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Old Testament Notes


Isaiah, chapters 1-5 were probably written during the reign of King Uzziah, and are God's message and warning to Judah and Jerusalem

Isaiah, chapter 1 describes the corrupt state of religion and society

Isaiah 1:1 - Isaiah's father, Amoz (not the same person as Amos the Prophet), was probably a nobleman of Jerusalem; Jewish tradition suggests that Amoz was a younger brother of Amaziah, king of Judah. Certainly Isaiah was someone who could come and go in the royal palaces (II Kings 20:1).
Uzziah (also called Azariah) reigned for 52 years in Jerusalem (II Chron. 26), then his son Jothan reigned for 16 years (II Chron. 27), followed by Jotham's son Ahaz (a bad king) for 16 years (II Chron, 28), and Ahaz' son Hezekiah for 29 years (II Chron. 29-32). So Isaiah lived through the fall of Samaria to the Assyrians (II Kings 18:9-12), and the seige of Jerusalem by Sennacherib (II Kings 18:17-19:37)
Isaiah 1:2-31 - although 3 of the 4 kings were "good" and tried to follow God's ways, many of the people had become corrupt and were worshipping other gods, or believed that the routine of worship was all they needed to do. Ahaz even led the nation in sacrificing children to some of the false gods (II Chron. 28:2-4).
Isaiah 1:7-8 - the land was over-run repeatedly by invaders from several lands (II Chron. 29:5-8, 17-20).
Isaiah 1:10 - Isaiah was saying that the king and people were being as as bad as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah had been.
Isaiah 2:1-4 looks forward to the "last days", when Jerusalem will become the center for God's actions
Isaiah 2:2 - "the last days" - the Hebrew way of referring to the end of time.
Isaiah 2:5 - 4:1 give warning to Judah of Judgment coming, and call for repentance and amendment of life
Isaiah 2:6 - the people were turning to Eastern mysticism, fortune telling, and foreign religions.
Isaiah 3:1-3 - Isaiah foretells the calamities of invasion, famine, and seige.
Isaiah 3:4 - Uzziah was 16 when he became king; Manasseh, the bad king who followed Hezekiah, was 12 when he came to the throne. Josiah (good king) was 8, and Jehoiachin (bad king) also 8, reigned for 3 months before being taken prisoner to Babylon.
Isaiah 4:2-6 - see Isaiah 11:1. Isaiah foretells that God will send peace and restoration for Israel.
Isaiah 5:1-10 - One of the recurring themes in the Bible is that of Israel as the vinyard of the Lord. Here, Isaiah tells the people that they are more like weeds and "wild vines" than like a fruitful grapevine.
Isaiah 5:7-23 - a picture of the corruption of society.
Isaiah 5:26-30 - probably a picture of the Assyrian invaders.
Isaiah 6 - Isaiah recounts his Call as a Prophet, and his vision of God in the Temple.
Isaiah 7:1-2 - see II Kings 16:5-9. The date was probably around 735 BC
Isaiah 7:3-25 - Isaiah was sent to king Ahaz to reassure him that God would look after him if he would trust God; however, Ahaz preferred to trust to a treaty with the Assyrians, and started to worship their gods, and even pulled in pieces some of the original fittings of the Temple in Jerusalem (II Kings 16:10-18).
Isaiah 7:3 - The name of this son of Isaiah, Shear-Jashub, means "a remnant will return", expressing the promise of return from Exile.
Isaiah 8:1-4 - Maher-shalal-hash-baz means something like "quick-plunder-hurry-robbery" and describes the speed and brutality with which the Assyrians acted.
Isaiah 8:5-22 - Isaiah calls the people to trust themselves to God instead of turning to false religions or making treaties with heathen nations.
Isaiah 9:1-7 - one of the Messianic prophecies of Isaiah - God is ultimately in control of the situation.
Isaiah 9:1 - the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali were in the north of Israel, as was the Galilee; they were over-run by the Assyrians, and the people were carried off into captivity.
