RESOURCES FOR THIS STUDY OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH:
Blenkinsopp, Joseph. Isaiah 1-39: A new translation with introduction and commentary. Volume 19 of the Anchor bible Commentary series edited by W. F Albright and David Noel Freedman. (Doubleday, New York, 2000). *Blenkinsopp A
______________ Isaiah 40-55: A new translation with introduction and commentary. Volume 19A of the Anchor Bible Commentary series edited by W.F. Albright and David Noel Freedman. (Doubleday, New York, 2002). *Blenkinsopp B
______________ Isaiah 56-66: A new translation with introduction and commentary. Volume 19B of the Anchor Bible Commentary series edited by W.F. Albright and David Noel Freedman. (Doubleday, New York, 2003). * Blenkinsopp C
Childs, Brevard S. Isaiah. Part of the Old Testament Library series edited by James Mays, Carol Newsom, and David Petersen. (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2001).
Cook, Stephen L. Conversations with Scripture: 2 Isaiah. Part of the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars Study Series edited by Frederick Schmidt. (Morehouse Press, Harrisburg, 2008).
Elliott, Mark W. Old Testament XI: Isaiah 40-66. Part of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Thomas C. Oden General Editor. (Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove IL, 2007).
Goldingay, John and David Payne. Isaiah 40-55: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary, Volume I. Part of the International Critical Commentary series edited by G. I. Davies and C. M. Tuckett. (Bloomsbury, London, 2014). * Goldingay A
—————————————–. Isaiah 40-55: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary, Volume II. Part of the International Critical Commentary series edited by G. I. Davies and C. M. Tuckett. (Bloomsbury, London, 2014). *Goldingay B
Hanson, Paul D. Isaiah 40-66. Part of the Interpretation series edited by James L Mays and Patrick Miller. (John Knox Press, Louisville, 1995).
Hoppe, Leslie J. Isaiah. Volume 13 of the Old Testament Series within the New Collegeville Bible Commentary series edited by Daniel Durken O.S.B. (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2012).
McKinion, Steven A. Old Testament X: Isaiah 1-39. Part of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Thomas C. Oden General Editor. (Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove IL, 2004).
Niskanen, Paul V.. Isaiah 56-66. Part of Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative & Poetry edited by Chris Franke. (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2014).
Seitz, Christopher. Isaiah 1-39. Part of the Interpretation series edited by James L Mays and Patrick Miller. (John Knox Press, Louisville, 1993). *Seitz A
_______________ Book of Isaiah 40-66. Volume VI of the New Interpreter’s Bible: A Commentary in Twelve Volumes whose Editorial Board was convened by Leander Keck. (Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2001). * Seitz B
TANACH. Artscroll series, Mesorah publications, The Stone Edition. The Torah / Prophets / Writings: The Twenty-Four Books of the Bible Newly Translated and Annotated. Contributing Editors: Rabbi Yaakov Bliner, Rabbi Avie Gold, and Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz. (Mesorah Publications, New York, 1996).
Tucker, Gene M. Book of Isaiah 1-39. Volume VI of the New Interpreter’s Bible: A Commentary in Twelve Volumes whose Editorial Board was convened by Leander Keck. (Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2001).
Wildberger, Hans. Isaiah 1-12. Part of the Continental Commentary series. Translated by Thomas H. Trapp. (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1991). *Wildberger A
______________. Isaiah 13-27. Part of the Continental Commentary series. Translated by Thomas H. Trapp. (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1997). *Wildberger B
_______________. Isaiah 28-39. Part of the Continental Commentary series. Translated by Thomas H. Trapp. (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2002). *Wildberger C
Williamson, H. G. M. Isaiah 1-5: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary. Part of the International Critical Commentary series edited by G. I. Davies & C. M. Tuckett. (Bloomsbury, London, 2014).
- Welcome Jesus into our midst.
- What are we grateful for today?
- Where do I need help?
- Where do others need help?
Read the text aloud. Each person takes a ‘unit’, those who want to pass say “Pass”.
What strong images, symbols, and beautiful verses did you read / hear?
What insights have you come to in preparation, in hearing and reading?
We watch the video together.
We review additional notes if there is time
VIDEO NOTES FOR LESSON THREE: ISAIAH CHAPTERS 12 THROUGH 19
Best to read the whole unit before focusing on the parts. Context helps to clarify.
10 times: “On that day”:
17:4, 17:7, 17:9,
19:16, 19:18, 19:19, 19:23, 19:24.
