Isaiah: New *Heavens and a New Earth

King Ahaz

An EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Isaiah chapters 7 to 12

www.easyenglish.info

Gordon Churchyard

This commentary has been through Advanced Checking.

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

The words in brackets, [ … ], are not in the *Hebrew Bible. They make the book easier to understand in English. Isaiah wrote his book in the *Hebrew language.

 

Isaiah chapters 7 to 40: God’s king rules God’s people

We can put this main section of the Book of Isaiah into 6 smaller sections. This makes it easier for us to understand it.

 

Isaiah

chapters

7 to 12

Isaiah

chapters

13 to 23

Isaiah

chapters

24 to 27

Isaiah

chapters

28 to 33

Isaiah

chapters

34 to 35

Isaiah

chapters

36 to 40

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The little *apocalypse

The sad people

 

 

 

Countries near Judah

 

 

The centre of the book

 

King Ahaz

 

 

 

 

King Hezekiah

So, Isaiah chapters 7 to 12 are about King Ahaz. Chapters 13 to 23 are about countries near Judah; and so on.

Section 1 (Isaiah chapters 7 to 12): King Ahaz

Chapters 7 and 8: Three sons

Chapter 7

v1 Ahaz became the king of Judah. He was the son of [King] Jotham. [Jotham was] the son of [King] Uzziah. [When Ahaz was king], Syria’s King Rezin and Israel’s King Pekah attacked Jerusalem. But they did not win the battle. [Pekah was the] son of Remaliah.

v2 [Ahaz was from] David’s family. [People that advised Ahaz] told [this to him. They said], ‘Syria and Ephraim have agreed [to attack you].’ Ahaz and his people [were afraid]. Their hearts shook [with fear], as trees in the forest shake. [Their hearts were like trees that shake] in the wind.

v3 Then the *LORD said [this] to Isaiah. ‘Go out and meet Ahaz. You and Shearjashub your son will meet him at the end of the channel (route along which water flows). [It is the channel] that flows from the upper pool. [It flows] down to where people wash clothes.’

v4 [The *LORD said], ‘Say [this to Ahaz]. “Be cautious and stay very quiet. Do not be afraid. Do not let your heart worry because Rezin and Syria’s [army] are angry. Pekah, the son of Remaliah, [is angry] as well. [It is as if] they are trying to start a fire. But their fire will soon burn away.

v5 [Do not worry] because Syria’s [king] and Ephraim’s [king, in other words,] Remaliah’s son, have made evil plans against you. They have said:

v6 ‘Let us attack Judah. We will frighten [the people]. We will destroy [the country] and it will become ours. We will make the son of Tabeal king there.’ ” ’

v7 This is what the *LORD, the Master, says. ‘It will not happen. It will never happen!

v8 [It will not happen], because the capital [city] of Syria is Damascus. And the king of Damascus is Rezin. 65 years from now, Ephraim will not exist! There will be no people [who belong to the families of Ephraim] there.

v9 And the capital [city] of Ephraim is Samaria. And the king of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If you do not believe that, you will not be alive [either].’

Notes

Verse 1 The notes about Isaiah 1:1 contain the dates of these kings. Syria and Israel were two countries that were north from Judah. Rezin was the last king of Syria. The king of Assyria, Tiglathpileser the Third, defeated him in 732 B.C. ‘B.C.’ means ‘years Before Christ came to the Earth’. Assyria’s king was called Tiglathpileser ‘the Third’ because two earlier kings of Assyria had also been called Tiglathpileser. Pekah was the 18th king of Israel. He murdered Pekahiah in order to become king instead of him. But in the end, someone else (Hoshea) murdered Pekah and then Hoshea became king instead. The story about that is in 2 Kings 15:25-31.

Verse 2 Ephraim was another name for Israel. It was the name of the most important tribe (large group of relatives) in the northern country, Israel. Perhaps they thought this. If Syria, Ephraim and Judah became one big group, Assyria would not attack them. ‘David’s family’ here means the kings of Judah that ruled after David. In the *Hebrew text, the words for that mean ‘David’s house’. ‘Their hearts shook’ means that they were very afraid.

Verse 3 In Jerusalem, water came from under the ground. Ahaz made channels (routes) along which the water flowed. They took the water to where the people needed it. That water was important when enemies attacked Jerusalem. The people could stay for many months in Jerusalem because they did not need water from outside. Perhaps that is why Syria and Ephraim did not win the battle against Jerusalem. ‘Shearjashub’ means ‘a remnant will return’. A ‘remnant’ is a small part that remains from something bigger. Here it means the few *Jews that still obeyed God. ‘*LORD’ is a special name for God. The *Hebrew word for it probably means ‘always alive’.

Verse 4 ‘Do not be afraid’ is among Isaiah’s most important messages. He says it in Isaiah 7:4; 8:12; 10:24; 35:4; 37:6; 40:9; 41:10,13-14; 43:1,5; 44:2; and 51:7. ‘Be cautious’ means that Ahaz must not do something too quickly. He must think first. ‘Fire’ describes the trouble that these two kings could make for Judah. But if Ahaz waits, these two kings will be dead!

Verse 6 We do not know who Tabeal was. ‘There’ means ‘in Judah’. The plan was that the son of Tabeal would rule Judah as the agent of Syria’s and Ephraim’s kings.

Verses 7-9 Here is an *inclusio. Look at the section ‘Something to do’ after chapter 1. There you will find an explanation of what an ‘*inclusio’ is.

            Verse 7 It will not happen, it will never happen.

                        Verse 8a Capital of Syria, king of Damascus.

                                    Verse 8b Ephraim will not exist.

                        Verse 9a Capital of Ephraim, king of Samaria.

            Verse 9b If you do not believe, you will not be alive.

It is important to see these *inclusios. They show us that Isaiah was a great writer. They also help us to understand what he wrote.

Verse 7 ‘It’ means their evil plan (verses 5-6). Isaiah wrote his book in the *Hebrew language. The *Hebrew words mean ‘it will not stand and it will not happen’. It will ‘not stand’ means that the plan will ‘fall down’ (like a weak building). In other words, the plan will fail.

Verse 8 It will not happen because men made the plan. God’s plans are greater! Armies from Assyria destroyed Ephraim 15 years later. We do not know why the *LORD said ‘65 years’ here. But the line ‘Ephraim will not exist’ is the most important line in the ‘*inclusio. If you look at it, it is right in the middle. Because the people in Ephraim did not obey God, they were not God’s people any longer. Hosea 1:9 says the same. ‘Call his (your son’s) name Lo-Ammi. You are not my people and I will not be your God.’ ‘Lo-Ammi’ is *Hebrew for ‘not my people’.

Verse 9 The words ‘capital’ and ‘king’ here (and in verse 8) are both ‘head’ in *Hebrew. It means the ‘head of the country’ (capital) and the ‘head of the government’ (king). ‘You’ means King Ahaz. In the *Hebrew text of this verse, the last sentence is something special. There the speaker is ‘playing with words’. He uses similar words to mean different things. The words for ‘believe’ and ‘be alive’ sound similar in *Hebrew. But they mean those two different things. ‘Believe’ and ‘be alive’ sound a little similar in English too. But they are not as close in sound as the *Hebrew words.

v10 And the *LORD spoke again to Ahaz.

v11 He said, ‘Ask the *LORD your God for some proof. Ask for it deep [in the earth]. Or ask for it high [in the sky].’

v12 But Ahaz said, ‘I will never ask [for proof] and I will never test the *LORD.’

v13 And he [Isaiah] said, ‘Now listen, [Ahaz, from] David’s family! You are causing [your] people to have no patience [with you. And] now you are causing my God to have no patience too.

v14 Therefore the *Lord himself will give something special that shows proof to you. Look! That *virgin will become *pregnant. She will have a son and she will call his name Immanu El.

v15 When he knows [the difference between] right and wrong things, he will be [old enough] to eat butter and honey.

v16 But even before the child knows [the difference between] right and wrong things, [Assyria’s army] will destroy [Ephraim and Syria]. The two kings of whom you are afraid will be [in *exile themselves].

v17 The *LORD will bring the king of Assyria to you. And [the *LORD will bring him] to your people. And [he will bring him] to your father’s family. It will be a special period of time. There have been no days like it since Ephraim separated from Judah.’

Notes

Verse 11 It was Isaiah that said this. However, God told Isaiah what to say. God wanted Ahaz to ask for proof. God wanted to give proof to Ahaz that Isaiah was speaking the truth. The *Hebrew word for ‘ask’ contains the same letters as ‘Sheol’. Sheol was a place deep under the ground. People believed that dead people were in Sheol.

Verse 12 The word ‘test’ here does not really mean ‘examine’. Rather, it means ‘discover’ what God would do. Ahaz was a proud man. He did not want to know whether God would help him or not. Instead, as we learn from 2 Kings 16:7, Ahaz asked the king of Assyria to help him!

Verse 13 Here God is telling Isaiah what to say. As in verse 2, the *Hebrew for David’s ‘family’ means David’s ‘house’. It means the kings that ruled after David. And here it refers to Ahaz in particular. God said that Ahaz had made his people tired. Now he was making God tired also. Neither the people nor God wanted to hear Ahaz again!

Verse 14 ‘Therefore’ here means ‘because you will not ask’. Here, ‘Lord’ means ‘master’, someone with authority. It is a name for God. It shows us that he has authority over everybody. That includes Ahaz! In verse 7 we have translated that same *Hebrew word as ‘Master’. ‘Lord’ is not the same word in *Hebrew as ‘*LORD’ is. Now what Isaiah says next is very important. It meant one thing for Ahaz, but it also meant something else later for *Jews in *exile. And later, that was what it meant for Christians too. Isaiah probably intended more than one meaning, and God certainly did. Here are the two meanings:

1) The meaning for Ahaz

By the time when a young woman has done these things, Ephraim will not exist:

·  The young woman has become *pregnant (when she is expecting a baby).

·  She has given birth to a son.

·  She has taught that boy the difference between right and wrong things (verse 16).

Note that Isaiah says, ‘Look!’ He is pointing to a particular young girl. Also, notice that she will call her son ‘Immanu El’. Those two words are *Hebrew for ‘With-us [is]-God’. Even today, many mothers call their sons Immanuel. As Isaiah called his son Shearjashub (verse 3), that young woman would call her son Immanuel. Both names together contained a message for the people. This is the message: ‘Because God is with us, a few people will come back from exile’. ‘Exile’ is when enemies take people away from those people’s own country. Later, enemies from Babylon would destroy Judah and they would destroy its capital, Jerusalem. Then they would take the people away from there to a far country (Babylon). But a few people would come back from Babylon to Judah.

