How Jesus Christ viewed the Book of Isaiah, Part 1
How Jesus Christ viewed the Book of Isaiah, Part 1 (Chapters 1 through 39) (Feb 99)
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! (NKJ)
Therefore the LORD said: "Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men, Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work among this people, a marvelous work and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden." (NKJ)
There are many today who, like the Levites and Pharisees, treat the scriptures as if they were an idol in order to exercise an financially profitable form of ideological "mind control" over their human "flock" rather than teaching the Kingdom of God as taught by Jesus Christ. Such people boldly proclaim that the entire Book of Isaiah was written by the Isaiah (son of Amoz) who wrote and preached during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. However, the texts in the Book of Isaiah fail to support such claims. Even though the Babylonian empire would not become large enough to be a threat to Judea until nearly a century after the original Isaiah died, such people attribute the concern and knowledge about the Babylonian Empire displayed in various portions of the book to the original Isaiah based on what they claim were "supernatural revelations from God." Of course, there is no way to prove that God did NOT in fact provide the original Isaiah with such supernatural revelations, but there is a simpler explanation for how the Book of Isaiah came about that is far more in conformance with the way God normally operates. That fact is: nobody today can conclusively prove WHEN various portions of the Book of Isaiah were actually written or compiled, nor can anyone conclusively prove how many different authors and editors took part in writing the book.
As I will show in this article, when we examine these texts HONESTLY from the point of view of God's two most fundamental commandments (Matt 22:37-40), we can see that there is ample evidence indicating that the Book of Isaiah as we presently know it was probably composed/compiled after end of the Babylonian exile (perhaps by the authors listed in Ezra 10:15). You don't need to be a "genius" or have a Doctor of Divinity Degree to recognize these things. You just need to be honest. It also helps to have a computerized scripture-scanning program like the Biblesoft (tm) program that I've been using. I have no doubt that many of today's Biblical scholars could use my "line of reasoning" and do an even better job of this than what I've done here. But as far as I've been able to determine, none of them have ever seriously tried to interpret Isaiah in a way that conforms with Matthew 22:37-40.
Anyhow, it appears that those post-exile authors incorporated some texts that may have been written by the original Isaiah along with other texts that were written at least 80 years later by an "Isaiah" who experienced the fall of Judea and the Babylonian exile, and they also added a considerable amount of text and editing of their own. In many cases, they embellished the writings of the earlier Isaiahs in order to make their major themes appear to run consistently throughout the entire book. The name "Isaiah" means "Jehovah saves" which is indeed one of the central themes they sought to emphasize throughout the book, so the title "Isaiah" may also be viewed as a generic name for this particular collection of texts.
For the purposes of this article (and in later articles on this web site), I shall refer to theses three authors or groups of authors as follows:
Isaiah-1: This Isaiah, son of Amoz, who wrote and preached during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Like Jesus Christ, he clearly recognized some serious problems with the teachings and practices of the (Levite) religious establishment of his day, and he wasn't afraid to focus public attention on those problems.
Isaiah-2: This "Isaiah" evidently experienced the fall of Judea, became and exile in Babylon, and may have lived to see the fall of Babylon as well. Like his predecessor, his view of God was strongly monotheistic, but his views and teachings were tainted considerably by a less-than-godly desire to see vengeance wrought upon the past and present "enemies" of Judea. He may even have been the author of vengeful Psalm 137.
Isaiah-3. This post-exile "Isaiah" represents one or more persons who evidently worked as scribes under the rule of Ezra and Nehemiah. Their writings indicate that they seriously disagreed with the Levite-like teachings of Ezra and Nehemiah (including their claims about representing God). Their most prominent (and un-Levite-like) theme was that anyone can communicate with God directly (in effect by following God's two most fundamental commandments) without a need for a Levite priest to act as an intermediary.
For each chapter in Isaiah, I will indicate my own impression as to who actually wrote what (and why).
Also, for brevity, I shall use "Moses-1" to denote the Moses of Exodus and Numbers up to the time he began wearing a "veil" and possibly including some that "veil time" as well. I shall use "Moses-2" to denote what appears to have been a Levite imposter who at some point replaced the original Moses under that veil. I make this distinction, because at some point after "Moses" began wearing that veil, his teachings and decisions began to stray significantly AWAY from following God's two most fundamental commandments. I find it hard to believe that the original Moses would have done that (unless, perhaps, he was hopelessly senile for at least 20 years).
As you will also see, this way of viewing the Book of Isaiah leads to observations and conclusions that are quite different from the traditional observations and conclusions made by Biblical commentators who for centuries have presumed that the concept of national sovereignty is more "holy" than God Himself.
Some commentators have also pointed out an interesting parallel between the Book of Isaiah and the Bible itself. The Bible has 66 books: 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. The Book of Isaiah has 66 chapters: the first 39 chapters are often attributed to the "first Isaiah" and seem to correspond to Old Testament views of the world; the remaining 27 chapters are often attributed to a "second Isaiah" and seem to correspond to New Testament views of the world. As we will see, the division (in terms of authorship and views of the world expressed in the Book of Isaiah) is far less "clean" than that. Nevertheless, I've decided to use that division to avoid creating an article that would be too unbearably long to read. For Part I, we will review chapters 1-39, which still makes for a lengthy article, but I believe you will find this review to be quite insightful and worth your while to read.
As with my earlier reviews of 1st and 2nd Kings, my own comments will be in [brackets] prefixed with an indication of whether my comments are from the often satanically inspired first-heaven (1-hvn), God-inspired second-heaven (2-hvn), or God-inspired allegorical third-heaven (3-hvn) point of view. If you haven't already read my description of these three points at the beginning of my Nov 98 review of 2nd Kings, I recommend you do so now before proceeding. As before, the translation I am using is the New King James (NKJ) Version of the Bible, unless otherwise noted. In some cases where the NKJ translation of Isaiah is especially difficult to comprehend, I also provide a limited amount of translation from The Living Bible (TLB) which tends to be easier to comprehend although it doesn't follow the original Hebrew text as well.
Isaiah-1's ministry as a prophet began about 30 years before the fall of the Northern Kingdom (a.k.a. "Israel" or "Samaria") and continued for up to 30 years thereafter. He was not a Levite. Judging from his continuing familiarity with royal "affairs on state" in Judea, it appears that he may have been a member of the royal "House of David" or at least a descendant of Judah. Hosea, Joel, Amos, and Obadiah where his contemporaries who in many respects corroborated Isaiah-1's observations regarding the moral state of the Judeans in those days. OK, so let's begin the review:
Chapter 1 [Iasiah-1 and Isaiah-3]
The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: "I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me; The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, my people do not consider." Alas, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a brood of evildoers, children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked to anger the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away backward.
[2-hvn: Clearly, one of the reasons the author was inspired to become a prophet was because he didn't like the way his contemporaries were ignoring God's commandments and guidance. Although Isaiah-1 refers to "Israel" in this case, the editor who compiled these writings (Isaiah-3) states in the first sentence that he was really referring to Judah and Jerusalem.]
Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed or bound up, or soothed with ointment. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; strangers devour your land in your presence; and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. So the daughter of Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard, as a hut in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. Unless the LORD of hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been made like Gomorrah.
[2-hvn: Notice that Isaiah-1 is referring to that desolation as having already taken place. This indicates that these Isaiah-1 writings really were referring to the Northern Kingdom, "Israel", and that they were made during or after the Assyrians conquered it, leaving Judea (the daughter of Zion) alone. Here he views Judea as being "a very small remnant" of Israel that will survive and continue the Lord's work. This was essentially the beginning of the "remnant prophecies." Notice that the prophets in those days tended to use very colorful, poetic language. This was not unusual, because the Hebrew language itself was inherently colorful and rather poetic in nature, as we saw in King Solomon's dedication of the Temple and will see in King Hezekiah's prayer in Isaiah 38. Being colorful and poetic was no doubt a commonly used technique for making important observations and discourses even more memorable among their contemporary listeners.]
Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom; give ear to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah: "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?" Says the LORD. "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats. When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies--I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.
[2-hvn. Here it appears that Isaiah-1 is countermanding the teachings of the Levites (i.e. the so-called "laws of Moses" regarding animal sacrifices and rituals that provided a steady flow on "income" for the Levites.) If Isaiah-1 had actually said such things at that time, he probably would have been stoned to death immediately. As it turned out, Jewish writings outside of the Old Testament tell us that Isaiah was executed (sawed in half) by King Manasseh, the son and successor of King Hezekiah. So this part may have come from the end of Isaiah-1's ministry. However, I believe it is more likely that this and the next paragraph were actually written by the editor, Isaiah-3.]
Come now, and let us reason together," says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword"; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
[2-hvn: One of the recurring (Isaiah-3) themes throughout the Book of Isaiah is the idea that no matter what one has done, God is willing to "forgive and forget" those who decide to start taking God's commandments seriously. The "forgive and forget" part of this concept eventually became a popular "selling feature" for Christianity, but unfortunately the conditions required to qualify for such forgiving and forgetting became obscured by various "precepts of men" who were not truly interested in following God's two most fundamental commandments.]
How the faithful city has become a harlot! It was full of justice; righteousness lodged in it, but now murderers. Your silver has become dross, your wine mixed with water. Your princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; everyone loves bribes, and follows after rewards. They do not defend the fatherless, nor does the cause of the widow come before them.
[2-hvn: Here the Isaiah-1 cites some specific examples practices in those days that violated God's commandments (in particular, God's commandment to love your neighbor as yourself).]
[3-hvn: Notice the author's metaphorical reference to the city of Jerusalem as being a "harlot." Likewise, in the 17th chapter of St. John's Book of Revelation, a worldwide version of such a "city" as portrayed as a "harlot." This may well have been the source for that imagery in Revelation.]
Therefore the Lord says, the LORD of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, "Ah, I will rid Myself of My adversaries, and take vengeance on My enemies. I will turn My hand against you, and thoroughly purge away your dross, and take away all your alloy. I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city. Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and her penitents with righteousness. The destruction of transgressors and of sinners shall be together, and those who forsake the LORD shall be consumed. For they shall be ashamed of the terebinth trees which you have desired; and you shall be embarrassed because of the gardens which you have chosen. For you shall be as a terebinth whose leaf fades, and as a garden that has no water. The strong shall be as tinder, and the work of it as a spark; both will burn together, and no one shall quench them."
[3-hvn: This sounds a lot like the last few chapters in Revelation, does it not? This purging of evil leaving justice and righteousness to reign is another recurring theme throughout the Book of Isaiah, except in this case Isaiah-1 is implying the people will be destroyed in this process. Later on, we'll see a prophetic shift towards the destruction of ungodly concepts rather than people. Apparently, Isaiah-3 crafted this shift to occur in a somewhat subtle manner, so as not to offend his Levite contemporaries too much.]
Chapter 2 [Isaiah-1, heavily embellished by Isaiah-3]
The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; he will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of the LORD.
[2-hvn. The statement "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore" is one of the best known passages from the Book of Isaiah. Despite the fact that it is prominently displayed for everyone to see at the United Nations building in New York City, this prophecy clearly has yet to be fulfilled. This is because our religious leaders are still subordinating God to mankind's satanically inspired "national sovereignty" idol (the bloodiest idol ever created by man). On one hand, the United Nations was designed to help the political leaders of the world control the inherent tendency of the national sovereignty system to create death and desolation. But on the other hand, it was also designed to help glorify and preserve the idolatry of national sovereignty itself. It was predictable that mankind would eventually create such an institution; in Rev 16:10 it is referred to as the "throne of the beast." Once the Second Coming of Christ utterly destroys (among other things) the bloody national sovereignty idol that the United Nations was designed to preserve, the United Nations will be replaced (gradually, perhaps) with a God-guided true world government. The process that will bring all this about is summarized in Isaiah above as "He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people." But that hasn't happened yet either, due to the apostasy or our present religious leaders. They have yet to "walk in the light of the LORD." Indeed, some of them have knowingly (and predictably) "turned their backs on the LORD" while continuing to falsely claim to be representing Him (Matt 7:22-23).]
[3-hvn. The term "latter days" is one of the key phrases commonly used in the Old Testament to indicate that this is a prophecy concerning the "end times", an event which Christians refer to as the "Second Coming of Christ." The "mountains" in this case allegorically represent elevated (unusually popular) areas in the "earth" of mankind's perceptions of popular truths. Scriptural statements like "the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established on the top of the mountains" makes no sense if interpreted "literally" as Christian fundamentalists claim to do. To Isaiah-1, the "mountain of the LORD'S house" allegorically represented something like a return to the days of King Solomon when Israel was widely revered as a moral example leading the world. To Isaiah-3, as we shell see later, the "mountain of the LORD'S house" represented something more like a spiritual Kingdom of God (and by implication a corresponding world government) as foretold by Daniel and taught by Jesus Christ. The disappointments and disastrous events of the preceding two centuries had taught Isaiah-3 to be more realistic and to have a better understanding of the true nature of God. That's why he included the point that "neither shall they learn war anymore."]
For You have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob, because they are filled with eastern ways; they are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they are pleased with the children of foreigners. Their land is also full of silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; their land is also full of horses, and there is no end to their chariots. Their land is also full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made. People bow down, and each man humbles himself; therefore do not forgive them. Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, from the terror of the LORD and the glory of His majesty.
[2-hvn. Isaiah-1 appears to be referring primarily to the Northern Kingdom before the Assyrian invasion, even though Isaiah-3 implies up front that this chapter refers to Judah and Jerusalem. But then, as we will see in other chapters, the state of moral affairs in Judah and Jerusalem at that time was not much different. Keep in mind that theses documents were being compiled and edited nearly two centuries after these events occurred using "source documents" that for the most part were untitled, unsigned, and undated. Can you imagine what it would be like to try and re-construct the history of our American Revolutionary War using documents like that? ]
The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up--and it shall be brought low--
Upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan;
Upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up;
Upon every high tower, and upon every fortified wall;
Upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all the beautiful sloops.
The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, But the idols He shall utterly abolish. They shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, from the terror of the LORD and the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth mightily. In that day a man will cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which they made, each for himself to worship, to the moles and bats, To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the crags of the rugged rocks, from the terror of the LORD and the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth mightily. Sever yourselves from such a man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for of what account is he?
[3-hvn. Going "into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, from the terror of the LORD" allegorically refers to the practice of hiding behind traditionally accepted (ungodly) arguments in order to divert attention AWAY from the fact that God's two most fundamental commandments are being ignored. In these verses, Isaiah-3 is using the "earth" to represent mankind's perceptions of popular truths, as did the authors of the creation stories in Genesis. He predicts that such tactics will only work for a little while.]
Chapter 3 [Isaiah-2 with a slight but significant embellishment by Isaiah-3]
For behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, takes away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stock and the store, the whole supply of bread and the whole supply of water; The mighty man and the man of war, the judge and the prophet, and the diviner and the elder; The captain of fifty and the honorable man, the counselor and the skillful artisan, and the expert enchanter. "I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. The people will be oppressed, every one by another and every one by his neighbor; the child will be insolent toward the elder, and the base toward the honorable."
When a man takes hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying, "You have clothing; you be our ruler, and let these ruins be under your power," In that day he will protest, saying, "I cannot cure your ills, for in my house is neither food nor clothing; do not make me a ruler of the people." For Jerusalem stumbled, and Judah is fallen, because their tongue and their doings are against the LORD, to provoke the eyes of His glory. The look on their countenance witnesses against them, and they declare their sin as Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves.
[2-hvn. This was clearly written by Isaiah-2 just after Judea "fell" to the Babylonians and as the exile of Judeans to Babylon was beginning to taking place. That last part about "bringing evil upon themselves" may have been added by Isaiah-3. The Levites often viewed acts of brutal destruction as being acts of "God's vengeance"; sometimes they even advocated and participated in such atrocities while falsely claiming to represent God for such purposes. But here Isaiah-3 attempts to refocus the blame more on the victims' stupidity, saying in effect that that "did it to themselves." Centuries later, this shift in attitude evolved into to Christian views such as, "they sold their souls to Satan and received what they asked for and deserved." In other words, they no longer blamed God (directly) for brutal acts of destruction. So what we see here is an early manifestation of one of the most significant differences between the views and teachings of the Levites and those of Jesus Christ, namely, the viewing ungodly concepts (or "spirits") rather than people as one's "enemies."]
"Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their doings [as did Daniel and his friends]. Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for the reward of his hands shall be given him. As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, and destroy the way of your paths."
[2-hvn. Hey! That last comment also applies to our present world situation as well.]
The LORD stands up to plead, and stands to judge the people. The LORD will enter into judgment with the elders of His people and His princes: "For you have eaten up the vineyard; the plunder of the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing My people and grinding the faces of the poor?" Says the Lord GOD of hosts.
[2-hvn. In other words, according to Isaiah-2, the Lord is accusing them of violating His commandment to love their neighbors as themselves. Our "right-wing" politicians should note especially that point about "grinding the faces of the poor."]
Moreover the LORD says: "Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with outstretched necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, making a jingling with their feet, Therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will uncover their secret parts."
[3-hvn. As I have shown in my earlier articles, this concept of "exposing their nakedness" is a recurring allegorical symbolism used throughout the Old Testament to represent the exposing of a persons' (or nations') sins to the "Light of Day" (i.e. exposing the fact that they have been following paths other than His two most fundamental commandments). This specific example seems to reflect a less-than-godly (Levite-like) attitude toward the role of women on Isaiah-2's own part. But as you will see, he was probably using the "daughter of Zion" as an allegorical symbol as well.]
