ISRAEL STORY 08 – Age of Isaiah

SPRING 2015 BIBLE STUDY RESOURCES:

Albertz, Rainer.  A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period.  Volume I: From the Beginnings to the End of the Monarchy.  Translated by John Bowden in 1994.  Part of the Old Testament Library series edited by James L. Mays, Carol A. Newsom, and David L. Petersen.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1994).

Albertz, Rainer.  A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period.  Volume II: From the Exile to the Maccabees.  Translated by John Bowden in 1994.  Part of the Old Testament Library series edited by James L. Mays, Carol A. Newsom, and David L. Petersen.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1994).

Boling, Robert G.  Judges.  Part of the Anchor Bible series, W.F. Allbright and David Noel Freedman general editors.  (Doubleday, Garden City, 1975).

Bright, John.  A History of Israel, second edition.  (Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1972).

Campbell Jr., Edward F..  Ruth.  Part of the Anchor Bible Series, W.F. Allbright and David Noel Freedman general editors.  (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1975).

Childs, Brevard S.  Isaiah.  Part of the Old Testament Library commentary series, editorial advisory board of James L. Mays, Carol A. Newsom, and Daviud L Petersen.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2001).

Cohn, Robert L.   2 Kings.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative & Poetry series, edited by David W. Cotter.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2000).

Cook, Stephen L.  2 Isaiah.  Part of the Conversations with Scripture series by the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars.  (Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, 2008).

Cotter, David W.  Genesis.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative & Poetry series, edited by David W. Cotter.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2003).

Creach, Jerome F. D..  Joshua.  Part of the Interpretation Bible commentary series edited by James L. Mays.  (John Knox Press, Louisville, 2003).

De Vaux, Roland.  The Early History of Israel.  Translated by David Smith. (Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1978).

Gordon, Cyrus H. and Gary A. Rendsburg.  The Bible and the Ancient Near East, fourth edition.  (W. W. Norton, New York, 1997).

Hanson, Paul D.  Isaiah 40 – 66.  Part of the Interpretation biblical commentary series edited by James L Mays, Patrick D. Miller, and Paul Achtemeier.  (John Knox Press, Louisville, 1995).

Hayes, John H. and J. Maxwell Miller.  Israelite and Judaean History.  Part of the Old Testament Library series edited by John H. Hayes and J. Maxwell Miller.  (Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1977).

Hawk, L. Daniel.  Joshua.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2000).

Jensen, Joseph.  Ethical Dimensions of the Prophets.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2006).

Jobling, David.   1 Samuel.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1998).

LaCocque, Andre.  Ruth.  Part of the Continentl Commentary series.  Translated by K. C. Hanson.  (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2004).

Linafelt, Tod.  “Ruth” in Ruth & Esther.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter Editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1999).

Macintosh, A.A..  Hosea.  Part of the International Critical Commentary series edited by J.A. Emerton, C.E.B Cranfield, and G. N. Stanton.  ( T & T Clark: Edinburgh, 1997).

Mazar, Amihai.  Archaeology of the Land of the Bible : 10,000 – 586 B.C.E.  Part of the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library edited by David Noel Freedman.  (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1990).

Morrison, Craig E.   2 Samuel.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, Jerome T. Walsh editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2013).

Myers, Eric M. and Mark A. Chancey.  Alexander to Constantine: Archaeology of the Land of the Bible.  Volume 3 of the Anchor Bible Reference Library edited  by John Collins.  (Yale University Press, New Haven, 2012)

Niditch, Susan.  Judges.  Part of the Old Testament Library series, editorial advisory board Brown, Newsome, Petersen. (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2008).

Propp, William H. C..  Exodus 1-18: A new translation with introduction and commentary.  Volume 2 of the Anchor Yale Bible, William F. Albright and David Noel Freedman General Editiors.  (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1999).

Provan, Iain, V. Philips Long, and Tremper Longman III.  A Biblical History of Israel.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2003).

Sakenfeld, Katherine Doob.   Ruth.  Part of the Interpretation Biblical commentary series, James L. Mays series editor.  (John Knox Press, Louisville, 1999).

Sarna, Nahum M.  Genesis.  Part of The JPS Torah Commentary, edited by Nahum M. Sarna.  (The Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1989).

—————–.  Exodus.  Part of The JPS Torah Commentary, edited by Nahum M. Sarna.  (The Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1991).

Scherman, Rabbi Nosson.  The Prophets: Joshua / Judges: The early prophets with  commentary anthologized from the Rabbinic writings.  (Mesorah Publications, New York, 2000).

Scherman, Rabbi Nosson and Meir Zlotowitz, editors.  The Mishnah: Seder Zeraim vol. IIa PEAH.   A new translation with a commentary anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic, and rabbinic sources.  Part of the Artscroll Mishnah series.  (Mesorah Publications, New York, 1990).

