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The Book of Isaiah is one book in the Bible. Scholars tell us that there are at least two parts to Isaiah, Chapters 1-39 which come from the time of the prophet Isaiah (742-701 BCE) and chapters 40-66, referred to as second Isaiah which come from the time just before the fall of Babylon to the Persian king Cyrus in October 539 BCE  and the following generation. Some scholars would divide Isaiah into three parts with chapters 56-66 as Third Isaiah from 530-510 BCE.

You can read a general introduction to Isaiah and first Isaiah, here. Generally speaking, First Isaiah is concerned with the time of punishment and anticipates the restoration. Second Isaiah assumes the time of restoration is at hand. Both parts of Isaiah assume that the entire world should recognize God as sovereign.

While Second Isaiah is later than First Isaiah, and has a different author, notice what both authors hold in common as we read.

General Outline of Isaiah (based on Sheppard)

I. 1:1- 31 Title and prologue

II. 2:1-39:8 Part I The testimony of Isaiah addressed to the people from the death of King Uzziah of Judah to the end of time.

III. 40:1-66:24 Part II The testimony of Isaiah addressed to people from the end of the Exile to the end of time

A.  40:1-31 A transitional introduction

B.  41:1-48:22 “Listen to me in silence, O coastlands!”

C.  49:1-57:21 The word to the coastlands

D. 58:66:24 The Lord’s way with this diverse people.

An Outline of Second Isaiah: The testimony of Isaiah addressed to people from the end of the Exile to the end of time.

A. 40:1-31 Transitional Introduction

1. 40:1-11 The Word of Our God Shall Stand

2. 40:12-31 The Author of These Words

B. 41:1-48:22 “Listen to me in Silence, O Coastlands!”

       1. 41:1-42:13 God debates the gods

2. 42:14-44:23″ You are my Witnesses!”

3. 44:24-45:19 The Lord’s Anointed

4. 45:20-48:22 Israel and the Nations

C. 49:1-57:21 The Word to the Coast lands.

1. 49:1-13 Confirmation of the Servant’s Mission

2. 49:14-52:10 The Answer to Zion’s Lament

3. 52:11-54:1 The Righteous Servant

4. 54:2-57:21 The Promise and Demands of Shalom

D. 58:1-66:24 The Lord’s Way with this Diverse People

1.58:1-59:21 The Problem of God’s Silence

2. 60:1-62:12 Prophecies of Salvation

3. 63:1-6 The Divine Warrior

4. 63:7-65:16 God’s Salvation and Human Injustice

       5. 65:17-66:24 An Unscientific Postscript for those who tremble at God’s                                Word

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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