Bible Query from
Q: In Isa, what verses relate to Jesus?
A: According to Jay P. Greenís Literal Translation p.976, the following verses of Isaiah are quoted or alluded to in the New Testament relating to Jesus.
Isa 6:9,10 Mt 13:14; Mk 4:12; Lk 8:10
Isa 9:14,15 Mt 21:44; Lk 20:18
Isa 13:9,10 Mt 24:29; Mk 13:24; Lk 21:25
Isa 22:22 Rev 3:7
Isa 29:13 Mt 14:8,8; Mk 7:6,7
Isa 36:5,6 Mt 11:5; 9:27
Isa 39:8 Mk 13:31
Isa 42:7 Lk 4:18
Isa 53:12d Lk 22:37
Isa 54:13 (allusion) Jn 6:45
Isa 56:7 (allusion) Mt 21:13; Mk 11:17; Lk 19:46
Isa 61:1 Lk 4:18
Isa 66:1 (allusion) 66:24 Mt 5:34;25; Mk 9:44,46,48
Of course there are additional passages that refer to the Messiah that were not mentioned in the New Testament.
Among the Dead Sea scrolls, the Great Isaiah Scroll is very interesting in that it has eleven places where there is what appears to be a sideways Tau (or Chi) Greek letter next to passages that are Messianic. It might be because Chi was the first letter of the Greek word for Christ. This does not prove Christian influence though, because "Christ" was recognized by Jews before Jesus' time as the Greek translation of Messiah or anointed one. These eleven passages are Isaiah 32:1ff; 42:1ff; 42:5ff; 42:19ff; 44:28; 49:5-7; 55:3-4; 56:1-2; 56:3ff; 58:13ff; 66:5ff. See The Archaeology of the New Testament p.346-348 for more info.
Q: In Isa, are the visions and oracles in Isaiah arranged chronologically?
A: While it is possible that they are, there is no need to think so. Either Isaiah near the end of his life or some one else probably arranged these topically. See also the next question.
Q: In Isa, what is an outline of this book?
A: Here is a simple, high-level outline of the arrangement of Isaiah.
1-5 Godís Charges against and Plans for Judah
6 Isaiahís Commission
7-12 Immanuel - God with Us
13-23 Godís Judgment on the Nations
24-27 Little Apocalypse (God judges the world)
28-33 Woe to Godís Disobedient People
34-35 Godís future plans for the world
36-39 Sennacherib and Hezekiah
40-44 Godís Comfort and Character
45-48 Cyrus and Babylon, and Leaving Babylon
49-55 Godís Deliverer and Israelís Deliverance
56-59 Manís Responsibility and Failure
60-66 Godís Sure Future Promises
Q: In Isa 1:1, did Isaiah have just one vision from God, or multiple visions?
A: Isaiah saw multiple visions. Here are the beginnings of some of the visions and (verbal only) oracles. Chapters 1, 2, 6, 7, 13, 15, 19, 21, 22, 23, 37:21, 38:4, 39:5.
Q: In Isa 1:1, when did Isaiah live?
A: Isaiah chapter 6, early in Isaiahís career, was In the year that Uzziah died, 739 B.C. Hezekiah succeeded Uzziah as king, followed by Manasseh in 687 B.C. Since Isaiah mentions Sennacheribís death, Isaiah probably lived during this event, which was 681 B.C.
The Jewish pseudepigraphal book Ascension of Isaiah says that Isaiah was killed by being sawn in two during the reign of Manasseh. Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.547 calls this "The Martyrdom of Isaiah" and says it was written about 100 A.D. Hebrews 11:37 says that some Old Testament believers were sawn in two, and Asimov says this might be a reference to Isaiah.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.4 for more info.
Q: In Isa 1:1, who was Isaiah's father Amoz?
A: We do not know anything about him. Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.527 mentions a rabbinic tradition that Amoz was a brother of king Amaziah, so Isaiah would be of royal blood. However, The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.4 says this Jewish tradition that Amoz was of royal blood cannot be substantiated.
Q: In Isa 1:1, how much of the Old Testament was written in Isaiahís time?
A: Probably Genesis through 2 Samuel, most likely Job, and Psalms.
Q: In Isa 1:1, what is the significance of mentioning the kings?
A: This shows us that Isaiah lived during some times that were very heart-breaking for godly people. Most of the kings of Judah were evil. One of the few good kings mentioned, Uzziah, had the pride to perform the Day of Atonement ceremony himself, when only the high priest should do it. As a result, God cursed him with leprosy until he died. Regardless of the circumstances, Isaiah could still faithfully serve God, and so should we.
Q: In Isa 1:2, since Godís children rebelled, and God is a good father, can Christians be good parents if their children go wrong?
A: Yes. Parents have great responsibility and influence over their children. However, ultimately it is the child, not the parent, who chooses whether or not the child will follow God.
Q: In Isa 1:3, why did Israel not know God, since nothing happens except what God allows?
A: God allows us a degree of freedom, and God allows things that make Him sad.
Q: In Isa 1:5, under what circumstances does discipline not work?
A: Two parts to consider in the answer.
1. Wrongly applied: Discipline does not work if:
1a. It is too mild to be a deterrent
1b. The one being disciplined does not comprehend why the discipline occurs at all.
1c. Discipline that is inconsistent or whose severity depends on the parentís mood, can be perceived as capricious and incomprehensible for the degree of punishment.
1d. Finally, discipline that is too harsh in proportion to what was done may still work, but there can be other, undesirable effects from the discipline.
2. Rightly applied: Even discipline that is perfectly applied in a perfectly consistent manner is not guaranteed to produce the desired effect. It is up to the person being disciplined to submit and not to harden their heart. Discipline is an external action. It cannot change the heart, it can only provide incentive for the person to change.
Q: In Isa 1:8, what does it mean that the daughter of Zion is left as "a lodge in a garden of melons"?
A: This humble, solitary dwelling is a sharp contract to Isaiah 5:8, where house upon house is joined together, as if in a huge mansion. The prosperous Judean landowners would be reduced to poor, subsistence farmers by the time Assyria and Babylonia got through with them.
Q: In Isa 1:8, should the word be "melons" (NIV) or "cucumbers" as the KJV?
A: A cucumber is a type of melon, and there is some uncertainty in which vegetables would be included in this Hebrew word.
Q: How does Isa 1:9 relate to Rom 9:29?
A: Romans 9:29 quotes Isaiah 1:9 to show that in both a spiritual as well as a physical sense, people of Jewish descent who believe in God are a remnant that is a very small percentage of the Israelites before the Exile.
Q: In Isa 1:11-17 and Jer 6:20, why is God criticizing sacrifices, assemblies, and even prayer, since God commanded these in the Torah?
A: Isaiah 1:14 does not say they were always a burden to God, but rather "they have become a burden". Insincere sacrifices are wearisome to God. See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.272-273, Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions p.214-215, and Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.233,235 for more info.
Q: In Isa 1:18, how should we take time to reason with God?
A: We do not need to inform or teach God anything, but reasoning with God is helpful for God to teach us. We should not run from great concepts or difficult questions, but rather patiently take them before the Lord. Part of the benefit is that God will guide you to the answers, and a second benefit is the training of your mind in the reasoning on the things of God. Perhaps the most important "benefit" though, is simply the privilege of spending this time with God.
Q: In Isa 1:18, does this suggest forgiveness of sin apart from Christ?
A: No. This does not specify the exact way God will forgive their sin, only that God will do it. See also the next question.
Q: In Isa 1:18, how could God forgive sin, since Christ had not come yet?
A: God teaches that sin is only forgiven through Christ, according to the New Testament, but a God who is outside of time can forgive sin through Christ whenever He wants. God is not restricted. For people living before Christ, Hebrews 9 and 10:1-4 show that their sins were "covered over" until Christís death, and they are forgiven in Christ. Isaiah 1:8 and other passages simply say "atoned" and "forgiven" instead of "covered over for now and forgiven later" for two reasons that we can see.
1. In the Old Testament, God only gives hints in Isaiah 53 and other places, not clear teaching, as to how He would accomplish this forgiveness. That their sins were forgiven was all with which they had to be concerned.
2. God has different perceptions of time than we do. We often view things that have not happened yet as future possibilities. God can view them as certainties that have "already happened", just at a later point in the tremendous three-dimensional videotape we call "life on earth."
Q: In Isa 1:21, why do some places have so many unrighteous people and murderers?
A: While we do not know about everyone in Jerusalem, in general, we can see at least five reasons why a city might have many wicked people.
1. There is no godly instruction.
2. There are no godly political and religious leaders for the people to respect, who can set an example.
3. No justice, or inconsistent justice in punishing wrongdoers.
4. Believers are not praying for their people (1 Samuel 12:23)
5. Godly people themselves are not turned from their own wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Q: In Isa 1:23 (KJV), why is it wrong that everyone loves gifts and follows after rewards?
A: While we are not to love material things, that is not the point of this verse. They were seeking dishonest gain. The NIV says "they all love bribes and chase after gifts."
Q: In Isa 2:4, in the last days why will God need to settle disputes between peoples?
A: He will not settle them at that time, because He will have already settled them. After the Messiah begins His reign on earth, he will not need to settle any disputes, disagreements, or wars. The only exception is at the end of the Millennium when Satan deceives the nations in Revelation 20:7-10.
Q: In Isa 2:4 what kind of plows did they have back then?
A: They did not have plowshares like later farmers. Rather, since iron was not as abundant they used an iron point on a wood beam. See The NIV Study Bible p.1020 for more info.
Q: In Isa 2:4 and Mic 4:3, will people turn their swords into plowshares, etc., or will they turn their plowshares into sword in Joel 3?
A: The turning of peaceful instrument to wartime use in Joel 3 happens during the tribulation before Jesus return again in glory. The turning of wartime instruments to peaceful use in Joel 2:4 and Micah 4:3 happens during the Millennium when Jesus comes and reigns. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.354-355 for more info.
Q: In Isa 3:2,5,14 (KJV), what is an ancient?
A: This means a man who is an elder.
Q: In Isa 3:3 (KJV), what is an artificer?
A: Jay P. Green's literal translation, the NIV, and the NKJV translate this as "clever / expert enchanter". Generalizing, one could think of this as any kind of deceiver.
Q: In Isa 3:4, why will children and babes be their rulers?
A: In peaceful, independent times, a king reigned to an old age. Consequently his son only became king when he was somewhat older. In contrast to this 2 Chronicles 36:1-11 says that
Jehoiahaz was 23 and reigned only 3 months
Jehoiakim was 25 and reigned 11 years
Jehoiachin was 8 (copyist error, really 18) and reigned 3 months and ten days
Zedekiah was 21 and reigned 11 years
They were all young because their predecessor was removed from power so soon.
Q: In Isa 3:7, why would some one decline to be their ruler?
A: Scripture does not say, but we can see three reasons.
No benefit: Few people would want the responsibility of being a ruler, when there was absolutely no benefit to doing so.
Guilt: When a nation goes astray, perhaps the leaders would have more guilt in acquiescing, than if they were not leaders.
Bad consequences: The next invading army, be it Assyrian, Egyptian, or Babylonian, might decide to kill the previous rulers and their families. This might be the dominant reason.
Q: In Isa 3:12, was it a rebuke that women would rule over them?
A: When there are stable dynasties of kings, and in times of peace kings live to an old age, and the next king usually is fairly mature. When kings are frequently captured or killed, a symptom of this instability is that women and youths often rule.
Q: In Isa 3:15 (KJV), how can some one "grind the faces of the poor"?
A: This graphic expression was very apt. People would grind wheat plants to separate the wheat from the chaff. The rich could grind the poor to separate them from what little money they had.
Q: In Isa 3:16, what are "mincing steps"?
A: This means they had an artificial manner, with short steps or affected preciseness. They would do this out of pride.
Q: In Isa 3:16,18, how did the women "make a tinkling with their feet?
A: The answer is found in Isaiah 3:18. The women had ankle chains, which had ornaments on them.
Q: In Isa 3:17 (KJV), what does "smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion" mean?
A: The NIV translates this as sores on the head of the women of Zion.
Q: In Isa 3:18 (KJV), what are "tires like the moon"?
A: This King James Version expression means crescent ornaments/necklaces, according to the NASB and NIV. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.353 for more info.
Q: In Isa 3:19 (KJV), what are "mufflers"?
A: This is an old-fashioned word for "veil".
Q: In Isa 3:22,24 (KJV), what are wimples, crisping pins, and a stomacher?
A: During the time the King James Version was translated, the English language was richer than today in words describing womenís apparel. The NIV mentions capes, cloaks, sashes, and fine clothing.
Q: In Isa 4:1, when will seven women ask one man to marry them?
A: This will be in the end times, just prior to the Messiah's return in Isaiah 4:2-6.
Q: In Isa 4:1, is it disgraceful for us to be unmarried?
A: No. Scripture affirms that singleness is fine and never says it is disgraceful to be unmarried. (Isaiah 54:1-5; Matthew 19:11-12; 1 Corinthians 7:25-38). However, some women at this particular future time, for reasons unspecified, would view marriage as a means for taking away their disgrace. Their disgrace might not have been singleness, but the activities they engaged in while they were unmarried.
Q: In Isa 4:2; 11:1-4 is the branch Jesus?
A: Yes. The Branch will be involved in the people becoming holy, God washing away their filth. Also, the word for Branch (nasr) is very similar to the word "Nazarene" and Jesus grew up in Nazareth. See 735 Bible Questions Answered p.165-166 for more info.
Q: In Isa 4:3, when will all in Jerusalem be Holy?
A: This will be in the future, during the Millennium.
Q: In Isa 5:1-12, what is the point of the parable about the owner and the vineyard?
A: Isaiah's song is an allegory of God, a vineyard owner. God, who prepared a fine vineyard, the house of Israel and Judah. Yet there was no fruit from the vineyard for the vineyard owner. God was prophesying that as a useless vineyard is not kept up anymore but destroyed, Israel and Judah will be destroyed.
Q: In Isa 5:7, what are the plays on words (puns) here?
A: The words "justice" and "bloodshed" are mishpat and mispah in Hebrew. Righteousness and distress are sedaqah and se'aqah in Hebrew. The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.48 says some have tried to translate both the meaning and the play on words. G.H. Box in The Book of Isaiah translated this as "For measures He looked - but lo massacres! For right - and lo riot!"
See The NIV Study Bible p.1023 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1042 for more info.
Q: In Isa 5:8, what was wrong with joining house to house, somewhat like apartments or a large mansion?
A: Scripture does not say, but it could be for two reasons.
1. Wealthy landowners, who had a monopoly on the jobs, could oppress workers, as James 5:1-6 shows.
2. Even without that, God is not pleased with His people having prosperity without any gratitude to Him.
Q: In Isa 5:12, is this negative mention of instruments at drinking feasts a criticism of all use of mechanical instruments of music?
A: No. All Christians can agree on two points.
1. Some use of music, in other religions, and in secular rock and rap music with vulgar, violent, or suggestive lyrics, is ungodly. Christians should especially not try to hear ungodly music.
2. All, even Church of Christ people, are not against some use of mechanical instruments outside of church.
Let us hope that no misguided Church of Christ parent ever says, "you can listen to whatever secular music you want, even with questionable lyrics, but I better not catch you listening to music that glorifies God!" If Church of Christ leaders will not allow mechanical instruments in church, but they can use mechanical instruments to praise God outside of church, why not stop going to church? Instead, just meet together and praise God freely, and if the time you meet together happens to be Sunday morning, that is OK.
The last half of Isaiah 5:12, shows that it was not so much the instruments, as that they had no regard for the deeds of the Lord. David and others used worshipped God with musical instruments in many places in the book of Psalms. Even the saints use lyres in Heaven.
Q: In Isa 5:14, how does Hell enlarge itself?
A: This poetic expression means that its population would increase.
Q: In Isa 5:15 (KJV), what is the "mean man"?
A: This King James Version expression does not mean "unkind man", but rather a man of low position.
Q: In Isa 5:16, does sending people to Hell exalt God?
A: -Actually, yes. While admittedly it does not show the loving, kind side of God, it shows both the just side of God as a judge, and the wrath of God. As Norman Geisler once said, "Hell is the most glorious of all Christian doctrines, because it proves that man is truly free." In other words, man was given enough responsibility and freedom, that God would permit Him to even do things deserving of Hell.
There is a point here about exalting God that should not be overlooked. Exalting God does not mean whitewashing God and showing only the truth of His kindness and love. Exalting God means showing the complete picture, of both the kindness and sternness of God (Romans 11:22).
Q: In Isa 5:18-19, what is this saying?
A: Woe are those who say they want God to come soon, yet do unrighteous things. In other words, they should be careful for what they ask.
Q: In Isa 5:21, what exactly is wrong with being wise in your own eyes?
A: If there were no other reason that God did not like it, that alone would be reason enough. However, there are plenty of additional reasons. Imagine encountering a student in a grade school who thought he knew everything and was proud of it. A school student's knowledge is closer to that of an adult, than our knowledge is of God's knowledge.
Proverbs 30:3-4 also shows that when people think they have plenty, there is a tendency to say to God "what need do I have of You".
Q: In Isa 5:22-23, what is meant by this metaphor of "heroes at mixing drinks"?
A: They were experts at mixing alcoholic drinks, they were proud of their expertise, and others admired their ability. Take heed of what you are proud of, and for what others admire you.
