiah 8:3, not because she exercised the prophetic gift herself, but simply because she was married to a prophet. He had at least two sons, with symbolical names, Shear-jashub and Maher-shalalhash-baz.  Isaiah 7:3;  Isaiah 8:1-3. It is presumed that he ordinarily wore a hair-cloth garment,  Isaiah 20:2; but there is no reason for believing that he was an ascetic. He probably resided at Jerusalem, where he exercised his prophetic ministry during a long course of years. Isaiah prophesied under Uzziah, receiving the divine call in the last year of that monarch's reign,  Isaiah 6:1-13; and under the succeeding kings, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.  Isaiah 1:1. Whether he lived on into Manasseh's reign is uncertain. Jewish tradition asserts that he did, and that he was martyred by being sawn asunder; and this has been supposed to be alluded to in  Hebrews 11:37. Isaiah is the evangelist among the Old Testament prophets. He is more frequently quoted in the New Testament than any other. In him the Messianic prophecies reach their highest perfection. He draws the picture of the suffering and triumphing Saviour of Israel and the world, until at last he stands before us in unmistakable clearness and fulness. Isaiah is also one of the greatest of poets. "Everything conspired to raise him to an elevation to which no prophet, either before or after, could as writer attain. Among the other prophets each of the more important ones is distinguished by some one particular excellence and some one peculiar talent; in Isaiah all kinds of talent and all beauties of prophetic discourse meet together, so as mutually to temper and qualify each other; it is not so much any single feature that distinguishes him as the symmetry and perfection as a whole.... In the sentiment he expresses, in the topics of his discourses and in the manner, Isaiah uniformly reveals himself as the king prophet."— Ewald.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [9]

The prophet, the son of Amos. Highly, under God the Holy Ghost, is the church indebted to the ministry of this man. Amidst many events in this man's life, was that of this walking three years barefoot and naked. (See  Isaiah 20:2) Was not this also typical of Christ's three years ministry? His name signifies salvation of the Lord; from Jashah, salvation; and Jah, the Lord. I cannot forbear mentioning the commonly-received opinion, that Isaiah was sawn asunder, in the beginning of the reign of Manasseh, and that his body was buried near Jerusalem, under the fuller's oak near Siloam. And the tradition concerning this event is, that it was brought upon him by the event of his publishing his vision, ( Isaiah 6:1-13) in which he saith, "he saw the Lord sitting on a throne high and lifted up." Manasseh said, that this was blasphemy, as Moses had recorded the Lord's words,  Exodus 22:20. "No man shall see me and live."

Isaiah prophesied many years, not less than threescore, though some make his ministry to have extended to four-score. Who can read the prophecy of Isaiah without the most profound admiration! It is not only unequalled in point of language, but it contains so much of Christ, that it looks more like an history than a prophecy. It is more like the writings of a person who was present at Pilate's hall, and Herod's judgment-seat, when describing the sufferings of Jesus, than of one who wrote those events, by the spirit of prediction, more than seven hundred years before the things there spoken of came to pass. St. Jerom calls Isaiah's prophecy, an abridgment of the holy Scriptures. And Grotius prefers Isaiah to all the writers of Greece and Rome. But how truly blessed are the predictions of Isaiah to the believer who hath lived to see the whole fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Holy Ghost is led to discover not only the correspondence between them, but his own personal interest therein.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [10]

Isa'iah. Isaiah, the prophet, son of Amoz. The Hebrew name signifies Salvation of Jahu (a shortened form of Jehovah ). He prophesied concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah,  Isaiah 1:1, covering probably 758 to 698 B.C. He was married and had two sons. Rabbinical tradition says that Isaiah, when 90 years old, was sawn asunder in the trunk of a carob tree by order of Manasseh, to which, it is supposed, that reference is made in  Hebrews 11:37.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [11]

  •  Nehemiah 11:7 .

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Isaiah'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [12]

    Copyright StatementThese files are public domain. Bibliography InformationMcClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Isaiah'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [13]

    Isai´ah (help of Jehovah). The heading of this book places the prophet under the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah; and an examination of the prophecies themselves, independently of the heading, leads us to the same chronological results. Isaiah 6, in which is related the call of Isaiah, not to his prophetic office, but to a higher degree of it, is thus headed: 'In the year in which king Uzziah died I saw the Lord,' etc. The collection of prophecies is chronologically arranged, and the utterances in the preceding chapters (Isaiah 1-6) belong to an earlier period, preceding the last year of the reign of Uzziah. These two prophecies contain the sum and substance of what Isaiah taught during twenty years of his life.

    The continuation of prophetic authorship, or the writing down of uttered prophecies, depended upon the commencement of new historical developments, such as took place under the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah. Several prophecies in the seventh and following chapters belong to the reign of Ahaz; and most of the subsequent prophecies to the reign of Hezekiah. The prophetic ministry of Isaiah under Hezekiah is also described in an historical section contained in Isaiah 36-39. The data which are contained in this section come down to the fifteenth year of the reign of Hezekiah; consequently we are in the possession of historical documents proving that the prophetic ministry of Isaiah was in operation during about forty-seven or fifty years, commencing in the year B.C. 763 or 759, and extending to the year B.C. 713. Of this period, from one to four years belong to the reign of Uzziah, sixteen to the reign of Jotham, sixteen to the reign of Ahaz, and fourteen to the reign of Hezekiah.

