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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.


6. Let us go up. That is, Let us make an invasion נקיצנה (nekitzennah) is rendered by some, Let us distress or afflict; which is also expressed by the derivation of the word. But in this conjugation it rather signifies “to stir up and arouse.” Though I do not reject the former interpretation, yet I prefer the latter, because it agrees better with the scope of the passage. Again, I understand the word arouse as meaning to disturb, and to cause revolutions; as we commonly say, to raise disturbances, 104104     Remuer les affaires. so as not to allow the tranquillity of that kingdom to be preserved.

Let us open it to us. The following word, נבקיענה, (nabkignennah,) is interpreted by some, Let us break into it 105105     Let us make a breach therein for us. — Eng. Ver. Others render it, Let us cause it to break up to us. I have rendered it, Let us open; for בקע (bakang) also signifies what we commonly express by the phrase, to make a breach or opening 106106     Faire bresche ou overture. Now, the way to open up the entrance to Judea was to rush through its fortifications by the force of arms, or, through the influence of fear, to induce timid and fickle persons to revolt; for so long as they continue to be loyal, entrance cannot be obtained; but when everything is disturbed by insurrections, an entrance is made, so that it becomes easy to break through into the strongest and best fortified places.

Thus, these two kings hoped that, as soon as they came into Judea, they would immediately terrify the whole nation by the extent and power of the army, so that there would be no ability or inclination to resist. When they brought together an army so prodigiously numerous, it is not probable that they placed any dependence on a long siege; for Jerusalem was strongly fortified; but they thought that the inhabitants of Jerusalem would be terrified and alarmed at the sight of their forces, and would be induced to make an immediate surrender. Yet I leave it to every person to adopt any interpretation of these words that he pleases, for whatever sense be put upon them, the meaning of the Prophet is not doubtful.

The son of Tabeal. Who this Tabeal was cannot easily be learned from history. Probably he was some Israelite, an enemy of the house of David, whom those kings were desirous to set up as one of their own dependents.

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