Q: In Isa 5:23, how do people justify the wicked for a bribe?
A: One would think that mafia lawyers and some criminal defense attorneys have a verse in the Bible especially written for them. In court cases, purchasing decisions, mergers, politics, and other situations, people can let the guilty party go free, let them off easy, and transfer the blame to another party, or fix the blame on one party when it was shared.
Q: In Isa 5:24, how can people despise the word of God?
A: They can do it in a variety of ways.
Ignore: Some simply disregard what the Bible says. To their credit, at least they are honest about not following the Bible.
Mock what the Bible says, as a person defiantly does things their own way.
Redefine the words. That way a person can claim to follow the Bible, but the parts they do not want to believe they can say is just figurative or cultural. This can sound convincing, because some passages in the Bible are figurative, or only for a time. A way to tell if someone is honestly trying to interpret the Bible properly is if they are trying to understand what the original writer intended.
Reduce: Some Christian liberals claim the Bible is not the word of God, but has the word of God inside it. What they mean by this is that if you agree with a part of the Bible, that part becomes the word of God for you. If you disagree with a part, then you do not have to follow it.
Supplement: Some, especially Catholics, and some cults, say the Bible is good but not sufficient. They think it is required to have additional authorities and teaching on equal with the Bible.
Substitute: Some who claim to supplement or add to what is in the Bible are in fact substituting their tradition for what God taught. Jesus gave an example of the Pharisees doing this with their tradition of Corban in Mark 7:9-13.
Q: In Isa 5:26 (KJV), what is an ensign?
A: This word means banner or flag.
Q: In Isa 5:26 and Zech 10:8, is it ill-befitting that God allegedly "hisses", as the Muslim Ahmad Deedat claims?
A: Actually Isaiah 5:26 it is not "hissing" but "whistling" as in calling someone to come. Isaiah 5:26 says, "he [God] whistles for those at the end of the earth" (NIV). Likewise Zechariah 10:8 says, "I [God] will signal for them and gather them in." It is not ill-befitting God to call someone and they have to come and do what He bids.
Q: In Isa 5:27-28, does this army refer to the Babylonians, or an army in Revelation?
A: This primarily refers to the Babylonian army at that time.
Q: In Isa 5:29 (KJV), how can one carry the prey away safe?
A: This does not mean the prey was safe. This means that the prey, which had already been killed, was safe from being taken by other predators.
Q: In Isa 6:1, was Isaiah physically present, or was he seeing a vision?
A: While Isaiah could have been physically removed to a different place, these verses do not say this. They simply speak of what Isaiah saw, so he most likely saw a vision. The NIV Study Bible p.1025 also says this probably was a vision.
Q: In Isa 6:1, by the time of the prophets, was lightning personified as seraphim, and the storm blast as cherubim as the skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.530 claims?
A: No, there is no evidence of this claim. If a scientist at a conference asserted a scientific fact with as little evidence as Asimov has for some of his Bible interpretations, he would be laughed out of the meeting.
Q: In Isa 6:2, are seraphim here the same as cherubim in Ezek 1:5-25; 9:3; 10:1-22; 41:18 and the four living creatures in Rev 4:6-9?
A: Christians have two views.
No. The Bible would have used only one word if they were the same. The Bible uses two words, so we should, too. This is the view of Scofield according to 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.338.
Yes. These are such unusual beings, and nothing in either description is incompatible with other descriptions. Also, the cherubim in Ezekiel 41:18 appeared with a human face and a face of a young lion.
Q: In Isa 6:3, where else is this Hebrew word saraph used?
A: The angelic beings called seraphim are not mentioned by this name anywhere else in the Old Testament. However, some think the cherubim might be the same, as the previous questions discusses. In addition, as Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.529 correctly points out, the Hebrew word means "fiery" and it is used as an adjective in "fiery serpents" in Numbers 21:6,8. It is also used in Isaiah 14:29; 30:6.
Q: In Isa 6:3, why were the seraphim saying this?
A: While scripture does not say, we can make three observations.
1. Of all the things they could have been saying, in Isaiah 6:3 this apparently is the most important.
2. This is similar to what the four living creatures (perhaps seraphim) say in revelation 4:9). The difference is "the whole earth is full of His glory" vs. "who was and is and is to come"
3. In both cases, holy is mentioned three times, which may be an indication of the Trinity.
Q: In Isa 6:4, is this the only thing the seraphim say?
A: Scripture does not say this is all they speak. However, there is certainly nothing improper about repeating this great truth.
Q: In Isa 6:7, how can a coal take away iniquity?
A: The coal did not take away iniquity, God did. This was a vision, and the coal symbolized the event of God taking away Isaiah's iniquity. Some see this as taking away Isaiah's uncleanness in general. Others speculate that Isaiah might have had a sinful tendency to have a foul mouth, and God just took that away.
Q: In Isa 6:7, was Isaiah sinlessly perfect after the coal was placed on his mouth?
A: No, while scripture is silent about Isaiahís sins, neither this nor any other passage implies Isaiah was sinless. This merely says that Isaiah was cleansed from what he saw made him unfit for service.
Q: In Isa 6:8, why does the All-Knowing God ask questions?
A: He asks questions to give us an opportunity to respond to Him. A few hundred years later Socrates popularized asking questions in what was later known as the Socratic method of teaching.
Q: In Isa 6:9-10, why does God want the people to hear, yet not understand?
A: Four points to understand in the answer.
1. God does not want anyone to perish (Ezekiel 18:23,32; 2 Peter 3:9)
2. Even so, Isaiah 6:10 and Luke 1:51-53 show that God did not want them to understand. Jesus Himself reminded people of Isaiahís word in Matthew 13:14-16. Why? Scripture gives two reasons.
3. To shame their pride (1 Corinthians 1:26-30). Those who never too proud to acknowledge their need for God, or who tried to reach heaven, not by Godís mercy, but by their own wisdom, God would frustrate them. Perhaps if they saw just how short their understanding was, they would turn to God.
4. Godís mercy to them: For those who refuse to trust in God, 2 Peter 2:21-22; Romans 4:15; 5:13 show that sins done in "innocent" ignorance are not counted against them. (Note that Romans 1:18-22 shows people can suppress the truth, that is, have a guilty ignorance.)
Q: In Isa 6:10 (KJV), what does it mean that the peopleís hearts are fat?
A: This negative description means their hearts were heavy and immovable.
Q: In Isa 6:11, what exactly is Isaiah saying here?
A: The people will be insensitive until after this devastating punishment occurs. As a side note, there is one key difference between the Jews/Israelites (before the exile) and the Jews (after the exile). The Israelites frequently turned away into idolatry, and the Jews never did. Isaiah 5:13 says that Godís people would go into exile because of their lack of knowledge.
Q: In Isa 6:12-13, what is the meaning of Godís answer to Isaiah?
A: Isaiah was to prophecy until his death or the judgment came. However, there would be a remnant of the people left after the judgment.
Q: In Isa 6:13, what is a terebinth tree?
A: According to the New Bible Dictionary (1978 p.1294), the terebinth tree is a spreading tree less than 25 feet high. Its scientific name is Pistacia terebinthus of the variety palaestina.
Q: In Isa 6:13, how were the Israelites and Jews like an oak tree and its acorns?
A: An oak tree can be cut down, but its stump can send out new growth. The acorns starting another oak tree can live even though the parent plant dies.
Q: In Isa 6:13, how many kinds of oak trees are in Palestine?
A: According to the New Bible Dictionary (1978 p.1293-1294) there are about 24 species of the oak genus, called Quercus in Palestine. Some of the species are ilex, coccifea (kermes oak), palaestina, sessiliflora, lusitanica, aegilops, and cerris.
Q: In Isa 7:1, when did this siege of Jerusalem occur?
A: In the short-term, God delivered Jerusalem from the Assyrians. Permanently, God delivered His people through the Messiah's atoning death on the cross.
Q: In Isa 7:2, who is Ephraim?
A: The name of this son of Jacob was a synonym for the largest northern tribe. Mentioning the largest northern tribe was a synonym for the entire northern Kingdom.
Q: In Isa 7:3, who was Shear-Jashub?
A: This was Isaiah's son. The meaning of his name is "a remnant will return".
Q: In Isa 7:5,9, what is the significance of not referring to King Pekah by name (except in Isa 7:1), but only referring to him as Remaliahís son?
A: This might be a means of scorn for two reasons. Pekah was not the rightful king of Israel. Pekah assassinated Pekahiah and became king (2 Kings 15:23-30). In 2 Chronicles 28:6, Pekah killed 120,000 people of Judah. Pekah reigned twenty years, and he in turn was assassinated by Hoshea in 2 Kings 15:30.
Q: In Isa 7:8-9, what is the literary structure here?
A: This has the following structure:
A1: The head of Aram is Damascus
- B2: And the head of Damascus is Rezin
-- C1 and within ... will be shattered, no longer a people
A2. And the hear of Ephraim is Samaria
- B2: And the head of Samaria is Remaliahís son
-- C2: If you do not stand by faith, indeed you will not stand at all.
Besides being well-written poetry, a style like this would show us that an individual lines were not added or deleted.
See The Prophecy of Isaiah by J. Alec Motyer p.82 for more info.
Q: In Isa 7:10-11, why was Ahaz told to ask for a sign here?
A: God invited Ahaz to ask for a sign or miracle from God. Ahaz chose not to do so, and so Ahaz was not given an impressive sign for him to see. Instead, God provided a double fulfillment of this prophecy. The word "woman" here can be translated as "young maiden" or as "virgin". Isaiahís wife had a child that provided immediate fulfillment of this prophecy. Nothing seems particularly miraculous about this birth, though. Centuries later, Jesus would be born of a virgin.
It can be proved that interpreting this word as virgin is not a "Christian invention", as the Greek Septuagint translation, written centuries before Christ, translated this word as parthenos, or virgin. The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.532 fails to point this out, incorrectly saying instead that the Christian's view rests on the word translated in the King James Version. (Later, on p.781 Asimov mistakenly says that making this word as "virgin" goes back to Matthew.)
Q: In Isa 7:10-12, did Ahaz believe in God, or not?
A: Ahaz believed in God intellectually. However, at this point, he was not trusting God to deliver him. In Jesus' parable of the four soils, Christ mentioned those who would believe, but would fall away during trouble or persecution.
Q: In Isa 7:12, why did Ahaz not want to ask?
A: On the surface, it appears that Ahaz did not want to sin by testing God. However, Ahaz was not following God, when God through Isaiah instructed him to ask.
Ahaz knew his own heart. Perhaps he did not have the faith to trust that God would work in this situation, and he was uncomfortable being in a situation where faith was needed.
If we are in a similar situation, remember that it is God who does the working, not us.
Q: In Isa 7:13, how was Ahaz wearying God, and how can people weary God today?
A: Not only was Ahaz wearying God, but the House of David, that is, the kings of Judah, had been wearying God. They had the pretense of following God, but they did not obey Him in their hearts.
Today God can be weary of people honoring God with their lips, but having their heart far from God (Matthew 15:8-9; Isaiah 29:13).
Q: In Isa 7:14 and Isa 8:8, does "Immanuel/Emmanuel", meaning "God with us" refer to Jesus Christ?
A: Yes, according to Matthew 1:23. By the way, while el was a common component of a name, Emmanuel is unknown in the Bible as a name or title until its use here. Tertullian in Against Marcion book 3 ch.12 (207 A.D.) also discusses this.
As a historical note, one early Christian to use these passages in apologetics was Irenaeus of Lyons in Against Heresies p.452 (written about 182-188 A.D.). Origen (225-254 A.D.) also mentioned this as messianic in Origen Against Celsus book 1 ch.36 p.411.
Q: In Isa 7:14, since the Messiah will be called Immanuel, why was He called Jesus in Luke 1:31?
A: A Chinese Christian was very puzzled by this, and here is the answer he was given.
When you were born, what name were you given? It was your Chinese name, right? Now in America, what name do you co-workers call you? It is your English name, right? In a similar way, the proper "birth-name" of the Messiah is "Jesus". However, Jesus is God, and is called "Immanuel", God with us.
See Now Thatís A Good Question p.39-40 for a totally different way of explaining this, but essentially the same conclusion. The only difference is that R.C. Sproul explains this a little more precisely, distinguishing between the "proper name" of Jesus, and one of "titles" of Jesus being Immanuel.
Q: Does Isa 7:14-16 refer to the king of Assyria, or to Jesus?
A: This is an example of a prophecy with a dual fulfillment. First of all, the Hebrew word for "you" here is plural. This prophecy likely does refer to some one at that time, probably Isaiahís (naturally-conceived) son, as well as the virgin birth of Jesus. The word "virgin" here is interesting. There are two Hebrew words for virgin. One Hebrew word (betulah) means only never had sex with a man, but that is not the word used here. The word which was used (almah) has two meanings: never had sex with a man and also a young maiden in general. As proof that the second word was understood as "virgin" also, the Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint used the word parthenos, which only means virgin. Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.267-268 also points out that of the seven uses of the Hebrew word almah in the Bible, every single time it refers to a young maiden who never had sex.
Historically, Tertullianís Five Books Against Marcion book 3 chapter 13 (207 A.D.) answered this objection. He says, "They are, however, refuted by this consideration, that nothing of the nature of a sign can possibly come out of what is a daily occurrence, the pregnancy and child-bearing of a young woman. A virgin mother is justly deemed to be proposed by God as a sign..."
See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.267-268 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.166-167, and When Critics Ask p.267 for more info.
Q: In Isa 7:14-16, since the Hebrew words ha almah could mean "the young maiden" as well as "the virgin", why does Matt 1:23 say Isaiah 7:14-16 speaks of a virgin having a son? Was that not fulfilled in Isaiahís time?
A: Many prophecies have a dual fulfillment. In particular Isaiah 7:14-16 uses a Hebrew word almah that can be translated "young maiden" or "virgin"; it is the same word used of the child Miriam, who was both, in Exodus 2:8. There was another Hebrew word for "virgin", betulah (like the Akkadian word batultu), but that was not used here. The prophecy was given in 735 B.C., Syria was destroyed in 732 B.C., and 12 or 13 years later the prophecy was fulfilled with the Assyrians destroying and deporting Israel.
One reason betulah might not have been used is because in ancient usage it did not always mean virgin either. For example, betulah means a woman who is married in Joel 1:8 and Jeremiah 25 multiple times.
This prophecy also referred to a virgin birth. As proof that it was understood that way, the Septuagint, translated over a hundred years prior to Christís coming translated the word parthenos which can only mean virgin. Therefore, while the Septuagint translation could not translate both meanings, it proves that the Jewish translators fully accepted the "virgin" meaning.
Also, Hard Sayings of the Bible p.300-302 has three telling points
a) "you" is plural. This means the sign is for the entire house of David, not just Ahaz.
b) The word 'almah can refer to either a young maiden or a virgin, but there is not a single instance where it means a married woman.
c) The definite article before 'almah (ha'almah) should make this be translated as "the virgin/young maiden".
See The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.266-268 and 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.166 for more info.
Q: In Isa 7:14-16, could the immediate fulfillment of this prophecy be the birth of Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz?
A: No, because Hezekiah would have already been born and be about ten years old at the time of the prophecy. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.301 andJ Greshem Machenís The Virgin Birth of Christ p.290 for more info. The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.533 says Hezekiah would be an adult at this time.
Q: In Isa 7:14, who was the woman in travail at this time?
A: This prophecy has a dual fulfillment. The ultimate fulfillment is Mary the mother of Jesus. The NIV Study Bible p.1027, The New Geneva Study Bible p.1035, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1047-1048, and The Nelson Study Bible p.1124 all say mention this dual fulfillment.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1048 says this could not be Isaiahís wife, because Isaiahís wife already had a child (Shear-Jashub) and so was not a virgin, and Isaiahís child was not named Immanuel. The NIV Study Bible p.1027 counters that this may refer to the woman betrothed as Isaiah's second wife, because his first wife presumably died shortly after Shear-Jashub was born.
On one hand, The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 6 p.64 suggests the immediate fulfillment is not mothers in general, nor Hezekiah (ten years old by then), but a royal contemporary of Isaiah. It says it is unlikely that Isaiahís wife would be called the prophetess in Isaiah 8:3, and yet be so anonymous here. Against this though, it would have to be vague with Isaiahís wife/Mary, young maiden/virgin, to have a dual fulfillment.
Conclusion: Today we cannot tell who the woman was for the immediate fulfillment, except that the son was not Hezekiah. However, the ultimate fulfillment was with Mary and Jesus, as Matthew 1:23 says.
Q: In Isa 7:15, does this support the concept of an age of accountability?
A: It supports it, but does not prove it. There is an age, which can be different for different children, when they know good from evil. Romans 4:15 shows that sin still occurs, but it is not counted as transgression when the person was not able to know it was wrong.
Many Christians think babies and young children who die, since they have not committed any intentional sins, will go to heaven through Jesus. Jesus is still needed as their Savior to cleans their nature and forgive their unintentional sins.
An alternate view is that immediately after death, people who die without the knowledge to be able to accept or reject Jesus will be given an opportunity to make the same decision they would have made if they were alive. Support (but not proof) for this is found in 2 Peter 3:19-20 and 2 Peter 4:5-6.
A third view is that since both the just and unjust will be resurrected during the Millennium, those who had no opportunity before will have an opportunity then. You can read about the Millennium in Revelation in 20:2-11.
Q: In Isa 7:20, what is the significance of God shaving with a razor?