2) The meaning for the *Jews in *exile and the Christians.

The *Jews were the people from Judah and Israel. About 450 years after Isaiah died, the *Jews translated their Bible into *Greek. When they translated it, they noticed this. The *Hebrew word for ‘young woman’ actually meant ‘virgin’. (A virgin is a woman that has not had sex with anyone.) So in their translation, those *Jews used the *Greek word for ‘virgin’. Most writers of the New Testament (the last 27 books in the Bible) used that *Greek translation, which contains the Old Testament (the first 39 books in the Bible). Matthew did that. He referred to Isaiah’s *prophecy from Isaiah 7:14. Matthew said that Jesus’ mother, Mary, was a *virgin. He also said that Jesus’ name ‘Immanuel’ meant ‘With us is God’. (Matthew 1:22-23). In Genesis 24:43, we learn what that *Hebrew word for ‘*virgin’ means. We learn that Rebecca was an unmarried girl. She had not had sex with anyone. That is the meaning of the *Hebrew word that Isaiah used in this verse.

Verse 15 People had butter and honey when there was no war. So there would be no war when the boy knew the difference between right and wrong. Here Isaiah is speaking only to Ahaz, as far as we know. Here, and in verse 16, we have ‘[know the difference] between right and wrong things’. More exactly, it means: ‘The boy can choose to do good things and refuse (to do) wrong things.’ If the verse has any meaning for us, it may be this. When we first become Christians, we may not immediately be sure about the right things to do. But after we have followed Jesus for some time, he will show us. He will help us to choose between right and wrong things. So then we can choose to do good things. And we can refuse to do evil things.

Verse 17 Only three kings had ruled over all Judah and Israel. They were Saul, David and Solomon. After Solomon’s death, the people divided their country into two countries. There were 13 tribes (very large groups of relatives) in total. 9 tribes became the northern country, called Israel. 2 tribes, Judah and Benjamin, became the southern country called Judah. Levi’s tribe lived in 48 towns in both Israel and Judah. Bible students are not sure whether Simeon’s tribe belonged to Israel or Judah. It was south from Judah. It was a long way from Israel, which was in the north. Isaiah uses the name ‘Ephraim’ for the northern country, Israel. That is because Ephraim’s tribe (very large group of Ephraim’s relatives) was the most important one among Israel’s 9 or 10 tribes. The tribes divided into two countries about 200 years before Isaiah was born.

‘Your father’s family’ here means David’s family, which Isaiah mentioned in verse 2. As in verse 2, the *Hebrew word here for ‘family’ actually means ‘house’. The ‘king of Assyria’ means that king’s armies. Bible students do not agree about the ‘special period of time’. Some students believe that it would be better for Judah. Other students think that it would be worse. There are good reasons for both ideas. Look at the note about verse 18.

v18 On that day, the *LORD will [blow his] whistle. Then, the flies at the upper end of Egypt’s river [will come]. And [the *LORD] will call for the bees (small insects that sting) in the country called Assyria.

v19 And they will all come and they will land on these places:

·  the steep valleys.

·  the holes in the rocks.

·  all the *thorn bushes.

·  all the places where there is water.

v20 On that day, the *Lord will use the king of Assyria. [That king] will come from beyond the river. With a razor he will shave the hair from your head. [He will shave it] from your legs and from your beard.

v21 On that day, a man will keep a young cow and two goats alive.

v22 They will give a lot of milk, so that he will have butter to eat. Everyone that remains in the land will eat butter and honey.

v23 On that day, there will be weeds and *thorn bushes. [They will be] in every place where there were a thousand *vines. [A thousand *vines] are worth a thousand pieces of silver.

v24 A man will go there with a bow and arrows, because there will be *briers and *thorn bushes on all the land.

v25 Nobody will go to the hills, because they are afraid about the *briers and *thorn bushes. [On those hills], people used to dig [so that they could] grow plants. Now, cows wander there and sheep run about.

Notes

Verse 18 This starts a section that has ‘on that day’ 4 times (verses 18, 20, 21 and 23). ‘On that day’ probably means the day on which Assyria’s army attacked Ephraim and Syria. Bad things will happen to some people (verses 18, 20 and 23). But good things will happen to other people (verse 21). Not all Bible students agree with that. However, it seems to be a good way to understand the *prophecy in verse 16. But maybe Isaiah meant that Assyria would attack all three countries (Ephraim, Syria and Judah). Then verse 21 would mean that people became poorer. They had less than they had before. Probably we will never know the right way to understand verse 21!

‘Egypt’s river’ is the Nile river. The flies from the river were a nuisance. They carried diseases to people. Here, the ‘flies’ are a special description of the army from Egypt. ‘Bees’ are small insects that make honey. But they also sting people. Here again, the speaker is describing an army. This time, the army will come from Assyria. It seems that the *LORD will call armies from both countries.

Verse 19 Isaiah continues the special description of the armies as insects. They will ‘fly’ to Israel and Syria (and maybe Judah) and they will ‘land’ everywhere. A ‘thorn bush’ is a bush with small, sharp points (‘thorns’) that grow out of its branches.

Verse 20 Foreign armies used to cut off all the hair of the people whom they defeated. It made the people feel very ashamed. To shave the hair from ‘the legs’ probably means this. It probably means ‘the parts of the body that people use for sex’.

Verses 21-22 Assyria’s soldiers took most people whom they defeated away to another country. But they left a few people behind. That might refer to the few people in the place called Ephraim. If it was so, then they did not have much. Each person only had one cow and he also had two goats or two sheep. Wild bees (small insects) made honey. There would be many wild bees, even if there were not many people. On the other hand, butter and honey could mean good food. So perhaps these verses do not mean the people in Ephraim. Maybe they mean the people that remained in Judah. We do not know!

Verse 23 A ‘vine’ is a plant that climbs. Here, it is a plant on which fruits called ‘grapes’ grow. People make wine from grapes. So vines are valuable. Each vine was worth a piece of silver. The *Hebrew word for ‘piece’ is ‘shekel’. A shekel weighs less than half an ounce (or, about 11 grams).

Verses 24-25 Instead of gardens and farms, the country is now wild land. Not many people live there, because people are afraid to go there. Instead of people, there are animals.

Something to do

1. Start to make a list of things that made Isaiah a great poet. Find examples of them as you study his book. The list could include places in the text where Isaiah used these things:

·  two different words to say the same thing twice

·  different names for God in the same sentence.

·  several special descriptions in the same verse.

·  one word to mean two different things.

·  *inclusios.

·  stories as special descriptions of God and his people.

2. Read the story about King Ahaz in 2 Kings chapter 16.

3. Read about Jesus’ birth, in Matthew 1:18-25.

Chapter 8

v1 And the *LORD said to me, ‘Get something on which to write. Then write on it so that everybody can understand it. [Write], “This is about [the name] Mahershalalhashbaz.” ’

v2 So I got [two] witnesses who would speak the truth. [One witness was] Uriah the priest (servant of God in the *temple). And [the other witness was] Zechariah, the son of Jeberechiah. They were my witnesses.

v3 Then I went in to the *prophetess. She became *pregnant and she had a son. And the *LORD said to me, ‘Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz.

v4 [Do that for] this reason. Before the child knows how to say “my father” or “my mother”, [this will happen]. The king of Assyria will carry off the wealth from Damascus. And [he will carry off] the valuable things from Samaria.’

Notes

Verse 1 ‘*LORD’ is a special name for God that his servants used. It probably means ‘always alive’. ‘Something on which to write’ was probably a flat stone. People could scratch words on it with something sharp. ‘Mahershalalhashbaz’ means this: ‘What [people] catch is coming quickly. What they kill is hurrying.’ In verse 4, Isaiah explains those strange words. In the *Hebrew Bible, Mahershalalhashbaz is 4 words, ‘Maher Shalal Hash Baz.’

Verse 2 In 2 Kings 16:10-16, the writer mentions Uriah the priest. The priests worked in the temple in Jerusalem. The ‘temple’ was God’s house, where people praised God. The Bible does not mention this particular Zechariah anywhere else.

Verse 3 This happened some time after verse 2. But we do not know how long a time it was. Neither do we know exactly what ‘prophetess’ means here. Clearly, the prophetess was Isaiah’s wife. But the word ‘prophetess’ may mean:

·  the wife of a *prophet

·  or a female *prophet.

In the Bible, we sometimes read that a man ‘went in to’ a woman. It means that he ‘had sex with’ her. ‘Pregnant’ means that she was expecting a baby.

Verse 4 ‘My father’ probably means ‘daddy’, and ‘my mother’ probably means ‘mummy’. Those words are usually the first words that a child speaks. The king of Assyria was called Tiglathpileser the Third (the third man called Tiglathpileser that became Assyria’s king). He would carry off (take away) to Assyria everything that was valuable in Damascus and Samaria. Damascus city was the capital of Syria. Samaria city was the capital of Israel. Those were the two countries of which Judah’s king (Ahaz) was afraid. This verse explains ‘Mahershalalhashbaz’, the name of Isaiah’s son. ‘What people catch’ is the wealth in Syria. Assyria’s army would take the wealth from Syria. ‘What they kill’ are the valuable things in Israel. The army from Assyria would kill the people in Israel. And they would take away those people’s valuable things.

v5 The *LORD spoke to me again. He said this.

v6 ‘These people have refused the waters called Shiloah that flow in a gentle manner. And [they have said that they] are happy about Rezin and about Remaliah’s son.’

v7 Therefore, see [what will happen]. The *Lord will bring the waters of the [Euphrates] river against them. [Those waters will be] strong and powerful. [Really, those waters mean] the king of Assyria. And [they mean] his powerful [armies]. [They will come] like a great river that rises. It will flow over its sides.

v8 Then the river will pass quickly into Judah. It will flow over its sides and it will spread over [the country]. It will even reach the neck! But his (God’s) wings will spread out and they will cover all your country, Immanu El (which means “God is with us”).’

Notes

Verse 5 This verse reminds us that God is speaking by means of the *prophet Isaiah.

Verse 6 We do not know where ‘the waters called Shiloah’ were. Some Bible students think that they were the same as the pool called Siloam in John 9:7. Other Bible students are not sure. Maybe those waters were a quiet river that moved slowly. The important thing about them is this. Those waters did not make a noise, and they were quiet. They describe God, who helps us to live quietly and peacefully.

However, some people in Judah wanted to make an agreement with Rezin (Syria’s king) and Remaliah’s son Pekah (Israel’s king). Those people thought that those kings would then help them. Those people did not want God to help them.