Identifies a time of trial, judgment, punishment, and / or celebrating redemption, a new beginning
- Generally announced doom
- Made use of very strong and graphic language. Poetry, symbolism, exaggeration
- Root word means:
- To lift up one’s voice to speak for God
Chapters 1 – 11: alliances with Assyria (and Northern kingdom’s defeat) as context, Northern kingdom destroyed.
Chapter 12: A hymn. God promises ultimate victory for Judah, the king and people are called to thanks and praise in advance. A time of God’s decisive intervention.
Salvation occurs 3 times, rely on God and not alliances
Good news must be shared. “shout”, “praise”, “raise voices” etc.
Chapter 13: begins a succession of oracles against the nations. “It is God’s sovereign holiness that entitles god to exercise divine rule and judgment over all nations.” Similar clusters of oracles in Jeremiah 46-51 and Ezekiel 25 – 32
Chapters 13 – 19 series of oracles against the nations
- Babylon (which won’t be a superpower for a while) Chapter 13, beginning of 14
- Promise of restoration to the land
- “The jewel of kingdoms, the glory and pride …” Became a symbol for all that is opposed to God
- 13:6-8 but the day of the LORD is coming.
- God warring against evil and arrogance as symbolized by Babylon. See the Magnificat in Luke (end of Chapter 1)
- 13:16 – infants dashed etc.
- Assyria Chapter 14 (end)
- Not as filled with rage.
- A reminder that the LORD is really in charge
- Philistia Chapter 14
- Time after Assyria, their empire disintegrating
- Isaiah warned Judah not to rely on them
- Moab Chapters 15 & 16
- Traditional signs of mourning – shaved heads and beards, sackcloth etc.
- Lament style
- Mention of remnant – small and week.
- Ruth was a Moabite.
- Damascus Chapter 17
- Capital of Syria
- Pride and arrogance in Israel led to a misdirected alliance.
- Military and political power is fleeting
- Only God can be relied on
- Ethiopia Chapter 18
- Had ruled over Egypt
- Will be humbled eventually
- Egypt Chapter 19
- Will eventually worship the LORD
- “I will deliver Egypt to a cruel master” (Assyria)
Last 8 verses of this unit – the people will cry out to the LORD and the LORD will deliver them
Mistake to read these chapters simplistically. “Is God vengeful and possessive, or is God inclusive and reconciling?” Need the context of the whole OT. A development of divine revelation over centuries of relationship.
Did God change? Or does our understanding grow?
(Jewish folks would contest her summary of the history of Israel and the “growth” of insight, though it is much better than the old reading of OT = wrathful God, NT = loving God.)
Isaiah 19:22 “Although the LORD shall smite Egypt severely, he shall heal them; they shall turn to the LORD and he shall be moved by their entreaty and heal them.”
ADDITIONAL NOTES FOR LESSON THREE
12:1-6 hymn. Parts of which we incorporate into songs we sing (“with joy you shall draw water”…)
Blenkinsopp A p. 270: this is really 2 short psalms (1-3, 4-6). A bunch of psalm verse citations and allusions along with Exodus’ Song at the Sea’
Psalm 118:21 I thank you for you answered me; you have been my savior.
Psalm 25:5 Guide me by your fidelity and teach me, for you are God my savior, for you I wait all the day long.
Psalm 118:14 The LORD, my strength and might, has become my savior.
Psalm 148:13 Let them all praise the LORD’s name, for his name alone is exalted, His majesty above earth and heaven.
Psalm 9:12 Sing hymns to the LORD enthroned on Zion; proclaim his deeds among the nations!
Psalm 30:5 Sing praise to the LORD, you faithful; give thanks to his holy memory.
Exodus 15:2 My strength and my refuge is the LORD, and he has become my savior. This is my God, I praise him; the God of my father, I extol him.
Hoppe p. 43: “This hymn of salvation expresses the prophet’s assurance that divine judgment will not be the end of Judah but the beginning of a new act of salvation.”
Seitz A p. 112: This is Israel’s response to the vision of restoration in Chapter 11
Chapter 13 – 14:23 Oracle against Babylon
In general Hoppe p. 45: “The oracles against the nations are an expression of ancient Israel’s belief that God would never permit these nations to destroy Israel completely. While God has chosen to use these nations to bring judgment upon the Israelite kingdoms for their failure to maintain a just society, God will move against these nations for their failures as well. God’s judgment of the nations will mean salvation for Israel.”