A: There are to "points" to "face". A razor gives a close shave, and they would have a close call with the Assyrian knife right next to their skin. In that culture, it was an insult to shave a man's beard against his will, as 2 Samuel 10:4 indicates. The nation would be humiliated by the Assyrians.
Q: In Isa 7:20, is it ill-befitting that God should be called a "barber", as the Muslim Ahmad Deedat claims?
A: Isaiah 7:20 does not say God is barber, but that metaphorically that God will shave the beards of the ungodly Israelites. Shaving a manís beard against his will was a humiliation.
Q: In Isa 7:21-25, what exactly is being prophesied here?
A: This refers to a gradual climate change in Israel. Israel today, without irrigation, would be more arid than it was in the times before Christ.
Q: In Isa 8:1 should this word be translated as "scroll" or "tablet"?
A: The Hebrew word here, gillayon, simply means a large flat writing surface, so it could be translated either way. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.6 p.67 for more info.
Q: In Isa 8:3, who is the prophetess? Did she prophecy too?
A: This is Isaiahís wife. While she might have prophesied, it is likely that she was called "the prophetess" because she was the prophetís wife.
Q: In Isa 8:6, what are the waters of Shiloah?
A: Also called the Spring of Siloam, this was the secret, gently-flowing underground spring that was Jerusalemís water supply. This life-sustaining stream was contrasted with the fierce flood of the Euphrates River. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.6 p.67; the New International Bible Commentary p.728, and the Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1051 for more info.
Q: In Isa 8:8, how does the word "Immanuel" relate to Jesus?
A: Immanuel here means "God be with us", and the context is one of desperation, as in "God help us." While this verse does not tell us anything specific about Jesus, this repetition of the word of the Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 teaches us how we can rely on the promises of God. The strong waters of the Euphrates refer to the nation of Assyria, and possibly the Babylonians, that would almost drown Judah, "up to its neck".
Yet, as The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1051 says, "the word Immanuel assured the hearers that God had not forgotten His covenant people and would be with them."
In fact, the word "Immanuel" is the pivotal word in Isaiah 8:1-10. Reading Isaiah 8:1-8a, and stopping in the middle of verse 8, one could get the impression that this "flood" of the army will be so severe that Judah will be finished forever. Yet, Godís promise of Immanuel, would be fulfilled, thus guaranteeing that Judah would survive. Isaiah 8:8b-10 are a vivid contrast to the preceding verses. Those invading nations would be shattered. Curiously, it contains no promise about Judah triumphing, only the shattering of Godís enemies, and to reiterate who is doing the shattering, Isaiah 10:10b says, "for God is with us."
Q: In Isa 8:12 (KJV), what does "confederacy" mean in these passages?
A: There was a conspiracy. Today, there are also people who see a conspiracy behind everything.
Q: In Isa 8:14 (KJV), what is a gin?
A: This is an archaic word for a trap.
Q: In Isa 8:14, how is God a sanctuary?
A: While a sanctuary is a holy place, that is not the primary point here. Rather, God is a refuge, such that when one seeks refuge in God as his or her sanctuary, God will shelter them.
Q: In Isa 8:18, when was this prophecy fulfilled?
A: This prophecy had both a direct fulfillment within Isaiah's lifetime, when Assyria conquered Damascus and Samaria and a future fulfillment.
Q: In Isa 8:19-20, what exactly is wrong with asking for advice from fortune-tellers and spiritists?
A: God said not to do so. We can see at least two reasons why God would say so.
1. Lack of trust in Godís providence and guidance. We can trust God to tell us everything we need to know, though it might not always be everything we want to know.
2. Trusting in fortune telling or spirits is not trusting our lives to God. Trusting in mediums and spirits also open us up to the demonic world of the occult.
Jeremiah 2:13, in the context of idolatry, says, "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water." (NIV).
Q: In Isa 8:19-20, does this relate to Mormonism?
A: This relates to all who seek advice from the occult and the dead, not just Mormonism. However, it relates to Mormons in at least three ways.
Glass-looking was an occultic practice in the nineteenth century, when a person would claim to be able to find buried treasure by looking in a glass. This was so common, that in New York there was an ordinance against this. Joseph Smith, Jr. in the small village of Palmyra, New York, was convicted of the misdemeanor of glass-looking. Court records have been found which confirm this.
Peep stone. Joseph Smith went on from glass-looking to claiming to translate the Book of Mormon by looking at a stone in a hat.
The Mormon Book of Abraham was claimed to be translated the same way, from some ancient Egyptian papyrii. We have these papyrii today, and needless to say, Joseph's translation was a fraud. Joseph even wrote an Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, where he apparently tried to teach others his version of "reformed Egyptian".
Q: Do Isa 9:1 and Isa 9:2 belong together, or was Mt 4:14-16 incorrect to put these together?
A: They belong together because Isaiah 9:1 is a transition with both sections.
The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.816 says Isaiah 9:1 belongs with the earlier section and is actually called Isaiah 8:23 in modern Jewish Bibles and the New Jerusalem Bible. Admittedly Isaiah 8:22 and 9:1 do relate, because Isaiah 8:22 speaks of people in darkness and Isaiah 9:1 speaks of no more darkness.
However, Isaiah 8:22 speaks of people who will be driven away into darkness, Isaiah 9:1 says there will be no more darkness for Zebulun and Naphtali, and Isaiah 9:2-7 says how the people who were in darkness will see a great light.
It is interesting that Asimov is trying to say that those who were in gloom will have it lifted in Isaiah 9:1 does not relate to those who were in darkness and have seen a great light in the very next verse.
Q: In Isa 9:1-2, how was it fulfilled that the Galilee of the Gentiles would be honored?
A: Jesus spent a great deal of time in this land, which was east of the Sea of Galilee. This was explicitly fulfilled according to Matthew 4:15-16.
Q: Could Isa 9:1,6,7 refer to Bahaíuíllah of the Bahaíis, since Jesus did not have the government on His shoulders (Bahaíuíllah and the New Era p.261-262)?
A: No, the government will be on Jesusí shoulders when Jesus comes again. This cannot refer to Bahaíuíllah because:
a) Bahaíuíllah was not called Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6)
b) Bahaíuíllah did not do any shattering the yoke that burdens the people of Galilee as in the day of Midianís defeat. (Isaiah 9:4)
c) Bahaíuíllah did not do any governing either, and Bahaíis do not claim Bahaíuíllah will come again.
d) While the Bahaíis might wish to govern the world, their International House of Justice is an irrelevancy as far as politics and government in the 20th and 21st century are concerned.
Q: In Isa 9:6-8, does this refer to the Christ?
A: Yes. Christ is the Greek for Messiah, and this is definitely a Messianic prophecy, for the Messiah will
a) Govern the people (Isaiah 9:6,7
b) Reign on David's throne (Isaiah 9:7)
c) From that time on and forever (Isaiah 9:7)
The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.534 says such rhapsodic phrases of an ideal king may refer to the coronation of a king such as Hezekiah. However, no Jews in ancient times every wrote that they held this apparently modern theory.
Q: In Isa 9:6, how did Jesus bring peace, since the world is not peaceful today?
A: In His first coming Jesus gave us peace within out hearts. It is not until His second coming that Jesus will make the fighting stop and bring peace to this world. Of course, ultimately there will be peace in heaven.
See Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.232 for more info.
Q: In Isa 9:6, how can Jesus be called the "Everlasting Father" and the Trinity be true?
A: Modalists and Oneness Pentecostals often bring up this objection. Jesus is the father of our salvation, and the Father is in Jesus, but they are still distinct. Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.268 says that the Hebrew phrase abi'ad could be translated as either "everlasting father" or "father of eternity". Regardless, Isaiah 9:6 is referring to a son, that is the child that is born. Of course, as I am both a son and a father, the Son can be the father of our eternal life without being His own father. See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.148-149, When Cultists Ask p.77-78, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.268, When Critics Ask p.268, and 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.167 for more info.
Q: In Isa 9:6, since Jesus is "Mighty God", is this different from "Almighty God"?
A: No. Jehovahís Witnesses say this in Reasoning from Scriptures, 1989 p.413-414 (also the same page numbers in the 1985 version.). "Does this mean that, because Jesus Christ is prophetically called ĎMighty Godí at Isaiah 9:6, Jesus must be Jehovah? Again, the context answers, No! None of the idolatrous Gentile nations formed a god before Jehovah, because no one existed before Jehovah. ... But that does not mean that Jehovah never caused to exist anyone who is properly referred to as a god. (Ps 82:1, 6; John 1:1, NW). At Isaiah 10:21 Jehovah is referred to as Ďmighty God,í just as Jesus is in Isaiah 9:6; but only Jehovah is every called ĎGod Almighty.í Ė Gen. 17:1." (italics in the original) So Jehovahís Witnesses themselves, while denying that Jesus is Jehovah or Almighty God, teach that Jesus "is properly referred to as a god."
Jehovah's Witnesses say this because they refuse to accept one fact: there is only One God for us to follow. There is only One Lord for us to obey. They try to say that Jesus is a second lesser "might" god. They say that Jesus is not a God in worship, or prayer to Him, but only in title [and an empty title at that!] people either have One God in their places of worship or multiple gods. In churches of God, we honor only God.
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit are distinct beings, but they are one inseparable God. See When Cultists Ask p.78-79, 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.31 and The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.106 for more info.
Q: In Isa 9:6, is there evidence that Jews considered this to be a prophecy of the Messiah?
A: Yes. The Yemenite Midrash 349-350 and the Pereq Shalom p.101 show that some Jews considered this to be Messianic.
Q: In Isa 9:19, why are people fuel for the fire?
A: The people refuse to follow God, and they are objects of God's wrath (Ephesians 2:3). Perhaps the people themselves have crossed a "line of despair" (Francis Schaeffer's term) and they themselves would realize that when the Assyrians and later Babylonians came, that fuel for the fire is all that they were. We are all created in the image of God and valuable in God's sight. However, for those who will never follow God (the reprobate) they are just fuel for the fire.
As a side note, the false religion of Hinduism teaches that the fire god Agni "cooks people" after they die. (Rig Veda 10.16.1-2 p.49). Hindus desire to rejoin the cosmic flame, where all individuality is destroyed.
Q: In Isa 9:20, does this refer to cannibalism?
A: No. This is not cannibalism, but self-consumption to two ways.
Militarily, in Isaiahís time Israelites in the northern kingdom often fought against the people of Judah, as Isaiah 9:21 says.
Spiritually, both individuals and the people collectively were hurting themselves and their children by their continued sin.
Q: In Isa 10:1-3, how do people make unjust laws?
A: Here is what one powerful government leader said, "It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes." The quote was by United States President Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) (quoted from The Great Quotations p.355.)
The source of the quote is interesting. Andrew Jackson was the one who ordered the U.S. army to forcibly remove the Cherokees from their land, in what was later known as the "Trail of Tears" after there was a treaty between them and the United States government to stay on the land. When it was threatened to bring a lawsuit against this in the Supreme Court, Jackson mocked at justice (Proverbs 19:28) saying, what army do they have?
In many cases, leaders either are not aware they are making unjust laws, or they conveniently forget justice when it is not important to them.
Q: In Isa 10:1-3, if a law is passed that does not contradict the Bible, is that law necessarily OK?
A: No. One can obey the letter of the law, but violate the spirit of the law. One could not specifically violate any Old Testament command, but still fail to follow what the Bible says about not oppressing others.
Q: In Isa 10:5, how could God use Assyria, since Assyria was so wicked and cruel?
A: Not only could God use the wicked Assyrians for His purposes, God even uses Satan and demons for His purposes. God being pure and holy, as He is described in the Bible, does not restrict Him from working all things as part of His plan (Ephesians 1:11). See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.167 for more info.
Q: In Isa 10:12, how did God punish the lions of Assyria?
A: In at least three ways.
1. The people of Assyria were defeated, never to rise again. They were not all killed though. Tatian, the Christian writer and later Gnostic heretic was an Assyrian.
2. The Assyrian army was wiped out.
3. The king of Assyria died. The NIV translates "lions of Assyria" as "kings of Assyria".
On a secondary note, lions were a symbol of the Assyrian Empire. The Persians loved to hunt lions, and lions became extinct in the Mideast after the Persians came to power.
Q: In Isa 10:13-14, what is unusual about the style of these verses?
A: These verses are deliberately written in the style of an Assyrian victory inscription. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.81 for more info.
Q: In Isa 10:15, how does an axe raise itself against the axe-user like the Assyrians raised themselves against God?
A: Just as it is futile, ungrateful, and ridiculous for a non-living axe to lift itself against its user, the Assyrians were trying to oppose God. Yet the strongest Assyrian warriors, clad in the best armor, could not withstand bacteria of a plague. Isaiah 20:16 says that God would send a wasting disease upon the Assyrian warriors.
Q: In Isa 10:19 (KJV), what does it mean that a child will lead them?
A: The NIV has a different meaning. It says the remaining trees [people] will be so few that a child could write down how many there were.
Q: In Isa 10:20-22, what happened to the "ten lost tribes" of Israel?
A: As pure salt is "lost" when it is mixed with mud, the people of the ten tribes of Israel assimilated into the other Mideast peoples. In particular, many of the Israelites who remained in Israel intermarried with the others brought in, and became Samaritans. When the Jews returned from Babylon, there were members of the ten tribes among the returnees, too.
This Hebrew word sa'ar, meaning "remnant" or "survivors", was how the returning Jews were to think of themselves. As believers in a fallen world, we can think of ourselves as a remnant too. See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.168 for more info.
Q: In Isa 10:24, why should Zion (Jerusalem) be not afraid of Assyria, since Assyria later besieged Jerusalem in a very difficult siege?
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
Jerusalem was never captured or destroyed by the Assyrians.
Also, this might have been written after the unsuccessful siege.
Regardless, this prophecy would be forever true after that time.
Q: In Isa 11:1-3, does this refer to the future Messiah?
A: Yes. Not only do Christians say this, but so does the Dead Sea Scroll Commentary on Isaiah 4Q161. According to The Dead Sea Scrolls in English 4th ed. p.321 the commentary says, " [Interpreted, this concerns the Branch] of David who shall arise at the end [of days] ... God will uphold him with [the spirit of might and will give him] a throne of glory and a crown of [holiness] and many-coloured garments ...[He will put a sceptre] in his hand and he shall rule over all the [nations]. And Magog ...and his sword shall judge [all] peoples."
This is also Messianic according to Targum Isaiah and the Babylonian Talmud.
Q: Could Isa 11:1-10 refer to Bahaíuíllah of the Bahaíis, because part of that has not been fulfilled yet? For example, slaying the wicked, lion and ox lying down together, etc. (Some Answered Questions p.62-66 and Bahaíuíllah and the New Era p.266-267)
A: No. While Christ fulfilled some in His first coming, some will be fulfilled in His second coming. The reason Bahaíis are twisting this passage, and it does not refer to Bahaíuíllah, is that
Jesus, not Bahaíuíllah was descendant of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1,10)
Jesus, not Bahaíuíllah "with his breath of his lips will slay the wicked" (Isaiah 11:4b). With Bahaíuíllah, the opposite occurred, many Bahaíis were struck down, it was not Bahaíuíllah doing the slaying.
The lion and ox, and other animals did not lie down together when Bahaíuíllah came either. (Isaiah 11:6-8)
The gospel of Jesus fulfills "the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD" (Isaiah 11:9). As of today, most of the people of the world have no idea who Bahaíuíllah claimed to be.
Q: In Isa 11:4, how does Jesus reprove with equity for the meek and still rule the earth with the rod of his wrath?
A: Jesus will come again and make war. His power in wrath will provide protection for Jerusalem.
Q: In Isa 11:5, how is righteousness the girdle of the Branch?
A: The Branch is Jesus, and His righteousness had a major role in Him being our Savior. Only a man could be a mediator representing mankind. Only a sinless person could pay the price for and be the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:1-2).
Q: In Isa 11:6-8, when will these animals all get along?
A: This will happen during the Millennium, which is the 1,000 year reign of Christ mentioned in Revelation 20:1-6. They will have no reason to fear any danger from one another. God has the power to change the diet of any animals as he wishes.
Q: In Isa 11:11, when will God reward the remnant "a second time"?
A: After both the Assyrians and Babylonians reduced Judah, God would yet restore the Jews after the exile.
Q: In Isa 11:12, why does the Bible speak of the four corners of the earth?
A: This is just an expression, which we still use today, for the points of a compass. See Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.79 for more info.
Q: In Isa 11:13-14, when will the regathered Israelites swoop down on the lands of Philistia, Edomites, Moab, and subject the Ammonites?
A: The verbs here imply military victory. There are at least two possibilities.
Prior to the Messiah reigning, the Jews will conquer these lands. Philistia includes the land of the modern Gaza strip. Edom and Moab are in the country of Jordan, and the Ammonites lived in the lands now known as Jordan and Syria.
After the Messiah comes to reign, this conquest will occur. This might happen at the end of the Millennium when Satan stirs up the nations against Israel.
Q: In Isa 11:15, what is the Egyptian Sea?
A: This is not the Mediterranean Sea, but rather the Red Sea.
Q: In Isa 11:16, why will there be a highway made for the remnant of Godís people?
A: It does not say people built it for Godís people, but rather God used it as the route for His people. During Roman times, one key reason for the rapid spread of Christianity was the excellent Roman roads that enabled extensive and rapid travel.