    Some writers have advanced the opinion that Isaiah lived to a much later period, and that his life extended to the reign of Manasseh, the successor of Hezekiah. But their arguments will not stand a strict scrutiny. While, on the other hand, the inscription of the book itself shows that all the prophecies of Isaiah in our collection are included within the period from Uzziah to Hezekiah. Not one of the prophecies which are headed by an inscription of their own is placed after the fifteenth year of Hezekiah; and the internal evidence leads us in none beyond this period. Hence we infer that the prophetic ministry of Isaiah terminated soon after its fullest development, to which it attained during the period of the Assyrian invasion, in the reign of Hezekiah.

    According to these statements, Isaiah belongs to the cycle of the most ancient prophets whose predictions have been preserved in writing. He was a contemporary of Hosea, Amos, and Jonah, although younger than those prophets, who belonged to the kingdom of Israel. He was likewise a contemporary and co-worker of the prophet Micah in the kingdom of Judah. We infer also from the circumstance that the prophecies of Joel are inserted among the books of the Minor Prophets before those of Micah, that Isaiah must have been a contemporary of Joel, since the Minor Prophets are chronologically arranged.

    Little is known respecting the circumstances of Isaiah's life. His father's name was Amoz. The fathers of the church confound him with the prophet Amos, because they were unacquainted with Hebrew, and in Greek the two names are spelled alike. The opinion of the Rabbins, that Isaiah was a brother of King Amaziah, rests also on a mere etymological combination. Isaiah resided at Jerusalem, not far from the temple. We learn from Isaiah 7, 8 that he was married. Two of his sons are mentioned, Shear-Jashub and Maher-shalal-hash-baz [See the words]. Isaiah calls his wife a prophetess. This indicates that his marriage-life was not in opposition to his vocation, and also that it not only went along with his vocation, but that it was intimately interwoven with it. This name cannot mean the wife of a prophet, but indicates that the prophetess of Isaiah had a prophetic gift, like Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah. The appellation here given denotes the genuineness of their conjugal relation.

    Even the dress of the prophet was subservient to his vocation. According to , he wore a garment of hair-cloth or sackcloth. This seems also to have been the costume of Elijah, according to; and it was the dress of John the Baptist. Hairy sackcloth is in the Bible the symbol of repentance (compare , and ). This costume of the prophets was a prophetic preaching by fact. The prophetic preacher comes forward in the form of personified repentance. What he does exhibits to the people what they should do. Before he has opened his lips his external appearance proclaims, Repent.

    Besides the collection of prophecies which has been preserved to us, Isaiah also wrote two historical works, which did not originate from prophets.

    The first of these was a biography of King Uzziah (comp. ): 'Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, write.' The second historical work of Isaiah, was a biography of King Hezekiah, which was subsequently inserted in the annals of Judah and Israel. These annals consisted of a series of prophetic monographies, which were received partly entire, partly in abstracts, and are the chief source from which the information contained in the Chronicles is derived. In this work of Isaiah, although its contents were chiefly historical, numerous prophecies were inserted. Hence it is called in , The Vision of Isaiah. In a similar manner the biography of Solomon by Ahijah is called, in , 'the prophecy of Ahijah.' The two historical works of Isaiah were lost, together with the annals of Judah and Israel, into which they were embodied. Whatever these annals contained that was of importance for all ages, has been preserved to us by being received into the historical books of the Old Testament, and the predictions of the most distinguished prophets have been formed into separate collections. After this was effected, less care was taken to preserve the more diffuse annals, which also comprehended many statements, of value only for particular times and places.

