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Isaiah’s Son a Sign of the Assyrian Invasion


Then the L ord said to me, Take a large tablet and write on it in common characters, “Belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz,” 2and have it attested for me by reliable witnesses, the priest Uriah and Zechariah son of Jeberechiah. 3And I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the L ord said to me, Name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz; 4for before the child knows how to call “My father” or “My mother,” the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away by the king of Assyria.

5 The L ord spoke to me again: 6Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently, and melt in fear before Rezin and the son of Remaliah; 7therefore, the Lord is bringing up against it the mighty flood waters of the River, the king of Assyria and all his glory; it will rise above all its channels and overflow all its banks; 8it will sweep on into Judah as a flood, and, pouring over, it will reach up to the neck; and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.



Band together, you peoples, and be dismayed;

listen, all you far countries;

gird yourselves and be dismayed;

gird yourselves and be dismayed!


Take counsel together, but it shall be brought to naught;

speak a word, but it will not stand,

for God is with us.

11 For the L ord spoke thus to me while his hand was strong upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: 12Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what it fears, or be in dread. 13But the L ord of hosts, him you shall regard as holy; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14He will become a sanctuary, a stone one strikes against; for both houses of Israel he will become a rock one stumbles over—a trap and a snare for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15And many among them shall stumble; they shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.

Disciples of Isaiah

16 Bind up the testimony, seal the teaching among my disciples. 17I will wait for the L ord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. 18See, I and the children whom the L ord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the L ord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. 19Now if people say to you, “Consult the ghosts and the familiar spirits that chirp and mutter; should not a people consult their gods, the dead on behalf of the living, 20for teaching and for instruction?” surely, those who speak like this will have no dawn! 21They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry; when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will curse their king and their gods. They will turn their faces upward, 22or they will look to the earth, but will see only distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be thrust into thick darkness.

18. Behold, I. Here the Prophet not only testifies that he will wait patiently, but also gives an evidence of courage, by appearing in public along with the disciples whom he had gained to God, and who still remained. As if he had said, “Though others may withdraw, yet I am ready to obey thee, and I bring along with me those whom thou hast been pleased to preserve in a wonderful manner through my agency.” He therefore declares by these words his unshaken courage, and promises that he will persevere in faith and obedience to the Lord, though all should revolt.

And the children. By children are meant the various classes of servants, agreeably to the ordinary custom of the Hebrew, and also of the Latin language. 133133     The allusion is to the Latin noun Puer, to which might have been added the Greek noun Παἰς, and similar uses of the word denoting Child are found in modern languages. — Ed He speaks of the disciples whom he had formerly mentioned. Hence we see what is demanded from those who wish to be reckoned among the true disciples of the Lord. It is, to declare with Isaiah that they are submissive and ready to hear, and that, as soon as the Lord has spoken, they will yield immediate obedience. Now, teachers ought to bring disciples with them, and not merely to send them before; they ought, I say, to go before them, and by their example to point out the way, as was formerly explained, 134134     See page 94 where the difference between Come and Go up is explained. — Ed. (Isaiah 2:3;) otherwise they will have no authority in teaching. The apostle to the Hebrews applies this passage to Christ, (Hebrews 2:13,) and draws from it an instruction which ought to be a very powerful excitement to us, that considering ourselves to be followers not only of Isaiah, but of Christ himself, as our leader and instructor, we may press forward with greater alacrity.

Whom the Lord hath given me. By this the Prophet shows to whom our faith ought to be ascribed. It is to God, and to his undeserved election; for Isaiah taught publicly, admonished every person, and invited all without exception to come to God; but his doctrine is of advantage to those only who have been given to him by God. By given he means those whom God drew by an inward and secret operation of his Spirit, when the sound of the external voice fell on the ears of the multitude without producing any good effect. In like manner Christ declares that the elect were given to him by the Father. (John 17:6.) Thus we see that readiness to believe does not depend on the will of men; but that some of the multitude believe, because, as Luke tells us, they had been foreordained. (Acts 13:48.) Now, whom he foreordained he likewise calls, (Romans 8:30,) and efficaciously seals in them the proof of their adoption, that they may become obedient and submissive. Such, therefore, is the giving of which Isaiah now speaks. This applies strictly to Christ, to whom the Father presents and gives disciples, as it is said in the Gospel by John,

No man cometh to me, unless the Father hath drawn him.
(John 6:44.)

Hence it follows, that he is also appointed to be our guardian, to preserve us under his protection to the end. (John 10:28.) Wherefore he saith,

not one of those whom the Father hath given to me shall perish. (John 17:12.)

For signs and wonders. Some consider this passage to refer to miracles, but that is inapplicable, for the meaning is totally different, namely, that all the godly will be regarded not only with hatred, but even with abhorrence, as if they had been monsters; and that not only by strangers or by professed enemies, but even by Israel. We have experience of this at the present day; for papists look upon us with greater abhorrence than they look upon Mahometans or Jews, or even dogs or monsters. Though this is exceedingly base, we need not greatly wonder at it; for it was necessary that this prophecy should even now be fulfilled. It was experienced by Isaiah from his countrymen, and has been experienced by all others who have followed his doctrine.

Nor is it only in papists that we discover it, but in those who wish to be regarded as very closely connected with the Church, the greater part of whom either view us with strong dislike, or ridicule us, or, in a word, hold us to be monsters, because we are so anxious, and give ourselves so much uneasiness, about the salvation of the Church, the honor of God, and eternal life; and because we do not scruple to undergo so many dangers, such hatred, censure, reproach, banishment, poverty, hunger, nakedness, and, in a word, death itself. These things appear monstrous to them; for when they are so careful to protect their skin, how could they have a relish for the highest blessings? But that we may not be disturbed by their reproaches, we must arm ourselves with this exhortation of the Prophet.

From the Lord of hosts. To show how trifling and worthless is the conspiracy of the wicked multitude, he contrasts the God of armies with the pride of the whole world, and raises a lofty defiance; as if he had said, that he cared not though he were universally abhorred by men, because he knew that God was on his side.

Who dwelleth in Mount Zion. The addition of these words carries great weight; for although the people abounded in every kind of crimes and enormities, still they boasted that they were devoted to God, and, abusing his promises, condemned the true servants of God who reproved them. On the other hand, the Prophets, in order to shake off their false confidence and pride, declared that they were the servants of the only and true God, whom the people falsely boasted of worshipping in Mount Zion. God had not chosen it for his habitation as if, because he was bound to the spot, he would accept of false and spurious worship, but he wished to be sought and worshipped according to the rule of his word.

Accordingly, when Isaiah claims for himself God who dwelleth in Mount Zion, he sharply reproves hypocrites, because through false boasting they indulge in foolish pride whenever they say, The temple of the Lord, (Jeremiah 7:4,) for it was rather an idol in which they boasted contrary to the word. Though they snatched at the promises, yet they falsely tortured them against the true servants of God, as the papists at the present day are wont to torture them against us. The Prophets, therefore, distinguish God by this title, in order to tear the mask from hypocrites, who were accustomed to quote the mere name of the temple in opposition to the plain word of God. For this reason Isaiah now says, “Take us, if you choose, for monsters, yet God acknowledges us to be his own; and you cannot detest us without at the same time abhorring the God of Abraham and David, whose servants we are.”

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