BLOG #1WHAT DOES THIS PASSAGE MEAN?ISAIAH 14:3-23



For the next seven weeks I will be writing about Isaiah 14:3-23. This is Blog post #1. I invite you to join me as I learn what the Lord has to say to us in this passage.

Author 

Some would say that the book of Isaiah was authored by more than one person if not several authors.1 These are the theories of modern biblical critics. This same group says that Moses did not write the Pentateuch and the Book of Daniel was not authored by Daniel.2 “Until the late 1700’s virtually all Jewish and Christian scholars accepted Isaiah as one long prophecy given by one very gifted writer, Isaiah the son of Amoz.”3 The Book of Isaiah begins, “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem, which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, Kings of Judah.” (Isa 1:1) The book never states that it is a different vision at any time; therefore, I must maintain that the entire book is written by one author, Isaiah the son of Amoz.

Isaiah is a prophet of YHWH. He was commissioned by God during the year that King Uzziah died, which would be about 739 B.C.4 “The name Isaiah means ‘salvation of the Lord.’”5 Isaiah’s ministry continued through the death of Hezekiah. Hezekiah died in 686 B.C. “He saw God’s Son and God’s glory (chap. 6; John 12:41), he heard God’s message, and he sought to bring the nation back to God before it was too late.”6 Isaiah lived and ministered in the nation of Judah.7

Date and Occasion of Writing 

Isaiah began his ministry in the same year that King Uzziah died, approximately 739B.C.8 Isaiah recorded Sennacherib’s death which was in 681B.C.9 There is a time variance among commentators, but most come within a year or two of this time frame. Therefore, he likely wrote the Book of Isaiah over a period of 60-80 years, 740 B.C. to 680 B.C. The specific passage of Isaiah 14:3-23 falls in the middle of the first part of Isaiah’s writings. Isaiah chapter 14 occurs along with a series of other oracles against the nations.10 The taunt itself is prophetic; speaking of events that are in the future. Isaiah speaks of Israel’s judgment, a second exodus and a coming Servant King. The book looks forward to a final redemption of Zion in a new heaven and new earth. Chapters 1-39 deal primarily with Jerusalem during the time period of the Assyrian threat, but looks ahead to the future threat of Babylon.11

Audience: Historical & Cultural Context 

The audience is Judah and the Jews in Jerusalem during the reigns of kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah and Manasseh. For further reading on the original audience, read 2 Kings chapters 15-20 and 2 Chronicles chapters 26-32; these historical accounts depict Judah, Jerusalem and its Kings during the time that Isaiah prophesied and wrote.

Literary Context

According to William MacDonald the meaning of Isaiah’s name gives the main theme of the book.12 “The name Isaiah means ‘salvation of the Lord.’”13 The word salvation occurs 26 times in the book of Isaiah.14 The theme is the Gospel. Almost all agree that the book of Isaiah has two major sections; chapters 1-39 and chapters 40-66, chapters 36-39 are an interlude between the two major sections.15 The book of Isaiah is like a gospel presentation; the first section depicts man’s need of salvation and the second section gives God’s provision of grace.16

Following on the heels of God’s gracious provision comes in the last verse of Isaiah one of the harshest depictions of judgment in all of scripture for those who reject God’s gracious salvific provision, much like that found in Revelation 20:15. Therefore, the theme of Isaiah is the theme of the entire canon of scripture, “Salvation is from the Lord.” (Jon 2:9) “Israel has been saved by the Lord With an everlasting salvation; You will not be put to shame or humiliated To all eternity.” (Isa 45:17)

Isaiah 13:17-22 prophesies that Babylon will fall to the Medes and declares its complete destruction saying, “It will never be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation; Nor will the Arab pitch his tent there, Nor will shepherds make their flocks lie down there.” (Isa 13:20) Only desert creatures will inhabit what was formally a great kingdom on the earth. When its calamity comes it will come swiftly. Then in Isaiah 14:1-2 he prophesies a future time in which the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and foreigners will join them, attaching themselves to them. The Babylonians captured the Israelites, 14:2 says that they will take their captures captive. The Babylonians oppressed the Israelites, Isaiah prophesies that Israel will rule over them. Following the taunt against the king of Babylon (Isa 14:3-23), Isaiah prophesies judgment against another nation, Assyria.



[1] Mark J. Boda and J. Gordon McConville, ed., Dictionary of The Old Testament Prophets: Isaiah, book of (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2012), 364.
[2] William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 935.
[3] Ibid, 936.
[4] John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews and Mark W. Chavalas, IVP Bible Background Commentary Old Testament (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2000), Isa 1:1.
[5] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2007), 1154.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Mark J. Boda and J. Gordon McConville, ed., Dictionary of The Old Testament Prophets: Isaiah, book of (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2012), 364.
[9] William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 938.
[10] Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible Bok by Book a Guided Tour (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002) 175.
[11] Ibid, 174-175.
[12] William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 938.
[13] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2007), 1154.
[14] William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 938.
[15] Ibid, 936.
[16] Ibid, 938.



Bibliography

Boda, Mark J., and J. Gordon McConville, . Dictionary of The Old Testament Prophets: Isaiah Book of. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2012.

Fee, Gordon D., and Douglas Stuart. How to Read the Bible Book by Book: A Guided Tour. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.

MacDonald, William. Believers Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995.

The Holy Bible, Updated New American Standard Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995.

Walton, John H., Victor H. Matthews, and Mark W. Chavalas. IVP Bible Background Commentary Old Testament. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2000.

Wiersbe, Warren W. The Wiersbe Bible Commentary. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2007.

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