    The Jewish synagogue, and the Christian church during all ages, have considered it as an undoubted fact that the prophecies which bear the name of Isaiah really originated from that prophet. But in the last quarter of the eighteenth century this prevailing conviction appeared to some divines to be inconvenient. In the theology of the natural man it passed as certain, that nature was complete in itself, and that prophecies, as well as miracles, never had occurred, and were even impossible. The assumption of the impossibility of miracles necessarily demanded that the genuineness of the Pentateuch should be rejected; and, in a similar manner, the assumption of the impossibility of prophecy demanded that a great portion of the prophecies of Isaiah should be rejected likewise. Here also the wish was father to the thought, and interest led to the decision of critical questions, the arguments for which were subsequently discovered. All those who attack the integral authenticity of Isaiah agree in considering the book to be an anthology, or gleanings of prophecies, collected after the Babylonian exile, although they differ in their opinions respecting the origin of this collection. Koppe gave gentle hints of this view, which was first explicitly supported by Eichhorn in his Introduction. Eichhorn advances the hypothesis that a collection of Isaiah prophecies (which might have been augmented, even before the Babylonian exile, by several not genuine additions) formed the basis of the present anthology, and that the collectors, after the Babylonian Exile, considering that the scroll on which they were written did not form a volume proportionate to the size of the three other prophetic scrolls, containing Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and the minor prophets, annexed to the Isaian collection all other oracles at hand whose authors were not known to the editors. Gesenius, on the contrary, maintained, in his introduction to Isaiah, that all the non-Isaian prophecies extant in that book originated from one author and were of the same date. Umbreit and Koster on the main point follow Gesenius. considering Isaiah 40-66 to be a continuous whole, written by a pseudo-Isaiah who lived about the termination of the Babylonian exile. In reference to other portions of the book of Isaiah, the authenticity of which has been questioned, Umbreit expresses himself doubtingly, and Koster assigns them to Isaiah. Gesenius declines to answer the question, how it happened that these portions were ascribed to Isaiah, but Hitzig felt that an answer to it might be expected. He accordingly attempts to explain why such additions were made to Isaiah and not to any of the other prophetical books, by the extraordinary veneration in which Isaiah was held. He says that the great authority of Isaiah occasioned important and distinguished prophecies to be placed in connection with his name. But he himself soon after destroys the force of this assertion by observing, that the great authority of Isaiah was especially owing to those prophecies which were falsely ascribed to him. A considerable degree of suspicion must, however, attach to the boasted certainty of such critical investigations, if we notice how widely these learned men differ in defining what is of Isaian origin and what is not, although they are all linked together by the same fundamental tendency and interest. There are very few portions in the whole collection whose authenticity has not been called in question by someone or other of the various impugners. The only portions left to Isaiah are;;;;; . All the other chapters are defended by some and rejected by others; they are also referred to widely different dates. In the most modern criticism, however, we observe an inclination again to extend the sphere of Isaiah authenticity as much as the dogmatic principle and system of the critics will allow. Modern criticism is inclined to admit the genuineness of Isaiah 1-23, with the only exception of the two prophecies against Babylon in Isaiah 13, 14, and in . Isaiah 28-33 are allowed to be Isaian by Ewald, Umbreit, and others.

    After this survey of the present state of the inquiry, we proceed to furnish, first, the external arguments for the integral authenticity of Isaiah.

    1. The most ancient testimony in favor of Isaiah's being the author of all the portions of the collection which bears his name, is contained in the heading of the whole , 'The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, kings of Judah.' It is here clearly stated that Isaiah was the author of the following prophecies, uttered during the reign of four successive kings. This inscription is of great importance, even if it originated not from Isaiah, but from a later compiler. If we adopt the latest date at which this compilation could have been made, we must fix it at the time of its reception into the canon in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. Consequently the compiler could not be separated by many years from the pseudo-Isaiah who is said to have prophesied just before Babylon was conquered, or who, according to most critics, wrote even after the fall of Babylon. It is not credible that a compiler living so near the times of the author, should have erroneously ascribed these prophecies to Isaiah, who lived so much earlier, especially if we bear in mind that this so-called pseudo-Isaiah must have been a very remarkable person in an age so devoid of the prophetic spirit as that in which he is said to have lived.

    It is still less credible that a pseudo-Isaiah should himself have fraudulently ascribed his prophecies to Isaiah. None of the adversaries of the authenticity of the book make such an assertion.

    If the compiler lived before the Exile, the inscription appears to be of still greater importance. That the collection was made so early is very likely, from the circumstance that Jeremiah and other prophets apparently made use of the prophecies of Isaiah. This fact indicates that the prophecies of Isaiah early excited a lively interest, and that the compiler must have lived at a period earlier than that which is ascribed to the pseudo-Isaiah himself. From all this we infer that the compiler lived before the Exile. The adversaries themselves felt the weight of this argument. They, therefore, attempted to remove it by various hypotheses, which received a semblance of probability from the circumstance that even the considerate Vitringa had called in question the authenticity of the heading. Vitringa conjectured that this heading belonged originally to the first chapter alone. He further conjectured that it originally contained only the words, prophecy of Isaiah, the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. The following words, he says, were added by the compiler, who enlarged the particular inscription of the first chapter to a general one of the whole collection. According to Vitringa the inscription does not suit the whole book, the contents of which are not confined to Judah and Jerusalem alone. But Judah and Jerusalem are always the chief subject, and, in a certain sense, the only subject of these prophecies; and there is no prophecy concerning other nations without a bearing upon the covenant-people. No prophet against foreign nations prophesied concerning them with the view to spread his predictions among them, because the mission of all prophets was to Israel. The predictions against foreign nations are intended to preserve the covenant-people from despair, and to strengthen their faith in the omnipotence and justice of their God. It is their object to annihilate all reliance upon political combinations and human confederacies. They are intended to lead Israel to the question, 'If they do these things in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?' But they are also designed to indicate the future conversion of the heathen, and to open to the view of the faithful the future glory of the kingdom of God, and its final victory over the kingdoms of this world; and thus to extirpate all narrow-minded nationality. God shall be revealed not only as Jehovah, but also as Elohim. His relation to Israel is misunderstood, if that relation is exclusively kept in view without any regard to the universe. Therefore the whole collection is justly entitled Prophecies concerning Judah and Jerusalem. No matter whether this inscription originated from Isaiah himself or from an ancient compiler.

    The inscription in Isaiah 1 has a general bearing upon the whole collection. Then follows the first portion, which contains, as it were, the general prophetic program. Thereupon follows a series of prophecies directly bearing upon Judah and Jerusalem, commencing again with a particular heading . To this succeeds a series of prophecies indirectly bearing upon Judah and Jerusalem, but directly upon foreign nations. The first of this series has again its own heading .

