Apart from the fact that Isaiah, the evangelical prophet, was the son of Amoz, we know almost nothing about his background. His name meaning, “Help of God” or “God helps” was doubtless given him by parents who had experienced divine assistance in their lives. Isaiah himself certainly knew God as his unfailing Helper. We know that his wife was a prophetess and that there were two sons who were given as signs (8:18). As a prophetess, the prophet’s wife, like Deborah, and Huldah (which see under respective names), possessed prophetic gifts to be used in the service of God. Isaiah and his nameless wife were one in the understanding of God’s thoughts and counsels. Their united life was so different from the celibate life of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 16:2), the miseries of Hosea’s home life (Hosea 1:2), and the tragic loss Ezekiel had (Ezekiel 24:16-18). The first of their two sons was Shear-jashub, who was old enough to be taken to meet Ahaz (7:3), and whose name means, “The remnant return” and was prophetic of the literal and spiritual return of Israel. As Isaiah and his wife had the gift of prophecy they gave their son a name that was so hopefully significant.
The second son had an extended, mystic name, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, meaning, “haste, spoil, speed, prey,” and implies “They—the Assyrians—hasten to the spoil—the taking of Syria and Samaria—they speed to the prey.” Such a name, prophetic of the desperate flight of Syrian and Samaritan armies before their conquerors, was thought of as an enigma in Jerusalem. The prophecy was fulfilled in 732 b.c. when Tiglath-pileser III captured Damascus. How grateful the godly prophet must have been for a wife who shared his prophetic insight!
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