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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Isaiah

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7.1–17 : Isaiah's intervention in the Syro‐Ephraimite war

(734 BCE). (2 Kings 15.29–16.20. ) This much expanded account of Isaiah's intervention in Judean politics written in the third person is bracketed by first‐person accounts in 6.1–13 and 8.1–22 .

1–2 :

2 Kings 16.5 . Rezin of Damascus (ca. 750–732) and Pekah of Israel (735–732) attempted to form an anti‐Assyrian alliance; when Ahaz of Judah (743/735–727/715) refused to join them, they put a puppet ruler, Tabeel, on the throne. Against Isaiah's advice, Ahaz sought help from Tiglath‐pileser III (745–727) and in consequence became an Assyrian vassal. Ephraim, the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

3 :

Shear jashub (“a remnant will return”) was intended to serve as a good omen for Ahaz. Like his predecessor Hosea (see Hos 1.4–8 ), Isaiah gave his children symbolic names (see also 8.3 ). Upper pool, reservoir south of the Gihon Spring ( 36.2 ).

4 :

The message is to avoid alliances and, in particular, avoid calling in the Assyrians against the northern allies.

7–8a :

The kings of Aram (Syria) and Israel with their capital cities cannot be compared with the Davidic dynasty and Jerusalem under the protection of the LORD.

8b :

A gloss, perhaps referring to further deportations from Ephraimite (central and northern) territory about the time of the accession of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal (Ezra 4.9–10 ).

9b :

The quintessence of Isaiah's political message ( 30.15 ).

10–14 :

Ahaz is offered some extraordinary indication, not necessarily miraculous (in contrast to 38.7–8 ), to persuade him of the truth of the prophet's prediction.

11 :

Sheol, the underworld.

14 :

The young woman, the mother of the child to be born has been identified as either the wife of Isaiah or the mother of Hezekiah. While the biblical chronology for Hezekiah is confused (2 Kings 15.30; cf. 16.5; 2 Kings 16.2; cf. 18.2; 2 Kings 18.10; cf. 18.13 ), the latter is strongly suggested by the reference to Immanuel's land, 8.8,10 . Following the LXX translation “parthenos” (virgin), early Christian tradition understood the woman to be the mother of Jesus (Mt 1.23 ). Immanuel (“God with us”), symbolizing the saving presence of God; 8.9–10 .

15–17 :

Curds and honey, choice fare, difficult to obtain during a siege; by the time the child is weaned (two to three years) the northern allies will have been totally defeated and the land (of milk and honey) will return to the prosperity it enjoyed under David and Solomon.

17 :

The final words are perhaps a gloss, imparting a threatening sense to the rest of the verse, which may originally have been positive.

7.18–25 : Four additions.

Introduced by the formula “on that day,” they deal with the results of an Assyrian invasion, referring either to the conquest of the Northern Kingdom in 722 BCE or the invasion of Judah by Sennacherib in 701.

18–19 :

The Assyrians are represented as killer bees (cf. Deut 1.44; Ps 118.12 ) and the Egyptians as a swarm of flies; perhaps referring to the period of 716–702 when Egypt was pro‐Assyrian.

20 :

Referring to the shaming of prisoners by the removal of facial and body hair, see 2 Sam 10.1–5 . Feet, genitals.

21–22 :

A reuse of the curds‐and‐honey motif signifying that the land will go back to pasture as a result of invasion.

23–25 :

Reuse of the motif of the reversion of the vineyards to briers and thorns, as in 5.6 .

23 :

Shekel, a half ounce.

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