Remember that there were few long roads in existence in Isaiah's time. After Cyrus the Persian conquered Babylon, he built a road from Babylon to Egypt. The only other two roads connected Sardis and other Asia Minor cities to Babylon, Susa, and other Persian cities.
An alternate view is that this is the same highway mentioned in Isaiah 35:8-10, which is for the redeemed, probably during the Millennium mentioned in Revelation 20:1-7.
Q: In Isa 12:3, how do the joyous draw water out of the wells of salvation?
A: God not only saved us, He sustains our spirit. We can come to Him for comfort, love, and in high spirits or low. Jesus says He gives living water in John 4:10-14.
Q: Does Isa 12:3, support the Catholic concept of stores of grace?
A: No. As God sustained the Israelites during the Exodus, He is sufficient to sustain us from His infinite, never-running dry wells of salvation. Do not settle for shallow, finite wells of questionable purity from beings who are not God. Isaiah 12:2 says that God is our salvation, not Mary or anyone else. We respect believers who have gone before us, but even they would not want us to do things approaching worship of them.
Q: In Isa 13:1,20-22, was this permanent destruction of Babylon fulfilled prior to Christ, or will this be fulfilled in the future?
A: Christians have three interpretations.
Past Fulfillment: Babylon was captured by the Persians and Medes, though it was not destroyed at that time. Babylon became on of the capitals of the Persian Empire. Later Babylon rebelled and was destroyed and not rebuilt.
Future Fulfillment: Though Babylon is not inhabited now, the prophecy has not been fulfilled yet. Babylon will be rebuilt, and then it will be destroyed in the end times in Revelation 18 and 19.
Dual Fulfillment: This prophecy is fulfilled already. The city of Babylon is already destroyed and will never be inhabited again. The Babylon in Revelation represents a false religious system, centered at a city of seven hills (such as Rome). It will be destroyed in the end times.
Q: In Isa 13:9, is God cruel?
A: Make no mistake, the Day of the Lord is cruel. God has great wrath, but God is also just.
Q: In Isa 13:17, why does it say the Medes did not care for silver or gold?
A: The Scythians, a people related to the Medes, amassed huge hordes of gold. In contrast, the Medes and Persians did not raid for booty like the Scythians. The Medes and Persians were out to defeat the Lydian and Babylonian empires, and to forge their own Empire. Instead of plundering all of the wealth out of their subject peoples, as the Assyrians did, the Medes and Persians cultivated loyal subjects, though they taxed them.
Q: In Isa 14:1-17, has this prophecy about Jacob been fulfilled already?
A: No, the Jews never made servants of their captors on the scale Isaiah speaks. This likely will occur during the millennium mentioned in Revelation 20:1-7.
Q: In Isa 14:3, what does the phrase, "in the sides of the north" mean?
A: The Hebrew word for "north" and "Zaphon" were the same. Mount Zaphon was a mountain in Syria sacred to Baal. Worshippers believed their gods lived on Mount Zaphon, like Greeks believed their gods lived on Mount Olympus. While Isaiah 14:3 simply might have meant north, it instead might be implicitly saying the true God is greater than all the gods said to live on Mount Zaphon.
Q: In Isa 14:3 (KJV) and (NKJV), should this say "golden city"?
A: The NKJV says "golden" but adds as a footnote "or insolent".
This Hebrew word is difficult to translate, and some took this as "golden city" because of the Aramaic (not Hebrew) word for gold. However, the Dead Sea scroll 1Q Isa shows that translators probably confused d and r, and this is why the Septuagint and Syriac read this as golden city. It actually should be "arrogance/insolence has ceased." See the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.708 for more info.
Q: In Isa 14:14, who was the king of Babylon?
A: Some think this is simply a present or future king of Babylon. The NIV Study Bible p.1037 says this was the Assyrian king; one of his titles at this time was King of Babylon.
Q: In Isa 14:9-11, what is this saying about the dead?
A: This metaphoric language says the ungodly dead people were waiting for Babylon to permanently join them.
Q: In Isa 14:12-16 (KJV, NKJV), why is Lucifer mentioned here?
A: The Hebrew term here is "shining one", and the name Lucifer means "shining one", so Jerome, in translating the Vulgate, put the name Lucifer in here. The NASB says "star of the morning", the NIV says "morning star", the NRSV says "day star", and Green's Literal Translation says "shining star", the Septuagint says "dawn-bringer" and the Syriac Peshitta says the name 'Aylel. See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.243-244, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.268-270, Hard Sayings of the Bible p.302-303, and New Age Bible Versions Refuted p.17 for more info.
Q: In Isa 14:12-16, does this refer to Satan (Lucifer), or to an earthly king of Babylon?
A: It almost certainly refers to Satan, also called Lucifer. The pride and cruelty here do not fit any king of Babylon from Isaiah's time onward. Here were the kings of Babylon.
627-605 B.C. Nabopolassar (Nabu-apal-usur)
605-Aug/Sept./562 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar II (Nabu-kudurri-usur) He was powerful, but not very cruel compared to the Assyrians.
562-560 B.C. Evil-Merodach (Amel-Marduk)
560-556 B.C. Neriglissar (Nergal-Sharezer)
556 B.C (2 months) Labashi-Marduk - From this time on, Babylon felt very threatened by the rising power of the Medes and Persians
556-539 B.C. Nabonidus (Nabu-naíia)
553-10/539 B.C. Belshazzar (Bel-shar-usur) (co-regent)
539 B.C. Persians capture Babylon. Gubaru, a Persian general, is called the king of Babylon. Gubaru was actually a former Babylonian governor who defected to the Persians.
Finally, in Luke 10:18 Jesus is alludes to Isaiah 10:18, except for lightning instead of dawn-bringer (Heosphoros), so Jesus identified this as Lucifer.
See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.268-270, When Critics Ask p.268-269, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1326 for more info.
See Today's Handbook for Solving Bible Difficulties p.144,175 for a contrary view, that Isaiah 14 refers only to the king of Babylon, not Satan. However, 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.168 points out that Jesus so obviously alluded to Isaiah 14 in Luke 10:18 that it does mean Lucifer as well as the king of Babylon.
Q: In Isa 14:21, why do children die for the sins of the fathers, since Ezek 18:2,19-20 says they should not?
A: Four points to consider in the answer.
1. It did not say the children had the guilt of their fathers. Though, if they participated in the same sins, they would have the same guilt.
2. God was not slaughtering them. In this life, evil people often kill other evil people and their children.
3. Ezekiel 18 refers to God not killing a son because of the guilt of his father's sin.
4. Many times in this life people are killed unjustly because of others' sinful actions, as Ezekiel 13:29 shows.
Q: In Isa 14:22 (KJV), why are nephews specifically mentioned?
A: The NASB, NKJV, and NRSV say offspring and posterity. The NIV says offspring and descendants.
Q: In Isa 14:23, what animal is mentioned here?
A: The KJV translates this as "bittern", a type of bird. There is some uncertainty as to what animal the Hebrew meant. The NIV translates this as "owls". The NASB, Jay P. Greenís literal translation, and the NRSV translate this animal as "hedgehog". The NKJV translates this as "porcupine".
Q: In Isa 14:28, what does the word "burden" mean here?
A: This was a term for a prophecy. One can carry a burden for some one else, and the prophet was carrying a heavy burden (message) from God that he just had to speak.
Q: In Isa 14:29; 30:6; Isa 59:5 (KJV), why is a mythical animal, a cockatrice, mentioned in the King James version of the Bible?
A: The NKJV says "fiery flying serpent", the NASB says serpent and viper, and the NIV says snake and viper.
A skeptical work, Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.537 also mentions that the King James version is not correct here, and the horned viper snake is the most likely candidate for what was meant here. He correctly adds that the RSV translation "adder" could not be correct, as the adder snake was only present in continental Europe and the Island of Britain.
Q: In Isa 16:2, what is the significance of the fords of Arnon?
A: This was the low place where one could cross the Jordan River between Israel and Moab.
Q: In Isa 16:11 (KJV), what does "bowels sounding" mean?
A: This means that his innermost being is lamenting.
Q: In Isa 16:14, when did this three year period of Moabís rapid decline occur?
A: This occurred soon after the prophecy when the Assyrians came to Judah.
While we do not know of Judah's relations with Moab, we know that Hezekiah, king of Judah, was strong enough to defeat the Philistines and imprison the Philistine king Padi of Ekron. See The NIV Study Bible p.559 for more info.
Q: In Isa 17:1-3, what exactly happened to Damascus and the cities of Syria?
A: Isaiah lived a long life, and this may have been written prior to 733 B.C., or else prior to 720 B.C. Here is some history up to that time.
1200-1050 B.C. there is no information available about Damascus and Syria apart from Biblical references.
841 and 838 B.C. Shalmaneser the Assyrian invaded much of Hazaelís kingdom of Aram (modern Syria), but he was not able to conquer Damascus.
807-806 B.C. While the Assyrians were busy fighting the Mannaeans/Armenians, Damascus attacked Israel in 2 Kings 10:32.
805-802 B.C. Assyrian king Adad-nirari III besieges Damascus.
796 B.C. Assyrians besiege Damascus and leave after Damascus pays heavy tribute.
c.735 B.C. Damascus, Tyre, and Israel combine forces against the Assyrians, and attempt to force Judah to join them.
733-732 B.C. Tiglath-Pileser III destroys all the towns in Syria and captures (but does not destroy) Damascus, killing its king Radyan. This was 591 towns in 16 districts according to the Assyrian Annals.
720 B.C. Damascus and some other cities join Hamath, which was never conquered by the Assyrians, in rebelling. Sargon II crushes the revolt at Qarqar.
717 or 711 B.C. Just like Sargon resettled other peoples in Israel, Sargon settled exiles from the cities of Papa, Lullukna, and other places in Damascus.
We here nothing of Damascus until around 333 B.C, except that it had Assyrian governors in 694 B.C. and c.650 B.C.
333 B.C. Damascus turned over to Parmenio, a general of Alexander the Great, without a battle.
1401 A.D. Damascus totally burned to the ground by fire
See The Anchor Bible Dictionary vol.2 p.6-7, the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1959 edition) vol.7 p.2-3, and The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.6 p.117-118 for more info.
Q: In Isa 17:10, what are some reasons people forget their Savior?
A: People sometimes have a short memory when it comes to gratitude. They can forget their Savior in at least five ways.
Pride can make people forget they need saving.
Time is important to set aside for God.
Worries of this world drown out their devotion for God.
Sin keeps them from enjoying God's pleasure.
Fear of persecution, or loss of job or prestige.
Isaiah 17:10-11 says that since they forgot God their Savior, God will "remember" to keep blessing from them. Haggai 1:2-11 also mentions how the people built their own paneled houses, forgetting God's house, and God "assisted them with remembering" by keeping prosperity from them.
Q: In Isa 18:2,7 (KJV), what does "meted out" mean?
A: It means dispersed or divided.
Q: In Isa 19:2-3, when did this civil war among Egyptians occur?
A: The Libyans of the 22nd Dynasty (945-712 B.C.) fought against both the Nubians/Ethiopians of the 25th Dynasty (770-712 B.C.), the native Egyptian Saites of the 24th Dynasty (724-712 B.C.) as well as various rules of what we called the 23rd Dynasty (c.828-712 B.C.). See The NIV Study Bible p.1043 for more info. The dates are taken from The Cultural Atlas of the World : Ancient Egypt p.37.
Q: In Isa 19:4-10, when would the Nile and other rivers dry up?
A: Egypt depended on the Nile for survival, and this is saying Egyptís very lifeblood would dry up. This is true in at least three ways.
Every year, the flow of the mighty Nile River came from the rains in central East Africa that fed Lake Victoria. Less rain in East central Africa would mean a year of famine for Egypt.
Long term, the land of Egypt and the Sahara has become more arid.
Metaphorically, the political power of Egypt would greatly diminish.
Q: In Isa 19:17, when and how was the land of Judah a terror unto Egypt?
A: The Babylonians, Persians, Alexander of Macedon, the Seleucids, the Muslims, and the Turks, all conquered Egypt by passing through Palestine. The Assyrians, and the nation of Israel also fought Egypt, though they did not conquer it.
Q: In Isa 19:18, when did five cities of Egypt speak the language of Canaan?
A: First, it does not say they will speak "Canaanitish", but rather the language that is spoken in Canaan.
After the fall of Jerusalem, many Jews fled to Egypt. In fact, under the Persians, the main fort at Elephantine/Yeb in south Egypt was manned by Jewish mercenaries. The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.579 also mentions the Jewish colony on Elephantine Island.
During the time of the early church, tradition says Mark was one of the first to evangelize Egypt. He and other Christians were so successful that Alexandria in Egypt, became one of the four main centers of Christianity, at least as important as Jerusalem.
Q: In Isa 19:18, which city was called the city of destruction?
A: Some manuscripts say the "city of the sun", because the Hebrew word for destruction is almost the same as the word for sun. Heliopolis, or city of the sun, is most likely the city referred to here.
Q: In Isa 19:19, when was there an altar to the Lord in the Middle of Egypt?
A: this verse predicts one or both of the following:
Prior to Jesus, many Jews moved to Egypt and practiced Judaism there, including some Jews who translated the Bible into Greek.
After Jesusí resurrection, Egypt, Jerusalem, and Antioch in Syria were the three main centers of Christianity for some time.
The Jewish historian Josephus alludes to this verse when he says, "The chief reason why he [the son of Onia the high priest] was desirous so to do, was, that he relived upon the prophet Isaiah, who lived above six hundred years before, and foretold that there certainly was to be a temple built to Almighty God in Egypt by a man that was a Jew." Antiquities of the Jews book 13 ch.3.1 p.269. (Also later in ch.3.1 on p.269)
Q: In Isa 19:20, how did a great savior save Egypt?
A: This could be taken in two ways.
Spiritually, after the time of Christ, Egypt was a center of Christianity.
Politically, the Egyptians joyfully greeted Alexander of Macedon. They viewed him as a friendly liberator, freed the Egyptians from Persian rule.
Q: In Isa 19:22, when did the Lord strike Egypt, and when did God heal it?
A: In the past Egypt had been ruled by foreign people (Hyksos, Libyans, Nubians, etc.) Yet Egypt had always been an independent country, not a subject nation. That would change when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Egypt. The Persians too would conquer Egypt, though Egypt would rebel a number of times under the Persians.
Q: In Isa 19:23, when was the highway between Egypt and Assyria built?
A: In Isaiah's time, it would seem incredible that Egyptians would want to peacefully travel to Assyria and vice versa. Egypt and Assyria were both under the Persian Empire, though Egypt often rebelled. They were both together under Alexander of Macedon, and by Roman times there were very good roads linking much of the ancient Mideast.
Q: In Isa 20:1 (KJV), who is "Tartan"?
A: This was the title for the commander of the Assyrian army. The NIV translates this as "the supreme commander". The NKJV margin says "commander in chief".
Q: In Isa 20:2-3, why did God command Isaiah to walk around without clothes? (The Muslim Ahmad Deedat brought this up.)
A: First of all, Isaiah was living in his own culture, not ours. Second, the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.477 says that the Hebrew word here was often used of men clad only in their inner tunic.
Q: In Isa 21:5, why were shields "anointed" back then?
A: This refers to putting oil on a shield to keep it from rusting. It would also make the shield appear better, since the oil would make it shine.
Q: In Isa 21:7, is the rider on "donkeys" Jesus, and the rider on "camels" Mohammed, as some Muslims claim?
A: No. Three points to consider in the answer.
1. These were messengers at that time coming to report that Babylon has fallen. The only special significance is that perhaps the camel riders might be scouts, donkey riders might be civilians, and charioteers might be military men.
2. The evil Midianites rode on camels too, but that is just as irrelevant as talking about Mohammed here.
3. Finally, there were camel riders (plural), so even if one was Mohammed, this would mean that another camel rider would be coming after him.
There is no point in trying to "strain a gnat and swallow a camel" to try to use this verse to show consistency with Islam when there is so much in the Bible that runs counter to Islam, such as the Fatherhood of God, Trinity, saved by grace, Holy Spirit, etc.
See When Cultists Ask p.79 and When Critics Ask p.269 for more info.
Q: In Isa 21:13, does the phrase "the burden upon Arabia" means that "God has imposed upon Arabs, the duty to deliver His Message to mankind" as the Muslim Ahmad Deedat claims?
A: It sounds like Deedat is saying the Bible says there is a burden on Arabia that is not on others. Letís see. Isaiah mentions
"the burden on Babylon" (Isaiah 13:1)
"the burden on Moab" (Isaiah 15:1)
"the burden on Damascus" (Isaiah 17:1)
"the burden on Egypt" (Isaiah 19:1)
"the burden on the Desert by the Sea" (Isaiah 21:2)
"the burden on Dumah" [in Edom] (Isaiah 21:11)
"the burden on Arabia" (Isaiah 21:13)
"the burden on the Valley of Vision" [concerning Jerusalem] (Isaiah 22:1)
"the burden on Tyre" (Isaiah 23:1)
The Hebrew word for "burden" was a synonym for prophesy, when Isaiah prophesied about these places. It seems "unusual", to put it nicely, that Deedat would make such a point about Isaiah 21:13 and not even bring up all of these other verses.
Q: In Isa 21:13 (KJV), where are the forests in Arabia?
