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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.

4. Truly before the child have knowledge to cry. This is an interpretation both of the dark saying and of the vision which was added to it; for although God did not intend to speak in direct language, still it was proper that obscurity should be removed. I interpret הנער, (hannagnar,) the child, to mean not the Prophet’s son, but rather all who should be born soon afterwards. He declares that, before they are grown up, the two kings of Israel and Samaria 123123     It is evident that, by a slip of the pen, Samaria is put for Syria. — Ed. will be destroyed.

Before the face of the king of Assyria. That is, at the disposal, or at the will, of the king of Assyria; alluding perhaps to an ancient custom of carrying the spoils of the enemies before the chariot of those who received a public triumph. In like manner shall the spoils of Samaria and Damascus be carried before the king of Assyria.

This makes it still more evident that the Prophet intended nothing else than to foretell the desolation of the kingdom of Israel and of Syria. He does this for the purpose of comforting the godly, and likewise of holding up to scorn the foolish dread of the wicked king, who could not endure that the Lord should assist him; for he rejected not only the promises, but likewise the sign which was offered. In consequence of this, the Prophet goes farther and farther in reproving his wickedness, and that of the whole nation. “Thou dost, indeed, believe nothing, but the Lord will assist his own; and thou shalt quickly see sudden and unexpected changes, by which the Lord will deliver his people.” And yet these words were spoken not so much to the king as to godly men; and hence we ought to infer that the servants of God do not always speak so as to be believed by their hearers; for Isaiah here addresses wicked men, in whom he produces no conviction. Why, then, does he speak to them? To convict them more and more of their unbelief, and to reprove them for it; and next, to render the goodness of God more manifest: for who would not have thought that such aggravated wickedness would entirely shut the door against the mercy of God? And yet the Lord, by his goodness, rises superior to the wickedness both of the king and of the people. The object of the Prophet therefore is, to reprove the ungodly for their rebelliousness, and at the same time show that God is always like himself.

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