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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Isaiah

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12
Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16
Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20
Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24
Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28
Chapter 29 Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32
Chapter 33 Chapter 34 Chapter 35 Chapter 36
Chapter 37 Chapter 38 Chapter 39 Chapter 40
Chapter 41 Chapter 42 Chapter 43 Chapter 44
Chapter 45 Chapter 46 Chapter 47 Chapter 48
Chapter 49 Chapter 50 Chapter 51 Chapter 52
Chapter 53 Chapter 54 Chapter 55 Chapter 56
Chapter 57 Chapter 58 Chapter 59 Chapter 60
Chapter 61 Chapter 62 Chapter 63 Chapter 64
Chapter 65 Chapter 66

Book Overview - Isaiah

by John Dummelow

Introduction

We know comparatively little of the personal life of Isaiah. He was the son of Amoz (Isaiah 1:1) and from his influence at court it has been inferred that he was of royal blood, a rabbinic tradition making him nephew to king Amaziah. He was married and had at least two sons to whom were given symbolic names, embodying the substance of his teaching (Isaiah 7:8, Isaiah 8:3, Isaiah 8:18). Isaiah lived in Jerusalem, and there, in close connexion with the king and court and in the centre of the national life, he exercised his ministry. He received his call to be a prophet in the last year of Uzziah (740 b.c.), and his latest prophecies which can be dated with certainty are connected with Sennacherib's invasion of Judah (701 b.c.), so that his ministry extended over a period of at least 40 years. How long Isaiah survived the crisis of Sennacherib's invasion we know not, but according to a Jewish tradition, alluded to by Justin Martyr about 150 a.d. ('Dial. Trypho,' cap. cxx), he suffered martyrdom by being sawn asunder during the persecution of the true servants of Jehovah under king Manasseh. It is thought that the traditional manner of Isaiah's death may also be alluded to in Hebrews 11:37.

The Historical setting of Isaiah's Prophecies

Reign of Uzziah. In the last year of this king Isaiah received his call (740 b.c.), Isaiah 6.

Reign of Jotham (740-736). It would seem that Isaiah's ministry was not immediately exercised, for no utterances have come down to us which can with certainty be assigned to this reign.

Reign of Ahaz (736-728). About 736 the prophet becomes a more prominent figure. Isaiah 2-5 form a summary of his teaching at this period, and throw much light upon the internal condition of Judah during the reign of Jotham, and at the time of Ahaz's accession, while they exhibit Isaiah as an ardent religious and social reformer. The period of the prophet's youth had been an age of prosperity and material progress for Judah under Uzziah and Jotham. The relations of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah were on the whole harmonious, and both were free from aggression from without. Uzziah conducted successful campaigns against the tribes bordering on Palestine, reducing the Edomites and Ammonites to vassalage. He greatly strengthened the fortifications of Jerusalem and reorganised the army. He also did much to develop the resources of the country and to encourage commerce, the port of Elath (on the Red Sea) being rebuilt in his reign. Under Jotham a like policy was pursued, and the country enjoyed prosperity and peace. But though outwardly prosperous Judah was, at the time of Ahaz's accession, inwardly corrupt. The development of national wealth brought with it social evils; the accumulation of large estates in the hands of a few holders (Isaiah 5:8), oppression of the poor (Isaiah 3:14, Isaiah 3:16), perversion of justice (Isaiah 5:7, Isaiah 5:23), luxury and wrongful indulgence (Isaiah 2:7; Isaiah 3:16; Isaiah 5:11-12, Isaiah 5:22). In religion there was a corresponding decay; the land was full of idols (Isaiah 2:8, Isaiah 2:20), and the people, having lost their faith, were given to superstitions, magic and necromancy (Isaiah 2:6; Isaiah 3:8), or had become callous, indifferent and sceptical (Isaiah 5:19). Isaiah's teaching in view of this condition of affairs is outlined in the vision wherein he received his call. Jehovah is the all-Holy (Isaiah 6:3), and as the Holy One of Israel (a characteristic title in this book) cannot let these things go unpunished, but is bound to vindicate His holiness (Isaiah 6:11; Isaiah 2:9); this He will do by a searching judgment (Isaiah 6:11-12; Isaiah 2:10-22; Isaiah 3:24 to Isaiah 4:1; Isaiah 5:26-30), which will not, however, destroy the nation, but a faithful remnant shall be left (Isaiah 6:13; Isaiah 4:2-6) through which Israel will attain its glorious destiny.

