War against Jerusalem
7 Now it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin king of [a]Aram (Syria) and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but they could not conquer it. 2 When the house of David (Judah) was told, “Aram is allied with Ephraim (Israel),” the hearts of Ahaz and his people trembled as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind.
3 Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz [king of Judah], you and your son [b]Shear-jashub, at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the highway to the [c]Fuller’s Field; 4 and say to him, ‘Take care and be calm, do not fear and be weak-hearted because of these two stumps of smoldering logs, on account of the fierce anger of [King] Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah (Pekah, usurper of the throne of Israel). 5 Because Aram, along with Ephraim (Israel) and the son of Remaliah, have planned evil against you (Judah), saying, 6 “Let us go up against Judah and terrorize it; and let us breach its wall and tear it apart [each of us taking a portion] and set up the son of Tabeel over it as its [puppet] king,” 7 for this is what the Lord God says, “It shall not stand nor shall it happen. 8 For the head (capital) of Aram is Damascus and the head of Damascus is [King] Rezin (now within sixty-five years Ephraim will be broken to pieces and will no longer be a people). 9 And the head (capital) of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son [King Pekah]. If you will not [d]believe [and trust in God and His message], be assured that you will not be established.”’”
The Child Immanuel
10 Then the Lord spoke again to [King] Ahaz, saying, 11 “Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God [one that will convince you that God has spoken and will keep His word]; make your request as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz said, “[e]I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!” 13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too small a thing for you to try the patience of men, but will you try the patience of my God as well? 14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Listen carefully, the [f]virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and she will call his name Immanuel (God with us).(A) 15 He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. 16 For before the child will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land (Canaan) whose two kings you dread will be deserted [both Ephraim and Aram].(B)
Trials to Come for Judah
17 The Lord will bring on you, on your people, and on your father’s house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim (the ten northern tribes) separated from Judah—[He will call for] the king of Assyria.”
18 In that day the Lord will whistle for the fly that is in the [g]mouth of the rivers and canals of Egypt and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. 19 These [armies, like flies and bees] will all come and settle on the steep and rugged ravines and in the clefts of the rocks, and on all the thorn bushes and in all the watering places.
20 In that day [when foreign armies swarm the land] the Lord will shave with a razor, hired from the regions beyond the Euphrates (that is, with the king of Assyria), [that razor will shave] the head and the hair of the legs; and it will also remove the beard [leaving Judah stripped, shamed and scorned].(C)
21 Now in that day [because of the poverty caused by the invaders] a man will keep alive only a young milk cow and two sheep; 22 and because of the abundance of milk produced he will eat curds, for everyone that is left in the land will eat [only] curds and [wild] honey.
23 And it will come to pass in that day, in every place where there used to be a thousand vines, worth a thousand silver shekels, there will be briars and thorns. 24 People will come there [to hunt] with arrows and with bows because all the land will be briars and thorns. 25 As for all the hills which used to be cultivated with the pick and the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of briars and thorns; but they will become a place where oxen are pastured and where sheep tread.
- Isaiah 7:1 The people of the kingdom of Aram were descended from Aram, the youngest son of Shem, the son of Noah (Gen 10:22, 23). The territory of the Arameans also included the areas later identified as Syria and Mesopotamia.
- Isaiah 7:3 A prophetic name meaning a remnant shall return.
- Isaiah 7:3 A field where freshly washed clothes were spread out to bleach and dry in the sun.
- Isaiah 7:9 The same Hebrew word is used both for believe and be established.
- Isaiah 7:12 This was a misplaced sense of faithfulness on Ahaz’s part. It is wise not to ask God for a sign, unless He offers one as He did to Ahaz.
- Isaiah 7:14 This prophecy of the virgin is declared in Matt 1:22, 23 to be fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. There has been a great deal of discussion over the Hebrew word found here for virgin (almah) and the word that Matthew uses (parthenos). The latter refers unambiguously to a virgin, while the former (almah) has been said to refer to a young woman, in contrast to the Hebrew word bethulah, which is the equivalent of the Gr parthenos. It has also been noted that the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew OT, has parthenos here for almah, and that Matt 1:23 is taken from the Septuagint. Some have wondered why the Septuagint translators used the more specific word parthenos. It is fair to say that this question is the result of oversimplifying the vocabulary and misinterpreting the distinctions. The Hebrew words almah and bethulah can actually refer to the same kind of woman; almah is a youthful woman of marriageable age, one who has not yet had her first child, while bethulah is one who has not been touched in an intimate way. Furthermore, in the present context it would be unthinkable to infer that the woman might have had sexual relations outside of marriage. So the well-known translation of “young woman” for almah, while technically not incorrect, can be viewed as too ambiguous for the Hebrew word and the context. Parthenos was an appropriate choice in the Greek. Another word, kore (for “girl”) could have been used, but it has a wider range of meaning than the Heb almah (Mark uses a related word, korasion, to translate Jesus’ Aramaic word talitha). It should also be acknowledged from a theological perspective that when Matthew cites the verse with parthenos, he thereby authenticates it as inspired.
- Isaiah 7:18 Lit end.