Verse 7 However, the *LORD is master of history! He decides what will happen. Instead of the quiet waters called Shiloah (or Siloam), there will be noisy waters. These will be the Euphrates river, which was an important river in Assyria. But here, it is a special description. It actually means an army that will come from Assyria. ‘Them’ means Rezin and the son of Remaliah (that is, the kings of Syria and Israel). And ‘them’ also means their countries, Syria and Israel. The army from Assyria will attack them. The army will be like a great river that is flowing over them. You cannot stop a river that floods over its sides. Neither could anyone stop the soldiers from Assyria when they attacked people.

Verse 8 From Syria and Israel, the ‘river’ will flow quickly into Judah. That is a description of Assyria’s army as it will first attack Syria and Israel. Then the army will attack Judah. But the ‘river’ will only reach up to the neck. It will not drown Judah! In other words, the army will not overcome Judah. That is because ‘his wings’ will protect Judah. Here, ‘his’ probably means ‘God’s’. Here the country called Judah is also called ‘Immanu El’, because ‘God was with its people’. ‘Immanu El’ means ‘God is with us’. It also means ‘God was with us’ or ‘God will be with us’.

v9 ‘You people, understand [me] and be afraid. Listen carefully [to me], all you [people in] distant countries. Get ready for war, but be afraid. Get ready to fight, but be afraid.

v10 Make plans together, but they will fail! Talk about what you will do. But it will not happen. [Your plans will fail] because God is with us!’

Notes

Verse 9 ‘You people’ probably means the enemies of the people in Judah. ‘Me’ means the *LORD (verse 5). The people in distant countries are the enemies of the people in Judah. Three times the *LORD says (by means of Isaiah) ‘be afraid’. Some Bible students think that the *Hebrew for ‘understand’ really means ‘be weak’.

Verse 10 The enemy’s plans will fail because God is with his people. The language that Isaiah spoke was *Hebrew. In that language, ‘Immanu El’ means ‘God is with us (his people)’.

v11 Now the *LORD spoke to me. [He said this] while his strong hand was on me. He warned me not to do what this nation (the people in Judah) was doing. He said this.

v12 ‘Not everything that this nation calls a secret plan is [really] a secret plan. Also, do not be afraid of what they are afraid of. And do not let it frighten you.

v13 Instead, be afraid of the *LORD of Everything! You should think about him as *holy. He is the [God] of whom you should be afraid.

v14 He (the *LORD) will become [like] these things:

·  a safe place [for the *remnant].

·  a stone that offends (causes trouble for) the people that live in Israel and Judah.

·  a rock that [the people in Israel and Judah] will fall over.

·  a net and a trap to catch the people that live in Jerusalem.

v15 Many people will trip over. They will fall and they will be broken. A net or a trap will catch them!’

Notes

Verse 11 ‘His strong hand was on me’ means this: ‘He spoke to me in a powerful manner.’ Here, God was comforting Isaiah.

Verse 12 ‘This nation’, as it is in verse 11, is Judah. We do not know what the secret plan was. Perhaps Judah’s King Ahaz was plotting to work together with Syria’s and Ephraim’s armies. Perhaps Ahaz was afraid of Isaiah’s words and Ahaz called them a secret plan. The *LORD tells Isaiah not to be afraid of ‘what they are afraid of’. He means that Judah’s people are afraid of armies from Assyria.

Verse 13 People should not be afraid of Assyria’s armies. Instead, people should be afraid of God. He is holy (very, very good). He is so good that people are afraid to be near him.

Verse 14 Here the writer is ‘playing with words’. He uses similar words but they have different meanings. The words for ‘*holy’ (verse 13) and ‘safe’ (verse 14) are similar in *Hebrew. Remember that Isaiah wrote his book in the *Hebrew language. People that love the *LORD will be safe. But people that do not love him will not be safe. He (the *LORD) will offend them so that they will ‘fall over’. It means that an enemy will overcome them. The enemy is probably the army from Assyria. Judah’s people will be like an animal that someone has caught in a net or a trap. ‘Stone’ and ‘rock’ are names for Jesus! (See Something to do number 2, at the end of this chapter.)

Verse 15 The ‘many people’ will be those people that do not love the *LORD. He will use Assyria’s armies to punish them.

v16 Roll up what I have said [in a *scroll]. Fasten [in a book] what I have taught to my disciples (students that follow me as their teacher).

v17 And I will wait for the *LORD. He is hiding his face from Jacob’s family. But I will trust that he (the *LORD) [will do something].

v18 Here am I. And [here are] the children that the *LORD has given to me. We are [people] that show proof [of something]. And [we are like] messages to Israel’s [people]. [The proof and the messages come] from the *LORD of Everything. He lives on the mountain [called] Zion.

Notes

Verse 16 When Isaiah wrote his book, he wrote on a ‘scroll’. That was a very long piece of paper. People would roll it up in order to carry it more easily. And they could also store it more easily in that way. They would fasten it so that it would stay closed. ‘Disciples’ are students that learn from a great teacher.

Verse 17 ‘Wait for the *LORD’ means this. It means ‘hope that God will do something’. And ‘trust that he [will do something]’ means the same thing. That same God is ‘hiding his face’ from Jacob’s family. In other words, he is doing nothing for them. The *Hebrew words here for ‘Jacob’s family’ mean ‘the house of Jacob’. That probably refers to the northern country, called Israel. But Isaiah hopes that God will do something for Judah too. However, verse 14 shows us that many people in Judah will die. So, the ‘house (family) of Jacob’ may mean both Israel and Judah.

Verse 18 Isaiah and his children had names that were messages:

·  Isaiah means: ‘The *LORD makes [people] safe.’

·  Shearjashub (Isaiah 7:3) means: ‘Some people will return [from the *exile].’

·  Mahershalalhashbaz (Isaiah 8:3) means: ‘What [people] catch is coming quickly. What they kill is hurrying.’

Those messages mean that God will save some of the people from Judah and Israel. But Assyria’s armies will destroy the country called Israel. The *exile was when Assyria’s army took the people in Israel from their homes. The army forced those people to live in Assyria. ‘*LORD of Everything’ is a special name for God.

v19 And they (people) will say this to you. ‘Ask the *mediums and the wizards (men that use magic) to tell you what to do.’ [Mediums and wizards] make noises [like birds]. They make a low, angry noise [like animals]! People should ask their God what to do. People that are alive should not talk to dead people.

v20 [Listen again] to what I have said [to you]. And [remember] what I have taught [to you. If you listen to] their (the mediums’ and wizards’) words, really there will be no dawn!

v21 Then people will go through [their] country and they will be very unhappy. And they will starve. They will become angry because they are starving. People will look upwards. And they will say bad things about their king and [about] their God.

v22 And people will look to the Earth. But they will see darkness. And they will see [people that are] very unhappy. The darkness [will make people] miserable. It will move [people] into even greater darkness.

Notes

Verse 19 This is a new section, so ‘they’ does not mean Isaiah’s children or disciples (students that learned from him as a great teacher). It probably means the people that do not agree with Isaiah. ‘Mediums and wizards’ are people that use magic. ‘Mediums’ say that they can talk to dead people. So Isaiah says this. People that are alive ‘should not talk to dead people’. See Deuteronomy 18:10-12. The mediums made a strange low noise as they tried to contact dead people. It was like the sound that some animals make. That sound shows that those animals are angry.

Verse 20 Here Isaiah uses some words from verse 16. He uses the words ‘What I have said’. And he uses the words ‘what I have taught’. People should listen to Isaiah. They should not listen to *mediums and wizards (men that use magic) (verse 19). Isaiah is telling the people what God is saying. If people listen to the mediums and wizards, there will be no dawn. In other words, Isaiah is saying ‘there will be no tomorrow’.

Verse 21 Bible students are not sure what the *Hebrew words mean in this verse. Probably they mean this. People will blame their king for the war with Assyria. And they will also blame their God for it. They will blame both! ‘They will look upwards’ probably means this. ‘They will blame everything that they can see!’

Verse 22 The darkness in this verse is a special description. It is not the opposite of light as we usually mean it. It is what depresses people. Then they feel despair. They think that there is no hope. But there is hope, in chapter 9!

Something to do

1. Study verses in the Bible where we learn about God’s ‘wings’ (verse 8). Here are some examples of them.

·  Exodus 19:4

·  Deuteronomy 32:11

·  Ruth 2:12

·  Psalm 17:8, 18:10, 36:7

·  Isaiah 40:31

·  Matthew 23:37.

2. Study these verses in the Bible. They describe God (or Jesus) as a stone or a rock (verse 14).

·  Psalm 118:22 (Matthew 21:42 repeats that verse)

·  Psalm 28:1, 31:3, 62:2

·  Isaiah 26:4

·  Isaiah 28:16 (1 Peter 2:6 repeats that verse)

·  1 Corinthians 10:4

·  Revelation 2:17.

3. Learn more about what a ‘disciple’ means (a student that learns from a great teacher). Read about Jesus’ disciples in these verses:

·  Matthew 10:1-23

·  Luke 14:26-27

·  John 15:1-8

·  Acts 11:26.

Chapter 9

The *Messiah and punishment

v1 But [in the future] there will be no darkness for the people that were very unhappy [before]. [They include] the people in the regions [called] Zebulun and Naphtali. In the past, [God] allowed trouble to happen to [those people]. But in the future, he will send honour [to them. He will send honour] to the country by the sea. And [God will send honour] to the other side of the Jordan [river]. [He will send honour to that] region [too]. And [he will send honour] to the area that the nations [call] Galilee.

v2 The people that walk in the dark will see a great light. [Some people] live in a country where there is real darkness. The light will shine on those [people].

v3 You, [*LORD], will make the nation bigger and you will make its people more joyful. They will be happy with you, as people are happy [at these times]:

·  when [people] harvest [crops]

·  when soldiers share what they [have taken in battle].

v4 [The people will be happy] because [you will defeat our enemies]. [It will be] like the day when [our army defeated the army from] Midian. You will break [these things]:

·  the *yoke [with which the people carry] their heavy loads.

·  the sticks with which [the enemies beat] our backs.

·  the rod (stick to strike us with) that makes us suffer.

v5 Also, [the people will be happy] for this reason. They will burn every boot that soldiers wore in battle. [The boots will be] fuel for a fire. And [people will burn] the clothes with blood on them.

v6 And we have a son, because a child is born for us. And authority will rest on his shoulders. (In other words, he will have royal authority.) And [people] will call him [by these] names:

·  Wonderful Adviser

·  Great God

·  Father for Always

·  Prince of Peace.

v7 His (that son’s) authority will increase. And the peace that he will bring will never end. He will be king over [the country] that David ruled. He (that son) will give security to it. Now and always, he will make sure that fair and right things happen [to the people there. And he will make sure that everybody there] does good things. The *LORD of Everything will make that happen, because he cares [about his people] very much.