In that day [apparently referring this case the time when the Babylonians began deporting Judeans to Babylon] the Lord will take away the finery: the jingling anklets, the scarves, and the crescents; The pendants, the bracelets, and the veils; The headdresses, the leg ornaments, and the headbands; the perfume boxes, the charms, and the rings; the nose jewels, the festal apparel, and the mantles; the outer garments, the purses, and the mirrors; the fine linen, the turbans, and the robes. And so it shall be: instead of a sweet smell there will be a stench; instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-set hair, baldness; instead of a rich robe, a girding of sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty. Your men shall fall by the sword, and your mighty in the war. Her gates shall lament and mourn, and she being desolate shall sit on the ground.
[2-hvn. Throughout history, unfortunate consequences like that have happened quite often to those who have worshipped "national sovereignty", believing its false claims rather than God. As we shall see, the Judeans really did "bring it upon themselves" by doing so.]
Chapter 4 [Isaiah-2]
And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, "We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by your name, to take away our reproach." In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious; and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped. And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy--everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem. When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, then the LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering. And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.
[3-hvn. Apparently, Isaiah-2 believed at this point that he would be left behind to help rebuild the remnant of Israel spiritually. This chapter provides a summary of what will be required to bring about such a change. There will be a washing of the "daughters of Zion" and a purging of the "blood of Jerusalem." Allegorically, the "daughters of Zion" in this chapter represent Judea's religious leaders. In Malachi's description of this same event, he specifically says in verse 3:3, "He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness" (rather than animal sacrifices.) The purging of the "blood of Jerusalem" allegorically represents the destruction of mankind's love for ungodly idols leaving only a love for God (and ones' neighbors) remaining. This may well have been the source for Jesus Christ's symbolic use of "blood" to represent love during his Last Supper ceremony with his disciples. Allegorically, the "cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night" represents the fact that (rather than being channeled through a priest) God's guidance will be visible to the people directly (i.e. they will understand and follow God's two most fundamental commandments) as was the case during the early part of Moses' ministry.]
Chapter 5 [Isaiah-3]
[The following is a parable, perhaps one of the ones that inspired Jesus to teach with parables.]
Now let me sing to my Well-beloved a song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: my Well-beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it; so He expected it to bring forth good grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes.
"And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, please, between Me and My vineyard. What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes? And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; and break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned or dug, but there shall come up briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain on it."
For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; for righteousness, but behold, a cry for help. Woe to those who join house to house; they add field to field, till there is no place where they may dwell alone in the midst of the land! In my hearing the LORD of hosts said, "Truly, many houses shall be desolate, great and beautiful ones, without inhabitant. For ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and a homer of seed shall yield one ephah."
[3-hvn. In this case, Isaiah-3 was able to clearly explain the meaning of this parable, because at that point, in light of what had happened, the Levites could hardly have disagreed.]
Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may follow intoxicating drink; who continue until night, till wine inflames them! The harp and the strings, the tambourine and flute, and wine are in their feasts; but they do not do not regard the work of the LORD, nor consider the operation of His hands. Therefore my people have gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge; their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. Therefore Sheol has enlarged itself and opened its mouth beyond measure; their glory and their multitude and their pomp, and he who is jubilant, shall descend into it. People shall be brought down, each man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled. But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness.
[2-hvn. The above was clearly written during or after the Babylonian exile. My guess is that Isaiah-3 wrote this entire chapter, based on his views as to why the Northern Kingdom and then Judean fell.]
Then the lambs shall feed in their pasture, and in the waste places of the fat ones strangers shall eat. Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as if with a cart rope; That say, "Let Him make speed and hasten His work, that we may see it; and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come, that we may know it."
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
[2-hvn. Jack Van Impe and others do this when they portray the concept of world government as being "evil" and the bloody idol of national sovereignty as being "good". By doing so, they are turning God's two most fundamental commandments upside down and are thereby serving Satan rather than God. The make it appear that they are honoring Jesus Christ by calling him "divine", while in fact they are dishonoring him by ignoring or misrepresenting his teachings.]
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink, Who justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away justice from the righteous man! Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble, and the flame consumes the chaff, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom will ascend like dust; because they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. [Like America's so-call "Christian Right" and their worship of "national sovereignty."] Therefore the anger of the LORD is aroused against His people; he has stretched out His hand against them and stricken them, and the hills trembled. Their carcasses were as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.
[Apparently, Isaiah-3 was trying to teach his fellow Jews that things like that could happen again if they don't take God's two most fundamental commandments seriously. In 70 AD, it DID happen again.]
He will lift up a banner to the nations from afar, and will whistle to them from the end of the earth; surely they shall come with speed, swiftly. No one will be weary or stumble among them, no one will slumber or sleep; nor will the belt on their loins be loosed, nor the strap of their sandals be broken; Whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent; their horses' hooves will seem like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind.
Their roaring will be like a lion, they will roar like young lions; yes, they will roar and lay hold of the prey; they will carry it away safely, and no one will deliver. In that day they will roar against them like the roaring of the sea. And if one looks to the land, behold, darkness and sorrow; and the light is darkened by the clouds.
[3-hvn. Here Isaiah-3 shifts his focus from the past to the future. The whistling metaphor above alludes to the practice of beekeepers who would whistle to summon bees from their hives into this field or that field. In lieu of "banner", other translations use the term "signal" or "standard" (as in God's two most fundamental commandments). In Matthew 24:14, Jesus Christ described this event as follows: "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." Isaiah-3's allegory in this case applies to the event that Christians refer to as the "Second Coming of Christ." He didn't know when it would happen, but by understanding the nature and Will of God, he knew that eventually it would HAVE to happen. Note the similarity between the events and symbolisms used here and those used by St. John in chapters 8 and 9 or Revelation. When those allegorical "locusts" start telling the truth about the nature and bloody consequences of national sovereignty worship, people all over the world will begin to "look at the land" (mankind's perceptions of popular truths) and recognize (among other things) the darkness and sorrows that have been created by their worship of the bloodiest idol ever created by man!]
Chapter 6 [Isaiah-1]
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!"
[2-hvn. Most scholars seem to agree that Chapter 6 describes how Isaiah-1 was called by God to become a prophet in the first place.]
[3-hvn. Isaiah's description of the six-winged "seraphim" is an excellent example of an allegorical representation that can most easily be understood by those who are following God's two most fundamental commandments. Each of the three pair of wings represent significant characteristics of God's two most fundamental commandments (as do the "eagles' wings" in the Lord's comment "how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself" in Exodus 19:4). The first pair wings "cover" the seraphims' faces which describes the characteristic whereby true servants of God focus attention on God's Will (as revealed through those two commandments) rather then on themselves. The second pair of wings which they fly with represents the act of putting one's faith in (i.e. depending on) the effectiveness of God's two most fundamental commandments for serving by solving human relations problems. The third pair of wings which "cover the feet" represent the fact that true servants of God use NO OTHER assumptions or criteria than God's two most fundamental commandments for distinguishing between what is "good" and what is "evil." They "fly" on those two commandments, and on those two commandments ONLY! Notice how they are glorifying God rather than themselves. ]
And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged."
[3-hvn. Obviously, that two-most-fundamental-commandment "door" (a.k.a. "key") to properly understanding the allegorical lessons contained in the earlier Hebrew scriptures was opened to Isaiah-1 as well as Issaih-3 (who placed less restrictions on them). Isaiah-1 understood the implications of the allegorical lessons in Genesis, but was afraid that he was unworthy to teach such things. The "smoke" in this case represents the "clouding" of ones perceptions that occurs when you consider yourself "inadequate" to teach the truth based on God's two most fundamental commandments. The fact is that ANYONE can tell the truth based on God's two most fundamental commandments, no matter what they have done in the past. But to do so effectively, one must purge (symbolized by the burning piece of coal) all ungodly doctrines from one's assumptions and teachings (i.e. "weed out the tares from the wheat").]
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."
[3-hvn. Notice how the reference the "the Lord" shifts from singular to plural in the same sentence. In the context of this vision, that "Us" apparently represents God and the seraphims. But when St. John the Apostle refers to this portion of Isaiah in John 12:37-43, he implies that the "Us" represents God and Jesus Christ. Notice that once Isaiah-1 understood how to truly follow God, he was eager to represent Him to his fellow Judeans. Such is the power of the "living Word of God." Once people understand how to truly follow God (by following His two most fundamental commandments), they don't need to be told by a religious leader what to do next, God reveals to them directly what needs to be done next, and they do it GLADLY! Indeed, that is one of the major themes throughout the Book of Isaiah.]
And He said, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed."
[3-hvn. This NKJ translation makes God appear to be rather cynical in how He views His "chosen people", a tone or twist that may have been satirically added by Isaiah-3. Essentially though, in these verses God is warning Isaiah-1 to expect that even though he will clearly being telling the truth to his fellow Judeans, many will not believe him, because of their desire to follow their own (satanically inspired) "trees of knowledge" instead. It's like when I point out that worshipping "national sovereignty" (and the national flags that symbolize it) violates the first two of the Ten Commandments as well as BOTH of God's two most fundamental commandments. Although I am CLEARLY telling the truth about that, some (like Jack Van Impe) have nevertheless chosen to continue following the teachings of Satan, even though they KNOW that they are using God's name in vain by claiming to represent God while doing so. As God points out in Exodus 20:7, "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain." They will be judged accordingly; not only by God, but also by all future generations of mankind. In Isaiah-1's case, the nation that ignored Isaiah-1's warnings (and the warnings of other great prophets) ceases to exist within a hundred years. In today's world, the course of human events is changing far more rapidly.]
Then I said, "Lord, how long?" And He answered: "Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, the houses are without a man, the land is utterly desolate, The LORD has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. But yet a tenth will be in it, and will return and be for consuming, as a terebinth tree or as an oak, whose stump remains when it is cut down. So the holy seed shall be its stump."
[3-hvn. So God told Isaiah that even though his teachings and warnings would be ignored by the "current establishment", and even though their nation would be destroyed largely for that very reason, the "holy seed" (and "fruits") embodied in his teachings will survive like the stump of a tree; it will grow again, but next time successfully.]
[2-hvn. The author of the gospel of John editorially referred to the 6th chapter of Isaiah as follows:
But although He [Jesus] had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: "Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them." These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him [Jesus]. Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. (NKJ)
Evidently, in Jesus' day, the "religious establishment" reacted to Jesus in much the same way as Levite priests reacted to Isaiah. Indeed, the reaction of many of the leaders of our present "religious establishment" to those who truly follow God's two most fundamental commandments hasn't changed that much over the past 3,000 years. That's why they are going to have to utterly destroy the credibility of the "tares" in their own religious teachings before the "eyes of the world."]
[2hvn. Continuing with John 12:44-50
Then Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak." (NKJ)
As Jesus points out above, those who follow God's two most fundamental commandments and tell the truth accordingly are in fact representing God (at least while they are doing so). Ignoring them is like ignoring guidance that is coming from God Himself.]
[2-hvn. Continuing further with John 10:24-31
Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, "How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are one." Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. (NKJ)
As I have clearly shown on this web site, censorship against the expressed Will of God is still being widely practiced these days by our news agencies, religious establishments, and even "academia"-all in a vain (and ungodly) effort to preserve the bloodiest idol ever created by man. It's a RECURRING theme throughout the entire Bible!]
Chapter 7 [Isaiah-1]
Now it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to make war against it, but could not prevail against it. And it was told to the house of David, saying, "Syria's forces are deployed in Ephraim." So his heart and the heart of his people were moved as the trees of the woods are moved with the wind.
[2-hvn. The kings of the Northern Kingdom (a.k.a. "Israel" or "Ephraim") and Syria decided to attack Judea and replace King Ahaz, because Ahaz refused to join with them in a rebellious alliance against the tribute arrangements of Assyrian Empire. From our present perspective, we know that it was dumb for the Northern Kingdom thing to do. But then, those who follow the idol of "national sovereignty" have often been known to do really dumb things.]
Then the LORD said to Isaiah, "Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-Jashub your son, at the end of the aqueduct from the upper pool, on the highway to the Fuller's Field, and say to him: 'Take heed, and be quiet; do not fear or be fainthearted for these two stubs of smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and the son of Remaliah. 'Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah have plotted evil against you, saying, "Let us go up against Judah and trouble it, and let us make a gap in its wall for ourselves, and set a king over them, the son of Tabel"--'thus says the Lord GOD: "It shall not stand, nor shall it come to pass. For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be broken, so that it will not be a people. The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah's son. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established."' "
[2-hvn. By referring to Ephraim and Syria as "smoking firebrands", God was telling Isaiah-1 that those two kingdoms were more "smoke" than fire; they lacked the power to conquer Judea at that time, especially in light of the inevitable battles they were about to face with Assyria as well. Isaiah-1 warned Ahaz that if he didn't believe that, then he would not be "established" as a great king of Judea. As it turned out, Ahaz WAS one of Judea's most successful kings.]
Moreover the LORD spoke again to Ahaz, saying, "Ask a sign for yourself from the LORD your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above." But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, nor will I test the LORD!" Then he said, "Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings.
[2-hvn. Notice that text says the "LORD spoke again to Ahaz" but strongly implies that it is Isaiah-1 who is actually speaking to Ahaz on the LORD's behalf. Use of the term "virgin" above is actually a Greek mis-translation of the original Hebrew text (as confirmed by the Dead Sea Scrolls). The Hebrew text simply implies a "young woman of child-bearing age". Evidently, the authors of the gospels of Matthew and Luke were using a Greek translation of Isaiah that contained this erroneous translation. Anyhow, it was a Jewish tradition to begin "great stories" with a story of a miraculous birth. The miraculous birth of Isaac to the elderly Sarah led to the establishment the nation of Israel. The miraculous rescue of the infant Moses led to the freeing of the children of Israel from the Egyptians. The miraculous birth of Samuel to the previously barren Hannah led to the conversion of Israel from a theocracy to a monarchy. Here Isaiah-1 not only predicted another such miraculous birth; he also predicted that before the child called "Immanuel" grew old enough to distinguish good from evil (i.e. within 12 years), the kings of Ephraim and Syria would both be forsaken (fall). The fact that Isaiah referred to this as a "sign" to Ahaz indicates that Isaiah-1predicted these things would come to pass during the reign of Ahaz. Ephraim and Syria were indeed defeated by the Assyrians during that time-period (an outcome that was probably not too hard to predict under those circumstances). Judea was spared from such a fate, because Ahaz had negotiated a tribute arrangement with the King of Assyria that in effect turned Judea into a vassal state within the Assyrian Empire (a kingdom saving accomplishment that still strikes horror in the hearts of national sovereignty worshippers). Since there is no mention in the Hebrew scriptures that an actual child called "Immanuel" was actually born during that period of time, that portion of Isaiah-1's prophecy became part of a growing collection of prophecies regarding the coming of a "Messiah" ("anointed one") who would "set Israel free" in the "end times."]
The LORD will bring the king of Assyria upon you and your people and your father's house--days that have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah." And it shall come to pass in that day that the LORD will whistle for the fly that is in the farthest part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. They will come, and all of them will rest in the desolate valleys and in the clefts of the rocks, and on all thorns and in all pastures. In the same day the Lord will shave with a hired razor [i.e. will side], with those from beyond the River, with the king of Assyria, the head and the hair of the legs, and will also remove the beard. It shall be in that day that a man will keep alive a young cow and two sheep; So it shall be, from the abundance of milk they give, that he will eat curds; for curds and honey everyone will eat who is left in the land. It shall happen in that day, that wherever there could be a thousand vines worth a thousand shekels of silver, it will be for briers and thorns. With arrows and bows men will come there, because all the land will become briers and thorns. And to any hill which could be dug with the hoe, you will not go there for fear of briers and thorns; but it will become a range for oxen and a place for sheep to roam.
[2-hvn. So Isaiah-1 predicted that Ephraim (the Northern Kingdom) would be utterly desolated by the Assyrians, and so it was. Most of its people were deported to other lands where they probably intermarried and became the "lost tribes of Israel", because (unlike the Judeans during the Babylonian exile) the Northern Kingdom's scribes apparently made no effort to maintain their peoples' identity as Israelites. Many of the Northern Kingdom residents probably fled to Judea and intermarried there as well. With no particular territories that they could call their own, they simply became "Judeans" like the rest. Thus ended the ungodly and disastrously bloody tribal distinctions among the children of Israel that Moses-2 created when he decreed in Numbers 36:9 that "no inheritance shall change hands from one tribe to another, but every tribe of the children of Israel shall keep its own inheritance." Jews take heed!]
Chapter 8 [Isaiah 1]
Moreover the LORD said to me, "Take a large scroll, and write on it with a man's pen concerning Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. And I will take for Myself faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah." Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the LORD said to me, "Call his name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz [literally "the spoil speeds, and the prey hastens"]; for before the child shall have knowledge to cry 'My father' and 'My mother,' the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be taken away before the king of Assyria."
[3-hvn. That "prophetess" was presumably Isaiah-1's wife, but it's curious that the text doesn't actually say that. As is often the case when a 1st-heaven interpretation of the text doesn't quite make sense, this may be an indication that a 3rd-heaven interpretation was crafted "between the lines." Indeed, this chapter does provide some lessons illustrating why it is so important to follow God's guidance rather than the "current thinking." Allegorically, the "prophetess" may be viewed as female personification of "wisdom" as King Solomon described "wisdom" in the early chapters of Proverbs, and their "son" whom he calls " the spoil speeds, and the prey hastens" could be viewed as the "lesson" Isaiah-1 derived from "wisdom" regarding the fate of Samaria and Syria.]
