Isaiah Introduction

Isaiah (Yahweh saves, Salvation of God) was born to Amoz (Isaiah 1:1). Amoz is Hebrew for strong. Isaiah is the son of strong. He was married to an unnamed prophetess. Isaiah and his wife had two sons, Shear-jashub (meaning the remnant shall return) and Maher-shalal-hash-baz (meaning speed the spoil, hasten the prey). This is noted in Isaiah 8:3. Jewish tradition notes that Isaiah may have been a relative to Jewish nobility, a nephew to King Amaziah. His cousin would have been King Uzziah in Chapter 6. Imagine this family cruising the aisles of Wal Mart and the commentary their presence would generate. “Oh great hear comes the son of strong, God saves, and his wife the prophetess. And look their two kids, judgment and mercy”. The names of this family carried a message to the public.

Isaiah was written approximately between 760-673 BC. This was about the time of the Greek poet Homer who wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey in 800-701 BC. Rome was founded in approximately 753 BC.

Contemporary Jewish Prophets include Micah in Judah. Jonah, Amos, and Hosea were in Israel. The Jewish kingdom was divided at the time of Isaiah.

Isaiah was called to service by God in Isaiah 6:8. His appearance was not that of the modern day TV evangelist. He wore sackcloth of goat’s hair (Isaiah 20:2). Sackcloth was traditionally worn in times of mourning and repentance by the Jews. Check out the remainder of this verse, you will see that Isaiah was obedient to God by walking around naked and barefoot. Can you imagine the discomfort and itching of wearing a gunny sack? I am willing to bet you will not see any TV evangelist on TBN wearing clothing like this anytime soon.

Society during Isaiah’s times was dominated by Babylonian idol worship. Bel was the god of weather, war, and sun. Nebo was the god of learning, astronomy, and science. Worship in the culture of the day consisted of prostitution and child sacrifice. Babylonian culture was degrading and abusive to women and children.

Tradition, according to the Talmud, has it that Isaiah’s death was the result of being sawed in half with a wooden saw. Hebrews 11:37-38 reviews the plight of the prophets. Isaiah is not directly named but one can see he suffered through some of these difficulties.

Hebrews 11:37-38 they were stoned; they were tried; they were sawn in two; they died by murder of sword; they went about in sheepskins and in goatskins, being in need, being afflicted, being ill-treated; of whom the world was not worthy, wandering in deserts, and mountains, and caves, and the holes of the earth.

The book of Isaiah can be separated into two main sections. Section one is the condemnation of Israel in chapters 1 through 40. Section two is the salvation of Israel in chapters 41-66.

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