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by Frederick Brotherton Meyer
Outline of Isaiah
“The Evangelical Prophet”
I. Judgment, Restoration, Thanksgiving, Isaiah 1-12
1. Introduction , Isaiah 1:1-31
2. Judah and Jerusalem , Isaiah 2-6
3. The Book of Immanuel , Isaiah 7-12
II. The Burdens of the Nations, Isaiah 13-27
1. Babylon, Assyria, Philistia, Syria, Israel, Egypt, Edom, Tyre , Isaiah 13-23
2. World-Judgment and the Redemption of Judah , Isaiah 24-27
III. The Six Woes, Isaiah 28-35
1. To the Drunken
2. To Formalists
3. To Those Who Hide Their Plans from God
4. To Those Who Trust in Egypt
5. To Those Who Rely on Horses and Chariots
6. To the Assyrian Destroyer
IV. Historical Section, Isaiah 36-39
1. The Deliverance of Jerusalem from Sennacherib , Isaiah 36:1-22 ; Isaiah 37:1-38
2. Hezekiah’s Sickness and Recovery , Isaiah 38:1-22
3. Embassy of Merodach-baladan , Isaiah 39:1-8
V. Divine Deliverance from Sin and Captivity, Isaiah 40-48
1. Assurance of Salvation , Isaiah 40:1-31 ; Isaiah 41:1-29
2. The Riches of Grace , Isaiah 42:1-44:23
3. The Mission of Cyrus , Isaiah 44:24-47:15
4. God’s Chastisement Disciplinary , Isaiah 48:1-22
VI. The Servant of Jehovah, Isaiah 49-57
1. The Servant’s Mission , Isaiah 49:1-26 ; Isaiah 50:1-11 ; Isaiah 51:1-23 ; Isaiah 52:1-12
2. The Servant’s Sacrifice and Exaltation , Isaiah 52:13-15 ; Isaiah 53:1-12
3. The Fulness and Freeness of Salvation , Isaiah 54-57
VII. New Heavens and a New Earth, Isaiah 58-66
1. The Dawning Light , Isaiah 58-62
Introduction to Isaiah
Both as a prophet and as a statesman, Isaiah took an active part in the affairs of Judah during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. He was contemporary also with the prophets, Hosea and Micah. At the lowest estimate his public career extended over a period of forty years. According to tradition he was executed, by being sawn asunder, during the reign of Manasseh, to which there may be reference in Hebrews 11:37 .
Much controversy has gathered around the authorship of the book which bears him name. While there are difficulties in the way of attributing the entire book to a single writer, much more serious problems have been created by every attempt to divide the authorship among different writers.
Isaiah is called the “Evangelical Prophet,” as a large part of his book is indissolubly bound with the life and work of the Messiah. Philip, finding the Ethiopian eunuch reading from this prophecy, “began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” The book contains also a wide variety of materials: prophetic oracles concerning the nations, sermons, hymns, apocalypses, narratives, and autobiography. It is commonly regarded as the greatest of the prophecies and its influence upon the development of Christian thought can hardly be overestimated.
The second section of the book, Isaiah 40:1-31 ; Isaiah 41:1-29 ; Isaiah 42:1-25 ; Isaiah 43:1-28 ; Isaiah 44:1-28 ; Isaiah 45:1-25 ; Isaiah 46:1-13 ; Isaiah 47:1-15 ; Isaiah 48:1-22 ; Isaiah 49:1-26 ; Isaiah 50:1-11 ; Isaiah 51:1-23 ; Isaiah 52:1-15 ; Isaiah 53:1-12 ; Isaiah 54:1-17 ; Isaiah 55:1-13 ; Isaiah 56:1-12 ; Isaiah 57:1-21 ; Isaiah 58:1-14 ; Isaiah 59:1-21 ; Isaiah 60:1-22 ; Isaiah 61:1-11 ; Isaiah 62:1-12 ; Isaiah 63:1-19 ; Isaiah 64:1-12 ; Isaiah 65:1-25 ; Isaiah 66:1-24 , is “one of the finest poems existing in any language.” The author’s aim in this part is to encourage the Israelites in their exile by showing that Jehovah is supreme and that, therefore, no obstacle will be able to prevent the restoration of Israel and the overthrow of their enemies. In accomplishing His purpose, God uses the following agents:
1. Cyrus, “one from the East,” Isaiah 41:2 , who is also called “my shepherd,” Isaiah 44:28 , and Jehovah’s “anointed,” Isaiah 45:1 , and who is to be God’s instrument in overthrowing Babylon and delivering Israel from exile.
2. The “Servant of Jehovah.” In several passages, Isaiah 41:8 ; Isaiah 44:1-2 ; Isaiah 44:21 , the nation of Israel is the “Servant of Jehovah,” to accomplish His purposes with reference to all peoples, but, in many others, the personal, suffering “Servant of Jehovah” is beautifully pictured as God’s instrument in the redemption of Israel and in the ingathering of the Gentiles. Through Christ, the Messiah, is to be fulfilled God’s promise to Abraham, culminating in an endless Kingdom of peace and righteousness.
e-Sword Note: The following material was presented at the end of Isaiah in the printed edition
Review Questions on Isaiah
( a ) What distinguishing name is applied to Isaiah?