Notes

Verse 1 Isaiah wrote his book in the *Hebrew language. In the *Hebrew Bible, verse 1 is the last verse of chapter 8. The ‘unhappy people’ are those at the end of chapter 8. The regions called Zebulun and Naphtali were not in Judah. They were in Israel, the northern country. Perhaps Isaiah did not mean just those two regions. Maybe he meant Israel as a whole. God allowed Assyria’s soldiers (and other soldiers) to do bad things to the people that lived there. But in the future it would be different! Isaiah referred to three places. They were:

·  by the sea

·  on the other side of the river

·  Galilee.

Those may all mean the northern country, Israel. But they may also mean Judah. This prophecy became true when Jesus came to live in Galilee! A ‘prophecy’ means what a *prophet says. Often it will happen in the future, as here. When Jesus lived on the Earth, the people did not seem to remember this *prophecy in verse 1. That was strange. Look at John 1:46. (Nazareth was a town in Galilee.) And look also at John 7:41-52.

Verse 2 In the *Hebrew Bible, this is verse 1 of chapter 9. In this verse, dark and darkness mean trouble, but light means the opposite of trouble. ‘Real darkness’ is the way that a poet would say ‘very, very dark’. It is a description of very great trouble. The words ‘real darkness’ and ‘the shadow of death’ sound similar in *Hebrew. Some English Bible students translate it as ‘the shadow of death’. There was so much trouble that people were afraid. They thought that they would die!

Verse 3 ‘Happy with you’ means ‘happy because of what you have done for them’. Isaiah describes what the people’s joy will be like. It will be like their joy when they have plenty of things. Those may be two kinds of things:

·  Food that the people have when they harvest their crops.

·  Things that soldiers bring home from war. They have taken those things from the enemy.

Verses 4, 5 and 6-7 give three reasons for that joy:

·  God will break the wooden things that the enemy uses. The enemy uses them to be cruel to Israel (verse 4).

·  Someone will burn the clothes of the soldiers in the enemy’s army (verse 5).

·  A new ruler will come to God’s people (verse 6-7).

Verse 4 The *Hebrew text here has ‘the day of Midian’. It means the time when an army from the country called Midian attacked Israel. God helped his people to destroy Midian’s army. The story about that is in Judges chapter 7. God chose a man called Gideon to lead his people against Midian’s army. The *Hebrew Bible mentions that God will break three sorts of wood:

·  The ‘yoke’. That was a piece of wood that people held across their shoulders. It helped them to carry loads, which they hung on each end.

·  The ‘stick’. That was something that people used to strike other people.

·  The ‘rod’. That, too, was a kind of stick that they used to strike people.

Those wooden things are a special description of how the first person (or nation) makes a second person (or nation) work for them. The first person is cruel. The second person suffers.

Verse 5 The clothes of the enemy soldiers will be fuel for a great fire. That probably means that the enemy soldiers will be dead.

Verse 6 Isaiah says that the child is already alive. We do not know who the child was. Perhaps it was a son of Isaiah. But for Christians it is Jesus, the most important *Messiah! A ‘messiah’ is someone whom God has sent to do a special job. In that way, all the kings of Judah were ‘messiahs’. The *Hebrew word ‘messiah’ means someone ‘over whom people poured oil’. They did that to him when his people made him king. Then the verse has ‘[people] will call him [by these] names’. The *Hebrew words mean ‘he will call his name’. But we do not know who ‘he’ was here. It may be anyone that the Messiah rules over. Or it may be God. The child will have several names:

·  Wonderful Adviser. A good adviser gives good advice to people. But this adviser will give such very good advice that he will be wonderful!

·  Great God. Actually, the *Hebrew words mean that he is the strong and powerful God. That will make him great.

·  Father for Always. God will always be the Father of his people. For the *Jews, God was the Father of their king. And he was the Father of their nation. Jesus taught us this. God is the Father of everyone that loves him.

·  Prince of Peace. This probably means ‘the prince that gives peace’.

Verse 7 But we may ask, ‘Who is this man?’ Christians believe that it is Jesus! But we could translate ‘Great God’ (verse 6) as ‘great [man whom] God [sent]’. That means that he could be a king of Judah. Isaiah himself probably meant a great king of Judah, like Josiah. Josiah started to rule about 50 years after Isaiah died. Isaiah may not have realised that his words here had two or more meanings. Remember these words in 1 Peter 1:10-11. ‘The Holy Spirit spoke through the *prophets. They searched for what he meant.’ So, Isaiah’s words meant a great king like Josiah. But they also meant the greatest King among all kings, Jesus!

v8 The *Lord sent a message against Jacob (Jacob’s family) and it fell on Israel (it came to Israel’s people).

v9 And all the people [that live in] Ephraim and Samaria know about it. They praise themselves in their proud hearts,

v10 ‘[Our houses that we made from] bricks fell down. But we will build them [again] with stones [that the workmen] have cut. They [(enemies or *earthquakes)] have cut down (knocked down) [buildings that we made from] trees [called] sycamore. But we will replace them with [buildings from better trees called] cedar.’

v11 But the *LORD will make the enemies of Rezin stronger against him [(Rezin or Jacob)]. Also, [the *LORD] will encourage those enemies.

v12 Those from Syria on the east [side] have opened their mouths. (In other words, they have attacked Israel.) And so have those from Philistia on the west [side]. They have eaten Israel. (In other words, they have destroyed Israel.) But [the *LORD] is still angry and his hand is still ready [to hit them again].

Notes

In Isaiah 9:8-10:4, there are 4 groups of verses.

·  9:8-12. Armies from Syria and Philistia have attacked Israel. But the people in Israel do not realise that really God is punishing Israel by that means.

·  9:13-17. So God will remove Israel’s leaders and false *prophets.

·  9:18-21. As a result, there will be bad leaders. And the people will do whatever they like.

·  10:1-4. In the end nobody will obey God, and the enemy (Assyria’s army) will destroy Israel.

Each group of verses ends with these words. ‘But [the *LORD] is still angry and his hand is still ready [to hit them again].

Verse 8 ‘Lord’ is a word that means ‘master, someone with authority’. Here it is a name for God, as it usually is in Isaiah. In the *Hebrew Bible, it is not the same word that we refer to as ‘*LORD’. The message was against Jacob. That means that it was not a friendly message. Maybe it did not consist of words. Maybe the ‘message’ was something that happened. The *Hebrew word for ‘message’ can also mean ‘something’. Verse 10 shows us that something has happened. So, the word ‘message’ here probably means ‘something’. ‘Jacob’ here means ‘Jacob’s family’. It is a name for God’s people. Here it means the northern country, called Israel. We know that, because in verse 9 the writer mentions the name Ephraim. Ephraim was the most important part of the northern country. We could translate ‘fell on Israel’ as ‘came to Israel (Israel’s people)’.

Verse 9 Samaria city was the capital of the northern country, Israel. ‘In their hearts’ means ‘to themselves’. The *Jews believed that people thought in their hearts. ‘Proud’ here is something bad. They considered themselves to be better than they really were.

Verse 10 Probably the armies from Syria and Philistia knocked down the houses that people had made from bricks. But it may have been the result of an earthquake. An ‘earthquake’ is when the ground shakes. We learn from Amos 1:1 that there was an earthquake about this time. Notice that here the writer is ‘playing with words’. That is, the same word has two meanings. In verse 8, God’s message ‘fell’ on the people. And here, their houses fell! They were proud people. So they said that they would build the houses again. But instead of bricks, which people made from mud and straw, they would use stones. People cut the stones to the right shape from rocks. The stones cost more, because they were much better than bricks. Also, the wood from the trees called cedar was very good. It was much better than the wood from the trees called sycamore. Cedar trees have their leaves all the year, but sycamore trees lose their leaves in winter.

Verse 11 In Isaiah 7:1, we read that Rezin was the king of Syria. Rezin, with Syria’s army, did attack Israel (verse 12). But the ‘enemies of Rezin’ here does not mean Israel’s army. It means an army from Assyria. Possibly Syria’s King Rezin was afraid of Assyria’s army. So he wanted Israel’s army to help his own (Syria’s) army to fight against the army from Assyria. And the soldiers from Syria were angry when Israel’s army would not help them. Maybe that was why Syria’s army attacked Israel. ‘Him’ might mean Rezin, which would refer to Rezin’s country, Syria. Or it might mean Jacob, which would refer to his family’s country, Israel.

Verse 12 The enemies have ‘opened their mouths’ and they have ‘eaten Israel’. That is a special description. It means that the enemies ‘attacked Israel’ and they ‘destroyed it’. The armies from Syria and Philistia were like wild animals. A wild animal eats what it catches. Similarly, Syria and Philistia ‘ate’ (destroyed) Israel, the country that they had attacked. This section ends with these words. ‘But [the *LORD] is still angry and his hand is still ready [to hit them again]. The people in Israel did not believe that God had punished them. So, God was going to punish them again. The next verses tell us how that would happen.

v13 But the people did not look for the one that had hit them. Neither did they try to obey the *LORD of Everything.

v14 So in one day the *LORD will cut off the head and tail from Israel. [He will also cut off] the branch of the [tree called a] palm. And [he will cut off the] reed (tall grass that grows near water).

v15 The head means the older men and the important people. The tail means the [false] *prophets, who teach lies.

v16 [This will happen] because the leaders of this nation lead its people away from the truth. They confuse the people whom they lead.

v17 So the *Lord will not feel happy with their young men. And he will not show kindness to [children that are] without fathers. And [he will not show kindness to] widows. That is because nobody obeys God. [Everyone] is wicked. What everyone says is foolish. But [the *LORD] is still angry and his hand is still ready [to hit them again].

Notes

Verse 13 Here we have ‘look for the one’. In the *Hebrew, it means ‘turn to the one’. Of course, ‘the one’ here means the *LORD. And also the *Hebrew for ‘try to obey the *LORD’ can mean ‘look for the *LORD’. But here it means more than that. It means ‘obey the *LORD’. And it means ‘repent’. ‘Repent’ means that people say ‘sorry’ to the *LORD for their wrong actions, words and thoughts. With his help, they try to stop their wrong behaviour. Also they must love him. They must give honour to him and they must serve him. But the people did not do that. So God says that he will punish them again. As the writer says in the *Hebrew words, God will ‘lift his hand’ again to hit them. In verses 8-12, God has used armies from Syria and Philistia to punish Israel’s people once already.

