Isaiah 1:1
The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
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(1) The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz . . .—The term “vision,” as descriptive of a prophet’s work (1Samuel 3:1), is the correlative of the old term “seer,” as applied to the prophet himself (1Samuel 9:9). The latter fell into disuse, probably because the pretenders to the clairvoyance which it implied brought it into discredit. The prophet, however, did not cease to be a “seer;” and to see visions was still one of the highest forms of the gift of the spirit of Jehovah (Joel 2:28). It describes the state, more or less ecstatic, in which the prophet sees what others do not see, the things that are yet to come, the unseen working of the eternal laws of God. As compared with “the word of the Lord,” it indicates a higher intensity of the ecstatic state; but the two terms were closely associated, and, as in Isaiah 2:1, a man was said to see “the word of the Lord.” Judah and Jerusalem are named as the centre, though not the limit, of the prophet’s work.



Isaiah 1:1 - Isaiah 1:9
; Isaiah 1:16 - Isaiah 1:20.

The first bars of the great overture to Isaiah’s great oratorio are here sounded. These first chapters give out the themes which run through all the rest of his prophecies. Like most introductions, they were probably written last, when the prophet collected and arranged his life’s labours. The text deals with the three great thoughts, the leit-motifs that are sounded over and over again in the prophet’s message.

First comes the great indictment {Isaiah 1:2 - Isaiah 1:4}. A true prophet’s words are of universal application, even when they are most specially addressed to a particular audience. Just because this indictment was so true of Judah, is it true of all men, for it is not concerned with details peculiar to a long-past period and state of society, but with the broad generalities common to us all. As another great teacher in Old Testament times said, ‘I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt-offerings, to have been continually before me.’ Isaiah has nothing to say about ritual or ceremonial omissions, which to him were but surface matters after all, but he sets in blazing light the foundation facts of Judah’s {and every man’s} distorted relation to God. And how lovingly, as well as sternly, God speaks through him! That divine lament which heralds the searching indictment is not unworthy to be the very words of the Almighty Lover of all men, sorrowing over His prodigal and fugitive sons. Nor is its deep truth less than its tenderness. For is not man’s sin blackest when seen against the bright background of God’s fatherly love? True, the fatherhood that Isaiah knew referred to God’s relation to the nation rather than to the individual, but the great truth which is perfectly revealed by the Perfect Son was in part shown to the prophet. The east was bright with the unrisen sun, and the tinted clouds that hovered above the place of its rising seemed as if yearning to open and let him through. Man’s neglect of God’s benefits puts him below the animals that ‘know’ the hand that feeds and governs them. Some men think it a token of superior ‘culture’ and advanced views to throw off allegiance to God. It is a token that they have less intelligence than their dog.

There is something very beautiful and pathetic in the fact that Judah is not directly addressed, but that Isaiah 1:2 - Isaiah 1:4 are a divine soliloquy. They might rather be called a father’s lament than an indictment. The forsaken father is, as it were, sadly brooding over his erring child’s sins, which are his father’s sorrows and his own miseries. In Isaiah 1:4 the black catalogue of the prodigal’s doings begins on the surface with what we call ‘moral’ delinquencies, and then digs deeper to disclose the root of these in what we call ‘religious’ relations perverted. The two are inseparably united, for no man who is wrong with God can be right with duty or with men. Notice, too, how one word flashes into clearness the sad truth of universal experience-that ‘iniquity,’ however it may delude us into fancying that by it we throw off the burden of conscience and duty, piles heavier weights on our backs. The doer of iniquity is ‘laden with iniquity.’ Notice, too, how the awful entail of evil from parents to children is adduced-shall we say as aggravating, or as lessening, the guilt of each generation? Isaiah’s contemporaries are ‘a seed of evil-doers,’ spring from such, and in their turn are ‘children that are corrupters.’ The fatal bias becomes stronger as it passes down. Heredity is a fact, whether you call it original sin or not.

But the bitter fountain of all evil lies in distorted relations to God. ‘They have forsaken the Lord’; that is why they ‘do corruptly.’ They have ‘despised the Holy One of Israel’; that is why they are ‘laden with iniquity.’ Alienated hearts separate from Him. To forsake Him is to despise Him. To go from Him is to go ‘away backward.’ Whatever may have been our inheritance of evil, we each go further from Him. And this fatherly lament over Judah is indeed a wail over every child of man. Does it not echo in the ‘pearl of parables,’ and may we not suppose that it suggested that supreme revelation of man’s misery and God’s love?

After the indictment comes the sentence {Isaiah 1:5 - Isaiah 1:8}. Perhaps ‘sentence’ is not altogether accurate, for these verses do not so much decree a future as describe a present, and the deep tone of pitying wonder sounds through them as they tell of the bitter harvest sown by sin. The penetrating question, ‘Why will ye be still stricken, that ye revolt more and more?’ brings out the solemn truth that all which men gain by rebellion against God is chastisement. The ox that ‘kicks against the pricks’ only makes its own hocks bleed. We aim at some imagined good, and we get-blows. No rational answer to that stern ‘Why?’ is possible. Every sin is an act of unreason, essentially an absurdity. The consequences of Judah’s sin are first darkly drawn under the metaphor of a man desperately wounded in some fight, and far away from physicians or nurses, and then the metaphor is interpreted by the plain facts of hostile invasion, flaming cities, devastated fields. It destroys the coherence of the verses to take the gruesome picture of the wounded man as a description of men’s sins; it is plainly a description of the consequences of their sins. In accordance with the Old Testament point of view, Isaiah deals with national calamities as the punishment of national sins. He does not touch on the far worse results of individual sins on individual character. But while we are not to ignore his doctrine that nations are individual entities, and that ‘righteousness exalteth a nation’ in our days as well as in his, the Christian form of his teaching is that men lay waste their own lives and wound their own souls by every sin. The fugitive son comes down to be a swine-herd, and cannot get enough even of the swine’s food to stay his hunger.

The note of pity sounds very clearly in the pathetic description of the deserted ‘daughter of Zion.’ Jerusalem stands forlorn and defenceless, like a frail booth in a vineyard, hastily run up with boughs, and open to fierce sunshine or howling winds. Once ‘beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, . . . the city of the great King’-and now!