A: The King James Version did not translate this well. There are no forests in Saudi Arabia unless you count the trees by oases. (The is a jungle/forest in Oman though.) Rather The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.138 says this either should be "thicket" (a clump of trees or bushes), or else the word means the same as a similar Arabic word for "rocky terrain". The use of thicket assumes a different vowel pointing in the Hebrew.
Q: Do Isa 21:13-17 and Isa 42:10-11 refer to the Battle of Badr, where a few [allegedly] ill-armed Muslims miraculously defeated the mighty men of Kedar [allegedly] (Quraish) of Mecca?
A: This is wishful thinking about the Bible. At the Battle of Badr in 624 A.D. (A.H. 3), 300 or 328 Muslims killed 70 Meccans and captured 70 more while losing 14 of their own. It was a victory, but not miraculous on the order of Joshua, or Moses parting the Red Sea. I do not know where he got the idea the Medina camel-raiders were ill-armed. See Sahih Muslim vol.3 no.4394 (p.975-976), Sahih Muslim vol.3 no.4341 p.951 vol.3 no.4360 p.960-961 (17 Ramadan, 2 A.H.) Bukhari vol.5 book 59 no.462 (p.323); Bukhari vol.4:324 p.206; Bukhari vol.5 book 59 no.292 p.201.
Now look again at Isaiah 21:16,17 again; it says that within one year, the survivors of the bowmen, the warriors of Kedar, will be few. One year after Badr, the Meccans were not conquered, much less wiped out. Rather, this refers to the Assyrians of Isaiahís time attacking the northern Arabian tribes in 715 B.C.
Q: In Isa 21:16-17, when was this prophecy of Kedar fulfilled?
A: Kedar was a well-known tribe in Arabia north of Mecca, and the Assyrians and Babylonians would try to control Arabia too. The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.137-138 mentions that Sargon II waged a campaign against the northern Arabian tribes in 715 B.C.
Q: In Isa 22:2, which city is referred to here?
A: This is Jerusalem, as it is called the city of David in Isaiah 22:9.
Q: In Isa 22:13, what is the context of this statement, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die"?
A: It meant they had crossed the line of despair. Once they saw their destruction was certain, and so they thought to live it up, since they would all die soon anyway.
Q: In Isa 22:16, what was wrong with Shebna making a grave for himself?
A: Plenty was wrong, since he was using money from the public treasury to do it.
Q: What does Isa 22:25 refer to?
A: The "peg" is Eliakim son of Hilkiah according to Isaiah 22:20. The peg will be a seat of honor for the house of his father. Yet Isaiah 22:25 prophesies that the peg will give way, and the load depending on it will come down. Eliakim was swayed by nepotism, or using his position as a "maintenance system" preferentially for his family as friends. See The Prophecy of Isaiah by J. Alec Motyer p.188, The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.6 p.143-144, the New International Bible Commentary p.736l for more info.
Alternately the sheared peg could refer to Eliakimís house falling from its position, when most of the people were taken into exile, according to The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1070 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.955.
Both views are combined in the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.489.
See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.44-45 for a different view, that the sheared-off peg refers to Shebna, as contrasted with Eliakim.
Q: In Isa 23:1,6,10,14, how is Tarshish related to Tyre?
A: The Phoenicians founded Tarshish in far-off Spain, west of Gibraltar, in the ninth or tenth centuries B.C.
Q: In Isa 23:2,4, why is Sidon [Zidon] mentioned in relation to Tyre?
A: The cities of Tyre and Sidon were only about 25 miles apart, and citizens of Sidon founded the city of Tyre.
Q: In Isa 23:15-17, when was this seventy-year captivity of Tyre?
A: The city of Tyre thrived on trade, and the Assyrians did not permit the city of Tyre to engage in any business activity starting about 701 B.C., when the Assyrian captured Usse near Tyre. This ended when Assyria's control of the Levant ended, about 630 B.C.
Carthage had been found 815/814 B.C., and the people of Tyre could simply go to there, Sidon, or other Phoenician cities to trade.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.147, the New International Bible Commentary p.736, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1070-1071 for more info.
Q: In Isa 24:1-4, when will the earth (or land) be made empty?
A: Isaiah 24-27 has been called "the Little Apocalypse" because these three chapters discuss the endtimes. In the end, God will bring destruction to the entire surface of the earth.
Q: In Isa 24:5, since the people changed the ordinances, does that mean the Old Testament was corrupted?
A: No. Godís word stand firm in the Heavens (Psalm 119:89,91,144,160; 1 Peter 1:25) and Godís word will never depart from the mouths of Godís people on earth (Isaiah 59:21). Godís Word does not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11).
Yet in Joshua 1:8, God commanded Joshua not to let the words of Godís Law depart from Joshuaís mouth. Therefore, while God guarantees that His word will not depart from everyoneís mouth, Joshua (and each person) have a responsibility to not let Godís word depart from their own mouth.
God will ensure his word on the earth. However, some people can ignore Godís laws, make their own laws contrary to God. The fact that some one makes new laws, does not mean the old laws are lost.
Q: In Isa 24:10, which city is the city of confusion?
A: This is translated "ruined city" in the NIV. This is not the name of a city, but a description of a city.
Which city is this? Based on the parallels with Revelation 18, and the fact that both passages are speaking of the end times, this city is probably Babylon in Revelation.
Q: In Isa 24:21-22, when will the host of the high on high be punished?
A: This refers to the end times, and could refer to a parallel passage in Revelation 12:7-12. This might be at the end of the tribulation / start of the millennium. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.303-304 for more on relating this section of Isaiah to the Millennium mentioned in Revelation 20:1-7.
Q: In Isa 24:23, how will the sun and moon be shamed?
A: This is figurative language meaning that they will become dim, as though they were in shame. This will happen during the tribulation, when people will have reason to hang their heads in shame for recognizing Godís hand in a more direct way than ever before, and yet still rejecting God.
Q: In Isa 25:1-2, how is this destruction "a wonderful thing"?
A: It is true that destruction never looks wonderful to the one being destroyed; ask any criminal about to be executed. Yet, if an enemy that is about to kill you is stopped, that is a wonderful thing for you. This destruction is in fact wonderful in two ways.
Destruction of the enemies of Judah is wonderful for Judah, in that she can be at peace when those who want to invade her are destroyed.
Execution of justice is a wonderful thing, that all of the great injustice that has been done on the earth will finally be set right.
Q: In Isa 25:6 (KJV), what are "wines on the lees"?
A: This means aged wine, which apparently tastes better than "new wine" that has not been aged.
Q: In Isa 25:11 and Isa 26:5, why is God so intent on humbling the proud?
A: Scripture does not say, but there can be at least three complementary reasons.
God's glory: God desires all to glorify Him, and fallen man tends to glorify himself instead of God.
For their sake: Sometimes a person needs to be humbled, and put flat on their back, before they will look up.
For the sake of others: Sometimes when a person is humbled or disciplined, others will notice and learn from the punishment of that person.
Q: In Isa 26:3, how does God keep people in perfect peace when their mind is steadfast?
A: God does not eliminate our difficulties, but he gives us the comfort, strength, and help to go through those difficulties. This sounds similar to Philippians 4:6-7, where we are not to be anxious about anything, but if we make our requests known to God, then God's peace, which passes all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds.
Q: In Isa 26:7-8, how are the paths of the righteous level and smooth?
A: One way to understand these verses is to focus on the path. A good path is level so that it will not trip people up, does not go in circles or lead the wrong way.
Another way to understand these verses is to focus on the people who find the path to travel. We know where we are going and the Way to get there. Walking in God's way, we do not have to hide or live in shame for what we do or did not do.
Q: In Isa 26:8-9, how do we cultivate an attitude of yearning for God?
A: Here are some ways to deepen our love for God.
Spend time in prayer, delighting in God and praising Him. Praying out of sense of duty and self-discipline is good; but praying because of the enjoyment is even better.
Learn to wait for God's leading, rather than leading ourselves and hoping God will follow.
Glorify God on earth though our life, in both our obedience and our service.
Preach and teach so that God's name would be honored on earth.
Care for the material needs of others as well as their spiritual needs.
Love God above everything else, and love your neighbor as yourself.
Remember God's promises of eternal life, and the temptations and sufferings down here will seem small. (1 Peter 1:6-9; 1 Corinthians 2:9)
Q: In Isa 26:10, do the wicked not behold the majesty of the Lord, or will everyone behold God's glory as Isa 40:5 says?
A: Revelation 1:7; Philippians 2:10; Isaiah 40:5; and Isaiah 45:23-24 show that in the end everyone will see God. Isaiah 26:10 says, "regard not the majesty of the LORD." (NIV) The Hebrew word for "see/regard" is chazah. According to Strong's Concordance it means "to gaze at, mentally to perceived, contemplate (with pleasure); spec. To have a vision of." There are two complementary answers.
1. The wicked do not contemplate or regard the Lord, but eventually all will see the Lord regardless of whether they want to or not.
2. The wicked do not now recognize the Lord, but in the end all will see the Lord.
See When Critics Ask p.270 for more info.
Q: In Isa 26:19, what does this say about resurrection?
A: This is one of the verses that show, contrary to what critics say, they believed in an afterlife prior to the exile. Other verses that also show this are Hosea 13:14; Proverbs 14:32, Job 3:13-17, and Job 19:26-27. Of course, this does include Daniel or Ezekiel, which were written after the exile.
Q: In Isa 27:1-3, why is the serpent Leviathan being punished?
A: The answer is simple if one understands what Leviathan represents. There are four views of leviathan in Isaiah.
1. A dinosaur. Ancient people probably did occasionally come across the bones of dinosaurs.
2. A large aquatic animal, such as a hippopotamus, crocodile, or whale.
3. It represents the nation of Egypt.
4. Allegorically Satan. This is based on the parallelism between Isaiah 26:17-27:2 and Revelation 12:1-13.
The most likely answer in this poetic section is 2 plus 3 plus 4.
Q: In Isa 27:13, is this the trumpet of 1 Thess 4:17?
A: While Scripture does not say, this likely could be the same trumpet, as both will gather Godís people from distant lands. In Isaiah 27:13 they will come to "Zion" which might actually be Heaven, here.
Q: In Isa 28:1,4, what is the significance of the phrase "glory heart is a fading flower, set at the head of a fertile valley"?
A: This was apparently a common motif that God was telling them was not good in which to take pride. While we are not certain of the significance of these words to the ungodly Israelites, it might refer to the still present but fading glory of their past history.
Q: In Isa 28:4 (KJV), what is "hasty fruit"?
A: This is the fruit that first appears, or is picked before it is ripe.
Q: In Isa 28:5, what is a "diadem"?
A: A diadem is a diamond or other type of jewel.
Q: Does Isa 28:10-13 refer to Arabic, since it speaks of people with a stammering tongue?
A: This is again wishful thinking. Greek is more distant to Hebrew than Arabic is. However, Isaiah 28:13 says the word of the Lord was to them just rules, and many people see Sunni Islam the same way, just rules to follow with no personal relationship with God.
Q: In Isa 28:11, what is the significance of stammering lips and another tongue?
A: The Jews knew about the true God for centuries. Nevertheless, people of recent nationalities speaking other tongues, would be teaching the Jews about the true God in the future.
Q: In Isa 28:13, what does this mean?
A: There are two views.
Rule upon rule: God's word has become to this people nothing more than rules upon rules to follow. They lost the desire to draw near to God.
Nonsense: This was mocking the drunken babbling of some of Isaiah's listeners. Hard Sayings of the Bible p.305 holds this view, and says this is repeating two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, sort of like the slang expression in English "watch your p's and q's." It also adds the interesting note that "watch your p's and q's" in English originally meant to watch your pints and quarts.
See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.168-169 for more on both meanings.
Q: In Isa 28:16, how does the foundation stone relate to Christ?
A: Christ is the cornerstone of our relationship with God, as 1 Peter 2:6 shows.
Q: In Isa 28:21, what is Godís "strange work" or "alien task"?
A: This refers to the work of a good, kind, loving God in destroying people because of the demands of justice and holiness. God does not desire that any perish (2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 18), but since He administers justice, He will judge people.
Q: In Isa 28:22 (KJV), what does "God of Hosts a consumption" mean?
A: This means God will destroy the land.
Q: In Isa 29:1-2,7, why is Jerusalem called "Ariel" here?
A: Isaiah was referring to Jerusalem with the figurative name of "Ariel". In Hebrew Ariel could mean "lion of God", and it can also mean "altar". The Believerís Bible Commentary p.959 says Isaiah is implying that the city that was once a lion of God will be like a burning altar, and its inhabitants its victims. The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.544 also agrees that Ariel is Jerusalem. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1078 for more info.
Q: In Isa 29:2 what is unusual about this word choice?
A: The Hebrew word "altar hearth" in this verse is a play on words (a pun) for the Hebrew word for "Ariel" in verses 1 and 2, which is a reference to Jerusalem.
Q: In Isa 29:4, could this refer to the Book of Mormon, as some Mormons claim?
A: Familiar spirits" were occult spirits. Unless Mormons want to acknowledge a link between Mormonism and the occult, or to the residents of Jerusalem sinning in using mediums to try to communicate with the dead, there would be no link.
However, Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism, was convicted of the misdemeanor of glass-looking, which was an occultic practice. Maybe the Mormons do have a point here after all, relating this to Mormonism. See When Cultists Ask p.79 for more info.
Q: In Isa 29:4, what does this mean?
A: This refers to the evil people of Jerusalem. Those who had communion with mediums, would themselves be a dead people. They would be humbled as the dust, and pass away like the spirits with which they tried to communicate.
Q: In Isa 29:7-8, when will this miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem occur?
A: This could relate to either:
a) The plague that happened to the Assyrian army besieging Jerusalem, or
b) The end times destruction at the end of the Millennium.
c) or both.
Q: In Isa 29:10-13, what does not being able to read the book mean?
A: For 400 years prior to Christ, there would be a silence of prophecy from God. Some would not follow the Messiah because they did not read God's word. Others such as the Pharisees did read God's word, but they would not choose to recognize the Messiah when He came.
Q: In Isa 29:13, how are some oneís lips able to draw near to God, but their heart is far away?
A: People can join a religion for all kinds of reasons. I know one person told me he who joined the Mormon Church because he could have more than one wife. He also told me he left when he learned that was only in heaven, not on earth. I heard of one Muslim fundamentalist who actually was an atheist. He told my friend that he thought it was a good way to live.
Others join a religion, or more commonly remain in a religion, because of custom, family, or a lack of desire to seek the truth.
Q: In Isa 29:22, is this talking about the individual person Jacob, or Israelites descended from Jacob?
A: While this is true of Jacob in Heaven, the primary meaning here is his descendents, the Israelites. God's promises to the individuals Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had aspects that even extended to their descendents.
Q: In Isa 30:4, where is the city of "Hanes"?
A: Hanes is pronounced as "HA-nez" (yes two syllables), with both vowels long. This was a city in Egypt about 55 miles (88 kilometers) south of Memphis on the West bank of the Nile River, according to the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.751. However, it also says that based on an Aramaic (Syriac) targum, a few scholars identify Hanes with Taphenes, an eastern Egyptian fort.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1080 says the location of Hanes in Egypt is unknown, but it was probably near Zoan. Zoan is near the northeast border of Egypt.
Q: In Isa 30:7 (KJV), should this say "strength" or "Rahab" as other translations say?
A: The King James Version is incorrect here. The Hebrew word here is Rahab which is a nickname for Egypt. The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.545 also says Rahab is a personification of Egypt.
Q: In Isa 30:10, how could people only ask for prophets to tell them what they want to hear?
A: People sometimes want to feel good about themselves and feel close to God, without the responsibility of obeying God. God does not only want your time, money, and abilities, God wants you.
2 Timothy 4:2-5 also warns us that in the last days people will gather around them teachers who teach what they want to hear. The surprising thing is that people who are this way generally do not consciously admit this, even to themselves.
How are we to tell if we are this way? Paul commands us in 2 Corinthians 13:5 to examine ourselves. If the True God told us to do something we otherwise would not want to do, would we do it?
Q: In Isa 30:15-17, when will the prophecy of fleeing on horses be fulfilled?
A: This was true when the Assyrians and later the Babylonians invaded Palestine.
Q: In Isa 30:21, does this refer to the Holy Spirit given to Christians?
A: Probably yes. Since Pentecost, the Holy Spirit lives in all believers (Romans 8:9-16), but prior to Pentecost this was not so. The Holy Spirit was only in certain believers, such as prophets, and the Holy Spirit could leave, as the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul in 1 Samuel 16:14, and the LORD left Samson (Judges 16:20).
Q: In Isa 30:22, should we defile and destroy all images of idols?
A: This verse says believers should defile and destroy all of their idols. If does not refer to the idols of others, who are nonbelievers, and the Israelites never invaded Egypt or other countries for the sole purpose of destroying idols.
Q: In Isa 30:22, why is it important to not have idol images in your house?
A: This is important for at least three reasons.
1. God does not like idols, and forbade that we have images to other gods. Exodus 20:4-5 mentions idols, even separate from not having any other gods. This alone is reason enough.
2. It gives the appearance of evil. Both 2 Corinthians 8:22; 1 Thessalonians 5:22 say to avoid every appearance/form of evil. In 1 Thessalonians 5:22, the word for appearance/form is "video" in Greek. Even if you never worship the idol, displaying an idol in your house makes light of the sin of idolatry, by having the image in your house.
