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7:1-12:6 JUDAH IN THE REIGN OF AHAZ
Chapters 7-12 belong to the reign of Ahaz, when Pekah the king of Israel and Rezin the king of Syria (Aram) joined forces to attack Ahaz, with the aim of forcing Judah into their anti-Assyrian alliance. Before reading these chapters, readers should be familiar with the historical background given in the introduction under the heading ‘Israel and Syria attack Judah’.
Isaiah’s message for Ahaz (7:1-25)
When the Judean king Ahaz hears of the approach of the Israelite-Syrian army, he and all his people are terrified (7:1-2). While Ahaz is inspecting Jerusalem’s water supply in preparation for the siege, Isaiah meets him and points out that he need not fear Israel or Syria, nor need he ask Assyria for help. God is on the side of Judah. Pekah and Rezin plan to conquer Judah and put their own king on Judah’s throne, but they will not succeed. They think they can overthrow Judah in a fiery conquest, but they are no more dangerous than the smoke from two smouldering sticks (3-6). Israel and Syria, along with their kings, are nearing the end of their existence. If Ahaz believes God he has nothing to fear; but if he does not, nothing will save him (7-9).
(Only three years after this prophecy, Syria fell to Assyria, and ten years later so did Israel. Within 65 years of Isaiah’s prophecy, people of the former northern kingdom had become so scattered that they no longer had any national identity; see v. 8b.)
God then invites Ahaz to ask for a sign as an assurance of God’s help. Ahaz responds with an attempt to appear religious, by saying that he will not put God to the test (10-12).
Whether Ahaz asks for a sign or not, God promises to give one. Ahaz will have reassurance that God is with Judah when he hears of the birth of a child whose mother has named him Immanuel (meaning ‘God with us’). By the time this child is two or three years old, Israel and Syria will be powerless to trouble Judah further. But at the same time Judah will be troubled by a different enemy, the nation Assyria. There will be extensive damage, particularly to the farmlands. Crops will be ruined and the people will have to rely on animals and insects for their food (13-17; see also notes on 9:1-7 below).
Armies from Egypt and Assyria will invade Judah, covering the the land like insects and leaving it bare and fruitless (18-20). With all the crops destroyed, cultivated land will become wild again. The scattered inhabitants who remain will wander from place to place with their few animals, living off the products of these animals and any other wild food they can find (21-25).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Isaiah 7". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Sixth Week after Easter