Isaiah 1:9 breaks the solemn flow of the divine Voice, but breaks it as it desires to be broken. For in it hearts made soft and penitent by the Voice, breathe out lowly acknowledgment of widespread sin, and see God’s mercy in the continuance of ‘a very small remnant’ of still faithful ones. There is a little island not yet submerged by the sea of iniquity, and it is to Him, not to themselves, that the ‘holy seed’ owe their being kept from following the multitude to do evil. What a smiting comparison for the national pride that is-’as Sodom,’ ‘like unto Gomorrah’!

After the sentence comes pardon. Isaiah 1:16 - Isaiah 1:17 properly belong to the paragraph omitted from the text, and close the stern special word to the ‘rulers’ which, in its severe tone, contrasts so strongly with the wounded love and grieved pity of the preceding verses. Moral amendment is demanded of these high-placed sinners and false guides. It is John the Baptist’s message in an earlier form, and it clears the way for the evangelical message. Repentance and cleansing of life come first.

But these stern requirements, if taken alone, kindle despair. ‘Wash you, make you clean’-easy to say, plainly necessary, and as plainly hopelessly above my reach. If that is all that a prophet has to say to me, he may as well say nothing. For what is the use of saying ‘Arise and walk’ to the man who has been lame from his mother’s womb? How can a foul body be washed clean by filthy hands? Ancient or modern preachers of a self-wrought-out morality exhort to impossibilities, and unless they follow their preaching of an unattainable ideal as Isaiah followed his, they are doomed to waste their words. He cried, ‘Make you clean,’ but he immediately went on to point to One who could make clean, could turn scarlet into snowy white, crimson into the lustrous purity of the unstained fleeces of sheep in green pastures. The assurance of God’s forgiveness which deals with guilt, and of God’s cleansing which deals with inclination and habit, must be the foundation of our cleansing ourselves from filthiness of flesh and spirit. The call to repentance needs the promise of pardon and divine help to purifying in order to become a gospel. And the call to ‘repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ,’ is what we all, who are ‘laden with iniquity,’ and have forsaken the Lord, need, if ever we are to cease to do evil and learn to do well.

As with one thunder-clap the prophecy closes, pealing forth the eternal alternative set before every soul of man. Willing obedience to our Father God secures all good, the full satisfaction of our else hungry and ravenous desires. To refuse and rebel is to condemn ourselves to destruction. And no man can avert that consequence, or break the necessary connection between goodness and blessedness, ‘for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it,’ and what He speaks stands fast for ever and ever.

Isaiah 1:1. The vision of Isaiah — “It seems doubtful,” says Bishop Lowth, “whether this title belongs to the whole book, or only to the prophecy contained in this chapter. The former part of the title seems properly to belong to this particular prophecy: the latter part, which enumerates the kings of Judah, under whom Isaiah exercised his prophetical office, seems to appropriate it to the whole collection of prophecies delivered in the course of his ministry. Vitringa, to whom the world is greatly indebted for his learned labours on this prophet, has, I think, very judiciously resolved this doubt. He supposes, that the former part of this title was originally prefixed to this single prophecy; and that when the collection of all Isaiah’s prophecies was made, the enumeration of the kings of Judah was added, to make it, at the same time, a proper title to the whole book. And such it is plainly taken to be, 2 Chronicles 32:32; where the book of Isaiah is cited by this title.” Thus understood, the word vision is used collectively for visions, and the sense is, “This is the book of the visions, or prophecies, of Isaiah.” The reader must observe, the two usual ways, whereby God communicated his will to the prophets, were visions and dreams: see Numbers 12:6. In visions, the inspired persons were awake, but their external senses were bound up, and, as it were, laid asleep in a trance. Thus Balaam describes them as to himself, Numbers 24:16. They are called visions, not from any use made of corporal sight, but because of the clearness and evidence of the things revealed, and the conformity of this kind of inspiration to the information which the mind receives by the sight of the bodily eyes. Hence, also, prophets were called seers, 1 Samuel 9:9. Sometimes, however, visions were accompanied with external representations. See Isaiah 6:1; Ezekiel 40:2; Revelation 21:10. See notes on Isaiah, by Wm. Lowth, B.D. Which he saw — Foresaw and foretold. For he speaks, after the manner of the prophets, of things to come, as if they were either past or present. Concerning Judah — Principally, but not exclusively. For he prophesies also concerning Egypt and Babylon, and divers other countries; yet with respect to Judah. In the days of Uzziah, &c. — In the time of their reign. This, probably, was not the first vision which Isaiah had, but is placed at the beginning of his book, because, together with the four following chapters, it contains a general description of the state of the Jews, under the several judgments which God had brought upon them, and is a fit preface or introduction to the rest of his prophecy.

1:1-9 Isaiah signifies, The salvation of the Lord; a very suitable name for this prophet, who prophesies so much of Jesus the Saviour, and his salvation. God's professing people did not know or consider that they owed their lives and comforts to God's fatherly care and kindness. How many are very careless in the affairs of their souls! Not considering what we do know in religion, does us as much harm, as ignorance of what we should know. The wickedness was universal. Here is a comparison taken from a sick and diseased body. The distemper threatens to be mortal. From the sole of the foot even to the head; from the meanest peasant to the greatest peer, there is no soundness, no good principle, no religion, for that is the health of the soul. Nothing but guilt and corruption; the sad effects of Adam's fall. This passage declares the total depravity of human nature. While sin remains unrepented, nothing is done toward healing these wounds, and preventing fatal effects. Jerusalem was exposed and unprotected, like the huts or sheds built up to guard ripening fruits. These are still to be seen in the East, where fruits form a large part of the summer food of the people. But the Lord had a small remnant of pious servants at Jerusalem. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed. The evil nature is in every one of us; only Jesus and his sanctifying Spirit can restore us to spiritual health.The vision - The first verse evidently is a title, but whether to the whole book or only to a part of it has been questioned. As it stands here, however, it seems clearly intended to include the entire book, because it embraces all that was seen during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah; that is, during the whole prophetic life of the prophet. The same title is also given to his prophecies in 2 Chronicles 32:32 : 'Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his goodness, behold they are written in the vision of Isaiah.' Vitringa supposes that the former part of this title, 'the vision of Isaiah,' was at first affixed to the single prophecy contained in the first chapter, and that the latter part was inserted afterward as an introduction to the whole book. This might have been done by Isaiah himself if he collected his prophecies into a volume, or by some other inspired man who collected and arranged them; see the Introduction to Isaiah 36.

