Isaiah 8:18
Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwells in mount Zion.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me . . .—In the mystic significance of his own name (Isaiah—Salvation of Jehovah) and of the names of his sons: Remnant shall return. and Speed-plunder, Haste-spoil, possibly also in that of Immanuel, the prophet finds a sufficient revelation of the future. Each was a nomen et omen for those who had ears to hear. Could the disciples of Isaiah complain that they had no light thrown upon the future, when, so to say, they had those embodied prophecies? The children disappear from the scene, and we know nothing of their after-history, but all their life long, even with or without a special prophetic work, they must have been, by virtue of their names, witnesses to a later generation, of what Isaiah had predicted. In Isaiah’s own life, as including symbolic acts as well as prophetic words (Isaiah 20:2), we have a further development of the thought that he was “a sign and a wonder.” (Comp. Ezekiel 12:11.) The citation of the words, “I and the children whom thou hast given me,” in Hebrews 2:13, is noticeable here chiefly as showing how little the writer of that Epistle cared in this and other quotations for the original meaning of the words as determined by the context. It was enough for him that the Christ, like the prophet, did not stand alone, but claimed a fellowship with the children whom the Father had given him (John 17:6; John 17:12), as being alike servants and children of God, called to do His will.

8:17-22 The prophet foresaw that the Lord would hide his face; but he would look for his return in favour to them again. Though not miraculous signs, the children's names were memorials from God, suited to excite attention. The unbelieving Jews were prone to seek counsel in difficulties, from diviners of different descriptions, whose foolish and sinful ceremonies are alluded to. Would we know how we may seek to our God, and come to the knowledge of his mind? To the law and to the testimony; for there you will see what is good, and what the Lord requires. We must speak of the things of God in the words which the Holy Ghost teaches, and be ruled by them. To those that seek to familiar spirits, and regard not God's law and testimony, there shall be horror and misery. Those that go away from God, go out of the way of all good; for fretfulness is a sin that is its own punishment. They shall despair, and see no way of relief, when they curse God. And their fears will represent every thing as frightful. Those that shut their eyes against the light of God's word, will justly be left to darkness. All the miseries that ever were felt or witnessed on earth, are as nothing, compared with what will overwhelm those who leave the words of Christ, to follow delusions.Behold, I... - By 'signs and wonders,' here, it is meant that they, by the names given them, were intended to teach important lessons to the Jewish people. Their names were significant, and were designed to illustrate some important truth; and especially the prophet here intimates that they were to inculcate the truth in regard to the presence and protection of God, to induce the people to look to him. Thus the name immanuel, 'God with us,' Isaiah 7:14; and Shear-jashub, 'the remnant shall return,' Isaiah 7:3, were both significant of the fact that none but God could be the protector of the nation. And in like manner, it is possible that his own name, signifying the salvation of Jehovah, had been given him with such a reference. But at all events, it was a name which would remind them of the truth that he was now inculcating, that salvation was to be found in Yahweh, and that they should look to him. Names of children were often thus emblematic (see Hosea 1:1-11); and the prophets themselves were regarded as signs of important events; Ezekiel 24:24; compare the note at Isaiah 20:3. This passage is quoted with reference to the Messiah in Hebrews 2:13.

Which dwelleth in mount Zion - Mount Zion was the residence of the house of David, or of the court, and it was often used to signify Jerusalem itself. The sense here is, that God was the protector of Jerusalem, or regarded that as his home; see the note at Isaiah 1:8.

18. I and the children—Isaiah means "salvation of Jehovah"; His children's names, also (Isa 7:3, 14; 8:3), were "signs" suggestive of the coming and final deliverance.

wonders—that is, symbols of the future (Isa 20:3; Zec 3:8). "Behold I … me" is quoted in Heb 2:13 to prove the manhood of the Messiah. This is the main and ultimate fulfilment of the prophecy; its temporary meaning is applied to Ahaz' time. Isaiah typically, in Isa 8:17, 18, personates Messiah, who is at once "Father" and "Son," Isaiah and Immanuel, "Child" and "Mighty God," and is therefore called here a "wonder," as in Isa 9:6, "Wonderful." Hence in Heb 2:13, believers are called His "children"; but in Isa 8:11, 12, His "brethren." On "the Lord hath given me," see Joh 6:37, 39; 10:29; 17:12.

which dwelleth in … Zion—and will therefore protect Jerusalem.

Behold; it is worthy of your observation and admiration. These words are literally spoken by Isaiah concerning himself, but withal mystically concerning Christ, of whom he speaks more frequently and fully than any other prophet, and of whom he was an evident type; and therefore they are fitly applied to Christ, Hebrews 2:13.

Children; either,

1. His natural children, whose very names were prophetical, and signs of future events, Isaiah 7:3 8:3,4; or,

2. His spiritual children, whom he had either begotten or brought up by his ministry. For the prophets were called fathers not only with respect to the young prophets, who were commonly called the sons of the prophets, but also in relation to others, as 2 Kings 2:12 13:14. And this sense seems more probable than the former, because it agrees best,

1. With the following words, which seem to be too lofty and emphatical to be used concerning his natural children; for their prophetical names, which, if they were signs, could not properly be called

wonders.