Verse 14-15 As the writer explains in verse 15, the ‘head’ and ‘tail’ are the leaders. The ‘head’ means the political leaders. The ‘tail’ means the leaders of their false religion. The tree called a ‘palm’ has brown fruits called dates. The palm tree has its branches high up at the top of the tree. The plant called a ‘reed’ is like a tall grass and its leaves may be sharp at the end. It grows in a low place, by the edge of water. Probably also the ‘palm’ means the political leaders, and also the ‘reed’ means the leaders of false religions. ‘In one day’ means ‘when God acts’. Some Bible students translate this in the past tense. They write, ‘The *LORD cut off the head and tail from Israel.’ Either the future or the past could be right. It depends on when Isaiah wrote this chapter. He could have written it before Assyria destroyed Israel. Or he could have written it afterwards.

Verse 16 The *Hebrew word for ‘confuse’ also means ‘eat’. That reminds us of verse 12. But verse 16 does not refer to the enemies. Here it is the leaders who ‘eat’ (confuse) the people.

Verse 17 Nobody obeys God. And that includes young people and widows. The *Hebrew word that we have translated as ‘nobody obeys’ actually means ‘without God’. People that do not obey God become wicked. People whom God usually helps, like widows and children, can become wicked. That happens if they are without God. Here, ‘foolish’ does not mean ‘silly’. It means something that is evil and wicked.

v18 The evil [things that people do] burn like a fire. It eats up (destroys) *briers. And it eats up (destroys) weeds that have *thorns. It burns up the bushes in the forest. And they rise upwards in a column of smoke.

v19 The *LORD of Everything is so angry that he will burn the land. Also, the people will be like fuel for the fire. No man will care about his brother.

v20 They will take food on their right side, but they will remain hungry. And they will eat what is on the left side. But it will not satisfy them. Everyone will eat his neighbour’s body.

v21 Ephraim’s [people] will eat Manasseh’s [people], and Manasseh’s [people] will eat Ephraim’s [people]. And both those [groups will fight] against Judah’s [people]. But [the *LORD] is still angry and his hand is still ready [to hit them again].

Notes

Verse 18 When people do evil things, the evil things destroy them. It is like a fire that destroys bushes. ‘It’ here means ‘evil things that are like a fire’. ‘Briers’ are bushes with many small sharp points (called ‘thorns’) that grow out of their branches. Many smaller weeds also have thorns. Bushes and plants like those burn very easily. The ones in the forest here are burning. And that produces a column of smoke, which rises up over the forest.

Verse 19 The *LORD’s great anger is what he feels about *sin. In English, we might say that he ‘burns with anger’. He punishes people because he is so angry. The fire is a special description. It means punishment by any method. The people will be ‘like fuel for the fire’. It means that they will be ‘ready for punishment’. ‘No man will care’ starts an *inclusio. The *inclusio continues with verse 20. The section ‘Something to do’ after Isaiah chapter 1 explains *inclusios.

Verse 20 ‘Eat his neighbour’s body’ means ‘destroy his neighbour’s body’. In that case, ‘eat’ means ‘destroy’, as it does in verse 18. People will take food from anywhere. They will steal it from anywhere. They will do that even if their neighbours die as a result. Everyone will do what they want to do. They will not obey their country’s laws. And they will not obey God’s rules.

Verse 21 Here again, ‘eat’ means ‘destroy’ or ‘attack’. Ephraim and Manasseh were two large areas in Israel. Those two groups of people will attack each other, and they will attack Judah.

Chapter 10

Verses 1-4 belong here at the end of chapter 9.

v1 These people will be very sad:

·  [The people] who make rules that are not fair.

·  [The people] who [make] laws that are cruel to [poor] people.

v2 [The people that will be very sad do these things:]

·  They do not give what is fair to poor people.

·  They take away the rights of people who need help.

·  They steal from widows all that they (the widows) have.

·  They take things from children whose parents are dead.

v3 You can do nothing on the day when punishment comes. [There is nowhere to go] when the storm comes from a distant place. There is nobody to whom you can go for help. There is no place where you can hide your wealth.

v4 There is only one thing that you can do [then]. You can only go to be with the people in prison. Or [maybe] you will die with those people that [the enemy] kills in a battle. But [the *LORD] is still angry and his hand is still ready [to hit them again].

Notes

Verse 1 Here these people will be sad because of the *LORD’s punishment in verses 3 and 4. These people are rulers. They have made cruel laws that cause great problems for other, weaker people. The rulers have chosen to do things that are neither fair nor right.

Verse 2 This means that the rulers get everything. The poor people get nothing.

Verse 3 The ‘day when punishment comes’ means this. It is when God will send Assyria’s army to destroy Israel. The ‘storm’ that ‘comes from a distant place’ means the army from Assyria. Assyria was 500 miles east from Israel. The *Hebrew text for this verse actually has questions, which are these: ‘What will you do on the day when punishment comes? Or [where will you go] when a storm comes from a distant place? To whom will you go for help? And where will you hide your wealth?’ And the answers to those questions are ‘nothing’, ‘nowhere’, ‘nobody’ and ‘no place’. So when God punishes people, nothing can help them. That is what it means.

Verse 4 Because nothing can help the people, these things will happen. They will be in prison in Assyria. Or they will die in a battle.

Something to do

1. Read about the army from Midian. The story about it is in Judges chapter 7.

2. Read Judges 21:25. That situation then was similar to what Isaiah describes here. People just did whatever they liked.

3. Learn to say Isaiah 9:6-7 by heart, that is, from your memory. Then you will not need to look at the words when you say these verses.

4. Write down the *inclusio in Isaiah 9:19-20. The section ‘Something to do’ after Isaiah chapter 1 explains *inclusios.

Chapter 10: God’s anger against Assyria’s people

Note

Verses 1-4 of chapter 10 follow Isaiah 9:8-21, because they belong there. Bible students divide Isaiah 10:5-34 into 7 groups of verses:

·  verses 5-11   Assyria’s people become proud, but the *LORD has plans for them.

·  verses 12-14 The *LORD will punish Assyria’s king.

·  verses 15-19 The *LORD says how he will punish Assyria’s king.

·  verses 20-23 A *remnant from Israel’s people will return.

·  verses 24-27 The *LORD will punish Assyria’s people in the end.

·  verses 28-32 The *LORD describes Assyria’s army as it comes through Israel and Judah.

·  verses 33-34 The chapter ends. God makes Judah’s people fewer, but he does not allow Assyria’s army to destroy Jerusalem.

‘LORD’ is a special name for God that his servants use. It refers to a *Hebrew word that may mean ‘always alive’. A ‘remnant’ is a small part that remains from something. Here it means a few people that remain from the nation called Israel.

v5 ‘There will be a sad [time] for [the people from] Assyria. [I will use them] as a stick because I am angry. They [will hit Israel] with a heavy stick, because of my very great anger.

v6 I will send [Assyria’s army] against [Israel, because the people in Israel] do not obey God. I will tell [Assyria’s army to attack Israel]. I am angry with the people [in Israel. The soldiers from Assyria] will take [those people’s] goods and [they (the soldiers) will] rob them of their things. Then they will walk all over them, as [if Israel’s people were] mud in the streets.

v7 But that is not what [Assyria’s king] intends. His plans are different. He wants to defeat very many countries and [he wants to] destroy [them].

v8 [The king of Assyria] proudly says, “All the leaders of my armies are kings!

v9 [The city called] Calno is like Carchemish [city]. Hamath [town] is like Arpad [town]. And Samaria [city] is like Damascus [city].

v10 My hand (my strong army) seized those places and [my hand seized] their *idols. They had more images than Jerusalem and Samaria [have].

v11 So, I will do [something] to Jerusalem and [I will do something to] its images. [It will be] what I did to Samaria and its *idols.” ’

Notes

Verse 5 This verse seems strange, until we read verses 12-19 and 24-27. God is angry with the people in Israel. He will use the army from Assyria like a stick that hits Israel’s people. But after that, God will be angry with Assyria’s king and army.

Verse 6 Isaiah wrote his book in the *Hebrew language. ‘Do not obey God’ is one word in *Hebrew. The word means ‘without God’. Isaiah used that same word in Isaiah 9:17. People that are like that do not believe in God. Neither do they obey him. The word ‘against’ means that the army from Assyria will attack Israel. Assyria’s soldiers will ‘take those people’s goods and they (the soldiers) will rob them’. Soldiers do that when they destroy a country. They take for themselves anything that has value.

Verse 7 This verse means that the king of Assyria has his own plans. He does not realise that God is using Assyria’s army to punish Israel. Assyria’s king only wants to defeat all the countries that surround Assyria. His intention is to destroy those countries completely.

Verses 8-9 In these two verses the king of Assyria is very proud. This king is probably Sargon the Second (the second man called Sargon that became Assyria’s king). He says how great he is. He praises himself. The king says that the leaders of his army are as great as kings. He says that Hamath is like Arpad. Those are two towns in the country called Syria. Sargon defeated the people in those towns in 720 B.C. ‘B.C.’ means ‘years Before Christ came to the Earth’. The king of Assyria says that Samaria is like Damascus. Damascus city was the capital of Syria. In 732 B.C., Tiglathpileser the Third defeated its people. He was king of Assyria at that time. Samaria city was the capital of Israel. Sargon defeated its people in 721 B.C. And Sargon defeated Carchemish in 717 B.C. It was a city by the Euphrates river in north-west Syria. We do not know where Calno was. But if it was ‘like Carchemish’, then Sargon defeated it!

Verses 10-11 ‘My hand’ means ‘the strength of my army’. The king is speaking as if he used his own hand to take things. But actually he used his strong army to do it on his behalf. An ‘idol’ is a picture of a false god. Or it is an image of a false god. Both Jerusalem (the capital of Judah) and Samaria (the capital of Israel) had *idols. Sargon defeated Samaria’s people in 721 *B.C. So Sargon proudly said that he would defeat Jerusalem’s people also! In the *Hebrew for verses 8-11, Sargon asks some questions. The answer to those questions is always ‘Yes!’ An example is, ‘Are not the leaders of all my armies kings?’ The answer that Sargon expects is ‘Yes!’ Then, ‘Is not Calno like Carchemish?’ and so on.

v12 The *Lord will finish all his work [that he is doing] against the hill called Zion. And [he will finish all his work that he is doing] against Jerusalem. Then [the *Lord will say], ‘I will punish the king of Assyria. He praises himself in his heart. And his eyes [show] that he is proud.

v13 Because [the king of Assyria] says this. “I have done this because I am so strong. Also, [I have done it because] I am so wise. [I am so wise] that I know [what to do]. I have removed the boundaries between countries. Also, I have taken their valuable things. Like a fierce animal, I have attacked their people.

v14 My hand discovered the wealth of the nations. [I did that] like a person who discovers a [bird’s] nest. People take eggs [easily from a nest that the birds] have left empty. I have gathered all the Earth [as easily] as [that]. And nobody moved a wing. Nor [did anybody] open a mouth to chirp (make a short high sound like a bird).” ’

Notes

Verse 12 ‘Lord’ is a word that means ‘master’. Here it means God. ‘Zion’ was a hill in Jerusalem. On that hill, people built the temple (God’s house in Jerusalem). ‘His work’ means what Assyria’s king will do in Jerusalem. God will make him do it, therefore it is God’s work. ‘In his heart’ means ‘in his mind’. In his mind the king of Assyria praises himself! ‘His eyes [show] that he is proud.’ That means the look on his face. People can see that he is praising himself!