The word "vision," חזון chăzôn, denotes properly that which is seen, from the verb, חזה châzâh, "to see, to behold." It is a term which is often used in reference to the prophecies of the Old Testament; Numbers 12:6; Numbers 24:4; 1 Samuel 3:1; Psalm 89:19; Daniel 2:19; Daniel 7:2; Daniel 8:1; Nahum 1:1; Genesis 15:1; Isaiah 21:2; Isaiah 22:1. Hence, the prophets were anciently called "Seers," as those who saw or witnessed events which were yet to come; compare 1 Samuel 9:9 : 'He that is now called a prophet was beforetime called a "Seer;"' 1 Samuel 9:11, 1 Samuel 9:18-19; 1 Chronicles 9:22; 1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Kings 18:13. In these visions the objects probably were made to pass before the mind of the prophet as a picture, in which the various events were delineated with more or less distinctness, and the prophecies were spoken, or recorded, as the visions appeared to the observer. As many events could be represented only by symbols, those symbols became a matter of record, and are often left without explanation. On the nature of the prophetic visions, see Introduction, Section 7. (4.)

Of Isaiah - The name Isaiah ישׁעיהו yesha‛yâhû from ישׁע yesha‛ - salvation, help, deliverance - and יהוה yehovâh or Jehovah, means 'salvation of Yahweh,' or 'Yahweh will save.' The Vulgate renders it "Isaias"; the Septuagint has: Ησαΐ́ας Eesaias, "Esaias." This is also retained in the New Testament; Matthew 3:3; Matthew 4:14; Matthew 12:17; Matthew 15:7; Mark 7:6; Luke 4:17; John 12:39; Acts 8:28; Romans 9:27, etc. In the book of Isaiah itself we find the form ישׁעיהו yesha‛yâhû, but in the inscription the rabbis give the form ישׁעיה yesha‛yâh. It was common among the Hebrews to incorporate the name Yahweh, or a part of it, into their proper names; see the note at Isaiah 7:14. Probably the object of this was to express veneration or regard for him - as we now give the name of a parent or friend to a child; or in many cases the name may have been given to record some signal act of mercy on the part of God, or some special interposition of his goodness. The practice of incorporating the name of the God that was worshipped into proper names was common in the East. Thus the name "Bel," the principal idol worshipped in Babylon, appears in the proper names of the kings, as Belshazzar, etc.; compare the note at Isaiah 46:1. It is not known that the name was given to Isaiah with any reference to the nature of the prophecies which he would deliver; but it is a remarkable circumstance that it coincides so entirely with the design of so large a portion of his predictions. The substance of the latter portion of the book, at least, is the salvation which Yahweh would effect for his people from their oppressers in Babylon, and the far mightier deliverance which the world would experience under the Messiah.

The son of Amoz - See the Introduction, Section 2. "Concerning Judah." The Jews after the death of Solomon were divided into two kingdoms; the kingdom of Judah, and of Israel, or Ephraim. The kingdom of Judah included the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Benjamin was a small tribe, and it was not commonly mentioned, or the name was lost in that of Judah. The kingdom of Israel, or Ephraim, included the remaining ten tribes. Few of the prophets appeared among them; and the personal ministry of Isaiah does not appear to have been at all extended to them.

Jerusalem - The capital of the kingdom of Judah. It was on the dividing line between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. It is supposed to have been founded by Melchizedek, who is called king of Salem Genesis 14:18, and who is supposed to have given this name "Salem" to it. This was about 2000 years before Christ. About a century after its foundation as a city, it was captured by the "Jebusites," who extended its walls and built a citadel on Mount Zion. By them it was called Jebus. In the conquest of Canaan, Joshua put to death its king Joshua 10:23, and obtained possession of the town, which was jointly occupied by the Hebrews and Jebusites until the latter were expelled by David, who made it the capital of his kingdom under the name of "Jebus-Salem," or, for the sake of easier pronunciation by changing the Hebrew letter ב (b) into the Hebrew letter ר (r), "Jerusalem." After the revolt of the ten tribes, it of course became the capital of the kingdom of Judah. It was built on hills, or rocks, and was capable of being strongly fortified, and was well adapted to be the capital of the nation. For a more full description of Jerusalem, see the notes at Matthew 2:1. The vision which is here spoken of as having been seen respecting Judah and Jerusalem, pertains only to this chapter; see Isaiah 2:1.

In the days of Uzziah - In the time, or during the reign of Uzziah; 2 Chronicles 26; compare the Introduction, Section 3. He was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty-two years. It is not affirmed or supposed that Isaiah began to prophesy at the commencement of his reign. The first part of the long reign of Uzziah was prosperous. He gained important victories over his enemies, and fortified his kingdom; 2 Chronicles 26:5-15. He had under him an army of more than three hundred thousand men. But he became proud - attempted an act of sacrilege - was smitten of God, and died a leper. But though the kingdom under Uzziah was flourishing, yet it had in it the elements of decay. During the previous reign of Joash, it had been invaded and weakened by the Assyrians, and a large amount of wealth had been taken to Damascus, the capital of Syria; 2 Chronicles 24:23-24. It is not improbable that those ravages were repeated during the latter part of the reign of Uzziah; compare Isaiah 1:7.

Jotham - He began to reign at the age of twenty-five years, and reigned sixteen years; 2 Chronicles 27:1-2.

Ahaz - He began to reign at the age of twenty, and reigned sixteen years. He was a wicked man, and during his reign the kingdom was involved in crimes and calamities; 2 Chronicles 28.

Hezekiah - He was a virtuous and upright prince. He began his reign at the age of twenty-five years, and reigned twenty-nine; 2 Chronicles 29; see the Introduction Section 3,

THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET ISAIAH. Commentary by A. R. Faussett


