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 FOUR: ISAIAH CHAPTERS 20 – 27
Chapters 13 – 27: Jerusalem and the Nations
Can be subdivided into 2 sections:
- Chapters 13 – 23 one unit: Oracles against the Nations (includes Israel)
- Chapters 24 – 27 another unit: Apocalypse of Isaiah
For this lesson then 20 to 23 – continues and finishes off the oracles.
Theme continues to be: DON’T MAKE ALLIANCES!!!! HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU!!!! DON’T MAKE ALLIANCES! PUT YOUR TRUST IN THE LORD.
Chapter 20 At the beginning Isaiah embodies his warning – walks around naked for 3 years – sign of what will happen to Egypt and Ethiopia, their countries will be stripped bare and people carried off naked and ashamed.
Assyria (and later Babylon) to the North & Northeast. Egypt to the South. The sea and desert on the other sides. Between a rock and a hard place for centuries.
As an example to the people – cited Ashdod aligned with Egypt against Assyria. Sargon of Assyria captured them.
Wildberger B p. 291: “Ashdod, along with Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and Gath, is one of the five cities of the Philistine pentapolis.” West of Jerusalem, along the coast of the Mediterranean. The Philistines moved eastward against Judah when strong, moved back toward the coast when weaker. Historic enemies of Judah / Israel. Goliath was a Philistine. Samson battled with the Philistines.
Chapter 21 essentially repeats prophecies against Babylon in earlier chapters (ch. 13 and 14). In 639 Babylon defeated Assyria and became the new regional super-power and threat to others. But they too will fall!
Here he comes—
a single chariot,
a pair of horses—
He calls out and says,
‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon!
All the images of her gods
are smashed to the ground!’”
Chapter 22 focuses on Judah itself (and back to Assyrians as the threat).
On that day the Lord,
the GOD of hosts, called
For weeping and mourning,
for shaving the head and wearing sackcloth.
But look! instead, there was celebration and joy,
slaughtering cattle and butchering sheep,
Eating meat and drinking wine:
“Eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
Not the repentance that Isaiah looked for.
Chapter 23: Against port city/states of Tyre and Sidon. Their fate? The same.
Fundamental message of Chapters 20 – 23
- God will destroy the nations that attack his people
- God wants his people to rely totally on him.
- God will allow even his own beloved people to suffer
- Life will be better for the faithful remnant in some distant, future time.
When we feel surrounded by enemies – we must remember who has saved us and promised to be with us to the end of the world. There is only one ally who is worthy of our faith and trust. God is our creator, our redeemer, our past, present, and future.
Isaiah 22:19-23 Story of Shebna and Eliakim is a reading one Sunday in the lectionary. (keys to the kingdom, binding / loosing to opens / shuts is the link). One of two times this unit of Isaiah is read. Both times are in cycle A.
24 to 27 applies themes of previous chapters to all people, all nations. The Apocalypse of Isaiah.
The earth is polluted because of its inhabitants,
for they have transgressed laws, violated statutes,
broken the ancient covenant.
Therefore a curse devours the earth,
and its inhabitants pay for their guilt;
Therefore they who dwell on earth have dwindled,
and only a few are left.
Not an invader – but the whole earth are now called to task. But a remnant will be saved.
Song of joy.
(the second reading from this section of Isaiah in lectionary)
(A connection to Messianic Banquet image in the gospel)
Isaiah 25: 6-10
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples,
The web that is woven over all nations.
He will destroy death forever.
The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces;
The reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth;
for the LORD has spoken.
On that day it will be said: “Indeed, this is our God; we looked to him, and he saved us!
This is the LORD to whom we looked;
let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”
For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain,
but Moab will be trodden down as straw is trodden down in the mire.
Isaiah forces us to face frightening realities – Suffering and death will continue but comforting – a vision of comfort.
On that day—
The pleasant vineyard, sing about it!
I, the LORD, am its keeper,
I water it every moment;
Lest anyone harm it,
night and day I guard it.
I am not angry.
But if I were to find briers and thorns,
In battle I would march against it;
I would burn it all.
But if it holds fast to my refuge,
it shall have peace with me;
it shall have peace with me.
ADDITIONAL NOTES FOR LESSON SIX
Chapter 21: Against Babylon and Duma / Edom and Kedar / Arabia
Childs p. 154: (chapter 21): “It appears that two major events, one in the eighth century and one in the sixth, are reflected, and that the one prophetic text served to disclose the divine will for his people in both. The later level of witness heard a fresh word in the earlier, specifically in terms of Judah’s oppression under hated Babylon. However, the later level has not obliterated the first, but rather subtly shifted its focus to accommodate the intensity of Judah’s subsequent experience of God’s deliverance.”