The Syro-Ephraimite invasion. It is in connexion with this crisis in the history of Judah that Isaiah first comes forward as a statesman. Tiglath-pileser, the Assyrian monarch, had inaugurated a new epoch for that Empire by forming a great scheme of conquest which should unite all W. Asia under his sway. The smaller states naturally took alarm and sought by combination to keep off the common enemy. Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah, king of Israel, thus made an alliance, and further endeavoured to compel Judah to throw in its lot with them. Towards the end of Jotham's reign they first assailed Judah (2 Kings 15:37), and before Ahaz had long been on the throne they made a determined attack with the object of overthrowing the Davidic dynasty, and setting on the throne of Ahaz a nominee of their own, probably a Syrian, who would follow their line of policy (Isaiah 7:6). The invasion caused a panic in Judah, and Ahaz suffered serious losses. The passages bearing on the crisis are Isaiah 7:1 to Isaiah 9:4; Isaiah 9:8 to Isaiah 10:4; Isaiah 17:1-11 (the last two being more especially concerned with the kingdom of Israel): cp. 2 Kings 16:5-9; 2 Chronicles 28:5. Ahaz formed the project of calling in the aid of Tiglathpileser (2 Kings 16:7; 2 Chronicles 28:16), a course which Isaiah strongly opposed, foreseeing that it would bring calamity upon Judah (Isaiah 7:17-20); he urged that Judah had really nothing to fear from Rezin and Pekah, whose power was doomed to speedy overthrow (Isaiah 7:4; Isaiah 8:4; Isaiah 17:1, Isaiah 17:3), and urged reliance in faith upon Jehovah (Isaiah 7:9) as the only Way to secure the safety and prosperity of the kingdom. Ahaz, however, persisted in his policy of buying the support of Assyria, with the result that Judah became a dependency of that Empire, and was further committed to religious apostasy (2 Kings 16:7-8, 2 Kings 16:10-18). While the seeds of future trouble and disaster were thus sown, as Isaiah foresaw, Judah was saved from the danger of the moment, for the Assyrians overran Syria, captured Damascus (732 b.c.), slew Rezin, and deported the people (2 Kings 16:9); the kingdom of Israel was also at the same time reduced to a dependent condition and the people of its N. tribes taken captive to Assyria (2 Kings 15:29).