Isaiah, son of Amoz (not Amos); contemporary of Jonah, Amos, Hosea, in Israel, but younger than they; and of Micah, in Judah. His call to a higher degree of the prophetic office (Isa 6:1-13) is assigned to the last year of Uzziah, that is, 754 B.C. The first through fifth chapters belong to the closing years of that reign; not, as some think, to Jotham's reign: in the reign of the latter he seems to have exercised his office only orally, and not to have left any record of his prophecies because they were not intended for all ages. The first through fifth and sixth chapters are all that was designed for the Church universal of the prophecies of the first twenty years of his office. New historical epochs, such as occurred in the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah, when the affairs of Israel became interwoven with those of the Asiatic empires, are marked by prophetic writings. The prophets had now to interpret the judgments of the Lord, so as to make the people conscious of His punitive justice, as also of His mercy. Isa 7:1-10:4 belong to the reign of Ahaz. The thirty-sixth through thirty-ninth chapters are historical, reaching to the fifteenth year of Hezekiah; probably the tenth through twelfth chapters and all from the thirteenth through twenty-sixth chapters, inclusive, belong to the same reign; the historical section being appended to facilitate the right understanding of these prophecies; thus we have Isaiah's office extending from about 760 to 713 B.C., forty-seven years. Tradition (Talmud) represents him as having been sawn asunder by Manasseh with a wooden saw, for having said that he had seen Jehovah (Ex 33:20; 2Ki 21:16; Heb 11:37). 2Ch 32:32 seems to imply that Isaiah survived Hezekiah; but "first and last" is not added, as in 2Ch 26:22, which makes it possible that his history of Hezekiah was only carried up to a certain point. The second part, the fortieth through sixty-sixth chapters, containing complaints of gross idolatry, needs not to be restricted to Manasseh's reign, but is applicable to previous reigns. At the accession of Manasseh, Isaiah would be eighty-four; and if he prophesied for eight years afterwards, he must have endured martyrdom at ninety-two; so Hosea prophesied for sixty years. And Eastern tradition reports that he lived to one hundred and twenty. The conclusive argument against the tradition is that, according to the inscription, all Isaiah's prophecies are included in the time from Uzziah to Hezekiah; and the internal evidence accords with this.

His Wife is called the prophetess [Isa 8:3], that is, endowed, as Miriam, with a prophetic gift.

His Children were considered by him as not belonging merely to himself; in their names, Shearjashub, "the remnant shall return" [Isa 7:3, Margin], and Maher-shalal-hash-baz, "speeding to the spoil, he hasteth to the prey" [Isa 8:1, Margin], the two chief points of his prophecies are intimated to the people, the judgments of the Lord on the people and the world, and yet His mercy to the elect.

His Garment of sackcloth (Isa 20:2), too, was a silent preaching by fact; he appears as the embodiment of that repentance which he taught.

His Historical Works.—History, as written by the prophets, is retroverted prophecy. As the past and future alike proceed from the essence of God, an inspired insight into the past implies an insight into the future, and vice versa. Hence most of the Old Testament histories are written by prophets and are classed with their writings; the Chronicles being not so classed, cannot have been written by them, but are taken from historical monographs of theirs; for example, Isaiah's life of Uzziah, 2Ch 26:22; also of Hezekiah, 2Ch 32:32; of these latter all that was important for all ages has been preserved to us, while the rest, which was local and temporary, has been lost.

The Inscription (Isa 1:1) applies to the whole book and implies that Isaiah is the author of the second part (the fortieth through sixty-sixth chapters), as well as of the first. Nor do the words, "concerning Judah and Jerusalem" [Isa 1:1], oppose the idea that the inscription applies to the whole; for whatever he says against other nations, he says on account of their relation to Judah. So the inscription of Amos, "concerning Israel" [Am 1:1], though several prophecies follow against foreign nations. Ewald maintains that the fortieth through sixty-sixth chapters, though spurious, were subjoined to the previous portion, in order to preserve the former. But it is untrue that the first portion is unconnected with those chapters. The former ends with the Babylonian exile (Isa 39:6), the latter begins with the coming redemption from it. The portion, the fortieth through forty-sixth chapters, has no heading of its own, a proof that it is closely connected with what precedes, and falls under the general heading in Isa 1:1. Josephus (The Antiquities of the Jews, 11. 1, sec. 1, 2) says that Cyrus was induced by the prophecies of Isaiah (Isa 44:28; 45:1, 13) to aid the Jews in returning and rebuilding the temple Ezr 1:1-11 confirms this; Cyrus in his edict there plainly refers to the prophecies in the second portion, which assign the kingdoms to him from Jehovah, and the duty of rebuilding the temple. Probably he took from them his historical name Cyrus (Coresh). Moreover, subsequent prophets imitate this second portion, which Ewald assigns to later times; for example, compare Jer 50:1-51:64 with Isaiah's predictions against Babylon [Is 13:1-14:23]. "The Holy One of Israel," occurring but three times elsewhere in the Old Testament [2Ki 19:22; Ps 78:41; 89:18; Jer 50:29; 51:5], is a favorite expression in the second, as in the first portion of Isaiah: it expresses God's covenant faithfulness in fulfilling the promises therein: Jeremiah borrows the expression from him. Also Ecclesiasticus 48:22-25 ("comforted"), quotes Isa 40:1 as Isaiah's. Lu 4:17 quotes Isa 61:1, 2 as Isaiah's, and as read as such by Jesus Christ in the synagogue.

The Definiteness of the prophecies is striking: As in the second portion of isaiah, so in Mic 4:8-10, the Babylonian exile, and the deliverance from it, are foretold a hundred fifty years before any hostilities had arisen between Babylon and Judah. On the other hand, all the prophets who foretell the Assyrian invasion coincide in stating, that Judah should be delivered from it, not by Egyptian aid, but directly by the Lord. Again Jeremiah, in the height of the Chaldean prosperity, foretold its conquest by the Medes, who should enter Babylon through the dry bed of the Euphrates on a night of general revelry. No human calculation could have discovered these facts. Eichorn terms these prophecies "veiled historical descriptions," recognizing in spite of himself that they are more than general poetical fancies. The fifty-third chapter of Isaiah was certainly written ages before the Messiah, yet it minutely portrays His sufferings: these cannot be Jewish inventions, for the Jews looked for a reigning, not a suffering, Messiah.

Rationalists are so far right that The Prophecies Are on a General Basis whereby they are distinguished from soothsaying. They rest on the essential idea of God. The prophets, penetrated by this inner knowledge of His character, became conscious of the eternal laws by which the world is governed: that sin is man's ruin, and must be followed by judgment, but that God's covenant mercy to His elect is unchangeable. Without prophetism, the elect remnant would have decreased, and even God's judgments would have missed their end, by not being recognized as such: they would have been unmeaning, isolated facts. Babylon was in Isaiah's days under Assyria; it had tried a revolt unsuccessfully: but the elements of its subsequent success and greatness were then existing. The Holy Ghost enlightened his natural powers to discern this its rise; and his spiritual faculties, to foresee its fall, the sure consequence, in God's eternal law, of the pride which pagan success generates—and also Judah's restoration, as the covenant-people, with whom God, according to His essential character, would not be wroth for ever. True conversion is the prophet's grand remedy against all evils: in this alone consists his politics. Rebuke, threatening, and promise, regularly succeed one another. The idea at the basis of all is in Isa 26:7-9; Le 10:3; Am 3:2.

