New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Emmanuel. 10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: 11 Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God; let it be deep as Sheol, or high as the sky![a] 12 But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the Lord!”[b] 13 Then he said: Listen, house of David! Is it not enough that you weary human beings? Must you also weary my God? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign;[c] the young woman, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel. 15 Curds and honey[d] he will eat so that he may learn to reject evil and choose good; 16 for before the child learns to reject evil and choose good, the land of those two kings whom you dread shall be deserted.
17 The Lord shall bring upon you and your people and your father’s house such days as have not come since Ephraim seceded[e] from Judah (the king of Assyria).Read full chapter
- 7:11 Deep…sky: an extraordinary or miraculous sign that would prove God’s firm will to save the royal house of David from its oppressors.
- 7:12 Tempt the Lord: Ahaz prefers to depend upon the might of Assyria rather than the might of God.
- 7:14 Isaiah’s sign seeks to reassure Ahaz that he need not fear the invading armies of Syria and Israel in the light of God’s promise to David (2 Sm 7:12–16). The oracle follows a traditional announcement formula by which the birth and sometimes naming of a child is promised to particular individuals (Gn 16:11; Jgs 13:3). The young woman: Hebrew ‘almah designates a young woman of marriageable age without specific reference to virginity. The Septuagint translated the Hebrew term as parthenos, which normally does mean virgin, and this translation underlies Mt 1:23. Emmanuel: the name means “with us is God.” Since for the Christian the incarnation is the ultimate expression of God’s willingness to “be with us,” it is understandable that this text was interpreted to refer to the birth of Christ.
- 7:15–16 Curds and honey: the only diet available to those who are left after the devastation of the land; cf. vv. 21–25.
- 7:17 Such days as have not come since Ephraim seceded: the days of the kingdom prior to the secession of Ephraim and the other northern tribes (1 Kgs 12). The king of Assyria: the final comment appears to be a later editorial gloss indicating days worse than any since the secession.