Skip to main content

Blog #3, Isaiah 14:3-23, What Does this Passage Mean?

The passage that I have been explaining in this blog series is Isaiah 14:3-23. In Blog #1, I explained who the author is, the date and occasion of his writing, the Biblical audience along with their historical and cultural context, and finally the literary context of the text itself. In Blog #2, I gave a verse-by-verse commentary of Isaiah 14:3-23 in light of the historical cultural and literal context given in blog #1.

In this blog, I will list the similarities between us and the original audience, as well as the differences between us and the original audience. When interpreting a biblical passage like Isaiah 14:3-23 it is important for us to understand the similarities that we share with the original audience and the differences that we have, because those difference form a hindrance when we attempt to go straight from meaning in their historical and cultural context to meaning in ours.1

As stated in Blog #1, the original audience is Judah during the reigns of the Kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah and Manasseh. Isaiah prophesied and wrote between 740 B.C. and at least 680 B.C. We know this, because Isaiah recorded the king of Assyria, Sennacherib’s death, which according to Mcdonald was in 681 B.C. Isaiah died during the wicked king of Judah, Manasseh’s reign.2


· The original audience was watched over by One sovereign God who created all things, though many worshiped false gods. In 21st century American culture there is One sovereign God of the universe, yet people worship false gods.

· The original audience communicated with one another by language. Today we communicate with each other by language.

· The original audience had a cultural leadership structure. In 21st century America we have a cultural leadership structure.

· During the time that Isaiah wrote the people of Judah faced enemies from within and without. Today in 21st century America we face enemies from within and without.

· During the time that Isaiah wrote people got married and raised families. Today in 21st century America people get married and raise families.

· During Isaiah’s time families lost loved ones do to unexpected deaths. In 21st century American culture we lose loved ones to death.

· For the original audience, the basic needs for life were food, clothing and shelter. In 21st century American culture the basic needs for life are food, clothing and shelter.


· The biblical audience in Isaiah’s day spoke to one another in the Hebrew language. In 21st century America the primary language by which we communicate with one another is English.

· The original audience grew and raised the majority of what they ate. In 21st century America, for the majority of us, someone else grows our food, we go to a grocery store and buy it.

· During Isaiah’s day, they were under the Mosaic Covenant. In the 21st century American church we are under the New Covenant in Jesus Christ.

· The original audience had a few books of the Bible (Pentateuch), but primarily heard from God via the prophets. Today we have the entire canon of scripture to hear what God is saying.

· During the days of Isaiah, they traveled by foot or used animals. In 21st century America we travel to and fro by motorized vehicles and air travel.

· During the days of Isaiah, the culture was taught by oral tradition. In 21st century America we are taught using written word and electronic audio-visual presentations.

· In Isaiah’s day, the biblical world was Palestine, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Philistia, Moab, Damascus, Ethiopia and Tyre. (cf. Isa 13-23) In the 21st century, the world is a globe containing seven continents, vast oceans and very many nations.

[1] J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays, Grasping God’s Word: A hands-On Approach to Reading, interpreting, and Applying the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 42.

[2] William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 938.


Duvall, J. Scott, and J. Daniel Hays. Grasping God's Word: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.

McDonald, William. Believer's Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995.

Popular posts from this blog

Suffering and Death in the ICU

Suffering: The state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.[1]Death: The end of the life of a person.[2]Intensive Care Unit: A department of a hospital in which patients who are dangerously ill are kept under constant observation.[3] I cannot continue doing what I have done for the past 21 years. My last day in the intensive care unit will be January 4, 2019. I will be transitioning to Cardiac Rehabilitation. This will be a completely different type of nursing. Cardiac Rehabilitation combines my love of aerobic exercise, knowledge of cardiology and love of people suffering with heart disease. I will be able to invest in their lives in a way that I was never able to do before.  These past 5 days are an example of what my work has been like for the past 21 years: I worked 4, 12 ½ hour shifts. I took care of 10 persons, all of whom suffered but some greater than others. A woman 10 years younger than I suffered a myocardial infarction (heart attack); a woman suffered greatly in the i…

Please, Please, Please Open Your Mouth and Preach the Gospel!

Please, Please, Please open your mouth and preach the gospel! Recently I was asked to do two things: 1) Think back to my own experience of how I was evangelized and describe the experience. 2) If I could go back and give advice to the person or people who ministered to me what would it be?  I began running as a young child. At the age of 5, I ran my first mile with my dad. At the age of 10, I wanted a pair of running shoes like the big runner’s wear. My dad challenged me, if I could run 5 consecutive miles at less than 8 minutes per mile he would by me a pair of running shoes. I met the challenge and he bought me the shoes. While at the runner’s store there was a flyer for an upcoming 10k race. My dad signed us both up for the race. The next year my dad was too busy with work to run with me, but we had new neighbors across the street. I noticed that this man would come home every evening and go for a run. I began running with him, at the time he was pursuing a doctorate at D. T. S., …

Evangelism and Discipleship

The defining mission of the church is to make disciples of all the nations, initiate the new disciples into fellowship through the ordinance of baptism in the name of the Triune God and teach them to observe all that Jesus commanded the first disciples; doing so by the power of the Holy Spirit. For this reason, Matthew 28:18-20 has been called the great commission because Jesus, who has all authority in heaven and on earth (Mt 28:18) commissioned his disciples to do just that. There is an utterance of this great commission at the end of each gospel account and the beginning of Acts. (cf. Mk 16:15, Lk 24:46-48, Jn 20:21, and Acts 1:8) Why? Because evangelism and discipleship are the church’s purpose for existing. For this reason, evangelism and discipleship cannot be separated. They are wholly dependent on one another. Jesus did not commission his disciples at the beginning of his ministry, but at the conclusion, and before his ascension. However, He did send them out on practice evang…