The Use of the Present and Preterite in prophecy is no proof that the author is later than Isaiah. For seers view the future as present, and indicate what is ideally past, not really past; seeing things in the light of God, who "calls the things that are not as though they were." Moreover, as in looking from a height on a landscape, hills seem close together which are really wide apart, so, in events foretold, the order, succession, and grouping are presented, but the intervals of time are overlooked. The time, however, is sometimes marked (Jer 25:12; Da 9:26). Thus the deliverance from Babylon, and that effected by Messiah, are in rapid transition grouped together by THE Law of Prophetic Suggestion; yet no prophet so confounds the two as to make Messiah the leader of Israel from Babylon. To the prophet there was probably no double sense; but to his spiritual eye the two events, though distinct, lay so near, and were so analogous, that he could not separate them in description without unfaithfulness to the picture presented before him. The more remote and antitypical event, however, namely, Messiah's coming, is that to which he always hastens, and which he describes with far more minuteness than he does the nearer type; for example, Cyrus (compare Isa 45:1 with Isa 53:1-12). In some cases he takes his stand in the midst of events between, for example, the humiliation of Jesus Christ, which he views as past, and His glorification, as yet to come, using the future tense as to the latter (compare Isa 53:4-9 with 53:10-12). Marks of the time of events are given sparingly in the prophets: yet, as to Messiah, definitely enough to create the general expectation of Him at the time that He was in fact born.

The Chaldæisms alleged against the genuineness of the second portion of Isaiah, are found more in the first and undoubted portion. They occur in all the Old Testament, especially in the poetical parts, which prefer unusual expressions, and are due to the fact that the patriarchs were surrounded by Chaldee-speaking people; and in Isaiah's time a few Chaldee words had crept in from abroad.

His Symbols are few and simple, and his poetical images correct; in the prophets, during and after the exile, the reverse holds good; Haggai and Malachi are not exceptions; for, though void of bold images, their style, unlike Isaiah's, rises little above prose: a clear proof that our Isaiah was long before the exile.

Of Visions, strictly so called, he has but one, that in the sixth chapter; even it is more simple than those in later prophets. But he often gives Signs, that is, a present fact as pledge of the more distant future; God condescending to the feebleness of man (Isa 7:14; 37:30; 38:7).

The Varieties in His Style do not prove spuriousness, but that he varied his style with his subject. The second portion is not so much addressed to his contemporaries, as to the future people of the Lord, the elect remnant, purified by the previous judgments. Hence its tenderness of style, and frequent repetitions (Isa 40:1): for comforting exhortation uses many words; so also the many epithets added to the name of God, intended as stays whereon faith may rest for comfort, so as not to despair. In both portions alike there are peculiarities characteristic of Isaiah; for example, "to be called" equivalent to to be: the repetition of the same words, instead of synonyms, in the parallel members of verses; the interspersing of his prophecies with hymns: "the remnant of olive trees," &c., for the remnant of people who have escaped God's judgments. Also compare Isa 65:25 with Isa 11:6.

The Chronological Arrangement favors the opinion that Isaiah himself collected his prophecies into the volume; not Hezekiah's men, as the Talmud guesses from Pr 25:1. All the portions, the dates of which can be ascertained, stand in the right place, except a few instances, where prophecies of similar contents are placed together: with the termination of the Assyrian invasion (the thirty-sixth through thirty-ninth chapters) terminated the public life of Isaiah. The second part is his prophetic legacy to the small band of the faithful, analogous to the last speeches of Moses and of Jesus Christ to His chosen disciples.

The Expectation of Messiah is so strong in Isaiah, that Jerome To Paulinus calls his book not a prophecy, but the gospel: "He is not so much a prophet as an evangelist." Messiah was already shadowed forth in Ge 49:10, as the Shiloh, or tranquillizer; also in Psalms 2, 45, 72, 110. Isaiah brings it out more definitely; and, whereas they dwelt on His kingly office, Isaiah develops most His priestly and prophetic office; the hundred tenth Psalm also had set forth His priesthood, but His kingly rather than, as Isaiah, His suffering, priesthood. The latter is especially dwelt on in the second part, addressed to the faithful elect; whereas the first part, addressed to the whole people, dwells on Messiah's glory, the antidote to the fears which then filled the people, and the assurance that the kingdom of God, then represented by Judah, would not be overwhelmed by the surrounding nations.

His Style (Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament,) is simple and sublime; in imagery, intermediate between the poverty of Jeremiah and the exuberance of Ezekiel. He shows his command of it in varying it to suit his subject.

The Form is mostly that of Hebrew poetical parallelism, with, however, a freedom unshackled by undue restrictions.Judah's sins, Isa 1:1-4; her judgments, Isa 1:5-9; her worship is rejected, Isa 1:10-15. Exhortations to repentance; promises of grace and mercy; threatenings of sore judgments; and complaints by reason of their backsliding, Isa 1:16-31.

The vision, or, the visions; the word being here collectively used, as it Isa 22:1 1Sa 3:1. The sense is, This is the book of the visions or prophecies. As prophets were called seers, 1Sa 9:9, so prophecies are called visions, because they were as clearly and certainly represented to the prophets' minds as bodily objects are to men's eyes.

Amoz; either the brother of Amaziah king of Judah, as the Hebrew writers fancy; or rather, some other person then well known.

Saw, i.e. foresaw and foretold. But he speaks, after the manner of the prophets, of things to come as if they were either past or present.

Concerning Judah and Jerusalem; principally, but not exclusively. For he prophesieth also concerning Egypt and Babylon, and divers other countries; which yet he doth with respect to Judah.

In the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah; in the time of their reign; whence it may be gathered that Isaiah exercised his prophetical office above fifty years together: see 2 Kings 15 2Ki 16.