    Gesenius, advancing in the direction to which Vitringa had pointed, although he grants the integral authenticity of , nevertheless maintains that this heading belonged originally only to Isaiah 1-12, in which were contained genuine prophecies of Isaiah. To this collection, he asserts, were afterwards subjoined the anthologies contained in the following chapters, and the heading was then misunderstood as applying to the whole volume. This opinion is more in consistent than that of Vitringa, since there occur in the first twelve chapters two prophecies against foreign nations; one against the Assyrians, in Isaiah 10, and another against Ephraim, in Isaiah 9.

    Vitringa, Gesenius, and their followers, are also refuted by the parallel passage in the heading of Amos, 'The words of Amos, which he saw concerning Israel.' The prophecies of Amos in general are here said to be concerning Israel, although there are, as in Isaiah, several against foreign nations, a series of which stands even at the commencement of the book. To this we may add the similarity of the headings of other prophetical books. For instance, the commencement of Jeremiah, Hosea, Micah, and Zephaniah.

    2. It cannot be proved that there ever existed any so-called prophetic anthology as has been supposed to exist, in the book of Isaiah. We find nothing analogous in the whole range of prophetic literature. It is generally granted that the collections bearing the names of Jeremiah and Ezekiel contain only productions of those authors whose name they bear. In the book of the Minor Prophets, the property of each is strictly distinguished from the rest by headings. The authenticity of only the second portion of Zechariah has been attacked; and this with very feeble arguments, which have been refuted.

    But even if it could be proved that the prophecies of Zechariah belonged to two different authors, namely, as Bertholdt and Gesenius suppose, to the two Zechariahs, each of whom happened to be the son of a Berechiah, this identity of names might be considered an inducement for uniting the productions of the two authors in one collection: still this case would not be analogous to what is asserted to be the fact in Isaiah. In Isaiah it is alleged not only that a series of chapters belonging to a different author were subjoined, commencing about Isaiah 34; but it is affirmed that, even in the first thirty-three chapters, the genuine and spurious portions are intermixed. Before we admit that the compilers proceeded here in a manner so unreasonable and so contrary to their usual custom, we must expect some cogent proof to be adduced, but instead of this, nothing but bald conjecture and feeble illustrations have been offered.

    3. According to the opinion of several critics, all the spurious portions of Isaiah belong to one and the same author. But it so happens that the portion which is most emphatically declared to be spurious, namely, Isaiah 13, 14, bear an inscription which expressly ascribes them to Isaiah. Now, as the internal arguments against the authenticity of all the portions which are said to be spurious are nearly identical, if the opposition to Isaiah 13, 14 is given up, it cannot with consistency be maintained against the other portions. This argument serves also as an answer to those who ascribe the portions which they consider spurious to several authors. The contents of these portions are similar. They contain predictions of the fall of Babylon, and of the redemption of Israel from captivity. Whatever proves the genuineness of one of these portions, indirectly proves the others also to be genuine.

    4. According to Josephus (Antiq. xi. 1, 1-2), Cyrus was induced by the prophecies of Isaiah respecting him to allow the return of the Jews, and to aid them in rebuilding the temple. The credibility of Josephus, who in regard to facts of ancient history is not always to be relied upon, is here supported by two circumstances. First, the favor shown by Cyrus to the Jews, which remains inexplicable except by the fact mentioned, in combination with the influence of Daniel. In modern times, the favor of Cyrus to the Jews has been called a prudential measure; but it does not appear what he could either hope or fear from a people so enfeebled as the Jews were at that period. It has been added that Cyrus was favorable to the Jews on account of the similarity between the Persian and the Jewish religion; but there is no historical proof that the Persians, on any other occasion, favored the Jews on account of their religion. The favors shown to Nehemiah on behalf of Israel were only personal favors, owing to his position at the Persian court. We allow that all this would be insufficient to prove the correctness of the above statement in Josephus, but it must render us inclined to admit its truth.

    The second argument is much stronger: it is, that the statement of Josephus is supported by the edict of Cyrus (Ezra 1). This edict presupposes the fact related by Josephus, so that Jahn calls the passage in Josephus a commentary on the first chapter of Ezra, in which we read that Cyrus announces in his edict that he was commanded by Jehovah to build him a temple in Jerusalem, and that he received all the conquered kingdoms of the earth as a gift from Jehovah. This cannot refer to any other predictions of the prophet, but only to what are called the spurious portions of Isaiah, in which the Lord grants to Cyrus all his future conquests, and appoints him to be the restorer of his temple (comp.;;;; ). The edict adopts almost the words of these passages. In reply to this, our adversaries assert that Cyrus was deceived by pseudo-prophecies forged in the name of Isaiah; but if Cyrus could be deceived in so clumsy a manner, he was not the man that history represents him; and to have committed forgery is so contrary to what was to be expected from the author of Isaiah 40-66, that even the feelings of our opponents revolt at the supposition that the pseudo-Isaiah should have forged prophecies after the event in the name of the prophets.