2. With the context and scope of the place, which is to set forth the incredulity of the Israelites, and their contempt and rejection of Christ, and of all his faithful messengers, both the prophets, who were sent as harbingers before his coming, and the apostles, who were witnesses of his coming.

3. With Hebrews 2:13, where they are expounded of spiritual children.

Are for signs and for wonders in Israel; are a gazingstock to and admired by them, for our folly in believing God’s promises. For so the believing Jews now were to Ahaz and the generality of the people, who thought it their wisdom and interest to procure aid from Assyria, and esteemed those fools who, upon pretence of relying upon God, would neglect so great an advantage. And so the prophet foretells that they should be when the Messiah did come; which is the mystical, as the other is the literal sense; and so both of them may be meant in this place.

In Israel; even amongst the Israelites, who have been taught and do profess better things.

From the Lord of hosts; which come to pass by the wise counsel and providence of God, in which I willingly acquiesce.

Which dwelleth in Mount Zion; where the temple now was, and where the Messiah was to set up his kingdom. Behold, I, and the children whom the Lord hath given me,.... These are the words of Christ, as is clear from Hebrews 2:13 who, upon the prophet's declaring his resolution to look and wait for him, presents himself and his children to him, as if he was actually come, or else continues his discourse from the preceding verse; for these are not the words of the prophet, speaking of himself and his natural children, Shearjashub and Mahershalalhashbaz; nor of his spiritual children, his disciples, called sometimes the sons of the prophets; but of Christ, who has a seed, a spiritual offspring, to whom he stands in the relation of a father, Isaiah 9:6 and who are given him of God, in the covenant of grace; for whose sake he partook of flesh and blood, and died to gather them together, being scattered abroad; and redeemed them, that they might receive the adoption of children; and who, being regenerated, believe in him: these were from eternity given unto him, to be his seed and offspring, his spouse, his sheep, his portion, and inheritance; in virtue of which they are brought unto him, and received by him in time in effectual calling; which gift of them to Christ is an instance of the Father's love to him, and of distinguishing grace to them.

Are for signs and wonders in Israel; not the prophet and his natural children; though it is true that he himself was for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and Ethiopia, Isaiah 20:3 and his children, Shearjashub and Mahershalalhashbaz, were signs in their very names, as well as actions, of the future deliverance of Judah from its enemies; but Christ and his spiritual children: Christ the Immanuel, the son of the virgin, is "for a sign", given by the Lord himself, even of the same deliverance, Isaiah 7:14 and a sign of the love of God to his people, and of his care of them, and regard unto them; and a sign that should be spoken against, as he was in his person, office, doctrines, and miracles, by the unbelieving Jews, Luke 2:34.

and for wonders: his name being wonderful; his person, as God man, wonderful; his love to his people wonderful; his works and actions, doctrines and miracles, life and death, being wonderful; See Gill on Isaiah 9:6 and so his children and people are "for signs and wonders"; they are like Joshua's fellows, men wondered at; see Gill on Zechariah 3:8; they are a wonder to themselves, that such sinful and unworthy creatures should partake of so much grace; they are a wonder to angels, that they should be chosen, redeemed, and called; and they are a wonder to Christ, who admires his own grace in them; and they are a wonder to the men of the world, a spectacle, a gazingstock to them, and are reproached by them; and all this is

from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in Mount Zion; Christ, as man and Mediator, is from him, and all that befall him is according to his determination, will, and pleasure; his children, and their being children, and given to him; and whatsoever they have, and whatsoever they meet with, and befall them, is all from the Lord; and this may serve to comfort them, that "the Lord of hosts", of armies in heaven and in earth, is for them, and on their side, and therefore need not fear any that shall be against them; and that he "dwelleth in Mount Zion", the church, which he has chosen for his rest, and where he will dwell for ever, and so will never leave nor forsake his people.

Behold, I and the {s} children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel {t} from the LORD of hosts, who dwelleth in mount Zion.

(s) Meaning, them who were willing to hear and obey the word of God whom the world hated, as though they were monsters and not worthy to live.