The LORD also spoke to me again, saying: "Inasmuch as these people refused the waters of Shiloah that flow softly, and rejoice in Rezin and in Remaliah's son; Now therefore, behold, the Lord brings up over them the waters of the River, strong and mighty--the king of Assyria and all his glory; he will go up over all his channels and go over all his banks. He will pass through Judah, he will overflow and pass over, he will reach up to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings will fill the breadth of Your land, O Immanuel.
[2-hvn. So evidently, even though the Assyrian troops passed through Judea on their way to destroying Ephraim, Judea itself was spared for the time being. In World War II, after then Japanese had conquered the French colony of Indo China (which included Cambodia), the King of Thailand "cut a deal" with the Japanese allowing them to cross the northern part of Thailand to attack British fortifications in Burma. He even "declared war" against the United States as part of that deal, but the United States refused to recognize his declaration of war. Thus the King of Thailand spared his country from suffering the ravages of World War II. King Ahaz did much the same for Judea by refusing to join that rebellious alliance against Assyria, a lesson which his son Hezekiah failed to comprehend (to the great misfortune of most of the Judeans in his day).]
[3-hvn. Notice the reference to "O Immanuel" above; it's the only other place the name "Immanuel" is mentioned in the Book of Isaiah. Could that tribute arrangement with Assyria have been the "child" that Isaiah-1 allegorically referred to as "Immanuel"? Think about it. "Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good." That is, he would humble himself for the sake of good over evil. "For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings" Allegorically, perhaps that predicted "child" WAS "born" during that period of time; a "child" that saved Judea from suffering the same fate as the Northern Kingdom.]
"Be shattered, O you peoples, and be broken in pieces! Give ear, all you from far countries. Gird yourselves, but be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, but be broken in pieces. Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; speak the word, but it will not stand, for God is with us." For the LORD spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying: "Do not say, 'A conspiracy,' concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow; let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble; they shall fall and be broken, be snared and taken."
[3-hvn. So God's two most fundamental commandments are a "strong hand" and a "sanctuary" for those who follow them and a "stone of stumbling" or "snare" for those who ignore them. I've demonstrated that a LOT in the articles on this web site!]
Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. And I will wait on the LORD, who hides His face from the house of Jacob; and I will hope in Him. Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells in Mount Zion. And when they say to you, "Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter," should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. They will pass through it hard pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse their king and their God, and look upward. Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.
[3-hvn. Yes, that's the way it often works. Those who follow criteria other than God's two most fundamental commandments usually end up "enraged and curse their king (government) and their God." Their perceptions will tend to focus on the "darkness" of man-made criteria and their ungodly consequences rather than on the "light" of God's two most fundamental commandments. Notice that at this point, Isaiah-1is still portraying the "LORD of hosts" as a spirit that "dwells in Mount Zion." As you will see, this localized view of God will change considerably by the time we reach the end of the Book of Isaiah.]
In chapter 9 [Isaiah-1 and Isaiah-3]
Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, as when at first He lightly esteemed the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward more heavily oppressed her, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, in Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy; they rejoice before You according to the joy of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For You have broken the yoke of his burden and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every warrior's sandal from the noisy battle, and garments rolled in blood, will be used for burning and fuel of fire.
[The Living Bible (TLB) translation of Isaiah 9:1-5 states this much more clearly:
Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair shall not go on forever. Though soon the land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be under God's contempt and judgment, yet in the future these very lands, Galilee and Northern Transjordan, where lies the road to the sea, will be filled with glory. The people who walk in darkness shall see a great Light--a Light that will shine on all those who live in the land of the shadow of death. For Israel will again be great, filled with joy like that of reapers when the harvest time has come, and like that of men dividing up the plunder they have won. For God will break the chains that bind his people and the whip that scourges them, just as he did when he destroyed the vast host of the Midianites by Gideon's little band. In that glorious day of peace there will no longer be the issuing of battle gear; no more the bloodstained uniforms of war; all such will be burned. (TLB)]
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
[2-hvn. The verses above are often quoted as a prophecy foretelling the birth of Jesus Christ, but some scholars have pointed out that Isaiah-1 he may instead have been referring to the birth of Hezekiah. If the second part of that prophecy regarding the throne of David lasting forever is taken literally, then that prophecy was clearly NOT fulfilled (bad news for Isaiah-1). On the other hand, if this is viewed as an Isaiah-3 prophecy where "His Kingdom" refers to the spiritual Kingdom of God as taught by Jesus Christ (a descendant of the "throne of David"), then the "Kingdom" he is referring to will indeed last forever, although its full implementation has yet to be achieved. So I believe the verses above were actually written by Isaiah-3, because he realized that eventually someone would have to fulfill such a spiritual role. Unfortunately, such prophecies regarding Christ's spiritual "Kingdom of God" will remain unfulfilled until our religious leaders finally decide to start taking God's two most fundamental commandments SERIORSLY (i.e. when they finally decide to start seriously following God rather than the ungodly man-made idols of this age).]
The LORD sent a word against Jacob, and it has fallen on Israel. All the people will know--Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria--who say in pride and arrogance of heart: "The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with hewn stones; the sycamores are cut down, but we will replace them with cedars." Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and spur his enemies on, The Syrians before and the Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with an open mouth. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.
[2-hvn. This clearly places the writing of this shortly before the fall of the Northern Kingdom. Notice that even though Isaiah-1 may have initially cautioned against making that deal, by this time he was viewing the Assyrian actions as being an "act of the LORD." But still, Isaiah-1 points out that if the Northern Kingdom repented (i.e. if they started to take God's commandments SERIOUSLY and called off their invasion of Judea and stopped rebelling against Assyria), then there was still a chance that they might be saved. As we will see, even though Isaiah-1 was following the Levite tradition of attributing brutally destructive acts to the LORD as a form of vengeance for disobedience, he evidently found such views to be troubling and began to change his views in that regard.]
For the people do not turn to Him who strikes them, nor do they seek the LORD of hosts. Therefore the LORD will cut off head and tail from Israel, palm branch and bulrush in one day. The elder and honorable, he is the head; the prophet who teaches lies [Moses-2?], he is the tail. For the leaders of this people cause them to err, and those who are led by them are destroyed. Therefore the LORD will have no joy in their young men, nor have mercy on their fatherless and widows; for everyone is a hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.
[2-hvn. As well all know, the Northern Kingdom didn't listen to Isaiah-1 or God, and not long thereafter, they became the "ten lost tribes of Israel."]
For wickedness burns as the fire; it shall devour the briers and thorns, and kindle in the thickets of the forest; they shall mount up like rising smoke. Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts the land is burned up, and the people shall be as fuel for the fire; no man shall spare his brother. And he shall snatch on the right hand and be hungry; he shall devour on the left hand and not be satisfied; every man shall eat the flesh of his own arm [their own children]. Manasseh shall devour Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh; together they shall be against Judah. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.
[2-hvn. Notice how the tribe-oriented loyalties that resulted from the "laws" decreed by Moses-2 caused the tribes in the Northern Kingdom continue fighting amongst themselves to the very end. They really did "do it to themselves" by believing in "the prophet who teaches lies" and leaders who caused them to err.]
Chapter 10 [Isaiah-1]
"Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees, who write misfortune, which they have prescribed to rob the needy of justice, and to take what is right from the poor of My people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless. What will you do in the day of punishment, and in the desolation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your glory? Without Me they shall bow down among the prisoners, and they shall fall among the slain." For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.
[2-hvn. This should have been included as part of Chapter 9. Isaiah-1 points out that the greatest fault lies with the Northern Kingdom's religious leaders who CLAIMED to represent God but issued "unrighteous decrees" (or "laws" that violated God's two most fundamental commandments). With their religion of selfishness, they were like "the blind leading the blind." With moral leadership like that, it's no wonder the Northern Kingdom "fell into a ditch", as Jesus would say (Matthew 15:14).]
"Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hand is My indignation. I will send him against an ungodly nation, and against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, to seize the spoil, to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Yet he does not mean so, nor does his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy, and cut off not a few nations. For he says, 'Are not my princes altogether kings? Is not Calno like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad? Is not Samaria like Damascus? As my hand has found the kingdoms of the idols, whose carved images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria, As I have done to Samaria and her idols, shall I not do also to Jerusalem and her idols?' "
[2-hvn. Now Isaiah-1 turns his attention to the Assyrian Empire, which he viewed as acting as an agent of the LORD's vengeance but whose leaders viewed their conquests as being entirely of their own doing.]
Therefore it shall come to pass, when the LORD has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, "I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks." For he says: "By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am prudent; also I have removed the boundaries of the people, and have robbed their treasuries; so I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man. My hand has found like a nest the riches of the people, and as one gathers eggs that are left, I have gathered all the earth; and there was no one who moved his wing, nor opened his mouth with even a peep." Shall the ax boast itself against him who chops with it? Or shall the saw exalt itself against him who saws with it? As if a rod could wield itself against those who lift it up, or as if a staff could lift up, as if it were not wood!
[3-hvn. Notice Isaiah-1's heavy use of allegorical metaphors to further emphasize his point. Those who claim that the Old Testament scriptures were written to be interpreted "literally" are "blowing smoke", one might say.]
Therefore the Lord, the Lord of hosts, will send leanness among his fat ones; and under his glory he will kindle a burning like the burning of a fire. So the Light of Israel will be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame; it will burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day. And it will consume the glory of his forest and of his fruitful field, both soul and body; and they will be as when a sick man wastes away. Then the rest of the trees of his forest will be so few in number that a child may write them.
[2-hvn. Isaiah-1 is predicting that God will eventually bring down the Assyrian Empire as well. At this point, he predicting this based on matter or principle; despotic empires seldom lasted very long in those days. Such is the nature of anarchy. As we will see, the rising empire of Babylon was eventually viewed as the agent of God's "vengeance" against Assyria and then against Judea.]
And it shall come to pass in that day that the remnant of Israel, and such as have escaped of the house of Jacob, will never again depend on him who defeated them, but will depend on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God. For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, a remnant of them will return; the destruction decreed shall overflow with righteousness. For the Lord GOD of hosts will make a determined end in the midst of all the land. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD of hosts: "O My people, who dwell in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrian. He shall strike you with a rod and lift up his staff against you, in the manner of Egypt. For yet a very little while and the indignation will cease, as will My anger in their destruction."
[2-hvn. Here Isaiah-1 appears to be predicting a subsequent Assyrian invasion of Judea itself, an event which did indeed happen later on when King Hezekiah rebelled against the Assyrian King Sennacherib. However, at this point Isaiah-1 is apparently predicting that the Israelites in Judea would lose and be deported by the Assyrians, and that a remnant of them would survive, return to Jerusalem, and begin to take God's commandments seriously. This actually did happen a century or so later, but it happened at the hands of the Babylonian Empire rather than the Assyrian Empire. So Isaiah-1 was correct in principle (Hey! That's the way anarchy works!), be he was far from "100% accurate" regarding the details. As we will see later, Isaiah-1 was also premature in his initial prediction regarding King Hezekiah's death, but he was still a great prophet. Those who claim that that the prophecies in the Old Testament were "100 accurate" are likewise "blowing smoke." Isaiah-1 was confident that a religious "remnant" of Israel would ultimately survive, because God's truth is precisely that. The truth! It won't (or He won't) go away!]
And the LORD of hosts will stir up a scourge for him like the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb; as His rod was on the sea, so will He lift it up in the manner of Egypt. It shall come to pass in that day that his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil [the peace-making abilities of God's two most fundamental commandments]. He has come to Aiath, he has passed Migron; at Michmash he has attended to his equipment. They have gone along the ridge, they have taken up lodging at Geba. Ramah is afraid, Gibeah of Saul has fled. Lift up your voice, O daughter of Gallim! Cause it to be heard as far as Laish--O poor Anathoth! Madmenah has fled, the inhabitants of Gebim seek refuge. As yet he will remain at Nob that day; he will shake his fist at the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem. Behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, will lop off the bough with terror; those of high stature will be hewn down, and the haughty will be humbled. He will cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon will fall by the Mighty One.
[2-hvn. This part seems to more describe Assyrian King Sennacherib's invasion of Judea in response to King Hezekiah's refusal to pay tribute to Assyria. It was a disastrous and actually quite selfish decision on Hezekiah's part, made for the sake "saving money" and achieving "national sovereignty."]
Chapter 11 [Isaiah-3]
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. His delight is in the fear of the LORD, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.
[3-hvn. Again, some have surmised that this was written by Isaiah-1 to describe his expectations regarding the rule of King Hezekiah, but as we will see, Hezekiah failed to "fill the bill." It's more likely that Isaiah-3 wrote these verses to describe a role that Jesus Christ eventually filled perfectly. The phrase "he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth" allegorically refers to Christ's use of his "two-edged sword" of truth and love (Matthew 22:37-40) to slay wicked concepts growing in the "earth" of mankind's perceptions of popular truths. Jesus indeed "decided with equity for the meek" of that "earth."]
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
[3-hvn. Iasish-3 is allegorically describing how life will be (spiritually) AFTER the "end times" when the whole world will fully understand the significance of God's two most fundamental commandments, thereby permitting the "earth to be full of the knowledge of the LORD." The allegorical scheme that is being used here originates in the first three chapters of Genesis where the authors used animal names to track and discuss popular spirits that were influencing human behavior. In today's world, we use "ism" words like "capitalism" and "communism" for such purposes. Isaiah is predicting that in a world governed by God's two most fundamental commandments, heretofore predatory concepts (like capitalism) will work peacefully together with meek nourishing concepts (like equality) rather than bringing each other to ruin, because ALL such concepts will be subordinated to God's two most fundamental commandments.]
And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious. It shall come to pass in that day that the LORD shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hamath and the islands of the sea. He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. Also the envy of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not harass Ephraim. But they shall fly down upon the shoulder of the Philistines toward the west; together they shall plunder the people of the East; they shall lay their hand on Edom and Moab; and the people of Ammon shall obey them.
The LORD will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt; with His mighty wind He will shake His fist over the River, and strike it in the seven streams, and make men cross over dry-shod. There will be a highway for the remnant of His people who will be left from Assyria, as it was for Israel in the day that he came up from the land of Egypt.
[1-hvn. If the above two paragraph were written by Isaiah-1, then it appears he is promising the exiles from the Northern Kingdom that the once Assyrians have gone back home, they would be welcome to return and live in Judea where the descendants of the twelve tribes of Israel will live together peacefully. This would be kind of like a "second exodus" into the "promised land" of Judea. Together they would then be able to "plunder the people of the East..." and do other ungodly things that the Isaiah-3 would never have encouraged. The exiles need not worry, because the LORD will divide and dry up any rivers that got in their way. ]
[3-hvn. However, it appears more likely that those two paragraphs were written by Isaiah-3 who probably intended them to be interpreted in a more allegorical and universal manner. John 12:30-36 indicates that Jesus interpreted these passages this way. By being "lifted up from the earth" (on a cross symbolizing the intersection of God's guiding principles of truth and love), Jesus became a sign (ensign, or banner) showing the people of the world (not just the Jews) how to come together under God's guidance in a Kingdom of God (a.k.a. "promised land" or "promised earth"). For those who follow those two commandments, it appears that God divides (specifically identifies) and then "dries up" any "rivers" of ungodly religious teachings (a.k.a. "tares") that in the past were preventing them from perceiving and truly understanding the Will of God.]
Chapter 12 [Isaiah-3, and Isaiah-2]
And in that day you will say: "O LORD, I will praise You; though You were angry with me, your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; 'For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; he also has become my salvation.'" Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And in that day you will say: "Praise the LORD, call upon His name; declare His deeds among the peoples, make mention that His name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for He has done excellent things; this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!"
[3-hvn. YES! "Therefore your joy will draw water (religious teachings) from the "wells of salvation" (from the teachings one perceives when following God's two most fundamental commandments as summarized by Jesus Christ in Matthew 22:37-40). Notice that these prophecies do NOT say "from the teachings of the Levites", or "from the teachings of the priests", or "from the Laws of Moses", or even the "from teachings of the Hebrew scriptures." Isaiah-3's teachings clearly foresee a direct personal relationship between all people and God, as opposed to a relationship through an exclusive intermediary as was taught by Moses-2.]
Chapter 13 [Isaiah-3 and Isaiah-2, the first "burden against" prophecy of doom in the Book of Isaiah]
The burden against Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw. "Lift up a banner on the high mountain, raise your voice to them; wave your hand, that they may enter the gates of the nobles. I have commanded My sanctified ones; I have also called My mighty ones for My anger--those who rejoice in My exaltation." The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like that of many people! A tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together! The LORD of hosts musters the army for battle. They come from a far country, from the end of heaven--the LORD and His weapons of indignation, to destroy the whole land. Wail, for the day of the LORD is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty.
[3-hvn. Isaiah-3 was being "sneaky" when he specifically attributed this chapter to Isaiah-1, because it specifically addresses the kind of "end time" events that Isaiah-3 was inclined to write about. Besides, Babylon was a minor player in world events during the lifetime of Isaiah-1; nearly a century would pass before Babylon would become a serious threat to Judea.]
Therefore all hands will be limp, every man's heart will melt, and they will be afraid. Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them; they will be in pain as a woman in childbirth; they will be amazed at one another; their faces will be like flames. Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine.