3. Isaiah 30:22 says that when the Israelites would defile their graven images, and then God would give them blessing.
See also the discussion on Ezekiel 5:11 for more info.
Q: In Isa 30:26, in the future will the light of the sun and moon increase, or will it decrease as Isa 24:23 says?
A: Both. The sun was darkened and the moon turned to blood during Christ's crucifixion. It will happen again in Revelation 6:12-13, again in Revelation 8:12. Later the sun will scorch people with fire in Revelation 16:8. Then the beast's kingdom will be plunged into darkness in Revelation 16:10. Finally during the new heaven and earth, there will be no more need for the sun according to Revelation 22:5. See When Critics Ask p.269 for more info.
Q: In Isa 30:33, where is "Topheth"?
A: The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1081 and the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1727 say that Topheth was in the Hinnom Valley south of Jerusalem. This would be where Gehenna was, which was also used as a metaphor for Hell.
Q: In Isa 31:3 (KJV), what is "he that is holpen"?
A: This King James Version expression means "he that is helped".
Q: In Isa 32:5 (KJV), what is wrong with being liberal or bountiful?
A: The NIV translates this as noble and highly respected. Either way, it is fine to be this way. Isaiah 32:5 refers to thinking highly of a wicked fool.
Q: In Isa 32:5,7 (KJV), what is a churl?
A: The NIV translates this a "scoundrel". Jay P. Green translates this as "miser". Either way, it is not a person one desires to be around.
Q: In Isa 32:9,10, what is wrong with a woman who is at ease and careless?
A: Careless here means carefree. When oppression occurs, God does not want people to be unconcerned about others and at ease.
Q: In Isa 32:16, how will judgment dwell in the wilderness and righteousness remain in the fruitful field?
A: The context was the exile of Israel and the imminent exile of Judah. Judgment and righteousness would remain in the land. After the exile, those people who desired God's judgment and righteousness would return to the land.
Q: In Isa 33:4, how is spoil gathered like the gathering of the caterpillar?
A: These were not the caterpillars of butterflies and moths, but caterpillars that were feared. These were the caterpillars of locusts that devastated fields of crops, and left famine in their wake.
Q: In Isa 33:18 (KJV), what is a receiver?
A: This is the person who collected the taxes.
Q: In Isa 34:4, when will the sky be rolled up like a scroll?
A: This will happen during the tribulation, when the Sixth Seal is opened according to Revelation 6:14.
Q: In Isa 34:5, how is Godís sword bathed in heaven?
A: This simply means that God will ensure that most of the Edomites are killed by the sword. The idiom of making a sword drunk, or bathing a sword means using it to kill so many people that it is "bathed" in blood.
The Hebrew literally says, "My sword is drenched in the heavens."
The KJV says "For my sword shall be bathed in heaven:"
NASB says "For My sword is satiated in heaven,"
NIV says "My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens"
NKJV says "For My sword shall be bathed in heaven;"
The Septuagint says "my sword has been made drunk in heaven"
Q: In Isa 34:5,6 and Ezek 35:15; 36:5 (KJV), why is Idumea is mentioned?
A: Idumea was a later name for the land of Edom. It was first called Idumea starting around the fourth century B.C., almost 200 years after Isaiah was written. The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.545 correctly mentions that this was the name in Greek and Roman times and that the RSV used "Edom". However, Asimov fails to mention that in all four verses the Hebrew says "Edom". It is only the King James Version that uses the anachronistic name Idumea. Of course, the Septuagint, written in Greek, also uses Idumea.
Q: In Isa 34:5-6, who will the sword of the Lord be against?
A: In Isaiah 34:5 it is against beings "in heaven", and in Isaiah 34:6 it shifts to fighting on the earth. This great slaughter on earth starts in Edom and is the same as what occurs when Christ comes again in Revelation 19:15 according to the New Geneva Study Bible p.1081.
As to what fighting in heaven means, there are two views, and both could be true.
Pantheons of idols: Gods sword will destroy the worship of these false gods. New Geneva Study Bible p.1081
The war in Heaven mentioned in Revelation 12:7-9.
Idols and the destruction of the heavens and the earth: The first fulfillment is the destruction of the Edomite gods, but the ultimate fulfillment is the destruction of the Heaven and the earth in Revelation 21 (New International Bible Commentary p.744).
Q: In Isa 34:7 and Num 24:8 (KJV), why are unicorns mentioned?
A: The King James Version mistranslated this. The Hebrew word really means wild oxen as the NASB, NIV, NKJV, RSV, and Green's literal translation say. The Septuagint translated this as "mighty ones".
Q: In Isa 34:10 and Isa 2:10-21, when is this Day of the Lord?
A: This is the Day of the Lord in the endtimes, mentioned in the book of Revelation. See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.165 for more info.
Q: In Isa 34:10, when will Edomís smoke go up forever and ever?
A: This could refer to the smoke of Babylon going up forever and ever in Revelation 19:3. Generally, the destruction of the ungodly is eternal.
Q: In Isa 34:11 (KJV), what is a "bittern"?
A: The NIV translates this screech owl, but adds in a footnote that the precise identification of these birds is uncertain. The NKJV says "pelican" with a marginal note of "or owl".
Q: In Isa 34:13 (KJV), why are dragons mentioned?
A: The King James Version did not translate this correctly, and the skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.545 also assumes this was dragons. The correct word is "jackals", as the NIV, NKJV, NRSV, and The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.220. The NKJV translates this as "hyenas".
Q: In Isa 34:13-15, what are these animals?
A: The Jewish Tanakh and other translations say hat most of these animal cannot be identified with certainty. Here are what different translators think they are.
KJV (13) dragons, owls, (14) wild beasts of the desert, wild beasts of the island, satyr, screech owl, (15) great owl, vultures
NKJV (13) jackals, ostriches (14) wild beasts of the desert, jackals, wild goat, night creature (15) arrow snake, hawks
Greenís literal translation (13) jackals, ostriches, (14) wild beasts of the desert, howling beasts, shaggy goat, screech owl, (15) snake, vultures
NASB (13) jackals, ostriches, (14) desert creatures wolves, hairy goat, night monster (15) snake, hawks
NIV (13) jackals, owls, (14) hyenas, wild goats, night creatures, (15) owl, falcons.
NET Bible (13) jackals, ostriches, (14) wild animals, wild dogs, wild goats, nocturnal animals (15) owls hawks
Jewish Tanakh (13) jackals ostriches (14) wildcats, hyenas, goat-demons, lilith, (15) arrow-snake, buzzards
The Septuagint (13) monsters, ostriches, (14) devils, satyrs, (15) hedgehog, deer
NRSV (13) jackals, ostriches, (14) wildcats, hyenas, goat-demons. Lilith, (15) owls, buzzards.
While we cannot be certain of some of these names today, someone in the desert cannot be certain of the eerie sounds they hear at night either. This forlorn, haunting picture of the ghost towns of Edom is a vivid picture of the end of a nation that was so closely related to the Israelites, yet would have nothing to do with Israelís God.
Q: Could Isa 35:1,2 refer to Bahaíuíllah of the Bahaiís, because it refers to the parched land being glad, and Lebanon and Carmel, where Bahaíuíllah spent the last years of his life?
A: No. Jesus was in that area too, so the mention of those places in and of itself does not give preference to Bahaíuíllah over Jesus. Unlike the prophecy in Isaiah 35:1,2 few people in Lebanon or Israel "rejoiced greatly" over Bahaíuíllah being there. When the British took over the region after World War I, the Muslims pretty much continued to do their thing, the Druze stayed doing their thing, the Jews later entered Israel and there were fierce wars (not rejoicing) between the two, and I have not heard of a lot of rejoicing that area since Bahaíuíllah went there. This is not implying in any way that Bahaíuíllah caused all of the strife and suffering over there; rather as far as the rejoicing or suffering over in Mt. Carmel Bahaíuíllah was irrelevant.
Q: In Isa 35:5-10, when will this blooming of the desert occur?
A: Many desert places in Israel literally are blooming today, and this is in spite of the fact that today the land is more arid than it was in Bible times. The reason for this paradox is irrigation.
Q: In Isa 35:8, what highway is the highway of holiness?
A: Isaiah 35:8-10 only the redeemed will be on this highway, not any wicked people. This most likely will be during the Millennium.
Q: In Isa 35:8, should it say "wicked fools will not go about on it" or "the simple will not stray from it"?
A: This is not a manuscript variation, but rather two ways to interpret the words. Does "fools not stray in it" mean that straying fools will not be on it, or that "even fools on it will not stray"? The NIV translates it the first way, with a margin note saying it could be the second way. Likewise The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.6 p.223 says the language could be either way, but the context favors the first way. The NET Bible translates it the first way. The KJV, NKJV, NRSV, Motyerís The Prophecy of Isaiah p.275, and 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.94 translate it the second way.
Q: In Isa 36:11,13 werenít Godís people only called Jews during and after the exile?
A: No. Jew would refer to someone from the southern kingdom in 2 Kings 16:2; 18:26,28; 25:25; 2 Chronicles 32:18; Isaiah 36:11,13; Jeremiah 32:12; 34:9. 38:9; 40:11,12,15; 41:3; 44:1; 52:28,30. They were called Jews during the exile in Esther and Daniel.
Q: In Isa 36:12 and 2 Ki 18:27, is it an absurdity in the Bible absurd to say people eat and drink human waste? (The Muslim Ahmad Deedat categorically said this, using different language).
A: Consider the speaker. This is said by the evil, Assyrian general, when he was taunting the Israelites and the one true God. I donít know why an honest scholar would forget to see this was by an idolator taunting God and Godís people, and not God. I do not know what percentage of Muslims would claim that Deedatís arguments were honest.
Q: In Isa 36-37, where else is this great miracle recorded of the Assyrian army being slaughtered?
A: The Greek historian Herodotus writes that the Assyrian army was overrun by an army of rats. Not only would the rats eat the bow strings and leather straps on the shields, they would bring the plague.
Herodotus says this was at Pelusium, while the Bible does not specify, except that the Assyrian army was besieging Jerusalem. Herodotus, not living in Judah might have been wrong on this detail. On the other hand, Herodotus might have been correct, because a contingent of the Assyrian army might have surrounded Jerusalem while other parts of the army were either capturing other cities or waiting for the Egyptians.
Q: Does Isa 38:3 show that good works saved in Old Testament times?
A: No, not even in Old Testament times. Hezekiah brought up to God his good works not in asking to be saved, but in asking to extend his life. However, this does not even prove that Hezekiahís good works would have God give him a longer life. It only proves that Hezekiah thought that it might.
See Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.227 for more info.
Q: In Isa 38:8, what is the significance of this miracle of the sun going back?
A: It would be very simple to "make" the sun go forward: just wait a little while. But if God could make the sun's shadow go backward, God could rewind the clock on Hezekiah's life too.
Some people wish God would rewind the clock on their life in a different way. They wish they could go back and not do some of the things they did or say what they said. While God does not undo things for people in that way, He can "reset the clock" by giving people new life in Christ and forgiving them of their sins. Sometimes, as our brothers and sisters who are born-again in prison can tell you, God gives forgiveness, but they still have to pay for the consequences of their past actions.
See Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.91-92 for more info.
Q: In Isa 38:9-22, what can we learn from Hezekiah's prayer?
A: After God told Hezekiah that Hezekiah was going to die soon, he was very unaccepting of God's will. Hezekiah turned to the Lord and prayed bitterly, asking God to change this and have him live longer.
We should pray all of our requests to God, but we should be accepting of God's will. During this additional time Manasseh was born, who was the most wicked king Judah ever had.
Q: In Isa 38:21 (KJV), what is a plaister?
A: This King James Version word means a medicinal poultice or plaster which is put over a wound or boil.
Q: In Isa 38:21 and 2 Ki 20:7, how did a plaster made of figs help Hezekiah recover?
A: First of all, a boil can be a serious thing, especially without antibiotics. Deadly staph infections can start with a boil. Either the plaster was a means God used for the miracle, or else it was simply a medical treatment. This was a common medicinal treatment of that time, and the plaster helped in possibly four ways.
1. Fig plaster contains sugar, and this nutrient would help the bodies cells regrow better.
2. If the plaster was high in sugar as in a jam or jelly, then it would actually kill fast-growing bacteria. Jelly today at room temperature is not as susceptible to bacteria spoilage as one might think. Bacteria in a high-sugar environment absorb sugar so rapidly through osmosis that their cell walls burst and they die.
3. In addition, other compounds in the plaster perhaps would slow bacteria growth and adjust the pH.
4. Finally, if the wound were cleaned first, and plaster then applied, the plaster would protect the wound from dirt and airborne bacteria.
The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.274 says that the medicinal use of fig leaves goes at least as far back as the Ras Shamra tablets at Ugarit around 1400-1300 B.C..
Q: In Isa 39:2-4, what was the significance of Hezekiah showing the Babylonian envoys everything?
A: The envoys came to forge a military alliance against the Assyrians. They would want to know Hezekiahís military and financial resources. Hezekiah apparently wanted to impress them, and he showed them the wealth he had stored up. The Babylonians undoubtedly would remember this and later desire to conquer Judah.
Notice that it never says Hezekiah prayed to God for direction on what he should show these nonbelievers.
Q: In Isa 39:6-7, did the Babylonians later invade because Hezekiah showed them everything?
A: While we cannot say, it certainly might have been a factor. On one hand, they eventually might have invaded Judah regardless of what Hezekiah showed them. On the other hand, they were probably more eager to invade Judah since they knew the land was rich enough to have this treasure stored up.
Jesus said not to throw your pearls to the pigs, lest they trample them and then turn and tear you up (Matthew 7:6). While Hezekiah did not have the benefit of Jesusí words, we can learn a lesson here. Be careful of displaying your valuable things, and private information to those who might later turn and use it to their advantage against you.
Q: In Isa 39:8, was this a good thing Hezekiah said, or bad thing?
A: It shows Hezekiahís heart, and unfortunately it shows bad as well as good. Hezekiah was concerned about his own walk with God, and his own role as king. Regrettably Hezekiah was not very concerned about his legacy or what would happen after he left.
Unfortunately, Christians today can be short-sighted, too. We need to be concerned about our children and our legacy, in addition to our individual relationship with God.
Q: In Isa 40-44, many places emphasize that there is only one true God. How can the Trinity be true?
A: No one would say this contradicts the concept of the Trinity unless they did not understand what the Bible has revealed about the Trinity. One key aspect of the Trinity is that there is only One True God, but Three Distinct Persons. The Father, Son, and Spirit are God, but they are one inseparable God. One inseparable God does not contradict three distinct persons, any more than one mountain can have three peaks. Christians have often used Isaiah 40-44 to proved the "one God" part of the Trinity. See the discussion on Matthew 28:19 for more info on the Trinity.
Q: Is Isa 40-66 a second book by a different and later author who lived in Babylon?
A: No, see the discussion at the end of Isaiah for extensive answers on the two and three Isaiah theories.
Q: Could Isa 40:1-5a refer partly to John the Baptist and Christ, and partly to the Bab and Bahaíuíllah, as Bahaíis teach in Bahaíuíllah and the New Era p.263-264?
A: No. Their explanation is interesting. They say this cannot refer only to John the Baptist and Christ, because the warfare of Jerusalem has not been completed and "her hard service has been completed" in Isa 40:2b. However, her warfare was not completed in Bahaíuíllahís time either. Without that, there is nothing in this that suggests the Bab and Bahaíuíllah. Furthermore, where did the Bab ever say "Prepare the way of the Lord". He taught that he was the manifestation of God, and that another manifestation would not appear for another 1,000 years.
Bahaíis say Bahaíuíllah means "glory of God" in Arabic, and Isaiah 40:5 uses the phrase "glory of the LORD", but it says that all mankind will see it/him. Now Bahaíis say this title refers to a person, not his laws or organization. But when Bahaíuíllah died, a very, very small percentage of the worldís population had ever heard of him. Unless they were thinking of displaying his dead body to everyone, the whole world will not see whom they call "the glory of God."
Q: In Isa 40:2, was Jerusalem's sin paid for apart from Christís work on the cross?
A: No, because God did not specify here how sins were forgiven. The returning exiles would repent of their ancestors' idolatry, and God would forgive them. The mechanism, of Jesus dying on the cross for all our sins, was not revealed to them yet.
Q: In Isa 40:3-4, how would people know this was referring to John the Baptist?
A: People would not know the name of the forerunner, but they would see from Isaiah that the forerunner would call for people to prepare for God Himself coming.
Q: In Isa 40:11, what is interesting about the word for "lamb" here?
A: Words can have regular meaning and a slang meaning. This particular word for lamb, used only in Isaiah 40:11; 65:25, and 1 Samuel 7:9 simply means "lamb". But the Aramaic cognate, which also means lamb, has a slang meaning of "young boy". Jesus used the feminine form of this word when he raised the twelve-year old girl in Mark 5:4. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.3 p.610 for more info.
Q: In Isa 40:12, does God have human dimensions, as some Word-faith teachers say?
A: Of course Jesus Christ has human dimensions, because He not only was a man, He still is a man. But God is not limited to physical dimensions. The phrase "measured the water in his hand" does not mean God is a clumsy violin player because His hands are too big. Rather, this poetic expression shows the magnitude of God's power. Psalm 139:7-10 and Jeremiah 23:24 show that God's hand is everywhere, because He fills the heaven and the earth. This would not be possible if God was limited to only human dimensions. See When Cultists Ask p.80 for a complementary answer.