Verse 13 For ‘I am so strong’, the *Hebrew text has ‘the strength of my hand’. It means that the king of Assyria has a very strong army. Also, the king is so clever that he always knows what to do! That makes him very proud in a bad way. Bible students are not sure what ‘removed the boundaries’ means. Here are two possible ideas:

·  People put stones to mark their boundaries. An enemy might move the stones. That meant that the enemy claimed the land.

·  When Assyria defeated a country, they moved its people somewhere else.

The ‘valuable things’ may be supplies of food, or they may be silver and gold. In the *Hebrew Bible, the ‘fierce animal’ is actually a *bull, which is often very dangerous.

Verse 14 Here ‘my hand’ means ‘I’. The wealth is the valuable things in verse 13. It is as if the king used his hand to find a bird’s nest. When birds have gone from their nest, a person can easily take the eggs from it. There are no birds present to frighten the person away by means of their movements or their noise. The king took the valuable things as easily as people could take eggs from such a nest.

v15 [The *LORD says this]. ‘The axe is not more powerful than the person who uses it. A saw is not more important than the person who saws. [It is stupid] to think these things:

·  A stick can shake the person that is using it!

·  A thick stick can move a man!

v16 So the *Lord, the *LORD of Everything, will send a disease to [the king’s] fat soldiers. They will become thin! [The *LORD] will light a fire under their proud attitude. (In other words, he will destroy their proud attitude.) It will burn with bright flames.

v17 [The *LORD, who is] the Light of Israel, will become a fire. The *Holy [God of Israel] will become a flame. And it will burn [Assyria’s] *thorn bushes and *briers. It will destroy them in one day.

v18 [The *LORD] will destroy [Assyria’s] wonderful forests completely. And [he will destroy Assyria’s] good fields [completely]. [Its] spirit and body will become like nothing.

v19 Only a few trees in the forest will remain, so that even a child will be able to count them!

Notes

Verse 15 Here is the *LORD’s answer to what Assyria’s king thinks in verses 13-14. The ‘axe’, the ‘saw’ and the ‘stick’ are special descriptions. They mean the king himself. Those things are tools that someone else uses. The axe, saw and stick cannot use themselves! Similarly, the *LORD will use the king of Assyria. The king should not imagine that he has achieved success by his own power. He is a mere agent of the *LORD.

Verse 16 ‘Lord’ is a *Hebrew word that means ‘master’. Here it is a name for God. It is not the same name as ‘*LORD’. The *Hebrew text has ‘his fat soldiers’. That means the army of Assyria’s king. The disease will make the strong soldiers weak. Another special description follows. The *LORD will burn away the proud attitude of Assyria’s soldiers. In other words, he will destroy it as a fire destroys things. The soldiers are proud in a wrong way. They think that they themselves are very good.

Verse 17 The two names ‘Light of Israel’ and ‘Holy [God of Israel]’ both mean the *LORD. Isaiah continues the special description of the fire from verse 16. The ‘Light’ normally shows Israel what to do. But now it will become a light that lights a fire. ‘Holy’ is a word that means ‘very, very good’. Only God is really holy. In the *Hebrew text, Isaiah calls God just ‘Holy’. God’s name is Holy! We have added the words ‘[God of Israel]’. ‘Thorn bushes’ and ‘briers’ are bushes with sharp points (called thorns) that grow out of their branches. Those bushes burn easily. Here is a new special description of Assyria. That country will burn as easily as those bushes burn.

Verse 18 Assyria’s forests and farms will disappear. The ‘spirit’ and ‘body’ mean everything that makes Assyria strong. It will be as if Assyria does not exist. The *Hebrew words for ‘become like nothing’ mean: ‘become like rubbish’. Nothing in Assyria will remain. The *Hebrew has ‘his’ forests and good fields. Also, it has ‘his’ spirit and body. ‘His’ here probably refers again to the king, who rules over all Assyria.

v20 When that happens, [this will happen to] Israel’s *remnant. [They are] the people from Jacob (Jacob’s family) that are still alive.

·  They will not depend on [Assyria’s king], who defeated them.

·  Instead, they will depend completely on the *LORD, the Holy [God] of Israel.

v21 A *remnant, a *remnant from Jacob (Jacob’s family), will return to depend on the Great God.

v22 Israel, only a *remnant [from you] will return. [That is so], although you are so many. There are [many] bits of sand on the sea shore. [And you are as many] as [that]. [The *LORD] has promised to destroy [the country,] and [his decision] is completely right.

v23 That will happen because the *Lord, the *LORD of Everything, will destroy the whole country. [He will destroy it] as he promised.’

Notes

Verse 20 Israel and Jacob are names for the northern country. They do not mean Judah in the south. ‘When that happens’ means what will happen in verses 15-19. The king of Assyria will not support the people that are still living in the northern country, Israel. But God will support those people. Israel’s ‘remnant’ is a small part that will remain from the nation called Israel. Probably, the remnant did not have false gods, although many people in Israel did have false gods.

Verse 21 In the *Hebrew text, there are words here from earlier chapters.

·  ‘A *remnant will return’ is the name of one son of Isaiah. In *Hebrew it is ‘Shearjashub’, as in Isaiah 7:3.

·  The ‘Great God’ is the name of God in Isaiah 9:6. In *Hebrew it is El Gibbor.

‘Will return’ may not mean ‘will come back from Assyria’. It means the people that are still alive in Israel. Those people will ‘return’ to God. That is, they will start to serve him again. They will trust him again and they will obey him again. Those are probably the poor people whom Assyria’s army did not take away. But some Bible students think that some people did return to Israel from Assyria. We are not sure.

Verse 22 Here is Shearjashub again. Shearjashub means ‘a *remnant will return’. Again, we are not sure which among these things it means:

·  a few people in Israel will return to God. (That is, they will start to serve him again.)

·  a few people will come back to Israel from Assyria.

·  both those things!

Verse 23 ‘As he promised’ refers back to verse 18. In that verse, the *LORD promised to destroy Assyria. Our translation has ‘*LORD of Everything’. Some people’s translations have ‘*LORD of Armies of Angels’. An ‘angel’ is a servant of God in heaven. ‘Heaven’ is the home of God.

v24 Therefore, this is what the *Lord, the *LORD of Everything, says. ‘My people that live in Zion (Jerusalem), do not be afraid of Assyria’s [soldiers]. They will hit you with a stick. They will lift up a big stick against you, as the [soldiers] from Egypt did.

v25 But soon my anger against you will end. Instead, I will be angry [with Assyria’s soldiers] and I will destroy (punish) them.

v26 And the *LORD of Everything will use a whip against them. He will do it as when he destroyed (punished) Midian’s [leader] at the Oreb rock. [The *LORD’s] stick will be over the sea. He will lift up [his stick] as he did in Egypt.

v27 In those days, the load will come off your shoulder. [The *LORD] will destroy the *yoke that is on your neck.’

Notes

Verse 24 In verses 20-23 Isaiah spoke to the northern country, Israel. Now he speaks to the southern country, Judah. ‘My people that live in Zion’ means two things:

·  the people that love God and they serve him. They call him ‘*LORD’.

·  the people that live in all Judah. It means the people in that whole country whose capital is Zion (Jerusalem). It does not just mean the people in Jerusalem city, although Zion is a name for Jerusalem.

In the next verse, God tells the people why they must not be afraid of Assyria’s army. It is because finally God will destroy that army. Similarly, when God’s people lived in Egypt, the people there ‘lifted up a big stick’ to hurt them. But then God rescued his people. The story about that is in the Book of Exodus.

Verse 26 ‘Use a whip’ means that God will punish Assyria’s army. Then Isaiah gives two similar examples, when God punished other armies.

·  Oreb was a leader of an army that came from Midian to attack God’s people. God’s people killed Oreb at a place where there was a rock. So it was called ‘the Oreb rock’. The story about that is in Judges 7:24-25.

·  When God’s people were escaping from Egypt, Moses lifted up his stick over the Red Sea. Here Isaiah says that it was really God’s stick. The story about that is in Exodus 14:15-22.

Verse 27 A ‘yoke’ is a piece of wood. It goes across people’s shoulders. Someone puts a load on each end. Here the ‘load’ means the trouble that Judah had. The trouble was the hard things that the people in Judah had to do.

The *Hebrew Bible has one more sentence at the end of this verse. Bible students do not know what that sentence means. This translation puts it at the start of verse 28 instead. The *Hebrew words seem to mean ‘because it is so fat’. Here are two ideas that Bible students suggest about that sentence:

·  Perhaps it means ‘the soldiers from Assyria are so fat’. That links with verse 16. When the soldiers from Assyria are dead, God’s people will be free.

·  Perhaps the *Hebrew words actually mean ‘he will start from Rimmon’. Some English translations, like the ones called the Revised Standard Version and the Revised English Bible, have that. It links the words with verse 28. They describe the journey of Assyria’s army to Israel.

Whichever is right, both ideas are about Assyria’s army. This translation uses the second idea. Therefore it leaves out the words ‘because it is so fat’ from verse 27. ‘He (Assyria’s king) will start from Rimmon’ is in verse 28.

v28 He (Assyria’s king) will start from Rimmon. And he will go to Aiath. He will pass through Migron. He will store his things at Michmash.

v29 They (Assyria’s king and army) will pass [through the hills]. Then they will stay for the night at Geba. [The people in] Ramah will be afraid. And [the people in] Gibeah of Saul will run away.

v30 People in Gallim, shout [for help]! Listen, [people in] Laishah. Answer them, [people in] Anathoth.

v31 [The people in] Madmenah will run away. And the people who live in Gebim will hurry to safety.

v32 He (Assyria’s king) [will arrive] at Nob. On the day [when he arrives, he] will remain [there]. He will shake his fist at the people who live in Zion (Jerusalem). And [he will shake his fist at the people who live] on Jerusalem’s hill.

