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Isaiah: Chapter 7

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1In the days of Ahaz son of Jotham son of Uzziah, king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel went up to attack Jerusalem, but could not mount an attack against it. 2When the house of David heard that Aram had allied itself with Ephraim, the heart of Ahaz a Meaning of Heb uncertain and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.

3Then the LORD said to Isaiah, Go out to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear‐jashub, b Heb He at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller's Field, 4and say to him, Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and the son of Remaliah. 5Because Aram—with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah—has plotted evil against you, saying, 6Let us go up against Judah and cut off Jerusalem c Heb his heart and conquer it for ourselves and make the son of Tabeel king in it; 7therefore thus says the Lord GOD:

It shall not stand, and it shall not come to pass. 8 For the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin.

(Within sixty‐five years Ephraim will be shattered, no longer a people.)


The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you do not stand firm in faith, you shall not stand at all.

10Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying, 11Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. 12But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test. 13Then Isaiah d That is A remnant shall return said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? 14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman e Heb cut it off is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. f Heb he 15He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted. 17The LORD will bring on you and on your people and on your ancestral house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria.”

18On that day the LORD will whistle for the fly that is at the sources of the streams of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. 19And they will all come and settle in the steep ravines, and in the clefts of the rocks, and on all the thornbushes, and on all the pastures.

20On that day the Lord will shave with a razor hired beyond the River—with the king of Assyria—the head and the hair of the feet, and it will take off the beard as well.

21On that day one will keep alive a young cow and two sheep, 22and will eat curds because of the abundance of milk that they give; for everyone that is left in the land shall eat curds and honey.

23On that day every place where there used to be a thousand vines, worth a thousand shekels of silver, will become briers and thorns. 24With bow and arrows one will go there, for all the land will be briers and thorns; 25and as for all the hills that used to be hoed with a hoe, you will not go there for fear of briers and thorns; but they will become a place where cattle are let loose and where sheep tread.


a Meaning of Heb uncertain

b Heb He

a Heb his heart

b That is A remnant shall return

c Heb cut it off

d Heb he

Text Commentary view alone

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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