Course Hero. "Old Testament Study Guide." Course Hero. 27 Apr. 2018. Web. 26 May 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Old-Testament/>.
Course Hero. (2018, April 27). Old Testament Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 26, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Old-Testament/
(Course Hero, 2018)
Course Hero. "Old Testament Study Guide." April 27, 2018. Accessed May 26, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Old-Testament/.
Course Hero, "Old Testament Study Guide," April 27, 2018, accessed May 26, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Old-Testament/.
Isaiah is a lengthy and complex book of dense prophetic poetry, with a number of historically significant interpretive cruxes. It was one of the most significant books of the Hebrew Bible for early Christianity and is frequently cited in the New Testament. However, several famous traditional Christian interpretations of portions of Isaiah have little to do with the book's original meaning.
In its original context, the announcement of the birth of a child named Immanuel in Isaiah 7:14 was clearly meant to assure King Ahaz that the threat from Israel and Damascus would soon pass, and most likely anticipates the birth of his son Hezekiah who would reign after him. However, early Christian readers of Isaiah read the text instead as a messianic prediction of the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:22–23). An oracle about an ideal future Davidic king in Isaiah 9:1–7, and the unidentified "suffering servant" of Isaiah 52–53 were also read as messianic prophecies in early Christianity.
These and other well-known interpretations of passages in Isaiah have little to do with the original significance of the book itself, and arguably do much to obscure it. Read in its original context, the composite work of Isaiah showcases sustained theological reflection on Yahweh's sovereignty over the history of the people of Israel and Judah through the political crises of the 8th century BCE, the catastrophe of the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BCE, and the challenge of rebuilding life in Jerusalem after the exile had ended. Isaiah's repeated message to the kings of Judah in the 8th century BCE was to resist the temptation to form alliances with foreign nations and instead rely on Yahweh's continued provision for Judah to stand on its own. Addressing the context of the Babylonian exile of Judah in the 6th century BCE and its aftermath, the latter half of Isaiah assures that Yahweh is in control of international events and has a plan to restore Judah after it has served its time of punishment for past mistakes.