The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz,.... This is either the particular title of the prophecy contained in this single chapter, as Jarchi and Abarbinel think; seeing the second chapter Isaiah 2:1 begins with another title, "the word that Isaiah saw", &c. or rather it is the common title of the whole book; since it is the vision which Isaiah saw in the reign of four kings, as is later affirmed; and so is no other than in general "the prophecy of Isaiah", as the Targum renders it; called a "vision", because it was delivered to him, at least the greatest part of it, in a vision; and because he had a clear perception of the things he prophesied of, as well as delivered them in a clear and perspicuous manner to others: hence the Jews say (m), that Moses and Isaiah excelled the other prophets, seeing they understood what they prophesied of. The name of Isaiah, the penman of this book, signifies either "the Lord shall save", according to Hilleras (n); or "the salvation of the Lord", as Abarbinel, Jerom, and others; and is very suitable to the message he was sent with to the people of God; to acquaint them that the Lord had provided a Saviour for them, and that he would come and save them. He is said to be "the son of Amoz"; not of Amos the prophet; the names differ; the name of the prophet that stands among the twelve lesser prophets is "Amos"; the name of Isaiah's parent is "Amoz". It is a tradition with the Jews (o), that Amoz, the father of Isaiah, was brother to Amaziah, king of Judah, so that Isaiah was of the royal family. Abarbinei endeavours to confirm it from that greatness of mind, freedom and boldness, he used in reproofs, and from his polite and courtly way of speaking; and this is mentioned by Aben Ezra as a reason why the Jews did not harm him, as they did Jeremiah: but this tradition is not equally regarded by the Jewish writers; and though Kimchi takes notice of it, yet he says the genealogy of Isaiah is not known, nor of what tribe he was. If he was of the seed royal, this is an instance of God's calling some that are noble, not only by his grace, but to office in his church; and it is with a view to this tradition, no doubt, that Jerom (p) calls him "vir nobilis", a "nobleman". It is also a rule with the Jews (q), that where the name of a prophet's father is mentioned, it is a sign that his father was a prophet; and so they say this Amoz was, though the king's brother; and that he is the same with the man of God that came to Amaziah (r), 2 Chronicles 25:7 but Aben Ezra suggests, that this rule does not always hold good.

Which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem; that is, chiefly and principally; for though Ephraim, or the ten tribes of Israel, are mentioned, yet very rarely; and though there are prophecies concerning other nations in it, yet these relate to the deliverance of the Jews from them, or to God's vengeance on them for their sake. Judah is put for the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and is particularly mentioned, because the Messiah, so much spoken of in this book, was to spring from thence, whose title is the Lion of the tribe of Judah; and though Jerusalem was in it, yet that is also particularly taken notice of, because not only the temple, the place of divine worship, was in it, and it was the metropolis of the land; but because the Messiah, when he came, was often to appear here, and from thence the Gospel was to go forth into all the world; and this was a figure of the Gospel church state to the end of the world, which often bears this name: and many things are said in this prophecy not only concerning the coming of Christ, but of the Gospel dispensation, and of various things that should come to pass in it; concerning the glory of the church in the latter day, the calling of the Gentiles, the conversion of the Jews, the destruction of antichrist, and the new heavens and new earth.

In the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah: if Isaiah began to prophesy in the first year of Uzziah's reign, as Kimchi and Abarbinel think, relying pretty much on 2 Chronicles 26:22 and lived out the reign of Hezekiah, as he must, if he was put to death by Manasseh, according to the tradition of the Jews, he must prophesy a hundred and twelve or thirteen years; for Uzziah reigned fifty two years, Jotham sixteen, Ahaz sixteen, and Hezekiah twenty nine; but as this seems to begin his prophecy too soon, since so small a part of it was in or concerns Uzziah's reign; so it seems too late to fix the date of his prophecy from the year that King Uzziah died, when he had the vision in Isaiah 6:1 and desired to be sent of the Lord; which is the opinion of Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and others; but Dr. Lightfoot's opinion is more probable, who places the beginning of his prophecy in the twenty third year of Uzziah; though perhaps it may be sufficient to allow him only ten years of Uzziah's reign: and as he lived through the two reigns of Jotham and Ahaz, so it is certain that he lived through more than half of the reign of Hezekiah; his whole reign was twenty nine years; and therefore it was when he had reigned fourteen years that he was taken sick, and then fifteen years more were added to his days; and the year after this came the messengers from Babylon to congratulate him on his recovery; all which Isaiah gives an account of Isaiah 38:1 but how long he lived and prophesied after this cannot be said: had his days been prolonged to the times of Manasseh, it would have been written, as Aben Ezra observes, and who pays but little regard to the tradition of the Jews concerning Isaiah's being put to death by Manasseh; if the thing, says he, is "cabala", a tradition, it is truth; but he seems to call in question its reality; however, it is not to be depended on.

(m) R. Eleazar in Yalkut, pars 2. fol. 118. 2.((n) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 319. (o) T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 10. 2. & Sota, fol. 10. 2. & Seder Olam Zuta, p. 104. Juchasin, fol. 12. 1. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 11. 2.((p) Ad Paulam, fol. 8. M. tom. 3.((q) T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 15. 1.((r) Kimchi in 2 Chronicles 25.7.

The {a} vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw {b} concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of {c} Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

The Argument - God, according to his promise in De 18:15 that he would never leave his Church destitute of a prophet, has from time to time accomplished the same: whose office was not only to declare to the people the things to come, of which they had a special revelation, but also to interpret and declare the law, and to apply particularly the doctrine contained briefly in it, for the use and profit of those to whom they thought it chiefly to belong, and as the time and state of things required. Principally in the declaration of the law, they had respect to three things which were the ground of their doctrine: first, to the doctrine contained briefly in the two tables: secondly to the promises and threatenings of the law: and thirdly to the covenant of grace and reconciliation grounded on our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is the end of the law. To which they neither added nor diminished, but faithfully expounded the sense and meaning of it. As God gave them understanding of things, they applied the promises particularly for the comfort of the Church and the members of it, and also denounced the menaces against the enemies of the same: not for any care or regard to the enemies, but to assure the Church of their safeguard by the destruction of their enemies. Concerning the doctrine of reconciliation, they have more clearly entreated it than Moses, and set forth more lively Jesus Christ, in whom this covenant of reconciliation was made. In all these things Isaiah surpassed all the prophets, and was diligent to set out the same, with vehement admonitions, reprehensions, and consolations: ever applying the doctrine as he saw that the disease of the people required. He declares also many notable prophecies which he had received from God, concerning the promise of the Messiah, his office and kingdom, the favour of God toward his Church, the calling of the Gentiles and their union with the Jews. Which are principal points contained in this book, and a gathering of his sermons that he preached. Which after certain days that they had stood upon the temple door (for the manner of the prophets was to post the sum of their doctrine for certain days, that the people might the better mark it as in Isa 8:1, Hab 2:2) the priests took it down and reserved it among their registers. By God's providence these books were preserved as a monument to the Church forever. Concerning his person and time he was of the king's stock

(for Amos his father was brother to Azariah king of Judah, as the best writers agree) and prophesied more than 64 years, from the time of Uzziah to the reign of Manasseh who was his son-in-law (as the Hebrews write) and by whom he was put to death. In reading of the prophets, this one thing among others is to be observed, that they speak of things to come as though they were now past because of the certainty of it, and that they could not but come to pass, because God had ordained them in his secret counsel and so revealed them to his prophets.