Hoppe p. 59: “The prophet, like a sentry, is scanning the horizon for a messenger bringing news of Babylon’s defeat. Finally the messenger comes: “Fallen, fallen is Babylon.” The prophet’s words are confirmed by events. The implication is that the reader can have confidence in Judah’s prophets.”
Chapter 22: Against Jerusalem, Shebna & Eliakim,
The two advisors to King Hezekiah did not advise him well – in Isaiah’s opinion. Shebna is replaced by Eliakim who later also does not work out.
Wildberger B p. 361: “Even though Jerusalem did not fall, the losses throughout Judah were catastrophic. The entire countryside was lost:; Hezekiah had to prove his loyalty by paying tribute; he had to hand over control of his elite troops to the Assyrians,…” Thus the lament of Isaiah – the rejoicing over the survival of Jerusalem was not appropriate.
Chapter 23: Against Tyre and Sidon
Hoppe p. 64: “When Jesus condemns the cities of Capernaum, Bethsaida, and Chorazin for their failure to respond to his preaching, he says that the judgment on Tyre and Sidon will be easier than the judgment on them. It is likely that the evangelists were thinking of this oracle against the two Phoenician cities.”
Then he began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum: ‘Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.’ For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
Chapter 24 – 27 overall
Childs p. 173: “…divine admonition and encouragement to a community of faith living under great pressure and struggling to discern in its historical experiences the ways of God in human lives.”
Hoppe p. 65,66: “The nonspecific character of the prophet’s words disengages them from a particular time and place and makes their appropriation by readers today easier. On the other hand, the vague generalities of these chapters challenge the reader’s attention as the prophet tries to draw a picture of what lies ahead not simple for Babylon, Jerusalem, and Egypt but for the whole world.”
Chapters 24-27 are not the full blown apocalypses that are found a few hundred years later in Daniel, Revelation etc. But they contain elements that later literature picked up and used. (God’s rule over the entire world, judgment, triumph over evil in battle)
Wildberger B p. 445: “Chapters 24-27, within the book of Isaiah, are not attributable to Isaiah the son of Amoz. This assertion, which is more sure than virtually any other conclusion established by the modern analysis of the written material of the OT, is one of the concrete results of literary criticism; it hardly needs to be discussed further.”
Chapter 24 Judgment upon the whole earth
Childs p. 180: “Chapter 24 describes the moment of apocalyptic judgment on the world within God’s economy. The old age is coming to an end. Both the hosts of heaven and the king of the earth must be destroyed before the rule of God on Mount Zion can be inaugurated (v. 23). This theological point is made abundantly clear in the reaction of the prophet in v. 16b. Israel has misread the signs of the times. The prophet is in anguish because the execution of the divine judgment on the entire world still lies ahead.”
Chapter 25 A prayer of thanksgiving, the LORD’s feast
Hoppe p. 67: “Eating sparingly with little variation in diet was the rule for most people in the ancient world. Little wonder then that a lavish banquet became a potent symbol of God’s rule on the earth.”
Chapter 26: The song of the redeemed, a psalm celebrating victory, the coming judgment
Great reversal theme – the mighty will be humbled, the oppressed will be lifted up. This theme is later also a centerpiece of Jesus’ teaching – the first will be last, and the last will be first.
Chapter 27: The LORD’s vineyard, the end of idolatry, Israel’s restoration
A positive image of Israel as the vineyard now in Chapter 27, in contrast to Isaiah 5:1-7
Now let me sing of my friend, my beloved’s song about his vineyard.
My friend had a vineyard on a fertile hillside;
He spaded it, cleared it of stones, and planted the choicest vines;
Within it he built a watchtower, and hewed out a wine press.
Then he waited for the crop of grapes, but it yielded rotten grapes.
Now, inhabitants of Jerusalem, people of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard:
What more could be done for my vineyard?
Why, when I waited for the crop of grapes, did it yield rotten grapes?
Now, I will let you know what I am going to do to my vineyard:
Take away its hedge, give it to grazing, break through its wall, let it be trampled!
Yes, I will make it a ruin: it shall not be pruned or hoed,
but will be overgrown with thorns and briers;
I will command the clouds not to rain upon it.
The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel,
the people of Judah, his cherished plant;
He waited for judgment, but see, bloodshed!
for justice, but hark, the outcry!
FOR NEXT WEEK
- Read the whole text first – Isaiah 28 to 32
- Review the commentary for these chapters (pages 73-88)
- Review the questions in the workbook pages 24-27. Which questions are most fruitful for you?