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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.


8. For the head of Syria is Damascus. As if he had said, “Those two kings shall have their limits, such as they have them now. They aspire to thy kingdom; but I have set bounds to them which they shall not pass.” Damascus was the metropolis of Syria, as Paris is of France. He says, therefore, that those kings ought to be satisfied with their possessions, and that their future condition would be the same as it then was.

And Ephraim shall be broken. After having said that it is now useless to attempt to extend their boundaries, he foretells the calamity of the kingdom of Israel; for by the word broken he means that the kingdom of Israel shall be annihilated, so that it shall no longer exist. The Israelites were carried into captivity, and incorporated with another nation, just as in our own time a part of Savoy has passed under the government of France, and has lost its name. This is what the Prophet means, when he says מעם, (megnam,) that it be not a people; for at that time Israel was mixed with foreign nations, and its peculiar name was blotted out.

Within sixty-five years. The Israelites were led into captivity in the sixth year of King Hezekiah, and Ahaz reigned not more than sixteen years; and, therefore, it is certain that this calculation ought not to be made from the day on which Isaiah was sent to deliver this message, for it was only twenty years to the time when the ten tribes were carried into captivity. Amoz had prophesied of that captivity; and there can be no doubt that this prophecy of Amoz, (Amos 3:11,) and the time specified in it were generally known, and that all understood the reckoning of the number of years. If, therefore, we reckon from the time when Amoz makes this prediction, we shall find it to be sixty-five years; for Jotham reigned sixteen years, (2 Kings 15:33;) Ahaz as many, (2 Kings 16:2;) to those must be added six years of King Hezekiah, which brings us down to the year when the ten tribes were carried into captivity; and if we afterwards add twenty-seven years, during which Uzziah reigned after the publication of the prophecy, there will be sixty-five years This conjecture is highly probable; and there ought not to be any doubt that this was Isaiah’s meaning; for there is a prediction of the Prophet Amoz, in which the Lord warned the people that they might not meet with anything unexpected, and complain that they had been overtaken suddenly. Isaiah confirms that prediction, and announces the same time which already was universally known.

Moreover, by these words he sharply reproves the thoughtlessness of the Israelitish nation, that, when they had been warned of the destruction of their country and their name, not only did they freely indulge in despising the judgment of God, but as if they had purposely intended to mock at the heavenly predictions, they opened their mouth to devour Judea; for a long period was already past, and they thought that they had escaped. The Prophet ridicules this madness, in imagining that the word of God grew old in so small a number of years. But because the Israelites were deaf, Isaiah assigns to the Jews a time when they may look for the destruction of their enemies. Now, this passage shows that the Prophets faithfully assisted each other, that by their united labors they might serve God.

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