    5. Again, the most ancient production of Jewish literature after the completion of the canon, furnishes proof of the integral authenticity of Isaiah. The book of Jesus Sirach, commonly called Ecclesiasticus, was written as early as the third century before Christ, as Hug has clearly demonstrated, in opposition to those who place it in the second century before Christ. In , Isaiah is thus praised: 'For Hezekiah had done the thing that pleased the Lord, and was strong in the ways of David his father, as Isaiah the prophet, who was great and faithful in his vision, had commanded him. In his time the sun went backward, and he lengthened the king's life. He saw by an excellent spirit what should come to pass at the last, and he comforted them that mourned in Sion. He showed what should come to pass forever, and secret things or ever they came.'

    This commendation especially refers, as even Gesenius grants, to the disputed portions of the prophet, in which we find predictions of the most distant futurity. The comfort for Zion is found more particularly in the second part of Isaiah, which begins with the words 'Comfort ye, comfort ye my people.' The author of this second part himself says , 'I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I showed them.' Thus we perceive that Jesus Sirach, the learned scribe, confidently attributes the debated passages to Isaiah in such a manner as plainly indicates that there was no doubt in his days respecting the integral authenticity of that book, which has the testimony of historical tradition in its favor. Jesus Sirach declares his intention (Sirach 44-50) to praise the most celebrated men of his nation. The whole tenor of these chapters shows that he does not confine himself to celebrated authors. We therefore say that the praise which he bestows upon Isaiah is not intended for the book personified, but for the person of the prophet. If Jesus Sirach had entertained doubts respecting the genuineness of those prophecies on which, in particular, he bases his praise, he could not have so lauded the prophet.

    In the Jewish synagogue the integral authenticity of Isaiah has always been recognized. This general recognition cannot be accounted for except by the power of tradition based upon truth; and it is supported as well by the New Testament, in which Isaiah is quoted as the author of the whole collection which bears his name, as also by the express testimony of Josephus, especially in his Antiquities (x. 2, 2 and xi. 1, 1). After such confirmation it would be superfluous to mention the Talmudists.

    Thus we have seen that we possess a series of external arguments in favor of the integral authenticity of Isaiah. Each of these arguments is of importance, and, in their combination, they have a weight which could only be counterbalanced by insurmountable difficulties in the contents of these prophecies; and it has been clearly shown that there are no such difficulties, and that the internal arguments unite with the external in demonstrating the authenticity of Isaiah as a whole.

    No definite account respecting the method pursued in collecting into books the utterances of the Prophets has been handed down to us. Concerning Isaiah, as well as the rest, these accounts are wanting. We do not even know whether he collected his prophecies himself. But we have no decisive argument against this opinion. The argument of Kleinert, in his above-mentioned work (p. 112), is of slight importance. He says, If Isaiah himself had collected his prophecies, there would not be wanting some which are not to be found in the existing book. To this we reply that it can by no means be proved, with any degree of probability, that a single prophecy of Isaiah has been lost, the preservation of which would have been of importance to posterity, and which Isaiah himself would have deemed it necessary to preserve. Kleinert appeals to the fact that there is no prophecy in our collection which can with certainty: be ascribed to the days of Jotham; and he thinks it incredible that the prophet, soon after having been consecrated to his office, should have passed full sixteen years without any revelation from God. This, certainly, is unlikely; but it is by no means unlikely that during this time he uttered no prophecy which he thought proper to preserve. Nay, it appears very probable, if we compare the rather general character of the chapters of Isaiah 1-5, the contents of which would apply to the days of Jotham also, since during his reign no considerable changes took place; consequently the prophetic utterances moved in the same sphere with those preserved to us from the reign of Uzziah. Hence it was natural that Isaiah should confine himself to the communication of some important prophetic addresses, which might as well represent the days of Jotham as those of the preceding reign. We must not too closely identify the utterances of the prophets with their writings. Many prophets have spoken much and written nothing. The Minor Prophets were generally content to write down the quintessence alone of their numerous utterances. Jeremiah likewise, of his numerous addresses under Josiah, gives us only what was most essential.

    To us it seems impossible that Isaiah left it to others to collect his prophecies into a volume, because we know that he was the author of historical works; and it is not likely that a man accustomed to literary occupation would have left to others to do what he could do much better himself.

    Hitzig has of late recognized Isaiah as the collector and arranger of his own prophecies. But he supposes that a number of pieces were inserted at a later period. The chronological arrangement of these prophecies is a strong argument in favor of the opinion that Isaiah himself formed them into a volume. There is no deviation from this arrangement, except in a few instances where prophecies of similar contents are placed together; but there is no interruption which might appear attributable to either accident or ignorance. There is not a single piece in this collection which can satisfactorily be shown to belong to another place. All the portions, the date of which can be ascertained either by external or internal reasons, stand in the right place. This is generally granted with respect to the first twelve chapters, although many persons erroneously maintain that Isaiah 6 should stand at the beginning.