Notes

Different Bible translations use different tenses in verses 28-32. Some translations put it all in the past, like this. ‘He went to Aiath. He passed through Migron. He stored his things at Michmash’, and so on. Other translations describe it in the present tense, like this. ‘He goes to Aiath. He is passing through Migron. He stores his things at Michmash’, and so on. In our translation, we put it in the future. The tense does not matter, because 2700 years ago it did happen.

Verse 28 This verse describes how Assyria’s army advanced from Assyria towards Jerusalem. Rimmon, Aiath (also called Ai) and Migron were towns in the north of Israel. Michmash was about 11 kilometres north from Jerusalem. It was in the area called Benjamin, near to Judah.

Verse 29 Geba, Ramah and Gibeah of Saul were all towns near to Jerusalem. So the soldiers from Assyria were coming nearer to Jerusalem. Gibeah of Saul was where King Saul had lived.

Verse 30 Gallim, Laishah and Anathoth were also towns near Jerusalem. Bible students are not sure what the people in Laishah must listen to. It may be the shouts for help from Gallim. Or it may be the sound that the army from Assyria makes. But the people in Anathoth must answer the shouts from Gallim. And they must send help.

Verses 31-32 Madmenah and Gebim were two more towns near to Jerusalem. Nob was near Jerusalem. You could see Jerusalem from Nob. The enemy would stop there and he would shake his fist at Jerusalem. In that way, he would tell Jerusalem’s people that he would attack their city!

v33 But look! The *Lord, the *LORD of Everything, will cut off the branches. [He will do it] with [his] strength, the strength that makes people afraid. He will cut down the tallest trees. [The *LORD will] make the trees that are very high lie low.

v34 He will chop down the trees in the forest with an axe. Also, [the great trees from] Lebanon will fall down.

Notes

Verse 33 The *LORD is very strong. He will cut off the branches from Assyria. He will cut down even the tallest trees. It means that God will not allow Assyria to destroy Jerusalem. This verse links with verses 18-19. Those verses contain a special description of Assyria as a forest. However, Isaiah is not talking only about Assyria. The *LORD will also cut branches off Judah. Only a part of Judah’s people will remain. But from that part, new branches will grow (Isaiah 11:1).

Verse 34 As verse 33 links back to verse 18, this verse links ahead to Isaiah 11:1. King Solomon used the great trees from Lebanon to build his *temple. The story about that is in 1 Kings chapter 6.

Something to do

1. Read about what happened at the Oreb rock (Judges 7:24-25). Read also about the stick that Moses lifted over the sea (Exodus 14:15-22).

2. Read about how the *LORD cuts off branches. He does it so that more fruit grows (John 15:1-8).

3. Make a list of children’s names that mean something in the Bible. Look in Isaiah 7:3, 7:14 and 8:3. Look also in Hosea 1:6 and 1:9.

4. If you can, find a map of Israel. Look there for the towns in Isaiah 10:28-32.

Chapter 11

What a wonderful world!

Note

The two previous chapters have contained a special description of God as a ‘forester’ (someone that looks after forests). Some Bible students think that this chapter continues that idea. God used Assyria’s army to cut down the ‘forests’. The ‘forests’ meant Israel and Judah. But God left a part of Judah. In verse 1 of this chapter, Isaiah calls that part a ‘stump’. The ‘stump’ is part of a tree. When a forester has cut down a tree, he leaves the part called the ‘stump’ in the ground. It is a well-known fact that trees can grow again from stumps. The section called ‘Something to do’ has a list of the verses about the ‘forester’. There are some such verses at the end of chapter 10. They link directly to chapter 11, if the theory here is correct.

Many verses in Isaiah describe a New Earth. In Isaiah 65:17 we read, ‘I will create New Heavens and a New Earth.’ This world is the one that God will create again. He will do it when Jesus comes back to the Earth. At that time, God will not destroy our Earth, but he will remove all the bad things from it. (However, some Bible students think that God will create a completely New Earth at that time.) When God has removed all the bad things from the Earth, then good things will happen on it. They will happen to the people called ‘the *remnant’ or ‘the *stump’. When we realise that, verses 1-11 of this chapter become possible! And other similar verses in Isaiah become possible. They are not a poet’s special descriptions of what will happen. They are the simple truth! And ‘the *remnant’ in Isaiah 10:22 will be those people that trust Jesus. The ‘branch’ is one of Jesus’ many names! The *remnant will live on this New Earth and Jesus will be their King!

v1 A shoot (small new branch) will come from the *stump of Jesse (Jesse’s family). And a branch will grow from its roots.

v2 The Spirit of the *LORD will come on him. [He will have these qualities:]

·  A spirit that has wisdom and that understands.

·  A spirit [that gives] advice and that has authority.

·  A spirit that has knowledge and that respects the *LORD.

v3 And he will be pleased to respect the *LORD. He will not make judgements [only] by what his eyes see. [He will not] make decisions [only] by what his ears hear.

v4 But he will *judge poor people rightly and fairly. Also, the decisions that he will make about ordinary people will be fair. [He] will punish wicked people [by means of] his judgements. And [he] will destroy (kill) them [by means of] his words.

v5 [He will do] what is truly fair and right. [He will wear that quality] like a belt round him. [He will] always perform his promises, [so that people] can trust him [to do it]. [He will wear that quality] also, as [if it is his] clothes.

v6 Wolves (wild animals like large dogs) will live with young sheep, [and they will not eat them]! And leopards (wild animals like huge cats) will lie down with young goats! Young cows and [adult] lions will eat together, and young children will lead them!

v7 Cows and bears will eat [together], and their young [animals] will lie down together. And lions will eat straw as oxen (strong animals like cows) [eat straw].

v8 And a tiny baby will play [safely] near the hole where a cobra (big poisonous snake) [lives]. And a young child [will be safe] if he puts his hand onto an adder’s (another poisonous snake’s) nest.

v9 They (the animals) will not hurt [each other] nor [will they] kill [each other] in all my holy mountain. Then [people shall all know] the *LORD. [So] that knowledge shall fill the Earth, as water fills the sea.

v10 In those days, the root [will have come] from Jesse (Jesse’s family). [That root] will be like a flag to [all] countries. Nations will come to him. And the place where he lives will be wonderful.

Notes

Verse 1 A ‘shoot’ is a new branch that grows on a plant or tree. The ‘stump’ is also part of a tree. That part remains in the ground after someone has cut the tree down. It is a special description of Jesse’s family. Jesse was the father of King David. So ‘the stump of Jesse’ means ‘what remains from King David’s family’. David died 250 years before Isaiah wrote his book. But a new king would be born. And David would be among his ancestors (members of his family that lived in previous centuries). The stump (part of the tree that remains) means the family of that new king. And the ‘shoot’ (new part that grows up) means the new king himself.

Verse 2 Christians understand that ‘the Spirit of the *LORD’ is a name for the Holy Spirit. However, we do not know whether Isaiah thought that. But he did know that the *LORD’s power would come to the new king.

Isaiah wrote his book in the *Hebrew language. The *Hebrew word for ‘spirit’ means many things. They include ‘air’, ‘breath’, ‘spirit’, ‘mind’, ‘wind’, ‘storm’ and ‘anger’. So we could translate the rest of the verse like this:

·  A mind that is wise and that understands [people and things].

·  A mind that gives good advice and that has authority.

·  A mind that knows about the *LORD and that respects him.

When God gives his Spirit to a person, that person’s own spirit becomes new. However, this verse describes the new King from David’s family. We know now that his name is King Jesus.

Verse 3 The word ‘judgements’ reminds us of a court of law. One day God will make decisions about all his people. Read the note about Isaiah 1:2. And read the notes about the Easy English translation of Psalm 50, level A. Also, look at 2 Corinthians 5:10. The new king will be pleased to respect God. The *Hebrew word for ‘pleased’ here is like another *Hebrew word. That word means ‘it will smell nice to him’! The *Hebrew word for ‘respect’ also means ‘have fear towards’ someone. In Proverbs 1:7 we read this. ‘To have fear towards the *LORD is the beginning of knowledge.’ And Isaiah 11:2 also links fear towards the *LORD together with knowledge. ‘What his eyes see’ means this. It means ‘what something or someone seems like to him’. ‘What his ears hear’ means this. It means ‘what people say about something or someone’. The new king will look for the truth about people and things. That includes ordinary people especially.

Verse 4 The poor people are those people that are not powerful. Often, kings of Judah and Israel were not fair or kind to those people. But the new king would not be like that.

Verse 5 Kings used to wear special clothes. These clothes helped everyone to know who the king was. But people will know this king because of the things that he does.

Verse 6 Wolves (plural of wolf) are like large wild dogs. They like to catch small animals such as young sheep and then they eat those animals. Leopards are like huge wild cats with big spots. They also like to catch animals such as young goats and then they eat them. Wolves, leopards and lions are all dangerous wild animals. But when the new King comes, they will not be dangerous! Young children led cows and sheep in those days when Isaiah was alive. But at this future time, young children will lead wild animals too, in the same way. What Isaiah says here does not seem possible to us. But it will happen when God creates the New Earth. Wonderful things will happen. The *Hebrew words for the animals are not plural. In *Hebrew, ‘the wolf will live with the young sheep’, and so on. These verses show to us that there will be animals on the New Earth.

Verse 7 ‘Oxen’ is the plural of ‘ox’. An ‘ox’ is an animal like a cow. This verse continues the ideas from verse 6. The main idea is that there will be no danger. Life will be wonderful on the New Earth. Again, the animals are not plural in *Hebrew. For example: ‘A cow and a bear will eat together.’

Verse 8 Cobras and adders are different kinds of dangerous, poisonous snakes. Again, the idea is wonderful safety. Although the writer in the *Hebrew Bible does not use those words, he gives that idea. The New Earth will be completely safe for the people that live there.

Verse 9 ‘They’ means all the animals in verses 6-8. ‘Holy’ means ‘very, very good’. Only God is really holy. The holy mountain is the hill called Zion. That was where the *Jews built God’s house in Jerusalem. Here it will be in the New Jerusalem. Revelation 21:2 shows us that the New Jerusalem will come to the New Earth. ‘That knowledge shall fill the Earth’ means ‘everybody on the Earth will know the *LORD’. Only the *LORD’s own people will live on the New Earth.