[3-hvn. Again, what we have here are apparently Isaiah-3 allegorical descriptions of the "end times." The "stars from heaven and their constellations" refer to individual religious leaders (or denominations) that claim to represent God but preach violations of His two most fundamental commandments. What little "light" they were providing will "go out" forever, because their credibility will be so thoroughly destroyed. The first allegorical references to the "sun and moon" occur in Genesis 37:9-10 where Joseph symbolically dreams that his entire family would some day bow down to him (the "sun" representing Jacob, and the "moon" representing Joseph's mother Rachel who in Genesis 31 stole some idols from her father, concealed them, and then lied to cover up her idolatrous misdeed. From then on, various authors of the Bible used the "sun" to allegorically represent God's light as revealed to the world through the descendants of Jacob in general, and the "moon" to allegorically represent the light of God that was reflected in the teachings of the Levites (i.e. the Hebrew "church") who in many ways acted like Rachel. Isaiah-3 is predicting that in the end times, the tare-filled "light" provided by both of them will appear to be darkened when exposed to God's "Light of Day." St. John does the same in Revelation 5:12 and predicts that both will be completely replaced by God's Light of Day in Revelation 21:23.]
"I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold, a man more than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth will move out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts and in the day of His fierce anger. It shall be as the hunted gazelle, and as a sheep that no man takes up; every man will turn to his own people, and everyone will flee to his own land."
[3-hvn. More end-times prophecies as in Revelation 16.]
"Everyone who is found will be thrust through, and everyone who is captured will fall by the sword. Their children also will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be plundered and their wives ravished. Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who will not regard silver; and as for gold, they will not delight in it. Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces, and they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye will not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans' pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited, nor will it be settled from generation to generation; nor will the Arabian pitch tents there, nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there. But wild beasts of the desert will lie there, and their houses will be full of owls; Ostriches will dwell there, and wild goats will caper there. The hyenas will howl in their citadels, and jackals in their pleasant palaces. Her time is near to come, and her days will not be prolonged."
[2-hvn. This part appears to have been written by Isaiah-2; it reflects his time period and style. Those who claim that God would not only condone but inspire people to do such things clearly do not understand the nature or Will of God. Indeed, one should beware of people who have such a flexible "moral compass"; they can be VERY dangerous: like that Dr. Baruch Goldstein who gunned down 50 unarmed men, women, and children at Muslim worship service a few years ago; or that right-wing radical who assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Begin claiming that it was the "will of God" that made him do it..]
Chapter 14 [Isaiah-2, Isaiah-3, and Isaiah-1]
For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel, and settle them in their own land. The strangers will be joined with them, and they will cling to the house of Jacob.
[2-hvn. That was true until Ezra arrived from Babylon and decided to re-establish a Levite theocracy. He ordered that such "strangers" be "put away", prohibited any further "intermarriage" with non-Jews, and in general laid the ideological foundations for the destruction of the "Second Temple" even before that second temple was physically built. Centuries later, that "Second Temple" was significantly renovated by Herod the Great. But in 70 AD it too was leveled for essentially the same reason King Solomon's Temple was leveled. It was leveled as a result of a political revolt inspired by ungodly Jewish desires for "national sovereignty" based on a form of racial discrimination. ]
Then people will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them for servants and maids in the land of the LORD; they will take them captive whose captives they were, and rule over their oppressors.
[2-hvn. It wasn't the Hebrews who conquered Babylon; the Persian King Cyrus did the conquering and then permitted the former Hebrew captives to return to Judea. So it's not clear that the this Isaiah-2 prophecy was ever really fulfilled.]
It shall come to pass in the day the LORD gives you rest from your sorrow, and from your fear and the hard bondage in which you were made to serve, that you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: "How the oppressor has ceased, the golden city ceased! The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers; He who struck the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he who ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted and no one hinders. The whole earth is at rest and quiet; they break forth into singing. Indeed the cypress trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, 'Since you were cut down, no woodsman has come up against us.' Hell from beneath is excited about you, to meet you at your coming; it stirs up the dead for you, all the chief ones of the earth; it has raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. They all shall speak and say to you: 'Have you also become as weak as we? Have you become like us? Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, and the sound of your stringed instruments; the maggot is spread under you, and worms cover you.'
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying: 'Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, Who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?' All the kings of the nations, all of them, sleep in glory, everyone in his own house; But you are cast out of your grave like an abominable branch, like the garment of those who are slain, thrust through with a sword, who go down to the stones of the pit, like a corpse trodden underfoot. You will not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed your land and slain your people. The brood of evildoers shall never be named."
[3-hvn. Here is where the author of Revelation probably got his allegorical imagery for describing Lucifer, the "bottomless pit", and the satanically inspired "Babylonian beast" from the "sea" having seven heads and ten horns. Babylon was the most powerful empire to arise in those days whose religion was solidly based on idol worship. Although the authors of the Old Testament borrowed many ideas from the Babylonians (as well as from the Egyptians), their one-God-only revisions of those ideas were distinctively Hebrew, and they went to considerable effort to distinguish their views of God from those of their idol-worshipping neighbors.]
"Prepare slaughter for his children because of the iniquity of their fathers, lest they rise up and possess the land, and fill the face of the world with cities. For I will rise up against them," says the LORD of hosts, "And cut off from Babylon the name and remnant, and offspring and posterity," says the LORD. "I will also make it a possession for the porcupine, and marshes of muddy water; I will sweep it with the broom of destruction," says the LORD of hosts.
[2-hvn. Daniel got along pretty well with the rulers of Babylon and achieved a high rank in their ruling hierarchy. Also, according to historians, many Hebrew "captives" decided to remain in Babylon rather than return to Jerusalem. So, at least as a place to live, Babylon couldn't have been all that bad, even in the eyes of God. Nevertheless, the author of these passages seems to take a satanic delight in the destruction and misery of the Babylonians which was characteristic of the earlier writings of Isaiah-2.]
The LORD of hosts has sworn, saying, "Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand: That I will break the Assyrian in My land, and on My mountains tread him underfoot. Then his yoke shall be removed from them, and his burden removed from their shoulders. This is the purpose that is purposed against the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations. For the LORD of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?"
[3-hvn. This appears to have been quickly inserted by Isaiah-3, referring to Assyria by mistake. When you consider that these writings were recorded on scrolls that were normally rolled up when not in use, it's easy to imagine how this could happen.]
This is the burden which came in the year that King Ahaz died. "Do not rejoice, all you of Philistia, because the rod that struck you is broken; for out of the serpent's roots will come forth a viper, and its offspring will be a fiery flying serpent. The firstborn of the poor will feed, and the needy will lie down in safety; I will kill your roots with famine, and it will slay your remnant. Wail, O gate! Cry, O city! All you of Philistia are dissolved; for smoke will come from the north, and no one will be alone in his appointed times." What will they answer the messengers of the nation? That the LORD has founded Zion, and the poor of His people shall take refuge in it.
[2-hvn. This last paragraph appears to be another Isaiah-1 fragment of text that was likewise
inserted by Isaiah-3. In this case, Iisaiah-1 was warning to the Philistines against trying to take advantage of the fact the Ahaz had died and was being replaced by a fairly young Hezekiah.]
Chapter 15 [Isaia-1. The second "burden against" prophecy of doom in the Book of Isaiah]
The burden against Moab. Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste and destroyed, because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste and destroyed, He has gone up to the temple and Dibon, to the high places to weep. Moab will wail over Nebo and over Medeba; on all their heads will be baldness, and every beard cut off. In their streets they will clothe themselves with sackcloth; on the tops of their houses and in their streets everyone will wail, weeping bitterly. Heshbon and Elealeh will cry out, their voice shall be heard as far as Jahaz; therefore the armed soldiers of Moab will cry out; his life will be burdensome to him. "My heart will cry out for Moab; his fugitives shall flee to Zoar, like a three-year-old heifer. For by the Ascent of Luhith they will go up with weeping; for in the way of Horonaim they will raise up a cry of destruction, for the waters of Nimrim will be desolate, for the green grass has withered away; the grass fails, there is nothing green. Therefore the abundance they have gained, and what they have laid up, they will carry away to the Brook of the Willows. For the cry has gone all around the borders of Moab, its wailing to Eglaim and its wailing to Beer Elim. For the waters of Dimon will be full of blood; because I will bring more upon Dimon, Lions upon him who escapes from Moab, and on the remnant of the land."
[2-hvn. Here Isaiah-1 appears to be rejoicing over the expected misfortune of his Moabite neighbors (and sometimes adversaries), but this NKJ translation may be misleading in that regard. As previously mentioned, the Judean King Ahaz had negotiated a tribute deal with the Assyrians; apparently the Moabites had not. So these verses represent gloating rather than rejoicing (i.e. "How wise we are and how dumb you guys are"). Notice how Isaiah-1 implies a religious lesson from all this by pointing out that the Moabites' weeping and prayers to their idols in the temple of Dibon and at the high places would be to no avail. The expression "on all their heads will be baldness" apparently refers to a practice among the Moabites in those days whereby their men would shave their heads as an expression of grief. In any case, as the political situation was evolving at that time, it was probably not that difficult to recognize that Moabites would soon be "done in" by the Assyrians. We have no way of knowing how many different "prophecies of doom" Isaiah-1 actually uttered or wrote. The fact that these in the Book of Isaiah were retained and chosen by Isaiah-3 to be included in the book indicates that (at least) Isaiah-3 thought that these particular prophecies of doom were actually fulfilled.]
Send the lamb to the ruler of the land, from Sela to the wilderness, to the mount of the daughter of Zion. For it shall be as a wandering bird thrown out of the nest; so shall be the daughters of Moab at the fords of the Arnon. "Take counsel, execute judgment; make your shadow like the night in the middle of the day; hide the outcasts, do not betray him who escapes. Let My outcasts dwell with you, O Moab; be a shelter to them from the face of the spoiler. For the extortioner is at an end, devastation ceases, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. In mercy the throne will be established; and One will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness."
[2-hvn. Here Isaiah-1 comes up with a politically astute proposal to help save the Moabites. He suggests that they re-establish the tribute arrangement that King David had forced them to accept whereby they provided the ruling class in Jerusalem with a steady supply of lambs (to be sacrificed and eaten). This would in effect make them part of the kingdom of Judea and bring them under the terms of the protection agreement that King Ahaz had negotiated with the Assyrians. His point that the "extortioner is at an end..." appears to refer to the Assyrians whom Isaiah seems to have recognized were about to run out of power themselves. Evidently, the Moabites rejected this proposal (i.e. they opted for Moabite "national sovereignty") and paid dearly for that mistake.]
We have heard of the pride of Moab--he is very proud--of his haughtiness and his pride and his wrath; but his lies shall not be so. Therefore Moab shall wail for Moab; everyone shall wail. For the foundations of Kir Hareseth you shall mourn; surely they are stricken. For the fields of Heshbon languish, and the vine of Sibmah; the lords of the nations have broken down its choice plants, which have reached to Jazer and wandered through the wilderness. Her branches are stretched out, they are gone over the sea. Therefore I will bewail the vine of Sibmah, with the weeping of Jazer; I will drench you with my tears, O Heshbon and Elealeh; for battle cries have fallen over your summer fruits and your harvest. Gladness is taken away, and joy from the plentiful field; in the vineyards there will be no singing, nor will there be shouting; no treaders will tread out wine in the presses; I have made their shouting cease. Therefore my heart shall resound like a harp for Moab, and my inner being for Kir Heres.
[2-hvn. Isaiah is again ridiculing the Moabite leaders for their foolish pride and overconfidence in their own power. Notice that Isaiah-1 is actually expressing sympathy here for the people of Moab .]
And it shall come to pass, when it is seen that Moab is weary on the high place, that he will come to his sanctuary to pray; but he will not prevail. This is the word which the LORD has spoken concerning Moab since that time. But now the LORD has spoken, saying, "Within three years, as the years of a hired man, the glory of Moab will be despised with all that great multitude, and the remnant will be very small and feeble."
[2-hvn. So Isaiah-1 predicted the Moabites' doom would come within three years. Apparently, he was right. This no doubt helped Isaiah establish his reputation as a prophet, ostensibly because he correctly predicted the Moabite's doom. What REALLY made him a prophet in God's eyes was his attempt to SAVE the Moabites from that foreseeable doom.]
Chapter 17 [Isaiah-1. This is third "burden against " prophecy of doom in the Book of Isaiah.]
The burden against Damascus. "Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken; they will be for flocks which lie down, and no one will make them afraid. The fortress also will cease from Ephraim, the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria; they will be as the glory of the children of Israel," says the LORD of hosts.
[2-hvn. Isaiah-1 is predicting the demise of Syria (Damascus) as well as the Northern Kingdom (Ephraim) due to their rebellion against paying tribute to the Assyrians.]
"In that day it shall come to pass that the glory of Jacob will wane, and the fatness of his flesh grow lean. It shall be as when the harvester gathers the grain, and reaps the heads with his arm; it shall be as he who gathers heads of grain in the Valley of Rephaim. Yet gleaning grapes will be left in it, like the shaking of an olive tree, two or three olives at the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in its most fruitful branches," says the LORD God of Israel. In that day a man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel. He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands; he will not respect what his fingers have made, nor the wooden images nor the incense altars.
[3-hvn. Here Isaiah-1 allegorically predicts that some of Israel's most fruitful "olives" (people) and "branches" (teachings) will survive. To convey this allegorical lesson, he alludes to the Levite teaching that farmers should not pick their fields clean but rather leave a portion behind to be gleaned by the poor free of charge (which was indeed one of their more godly or fruitful teachings). He was also referring to a remnant of people from the Northern Kingdom who would be welcomed to take refuge in Judea. He expects that they will have learned God's lessons by then (about the futility of putting one's faith in idols, etc.)]
In that day his strong cities will be as a forsaken bough and an uppermost branch [i.e. emptied], which they left because of the children of Israel [who had forced them to flee]; and there will be desolation. Because you have forgotten the God of your salvation, and have not been mindful of the Rock of your stronghold, therefore you will plant pleasant plants and set out foreign seedlings; In the day you will make your plant to grow, and in the morning you will make your seed to flourish; but the harvest will be a heap of ruins in the day of grief and desperate sorrow.
[3-hvn. That is, "foreign seedlings" (ungodly assumptions) will appear to grow pleasant "plants of knowledge", but when the "harvest" comes (when they are put to the test), they will merely bear grief and desperate sorrow. The fact that he is using this allegorical scheme shows that Isaiah-1 recognized the 3rd-heaven allegorical scheme used by the authors of Genesis.]
Woe to the multitude of many people who make a noise like the roar of the seas, and to the rushing of nations that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters; but God will rebuke them and they will flee far away, and be chased like the chaff of the mountains before the wind, like a rolling thing before the whirlwind. Then behold, at eventide, trouble! And before the morning, he is no more. This is the portion of those who plunder us, and the lot of those who rob us.
[3-hvn. Here Isaiah-1 is allegorically describing what we refer to today "that national sovereignty system" (whole nations rushing like mighty waters against each other, because each has used its own ungodly criteria for defining what is "good" and what is "evil"). Because of this, all of Judea's "enemies" will eventually "do each other in!" Herein lies the "secret" to Isaiah-1's astute understanding of the evolving political situation that he observed throughout his ministry. He recognized pretty well the true nature of international anarchy.]
Chapter 18 [Isaiah-1, embellished substantially by Isaiah-3]
Woe to the land shadowed with buzzing wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, Which sends ambassadors by sea, even in vessels of reed on the waters, saying, "Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth of skin, to a people terrible from their beginning onward, a nation powerful and treading down, whose land the rivers divide." All inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth: when he lifts up a banner on the mountains, you see it; and when he blows a trumpet, you hear it. For so the LORD said to me, "I will take My rest, and I will look from My dwelling place like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest." For before the harvest, when the bud is perfect and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he will both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks and take away and cut down the branches. They will be left together for the mountain birds of prey and for the beasts of the earth; the birds of prey will summer on them, and all the beasts of the earth will winter on them. In that time a present will be brought to the LORD of hosts from a people tall and smooth of skin, and from a people terrible from their beginning onward, a nation powerful and treading down, whose land the rivers divide--to the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, to Mount Zion.
[2-hvn. Biblical scholars are uncertain which nation Isaiah was referring to in this chapter. Apparently they were a seafaring nation that sent emissaries and merchants far beyond their own borders. They also had a reputation of being fearsome conquerors. At first, it appears that Isaiah-1 is predicting that someday those people will attempt to attack Judea and that the LORD will defeat them easily. After that, they will offer some kind of gift or tribute to the LORD in Jerusalem. However, there is more to this chapter than what first "meets the eye." ]
[3-hvn. The references to a "land shadowed in buzzing wings" and a "land the rivers divide" indicate that there was probably an (Isaiah-3) allegorical interpretation intended for this chapter as well. Since the "earth" allegorically represents mankind's perceptions of popular truths, the "buzzing wings" imply a darkened "cloud of confusion, contradicting ideas" generated by "rivers" of conflicting teachings (the so-called "Laws of Moses"). Although such confusing teachings may threaten to obscure the "clear heat in sunshine" (guidance) that comes from God, God is not worried. Through his servants, God will "cut down" such ungodly ideas (using Christ's double-edged sword of truth and love) and leave what remains for intellectual scavengers to finish off. Thereafter, the formerly confused will pay tribute to the true and pure teachings of God! In other words, this chapter allegorically describes the event that Christians refer to as the "Second Coming of Christ."
Why would there be a need for such an event? Evidently, because the "current religious establishment" in Isaiah-3's day (led by Ezra and Nehemiah) had decreed the establishment of a set of man-made doctrines to be followed which were in fact a "cloud of confusion" (from God's point of view), and the Isaiah-3 authors were unable to convince their religious superiors to take God's two most fundamental commandments seriously. The Jewish people have been paying DEARLY for that misleading "cloud of confusion" guidance ever since.]
Chapter 19 [Isaiah-1, embellished by Isaiah-3. The fourth "burden against" prophecy of doom in Isaiah.]
