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Isaiah Reassures King Ahaz


In the days of Ahaz son of Jotham son of Uzziah, king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel went up to attack Jerusalem, but could not mount an attack against it. 2When the house of David heard that Aram had allied itself with Ephraim, the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.

3 Then the L ord said to Isaiah, Go out to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller’s Field, 4and say to him, Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and the son of Remaliah. 5Because Aram—with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah—has plotted evil against you, saying, 6Let us go up against Judah and cut off Jerusalem and conquer it for ourselves and make the son of Tabeel king in it; 7therefore thus says the Lord G od:

It shall not stand,

and it shall not come to pass.


For the head of Aram is Damascus,

and the head of Damascus is Rezin.

(Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be shattered, no longer a people.)


The head of Ephraim is Samaria,

and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.

If you do not stand firm in faith,

you shall not stand at all.

Isaiah Gives Ahaz the Sign of Immanuel

10 Again the L ord spoke to Ahaz, saying, 11Ask a sign of the L ord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. 12But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the L ord to the test. 13Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? 14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. 15He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted. 17The L ord will bring on you and on your people and on your ancestral house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria.”

18 On that day the L ord will whistle for the fly that is at the sources of the streams of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. 19And they will all come and settle in the steep ravines, and in the clefts of the rocks, and on all the thornbushes, and on all the pastures.

20 On that day the Lord will shave with a razor hired beyond the River—with the king of Assyria—the head and the hair of the feet, and it will take off the beard as well.

21 On that day one will keep alive a young cow and two sheep, 22and will eat curds because of the abundance of milk that they give; for everyone that is left in the land shall eat curds and honey.

23 On that day every place where there used to be a thousand vines, worth a thousand shekels of silver, will become briers and thorns. 24With bow and arrows one will go there, for all the land will be briers and thorns; 25and as for all the hills that used to be hoed with a hoe, you will not go there for fear of briers and thorns; but they will become a place where cattle are let loose and where sheep tread.


17. The Lord shall bring upon thee. Here the Prophet, on the other hand, threatens the wicked hypocrite, who pretended that he was unwilling to tempt God, and yet called for those whom the Lord had forbidden him to call to his aid. (Exodus 23:32.) That he might not indulge in undue exultation and insolence on account of the former promise, he likewise threatens his destruction, and declares that what he hopes to be his preservation, that is, the aid of the Assyrians, will be utterly destructive to him. (2 Kings 16:7; 2 Chronicles 28:16.) As if he had said, “Thou promisest everything to thyself from the king of Assyria, and thinkest that he will be faithful to thee, because thou hast entered into a league and covenant with him, which God had forbidden; but thou shalt quickly understand of what advantage it will be to thee to have tempted God. Thou mightest have remained at home and at ease, and mightest have received the assistance of God; but thou choosest rather to call in the Assyrians. Thou shalt find them to be worse than thine own enemies;”

This discourse, therefore, agrees with what goes before; for he presses more closely the treachery and ingratitude of the king, who had rejected both the word of God and the sign, and had rendered himself unworthy of every promise. And as it is customary with hypocrites, when they have escaped from any danger and fear, immediately to return to their natural disposition, he affirms that nothing shall protect the Jews from being likewise involved in just punishments. He expressly declares that the family of David, which might have claimed exemption on the ground of its peculiar privilege, will be exposed to the same kind of calamities; for God regulates his judgments in such a manner, that while he spares his Church and provides for her permanent existence, he does not permit the wicked, who are mingled with the good, to escape unpunished.

From the day that Ephraim departed from Judah. In this manner does Scripture speak when it describes any serious calamity; for the Jews could not have received a severer chastisement than when, by the withdrawing of the ten tribes, (1 Kings 12:16,) not only was the kingdom wretchedly divided, but the body of the nation was rent and torn. The revolt of Ephraim from Judah was, therefore, an indication of the worst kind of calamity; for the resources of the kingdom of Judah being more seriously affected by that division than it could have been by any defeat by a foreign enemy, he says that since that time the Jews had not sustained a greater calamity.

Hence, as I have already said, we see how God, while he punishes hypocrites, at the same time remembers believers, and opens the way for his mercy. We ought to observe this wonderful arrangement, that amidst the most dreadful deaths still the Church remains safe. Who would ever have thought that Jerusalem would be delivered from the vast army of the two kings? Or, that the kingdom of Syria, which was then in a flourishing condition, would quickly be overturned? Or, that Samaria was not far from destruction? And in the mean time, that the Assyrians, on whom the Jews relied, would do them more injury than the Israelites and Syrians had ever done? All these things the Lord did for the sake of preserving his Church, but at the same time in such a manner that he likewise took vengeance on the wickedness of King Ahaz.

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