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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible

Isaiah (2)

Isaiah, Book of. Isaiah is divided into two parts. The first, comprising the first 39 chapters, is composed of a variety of individual prophecies against nations and denunciations of sin. Social vices, chap. 3, and idolatry, chap. 8, are rebuked without mercy. Assyria, Babylon, 13:19 sq., Moab, 15; Ethiopia, 18; Egypt, 19; and Tyre, 23, pass successively before the prophet's mind, and their doom is predicted. The prophecies of Babylon's desolation and of Tyre's ruin are among the most poetic and the sublimest passages in all literature. Chaps. 36-39 are concerned with Sennacherib's invasion and episodes in the life of Hezekiah. The second part of Isaiah begins abruptly with the fortieth chapter: "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people." It takes its position at the close of the Babylonian captivity, and prophesies its close and the glories of the Messianic period of Israel's history. Of all the prophetic writings, none are more evidently inspired and truly evangelical than these last 27 chapters. Isaiah prophesies of the Messiah with distinctness and in a way that his predecessors had not done. We find prophecies of his birth, 7-14; 9:6, of his Davidic descent, 11:1, 2 etc. But the fullest as well as the most distinct of the predictions is contained in the fifty-third chapter. It may be called the gospel of the Old Testament, on account of the graphic and faithful picture it gives of the Messiah, as the "Man of sorrows," suffering in the stead of mankind. This chapter of itself will stand always as an evidence of prime importance for the divine mission of Christ. "The authenticity of the second part of Isaiah, from chaps. 40-66," says Schaff, "has been assailed by modern critics, who regard it as a later production of some 'great unknown prophet' at the end of the Babylonian exile. But it is characteristic of prophetic vision to look into the far future as if it were present; and it makes not much difference, for the divine character of the prophecy whether it was uttered 500 or 700 years before its fulfilment. The description of the servant of God who suffers and dies for the sins of the people in chap. 53 applies to no other person in history, with any degree of propriety, but to Jesus Christ."

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Isaiah (2)'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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