The burden against Egypt. Behold, the LORD rides on a swift cloud, and will come into Egypt; the idols of Egypt will totter at His presence, and the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst. "I will set Egyptians against Egyptians; everyone will fight against his brother, and everyone against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom. [Now that's confusion!] The spirit of Egypt will fail in its midst; I will destroy their counsel, and they will consult the idols and the charmers, the mediums and the sorcerers. And the Egyptians I will give into the hand of a cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them," says the Lord, the LORD of hosts. The waters will fail from the sea, and the river will be wasted and dried up. The rivers will turn foul; the brooks of defense will be emptied and dried up; the reeds and rushes will wither. The papyrus reeds by the River, by the mouth of the River, and everything sown by the River, will wither, be driven away, and be no more.
The fishermen also will mourn; all those will lament who cast hooks into the River, and they will languish who spread nets on the waters. Moreover those who work in fine flax and those who weave fine fabric will be ashamed; And its [ideological] foundations will be broken. All who make wages will be troubled of soul. Surely the princes of Zoan are fools; Pharaoh's wise counselors give foolish counsel. How do you say to Pharaoh, "I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?" Where are they? Where are your wise men? Let them tell you now, and let them know what the LORD of hosts has purposed against Egypt. The princes of Zoan have become fools; the princes of Noph are deceived; they have also deluded Egypt, those who are the mainstay of its tribes. The LORD has mingled a perverse spirit [of confusion] in her midst; and they have caused Egypt to err in all her work, as a drunken man staggers in his vomit. Neither will there be any work for Egypt, which the head or tail, palm branch or bulrush, may do.
[2-hvn. Isaiah-1 is predicting that Egypt will suffer something like the plagues of Moses again.]
In that day Egypt will be like women, and will be afraid and fear because of the waving of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which He waves over it. And the land of Judah will be a terror to Egypt; everyone who makes mention of it will be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of hosts which He has determined against it. In that day five cities in the land of Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear by the LORD of hosts; one will be called the City of Destruction [or City of the Sun].
In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border. And it will be for a sign and for a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the LORD because of the oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Mighty One, and He will deliver them. Then the LORD will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day, and will make sacrifice and offering; yes, they will make a vow to the LORD and perform it. And the LORD will strike Egypt, He will strike and heal it; they will return to the LORD, and He will be entreated by them and heal them.
In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria--a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, "Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance."
[2-hvn. Isaiah-1 seems to be predicting that Egypt will suffer great confusion and a fear of Israel (or an Israeli-Assyrian alliance) but will eventually become part of a regional political union of Egypt, Israel, and Assyria. Israel's religion will also become popular in (at least five cities of) Egypt where they will speak the same language as Israel. Some scholars believe this prophecy was more or less fulfilled with numerous Jews migrated to Egypt after Alexander the Great conquered most of that part of the world.
Notice that although this idea of an Egypt-Israeli-Assyrian political union tends to strike horror in the hearts of national sovereignty worshippers, Isaiah-1 viewed such a political union to be a God-inspired blessing. In effect, Isaiah-1 was predicting (or proposing) a small "world government" as a solution to the problem of international anarchy. As far as I can tell, such a political union was never achieved in those days, because Isaiah-3's "Savior and Mighty One" didn't appear until a few centuries later. Jesus Christ fulfilled the role of the "Savior"; His "Second Coming" will fulfill the role of the "Mighty One."]
Chapter 20 [Isaiah-1]
In the year that Tartan came to Ashdod [a Philistine town], when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him, and he fought against Ashdod and took it, at the same time the LORD spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, "Go, and remove the sackcloth from your body, and take your sandals off your feet." And he did so, walking naked and barefoot. Then the LORD said, "Just as My servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and a wonder against Egypt and Ethiopia, so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as prisoners and the Ethiopians as captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. Then they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation and Egypt their glory. And the inhabitant of this territory will say in that day, 'Surely such is our expectation, wherever we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria; and how shall we escape?'"
[2-hvn. Most commentators think it is highly unlikely that Isaiah-1 actually walked around naked and barefoot for three years. It's more likely that he did something like that for three days to signify what would happen to the Philistines and Egyptians within three years (at the hands of the Assyrians). His unorthodox presentation technique no doubt got the people's attention. As before, Isaiah-1 is not so much rejoicing over this anticipated fate of the Philistines and Egyptians as he is gloating over how dumb their leaders are (compared to Ahaz ). According to historians, the Assyrians did overrun the Philistines and attempt to take Egypt (and they probably deported a considerable number of Egyptian and Philistine captives in the process). But when military forces from Ethiopia joined with the remaining Egyptian forces, the Assyrians were forced to retreat. So the Assyrian defeat of Egypt and Ethiopia was not as complete as this Isaiah-1's prophecy indicated it would be.]
Chapter 21 [Isaiah-2. The fifth, sixth, and seventh "burden against" prophecies of doom in Isaiah.]
The burden against the Wilderness of the Sea. As whirlwinds in the South pass through, so it comes from the desert, from a terrible land. A distressing vision is declared to me; the treacherous dealer deals treacherously, and the plunderer plunders. Go up, O Elam! Besiege, O Media! All its sighing I have made to cease. Therefore my loins are filled with pain; Pangs have taken hold of me, like the pangs of a woman in labor. I was distressed when I heard it; I was dismayed when I saw it. My heart wavered, fearfulness frightened me; the night for which I longed He turned into fear for me. Prepare the table, set a watchman in the tower, eat and drink. Arise, you princes, anoint the shield! For thus has the Lord said to me: "Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he sees." And he saw a chariot with a pair of horsemen, a chariot of donkeys, and a chariot of camels, and he listened earnestly with great care. Then he cried, "A lion, my Lord! I stand continually on the watchtower in the daytime; I have sat at my post every night. And look, here comes a chariot of men with a pair of horsemen!" Then he answered and said, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen! And all the carved images of her gods he has broken to the ground." Oh, my threshing and the grain of my floor! That which I have heard from the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, I have declared to you.
[3-hvn. This prophecy clearly predicts that the Babylonian Empire will be overrun by an alliance of Persians and Medes (allegorically depicted as two chariots approaching the gates so rapidly that it was readily apparent to everyone that Babylon was "fallen"). As I show in my review of St. John's Book of Revelation, the Babylon of our present age (the "national sovereignty system") is destined to suffer a similar (surprisingly rapid) demise on the blades of God's two most fundamental commandments. It's interesting to note that by the time this happened, Isaiah-2, who was eagerly anticipating the trashing of Babylon, now found the prospect that his earlier dreams were coming true to be frightening and quite upsetting. Of course, it's always a terrifying scene when a "new regime" violently takes over a city like that (if you are not part of that new regime), but the "pangs" that he mentions indicate that perhaps, like Daniel, Isaiah-2 found that the Babylonian people were not all that abominable after all. It's often easier to hate people that you don't really know. Indeed, after the Babylonian Empire fell, many Jews chose to stay there rather than return to Jerusalem.]
The burden against Dumah [Edom]. He calls to me out of Seir, "Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?" The watchman said, "The morning comes, and also the night. If you will inquire, inquire; return! Come back!" [i.e. "Nothing yet; inquire again tomorrow."]
[2-hvn. Edom's subjugation by the Persians/Mede alliance was imminent.]
The burden against Arabia. In the forest in Arabia you will lodge, O you traveling companies of Dedanites. O inhabitants of the land of Tema, bring water to him who is thirsty; with their bread they met him who fled. For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow, and from the distress of war. For thus the LORD has said to me: "Within a year, according to the year of a hired man, all the glory of Kedar will fail; and the remainder of the number of archers, the mighty men of the people of Kedar, will be diminished; for the LORD God of Israel has spoken it."
[2-hvn. Likewise for the Arabians within a year. Hey, that's the way international anarchy works!]]
Chapter 22 [Isaiah 1. The eighth "burden against" prophecy of doom in the Book of Isaiah.]
The burden against the Valley of Vision [Jerusalem]. What ails you now, that you have all gone up to the housetops, You who are full of noise, a tumultuous city, a joyous city? Your slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle [i.e. they were dying of disease instead]. All your rulers have fled together; they are captured by the archers. All who are found in you are bound together; they have fled from afar. Therefore I said, "Look away from me, I will weep bitterly; do not labor to comfort me because of the plundering of the daughter of my people." For it is a day of trouble and treading down and perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the Valley of Vision--breaking down the walls and of crying to the mountain. Elam bore the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield. It shall come to pass that your choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.
[2-hvn. This prophecy appears to have been written during the 14th year of the reign of Hezekiah after most of the towns in Judea had been overrun by the Assyrian forces of Sennacherib and Jerusalem had been under siege so long that its inhabitants were dying of malnutrition and disease. Notice that this account contradicts mound and siegeworks portion of the prophecy that Isaiah-1 made in Chapter 37:33.]
He removed the protection of Judah. You looked in that day to the armor of the House of the Forest [King Solomon's palace]; You also saw the damage to the city of David, that it was great; and you gathered together the waters of the lower pool. You numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses you broke down to fortify the wall. You also made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to its Maker, nor did you have respect for Him who fashioned it long ago. And in that day the Lord GOD of hosts called for weeping and for mourning, for baldness and for girding with sackcloth. But instead, joy and gladness, slaying oxen and killing sheep, eating meat and drinking wine: "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!"
[2-hvn. This describes the enhancements which King Hezekiah made to Jerusalem's defenses and the apparent hopelessness of their situation. Isaiah-1 preaches that they should repent and put their faith in God instead (which may have included a recommendation by Isaiah-1 to re-establish the Assyrian tribute arrangement that Hezekiah had broken).]
Then it was revealed in my hearing by the LORD of hosts, "Surely for this iniquity there will be no atonement for you, even to your death," says the Lord GOD of hosts. Thus says the Lord GOD of hosts: "Go, proceed to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the house, and say: 'What have you here, and whom have you here, that you have hewn a sepulcher here, as he who hews himself a sepulcher on high, who carves a tomb for himself in a rock? Indeed, the LORD will throw you away violently, O mighty man, and will surely seize you. He will surely turn violently and toss you like a ball into a large country; there you shall die, and there your glorious chariots shall be the shame of your master's house.
[2-hvn. Isaiah-1 severely criticizes Hezekiah's minister of defense (Shebna) for his defeatist attitude. He predicts that he will die of course, but not as a high-ranking official as he was supposing his death would be.]
So I will drive you out of your office, and from your position he will pull you down. 'Then it shall be in that day, that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe and strengthen him with your belt; I will commit your responsibility into his hand. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open. I will fasten him as a peg in a secure place, and he will become a glorious throne to his father's house. 'They will hang on him all the glory of his father's house, the offspring and the posterity, all vessels of small quantity, from the cups to all the pitchers. In that day,' says the LORD of hosts, 'the peg that is fastened in the secure place will be removed and be cut down and fall, and the burden that was on it will be cut off; for the LORD has spoken.'"
[2-hvn. Isaiah predicts that Shebna will be replaced by a more reliable "peg" (Eliakim) who will gloriously defend Jerusalem and become its ruler. The "peg" that preceded him (Shebna) would be removed and cut down. It's not clear whether or not this prophecy was actually fulfilled. Apparently, there is no record that Eliakim ever became a ruler of Jerusalem or Judea. For the reasons mentioned so far in this article, Isaiah-1 had already earned his reputation as true prophet of God, even if some of his prophecies turned out to be a bit off the mark (Jack Van Impe's claims regarding the "inerrancy" of Biblical prophecies not withstanding).]
[3-hvn. The "key of the house of David" may also have been intended to have an allegorical interpretation like the "keys to heaven" (God's two most fundamental commandments) that Jesus gave to St. Peter.]
Chapter 23 [Isaiah-2 and possibly Isaiah-3. The ninth "burden against" prophecy of doom in Isaiah.]
The burden against Tyre. Wail, you ships of Tarshish! For it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no harbor; from the land of Cyprus it is revealed to them. Be still, you inhabitants of the coastland, you merchants of Sidon, whom those who cross the sea have filled. And on great waters the grain of Shihor, the harvest of the River, is her revenue; and she is a marketplace for the nations. Be ashamed, O Sidon; for the sea has spoken, the strength of the sea, saying, "I do not labor, nor bring forth children; neither do I rear young men, nor bring up virgins." When the report reaches Egypt, they also will be in agony at the report of Tyre. Cross over to Tarshish; wail, you inhabitants of the coastland! Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is from ancient days, whose feet carried her far off to dwell? Who has taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traders are the honorable of the earth? The LORD of hosts has purposed it, to bring to dishonor the pride of all glory, to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth.
[2-hvn. The King of Tyre had been ally of Kings David and Solomon, but Isaiah-2 predicts that Tyre will be wiped out (by the Babylonian Empire), supposedly because of the haughty attitude of its (Phoenician) citizens. Evidently, Isaiah-2 could see that Tyre was about to be sacked. Perhaps he felt he needed to attribute a godly sounding reason for such a sacking. ]
Overflow through your land like the River, O daughter of Tarshish; there is no more strength. He stretched out His hand over the sea, he shook the kingdoms; the LORD has given a commandment against Canaan to destroy its strongholds. And He said, "You will rejoice no more, O you oppressed virgin daughter of Sidon. Arise, cross over to Cyprus; there also you will have no rest." Behold, the land of the Chaldeans [Babylonians], this people which was not; Assyria founded it for wild beasts of the desert. They set up its towers, they raised up its palaces, and brought it to ruin. Wail, you ships of Tarshish! For your strength is laid waste.
Now it shall come to pass in that day that Tyre will be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king. At the end of seventy years it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the harlot: "Take a harp, go about the city, you forgotten harlot; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that you may be remembered." And it shall be, at the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre. She will return to her hire, and commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth [i.e. go back to what she was doing before]. [But at some distant time in the future,] Her gain and her pay will be set apart for the LORD; it will not be treasured nor laid up, for her gain will be for those who dwell before the LORD, to eat sufficiently, and for fine clothing.
[2-hvn. This last paragraph may have been added by Isaiah-3.]
Chapter 24 [Isaiah-3]
Behold, the LORD makes the earth empty and makes it waste, Distorts its surface and scatters abroad its inhabitants. And it shall be: as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the debtor. The land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered, for the LORD has spoken this word.
[2-hvn. This is quite a dismal depiction of the Lord, if taken literally.]
The earth mourns and fades away, the world languishes and fades away; the haughty people of the earth languish. The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore the curse [Genesis 3:14] has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left. The new wine fails, the vine languishes, all the merry-hearted sigh. The mirth of the tambourine ceases, the noise of the jubilant ends, the joy of the harp ceases. They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink is bitter to those who drink it. The city of confusion is broken down; every house is shut up, so that none may go in.
[3-hvn. On the other hand, if we view the "earth" as allegorically representing mankind's perceptions of popular truths, as did the authors of Genesis, one can view Isaiah-3's prophecy above as a description of what typically happens to people when they follow criteria OTHER than God's two most fundamental commandments.]
There is a cry for wine in the streets, all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone. In the city desolation is left, and the gate is stricken with destruction. When it shall be thus in the midst of the land among the people, it shall be like the shaking of an olive tree, like the gleaning of grapes when the vintage is done. They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing; for the majesty of the LORD they shall cry aloud from the sea.
[3-hvn. Unfortunately, throughout history (secular as well as Biblical), mankind has often waited until a major disaster has occurred before deciding to take God's two most fundamental commandments SERIOUSLY (which is precisely why those major disasters occurred in the first place). In our present world, our religious leaders seem to be waiting for a nuclear war or something like that to happen in order to be convinced of the need to take God's two most fundamental commandments seriously. We are ALL in danger because of this.]
Therefore glorify the LORD in the dawning light, the name of the LORD God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea. From the ends of the earth we have heard songs: "Glory to the righteous!" But I said, "I am ruined, ruined! Woe to me! The treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously, indeed, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously." Fear and the pit and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall be that he who flees from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit, and he who comes up from the midst of the pit shall be caught in the snare; for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth are shaken. The earth is violently broken, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut; its transgression shall be heavy upon it, and it will fall, and not rise again.
[3-hvn. Isaiah-3 is clearly using the 3rd-heaven allegorical scheme of Genesis here to illustrate the dangers of glorifying "the righteous" rather than the Lord. By whose criteria are those people "righteous"? Their own? If so, then they are "self-righteous" and they will all "fall into the pit." Jesus Christ may have had these verses in mind when he characterized the Pharisees as "blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch" in Matthew 15:14. St. John uses the same sort of imagery throughout the Book of Revelation to make essentially the same points regarding the "shaking" of mankind's most fundamental (man-made) assumptions in the "end times."]
It shall come to pass in that day that the LORD will punish on high the host of exalted ones, and on the earth the kings of the earth. They will be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and will be shut up in the prison; after many days they will be punished. Then the moon [Judea's religious leaders] will be disgraced and the sun [Judeans in general] ashamed; for the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His elders, gloriously.
[3-hvn. St. John's Book of Revelation essentially takes this allegorical theme and expands on it.]
Chapter 25 [Isaiah-3]
LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things; your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. [YES!] For You have made a city a ruin, a fortified city a ruin, a palace of foreigners to be a city no more; it will never be rebuilt. Therefore the strong people will glorify You; the city of the terrible nations will fear You. For You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; for the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. You will reduce the noise of aliens, as heat in a dry place; as heat in the shadow of a cloud, the song of the terrible ones will be diminished. And in this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all people a feast of choice pieces, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of well-refined wines on the lees. And He will destroy on this mountain the surface of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people he will take away from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken. And it will be said in that day: "Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation."
