REL 394 Prophets Isaiah

REL 394 Prophets Isaiah - The Prophecy of Isaiah...

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1 The Prophecy of Isaiah Introduction VIDEO: Braveheart (“How kings think”) 1:18:38 Behind the Book of Immanuel (Isa 7-12) lies the Syro-Israelite alliance against Judah. The Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III ( Longshanks ) is putting pressure on Rezin of Syria ( Lochlan ) and Pekah of Israel ( Mornay ) to pay him tribute, so they go to Ahaz ( Robert the Bruce ) in a bid to make him join their anti- Assyrian alliance. An earlier coalition led by Hadadezer (Syria) and Ahab (Israel) stops Shalmeneser III (Assyria) at Qarqar ( ANET 278), so they think, apparently, that they can do it again. Isaiah ( William Wallace ) is opposed to this alliance. Isaiah’s Historical Context We know very little about the prophet Isaiah—and what little we do know is derived from the prophet’s own testimony (Isa 1-39). He is a citizen of Judah whose ministry overlaps the reigns of four southern kings: Uzziah (783-742), Jotham (742-735), Ahaz (735-715), and Hezekiah (715-687). On the basis of Isa 6:1, his career begins in response to a divine vision received in the year of Uzziah’s death (742 BCE ). Isaiah is the father of at least two children, each named with a symbolic name: u U ± ² u ³ ´ (“a remnant shall return,” Isa 7:3) and µ ± u · · ¸ u ´ ¹ (“spoil speeds, prey hastes,” Isa 8:3). Most of his prophetic activity seems to take place in the city of Jerusalem. Although he moves easily among kings, there is no reason to believe that he is an “official” member of the royal court. Isaiah’s task is to shepherd Judah through a critical period of history. With the death of King Uzziah, Judah’s time of prosperity and glory has come to an end.
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2 The shadow of Assyria lies menacingly on the land. In his own lifetime Isaiah will see the northern kingdom of Israel swept away and Judah invaded by Assyria under Sennacherib. But Judah’s crisis is more serious than the threat of physical destruction. The same greed, hypocrisy, and injustice condemned by Amos in northern Israel now threatens to infect southern Judah. Further, Judah suffers a national loss of nerve as its kings persist on seeking out various sorts of accommodations with Assyria. With Assyria’s power growing, many begin to doubt whether Yahweh has the power to preserve the Davidic dynasty. Others take the opposite opinion, interpreting Yahweh’s covenant with David as a “guarantee” of invincibility. Isaiah preaches against both extremes. Isaiah’s Work VIDEO: Braveheart (“Negotiating with a princess”) 1:45:49 The first period, extending through the reign of Ahaz , is represented by the material in chs. 1-12. The highlight of this period is Isaiah’s clash with the national policy of Ahaz in the crisis of 735-733 when Syria and Israel form an anti-Assyrian coalition and try to coerce Judah into joining up. Isaiah, by contrast, wants Ahaz to imagine a world where war does not exist—where warriors “beat their swords into plows and their spears into pruning hooks” (Isa
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This note was uploaded on 03/23/2011 for the course REL 394 taught by Professor Michaelmoore during the Spring '11 term at ASU.

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REL 394 Prophets Isaiah - The Prophecy of Isaiah...

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