( b ) Into how many parts is his prophecy divided?
( c ) What chapters comprise the historical section?
( d ) Who were the kings of Judah during the period of Isaiah’s ministry?
( e ) What is the tradition regarding his death?
( f ) What is the author’s aim in the second section of the book?
( g ) What two agents are especially designated as the deliverers and restorers of Israel?
Isaiah 1-12; 24-35
Each question applies to the paragraph of corresponding number in the Comments .
1. In what manner had Israel repaid the fatherly love of God?
2. What made the Temple services displeasing to God?
3. What was God’s purpose in permitting disaster to overtake His Chosen People?
4. To what period of Isaiah’s ministry do this and the four following chapters belong?
5. What does the prophet teach will be the effect of the manifestation of God’s power and majesty?
6. What sins does he especially condemn?
7. Why was the harvest of wild grapes such a disappointment to the vine-dresser?
8. How does the prophet show the progress of sin?
9. What vision of the Lord’s glory did Isaiah have?
10. What is the meaning of “Immanuel?”
11. What nation did King Ahaz call to his aid against his enemies?
12. Why was this unwise? Where could protection have been obtained?
13. What prophecies regarding Christ are given in Isaiah 9:1-7 ?
14. What solemn responsibility rests on those who seek to lead others?
15. What picture is drawn of the desolation produced by sin?
16. What use did God make of Assyria? Why did Assyria nevertheless deserve punishment?
17. What hope was left for Israel?
18. Who is meant by the “rod out of the stem of Jesse?” How is the work of the Spirit described?
19. What will cause Israel to utter songs of thanksgiving?
20. What three sins are especially noted as provoking the judgments of God?
21. Why is the penalty of sin inescapable?
22. What causes the prophet to sing a song of praise?
23. What foundation must underlie perfect peace of soul?
24. What is taught regarding God’s care of His people, even though they may be permitted to suffer? What verse encourages prayer for relief?
25. What nations are meant by the “swift serpent” and the “crooked serpent?” What was to be their fate? How is the Lord’s care for His people symbolized?
26. What is the effect of drunkenness upon an individual or a nation?
27. To whom does the prophecy regarding “the precious cornerstone” refer?
28. Where did the Jews seek help against Assyria? What better way was open to them?
29. What two pictures does the prophet draw of Jehovah? To whom is His patience manifested? To whom His severity?
30. What was to be the state of the nation when instead of trusting foreign alliances they would depend wholly upon God?
31. What are the fruits of righteousness?
32. In what terms does the prophet foretell the downfall of Assyria’s king?
33. What reward is promised to the righteous?
34. What is God’s attitude toward persistent sin?
35. What is Isaiah’s message to those whom the Lord redeems?
36. What is the first message brought by this herald of Jehovah? the second? What echo of hope is found in the third?
37. What description is given of the glory, the power, and the gentleness of the Savior-God?
38. How does the prophet prove God’s ability to sustain those who seek Him?
39. By what name is Israel called? What promise does the Lord make?
40. What provision does the Lord make for the needy in spirit or in body?
41. What is to be the work of the Lord’s chosen Servant? Who is this Servant?
42. What encouragement is there to trust in God even when He seems silent and afar off?
43. Whom does Jehovah summon as witnesses to His power to save?
44. How had Israel provoked and wearied God?
45. What promise does God make to the children of those who serve Him?
46. How is the folly of idolatry shown?
47. How would God deal with Israel’s sins?
48. What king does the prophet mention by name as chosen of God to deliver the Jews from Babylon?
49. How wide is the divine offer of salvation?
50. What contrast is drawn between Israel’s God and the idols of Babylon?
51. What were the sins of Babylon which wrought its downfall?
52. How was the captivity a blessing to Israel?
53. Where and how does the first division of the second part of Isaiah close? Where is this concluding phrase repeated?
54. What is the measure of God’s care for His people?
55. What is the ground of the prophet’s confidence?
56. What encouragement to trust the Lord was afforded by Israel’s past history?
57. Why should fear of enemies or circumstances be impossible for the people of God?
58. What picture is drawn of the return from Babylon? Instead of a foreign monarch who now is to reign over the nation?
59. Who is the suffering, rejected One of whom the prophet speaks? What would His suffering accomplish?
60. How long will God’s loving-kindness last?
61. On what terms does God engage to bless His people?
62. By what name should the Temple be known?
63. What blessing does the Lord bestow on the forgiven soul that the wicked are unable to obtain?
64. What kind of a fast meets with God’s approval? What is true Sabbath-keeping?
65. What may cut off God’s help from us?
66. How far should the fear of God’s name extend?
67. What summons does Jerusalem receive? How is Zion to be glorified?
68. What spiritual blessings are typified by the glories of Zion?
69. What is to be the Messiah’s mission? His Kingdom? His joy?
70. What new name will God bestow on Zion? Why?
71. Of what is Edom a symbol?
72. Who is the mighty Conqueror spoken of by the prophet?
73. How may man obstruct the salvation God wishes to bring?
74. For what does the prophet pray? What does he urge as reasons for God’s mercy?
75. How did the Jews forfeit their place of privilege to the Gentiles?
76. What will be the character of the new heavens and earth?
77. Where is God’s chosen home? With what vision does the prophecy of Isaiah conclude?
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34