***It's interesting to compare the above with The Living Bible (TLB) translation of Isaiah 25:1-9:
O Lord, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God; you do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them, just as you said! You turn mighty cities into heaps of ruins. The strongest forts are turned to rubble. Beautiful palaces in distant lands disappear and will never be rebuilt. Therefore strong nations will shake with fear before you; ruthless nations will obey and glorify your name. But to the poor, O Lord, you are a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, a shelter from merciless men who are like a driving rain that melts down an earthen wall. As a hot, dry land is cooled by clouds, you will cool the pride of ruthless nations. Here on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, the Lord Almighty will spread a wondrous feast for everyone around the world--a delicious feast of good food, with clear, well-aged wine and choice beef. At that time he will remove the cloud of gloom, the pall of death that hangs over the earth; he will swallow up death forever. The Lord God will wipe away all tears and take away forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The Lord has spoken--he will surely do it! In that day the people will proclaim, "This is our God in whom we trust, for whom we waited. Now at last he is here." What a day of rejoicing! (TLB)
[3-hvn. What we have here may be regarded a prophecy regarding the "end times" in which delicious "food from God" is offered to mankind from Mount Zion in Jerusalem (through the teachings of Jesus Christ). This will cause not only Israel but also the "ruthless nations" of the world to repent and start taking God's two most fundamental commandments SERIOUSLY, thereby releasing mankind from the curse of its own deadly ideologies. Obviously, that hasn't happened yet.]
For on this mountain the hand of the LORD will rest, and Moab shall be trampled down under Him, as straw is trampled down for the refuse heap. And He will spread out His hands in their midst as a swimmer reaches out to swim, and He will bring down their pride together with the trickery of their hands. The fortress of the high fort of your walls he will bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, down to the dust.
[3-hvn. These last three verses in Chapter 25 seem out of place, because they appear to revert back to a tribal "Moab-bashing" attitude. However, notice that it is in fact their pride and "trickery" that are being brought down as well as the "walls" (or restrictions on their definition of neighbor) that separated them. Chapter 26 further elaborates on this point.]
Chapter 26 [Isaiah-3]
In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: "We have a strong city; God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks [rather than walls of stone]. Open the gates, that the [any] righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in. You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength. For He brings down those who dwell on high, the lofty city; he lays it low, he lays it low to the ground, he brings it down to the dust. The foot shall tread it down--the feet of the poor and the steps of the needy." The way of the just is uprightness; O Most Upright, you weigh the path of the just. Yes, in the way of Your judgments, O LORD, we have waited for You; the desire of our soul is for Your name and for the remembrance of You. With my soul I have desired You in the night, yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; for when With Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
[3-hvn. Now THAT sounds much more neighborly, does it not? The ungodly seeds and fruits of xenophobia that were inadvertently sewn by Abraham will finally be replaced by complete faith in the LORD and his two most fundamental commandments. Notice that Isaiah-3's view of God is much more global or universal than Isaiah-1's view of God. Isaiah-1 tended to view the physical city of Jerusalem as the "spiritual capitol of the world." Issaih-3 (probably in view of the fact that the physical Jerusalem had been utterly destroyed) took a view similar to the worldwide spiritual "New Jerusalem" described in St John's Book of Revelation. Isaiah-3 helped "sew the seeds" (formulate the concept) of the spiritual "Kingdom of God" Jesus Christ taught that. ]
Let grace be shown to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD. LORD, when Your hand is lifted up, they will not see. But they will see and be ashamed for their envy of people; yes, the fire of Your enemies shall devour them.
The Living Bible translation for Isaiah 26:10-11 is:
Your kindness to the wicked doesn't make them good; they keep on doing wrong and take no notice of your majesty. They do not listen when you threaten; they will not look to see your upraised fist. Show them how much you love your people. Perhaps then they will be ashamed! Yes, let them be burned up by the fire reserved for your enemies. (TLB)
[2-hvn. Jesus Christ "burned" the Pharisees with his scathing criticisms of their misrepresentations of God.]
LORD, You will establish peace for us, for You have also done all our works in us. O LORD our God, masters besides You have had dominion over us [i.e. we worshipped other gods before]; but [now] by You only we make mention of Your name. They [those other gods] are dead, they will not live; they are deceased, they will not rise. Therefore You have punished and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish. You have increased the nation, O LORD, you have increased the nation; you are glorified; you have expanded all the borders of the land.
LORD, in trouble they [the Israelites] have visited You, they poured out a prayer when Your chastening was upon them. As a woman with child is in pain and cries out in her pangs, when she draws near the time of her delivery, so have we been in Your sight, O LORD. We have been with child, we have been in pain; we have, as it were, brought forth wind; we have not accomplished any deliverance in the earth, nor have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
[2-hvn. Their efforts to achieve salvation on their own terms (using their own criteria rather than God's criteria) have failed miserably "(brought forth wind").]
[However] Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
[1-hvn. If taken "literally", this appears to predict that our physical bodies will rise from the dust and come back to life again at the end times.]
[3-hvn. However, if the "bodies" referred to above are part of the "body of Christ" referred to in St. John's Book of Revelation, then what is really being predicted here is a resurrection of spiritual "souls" in the end times. The efforts of those who have taken God's two most fundamental commandments SERIOUSLY throughout history will be distinguished from the muddy "earth" of mankind's perceptions of popular truths and will be honored forever after. ]
Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. For behold, the LORD comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain.
[3-hvn. Everyone who ever lived will ultimately be judged based on God's two most fundamental commandments, and their contributions (or lack thereof) will be recognized accordingly.]
Chapter 27 [Isiah-1, greatly embellished by Isaiah-3]
In that day the LORD with His severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent; and He will slay the reptile that is in the sea. In that day sing to her, "A vineyard of red wine! I, the LORD, keep it, I water it every moment; lest any hurt it, I keep it night and day. Fury is not in Me. Who would set briers and thorns against Me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. Or let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me."
[3-hvn. In the end times, God will slay the fleeing serpent (Satan) using Christ's double-edged sword of truth and love. He will start by purging the teachings of Satan from the "sea" of teachings offered by the various denominations of Christianity and Judaism. The Lord will protect vines ("trees of knowledge" or teachings) that grow in accordance with His two most fundamental commandments.]
Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob [God's two most fundamental commandments]; Israel [a.k.a. the "New Jerusalem"] shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with [godly] fruit. Has He struck Israel as He struck those who struck him? Or has He been slain according to the slaughter of those who were slain by Him? In measure, by sending it away, you contended with it. He removes it by His rough wind in the day of the east wind. Therefore by this the iniquity of Jacob will be covered; and this is all the fruit of taking away his sin: when he makes all the stones of the altar like chalkstones that are beaten to dust, Wooden images and incense altars shall not stand. Yet the fortified city will be desolate, the habitation forsaken and left like a wilderness; there the calf will feed, and there it will lie down and consume its branches. When its boughs are withered, they will be broken off; the women come and set them on fire. For it is a people of no understanding; therefore He who made them will not have mercy on them, and He who formed them will show them no favor.
The Living Bible translation of Isaiah 27:6-11 is:
The time will come when Israel will take root and bud and blossom and fill the whole earth with her fruit! Has God punished Israel as much as he has punished her enemies? No, for he has devastated her enemies, while he has punished Israel but a little, exiling her far from her own land as though blown away in a storm from the east. And why did God do it? It was to purge away her sins, to rid her of all her idol altars and her idols. They will never be worshiped again. Her walled cities will be silent and empty, houses abandoned, streets grown up with grass, cows grazing through the city munching on twigs and branches. My people are like the dead branches of a tree, broken off and used to burn beneath the pots. They are a foolish nation, a witless, stupid people, for they turn away from God. Therefore, he who made them will not have pity on them or show them his mercy. (TLB)
And it shall come to pass in that day that the LORD will thresh, from the channel of the River to the Brook of Egypt; and you will be gathered one by one, O you children of Israel. So it shall be in that day: the great trumpet will be blown; they will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria, and they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.
[2-hvn. In the end times, the Lord will signal his loyal followers not only in Israel but also in neighboring (gentile) nations to join together in the "holy mount at Jerusalem" (a.k.a. the "New Jerusalem") where they will take on and destroy (the credibility of) the ungodly spirits that dominate our present "earth."]
Chapter 28 [Isaiah-1]
Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower which is at the head of the verdant valleys, to those who are overcome with wine! Behold, the Lord has a mighty and strong one, like a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, like a flood of mighty waters overflowing, who will bring them down to the earth with His hand. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, will be trampled underfoot; and the glorious beauty is a fading flower which is at the head of the verdant valley, like the first fruit before the summer, which an observer sees; he eats it up while it is still in his hand.
[2-hvn. Now the text reverts back to Isaiah-1's prophecies regarding the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Judging from the way these texts skips around chronologically, it appears that the Book of Isaiah as we now know it was compiled/written rather hastily.]
In that day the LORD of hosts will be for a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty to the remnant of His people, for a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and for strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. But they also have erred through wine, and through intoxicating drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through intoxicating drink, they are swallowed up by wine, they are out of the way through intoxicating drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filth; no place is clean.
[2-hvn. Clearly, Isaiah-1 viewed the Northern Kingdom as being a nation of drunkards.]
"Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little." For with stammering lips and another tongue he will speak to this people, To whom He said, "This is the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest," and, "This is the refreshing"; yet they would not hear. But the word of the LORD was to them, "Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little," that they might go and fall backward, and be broken and snared and caught.
[3-hvn. This "precept upon precept, line upon line" verse appears quite often in sermons. It's another way of viewing how "trees of knowledge" grow in peoples' minds. One "branch" leads to another, etc. Isaiah-1 is bemoaning the fact that in spite of his efforts to carefully point out the errors of their ways and the likely consequences of those errors, the Israelites in the Northern Kingdom still refused to heed what he was teaching. As you can see below, Isaiah-1 didn't fare much better with his fellow Judeans either.]
Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scornful men, who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, because you have said, "We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we are in agreement. When the overflowing scourge passes through, it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood we have hidden ourselves." Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation [i.e. God's two most fundamental commandments]; whoever believes will not act hastily. Also I will make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the plummet; the hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters will overflow the hiding place. Your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overflowing scourge passes through, then you will be trampled down by it.
[2-hvn. Some national-sovereignty -loving Biblical commentators have claimed that this "covenant with death" was referring to the tribute arrangement which King Ahaz (and then King Hezekiah for a while) had with the Assyrians. I've already debunked that idea. As you can see for yourself, Isaiah was in fact commenting that the Judeans had spiritually made a "pack with the devil" (i.e. Satan, a personified "Death", or more specifically the ungodly concept of "Jewish national sovereignty."). Isaiah correctly predicted that such a "covenant" would not last.]
As often as it goes out it will take you; for morning by morning it will pass over, and by day and by night; it will be a terror just to understand the report." For the bed is too short to stretch out on, and the covering so narrow that one cannot wrap himself in it. For the LORD will rise up as at Mount Perazim, he will be angry as in the Valley of Gibeon--that He may do His work, His awesome work, and bring to pass His act, His unusual act [i.e. brutally punishing his own people at the hands of the Assyrians].
Now therefore, do not be mockers, lest your bonds be made strong [lest you become further imprisoned by your own sins]; for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts, a destruction determined even upon the whole earth. Give ear and hear my voice, listen and hear my speech. Does the plowman keep plowing all day to sow? Does he keep turning his soil and breaking the clods? When he has leveled its surface, does he not sow the black cummin and scatter the cummin, plant the wheat in rows, the barley in the appointed place, and the spelt in its place? For He instructs him in right judgment, his God teaches him. For the black cummin is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is a cartwheel rolled over the cummin; but the black cummin is beaten out with a stick, and the cummin with a rod. Bread flour must be ground; therefore he does not thresh it forever, break it with his cartwheel, or crush it with his horsemen. This also comes from the LORD of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance.
[2-hvn. The same God who taught their farmers how to succeed as farmers was now teaching the Judeans how to protect themselves from impending disaster. Oh! If they would just listen hand heed Idaiah-1's guidance...]
Chapter 29 [Isaiah-1 and Isaiah-3]
[The next two chapters appear to have been written after King Hezekiah decided to stop honoring the tribute arrangement which his father, Ahaz , had negotiated with the Assyrians (in order to reduce a form of "taxation" which primarily affected Judea's wealthiest property owners and perhaps for the ideological appeal of enjoying Judean "national sovereignty"). In other words, King Hezekiah decided to make the very same political mistake that led directly to the demise of the Northern Kingdom. The prophecies regarding the "end times" were probably added later by Isaiah-3.]
"Woe to Ariel [a "lion" nickname for Jerusalem], to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! Add year to year; let feasts come around. Yet I will distress Ariel; there shall be heaviness and sorrow, and it shall be to Me as Ariel. I will encamp against you all around, I will lay siege against you with a mound, and I will raise siegeworks against you. You shall be brought down, you shall speak out of the ground; your speech shall be low, out of the dust; your voice shall be like a medium's, out of the ground; and your speech shall whisper out of the dust. Moreover the multitude of your foes shall be like fine dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones like chaff that passes away; yes, it shall be in an instant, suddenly. You will be punished by the LORD of hosts with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with storm and tempest and the flame of devouring fire. The multitude of all the nations who fight against Ariel, even all who fight against her and her fortress, and distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision,
[2-hvn. Once again, as in chapter 22, this Isaiah-1 text predicts that the Assyrian forces would erect mounds and siegeworks around Jerusalem which contradicts his prediction in Chapter 37:33 (Jack Van Impe's claims about the "inerrancy" of Biblical prophecies not withstanding). Nevertheless, Isaiah-1 was correct in pointing out that the Judeans were "asking for trouble" by rebelling against the Assyrian Empire, declaring their "independence", thereby making Judea a threat once again to their neighboring countries. As it turned out, trouble is what they got.]
It shall even be as when a hungry man dreams, and look--he eats; but he awakes, and his soul is still empty; or as when a thirsty man dreams, and look--he drinks; but he awakes, and indeed he is faint, and his soul still craves: so the multitude of all the nations shall be, who fight against Mount Zion." Pause and wonder! Blind yourselves and be blind! [i.e. "Go ahead, be blind, you stupid fools!"] They are drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with intoxicating drink. For the LORD has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes, namely, the prophets; and He has covered your heads, namely, the seers. The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate, saying, "Read this, please." And he says, "I cannot, for it is sealed." Then the book is delivered to one who is illiterate, saying, "Read this, please." And he says, "I am not literate."
[2-hvn. This is a classic example of prophetic ridicule, as when Jesus described the Pharisees as "the blind leading the blind." Although there may be some satisfaction in being able to say, "I told you so", it's frustrating to give people sound advice and then see them hurt themselves and/or others precisely because they ignored that sound advice. It's quite obvious that the Judeans under King Hezekiah were more concerned with self-gratification and increasing their own wealth than with following God's two most fundamental commandments.]
Therefore the LORD said: "Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me [quoted by Jesus in Matthew 15:8], and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men, therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work among this people, a marvelous work and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden." Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the LORD, and their works are in the dark; they say, "Who sees us?" and, "Who knows us?" Surely you have things turned around! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay; for shall the thing made say of him who made it, "He did not make me"? Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, "He has no understanding"?
[2-hvn. More ridicule regarding the unwillingness of his contemporaries to truly understand the relationship between God and man. Although it appears at first that this ridicule was written by Isaiah-1 referring to the Judeans under Hezekiah's reign, it's possible that this particular (religiously oriented) ridicule may actually have been written by the Isaiah-3 (subtly referring to the followers of Ezra and Nehemiah). The remainder of this chapter appears more clearly to have been written or embellished by Isaiah-3.]
Is it not yet a very little while till Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be esteemed as a forest? In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness [i.e. by viewing things from the point of view of God's two most fundamental commandments, they will more clearly understand what the scriptures are talking about]. The humble also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the terrible one is brought to nothing, the scornful one is consumed, and all who watch for iniquity are cut off--who make a man an offender by a word, and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate, and turn aside the just by empty words. Therefore thus says the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: "Jacob shall not now be ashamed, nor shall his face now grow pale; But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they will hallow My name, and hallow the Holy One of Jacob, and fear the God of Israel. These also who erred in spirit will come to understanding, and those who complained will learn doctrine."
Chapter 30 [Isaizah-1 and Isaiah-3. The tenth "burden against" prophecy of doom in the Book of Isaiah]
"Woe to the rebellious children," says the LORD, "Who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; Who walk to go down to Egypt, and have not asked My advice, to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore the strength of Pharaoh shall be your shame, and trust in the shadow of Egypt shall be your humiliation. For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes. They were all ashamed of a people who could not benefit them, or be help or benefit, but a shame and also a reproach."
[2-hvn. Here Isaiah-1 specifically points out that it was unwise for Judea to rebel (against God and Assyria) and that it was foolish to rely on the Egyptian Empire to help defend them against the Assyrians. The Egyptians' interests in Judea were insufficient for them to be considered a reliable ally.]
The burden against the beasts of the South. Through a land of trouble and anguish, from which came the lioness and lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches on the backs of young donkeys, and their treasures on the humps of camels, to a people who shall not profit; for the Egyptians shall help in vain and to no purpose. Therefore I have called her Rahab-Hem-Shebeth [the reluctant dragon that sits still]. Now go, write it before them on a tablet, and note it on a scroll, that it may be for time to come, forever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children who will not hear the law of the LORD; Who say to the seers, "Do not see," and to the prophets, "Do not prophesy to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us."
