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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

H.13:1-23:18 Oracles against the Nations

17:1-18:7 Against Damascus: This oracle is about more than simply Damascus. It seems to be about the Syro-Ephraimite war (735-733 BCE) when Damascus and Israel were allies against Judah. Israel tried to get Cush (Ethiopia) to join against Assyria.

17:1-14 Ephriam is the tribal name associated with Israel. Damascus was the capital of Aram. Notice the concern about false gods. The storm of verses 12-14 may be a reference to Assyria. While Assyria is not named, it has been described is a similar manner earlier in Isaiah. God comes to the defense of God’s people.

18:1-7 Cush is Ethiopia. There was an attempt to get Cush to join against Assyria. Isaiah uses a nature metaphor to express his opposition to such alliances. Ultimately (v 7) Cush will also worship at Mount Zion.

19:1-15 Against Egypt: Egypt was an important part of the alliance against Assyria. Verses 1-4 are about internal troubles in Egypt. Verses 5-10 is concerned with the Nile drying up and the consequences of that. Verses 11-15, Zoan and Memphis are cities in Egypt. Isaiah taunts Egypt. Palm and reed refer to the rulers and the people of Egypt.

19:16-25 A series of five “in that day” oracles which look into the future. Egypt will ultimately subject to Israel and will know the one true God. Notice verse 25. Even Assyria and Egypt are God’s people and will be blessed.

20:1-6 Against Egypt: Isaiah performs a symbolic act that warns Egypt and Ethiopian of their fate. In 711 BCE King Sargon II of Assyria put down a revolt by the Philistines in which Egypt played a part.

21:1-10 Against Babylon: The wilderness of the sea may be the marshes in southern Babylonia. This oracle is similar to 23:17-22. Babylon will fall to Persia. Elam and Media were allies with Persia in the defeat of Babylon.

      21:11-16: Against Arabia. Duman, Tema and Kedar were all places in Arabia.       Assyria also fought in Arabia. In verse 13 the NRSV says, “The desert plain”         however the Hebrew text refers to Arabia.

 

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.18

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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