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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 8

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-4




1. Isaiah is commanded of the Lord to take a large tablet (of wood, metal or stone; Isaiah 30:8; Habakkuk 2:2) and, in language that the common people can understand, to write.

2. He is to take two witnesses (both divinely appointed) to observe what he writes; they may later testify that the prophet has recorded the event before it actually happened.

a. "Uriah, the priest" has been an accomplice or associate of Ahaz in his idolatry (2 Kings 16:10-11; 2 Kings 16:15-16), and certainly will not be disposed to favor the prophet.

b. The second is to be "Zechariah, the son of Jebereciah", (Verse 2b).

3. "Maker-sal-al-hash-baz" is the prophetic message - meaning: "The spoil speedeth, the prey hasteth". (The fall of Syria and Israel is near at hand!)

4. As a living symbol of what is about to happen (a sign for Ahaz, Is 7:14) the prophet goes in unto his wife, who conceives and bares a son, (Verse 3a).

a. At the Lord’s command, the child is named "Maker-shal-al-hash-baz", (Verse 3b; comp. Hosea 1:4).

b. This prophetic child is to be a reminder of the imminent spoil of Damascus (Syria) and Samaria (Israel, the northern kingdom) by the Assyrian, (Verse 4; Isaiah 7:8-9; Isaiah 7:16).

5. But, this is really not designed to give any comfort to the wicked Ahaz who has insisted on appealing to Assyria for support against his enemies.

Verses 5-8


1. Israel has despised and rejected the soft-flowing waters of Shiloah (John 9:7; John 9:11) - used figuratively, of the benevolent theocratic order as reposed in the "House of David", (Verse 5-6; Isaiah 5:20; Isaiah 5:24; Isaiah 30:12-13).

2. They have rejoiced in (or with) "Rezin and Remaliah’s son" -’ seeking the ruin of their brethren, whom the Lord has not yet wholly rejected, (Verse 6b; cf. Isaiah 7:1).

3. Because of this, the Lord will send against them a violent and overflowing river - even "the king of Assyria in all his glory", (Verse 7; Isaiah 7:17; Isaiah 10:5-6).

a. An overflowing river is used, symbolically, of a conquering army.

b. The king of Assyria is the Lord’s instrument of judgment upon the people who have rebelled against the house and throne of David.

4. But, Ahaz is to find no joy in the prophetic announcement; the conquering Assyrian (with whom he has forged an alliance) will not stop with the over-flowing of Syria and Samaria; he will also "sweep onward into Judah", (Verse 8a; 10b).

a. Yet, this will not be a complete overthrow of Judah; the waters will reach only "to the neck", (Verse 8b; comp. Isaiah 30:28).

b. The outstretched "wings" suggest the vast breadth of the Assyrian army, (Verse 8c; Isaiah 36:1; Isaiah 37:25).

5. In the mercy that Jehovah shows toward Judah, the prophet rejoices: "O IMMANUEL!" - meaning "God is with us!" There is still a faithful remnant of the preserving "salt of the earth", (Verse 8d; Matthew 5:13).

Verses 9-15


1. In verses 9-10 the prophet challenges the naiions to do their worst against the people of God.

a. They may make an uproar, but they will be "broken in pieces" for their efforts, (comp. Isaiah 17:12-14; Daniel 2:34-35).

b. They may make their boasts against God’s people, but their words will not stand, (Verse 10; comp. Isaiah 7:6-7; Isaiah 28:18).

c. The reason: "IMMANUEL!;; - "God is with us!"

2. But, the prophet has been definitely informed of the disfavor of his own countrymen, (Verse 11-12).

a. The Lord has forbidden him to follow the path that has been set by Judah’s leaders, (Verse 11; comp. Ezekiel 3:14; Ezekiel 2:8).

b. Furthermore, he is to warn them against joining the swelling chorus of those who are willing to charge him with conspiracy for opposing a confederacy with Assyria, (Verse 12a; 30:1; comp. Amos 7:10).

c. Nor are they to fear what men shall do (Verse 12b; 1 Peter 3:13-15); their reliance on Assyria is dead wrong!

3. The important thing for them to do is to "Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself" - reverencing Him, and fearing to provoke His wrath through distrust and unbelief; then He will prove to be an adequate sanctuary, (Verse 13-14a).

4. To both the houses of Israel the Lord will be: a stone of stumbling and rock of offence. (Verse 14b; Luke 2:34; Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:8); a gin and snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, (Isaiah 24:17-18).

5. Because of a wrong attitude toward Him, many will utterly destroy themselves, (Verse 15; 28:12-13; 59:10; Matthew 21:42-44).

Verses 16-18


1. Here command is given that this prophecy be preserved by, and for, the faithful remnant of disciples who are willing to obey the word of God, (comp. Verse 1-2; Isaiah 50:4):

2. Though Judah has forsaken the law of her God, the remnant thereof must seal it up among themselves, (comp. Daniel 12:4).

3. The face of the Lord is hidden from the house of Jacob because of their sins (Isaiah 1:15; Isaiah 45:15; Isaiah 54:8; Isaiah 59:1-2; cf. Deuteronomy 31:16-18);. yet, they are adding to their sin by seeking worldly alliances - while the prophet declares his readiness to wait, and expectantly look to the Lord for help, (Verse 17; comp. Isaiah 25:9; Isaiah 30:18; Habakkuk 2:3).

4. Isaiah states plainly that both he and the children whom the Lord has given him are for "signs" and "wonders" in Israel -prophetic signs, from the Lord who dwells in Mt Zion, (Verse 18; Psalms 9:11; Zechariah 8:3).

Verses 19-22


1. A people whose God is the Lord should be ashamed to seek direction for their lives from familiar spirits, clairvoyants, fortune tellers, wizards, etc. (comp. Isaiah 19:3-4; Isaiah 29:4; Isaiah 47:12-14).

a. How much better to seek the Lord - that one may know His will! (Matthew 7:7).

b. It is foolish for the living to seek advice from the dead! (1 Samuel 28:8-11; Psalms 106:28; Psalms 115:5-9).

2. It is high time to get BACK TO THE WORD OF GOD! (Verse 20; Isaiah 1:10; Luke 16:29-31).

a. There is no prospect of a "bright morning" for such as reject God’s word, (Verse 20b; Micah 3:5-7; contr. Isaiah 60:1-3; Malachi 3:16; Malachi 4:3).

b. Rather, they may anticipate: distress, hunger, disillusionment with their king (and the God whom they never really knew), darkness, gloom, anguish and utter banishment from their own land, (Verse 21-22; Isaiah 9:20-21; Isaiah 5:30; Isaiah 59:9; Jeremiah 13:16; Amos 5:18-20; Zephaniah 1:14-18).

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Isaiah 8". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/isaiah-8.html. 1985.
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