Isaiah 10 - Isaiah explains that the Assyrians are being used by God to bring judgment on Judah because of the way people have been acting. However, the Assyrians don't realize that, and think that they are doing things in their own strength. The Assyrians themselves are due to fall soon (as they did in fact fall to Babylon), and eventually the Jews will be delivered.
Isaiah 11 - Another of Isaiah's Messianic prophecies, declaring that the Messiah will be one of David's descendents (Jesse was David's father) and will be the Judge of all the earth.
Isaiah 12 - Isaiah gives thanks for the promise of the Messiah.
Isaiah, chapters 13 - 23 : God warns the nations of Judgment
Isaiah 13:1-14:28 - A warning to Babylon, which at that time was a secondary power subservient to Assyria. Isaiah sees that Babylon will overcome Assyria (as happened in ca. 612 BC) and rule with oppression and violence until the Babylonian empire itself falls to the Medes (Isaiah 13:7), as happened in ca. 539 BC.
Isaiah 14:28 - Ahaz died ca. 716 BC.
Isaiah 14:29-32 - Palestina was the region along the Mediterranean coast where the Philistines had lived. The people were glad that the Assyrians were being defeated, but they did not realize that the Babylonians were just as bad. Isaiah tells them to keep trusting in God rather than in foreign powers.
Isaiah 15-16 - Moab was the land to the east of Israel, across the river Jordan and the Dead Sea. Moabites were descended from one of the daughters of Lot, Abraham's nephew, and so were related to the Jews (Genesis 19:36-38). The Moabites were unfriendly towards Israel and Judah, and would invade them whenever possible (eg. II Kings 13:20, II Chron. 20:1). Isaiah called the Moabites to come back to God, and to protect people who were trying to escape from the Assyrians (Isaiah 16:4-5). However, the Moabites would not listen, and so were also going to be destroyed by the invaders.
Isaiah 17 - Damascus was (and still is) the capital of Syria (different country and people to Assyria). The people of Syria also knew about God, but, like the Israelites, they were worshipping heathen gods and trusting in political and military alliances. Isaiah warns them that their country will be invaded but that, also like the Israelites, a few of them will escape.
Isaiah 18-19 - Egypt and Ethiopia were the main enemies of Assyria and, later, Babylon. Egypt kept trying to make alliances with the smaller nations such as Israael, so that they could go to war against Assyria. The last few chapters of II Kings and II Chronicles describe the disastrous effect these alliances had on Judah. However, Isaiah prophesies that eventually both Egypt and Assyria will be blessed by Israel and will come to worship God in Jerusalem.
Isaiah 18:2 - "vessels of bulrushes" - the Egyptians made boats by lashing bundles of papyrus reeds together.
Isaiah 20 - Ashdod was one of the cities of the Philistines, on the Mediterranean coast, and was beseiged several times by the Assyrians because the people were so rebellious. This passage probably refers to the seige of 720 BC. Sargon II of Assyria ruled ca. 722-705 BC. "Tartan" was an Akkadian title for the commander in chief: "turtanu".
Isaiah 21 - Isaiah prophesies of the fall of Babylon, about a century before it happened, and says that the Medes and the Elamites will fight against it. The Medes and Elamites did indeed join with the Persians in the conquest of Babylon.
Isaiah 22 - Isaiah saw that eventually Jerusalem would be destroyed because of the wickedness of the people - here he laments the coming destruction.
Isaiah 22:15-21 -Shebna and Eliakim the son of Hilkiah were members of the group who tried to arrange a truce with the Assyrians at Jerusalem (II Kings 18:18) and were also sent by king Hezekiah to ask Isaiah to pray for Jerusalem (II Kings 19:2-5).