[2-hvn. Isaiah-1 warns that no matter how much the Judeans pay them, like a "reluctant dragon" Egypt will not help to save Judea. Then he satirizes the Judean court "seers" and "prophets" of his day for being more like "soothsayers" than teachers of the truth. It's a common practice for autocratic leaders to surround themselves with "soothsayers" for reassurance, even though what they say may be outright lies. As noted in earlier articles on this web site, similar examples of "intellectual incest" are still quite common these days, especially in Washington DC.]
[3-hvn. The above references to "the lioness and lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent" may refer to more than mere lions, vipers, and snakes that jump from tree to tree. Throughout the Old Testament, a "lion" is often used to symbolize the tribe of Judah. The "viper and fiery flying serpent" would represent ungodly concepts and teachings which the children of Israel brought with them from Egypt, and which the Levites incorporated into their so-called "Laws of Moses." Jesus may have had this part of Isaiah in mind when he accused the Pharisees of being a "brood of vipers." The third-heaven point here would be that sending riches to the practitioners of such ungodly teachings would be of no avail. So this appears to be an example of an allegorical teaching written in this case by Isaiah-1. Notice that it's focus is local and specific.]
Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel: "Because you despise this word, and trust in oppression and perversity, and rely on them, therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach ready to fall, a bulge in a high wall, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant. And He shall break it like the breaking of the potter's vessel, which is broken in pieces; he shall not spare. So there shall not be found among its fragments a shard to take fire from the hearth, or to take water from the cistern." For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength." But you would not, And you said, "No, for we will flee on horses"-- therefore you shall flee! And, "We will ride on swift horses"--therefore those who pursue you shall be swift! One thousand shall flee at the threat of one, at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left as a pole on top of a mountain and as a banner on a hill.
[2-hvn. This pretty well describes what happened to most of Judea and a result of Hezekiah's stupidity. All that was left was Jerusalem itself standing "as a pole on top of a mountain and as a banner on a hill. The next three paragraphs were apparently inserted by Isaiah-3.]
Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him. For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teachers.
[3-hvn. Note the allegorical significance of the terms "bread of adversity" and "water of affliction." The "bread of adversity" refers to the insights one gains from God when one views an "adversity" from the point of view of God's two most fundamental commandments. The "water of affliction" represents godly lessons (or "teachers") derived from those insights for dealing with such adversities. When you follow God's two most fundamental commandments, such "teachers" will not be hidden from you (as if banished to a corner); instead, they will be clearly visible to you. So here Isaiah-3 used the dismal situation that Jerusalem was in as a background for teaching an allegorical lesson regarding how to perceive divine guidance directly from God. ]
Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left. You will also defile the covering of your graven images of silver, and the ornament of your molded images of gold. You will throw them away as an unclean thing; you will say to them, "Get away!" Then He will give the rain for your seed with which you sow the ground, and bread of the increase of the earth; it will be fat and plentiful. In that day your cattle will feed in large pastures. Likewise the oxen and the young donkeys that work the ground will eat cured fodder, which has been winnowed with the shovel and fan. There will be on every high mountain and on every high hill rivers and streams of waters, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.
[3-hvn. Likewise, here Isaiah-3 is talking about following God's two most fundamental commandments. He predicts that predicting that following them will not only bring one material wealth, it will also ultimately bring about the downfall of ungodly perceptions (mountains) and ideologies (towers) in the "earth" of mankind's perceptions of popular truths. Jesus made this same point in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. (RSV)]
Moreover the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD binds up the bruise of His people and heals the stroke of their wound. Behold, the name of the LORD comes from afar, burning with His anger, and His burden is heavy; his lips are full of indignation, and His tongue like a devouring fire. His breath is like an overflowing stream, which reaches up to the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of futility; and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err. You shall have a song as in the night when a holy festival is kept, and gladness of heart as when one goes with a flute, to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the Mighty One of Israel.
[3-hvn. Once the credibility of the ungodly "mountains" and "towers" created in "earth" of mankind's perceptions of popular truths have been destroyed by God's two most fundamental commandments, the teachings of Israel's religious establishment (the "moon") and of the teachings and practices of the Israelites themselves (the "sun") will shine equally (seven times brighter than before). But the international anarchy of the national sovereignty system will still act like a "bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err."]
[2-hvn. Although the Assyrians called off their invasion, leaving Jerusalem more or less in tact, it does not appear that the glorious predictions contained in the paragraphs above were ever fulfilled, especially in light of the depravities that occurred under the reign of King Hezekiah's son, Manasseh. So if one interprets Isaiah "literally" and assumes that Isaiah-1 wrote the entire book, then that "Isaiah" would have been a failure as a prophet (one who perhaps would have been stoned to death in accordance with the "Laws of Moses").]
The LORD will cause His glorious voice to be heard, and show the descent of His arm, with the indignation of His anger and the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, tempest, and hailstones. For through the voice of the LORD Assyria will be beaten down, as He strikes with the rod. And in every place where the staff of punishment passes, which the LORD lays on him, it will be with tambourines and harps; and in battles of brandishing He will fight with it. For Tophet [a.k.a. the valley of Gehenna which was Jerusalem's ever burning trash dump] was established of old, yes, for the king it is prepared. He has made it deep and large; its pyre is fire with much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, kindles it.
[3hn. These last four verses of Chapter 30 appear to revert back to the text of Isaiah-1 who predicts here that even though the Assyrians would serve as a brutal "rod of God" for a while, they would eventually "burn in hell" for what they did; God had prepared a burning trash dump for their bodies. So although Isaish-1 understood the importance of following God's two most fundamental commandments, he still held the Levite view that God was to be blamed (or given credit for) doing evil as well a good to people. Isaiah-1 didn't perceive and understand God in quite the same that way Jesus did, but he made significant steps in that direction. Isaiah-3, on the other hand, came pretty close to completing that transition.]
Chapter 31 [Isaiah-1]
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are very strong, but who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD! Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster, and will not call back His words, but will arise against the house of evildoers, and against the help of those who work iniquity. Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses are flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD stretches out His hand, both he who helps will fall, and he who is helped will fall down; they all will perish together. For thus the LORD has spoken to me: "As a lion roars, and a young lion over his prey (When a multitude of shepherds is summoned against him, he will not be afraid of their voice nor be disturbed by their noise), so the LORD of hosts will come down to fight for Mount Zion and for its hill. Like birds flying about, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem. Defending, He will also deliver it; passing over, He will preserve it."
[2-hvn. Here, as in Chapter 37, Isaiah-1 predicts that God will defend Jerusalem from physical harm. But as we saw in chapters 22 and 29, Isaiah-1 also predicted that He wouldn't. We know that Jerusalem survived the Assyrian invasion and succumbed to the Babylonian invasion, but the evidence suggests that all of the Isaiah-1 predictions of doom for Judea and Jerusalem were referring to the Assyrian invasion. Perhaps Isaiah-1 was simply "covering all the possible outcomes." It's interesting that Isaiah-3 chose to include some of Isaiah-1's prophecies that didn't come true. Was it because Isaiah-3 was in a hurry and got confused as to which invasion those texts were referring to? Or was it because those texts contained some valuable observations and lessons that were worth noting even though history didn't play out quite the way Isaiah-1 had predicted? There is ample evidence to support either of these theories, but I'm inclined to believe that later was the case, especially in light of Isaiah-1's initially (and admittedly) wrong prediction regarding King Hezekiah's death as recorded in Chapter 37.]
Return to Him against whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted. For in that day every man shall throw away his idols of silver and his idols of gold--sin, which your own hands have made for yourselves.
"Then Assyria shall fall by a sword not of man, and a sword not of mankind shall devour him. But he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall become forced labor. He shall cross over to his stronghold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the banner," says the LORD, whose fire is in Zion and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.
[2-hvn. This prediction corresponds to the account in Chapter 37 regarding how the Assyrian army was persuaded to return home without sacking Jerusalem. But Chapter 37 doesn't mention anything about every man throwing away idols of silver and gold, and subsequent descriptions of Judean life under the reign of Manasseh indicate that many of them probably didn't..]
Chapter 32 [Isaiah-3]
Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule with justice. A man will be as a hiding place from the wind, and a cover from the tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. The eyes of those who see will not be dim, and the ears of those who hear will listen. Also the heart of the rash will understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers will be ready to speak plainly. The foolish person will no longer be called generous, nor the miser said to be bountiful; For the foolish person will speak foolishness, and his heart will work iniquity: to practice ungodliness, to utter error against the LORD, to keep the hungry unsatisfied, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail. Also the schemes of the schemer are [or will be perceived to be] evil; he devises wicked plans to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaks justice.
[2-hvn. This Isaiah-3 text predicts that things will continue pretty much as before. Some will be righteous; others not. But the those who are unrighteous will be recognized as such. It's interesting to note that Isaiah-1's reference to "schemers who devise wicked plans to destroy the poor with lying words" can be aptly applied to Newt Gingrich and some of his supporters. It's also interesting to note that within a year after Newt Gingrich took control of the House of Representatives, a majority of the American people came to recognize the unrighteousness and dishonesty of many of his teachings and actions. That didn't keep him from being re-elected in his own district, but as far as a majority of the American people were concerned, Newt's credibility was shot. So the Republican Party dumped him, and he resigned in disgrace.]
But a generous man devises generous things, and by generosity he shall stand. Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice; you complacent daughters, give ear to my speech. In a year and some days you will be troubled, you complacent women; for the vintage will fail, the gathering will not come. Tremble, you women who are at ease; be troubled, you complacent ones; strip yourselves, make yourselves bare, and gird sackcloth on your waists. People shall mourn upon their breasts for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine. On the land of my people will come up thorns and briers, yes, on all the happy homes in the joyous city; because the palaces will be forsaken, the bustling city will be deserted. The forts and towers will become lairs forever, a joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks--until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest.
[2-hvn. Here Isiah-3 predicts future prosperity and then doom for the Jerusalem restored by Ezra and Nehemiah (probably because they were censoring rather than teaching God's two most fundamental commandments.) That indeed happened in 70 AD, largely for that very reason.]
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places, Though hail comes down on the forest, and the city is brought low in humiliation. Blessed are you who sow beside all waters, who send out freely the feet of the ox and the donkey [to graze in abundant green pastures].
[2-hvn. However, Isaiah-3 predicts that after some hard times, the Judeans will ultimately be blessed again with peace, justice, and prosperity, once they learn to take God's two most fundamental commandments SERIOUSLY. It isn't difficult to understand why, if those two commandments are taken seriously, "The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever."]
Chapter 33 [Isaiah-3]
Woe to you who plunder, though you have not been plundered; and you who deal treacherously, though they have not dealt treacherously with you! When you cease plundering, you will be plundered; when you make an end of dealing treacherously, they will deal treacherously with you.
[2-hvn. "What goes around comes around." You will "reap what you sew." This is the "flip side" way of viewing the "golden rule" (i.e. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," or "Love your neighbor as yourself.") Some translations interpret the above "you who plunder" as referring specifically to the Assyrians. But as you can see in the text that follows, Isaiah-3 was addressing the human condition in general.]
LORD, be gracious to us; we have waited for You. Be their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble. At the noise of the tumult the people shall flee; when You lift Yourself up, the nations shall be scattered; and Your plunder shall be gathered like the gathering of the caterpillar; as the running to and fro of locusts, he shall run upon them. The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; he has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, and the strength of salvation; the fear of the LORD is His treasure.
[2-hvn. Here Isaiah-3 predicts an "end-time" victory of good over evil. Note how the mood suddenly changes in the next verse, almost as if it originated from a completely different text.]
Surely their valiant ones shall cry outside, the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly. The highways lie waste, the traveling man ceases. He has broken the covenant, he has despised the cities, he regards no man. The earth mourns and languishes, Lebanon is shamed and shriveled; Sharon is like a wilderness, and Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits. "Now I will rise," says the LORD; "Now I will be exalted, now I will lift Myself up. You shall conceive chaff, you shall bring forth stubble; your breath, as fire, shall devour you. And the people shall be like the burnings of lime; like thorns cut up they shall be burned in the fire. Hear, you who are afar off, what I have done; and you who are near, acknowledge My might."
[3-hvn. How can the "earth mourn and languish" if the term "earth" is taken literally? Is the "He" in "He has broken the covenant" referring to the Assyrians or to the Judeans? The expression "your breath, as fire, shall devour you" allegorically reiterates that "goes around comes around" theme. Rather than simply expressing rage against the Assyrians, this text appears to be carefully crafted to convey a more generic message regarding the relationship between man and God by emphasizing a contrast between benefits of doing with is right vs. the liabilities related to doing what is wrong. Again, this is an "end times" prophecy where God will "lift Himself up" (above the currently reigning concept of "national sovereignty"), and those who oppose Him will "conceive chaff", etc.]
The sinners in Zion are afraid; Fearfulness has seized the hypocrites: "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, he who despises the gain of oppressions, who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil: He will dwell on high; his place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; bread will be given him, his water will be sure. Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; they will see the land that is very far off.
[3-hvn. Those who follow God's two most fundamental commandments need not worry about having to dwell "with everlasting burnings." Instead, they will see God ("the King in His beauty") and the "promised land" which even to this day seems very far off.]
Your heart will meditate on terror: "Where is the scribe? Where is he who weighs? Where is he who counts the towers?" You will not see a fierce people, a people of obscure speech, beyond perception, of a stammering tongue that you cannot understand.
[3-hvn. There's an intriguing third-heaven interpretation for the above two verses. If you follow God's two most fundamental commandments, you will indeed meditate on the causes and effects of terror. Then you will realize that to truly perceive the Will of God, you don't really need any scribes, you don't really man-made measures, and you don't really need preachers who expound about the pillars or "towers" of their theology (although each can be helpful in their own way). All you REALLY need to do is to seek, follow, and tell the TRUTH relative to God's commandment to love your neighbor(s) as yourself. In a nutshell, THAT IS THE DEAL! When you do that, foreigners are no longer "seen" or perceived as "fierce people, a people of obscure speech, beyond perception, of a stammering tongue that you cannot understand." This is what Jesus taught and it's the reason the angels proclaimed in Luke 2:14, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" (NKJ)]
Look upon Zion, the city of our appointed feasts; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a quiet home, a tabernacle that will not be taken down; not one of its stakes will ever be removed, nor will any of its cords be broken. [Not true, if taken literally.] But there the majestic LORD will be for us a place of broad rivers and streams, in which no galley with oars will sail, nor majestic ships pass by (For the LORD is our Judge, the LORD is our Lawgiver, the LORD is our King; he will save us); Your tackle is loosed, they could not strengthen their mast, they could not spread the sail. Then the prey of great plunder is divided; the lame take the prey. And the inhabitant will not say, "I am sick"; the people who dwell in it will be forgiven their iniquity.
[3-hvn. The only way for this prophecy can come true is if it is interpreted allegorically with Zion representing the spiritual "New Jerusalem" described Chapter 21 of St. John's Book of Revelation.]
Chapter 34 [Isaiah-2 embellished by Isaiah-3]
[2-hvn. Most of this chapter was probably written by exiled Isaiah-2 shortly before the fall of the Babylonian Empire. The Edomites, descendants of Jacob's twin brother Esau, tended to be despised by the Hebrews, because their forefathers denied Moses and the children of Israel a right to pass through their land on the way the Canaanite "promised land" (i.e. the Edomites refused to allow the children of Israel to violate their "national sovereignty"). Allegorically, Edom came to symbolize a satanically inspired hindrance to reaching and understanding a "promised land" relationship with God. The Edomites had good reason to hate the Hebrews, for as recorded in 1st Kings 11:15-15, after conquering Edom, King David and his military commander Joab spent six months slaughtering every male they could find throughout Edom (and act which the prophet Nathan recognized as being sinful, but which the Levite priests did not). Anyhow, as the Davidic Dynasty in Judea drew to a close, the repopulated Edomites engaged in a couple of bloody but unsuccessful revolts against the tribute arrangement that Judea had re-imposed them. So when the Babylonian Empire invaded Judea, not surprisingly, the Edomites sided with the Babylonians and participated in the resulting slaughter of Judeans. Thereafter, various authors of the Old Testament hypocritically viewed the Edomites as having committed "fratricide" against their "cousins." This is the reason for the vehement (ungodly) hatred that Isaiah-2 expressed against the Edomites.]
Come near, you nations, to hear; and heed, you people! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world and all things that come forth from it. For the indignation of the LORD is against all nations, and His fury against all their armies; he has utterly destroyed them, he has given them over to the slaughter. Also their slain shall be thrown out; their stench shall rise from their corpses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; all their host shall fall down as the leaf falls from the vine, and as fruit falling from a fig tree. "For My sword shall be bathed in heaven; indeed it shall come down on Edom, and on the people of My curse, for judgment. The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made overflowing with fatness, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom. The wild oxen shall come down with them, and the young bulls with the mighty bulls; their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust saturated with fatness."
[2-hvn. It appears the Isaih-2 wrote this at a time when it had become obvious that the Babylonian Empire was about to be replaced by the Mede-Persian alliance. He surmised that this Mede-Persian alliance would eventually get around to wiping out Edom as well (a prospect that Isaiah-2 evidently found to be thrilling).]
[3-hvn. It's interesting to note that in spite of his hatred of the Edomites in particular, Isaiah-2 portrays God as hating "all nations" in general, especially their armies. This is another way of saying that God hates the concept of "national sovereignty" and the armies that support its existence. That sentence and the allegorical allusion of heaven dissolving and being rolled up like a scroll may actually have been inserted into this text by Isaiah-3. These statements were designed to portray the awesome magnitude of the religious as well as political changes that were taking place in conjunction with the fall of the Babylonian Empire. As can be seen by the differences between the way Isaiah-1 viewed God and the way Isaiah-3 viewed God, the rise and fall of the Babylonian Empire did indeed contribute to a significant change in the way mankind came to view God. The full implementation of that change has yet to be achieved.]