(a) That is, a revelation or prophecy, which was one of the two means by which God declared himself to his servants in old times, as in Nu 12:6 and therefore the prophets were called seers, 1Sa 9:9.

(b) Isaiah was chiefly sent to Judah and Jerusalem, but not only: for in this book are prophecies concerning other nations also.

(c) Called also Azariah, 2Ki 15:1 of these kings read 2Ki 14:1-21:1, 2Ch 25:1-33:1.

Ch. Isaiah 1:1. The Superscription

The verse is probably best understood as the heading of the first great collection of prophecies, ch. 1–12. The contents of these chapters are described with sufficient accuracy for the purposes of a title; whereas the phrase concerning Judah and Jerusalem is unsuitable to many of the later prophecies, and the note of time forbids us to limit the reference to ch. 1. The second difficulty (but not the first) might be removed by accepting Vitringa’s ingenious suggestion that the first half of the verse (down to “Jerusalem”) was originally the title of ch. 1, the latter part having been added in order to extend its scope to the whole book. Since, however, there is reason to suppose that ch. 1–12 once formed a separate volume (see General Introduction, p. lxxii), it is better to adopt the view which most fully accounts for all the particulars of the superscription.

The word vision is used here in the wide sense of a collection of prophetic oracles (cf. Nahum 1:1; Obadiah 1:1). As the prophet was called a “seer” (ḥôzeh), and his perception of divine truth was called “seeing,” so his message as a whole is termed a “vision” (ḥâzôn). See further on ch. Isaiah 2:1, Isaiah 30:10.

Isaiah the son of Amoz] On the name and parentage of the prophet, see General Introduction, p. xxii.

concerning Judah and Jerusalem] as distinguished from prophecies on foreign nations, ch. 13 ff.

in the days of Uzziah … Judah] The words indicate generally the period covered by Isaiah’s public ministry. The author of the title probably understood that the vision of ch. 6 took place in the lifetime of Uzziah. It is not necessary to suppose that he assigned other prophecies to the reign of that king.

Verse 1. - TITLE OF THE WORK. It is questioned whether the title can be regarded as Isaiah's, or as properly belonging to the work, and it is suggested that it is rather a heading invented by a collector who brought together into a volume such prophecies of Isaiah as were known to him, the collection being a much smaller one than that which was made ultimately. In favor of this view it is urged

(1) that the prophecies, as we have them, do not all "concern Judah and Jerusalem;"

(2) that there is a mistake in the title, which Isaiah could not have made, none of the prophecies belonging to the reign of Uzziah. But it may be answered, that, in the scriptural sense, all and Jerusalem, prophecy "concerns Judah and Jerusalem," i.e. the people and city of God; and, further, that it is quite impossible to prove that no part of the "vision" was seen in the reign of Uzziah. There are no means of knowing whether Isaiah collected his prophecies into a volume himself or whether the collection was the work of others. In either case, the existing title must be regarded as designed for the entire work. All the earlier prophecies - those of Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, and Zephaniah - have some title introducing them. Verse 1. - The vision (comp. Obadiah 1:1; Nahum 1:1). The term is probably used in a collective sense, but is also intended to suggest the intrinsic unity of the entire body of prophecies put forth by Isaiah. As prophets were originally called "seers" (1 Samuel 9:9), so prophecy was called "vision;" and this latter use continued long after the other (comp. 1 Chronicles 17:15; Ezekiel 12:27; Daniel 9:23; Obadiah 1:1, etc.). Isaiah the son of Amoz (comp. Isaiah 2:1; Isaiah 13:1; Isaiah 37:2; etc.; 2 Kings 20:1; 2 Chronicles 32:32). The signification of the name Isaiah is "the salvation of Jehovah." The name Amen (Amots) is not to be confused with Amos ('Amos), who seems to have been a contemporary (Amos 1:1). Concerning Judah and Jerusalem. The prophecies of Isaiah concern primarily the kingdom of Judah, not that of Israel. They embrace a vast variety of nations and countries (see especially Isaiah 13, 15. - 21, 23, 47.); but these nations and countries are spoken of "only because of the relation in which they stand to Judah and Jerusalem" (Kay), or at any rate to the people of God, symbolized under those names. Jerusalem occupies a prominent place in the prophecies (see Isaiah 1:8, 21; Isaiah 3:16-26; Isaiah 4:3-6; Isaiah 29. 1-8; 31:4-9, etc.). In the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Uzziah (or Azariah, as he is sometimes called) reigned fifty-two years - probably from B.C. 811 to B.C. 759; Jotham sixteen years - from B.C. 759 to B.C. 743; Ahaz also sixteen years - from B.C. 743 to B.C. 727; and Hezekiah twenty-nine years - from B.C. 727 to B.C. 698. Isaiah probably prophesied only in the later years of Uzziah, say from B.C. 760; but as he certainly continued his prophetical career tin Sennacherib's invasion of Judaea (Isaiah 37:5), which was not earlier than B.C. 705, he must have exercised the prophet's office for at least fifty-six years. The lowest possible estimate of the duration of his ministry is forty-seven years - from the last year of Uzziah, B.C. 759, to the fourteenth of Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:5). The highest known to us is sixty-four years - from the fourth year before Uzziah's death ( B.C. 762) to the last year of Hezekiah ( B.C. 698). (See 'Speaker's Commentary,' vol. 5. p. 5.) Isaiah 1:1What I have said here on Isaiah 1:1 as the heading to the whole book, or at any rate to Isaiah 1-39, has been said in part by Photios also in his Amphilochia, which Sophocles the M.D. has published complete from a MS of Mount Athos (Athens 1858, 4).