Reign of Hezekiah (727-699). This reign forms the third period of Isaiah's prophetic activity. Hezekiah was guided by the true prophets of Jehovah, and with the support of Isaiah and Micah (Jeremiah 26:18-19) carried out a great reformation in religion, so that Isaiah's ministry was exercised under more favourable conditions than before. About the time of Hezekiah's accession, Tiglath-pileser was succeeded on the throne of Assyria by Shalmaneser IV. Egypt at this time was ruled by Shebek (Sabaco, or So) of the Æthiopian dynasty. Efforts were apparently made in the early years of Hezekiah's reign to unite the smaller states with Egypt in order to oppose the Assyrian advance westward. Hoshea, king of Israel, actually allied himself with So (2 Kings 17:4), and a strong party in Judah favoured a like course. This line of policy Isaiah consistently opposed. Earlier he had endeavoured to dissuade Ahaz from committing himself to Assyria and from entangling Judah politically, urging him to 'take heed and be quiet' (Isaiah 7:4). Now that Judah had become tributary to Assyria, he discouraged the project of attempting, in combination with neighbouring states and relying on Egyptian aid, to throw off allegiance, for he saw that prosperity for the future lay in accepting the situation, and that restless plotting against Assyria would involve disaster; 'in returning and rest shall ye be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be your strength' was the burden of his advice (Isaiah 30:15). Most especially were his utterances directed against the politicians who looked upon Egypt for support against Assyria, exposing their scepticism, mistrust in Jehovah, and misplaced confidence in material power which could not avail them in the time of need (Isaiah 28-31). Shalmaneser led an army to Palestine to subdue the disaffected states; and, after a siege of three years, Samaria was captured (722 b.c.) by his successor Sargon, the Israelites were taken into exile, and the northern kingdom came to an end. Sargon then advanced against the Egyptians whom he completely overthrew in battle at Raphia (720 b.c.), thus justifying Isaiah's warnings as to the futility of trusting in the power of Egypt. Sargon was again in Palestine in 711 b.c., quelling revolts of some of the smaller states. To this period belong Isaiah 19, 20 (and perhaps Isaiah 22:1-14), and at this time were probably delivered the utterances concerning the fate of some of the neighbouring nations and tribes in view of the Assyrian advance westward (15, 16, 18, Isaiah 21:11-17; Isaiah 23). Sargon was succeeded by Sennacherib in 705 b.c. Again attempts were made to stir up revolt against Assyria on a large scale with the support of the Æthiopian Tirhakah, now king of Egypt (704 b.c.); in the negotiations a leading part was taken by Merodach-Baladan, king of Babylon (Isaiah 39). Hezekiah at this time refused to be guided by Isaiah's counsel of submission to the suzerainty of Sennacherib and joined the rebellion. Sennacherib promptly set out to put down his vassals; Babylon was captured (Isaiah 21:1-10); Hezekiah was reduced to submission and made to pay a heavy fine (2 Kings 18:13-16), and the Assyrians advanced against Egypt. A little later, seeing the un-wisdom of leaving so strong a fortress as Jerusalem intact in his rear, Sennacherib sent an embassy to demand its surrender, contemptuously defying Jehovah's power to defend it. The history of the crisis is told in Isaiah 36, 37, and the prophecies bearing on this great invasion of Sennacherib (701 b.c.) are contained in chapters 10:5-12:6; Isaiah 14:24-27; Isaiah 17:12-14; Isaiah 33; Isaiah 37:6-7, Isaiah 37:21-35. The prophet taught that Jehovah is supreme over all, the Assyrian invader was but His instrument appointed to chastise His people for their sins; he could not therefore defy Jehovah with impunity; but when his work was finished would be punished for his arrogance; a sudden disaster should overtake the Assyrians, and Jehovah would preserve Jerusalem inviolate, a prophecy which received a remarkable fulfilment (Isaiah 37:36). This was the culminating point of Isaiah's ministry, and no prophecies of a later date which may be with certainty assigned to him have come down to us.

The Work of Isaiah as a Prophet

It was the work of a prophet, in the first place, as a preacher of righteousness, to speak in the Name of Jehovah, and it is in this capacity that Isaiah appears about the time of Ahaz's accession, rebuking the idolatry, superstition and oppression that were rife in the nation, announcing the approaching divine judgment for these things, yet holding out hope of a golden age in the future, for a faithful remnant would be preserved to be the nucleus of a new people, true to its divine calling. This doctrine of the remnant is specially characteristic of Isaiah'; for, while we meet with it in other prophets (Amos, Zephaniah, Habakkuk), it forms the keynote of his teaching and is an essential and persistent element in it. The idea takes shape in his call to be a prophet (Isaiah 6:13), it is embodied in the name of one of his sons (Isaiah 7:3), and is referred to again and again in his discourses (Isaiah 4:3; Isaiah 10:21; Isaiah 30:18.). But Isaiah's position and influence at court gave a wide scope to his genius, so that he comes before us as a statesman, and adviser of kings; both under Ahaz and under Hezekiah it was his work to endeavour to guide the counsels of the nation in accordance with the principles of true religion, and with the will of Jehovah as revealed to himself. Thus he attempted to dissuade Ahaz from buying Assyrian aid in the crisis of the Syro-Ephraimite invasion, and in Hezekiah's reign was the consistent opponent of the policy of alliance with Egypt. But it was also the characteristic function of a prophet to foretell the future, and in connexion with his work as a statesman Isaiah uttered some remarkable predictions which received speedy and striking fulfilment. During the panic caused by the invasion of Rezin and Pekah, Isaiah supported his exhortations to equanimity by foretelling the speedy ruin of the hostile kingdoms (Isaiah 7:16; Isaiah 8:4), and the event proved him right. Again during the Assyrian invasions in Hezekiah's reign Isaiah consistently taught the inviolability of Jerusalem and repeatedly predicted sudden and unlooked-for disaster to the Assyrians in the moment of their apparent triumph (Isaiah 10:16, Isaiah 10:33; Isaiah 14:25; Isaiah 17:12-14; Isaiah 37:6-7, Isaiah 37:21-35),; prophecies which received a remarkable fulfilment in the mysterious mortality in Sennacherib's army which obliged that monarch to abandon his designs against Jerusalem. These forecasts must have been quite beyond the range of a politician's calculation, and can only be adequately accounted for by the possession of prophetic insight. The future of Judah is, in Isaiah's view, bound up with the fortunes of the royal house, whose continuance he affirms (Isaiah 9:7), though he anticipates for it dark days and apparent overthrow (Isaiah 10:11) in the near future. The deliverer of God's people from its foes, and from the Assyrian in particular, is to be a king of David's line whose reign is to introduce a golden age for the whole world, being marked by righteousness and universal peace. While earlier prophets (Amos and Hosea) had merely foretold the permanence of David's line, Isaiah goes further, fixing his attention on an individual Messianic King, whose character and work he outlines (Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 11:1-9). He is the agent of Jehovah, but He is more than this, for Isaiah calls Him by the Divine Name (Isaiah 9:6) and pictures the spirit of Jehovah as resting upon Him in all its fulness (Isaiah 11:2-3). Thus, according to Isaiah, Jehovah was to be fully present in the person of the Messianic King, who was to be His perfect manifestation as Ruler of His people. It is true that Isaiah connects the appearance of this glorious monarch with the defeat of the Assyrians, the last enemy of Judah on his horizon, his view of future times being foreshortened, and it may be doubted how far he understood the true import of the words that he spoke concerning the person and work of the King, seized as he was by overmastering inspiration and carried quite beyond himself; but Christians can read his utterances in a larger, fuller light, and see how wonderfully they were fulfilled in the Person and work of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Chronological Table