Q: In Isa 40:13-14, does this show God has a counselor?
A: This shows the opposite. Just as nobody else can measure the water in the hollow of their hand, or mark off the heavens, nobody has fully understood the mind of God or instructed God. Isaiah 41:28-29 also rhetorically asks where are God's counselors in a derisive, ironic way.
Q: In Isa 40:18,25, are we supposed to compare God with anyone or an image?
A: This verse indirectly is saying no, because there is nothing to which to compare Him. The only reason to compare Him to idols is just to see how worthless the idols are. A two-dimensional image cannot be confused with a person, but there is similarity. We are made in the image of God, though fallen, and there are similarities between God and us. See When Critics Ask p.270 for a different but complementary answer.
Q: In Isa 40:22, what is the circle of the earth?
A: The Hebrew word here, khug, can mean either circle or sphere. So while the Bible is consistent with the earth being a sphere, this verse should not be used to try to prove that they knew the earth was a sphere.
However, it is not at all far-fetched to think that ancient people though the earth was a sphere. Pythagoras (c.580/572-492/490 B.C.) and his pupil Philolaus (ca.500 B.C.) though the earth was rotating ball. See http://www.skyscript.co.uk/copernicus.html for more info. Herakleides (c.388/380-c.310 B.C.) thought that the sun and all the planets except Mercury and Venus orbited around the rotating earth. Aristarchus of Samos (ca.310-230 B.C.) said the sun went around the earth, according to his pupil Archimedes. Aristarchus practiced astronomy in Alexandria. He is called the Copernicus of ancient astronomy, because he taught that the sun was 20 times farther from the earth than the moon, hence must be much larger. [Actually the sun is about 400 times farther from the earth than the moon.]. Seleucus (150 B.C.) also held to Aristarchusí view.
However, if the earth revolved, it must be moving very fast; yet the ancient world thought they could disprove this view because otherwise everything would just fly off. You might say the ancient world did not consider this view with enough gravity. See http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/GreekScience/Students/Kristen/Aristarchus.html for more info.
Q: In Isa 40:22, how are people like grasshoppers compared to God?
A: We view grasshoppers as short-lived, dirty, not-too-intelligent creatures, and all of that applies in comparing us to God. We are like grasshoppers compared to God because of at least seven reasons.
1. God's power
2. God's presence everywhere
3. God's intelligence
4. God's view of the world
5. Our brief life on earth
6. God can weather all the seasons
7. There is none like Him
Perhaps you can think of more reasons too.
Q: In Isa 40:31, what does it mean to wait upon the Lord?
A: This means three different things.
Discern: Before you rush headlong into something, wait to see first if God really wants you to do this or not. See Now Thatís A Good Question p.256-257 for more on this meaning.
Be patient: Even for things you know God wants, sometimes we need to patiently wait on Godís timing, rather than trying to force something before its time.
Follow: Even for things we know God wants now, we should follow Godís lead rather than hope the Lord blesses and follows our leading. The Chinese Christian writer Watchman Nee lamented believers forgetting this.
Q: In Isa 40:31, exactly how does waiting on the LORD renew our strength?
A: Before answering this question, we have to ask what exactly strength is. There are four kinds of strength and this verse can refer to all four.
Will: Strength is fortitude, or strength of will. It includes both the bravery to do something that God wants you to do, as well as the perseverance to continue doing it despite disappointment, opposition, or suffering. Strength of will is also the self-control to not do something, or to stop doing something that God does not want you to do. People often can get strength of will from the people around them, the movement they are in, etc. But those circumstances can change. This verse says we are to get strength from the Lord.
Heart: Strength also is gained by drawing close to God and guarding your heart in the Lord. It gives you the ability to not be burned out, to enjoy Godís presence and serving Him, even in hard times.
Knowledge and Wisdom: Strength of knowledge is knowing the truth and what are false ways. Wisdom is applying that to your own life, or advising others. One can have strength of knowledge without the others, but that is not Godís desire for us. We should be balanced and strong in the Lord in the other ways too. A person with a left leg as strong as an Olympic runner, and the right leg of a couch potato would not run very fast.
Physical health: Be anxious about something is not only unbiblical (Philippians 4:6) but it is harmful to you physically also. We are to wait on the Lord and put things in His hands. Second (and obviously) if we are walking with the Lord, our physical strength will be better because we will not be drunk, on drugs, and quit or not start smoking. Finally though, many who have followed God have been hurt physically by the torture they have endured for Christ. So while on earth wicked people may make our bodies worse, we will have new, glorified bodies ultimately in the new heaven and earth.
Q: How should Isa 41:2a be translated?
A: This is a difficult phrase to translate.
Green's Literal translation says "Who raised up the righteous one from the east? He called him to his foot?"
The KJV says "Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot,"
The NASB says "Who has aroused one from the east Whom He calls in righteousness to His feet?"
The NIV translates this as "Who has stirred up one from the east, calling him in righteousness to his service". It has a footnote says "OR / whom victory meets at every step?"
The NKJV says "Who in righteousness called him to His feet"
The NRSV translates this as "Who has roused a victor from the east, summoned him to his service?"
The Septuagint says "Who raised up righteousness from the east, and called it to his feet, so that is should go?"
The root issue is one of translation, not manuscript variations, according to The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.247. The Hebrew word sedeq usually means "righteousness", but it can also mean "victory". Perhaps one could even translate "righteous victor" as in God's eyes they go hand in hand.
Q: In Isa 41:5, how can non-living islands be afraid?
A: This personification refers to the people living on the islands being afraid.
Q: In Isa 41:9-14, is this Hebrew word referring to "you" singular or plural?
A: While it is not so easy to tell in modern English translations, the King James version and Chinese version follow the Hebrew. It is singular in the Hebrew.
Q: In Isa 41:14, why did God call Jacob a worm here?
A: Perhaps the people of Judah and Israel felt like a worm among nations here, full of fear of Assyria stepping on them. All of us are very weak compared to God and His power.
Q: In Isa 41:19 (KJV), what kinds of trees are cedar, shitta, myrtle, oil, fir, pine, and box trees?
A: Understanding that an "oil" tree, was a tree for getting olive oil, modern translators agree the first four trees are "cedar, acacia, myrtle, and olive." Translators are unsure of some of the last three trees.
The NIV calls these trees "pine, fir, and cypress".
The NKJV calls these trees "cypress, pine, and box tree"
The NASB says "juniper, box tree and cypress"
The NRSV says "cypress, plane, pine"
Centuries before Christ, the Septuagint only listed five trees: "cedar, box, myrtle, cypress, white poplar" They probably did not try to translate the names of trees they did not know.
Q: In Isa 41:25, what does it mean that one will come from the north?
A: First two things that are not the answer, and then the answer.
Persia was considered in the north (Isaiah 41:25; Jeremiah 50:3; 51:48). It is actually northeast, but to go to Persia from Israel, one would travel straight north first.
Assyria and Babylon were also considered in the north, in Jeremiah 1:14-15; 4:6; 6:1; 25:9; 46:10
These nations were not only from the north, but they were also from the east, and that probably is why it is also said they came from "the rising sun".
The answer is that this refers to Christ's Second Coming, as the one who comes from the north, and east, is the one who calls on God's name. Jesus Himself quoted from Isaiah 42, so Jesus recognized this part of Isaiah as Messianic.
Q: In Isa 42, who is the servant mentioned here?
A: This servant, God's Chosen One, is the Messiah, as Matthew 12:17-21 shows.
Q: Since Isa 42:1-4 and Mt 12:18-21 say the Messiah will not cry nor stir up or have his voice heard in the streets, ... until he establishes justice on earth, why did Jesus proclaim loudly that the Pharisees, scribes, and lawyers are hypocrites, blind guides, whitewashed tombs, etc. in Mt 23 and Lk 11:39-52?
A: One could try to interpret this to mean Jesus could not speak a single word while He was walking on the street, but this is silly. Of course Jesus was allowed to speak in the streets, and he was allowed to speak to multitudes in Matthew 23. Rather, in contrast to Jewish expectations, Jesus would not stir up the people, either to attack others or even to defend Himself. Jesus spoke and rebuked with authority, but He issued no battle cries, even as tempting as it might have been when He was arrested.
The first of the three main Hebrew words in Isaiah 42:2 nacah has a wide variety of meanings, but the next word in Strongís Concordance, nesa is derived from nacah and means to carry away, make insurrection, or take. The other two words are tsaíaq which means to proclaim or cry, and shama which has a similar broad meaning. It obviously does not mean simply "proclaim" in this context, because Isaiah himself says that the Messiah will proclaim various things. You have to look at the words together.
Q: In Isa 42:11, does "the villages that Kedar doth inhabit" refer to Ishmaelís offspring, as the Muslim Ahmad Deedat claims?
A: While this point does not matter to Christians either way, Deedat is correct here. Kedar was one of the twelve sons of Ishmael according to 1 Chronicles 1:29. However, many Muslims make the mistake of thinking that all Arabs came from Ishmael. Actually Arabia was far from empty when Ishmael was born. Sheba (modern Yemen) was not from Ishmael. Archaeologically there were people living in Bahrain whose writing was similar to the Canaanites. Others who lived in Arabia besides Ishmaelites were the six children of Abraham and his concubine Keturah. But prior to Abraham, are some of the Semites in Genesis 10:21-32.
Q: In Isa 42:13, is God a man, since the Lord is a man of war, or warrior?
A: No. This simply means God is a warrior and champion.
Q: In Isa 42:13 and Jer 25:30, is it ill-befitting that God should "roar", as the Muslim Ahmad Deedat claims?
A: No, who are we to tell God what He can and cannot do? The "roar" in both verses is a battle cry. When Jesus returns in glory He will defeat Godís enemies.
Q: In Isa 42:19, why is God saying His servant is blind and deaf?
A: Jeremiah 5:20-21 has a similar message. God's servant here is Israel, and God is rebuking His servant here in Isaiah 42:20. Saying they are blind and deaf means they are not paying attention.
Q: In Isa 42:19; Ezek 12:1-2; Lam 4:14 in what ways can people be blind and deaf?
A: Physically people can be blind for a number of reasons: brain, optic, never, cornea, because it is too dark, etc. and similarly for hearing. People can also be deaf because the background noise is too loud.
Analogously, people can be blind and deaf spiritually. If the Holy Spirit is not working in someoneís life, there is no hope of them finding God. (John 16:8-10 shows how the Holy Spirit works in the world.) Just like cares and fears can keep people from the gospel in the parable of the four soils, cares and fears and drown out someone hearing Godís message. Even religion can drown out a personís listening to God, as the amazingly sad story of the Pharisees in John 9 shows. Jesus told the Pharisees in John 8:37b "you have no room for my word." May we never have our lives so full that we have no room for Godís Word. If so, then we should try to make our lives a bit emptier.
Q: In Isa 43:3 (KJV), where is Seba?
A: This is the same as Sheba in modern-day Yemen, or across the strait in Ethiopia.
Q: In Isa 43:3, how did God give Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sheba as a ransom for Israel?
A: The NIV Study Bible p.107 says that perhaps God gave the territory of Egypt to Persia and the trade with Ethiopia and Sheba in return for the Persians' kindness to Israel.
Q: In Isa 43:5-6, when will this be fulfilled?
A: This would first be fulfilled when the exiles returned under Ezra in 439-438 B.C. This also will be fulfilled in the endtimes when all of Israel returns. Some see the establishment of the modern state of Israel and the beginning of the fulfillment of this.
Q: In Isa 43:7, why was man created by God?
A: Your short subject line asks a big question. It is very strange that a few days before I read your question, I taught a Sunday school class, to fifth grade boys, on this very subject.
Since God knows everything before it happens (Psalm 139:16,17, Isaiah 44:7, 46:10; 1 John 3:20; etc.) God saw that Adam and Eve would fall, He saw that we would sin against Him, and He saw the painful sacrifice that Jesus would make. One might think God would have said, "This is too much trouble; I am not going to go through the bother of creating these people." I think God would have been perfectly justified to do that. But that is not what God did; for some reason, God saw through all the heartache and pain, that it would be worth it. But why on earth (or rather in heaven) would He see this as worthwhile?
From the Bible we can see a number of reasons.
Men and women are made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26-27). Now we recognize an image on earth as a two-dimensional partial representation of a three-dimensional object. Similarly, we are a partial, finite representation of part of the character of God. One part of being in God's image is that we can love Him, be moral beings, have free will (properly defined), appreciate beauty and truth in ways that animals cannot. There is a second part of being in God's image, that I will postpone until talking about 1 John.
We are created to glorify God. (Isaiah 43:7; 62:3)
We are created to live with God (2 Corinthians 5:4-5). We will reign with Christ in Heaven (Ephesians 2:6)
God wants to have us to show incredible mercy and grace to us. (Ephesians 2:7)
We are created to do good works (on earth, but perhaps also in Heaven), which God created in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10).
To be holy and blameless in His sight (Ephesians 1:4)
To be adopted as His sons (Ephesians 1:5)
We were created for Godís pleasure. (Hebrews 11:6 and others verses talk about us pleasing Him.)
Acts 17:28a says that we live and move and have our being in God. Likewise, Colossians 3:3 says that believes now have their life hidden with Christ in God.
But there is another important aspect too. 1 John 4:12-16 shows not only that we live in God, but that God lives in us. We were constructed such, that God's spirit can actually dwell inside of us. There are some things you might think God Almighty could not do. You might think we might not be able to feel pain, be hurt, suffer etc. Of course, God Almighty did experience that when Jesus came to earth to die for our sins. But how can God Almighty experience our joys and struggles, and our love, firsthand? He can do even that. For those who have asked Jesus into their heart, God, through the Holy Spirit, comes to us and makes our home in us (John 14:23-27).
Jesus compared this two-way relationship, us in God and God in us, as He being the vine and we are the branches in John 15:1-8. So as a believer, when I open my eyes in the morning, it is not just "me" that is looking out through me eyes, it is also "Him". However, the service of God is perfect freedom; I still have the choices, and responsibility, to choose to live in a way pleasing to Him and loving others, or dishonoring Him and being self-serving. There is joy in following Him, but there is struggle too, as we shine for Him in this sin-stained world.
We should not be puffed up with pride though. We are in no way divine; we are simply vessels. As vessels we are no different and no better than all of the other non-Christians around us, it is just that we have been chosen by God's grace been given something different inside. We have been tasked with offering this tremendous gift to others, and God will gladly fill all who ask of Him, for God loves a person more than you can imagine, even more than the person can love themselves.
Apart from this, God has individual purposes for different people too. Sometimes God might let them know something of their individual purpose; and sometimes they do not find out until they die. During dark times, God told the people of Judah through Jeremiah, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD." (Jeremiah 29:11-13a NIV)
If you are a non-Christian, I sincerely hope you will seek the Lord. If you are a Christian, I hope you will continue to seek the Lord to better know how to please Him, and then do it.
Q: In Isa 43:14; 48:14,20, what exactly is the difference between a Babylonian and a Chaldean?
A: At this time they were synonyms. The Amorite Babylonians conquered ancient Sumeria and blended with the Sumerians over about 1,000 years prior to Isaiah's time.
Q: In Isa 43:16 and Ps 8:8, what are the paths of the seas?
A: Let's see which of three possibilities is correct.
Ocean currents: The Mediterranean and Red Seas have no currents, so this could only refer to currents in the oceans.
Pathway of a journey of a ship or fish to a destination.
Dry path through the Red Sea.
As to which is correct, note the following:
Verse 16 is past tense: God "made"
Verse 17 adds that he drew out the chariots and horses in the army and extinguished them.
Verse 19 says that just as in the past they knew God made a path for them through the mighty sea, in the future God will make a way for them in the desert to return from captivity. Therefore the first two interpretations are incorrect and only the third is correct.
As a side note, at least two study Bibles and four commentaries also give the third interpretation. For more info see The NIV Study Bible p.1079, the New Geneva Study Bible p.1099, The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.261, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1097, The Prophecy of Isaiah : An Introduction and Commentary p.337, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.970-971.
Q: In Isa 44:2, what is the significance of the name Jesurun or Jeshurun?
A: Some people use nicknames, and God too is using a nickname for Israel. Jeshurun means upright one in Hebrew. It was not an unknown term to the Israelites, as it also is used in Deuteronomy 32:15.
Q: In Isa 44:27, what is the significance of drying up the rivers?
A: In the past God dried up the Red Sea for Moses, and the Jordan River for Joshua. The Persian king Cyrus could conquer the city of Babylon by diverting the river and marching on the riverbed under the city walls
Q: In Isa 44:28-45:3, how do you pronounce the name of King Cyrus?
A: The common way (in English) in SI-rus, with the accent on the first syllable. The Persians pronounced his name as Kuru-sh according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Q: In Isa 44:28-45:3,13, why is Cyrus mentioned here?
A: Isaiah 44-45 was a prophecy that named Cyrus. God even knew the name of the deliverer of the Jews over 150 years before Cyrus was born. Liberals and skeptics have assumed that genuine prophecy of the future is impossible, so they have long used this reference to Cyrus to "prove" the latter part of Isaiah was written after Cyrus became king.