Isaiah 1:1Title of the collection, as given in Isaiah 1:1 : "Seeing of Jesha'-yahu, son of Amoz, which he saw over Judah and Jerusalem in the days of 'Uzziyahu, Jotham, Ahaz, and Yehizkiyahu, the kings of Judah." Isaiah is called the "son of Amoz." There is no force in the old Jewish doctrine (b. Megilla 15a), which was known to the fathers, that whenever the name of a prophet's father is given, it is a proof that the father was also a prophet. And we are just as incredulous about another old tradition, to the effect that Amoz was the brother of Amaziah, the father and predecessor of Uzziah (b. Sota 10b). There is some significance in this tradition, however, even if it is not true. There is something royal in the nature and bearing of Isaiah throughout. He speaks to kings as if he himself were a king. He confronts with majesty the magnates of the nation and of the imperial power. In his peculiar style, he occupies the same place among the prophets as Solomon among the kings. Under all circumstances, and in whatever state of mind, he is completely master of his materials - simple, yet majestic in his style - elevated, yet without affectation - and beautiful, though unadorned. But this regal character had its roots somewhere else than in the blood. All that can be affirmed with certainty is, that Isaiah was a native of Jerusalem; for notwithstanding his manifold prophetic missions, we never find him outside Jerusalem. There he lived with his wife and children, and, as we may infer from Isaiah 22:1, and the mode of his intercourse with king Hezekiah, down in the lower city. And there he laboured under the four kings named in Isaiah 1:1, viz., Uzziah (who reigned 52 years, 811-759), Jotham (16 years, 759-743), Ahaz (16 years, 743-728), and Hezekiah (29 years, 728-699). The four kings are enumerated without a Vav cop.; there is the same asyndeton enumerativum as in the titles to the books of Hosea and Micah. Hezekiah is there called Yehizkiyah, the form being almost the same as ours, with the simple elision of the concluding sound. The chronicler evidently preferred the fullest form, at the commencement as well as the termination. Roorda imagines that the chronicler derived this ill-shaped form from the three titles, were it is a copyist's error for וחזקיּהוּ or וחזקיּה; but the estimable grammarian has overlooked the fact that the same form is found in Jeremiah 15:4 and 2 Kings 20:10, where no such error of the pen can have occurred. Moreover, it is not an ill-shaped form, if, instead of deriving it from the piel, as Roorda does, we derive it from the kal of the verb "strong is Jehovah," an imperfect noun with a connecting i, which is frequently met with in proper names from verbal roots, such as Jesimil from sim, 1 Chronicles 4:36 : vid., Olshausen, 277, p. 621). Under these four kings Isaiah laboured, or, as it is expressed in Isaiah 1:1, saw the sight which is committed to writing in the book before us.

Of all the many Hebrew synonyms for seeing, חזה (cf., Cernere, κρίνειν, and the Sanscrit and Persian kar, which is founded upon the radical notion of cutting and separating) is the standing general expression used to denote prophetic perception, whether the form in which the divine revelation was made to the prophet was in vision or by word. In either case he saw it, because he distinguished this divine revelation from his own conceptions and thoughts by means of that inner sense, which is designated by the name of the noblest of all the five external senses. From this verb Chazah there came both the abstract Chazon, seeing, and the more concrete Chizzayon, a sight (visum), which is a stronger from of Chizyon (from Chazi equals Chazah). The noun Chazon is indeed used to denote a particular sight (comp. Isaiah 29:7 with Job 20:8; Job 33:15), inasmuch as it consists in seeing (visio); but here in the title of the book of Isaiah the abstract meaning passes over into the collective idea of the sight or vision in all its extent, i.e., the sum and substance of all that was seen. It is a great mistake, therefore, for any one to argue from the use of the word Chazon (vision), that Isaiah 1:1 was originally nothing more than the heading to the first prophecy, and that it was only by the addition of Isaiah 1:1 that it received the stamp of a general title to the whole book. There is no force in the argument. Moreover, the chronicler knew the book of Isaiah by this title (2 Chronicles 32:32); and the titles of other books of prophecy, such as Hosea, Amos, Micah, and Zephaniah, are very similar. A more plausible argument in favour of the twofold origin of Isaiah 1:1 has been lately repeated by Schegg and Meier, namely, that whilst "Judah and Jerusalem" are appropriate enough as defining the object of the first prophecy, the range is too limited to apply to all the prophecies that follow; since their object is not merely Judah, including Jerusalem, but they are also directed against foreign nations, and at chapter 7 the king of Israel, including Samaria, also comes within the horizon of the prophet's vision. And in the title to the book of Micah, both kingdoms are distinctly named. But it was necessary there, inasmuch as Micah commences at once with the approaching overthrow of Samaria. Here the designation is a central one. Even, according to the well-known maxims a potiori, and a proximo, fit denominatio, it would not be unsuitable; but Judah and Jerusalem are really and essentially the sole object of the prophet's vision. For within the largest circle of the imperial powers there lies the smaller one of the neighbouring nations; and in this again, the still more limited one of all Israel, including Samaria; and within this the still smaller one of the kingdom of Judah. And all these circles together form the circumference of Jerusalem, since the entire history of the world, so far as its inmost pragmatism and its ultimate goal were concerned, was the history of the church of God, which had for its peculiar site the city of the temple of Jehovah, and of the kingdom of promise. The expression "concerning Judah and Jerusalem" is therefore perfectly applicable to the whole book, in which all that the prophet sees is seen from Judah - Jerusalem as a centre, and seen for the sake and in the interests of both. The title in Isaiah 1:1 may pass without hesitation as the heading written by the prophet's own hand. This is admitted not only by Caspari (Micah, pp. 90-93), but also by Hitzig and Knobel. But if Isaiah 1:1 contains the title to the whole book, where is the heading to the first prophecy? Are we to take אשׁר as a nominative instead of an accusative (qui instead of quam, sc. visionem), as Luzzatto does? This is a very easy way of escaping from the difficulty, and stamping Isaiah 1:1 as the heading to the first prophetic words in Chapter 1; but it is unnatural, as חזון אשׁר חזה, according to Ges. (138, note 1), is the customary form in Hebrew of connecting the verb with its own substantive. The real answer is simple enough. The first prophetic address is left intentionally without a heading, just because it is the prologue to all the rest; and the second prophetic address has a heading in Isaiah 2:1, although it really does not need one, for the purpose of bringing out more sharply the true character of the first as the prologue to the whole.

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