b.c.

745

Tiglath-pileser. king of Assyria

740

Call of Isaiah

735

Ahaz, king of Judah

734

Pekah, king of Israel, defeated and slain by the Assyrians

732

Rezin, king of Syria, slain, and Damascus taken by the Assyrians

727

Shalmaneser, king of Assyria

726

Hezekiah, king of Judah

722

Sargon, king of Assyria. Fall of Samaria and end of kingdom of Israel

711

Siege of Ashdod by the Assyrians

710

Defeat of Merodach-Baladan and capture of Babylon by Sargon

705

Sennacherib, king of Assyria

701

Great invasion of Judah by Sennacherib

607

Nineveh taken by the Babylonians. Rise of the Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar

586

Jerusalem taken by Nebuchadnezzar. End of kingdom of Judah

549

Beginning of Cyrus' victorious career

538

Capture of Babylon by Cyrus, followed by decree for the return of the Jewishexiles

Non-Isaianic Sections

A careful study of the internal evidence (the contents, allusions, implied historical setting and literary style) has led the majority of modern scholars to the conclusion that some portions of this book as we now have it are not the work of Isaiah the son of Amoz, but were added to his prophecies at a later period, much in the same way as psalms by later writers were added to the original collection ascribed to David, and as prophecies of various dates by unknown authors were appended to the written works of Zechariah. The most considerable sections which have thus been separated by critical study from the works of Isaiah are:—

(1) Isaiah 40-66, now assigned by quite a general consensus of opinion to an author (or possibly authors) who lived towards the close of the Babylonian exile.

(2) Isaiah 13 - Isaiah 14:23 (see notes).

(3) Isaiah 24-27 (see notes).

(4) Isaiah 34, 35 (see notes).

(5) Isaiah 36-39, parallel, and in the main identical, with 2 Kings 18:13 to 2 Kings 20:19. An historical appendix added because of its bearing on Isaiah's prophetic activity in the reign of Hezekiah.

The reasons for separating Isaiah 40-66 from the acknowledged prophecies of Isaiah are:—(a) The standpoint of the writer is that of the Babylonian exile, more than a century after Isaiah's death: he is living amongst, and speaking to, the Jews in exile. See e.g. Isaiah 42:22; Isaiah 43:28; Isaiah 47:6; Isaiah 52:5. Jerusalem is no longer inviolate as in 1-39, but has been for some time deserted and in ruins (Isaiah 44:26; Isaiah 58:12; Isaiah 61:4; Isaiah 63:18; Isaiah 64:10-11), and the return of the captives to their own land is anticipated in the immediate future (Isaiah 46:13; Isaiah 48:20). In Isaiah's time Assyria under Shalmaneser, Sargon, and Sennacherib was the dominant world power. But in 40-66 the Babylonian Empire, which under Nebuchadnezzar had succeeded to the power of Assyria, is tottering to its fall, and destined' to be overthrown by Cyrus who has embarked on his victorious career. Isaiah's name and personality, again, so prominent in 1-39, are never alluded to in 40-66. Now, however far an OT. prophet may project his vision into the future, the standpoint from which he does so is always that of his own time, and his words are for the warning or encouragement of those of his own age. But on the supposition that Isaiah is the author of these chapters not only does he project his vision into the future, but first projects himself to a standpoint in the future, and, though living while the kingdom of Judah was still in existence and Jerusalem outwardly flourishing, addresses himself to the encouragement of the Jews of a future age, when they should be in exile, and their city and Temple a heap of ruins. But this would be a case without parallel in OT. prophecy, and it is therefore much more likely that these chapters are the work of one who actually lived towards the close of the exile.