Isaiah 23 - Tyre and Sidon were the main cities of the Phoenicians, on the Mediterranean coast to the north of Israel. The Phoenicians were great sailors and built a large trading empire, but became very proud. They also worshipped Baal and Tanit, a fertility goddess, and sacrified children as burnt offerrings. Tyre was beseiged by the Babylonians for 13 years (586-573 BC) until it submitted to Nebuchadnezzar. Alexander the Great captured and destroyed Tyre in 332 BC
Isaiah 24 - A picture of the coming destruction of the land; neither rich nor poor will be able to escape.
Isaiah 25-27 - Isaiah rejoices and praises God, because he sees that God will eventually punish wickedness, bring restoration and peace to the land, and people will come to Jerusalem to worship God.
Isaiah, chapters 28 - 31 : Isaiah speaks God's warning to the people one more time
Isaiah 28:1-13 - Ephraim was one of the chief Israelite tribes in the central portion of Israel. Some of the kings of the northern kingdom were powerful militarily and politically, but they were corrupt, oppressed the poor, and worshipped false gods.
Isaiah 28:14-22 - The ruling party in Jerusalem believed that no harm would come to them whatever they did, because they thought that God would never let His Temple be destroyed. Isaiah tells them that God himself will bring judgment and destruction upon them.
Isaiah 28:23-29 - Isaiah points out that the farmer knows how to act to get a good crop, but the rulers have abandonned wisdom.
Isaiah 29-30 - More warnings for Jerusalem. "Ariel" means "Lion of God" or "Altar of God" and is another name for Jerusalem
Isaiah 30:2-3 & 31:1,3 - warnings not to depend on alliances with Egypt against Assyria and Babylon, because the Egyptians would fail (as did happen).
Isaiah 30:33 - Tophet was the valley just beside Jerusalem where Ahaz and others burned their children as sacrifices to heathen gods. (see Jeremiah 7:31-32)
Isaiah 32:1-8 - a Messianic prophecy.
Isaiah 32:9 - 34:17 - warnings for all people.
Isaiah 35 - the promise of restoration and renewal for God's people.
Isaiah 36-39 - Events of Hezekiah's reign : a historical account parallel to those in II Kings 18:13-20:18 and II Chronicles 32:9-31. The date is probably ca. 705-702 BC
Isaiah 40 - Messianic prophecies. Words of reassurance and comfort - God will restore the people and their land.
Isaiah 41 - The glory of God, contrasted with the futility of idolatry. Further promises of God's provision for His people.
Isaiah 42 - A Messianic prophecy, followed by praise to God.
Isaiah 43:1 - 44:8 - God's promise to sustain His people through all the troubles that they face.
Isaiah 44:9-20 - The futility of idolatry.
Isaiah 44:21-27 - God promises redemption to Israel.
Isaiah 44:28 - 45:6 - God names Cyrus as the man who will conquer nations and allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem
Isaiah 45:7-25 - God's glory and promises are extended to all people.
Isaiah 46 - more warnings
Isaiah 47 - a prophecy that Babylon would cease to be a great power.
Isaiah 48 - a warning to those who were making a false show of being religious.
Isaiah 49 - Isaiah declares that God's promises are for the Gentiles as well as the Jews. The "Isles" were the isalnds of the Aegean (the Sea between Greece and Turkey).
Isaiah 50 - Another one of the pictures of Israel was as the bride or wife of God. In this chapter God says that although Israel has done things that would be cause for divorce, still He will not abandon her.
Isaiah 51-56 - God's promises and reassurances.
Isaiah 53 - A prophecy that the Messiah will suffer and be despised
Isaiah 57-59 - God's warnings.
Isaiah 60-61 - Messianic Prophecies.
Isaiah 62 - God's promises to Jerusalem.
Isaiah 63-64 - Isaiah's vision of God coming in judgment.
Isaiah 65 - God calls the Gentiles as well as the Jews into covenant with Him.
Isaiah 66 - the glory of God.

Copyright © 1999 Shirley J. Rollinson, all Rights Reserved

Dr. Rollinson

Department of Religion
Portales, NM 88130

Last Updated: April 9, 2008

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