For it is the day of the LORD'S vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion. Its [Edom's] streams shall be turned into pitch, and its dust into brimstone; its land shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night or day; its smoke shall ascend forever. From generation to generation it shall lie waste; no one shall pass through it forever and ever. But the pelican and the porcupine shall possess it, also the owl and the raven shall dwell in it. And He shall stretch out over it the line of confusion and the stones of emptiness. They shall call its nobles to the kingdom, but none shall be there, and all its princes shall be nothing. And thorns shall come up in its palaces, nettles and brambles in its fortresses; it shall be a habitation of jackals, a courtyard for ostriches. The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the jackals, and the wild goat shall bleat to its companion; also the night creature shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. There the arrow snake shall make her nest and lay eggs and hatch, and gather them under her shadow; there also shall the hawks be gathered, every one with her mate.
[2-hvn. Here, Isaiah-2 predicts that the entire territory of Edom would become a mere wilderness or desert wasteland. That did not in fact happen, although some of Edom's cities no doubt suffered such a fate. In fact, the Edomites who survived the ravages of those conquering armies eventually became Jews. The Jewish King "Herod the Great" of New Testament fame was a direct descendant of the Edomites.]
[3-hvn. Now go back and re-read the above two paragraphs from the third-heaven point of view using "Edom" to represent the concept of "national sovereignty" which tends to block mankind from perceiving God's guidance. Keep in mind the way the authors of Genesis used the names of animals to track godly and ungodly spirits. What you get is an allegorical depiction of the second coming of Christ and the final demise of the national sovereignty system in the "end times." In many ways, it's similar to the way St.. John describes that event in the Book of Revelation. I suspect that Isaiah-3 embellished or re-crafted Isaiah-2's prophecy to convey this message as well, in order to point out that the real problem wasn't the Edomites, it was the international anarchy of the national sovereignty system. We'll revisit this next time when we examine the third-heaven interpretation of Isaiah Chapter 63. ]
"Search from the book of the LORD, and read: not one of these shall fail; not one shall lack her mate. For My mouth has commanded it, and His Spirit has gathered them. He has cast the lot for them, and His hand has divided it among them with a measuring line. They shall possess it forever; from generation to generation they shall dwell in it."
[2-hvn. Here Isaiah-2 is predicting that his prophecies would all come true and that they would become part of the sacred scriptures of the Jews. He was wrong about that first point, but by being incorporated into the Book of Isaiah, his writings (with some Isaiah-3 embellishments) were indeed included in the sacred scriptures of the Jews. Many of the survivors of those Edomites eventually became Jews themselves. I guess it could be said that descendants of those Edomite Jews and Judean Jews have in fact possessed portions of that land ever since then. Many of the Jews today who were born in Iraq are probably descendants of those Edomite Jews. Isaiah-2's claim that his prophecies came from God shows that he didn't perceive the God's Holy Spirit they way Isaiah-1 and Isaiah-3 did. It was Isaiah-3's embellishments that made Isaiah-2's texts godly.]
Chapter 35 [Isiah-2 embellished by Isaiah-3]
The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the excellency of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, "Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; he will come and save you." Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water; in the habitation of jackals, where each lay, there shall be grass with reeds and rushes. A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; it shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there, And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
[3-hvn. This chapter appears to be an expression of Isaiah-2's joy in anticipation of being freed from Babylonian captivity to return to Jerusalem. However, its "end-times" style and theme of are more characteristic of the writings of Isaiah-3, so this is probably an Isaiah-2 text that was embellished considerably by Isaiah-3. Isaiah-3's "Highway of Holiness" allegorically refers to is the "path" of following God's two most fundamental commandments. The righteous who follow it will no longer be "blind" to God's Will or "deaf" to his guidance. They will no longer be "lame" from God's point of view; indeed they will "leap like a deer" to fulfill His Will. And they will no longer be "dumb" from God's point of view, for the words that come out of their mouths will be like music to God's ears. ]
Chapter 36 [Isaiah-1]
[Chapters 36-39 contain a somewhat abbreviated account of the same events described in 2nd Kings 17-20. Both accounts were apparently taken nearly verbatim form the same Isaiah-1 source text. 2nd Chronicles 32 contains an even more abbreviated account of these events. Most of the text contained in 1st and 2nd Kings appears to have been written/compiled before or during the Babylonian exile, whereas much of the Book of Isaiah and most 1st and 2nd Chronicles appears to have been written/compiled by contemporaries of Ezra and Nehemiah. 1st and 2nd Chronicles were apparently written help justify the reestablishment of a Jewish theocracy lead by Levite priests acting as intermediaries between God and the Jews. The Book of Isaiah, on the other hand, appears to have been written/compiled by an opposing group (Ezra 10:15) who believed that people should perceive and follow God directly (by following His two most fundamental commandments). In the Book of Isaiah the words "priest" or "priests" are only mentioned six times, and the word "Levites" is only mentioned once as kind of an afterthought in the final chapter. For the most part, the authors of Isaiah portray their contemporary religious leaders, "prophets", and "seers" with ridicule and scorn.
This group was probably given the task of researching and collecting the works of Isaiah-1, who by then was finally recognized to have been a great prophet. In the process of doing so, the Isaiah-3 group incorporated texts that were evidently written much later by another "Isaiah" (Isaiah-2) and added a considerable amount of text of their own to make various points regarding the direct relationship that is inherent between God and man. Evidently, due to the censorship practices of the Levite-minded Ezra and Nehemiah, they viewed their efforts as being sneaky rather than dishonest, like Jacob "pulling the wool" to steal his brother's birthright. (Indeed, they may also have been the authors of that episode in Genesis.) Apparently, this was the only way they could get the truth about God's direct relationship with man "published." As various articles on this web site have clearly shown, similar (Levite-minded) censorship practices are still quite common in today's world, in spite of America's claims about having a "free press." So now let's get on with the story...]
Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. Then the king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. And he stood by the aqueduct from the upper pool, on the highway to the Fuller's Field. And Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came out to him.
[2-hvn. This group included the same Eliakim that Isaiah-1 had predicted in Chapter 22 would become the "savior" of Jerusalem. Keep in mind that this whole sordid mess came about because King Hezekiah decided to no longer honor the tribute arrangement that his father King Ahaz had made with the Assyrian Empire. Rather than following God's principles of truth and love, King Hezekiah opted for Judean "national sovereignty", so that he could keep more of the wealth of his land for himself and his friends.]
Then the Rabshakeh said to them, "Say now to Hezekiah, 'Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: "What confidence is this in which you trust? I say you speak of having plans and power for war; but they are mere words. Now in whom do you trust, that you rebel against me? Look! You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. But if you say to me, 'We trust in the LORD our God,' is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, 'You shall worship before this altar'?"' Now therefore, I urge you, give a pledge to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses-- if you are able on your part to put riders on them! How then will you repel one captain of the least of my master's servants, and put your trust in Egypt for chariots and horsemen? Have I now come up without the LORD against this land to destroy it? The LORD said to me, 'Go up against this land, and destroy it.'"
[2-hvn. As pointed out in our review of 2nd Kings, King Hezekiah acted in a selfish and ungodly manner when shut down the alters in the "high places" and forced all Judeans to come to Jerusalem to officially sacrifice their livestock (so that they could eat the meat of their own animals). Most of those "high places" throughout Judea were being operated by Levites who were now out of a job. The only people who benefited from that move were the priests, merchants, and royal family members in Jerusalem (whom Isaiah-1 severely criticized). So the Rabshakeh had good reason to hope that this argument might persuade the Judeans to abandon their support for Hezekiah.]
Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, "Please speak to your servants in the Aramaic language, for we understand it; and do not speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people who are on the wall." But the Rabshakeh said, "Has my master sent me to your master and to you to speak these words, and not to the men who sit on the wall, who will eat and drink their own waste with you?" Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out with a loud voice in Hebrew, and said, "Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: 'Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you; nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, "The LORD will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria."' Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: 'Make peace with me by a present and come out to me; and every one of you eat from his own vine and every one from his own fig tree, and every one of you drink the waters of his own cistern; until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards. Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, "The LORD will deliver us." Has any one of the gods of the nations delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Indeed, have they delivered Samaria from my hand? Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?'" But they held their peace and answered him not a word; for the king's commandment was, "Do not answer him." Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.
[2-hvn. Hezekiah's emissaries were evidently fearful that these valid points made the Rabshakeh might succeed in persuading Judeans in Jerusalem to abandon Hezekiah, so they asked him to speak in a language that most of them would not understand (i.e., they attempted to censor his message). The Rabshakeh refused to do so, but his efforts to persuade the Judeans to abandon Hezekiah failed anyway, because he "stuck his foot in his mouth" when he ridiculed the God of Israel. Isaiah-1 illustrates an interesting point here about the nature of censorship practices. More often than not, the fears which motivate people to practice censorship are either unfounded or greatly exaggerated; indeed, such acts of censorship tend to create more problems that they solve. Censorship violates the first of God's two most fundamental commandments by attempting to hide the truth.]
Chapter 37 [Isaiah-1]
And so it was, when King Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD. Then he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz. And they said to him, "Thus says Hezekiah: 'This day is a day of trouble and rebuke and blasphemy; for the children have come to birth, but there is no strength to bring them forth. It may be that the LORD your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to reproach the living God, and will rebuke the words which the LORD your God has heard. Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.'"
[2-hvn. So King Hezekiah repented and finally decided to ask for guidance from the Lord. Apparently, not knowing how to do so directly, the Levite-minded Hezekiah sent his emissaries to Isaiah-1 who had accurately predicted that the Judeans would eventually bring this kind of trouble upon themselves.]
So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah. And Isaiah said to them, "Thus shall you say to your master, 'Thus says the LORD: "Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land."'"
[2-hvn. This prophecy was quite remarkable, given the circumstances leading up to this point. Some have argued that this part of the text may have been added after the fact, but I'm more inclined to believe that Isaiah-1 did make this prophecy beforehand (after he wrote the prophecies in Chapters 22 and 29), but that he probably had access to some "inside information" regarding the state of the Assyrian army (or the state of their water supply) that we weren't told about. The fact that King Hezekiah chose to terminate the Judean tribute deal with the Assyrians indicates that there must have been some "common knowledge" in those days that the Assyrian Empire was in a state of decline. In any case, it was these prophecies by Isaiah-1 (and their fulfillment) that firmly established his reputation as a great prophet of Israel, despite the fact that most of his earlier prophesies had been largely ignored.]
Then the Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah, for he heard that he had departed from Lachish. And the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, "He has come out to make war with you." So when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, "Thus you shall speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying: 'Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, "Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria." 'Look! You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by utterly destroying them; and shall you be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered those whom my fathers have destroyed, Gozan and Haran and Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah?'"
[2-hvn. So, seeing that the tide of battle was turning against the Assyrian forces in Egypt, and perhaps somewhat fearful of the amount of time and lives it would take to overcome King Hezekiah's recently reinforced battlements around Jerusalem, the Rabshakeh decided to give the psychological approach one more try; this time by sending a boastful letter.]
And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. Then Hezekiah prayed to the LORD, saying: "O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib [actually his representative, the Rabshakeh] , which he has sent to reproach the living God. Truly, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men's hands--wood and stone. Therefore they have destroyed them. Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the LORD, You alone."
[2-hvn. Even Isaiah-1 had to pray for further spiritual strength and guidance in light of this, and he got His answer.]
Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, "Thus says the LORD God of Israel, 'Because you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, 'this is the word which the LORD has spoken concerning him: "The virgin, the daughter of Zion, has despised you, laughed you to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem has shaken her head behind your back! Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice, and lifted up your eyes on high? Against the Holy One of Israel. By your servants you have reproached the Lord, and said, 'By the multitude of my chariots I have come up to the height of the mountains, to the limits of Lebanon; I will cut down its tall cedars and its choice cypress trees; I will enter its farthest height, to its fruitful forest. I have dug and drunk water, and with the soles of my feet I have dried up all the brooks of defense.' "Did you not hear long ago how I made it, from ancient times that I formed it? Now I have brought it to pass, that you should be for crushing fortified cities into heaps of ruins. Therefore their inhabitants had little power; they were dismayed and confounded; they were as the grass of the field and the green herb, as the grass on the housetops and grain blighted before it is grown. But I know your dwelling place, your going out and your coming in, and your rage against Me. Because your rage against Me and your tumult have come up to My ears, therefore I will put My hook in your nose and My bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way which you came." ' This shall be a sign to you: you shall eat this year such as grows of itself, and the second year what springs from the same; also in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and those who escape from Mount Zion. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: 'He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor build a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return; and he shall not come into this city,' says the LORD. 'For I will defend this city, to save it for My own sake and for My servant David's sake.'"
[2-hvn. So the Rabshakeh's psychological ploy didn't work.]
Then the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses--all dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh. Now it came to pass, as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. Then Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.
[2-hvn. As pointed out in my discussion of this story in 2nd Kings, the Assyrian account of these events makes no mention of a sudden mysterious loss of 185,000 soldiers to some kind of plague. According to the Assyrian account, the Assyrians returned home because King Hezekiah finally gave them the tribute that they demanded (and by implication agreed to the reestablishment of the tribute relationship between the two countries). That part of the story is described in 2nd Kings 16:18. The Assyrian forces may indeed have suffered a plague (or water poisoning) of some kind that could have contributed to their decision to return home, but if they did, they didn't view it as being an "act of vengeance by the Holy One of Israel."]
Chapter 38 [Isaiah-1]
In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, "Thus says the LORD: 'Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.'" Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, and said, "Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what is good in Your sight." And Hezekiah wept bitterly. And the word of the LORD came to Isaiah, saying, "Go and say to Hezekiah, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city."' And this is the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing which He has spoken: Behold, I will bring the shadow on the sundial, which has gone down with the sun on the sundial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward." So the sun returned ten degrees on the dial by which it had gone down.
[2-hvn. Clearly, Isaiah-1's initial prophecy in this case was premature. But it shows that one can negotiate with God (directly) to alter an apparent course of events. I keep pointing these things out, so that the next time you see TV evangelists claiming that Isaiah-1's prophecies were "fulfilled 100%", you'll recognize that they are "blowing smoke." Was that sundial stunt an illusion arranged ahead of time by Isaiah-1? Did the angle of the earth's axis to the sun change that day? (Scientists have confirmed that it has changed before). Did it really occur "supernaturally"? Or did Isaiah-1 simply dream that story up? God only knows.]
[3-hvn. The allegorical significance of the sundial retreating by one hour is the idea that God gave King Hezekiah a "second chance to re-live his life."]
This is the writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness: I said, "In the prime of my life I shall go to the gates of Sheol; I am deprived of the remainder of my years." I said, "I shall not see YAH, the LORD in the land of the living; I shall observe man no more among the inhabitants of the world. My life span is gone, taken from me like a shepherd's tent; I have cut off my life like a weaver. He cuts me off from the loom; from day until night You make an end of me. I have considered until morning--like a lion, so He breaks all my bones; from day until night You make an end of me. Like a crane or a swallow, so I chattered; I mourned like a dove; my eyes fail from looking upward. O LORD, I am oppressed; Undertake for me! What shall I say? He has both spoken to me, and He Himself has done it. I shall walk carefully all my years in the bitterness of my soul. O LORD, by these things men live; and in all these things is the life of my spirit; so You will restore me and make me live. Indeed it was for my own peace that I had great bitterness; but You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back. For Sheol cannot thank You, death cannot praise You; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth. The living, the living man, he shall praise You, as I do this day; the father shall make known Your truth to the children. The LORD was ready to save me; therefore we will sing my songs with stringed instruments all the days of our life, in the house of the LORD."
[2-hvn. This is great! Now Isaiah-1has got King Hezekiah communicating directly with the Lord (rather the through a priest), and as shown below, it leads to he being healed. This text, which is attributed to King Hezekiah himself, is not included in the 2nd Kings account of this event.]
Now Isaiah had said, "Let them take a lump of figs, and apply it as a poultice on the boil, and he shall recover." And Hezekiah had said, "What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the LORD?"
[2-hvn. Judging from the story of this event in 2nd Kings, this question by King Hezekiah should have been included in the paragraph regarding the sundial miracle. The fact that it appears as a fragment of text at the end this chapter indicates that the Book of Isaiah was more hastily compiled than 2nd Kings.]
At that time Merodach-Baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. And Hezekiah was pleased with them, and showed them the house of his treasures--the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointment, and all his armory--all that was found among his treasures. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.
[2-hvn. In those days, that was like showing a career burglar where your valuables are stored.]
Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah, and said to him, "What did these men say, and from where did they come to you?" So Hezekiah said, "They came to me from a far country, from Babylon." And he said, "What have they seen in your house?" So Hezekiah answered, "They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them." Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: 'Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and what your fathers have accumulated until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,' says the LORD. 'And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.'" So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good!" For he said, "At least there will be peace and truth in my days."
[2-hvn. Once again, Isaiah-1 shows that King Hezekiah (who is regarded these days as a "great hero" by worshipers of national sovereignty) was in fact a selfish and at times not very bright leader.]
Regardless of who actually wrote the various portions of Isaiah, the authors of the New Testament make it clear that the Book of Isaiah had a profound influence on the teachings of Jesus Christ (second only to the Book of Genesis). In my next article on Isaiah (Chapters 40 through 66), we'll examine more precisely how the Book of Isaiah influenced the teachings of Jesus Christ and the authors of the New Testament.
(one grain of salt)
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Last modified on Friday, May 03, 2002