(b) The argument in Isaiah 41, 45 seems to depend on the fact that Cyrus, the Persian conqueror, has begun his victorious career. The action of Cyrus is appealed to as a proof that Jehovah has not forgotten His people and will perform His promises-. The passages concerning Cyrus are not prophecies of his coming (as is sometimes said), but rather triumphant appeals to the fact that he has come. His career is followed with anxious interest, and his successes are regarded as accumulating evidences of Jehovah's care for His people, and of the working out of His will in the course of human history. This points to a date shortly after the middle of the 6th century b.c.: for Cyrus, whom the Jews rightly anticipated as their deliverer, first appeared about 550 b.c., overthrew the Median empire in 549, and after other achievements captured Babylon in 538, and gave permission for the return of the captive Jews to their own country.

(c) When we look into Isaiah 40-66 we find that they differ considerably from the earlier part of the book both in language and style. This by itself is not a conclusive argument, because a man's style may alter a great deal at different periods in his life, being liable to modification from varying circumstances, age, or change of subject matter; nevertheless it materially strengthens the case when taken in connexion with the other arguments noticed. Some of the more striking differences of style observable are:—

(1) Some words or expressions characteristic of 1-39 are absent from 40-66, such as: the title 'the Lord Jehovah of hosts' (Isaiah 1:24; Isaiah 3:1; Isaiah 10:16, Isaiah 10:33; Isaiah 19:4). the word used for 'idols' (Isaiah 2:8, Isaiah 2:18, Isaiah 2:20; Isaiah 10:11; Isaiah 19:1, Isaiah 19:3; Isaiah 31:7); the use of the figure of Jehovah 'arising' or 'being exalted' (e.g. Isaiah 2:11, Isaiah 2:19; Isaiah 5:16; Isaiah 28:21; Isaiah 30:18); the expression 'glory' of a nation (e.g. Isaiah 5:13; Isaiah 8:7; Isaiah 10:16, Isaiah 10:8); the figure of Jehovah's 'hand stretched out' in judgment (e.g. Isaiah 5:25; Isaiah 9:12, Isaiah 9:17, Isaiah 9:21; Isaiah 10:4; Isaiah 14:26-27; Isaiah 23:11; Isaiah 31:3); a peculiar word for the 'blinding' of the eyes, variously rendered in AV 'shut' (Isaiah 6:10),' closed' (Isaiah 29:10), 'dim' (Isaiah 32:3); a striking word 'stir up' (Isaiah 9:11), 'set up,' 'set' (Isaiah 19:2); the expression, 'head and tail, palm branch and rush,' figuratively used (Isaiah 9:14; Isaiah 19:15); the term 'fruitful field' (Isaiah 10:18; Isaiah 29:17 and other places); the very characteristic word 'remnant' (in the name Shear-jashub, Isaiah 7:3; Isaiah 10:20-21; Isaiah 11:11 and elsewhere); an unusual word for 'many' (Isaiah 16:14; Isaiah 17:12; Isaiah 28:2).

