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You will find an introduction and outline of Isaiah, here.

A prayer to use before you read, from the Book of Common Worship.

O Lord our God, your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Give us grace to receive your truth in faith and love, that we may be obedient to your will and live always for your glory; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Outline of Isaiah 1-39

I. 1:1-31 Title and Prologue

II. 2:1-39:8 The Testimony of Isaiah from the Death of King Uzziah to the End of Time

A.2:1-4:6 Promises of Judgments of Zion

B. 5:1-7 The Song of the Vineyard

C. 5:8-30 One Side of a Framework of Judgment Against Ephraim and Judah

D. 6:1-9:7 The Testimony of Isaiah

E. 9:8-10:4 The Other Side of a Framework of Judgment Against Judah and Ephraim.

F.10:5-11:16 Woe to Assyria and Promise to Judah

11:1-9 A Shoot from the Stump of Jesse: The messianic promises of 9:1-7 continue. Jessie is of course David’s father and thus also an ancestor of Jesus. Verse 2 offers six gifts of the Spirit to which the Septuagint adds “piety”. The messianic king will rule during a time of peace/shalom when all things live in harmony and know the true God.

11:10-16 A Second Exodus for the Remnant Among the Nations: The dispersed tribes will be reunited and will rule as they did in the time of David and Solomon.

G.12:1-6 Anticipatory Praise: This song praises God and is placed between the first collection of Isaiah’s oracles and the oracles against the nations in chapters 13-23.

H.13:1-23:18 Oracles against the Nations:Other prophetic books have similar collections of oracles against the nations. (Amos 1:3-2:6; Jeremiah 46-51; Ezekiel 25-32) Notice that the language used to describe the punishment of the nations is similar to the language used of Judah in the first 12 chapters.

13:1-22 Against Babylon: The reference to Babylon gives this particular oracle a later date that when the prophet Isaiah lived. But the entire book of Isaiah does cover the time of the fall of Babylon. Notice how the entire cosmos is affected. Before the Exile the phrase “day of the Lord” was associated with the punishment of Israel. After the Exile the phrase expands and includes Israel’s oppressors and a day of hope for Israel.

14:1-27 Judah in Contrast to Babylon and Assyria: Verses 1-2 the exiles return. Verses 3-23 are a taunt against Babylon.  Verse 8 the Assyrian and Babylonian kings cut down large amount of cedars for their palaces. Even the trees are glad! Sheol is the underworld, the place of the dead. “Day Star” and “Dawn” are the names of Canaanite gods. Verses 24-27 are the judgment against Assyria.

14:28-32  Against Philistia: Note that verse 32 has a word of hope for Israel.

15:1-16:14 Against Moab: This oracle, in poetic form, is in the meter of a dirge in Hebrew. All the places named are believed to be in Moab. Verses 16:4b-5 are a messianic promise of  the restoration of the throne of David. 6:8-11 are a lament.

Read More About It:

Here are several good sources to aid your reading of Isaiah.

Anderson, Bernhard W., Katheryn Pfister Darr, Understanding the Old Testament Abridged fourth Edition. (Upper Saddle River,New Jersey: Prentice Hall) 1998.

The New Interpreter’s Bible Vol 6, Keck, Leander E. ed. (Nashville: Abingdon Press) 2001.

Sheppard, Gerald T. “Isaiah” in  HarperCollins Bible Commentary Mays, James L. ed.(San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco) 2000.

Sweeney,  Marvin A. “Isaiah” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version.Coogan, Michael D.; Brettler, Marc Z.; Perkins, Pheme; Newsom, Carol A. (2010-01-20) Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

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