Scherman, Rabbi Nosson and Meir Zlotowitz, editors.  The Mishnah: Seder Zeraim vol. 1a SEDER MOED.   A new translation with a commentary anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic, and rabbinic sources.  Part of the Artscroll Mishnah series.  (Mesorah Publications, New York, 1982).

Schneider, Tammi J.  Judges.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2000).

Seitz, Christopher R.  Isaiah 1-39.  Part of the Interpretation biblical commentary series edited by James L Mays, Patrick D. Miller, and Paul Achtemeier.  (John Knox Press, Louisville, 1993).

Silver, Daniel Jeremy.  A History of Judaism: Volume 1, From Abraham to Maimonides.  (Basic Books Inc., New York, 1974).

Stern, Ephraim.  Archaeology of the Land of the Bible.  Volume II: The Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian Periods (732 – 332 B.C.E.).  Part of the Anchor Bible Reference Library edited  by David Noel Freedman.  (Doubleday, New York, 2001)

Tuell, Steven S..  First and Second Chronicles.  Part of the Interpretation Bible commentary series, edited by James L Mays.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1989).

Walsh, Jerome T.   1 Kings.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1996).

 

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Seitz p. 1: Isaiah is cited more often in the NT than any other OT book

It is one of the longest books of the bible at 1,292 verses.

Seitz p. 3: previous generation of scholarship have tried to reconstruct the historical background to each section above, current scholarship is emphasizing the unity of the whole book, even if each section has some unique characteristics and origins

First Isaiah = chapters 1-39  by consensus – oracles by a prophet originating in the southern kingdom 740 to 700 BC (during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah), concluding with the siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrians in 701 BC, but modified as the whole book came together at a later stage to be a foreshadowing of what was to come.  Jerusalem spared.  During the whole time period Assyria was a threat – destroying the northern kingdom, invading Judah after rebellion by it, wreaking widespread devastation through the kingdom but not ultimately taking Jerusalem.

Two specific historical events are a concern in this part of Isaiah:

  1. An attempt by the Northern Kingdom (Israel), along with Syria, to force the Southern Kingdom of Judah into a military alliance in order to battle the Assyrians.  Ahaz resists their forcible attempt, ironically relying on Assyria for help, Ahaz does not listen to the prophet.  The northern kingdom falls to the Assyrians.
  2. The 701 BC invasion of Judah by Assyria under Sennacherib, during the reign of Hezekiah.

Hezekiah is positively evaluated in the bible in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles

Seitz p. 14: “The contrast between Hezekiah and Ahaz forms one of the clearest theological structures in this otherwise complex literary presentation.  Indeed, this contrast has urged not a few interpreters to regard the messianic oracle of 9:1-7, coming hard on the heels of the denunciation of Ahaz (7:9; 17), as directed toward the figure of Hezekiah.  This in turn may have given rise to the interpretation of Immanuel (7:14) as a royal figure, if not Hezekiah himself …”

 

Seitz p. 15: “Isaiah appears as prophet of both judgment and salvation.  The judgment on Jerusalem will lead to ultimate cleansing and the worship of the nations (2:1-5).  A doubting and cautious king will be replaced by one called “Wonderful Counselor (9:6) who will establish and uphold the throne of David forever (9:7).”

Seitz p. 17: “Isaiah is a book of paradoxical linkages: Isaiah is a prophet of salvation but also of judgment; Zion theology is the guarantor of God’s presence but as much for cleansing judgment as for protection or benefaction; Ahaz’s caution is contrasted with Hezekiah’s bold intercession; the Syro-Ephraimite crisis gives way to 701 events, in turn giving way to the 587 denouement; Assyria is replaced by Babylon, who is finally defeated by Persia.”

Second Isaiah = chapters 40-55  by consensus – oracles by a prophet while the southern kingdom was in exile in Babylon, approx. 550 BC.   Jerusalem punished.  Jerusalem to be restored.

Hanson p. viii: “…chapters 40 to 55 constitute one of the most unified, and beautiful, compositions in the entire bible …”

These chapters originate in oracles / crises from 550 to 515 BCE while the bulk of the nation was in captivity in Babylon.  “A large segment of the population of Judah now dwelled as captives and exiles along the banks of the Euphrates, surrounded by worshipers of Marduk and Nebo and the other members of the Babylonian pantheon.”

Hanson p. 2: “We know nothing concerning the personal life of this prophet, neither name nor gender nor social class.   …   most assume that Second Isaiah crafted the message found in Isaiah 40-55 (as well as chapters 34-35) while living with the exiles in Babylon.”

Hanson p. 3: Shortly after the Babylonians conquer Judah (587 BC) Cyrus begins a rise to power in Persia nearby.  He defeated the Babylonians in 539 BC.  “It is important to be aware of the sharp contrast between the ruthless Babylonian policy of obliterating the culture of defeated peoples and Cyrus’s policy of restoring captive peoples to their homelands and granting them the financial aid required to rebuild their economic, social and religious institutions.”