Verse 10 This section started in verse 1 with Jesse. And the section ends in verse 10 with Jesse. Verses 1-10 are about the time when the new king has come. They link with verses 11-16 also, because those verses probably refer to a time after the new king. Probably, that new king originally meant Hezekiah or Josiah. But Christians believe that Isaiah’s message here has two meanings. One meaning is about that new king. And the other meaning is about the *Messiah, King Jesus! The ‘place where he lives’ is a place for all the *LORD’s people. So it may mean the place that Jesus mentioned in John 14:2. It will be the New Earth!

v11 And in those days, my *Lord will do something for the second time. He will rescue the *remnant of his people that are still [alive. He will take them] from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar and Hamath. And [he will take them] from countries by the sea.

v12 [The *LORD] will lift up a flag for those nations [to see]. He will gather together the people from Israel [that Assyria’s army] took away. He will bring back Judah’s people that were in *exile. [He will bring them back] from the four corners of the Earth.

v13 Ephraim’s people will not be jealous [of Judah’s people] again, and Judah’s [people] will not attack [Ephraim’s people] any longer. Ephraim’s people will not be jealous of Judah’s people any longer, and Judah’s people will not bother Ephraim’s people again.

v14 But together they will attack the low hills in Philistia, in the west. They will defeat the people on the east [side of the Jordan river]. They will fight against Edom and Moab. And the people in Ammon will obey them.

v15 The *LORD will completely destroy part of the Sea of Egypt. He will wave his hand over the [Euphrates] river. He will send a hot wind that burns things. It will divide [the river] into seven channels (routes along which the water flows). So [then] people can cross [the river] with dry feet.

v16 And there will be a good road from Assyria for the *remnant. [They are the *LORD’s] people that will remain. It will be [as good a road] as [the one] when Israel’s [people] came out of the country called Egypt.

Notes

Verse 11 ‘Lord’ with only one capital letter is a name for God. It means ‘master’. That is, ‘someone with authority’. Some old *Hebrew Bibles have ‘*LORD’ here, a different name for God. The first time when God rescued his people, he rescued them from Egypt. The account about that is in the Book of Exodus. This second time, God will rescue the *remnant from all the places in this verse. The ‘remnant’ means the few people that will still be alive from Israel and Judah. They will live in all those areas because an enemy has taken them away from their own country. The people in Assyria will not allow them to come home, but God will bring them home. He will do it ‘in those days’, at a future time. Again, that probably means two things:

·  God will bring all his people that are in *exile back to Israel and Judah.

·  God will bring everyone that loves him to the New Earth.

Verse 12 The flag means a signal to the nations. We do not know exactly what that signal was. But we do know this. It shows us that God has authority over all the nations. ‘In exile’ means that the people have to live abroad because of an enemy’s actions. They are living away from their own country because the enemy has taken them away. ‘The four corners of the Earth’ is a special way to say ‘everywhere on the Earth’. The Earth has no real corners, because it is almost round! The *Hebrew words actually mean ‘the four wings of the Earth’.

Verse 13 When King Solomon died, the people divided his country into two parts. The northern part was Israel. It was also called Ephraim. The southern part was Judah. The two countries were not friendly towards each other. But Isaiah says that after some time they will not be enemies any longer. Bible students do not agree about how to translate ‘Judah’s [people] will not attack’. Some people say that it should be ‘Nobody will attack Judah’s [people]’. But the important fact is this. There will be peace between Ephraim (Israel) and Judah.

Verse 14 All these are places over which King David ruled. Edom, Moab and Ammon were on the east side of the Jordan river. Isaiah says that Israel and Judah will become united with each other. Their nation will be powerful again.

Verse 15 Here Isaiah seems to say this. What God did in Egypt, he will also do in Assyria. The ‘Sea of Egypt’ is called the Red Sea. God led his people through it and their feet did not get wet. God will do a similar thing again when he leads his people out from Assyria. However, this time the water will be the Euphrates river. Actually, when God’s people returned from *exile, they returned from Babylon. And the Euphrates river did become dry when King Cyrus defeated Babylon’s army! The king made his soldiers dig a huge ditch. That took the water away from the river where it flowed in the city called Babylon. So the river became dry inside the city. Then the soldiers walked into the city where the river had been! Here we have ‘wind’ and in verse 2 we had ‘spirit’. The *Hebrew Bible has the same word for them both. So some Bible students say that the hot wind is the breath of God.

Verse 16 ‘As [the one] when Israel’s [people] came out of the country called Egypt’ reminds us of verse 11. There we read that God will rescue his people ‘for the second time’. The first time was the return from Egypt.

Something to do

1. Read Ruth 4:18-22 to find out who Jesse was.

2. Isaiah’s book often describes God as a forester (someone who looks after a forest). Study these special descriptions in Isaiah 9:10; 9:14; 9:18-19; 10:15; 10:17-19; 10:23; 10:33 to 11:1.

Chapter 12

Isaiah praises God

v1 You will say in those days, ‘I praise you, *LORD. You were angry with me, but now you are not angry [with me]. Now you are comforting me.

v2 Listen! God has saved me! I will trust [him]. And I will not be afraid because the *LORD, the *LORD has made me strong. He is the one that I am singing about. He has made me safe.

v3 You will get water joyfully from the wells [that provide] rescue and safety.’

v4 And you will say in those days, ‘Praise the *LORD! Shout [aloud] his name! Tell everybody what God has done. Make them remember that he is very great.

v5 Sing psalms (songs to praise God) to the *LORD. What he did is wonderful! Make everyone in the world know it!

v6 Everyone that lives in Zion (Jerusalem), shout! And sing for joy! Because the *Holy [God] of Israel is great and he is [living] with you.’

Notes

Verse 1 Isaiah 12:1-6 contains words that people will say ‘in those days’. ‘Those days’ probably means when Judah’s people come back from exile in Babylon. The ‘exile’ was when Babylon’s army took Judah’s people to Babylon. Although the people’s home was in Judah, the soldiers made them live in Babylon. That happened in 586 B.C. ‘B.C.’ means ‘years Before Christ came to the Earth’. In 536 B.C. they started to return home again. Really, this chapter is a short psalm (a song to praise God). People would be able to sing it after the *exile in Babylon. But it is also about God’s people now. And it is about God’s people on the New Earth! In verse 6 we read, ‘he is [living] with you’. When Jesus is the King on the New Earth, that will be exactly true! That is the message that brings comfort, as in Isaiah 40:1.

Verse 2 Isaiah wrote his book in the *Hebrew language. In the *Hebrew Bible, ‘the *LORD, the *LORD’ in this verse is ‘YAH YHWH’. Both words mean ‘*LORD’, the special name that God uses in his covenant (the special agreement between God and his people). People make a ‘covenant’ when they agree seriously to do things for each other. In God’s covenant, he agreed to love his people and he agreed to protect them. Also, the people agreed to love him and they agreed to obey him. The *Hebrew for ‘he has made me safe’ means ‘he is my safety’. The note about verse 3 explains more about ‘safety’. Read the notes about Isaiah 11:6-8, which are also about safety.

Verse 3 ‘You’ means the people that are with the singer of this song. The *Hebrew word for ‘safety’ is the same one that means ‘made me safe’ in verse 2. Here, Isaiah tells this to the people. They will have joy when they are safe. ‘Wells [that provide] rescue and safety’ is a special description. People take water from a well when they want something to drink. It satisfies them. So God will satisfy people when he brings them home from Assyria. Then they will be safe. But for Christians there is another fact that interests them about the word ‘safety’. In *Hebrew, it is the same word as ‘Jesus’! Christians believe that only Jesus can really satisfy them. That will finally happen on the New Earth, when Jesus rules his people as their King.

Verse 4 ‘Everybody’ means the people in Judah. And it also means the people in the countries round Judah. ‘What God has done’ means this. He has taken his people home to Judah, and one day he will take them to the New Earth. Nobody must forget that God is powerful enough to do that.

Verse 5 A psalm is a special song to sing to God.

Verse 6 Zion is another name for Jerusalem. ‘The Holy [God] of Israel’ is a special name for God that Isaiah uses frequently.

Something to do

Learn to say verse 2 by heart, that is, from your memory. Then you will not have to look at the words while you say it.

 

Word List

angel ~ a special servant of God in *Heaven.

Apocalypse ~ another name for the last book in the Bible, called Revelation. The Little Apocalypse (Isaiah chapters 24 to 27) is similar to the Book of Revelation. It is about the end of time. It is about the time when Jesus returns to the Earth.

BC ~ years Before Christ came to the earth.

briers ~ bushes that have sharp *thorns on their branches.

bull ~ the male animal that mates with a cow.

dates ~ fruits of the *palm tree.

earthquake ~ when the ground shakes.

exile ~ away from your own country or people.

grape ~ a fruit that grows on a *vine.

Greek ~ the language that people spoke in Greece.

Heaven ~ the home of God.

heavens ~ another word for ‘skies’. It can also mean the place where God lives and the skies above us.

Hebrew ~ the language that Isaiah spoke.

holy ~ very, very good. Only God is really holy.

Holy (God) of Israel ~ a special name for God that Isaiah used.

idols ~ pictures or images of false gods.

inclusio ~ ‘something to do’ after Isaiah chapter 1 explains this word.

Jews ~ the people that lived in Judah (which sounds like ‘Jew-dah’) and Israel.

judge ~ to act as a judge; to issue judgement in a court.

Lord/lord ~ lord means master; Lord is a name for God. It is not the same as *LORD.

LORD ~ LORD is a special name of God. In the *Hebrew language it is YHWH. It may mean ‘always alive’. So LORD is a sign that the *Hebrew word is YHWH.

LORD of Everything ~ a name for God. Some people translate it ‘LORD of *Angel Armies’.

medium ~ someone that says that they can talk to dead people.

messiah ~ a leader such as a king. With a capital M (that is, ‘Messiah’), it means Jesus for Christians.

palm ~ a tree whose fruits are called *dates.

pregnant ~ when a woman has a baby inside her.

prophecy ~ the words of a *prophet.

prophet ~ a man who tells people what God has told him.

prophetess ~ either (1) the wife of a *prophet, or (2) a woman-*prophet, or (3) both.

remnant ~ a small part of something that is larger. In Isaiah, it often means the few people that still obeyed God.

scroll ~ a very long piece of paper.

sin ~ not to obey God. Or, what you do when you do not obey God.

stump ~ when someone cuts down a tree, they usually leave the stump in the ground.

temple ~ the house of God in Jerusalem. False gods also had temples.

thorn ~ a bush with sharp points on its branches. The sharp points are also called thorns.

vine ~ *grapes grow on vines. People make wine from *grapes.

virgin ~ a woman that has not had sex.

yoke ~ this went across the shoulders, with loads which hung on each end.

 

© 2009, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).

October 2009

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