(t) This was a consolation in their troubles, knowing that nothing could come to them, but by the will of the Lord.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. I and the children whom the Lord hath given me] Like Hosea, Isaiah had been directed to embody leading ideas of his teaching in the names of at least two of his children, Shear-jashub and Maher-shalal-hash-baz. His own name, also, though not an uncommon one, expresses what we may regard as the most comprehensive idea of his theology—“Jehovah saves.” He and they are thus for signs and portents (cf. ch. Isaiah 20:3 and see on Isaiah 7:11) in Israel; the children especially cannot be seen or named without recalling to mind prophetic utterances of profound import.

which dwelleth in mount Zion] This conception seems to have first emerged in Isaiah’s teaching at the time of the Syro-Ephraimite war, when Jerusalem was threatened by a foreign army. We have here perhaps the earliest anticipation of what became afterwards a fixed element of his prophecy—the inviolability of Jerusalem, the earthly seat of Jehovah’s throne.Verse 18. - I and the children... are for signs. Isaiah's children seem to have been "for signs," especially in respect of their names. Shear-Jashub meant "A remnant shall return" (Isaiah 10:21), and thus held out two hopes; one that a remnant of Israel would return to God and become his true servants, another that a remnant would return from the captivity that had been prophesied (Isaiah 5:13). Maher-shalal-hash-baz - "Plunder speeds, spoil hastens" - was a "sign" of a different kind. Primarily, his name referred to the spoiling of Damascus and Samaria (vers. 3, 4); but it may further have indicated a time of general disturbance, plunder, and ravage. It is not quite clear in what respects Isaiah was a "sign." Perhaps he, too, in his name, which meant "(Our) salvation is Jehovah" - certainly also in his symbolical acts (Isaiah 20:3), and possibly in the firmness of his faith, which never wavered. From the Lord of hosts; literally, from by the Lord of hosts - an expression like the French de chez. God had supernaturally appointed the sign in one case (vers. 1-4), but in the other two had merely brought them about by the secret working of his providence. But the prophet treats all three as coming equally from him. Which dwelleth in Mount Zion. Hero, again, is encouragement. God has not quitted Zion. The Shechinah still rests between the cherubim in the holy of holies. While this is so, God is still with his people (Immanuel). There then follows in Isaiah 8:11 an explanatory clause, which seems at first sight to pass on to a totally different theme, but it really stands in the closest connection with the triumphant words of Isaiah 8:9, Isaiah 8:10. It is Immanuel whom believers receive, constitute, and hold fast as their refuge in the approaching times of the Assyrian judgment. He is their refuge and God in Him, and not any human support whatever. This is the link of connection with Isaiah 8:11, Isaiah 8:12 : "For Jehovah hath spoken thus to me, overpowering me with God's hand, and instructing me not to walk in the way of this people, saying, Call ye not conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy; and what is feared by it, fear ye not, neither think ye dreadful." היד, "the hand," is the absolute hand, which is no sooner laid upon a man than it overpowers all perception, sensation, and though: Chezkath hayyâd (viz., âlai, upon me, Ezekiel 3:14) therefore describes a condition in which the hand of God was put forth upon the prophet with peculiar force, as distinguished from the more usual prophetic state, the effect of a peculiarly impressive and energetic act of God. Luther is wrong in following the Syriac, and adopting the rendering, "taking me by the hand;" as Chezkath points back to the kal (invalescere), and not to the hiphil (apprehendere). It is this circumstantial statement, which is continued in v'yissereni ("and instructing me"), and not the leading verb âmar ("he said"); for the former is not the third pers. pret. piel, which would be v'yisserani, but the third pers. fut. kal, from the future form yissōr (Hosea 10:10, whereas the fut. piel is v'yassēr); and it is closely connected with Chezkath hayyâd, according to the analogy of the change from the participial and infinitive construction to the finite verb (Ges. 132, Anm. 2). With this overpowering influence, and an instructive warning against going in the way of "this people," Jehovah spake to the prophet as follows. With regard to the substance of the following warning, the explanation that has been commonly adopted since the time of Jerome, viz., noli duorum regum timere conjurationem (fear not the conspiracy of the two kings), is contrary to the reading of the words. The warning runs thus: The prophet, and such as were on his side, were not to call that kesher which the great mass of the people called kesher (cf., 2 Chronicles 23:13, "She said, Treason, Treason!" kesher, kesher); yet the alliance of Rezin and Pekah was really a conspiracy - a league against the house and people of David. Nor can the warning mean that believers, when they saw how the unbelieving Ahaz brought the nation into distress, were not to join in a conspiracy against the person of the king (Hofmann, Drechsler); they are not warned at all against making a conspiracy, but against joining in the popular cry when the people called out kesher. The true explanation has been given by Roorda, viz., that the reference is to the conspiracy, as it was called, of the prophet and his disciples ("sermo hic est de conjuratione, quae dicebatur prophetae et discipulorum ejus"). The same thing happened to Isaiah as to Amos (Amos 7:10) and to Jeremiah. Whenever the prophets were at all zealous in their opposition to the appeal for foreign aid, they were accused and branded as standing in the service of the enemy, and conspiring for the overthrow of the kingdom. In such perversion of language as this, the honourable among them were not to join. The way of God was now a very different one from the way of that people. If the prophet and his followers opposed the alliance with Asshur, this was not a common human conspiracy against the will of the king and nation, but the inspiration of God, the true policy of Jehovah. Whoever trusted in Him had no need to be afraid of such attempts as those of Rezin and Pekah, or to look upon them as dreadful.
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