(2) On the other hand, noticeable words or expressions recur in 40-66, which are absent from undoubted prophecies of Isaiah, such as: 'all flesh' (Isaiah 40:5-6; Isaiah 49:26; Isaiah 66:16, Isaiah 66:23-24). the expression 'as nothing' (Isaiah 40:17; Isaiah 41:11-12); the exhortation to 'lift up the eyes' (Isaiah 40:26; Isaiah 49:18; Isaiah 51:6; Isaiah 60:4); the verb 'choose 'in connexion with Jehovah's choice of His people (Isaiah 41:8-9; Isaiah 43:10, Isaiah 43:20 and frequently); the verb 'praise' and cognate noun (Isaiah 42:8, Isaiah 42:10, Isaiah 42:12; Isaiah 43:21 and often); a rare expression for 'things to come' (Isaiah 41:23; Isaiah 44:7; Isaiah 45:11); the verb rendered 'spring up' or 'spring forth' (e.g. Isaiah 42:9; Isaiah 44:4; Isaiah 45:8); an uncommon word for 'bow down '(Isaiah 44:15, Isaiah 44:17, Isaiah 44:19; Isaiah 46:6) and unusual word meaning to 'break forth' into singing (Isaiah 44:23; Isaiah 49:13 and other places); the title 'Holy City' (Isaiah 48:2; Isaiah 52:1); references to the 'mirage '(Isaiah 49:18, also Isaiah 35:7; [non-Isaianic]); the phrase 'to clothe oneself,' or, 'be clothed with,' used figuratively (Isaiah 49:18; Isaiah 50:3 and elsewhere); frequent reference to the 'sons of Zion' (Isaiah 49:17, Isaiah 49:22, Isaiah 49:25; Isaiah 51:20 and often); utterances of Jehovah beginning with the words 'I am' (Isaiah 45:5-6, Isaiah 45:18 and very frequently).

Some of the most striking differences in phraseology have been noted by way of example, but much longer lists might be given. It is true that those who argue for unity of authorship are able to point to certain resemblances, such as the use of the characteristic title 'Holy One of Israel' and the recurrence of Tohu (chaos,' Genesis 1:2); but the undoubted affinities between the two parts of the book may be explained, it is thought, by the influence of the prophecies of Isaiah upon the author of 40-66.

(d) As there is considerable divergence in phraseology between the two main divisions of the book, so the underlying ideas and doctrines are in some respects widely different, e.g.:

(1) The conception of the faithful remnant so characteristic of Isaiah 1-39, though it may be implied in a few places (Isaiah 59:20; Isaiah 65:8-9), has no important position in 40-66, and Isaiah's word 'remnant' (Shear) does not occur.

(2) The conception of Jehovah in Isaiah 40-66 shows an advance on that of the acknowledged prophecies of Isaiah. It is broader and fuller, bringing into prominence, not the transcendent greatness and holiness of God, but His infinite wisdom, knowledge, and power, as seen in the creation, sustaining, and government of the world.

(3) Isaiah 40-66 are marked by the introduction of subjects that are new. The most remarkable of these is the wonderful conception of 'the servant of Jehovah.'

(4) Again, subjects that are not new in themselves receive in Isaiah 40-66 quite different treatment. Jerusalem in 1-39 is the capital and sanctuary, threatened yet secure in Jehovah's protection. In 40-66 the city is already ruined (Isaiah 61:4), but destined to be gloriously restored, and the delineation of the glories of the new Jerusalem, with intimation of the part that the nations of the world shall take in its restoration, forms a remarkable feature of the later chapters of the book (see especially Isaiah 60).

(5) Very remarkable is the change which comes over Messianic prophecy when we pass to Isaiah 40-66. In the utterances of Isaiah the hopes for the realisation of the ideal future are centred in a Scion of the House of David (Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 11:1); but the promises so imperfectly realised during the period of the kingdom are in 40-66 transferred from the Messianic king to the nation as Jehovah's chosen servant; not, however, to the people considered in themselves, but in dependence on an individual, a personal representative of Jehovah, in whom as a perfect servant are summed up the ideal qualities of Israel.

Taking together the arguments thus briefly summarised, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Isaiah 40-66 are not the work of Isaiah, but of a prophet who exercised his ministry towards the end of the period of the Jewish exile in Babylon. There is no reason why the student of Holy Scripture should be disquieted by such a conclusion, for it does not follow that the trustworthiness and inspiration of Isaiah 40-66 must be given up. The author of these chapters does not claim to be Isaiah, and the name of that prophet is not even mentioned in them. Belief in the inspiration and divine authority of the OT. cannot fairly be held to bind us to a particular theory or to human traditions, as to the literary structure of the several books. This has to be investigated by the ordinary methods of literary research, because God's revelation has come down to us embodied in a literature which has not been exempted from the ordinary conditions of literary composition and transmission.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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