Genuine hostility and anger against those with whom they have had decades (or more) of conflict. Sometimes they have been dominant, sometimes they have been subjugated. It was a harsh climate for the losers – whoever they were.
Cyrus, king of Persians, will destroy mighty Babylon – but he / they are only the instruments that God is using to accomplish His will. The Medes were a traditional ally of the Assyrians.
How you have fallen from the heavens,
O Morning Star, son of the dawn!
How you have been cut down to the earth,
you who conquered nations!
In your heart you said: “I will scale the heavens;
Above the stars of God I will set up my throne;
I will take my seat on the Mount of Assembly,
on the heights of Zaphon.
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will be like the Most High!”
No! Down to Sheol you will be brought to the depths of the pit!
When they see you they will stare, pondering over you:
“Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms?
Here, Isaiah is talking about King of Babylon, became re-interpreted in church through Jerome as Lucifer, fallen angel etc. See Hoppe p. 48, 49 Zaphon in Hebrew = the north
Seitz A p. 135: “Here we see mighty Babylon as dead as any dead prince on earth, pondered over by those who once stood in dread of his might. This powerful Babylon who made the earth tremble, who returned the earth to a state of wilderness, who refused to release prisoners – this Babylon is denied a place of resting even among the dead. Special in his display of power and oppressive might, special too is his final destiny: unburied, his sons slain, his name and the name of his descendants erased from memory, lest they ‘rise to possess the earth’.”
Chapter 14: 24-27 Oracle against Assyria
Assyria fell to the Babylonians after a century of conquest in the region, including the destruction of the northern kingdom and the invasion / destruction of most of Judah although they stopped short of taking Jerusalem. Odd that they get only 3 or 4 verses!!!
Blenkinsopp A p. 289: “… the destruction of Babylon represents the final fulfillment of the anti-Assyrian prophecies. The reader is also being told once again that the prophetic message about Assyria provides the key for interpreting the course of events during the rise and fall of the Babylonian Empire. Babylonians replaced Assyrians, but from the point of view of the prophetic interpretation of history there is no difference; all imperial pretensions fall under the same judgment.”
Chapter 14:28-32 Oracle against Philistia
Various nations, including the Philistines, who had been subjugated by the Assyrians or others, are warned: the death of the current ruling oppressor will not mean freedom or a return to the previous status quo. The one to come will be even worse. (multiple generations of snakes)
Chapter 15 – 16:14 Oracle against Moab
Hoppe p. 50, 51: Moab had collaborated with Assyria in its conquest, now due for punishment. The Babylonians will destroy all of their cities.
Seitz A p. 140 Moabite material is OLDER than 1 Isaiah (traditional foe of Israel from time of occupation of the land). “In sum, it is not clear that this older material concerning a Moabite defeat and ensuing lamentation is utilized at this point in the Book of Isaiah out of specific historical interest in the destiny of the Moabites as such. … difficult to place the oracle in a clear historical setting … What is of interest to the shapers of the material is God’s judgment over all forms of human pride, of which Moab has its share. To this end, traditional material has been selected and placed in a larger nations context.”
Chapter 17:1-6 Oracle against Damascus
Hoppe p. 52: Syria (Aram) had led an alliance against the Assyrians with the northern kingdom of Israel. Isaiah warned Judah (Ahaz) against joining them – complete destruction would result. As it was – Assyria destroyed Syria, the northern Kingdom of Israel, and most of Judah.
Chapter 17:7-11 Oracle against the worship of other gods
Hoppe p. 53: “What the people of Judah expected from their god was fertility for the land and protection from enemies. They sought these not only from the LORD, their patron deity, but from other gods as well.”
Chapter 17:12-14 Oracle against the nations
The power of the LORD will prevail against all who oppose Him
Chapter 18: Oracle against Ethiopia
Isaiah applies the same logic to the Egypt/Ethiopia alliance against Assyria that he applied earlier to the Syria / Israel alliance against Assyria – bad idea, don’t get drawn into this. God will take care of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Assyria. Trust in the LORD.
Chapter 19: Oracle against Egypt
The vision of the prophet regarding Egypt did not turn out that way.
FOR NEXT WEEK
- Read Isaiah 20 to 27 as a unit before beginning any other study of this material.
- Read the commentary pages 57 to 72.
- Read the questions pages 20 – 23 and make notes. Which are most interesting to you?