Hanson p. 3: “World happenings are not arbitrary.  Underlying the rise and fall of nations is providential direction.  In fact, divine purpose is to be discerned on a cosmic scale, since humanity and creation in their entirety unfold within one drama, a drama ultimately redemptive but on the way toward that goal entailing judgment and the persistent threat of chaos.”

Cook p. 2 – in these chapters God is wholly (and holy) OTHER

Cook p. 21: “Jacques Ellul, an insightful religious author, has explored our theme bravely and powerfully.  If truth be told, Ellul observes, we often find that God’s ways do not fit with our situation, our intelligence, and our experience.  We can only find true peace, Ellul proffers, when we embrace God’s radical otherness…”

Cook p. 23: “It begins as God’s holiness radically reorients us, giving us a completely new take on fairness.  In the presence of that which rises sheer above our comprehension we find ourselves transformed.  God’s otherness is so completely alien that, in its presence, our ego-selves instinctively relinquish their assumed position at the center of our existence.  The world around us tears at the seams and a new universe reveals itself, in which we are standing at a position quite different from where we thought we were.  With us in this position, balance, and fairness are restored to our lives.”

Cook p. 47: Isaiah and the Deuteronomic school (he calls it the Reverence School) clearly denounces idolatry and mocks it – it tries to make the divine and the holy a part of this world, even dependent upon it.  Such a god is susceptible to being manipulated, even used.  They always make clear in other texts that the sacrifices offered to God are NOT food for God, God does not need it.  Unlike the gods of the peoples around Israel.

Cook p. 60: “The form of life opposite to idolatry, pride, and sin, according to 2 Isaiah, is servanthood….  Servanthood, 2 Isaiah claims, is the paradoxical path to life as it was meant to be lived.  …  A genuine servant lives exuberantly, called by God’s name, created for God’s glory.”

Cook p. 87and ff: explores animal sacrifice / lamb led to slaughter / sacrifice for others as present in 2 Isaiah.  He notes that it has always been bloody, messy, and painful.  That in sin offerings the animal dies on behalf of / instead of the owner.  P. 87: “Drawing near before the Holy One means death – death to impurity, death to ego-centeredness.”

Third Isaiah = chapters 56-66

Hanson p. 185: the community that returned from Babylon suffered from drought, hunger, inflation and all sorts of deprivation.  The Book of Haggai, written in 520, describes this.   The prophet indicates that all these troubles were caused by failure to focus their energies on rebuilding the temple.

Hanson p. 186: “These eleven chapters complement the bleak picture painted by the prophet Haggai.  They describe bitter enmity between rival groups in Judah.  The make reference to civil and religious leaders who looked only after personal gain and to a court system riddled with corruption.  They reflect a low level of community morale and a vindictive spirit that excluded the other nations of the world from any participation in God’s plan save destruction.  The contrast in tone between chapters 40-55 and chapters 56-66 is thus enormous.”

Hanson p. 192: “The light of Second Isaiah seems to have turned to gloom.  The universal vision of salvation narrows down to rigid sectarianism.  Herein lies the theological challenge: Can God’s word be found in the dissonance between the major sections of the Book of Isaiah and in the acrimonious conflict between fighting factions within the Jewish community that come to expression in Isaiah 56-66?”

Childs p. 442 argues that 3 Isaiah, while different in tone and language used, still depends significantly on 2 Isaiah and even 1 Isaiah.  It was not composed in a vacuum and circulated and then later attached.

Childs p. 446 and ff finds the following themes from 1 and 2 Isaiah carried into 3 Isaiah:  (1 to 5 from 2 Isaiah) and (6 to 9 from 1 Isaiah)

  1. A new age of salvation is breaking into the world
  2. A sign of the new age is the return of the exiles
  3. The spirit is being poured out onto God’s people
  4. A restored Zion / Jerusalem will be glorified
  5. “The Servant” is carried on by God’s people as servants
  6. A messianic / Davidic strain returns through Psalm 89
  7. The cultic sins denounced in 1 Isaiah are denounced in 3 Isaiah
  8. Rebels and sinners will be destroyed by the LORD
  9. A restored Zion will beckon to the nations of the world, they will come to worship

Childs p. 444: “At times, indeed, one hears in the text’s background of a rebuilt temple, of a reconstructed cult, and of warring factions within the community.  However, this information is never used to establish an absolute dating nor an exact chronology.  Above all, such data does not serve to assign Third Isaiah to a separate historical person within the prophetic witness.  Rather, Third Isaiah remains in close narrative continuity with Second Isaiah in prophesying the “new things” (different in kind from “former things”), which are about to unfold within the eschatological plan of God.”

 

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