    Chapters of Isaiah 1-5 belong to the later years of Uzziah; Isaiah 6, to the year of his death. What follows next, up to chapter of , belongs to the reign of Ahaz. Isaiah 10-12 is the first portion appertaining to the reign of Hezekiah. Then follows a series of prophecies against foreign nations, in which, according to the opinions of many, the chronological arrangement has been departed from, and, instead of it, an arrangement according to contents has been adopted. But this is not the case. The predictions against foreign nations are also in their right chronological place. They all belong to the reign of Hezekiah, and are placed together because, according to their dates, they belong to the same period. In the days of Hezekiah the nations of Western Asia, dwelling on the banks of the Euphrates and Tigris, more and more resembled a threatening tempest. That the prophecies against foreign nations belong to this period is indicated by the home-prophecy in Isaiah 22, which stands among the foreign prophecies. The assertion that the first twelve chapters are a collection of home-prophecies is likewise refuted by the fact that there occur in these chapters two foreign prophecies. The prophetic gift of Isaiah was more fully unfolded in sight of the Assyrian invasion under the reign of Hezekiah. Isaiah, in a series of visions, describes what Assyria would do, as a chastising rod in the hand of the Lord, and what the successors of the Assyrians, the Chaldees, would perform, according to the decree of God, in order to realize divine justice on earth, as well among Israel as among the heathen. The prophet shows that mercy is hidden behind the clouds of wrath. There is no argument to prove that the great prophetic picture in Isaiah 24-27 was not depicted under Hezekiah. Isaiah 28-33 manifestly belong to the same reign, but somewhat later than the time in which Isaiah 10-12 were written. They were composed about the time when the result of the war against the Assyrians was decided. With the termination of this war terminated also the public life of Isaiah, who-added an historical section in Isaiah 36-39, in order to facilitate the right understanding of the prophecies uttered by him during the most fertile period of his prophetic ministry. Then follows the conclusion of his work on earth. The second part, which contains his prophetic legacy, is addressed to the small congregation of the faithful, strictly so called. This part is analogous to the last speeches of Moses in the fields of Moab, and to the last speeches of Christ in the circle of his disciples, related by John. Thus we have everywhere order, and such an order as could scarcely have proceeded from anyone but the author.

    It was not the vocation of the prophets to change anything in the religious constitution of Moses, which had been introduced by divine authority; and they were not called upon to substitute anything new in its place. They had only to point out the new covenant to be introduced by the Redeemer, and to prepare the minds of men for the reception of it. They themselves in all their doings were subject to the law of Moses. They were destined to be extraordinary ambassadors of God, whose reign in Israel was not a mere name, not a mere shadow of earthly royalty, but rather its substance and essence. They were to maintain the government of God, by punishing all, both high and low, who manifested contempt of the Lawgiver by offending against his laws. It was especially their vocation to counteract the very ancient delusion, according to which an external observance of rites was deemed sufficient to satisfy God. This opinion is contrary to many passages of the law itself, which admonish men to circumcise the heart, and represent the sum of the entire law as consisting in loving God with the whole heart; which make salvation to depend upon being internally turned towards God, and which condemn not only the evil deed, but also the wicked desire. The law had, however, at the first assumed a form corresponding to the wants of the Israelites, and in accordance with the symbolical spirit of antiquity. But when this form, which was destined to be the living organ of the Spirit, was changed into a corpse by those who were themselves spiritually dead, it offered a point of coalescence for the error of those who contented themselves with external observances.

    The prophets had also to oppose the delusion of those who looked upon the election of the people of God as a preservative against the divine judgments; who supposed that their descent from the patriarchs, with whom God had made a covenant, was an equivalent for the sanctification which they wanted. Even Moses had strongly opposed this delusion; for instance, in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 32. David also, in the Psalms, as in Psalms 15, 24, endeavors to counteract this error, which again and again sprang up. It was the vocation of the prophets to insist upon genuine piety, and to show that a true attachment to the Lord necessarily manifests itself by obedience to his precepts; that this obedience would lead to happiness, and disobedience to misfortune and distress. The prophets were appointed to comfort the faint-hearted, by announcing to them the succor of God, and to bring glad tidings to the faithful, in order to strengthen their fidelity. They were commissioned to invite the rebellious to return, by pointing out to them future salvation, and by teaching them that without conversion they could not be partakers of salvation; and in order that their admonitions and rebukes, their consolations and awakenings, might gain more attention, it was granted to them to behold futurity, and to foresee the blessings and judgments which would ultimately find their full accomplishment in the days of Messiah. In , where the Lord says, 'I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him,' we have a description of the prophetical calling, and also a statement of the contents of the prophecies of Isaiah. He refers expressly in many places to the basis of the ancient covenant, that is, to the law of Moses; for instance, in;; . In many other passages his utterance rests on the same basis, although he does not expressly state it. All his utterances are interwoven with references to the law. It is of importance to examine at least one chapter closely, in order to understand how prophecies are related to the law. Let us take as an example the first. The beginning, 'Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth,' is taken from Deuteronomy 32. Thus the prophet points out that his prophecies are a commentary upon the Magna Charta of prophetism contained in the books of Moses. During the prosperous condition of the state under Uzziah and Jotham, luxury and immorality had sprung up. The impiety of Ahaz had exercised the worst influence upon the whole people. Great part of the nation had forsaken the religion of their fathers and embraced gross idolatry; and a great number of those who worshipped God externally had forsaken Him in their hearts. The divine judgments were approaching. The rising power of Assyria was appointed to be the instrument of divine justice. Among the people of God internal demoralization was always the forerunner of outward calamity. This position of affairs demanded an energetic intervention of prophetism. Without prophetism the number of the elect would have been constantly decreasing, and even the judgments of the Lord, if prophetism had not furnished their interpretation, would have been mere facts, which would have missed their aim, and, in many instances, might have had an effect opposite to that which was intended, because punishment which is not recognized to be punishment, necessarily leads away from God. The prophet attacks the distress of his nation, not at the surface, but at the root, by rebuking, the prevailing corruption. Pride and arrogance, appear to him to be the chief roots of all sins.

    He inculcates again and again not to rely upon the creature, but upon the Creator, from whom all temporal and spiritual help proceeds; that in order to attain salvation, we should despair of our own and all human power, and rely upon God. He opposes those who expected help through foreign alliances with powerful neighboring nations against foreign enemies of the state.

    The people of God have only one enemy, and one ally, that is, God. It is foolish to seek for aid on earth against the power of heaven, and to fear man if God is our friend. The panacea against all distress and danger is true conversion. The politics of the prophets consist only in pointing out this remedy. The prophet connects with his rebuke and with his admonition, his threatenings of divine judgment upon the stiff-necked. These judgments are to be executed by the invasion of the Syrians, the oppression of the Assyrians, the Babylonian exile, and by the great final separation in the times of the Messiah. The idea which is the basis of all these threatenings, is pronounced even in the Pentateuch , 'I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified;' and also in the words of Amos , 'You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.' That is, if the people do not voluntarily glorify God, He glorifies Himself against them. Partly in order to recall the rebellious to obedience, partly to comfort the faithful, the prophet opens a prospect of those blessings which the faithful portion of the covenant people shall inherit. In almost all prophetic utterances, we find in regular succession three elements—rebuke, threatening, and promise. The prophecies concerning the destruction of powerful neighboring states, partly belong, as we have shown, to the promises, because they are intended to prevent despair, which, as well as false security, is a most dangerous hindrance to conversion.

    In the direct promises of deliverance the purpose to comfort is still more evident. This deliverance refers either to burdens which pressed upon the people in the days of the prophet, or to burdens to come, which were already announced by the prophet; such, for instance, were the oppressions of the Syrians, the Assyrians, and finally, of the Chaldeans

    The proclamation of the Messiah is the inexhaustible source of consolation among the prophets. In Isaiah this consolation is so clear that some fathers of the church were inclined to style him rather evangelist than prophet.

    Isaiah, however, was not the first who attained to a knowledge of the personality of Messiah. Isaiah's vocation was to render the knowledge of this personality clearer and more definite, and to render it more efficacious upon the souls of the elect by giving it a greater individuality. The person of the Redeemer is mentioned even in , 'The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh (the tranquillizer) come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be' (i.e. Him shall the nations obey). The personality of Messiah occurs also in several psalms which were written before the times of Isaiah; for instance, in Psalms 2, 110, by David; in Psalms 45, by the sons of Korah; in Psalms 72, by Solomon. Isaiah has especially developed the perception of the prophetic and the priestly office of the Redeemer, while in the earlier annunciations of the Messiah the royal office is more prominent; although in Psalms 110 the priestly office also is pointed out. Of the two states of Christ, Isaiah has expressly described that of the exinanition of the suffering Christ, while, before him, his state of glory was made more prominent. In the Psalms the inseparable connection between justice and suffering, from which the doctrine of a suffering Messiah necessarily results, is not expressly applied to the Messiah. We must not say that Isaiah first perceived that the Messiah was to suffer, but we must grant that this knowledge was in him more vivid than in any earlier writer; and that this knowledge was first shown by Isaiah to be an integral portion of Old Testament doctrine.

    The following are the outlines of Messianic prophecies in the book of Isaiah:—A scion of David, springing from his family, after it has fallen into a very low estate, but being also of divine nature, shall, at first in lowliness, but as a prophet filled with the Spirit of God, proclaim the divine doctrine, develop the law in truth, and render it the animating principle of national life; he shall, as high-priest, by his vicarious suffering and his death, remove the guilt of his nation, and that of other nations, and finally rule as a mighty king, not only over the covenant-people, but over all nations of the earth who will subject themselves to his peaceful scepter, not by violent compulsion, but induced by love and gratitude. He will make both the moral and the physical consequences of sin to cease; the whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and all enmity, hatred, and destruction shall be removed even from the brute creation. This is the survey of the Messianic preaching by Isaiah, of which he constantly renders prominent those portions which were most calculated to impress the people under the then existing circumstances. The first part of Isaiah is directed to the whole people, consequently the glory of the Messiah is here dwelt upon. The fear lest the kingdom of God should be overwhelmed by the power of heathen nations, is removed by pointing out the glorious king to come, who would elevate the now despised and apparently mean kingdom of God above all the kingdoms of this world. In the second part, which is more particularly addressed to the elect, than to the whole nation, the prophet exhibits the Messiah more as a divine teacher and high priest. The prophet here preaches righteousness through the blood of the servant of God, who will support the weakness of sinners and take upon Himself their sorrows.

    We may show, by an example, in , that the views of futurity which were granted to Isaiah were great and comprehensive, and that the Spirit of God raised him above all narrow-minded nationality. It is there stated that a time should come when all the heathen, subdued by the judgments of the Lord, should be converted to Him, and being placed on an equality with Israel, with equal laws, would equally partake of the kingdom of God, and form a brotherly alliance for His worship. Not the whole mass of Israel is destined, according to Isaiah, to future salvation, but only the small number of the converted. This truth he announces most definitely in the sketch of his prophecies contained in Isaiah 6.

    Isaiah describes with equal vivacity the divine justice which punishes the sins of the nation with inexorable severity. 'Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Sabaoth,' is the key-note of his prophecies. He describes also the divine mercy and covenant-fidelity, by which there is always preserved a remnant among the people: to them punishment itself is a means of salvation, so that life everywhere proceeds from death, and the congregation itself is led to full victory and glory.

    Isaiah saw the moral and religious degradation of his people, and also its external distress, both then present and to come (Isaiah 6). But this did not break his courage; he confidently expected a better futurity, and raised himself in God above all that is visible. Isaiah is not afraid when the whole nation and its king tremble. Of this we see a remarkable instance in Isaiah 7, and another in the time of the Assyrian invasion under Hezekiah, during which the courage of his faith rendered him the savior of the commonwealth, and the originator of that great religious revival which followed the preservation of the state. The faith of the king and of the people was roused by that of Isaiah.

    Isaiah stands pre-eminent above all other prophets, as well in the contents and spirit of his predictions, as also in their form and style. Simplicity, clearness, sublimity, and freshness, are the never-failing characters of his prophecies. Even Eichhorn mentions, among the first merits of Isaiah, the concinnity of his expressions, the beautiful outline of his images, and the fine execution of his speeches. In reference to richness of imagery he stands between Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Symbolic actions, which frequently occur in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, seldom occur in Isaiah. The same is the case with visions, strictly so called, of which there is only one, namely, that in Isaiah 6; and even it is distinguished by its simplicity and clearness above that of the later prophets. But one characteristic of Isaiah is, that he likes to give signs—that is, a fact then present, or near at hand—as a pledge for the more distant futurity; and that he thus supports the feebleness of man (comp.;; sqq.). The instances in Isaiah 7 and Isaiah 38 show how much he was convinced of his vocation, and in what intimacy he lived with the Lord, by whose assistance alone he could effect what He offers to do in the one passage, and what He grants in the other. The spiritual riches of the prophet are seen in the variety of his style, which always befits the subject. When he rebukes and threatens, it is like a storm, and when he comforts, his language is as tender and mild as (to use his own words) that of a mother comforting her son. With regard to style, Isaiah is comprehensive, and the other prophets divide his riches.

    Isaiah enjoyed an authority proportionate to his gifts. We learn from history how great this authority was during his life, especially under the reign of Hezekiah. Several of his most definite prophecies were fulfilled while he was yet alive; for instance, the overthrow of the kingdoms of Syria and Israel; the invasion of the Assyrians, and the divine deliverance from it; the prolongation of life granted to Hezekiah; and several predictions against foreign nations. Isaiah is honorably mentioned in the historical books. The later prophets, especially Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, clearly prove that his book was diligently read, and that his prophecies were attentively studied.

    The authority of the prophet greatly increased after the fulfillment of his prophecies by the Babylonian exile, the victories of Cyrus, and the deliverance of the covenant-people. Even Cyrus (according to the above-mentioned account in Josephus, Antiq. xi. 1, 1-2) was induced to set the Jews at liberty by the prophecies of Isaiah concerning himself. This prediction of Isaiah made so deep an impression upon him that he probably took from it the name by which he is generally known in history. Jesus Sirach bestows splendid praise upon Isaiah, and both Philo and Josephus speak of him with great veneration. He attained the highest degree of authority after the times of the New Testament had proved the most important part of his prophecies, namely, the Messianic, to be divine. Christ and the Apostles quote no prophecies so frequently as those of Isaiah, in order to prove that He who had appeared was one and the same with Him who had been promised. The fathers of the church abound in praises of Isaiah.

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [14]

    Sennacherib made two attempts in 701 bc to reduce Jerusalem: one from Lachish with an army headed by the Rabshakeh ( Isaiah 36:2 through 37:8), and another from Libnah with a threat conveyed by messengers (  Isaiah 37:9 ). The brief section contained in  2 Kings 18:14-16 is omitted from between   2 Kings 18:1 and   2 Kings 18:2 of Isa 36, because it was not the prophet's aim at this time to recount the nation's humiliation. Isaiah's last "word" concerning Assyria (  Isaiah 37:21-35 ) is one of the prophet's grandest predictions. It is composed of three parts: (1) a taunt-song, in elegiac rhythm, on the inevitable humiliation of Sennacherib ( Isaiah 37:22-29 ); (2) a short poem in different rhythm, directed to Hezekiah, in order to encourage his faith ( Isaiah 37:30-32 ); (3) a definite prediction, in less elevated style, of the sure deliverance of Jerusalem (James M.A. DD General Editor. Entry for 'Isaiah'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.Copyright Statement These files are public domain and were generously provided by the folks at WordSearch Software. Bibliography Information Orr

    The Nuttall Encyclopedia [15]

    One of the great Hebrew prophets, the son of one Amoz; was a citizen of Jerusalem, evidently of some standing, and who flourished between 750 and 700 B.C.; like Amos ( q. v .), he foresaw the judgment that was coming on the nation for its unfaithfulness, but felt assured that God would not altogether forsake His people, and that "a remnant," God's elect among them, would be saved—that though the casket would be shat tered in pieces, the jewel it contained would be preserved. See Hebrew Prophecy .