Q: On Isa 45:7, I listened to Larry Wesselsí ĎUnpopular bible doctrinesí youtube presentation and found it interesting enough to check out the website. Iíve glanced and read some of what is on your website and scanned the questions about whether or not God created evil. I did a search on the Genesis discussion on your website - on the creation of evil, and did NOT see this verse:Isaiah 45:7 (King James Version): I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. I too am a truth seeker, meaning I am a Christian who really wants to know what the bible says, even the unpopular stuff. I am interested then in your comment on Is. 45:7.
A: Now Thatís A Good Question p.267-268 points out that There are seven different Hebrew words that are translated as evil in English. Even the English word for evil has two meanings: moral evil, and physical catastrophe. This is saying that God sometimes brings physcal catastrophe. Of course in our fallen world God allows physical catastrophes to happen; but this verse actually says that God brings physical catastrophes. When you think of Sodom and Gomorrah being wiped out, or Noah's flood, or the great feast in Revelation, God can bring death as well as life. We like to think of God as the most loving being in the universe, - and God is that. But God is also the most wrathful being in the universe too, and we have to remember that.
Tertullian, writing 207/208 A.D. also talked about the two kinds of evil here. He distinguished between sinful evil (culpae) and penal evil or punishment (poenae) in his work Five Books Against Marcion book 2 ch.14 p.308,
See also Hard Sayings of the Bible p.305-306, 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.171, When Critics Ask p.217, Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.76-77, and Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.41,219 for more info.
Q: In Isa 45:7, 14:7, how did a good God "make peace and create evil"?
A: Now Thatís A Good Question p.267-268 points out that there are seven Hebrew words that are often translated into the English word "evil" in the King James Version. The answer is that this word for evil often means physical catastrophe, not just moral evil.
Tertullian (writing 207/208 A.D.) answered this question basically the same say, distinguishing between sinful evil (culpae) and penal evil or punishment (poenae) in Five Books Against Marcion book 2 ch.14 p.308.
See also Hard Sayings of the Bible p.305-306, 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.171, When Critics Ask p.217, Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.76-77, and Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.41,219 for more info.
Q: In Isa 45:9, how are some people like potsherds?
A: Small broken pieces of pots are almost totally useless, able to cut others, but formerly they could have been useful. Some people are like potsherds, once showing promise of being able to come to Christ and serve God, but now seem totally useless. Remember though, that God can remake pots. See also the discussion on Lamentations 4:2.
Q: In Isa 45:19, does God ever let people seek Him in vain?
A: God does not have people sincerely seek Him in vain. Here are five points to consider.
1. Jesus promised in Matthew 7:7-8 that those who ask and seek will be given and find.
2. However, no one seeks God (Romans 3:10-11, which quotes from Psalm 53:1-3).
3. Yet, paradoxically, David who wrote Psalm 53 says he sought God.
4. We have a responsibility to seek God (Isaiah 9:13, etc.)
5. The resolution of 2, 3, and 4 is that no one seeks God on their own. Rather, God drives people to Himself (even in Old Testament times). Unless the Father draws people, no one would come to Jesus (John 6:44).
Q: In Isa 46:1, who are Bel and Nebo?
A: Bel was another name for Marduk, the chief god of Babylon. Nebo was Marduk's son. The Babylonian kings Nebuchadnezzar (Nabu-kudurri-usur) and Nabopolassar (Nabu-apal-usur) have "Nebo" in their names. The NIV Study Bible p.1084 says that Bel was another name for the Canaanite idol Baal. Rounding this out, the Babylonian goddess Ishtar was the same as the Canaanite goddess Ashtarte.
The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.551-552 agrees with the preceding, except that it also adds that the name "Bel" was originally given to En-lil, the Sumerian god of the air and sky. However, the Sumerians lived in Sumeria as far back as 3500 B.C., and the Phoenicians, Aramaeans, Babylonians, and other Amorites who would worship Bel did not come until 2500-2000 B.C., so Bel did not come from En-lil. Asimov is incorrect in thinking they might have retroactively been associated with each other.
Q: In Isa 47:1, why is Babylon called a virgin daughter?
A: This could be sarcasm. At one time the Babylonians had a custom where unmarried girls would have to sell their bodies in the temple prior to getting married.
Q: In Isa 47:5,7 (KJV), who is the "lady of the kingdom"?
A: This metaphorically is the daughter of the Babylonians, and is the city of Babylon. At that time Babylon was perhaps the most powerful city in the world.
Q: In Isa 47:10, what is important about the wisdom and knowledge of the Babylonians?
A: Most western astrology and much idolatry came from Babylon. Ultimately though, the Babylonians' own strength was their god according to Habakkuk 1:11.
Q: In Isa 48:4, what are "iron sinews"?
A: Sinews are the tendons that attach to muscles. As a metaphor, iron sinews would not rip, and they would provide great strength, if attached to iron muscles. Babylonian weapons often were made of iron too.
Q: In Isa 49, what is Isaiah talking about here?
A: Sometimes a father needs to talk with his children and remind them who is the parent, and who is in control. Likewise God is reminding us that it is He who ultimately controls history, which will accomplish His purposes.
Q: In Isa 49:1, 41:1, what is the significance of the islands here?
A: While the Jews would be scattered abroad, this most likely refers to Gentile peoples. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1094 says that islands represent the most remote parts of the world.
Q: In Isa 49:6, why did God choose the Jews and not another race?
A: God could choose whichever race He wanted, but He did not actually choose a race, but a man, Abraham, and his grandson, Jacob. See the discussion on Genesis 12:1, 28:10-15; 32:22-32 for the answer.
Q: In Isa 50:1-2a, why is God asking about the certificate of divorce, God's creditors, and His arm being too short to save?
A: God is speaking ironically here. God's arm is not too short to save, God has no creditors, and God did not make a certificate of divorce. The point is that since these things are not true, then why were all of God's people not there for Him?
Q: In Isa 51:9, who are Rahab and the dragon?
A: Rahab likely was the name for a crocodile. Figuratively, Rahab could represent Egypt, when God delivered the Israelites through the Red Sea. The dragon here probably represents Satan.
Q: In Isa 52:5, how do people continually blaspheme Godís name?
A: People blaspheme God's name in at least three ways.
With bad speech, people take the Lord's name in vain. However, that is not the primary meaning in this verse.
Contempt: Unbelievers who have some awareness of Him, or at least others worshipping Him, and hold that knowledge with a lack of respect or make light of it are blaspheming God. In the verse the Babylonians who ruled over the Israelites just considered Him another tribal god.
Unholy living: Believers can dishonor God's name by either living an unholy life that could make the demons mock at God's work.
Known false teaching: Believers and unbelievers can teaching things they know are contrary to God's truth, and so dishonor the word of the Lord. James 3:1 warns that not many of us should become teachers, because teachers will be judged with greater strictness.
Teaching others to hold God in contempt is another way to blaspheme God's name. Teaching others to not trust in God, question His love or justice are ways to lead people away from God.
Of course blaspheming against Jesus, or against God in this sense, is different from blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is when an unbeliever who sees what He knows is God's Spirit at work, and says it is of Satan and wants no part of it. Friends, if you always refuse to have the Holy Spirit have any part in saving you, you are not going to be saved.
Q: In Isa 52:11, when did this deportation occur?
A: This interesting combination of a command and a promise was during the Exile. Those who were to carry the holy vessels out of Jerusalem were to keep themselves pure.
In fact, when the Babylonian army captured Jerusalem, they took both the Jews and all the valuable objects to Babylon, presumably making the Jews carry them.
Today, even if a Christian is under persecution from others, or under discipline from God, even then he or she should touch no unclean thing. When Job was afflicted, he was steady and saw no reason to live a less righteous life, -and neither should we.
Q: In Isa 53, could this not be a prophecy because it is in the past tense?
A: It is a prophecy for three reasons.
1) If it were a past event, who could it be referring to?
2) Other prophecies are given in the past tense too, the longest being to John in most of the book of Revelation.
3) Even some Jews themselves recognized this as a messianic prophecy in Targum Jonathan. It is strange for 21st century people to tell the Jews who wrote and studied Targum Jonathan that their understanding of Hebrew and the prophetic past is all wrong.
See also the next question for more info.
Q: In Isa 53, how do we know this refers to the Messiah?
A: There are three characteristics of the subject of this chapter.
A person: The Messiah was a man or sorrows (53:3), with an appearance (52:2) and no children (53:8)
Take on others' sins as a guilt offering (53:10), took upon himself our infirmities and sorrows (53:4), suffered reproach as though struck by God (53:4) pierced and crushed for our sins (53:5).
Died and yet see his seed: assigned a grace with the wicked and the rich (53:9) yet we will see his offspring (53:10)
In contrast to this, the Jewish people never claimed to be a guilt offering (53:1), intercede for the sins of others (53:12), or bore our infirmities and sorrows (53:4). The Jewish people would not say about themselves "The punishment that brought peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." (53:5f)
Historically, Jews recognized Isaiah 53 as referring to the Messiah. Here is the explanation of Isaiah 53 in the Targum Jonathan. "but it was the Lordís good pleasure to forgive the transgressions of us all for his sake. ... they shall look upon the kingdom of their Anointed One (or, Messiah), they shall multiply sons and daughters... and the rebellious shall be forgiven for his sake." See The New Testament Background p.314-315 for more info.
Q: In Isa 53:3, 41:9, 42:4; 49:4; 49:6, could the author be speaking of himself as the skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.550-551 claims?
A: No, there is no evidence that Isaiah thought he was setting judgment on the earth (Isaiah 42:4), or that he felt he had labored in vain (Isaiah 49:4), or that he himself was given for a light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 49:6), or that he personally fulfilled Isaiah 53.
Q: In Isa 53:3, was Jesus despised by men, or did Jesus increase with favor with God and men as Lk 2:52 says?
A: Both. Early in His ministry, Jesus was "in favor". As He announced His claim to be the Messiah, He was rejected by many of the Jews. However, even during His trial and crucifixion, Pilate said he found no fault in Jesus (John 18:38 and the Roman soldiers had some respect for Jesus in Luke 23:47. See When Critics Ask p.272 for more info.
Q: In Isa 53:3, what is the Hebrew verb tense here?
A: The Masoretic text, which has vowel marks, has "he is familiar with". The Great Isaiah Scroll among the Dead Sea scrolls does not have vowel marks. Thus it could be translated "he was familiar with", or "he will be made known announced". Regardless, the meaning is the same though. See Messianic Prophecies from a Dead Sea Scroll p.21 for more info.
Q: In Isa 53:3-4 (KJV, NKJV), should these say "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" and "born our griefs and carried our sorrows", or "sickness/disease" and "pains"?
A: Apparently this is a "pain" to translate. Messianic Prophecies from a Dead Sea Scroll p.21 says the KJV translation was unfortunate here. It should be "sickness/disease" and "pains". The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 6 p.302 also says "sorrows" and "suffering" really mean "pains" and "sickness".
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1107 says "sorrows" (makíob in Hebrew), really means "anguish or grief".
1001 Bible Questions Answered p.244 says that the word "griefs" is translated as "disease/sickness" in Dt 7:15; 28:61; 1 Ki 17:17; 2 Ki 1:2; 8:8; 2 Chr 16:12; 21:15. The word translated as "sorrows is translated "pain" in Job 33:19. However, it points out that since the spiritual condition is in view here, griefs and sorrows is an appropriate translation.
Greenís Literal Translation says "sicknesses" and "pains".
The NRSV says "a man of suffering" with a footnote says, "Or a man or sorrows". It also says "diseases" instead of the KJVís "griefs" in verse 3. In verse 4 it says "infirmities" and "diseases".
The NIV says "sorrows" and "suffering" in verse 3, and "infirmities and "sorrows" in verse 4, so it is halfway like the KJV.
Q: In Isa 53:4-5, does Jesusí suffering relate to our physical healing?
A: For those who accept the Bible as God's word, the New Testament interpreted "by his stripes we are healed" in two complementary ways.
Spiritual reconciliation with God: Not only does God forgive us, but He cleanses us, sanctifies us, and prepares us for Heaven as 1 Peter 2:24 shows.
Physical healing is also a fulfillment of this, as this was quoted when Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law and others in Matthew 8:14-17. It does not guarantee physical healing for all, as it did not for Paul in Galatians 4:13-14, and Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:23. See When Cultists Ask p.80-81 and The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.349-350 for more info.
Q: In Isa 53:5 (KJV), should it be "stripes" or "stripe"?
A: It should be "stripe/wound" because the Hebrew word chabburah has a singular, not plural ending. The following references say it is singular: Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, Davidsonís analytical Hebrew Lexicon; Englishmanís Hebrew-Chaldee Concordance; and The Greek Old Testament Septuagint. The plural would be "oth" or "ot". See The Berean Call November 2004 p.8.
Q: In Isa 53:7 what is interesting about the Hebrew choice of words here?
A: In Isa 53:7 the word for female sheep, rachel, is also the name of Jacob's favorite wife. The word for shearers is gozazeah, which is related to gazah which means to cut off or sever. The word gozazeah can refer to infants and toddlers who have been "cut off" from breast feeding. So according to Messianic Prophecies from a Dead Sea Scroll p.23 one could view Isaiah 53:7 as "Rachel was silent before her severed children."
Q: In Isa 53:9, did Jesus die on the cross spiritually as well as physically?
A: No. Jesus did not become unconscious or cease to exist. In fact, after Jesus died and before His resurrection, He consciously preached, as 1 Peter 3:19 and 4:6 indicate. See When Cultists Ask p.81-82 for more info.
Q: In Isa 53:9 how was Jesus assigned a grave with the wicked?
A: Isa 53:9 says, "They intended to buy him with criminals, but he ended up in a rich manís tomb,..." (NET Bible). Where would they normally bury paupers and criminals? The Sanhedrin later used the money Judas returned to buy another plot for that purpose. Jesus likely would have been buried where all the other dead people were buried, when no one claimed the body, except that Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man, asked for the body of Jesus. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.41 for more info.
Q: In Isa 53:10, how did it please God to bruise an innocent person?
A: God the Father did not take pleasure in seeing God the Son suffer. Rather, the Father had included this as part of His plan to justly pay the penalty for our sins.
Q: In Isa 53:10, should it say "pierced him" or "by disease"?
A: The Masoretic text says "by disease", but both the Great Isaiah Scroll says "pierced him", meaning severely or fatally pierced. The Greek Septuagint says "stroke". 1 Clement (96-98 A.D.) chapter 16 quotes extensively from Isaiah 53, and it says "bruised", which is close to pierced than disease. Most of the differences from the Masoretic text and the Great Isaiah Scroll in Isaiah 53 are grammatical tenses, or else very small spelling differences. However, Messianic Prophecies from a Dead Sea Scroll p.25 says that in this case "Strangely, the words are not at all similar. One wonders how the change could have come about." Of course, the Masoretic text reflects Jewish scholarship after Christianity started.
Q: Since Isa 53:10 says "he shall see His seed/offspring", does that mean Jesus was married and had children, as some Mormons have said?
A: No. The Hebrew does not have the word "his", so the NET Bible does not either, rather saying like the Hebrew "see descendants". The KJV and NKJV italicize "His", as they should. (Less precise translations such as the NIV and NRSV do not have this distinction and just have "his".) Seed means spiritual offspring here, not biological offspring. For example, all believers can consider Abraham their father. As a concrete example, Romans 4:16 and Galatians 3:7 both say that Abraham is the father of all who believe, and we can consider ourselves his seed. John the Baptist in Matthew 3:9 and Luke 3:8 said that God could even raise up children of Abraham even from the stones.
Q: In Isa 53:11, how does the suffering servant "by his knowledge" justify many, and bear their iniquities?
A: This can be take two ways.
Objective clause with the following clause: "by knowledge of him" is how the "[Jewish] Masoretic accentuation, representing of course the Jewish traditional understanding, links it with the words that follow it." The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.6 p.304 gives this as an option. Thus our knowledge of, and/or knowing the suffering servant provides justification.
Subjection clause with the preceding clause: "by his knowledge" Knowledge in Hebrew was not restricted to just knowing facts, but also following moral knowledge. If a sinful man had died for our sins, it would have done no good whatsoever.
Of course, if both senses are true, and the Hebrew could be understood both way, then maybe both are correct.
Q: In Is 53:12, When the text says that Jesus poured out his soul to death is the word soul here referring to some abstract, mystical entity of his mere physical life?
A: The Hebrew word for soul, nephesh, can mean soul or life. It is saying that Jesusí body physically died, and Jesus went to the grave. You have to go to other verses in the Bible, such as 1 Peter 3:19-20, to be more precise on exactly what happened and what Jesus did after He died and prior to His resurrection.
Q: In Isa 54:7, how and why did an all-knowing, very loving God forget and forsake Israel for a brief moment?
A: God did not forget them in the sense of not knowing about them. Rather, God forsook protecting them from the wrath of the Assyrians and Babylonians.
God is very patient, but Godís patience has a limit. (1 Thessalonians 2:16; Genesis 15:16; Revelation 10:6; Psalm 2:5,12; Romans 2:5). When sin and defiance persist, there comes a time when God will deal with it.
Q: In Isa 54:9, how was this promise like in the days of Noah?
A: Just as God promised the water would never flood the entire earth again, God would not rebuke the Jews again after the exile. This is significant because after the post-exile return, God left them alone for a 400 year gap of prophecy until just before Christ came. After Christ, the Jews never had a prophet, or a rebuke from God again. Even the many persecutions and the Holocaust were never said to be by God for some disobedient things they did.
Q: In Isa 54:17, is this similar to the myth of the Viking gods Loki and Balder?
A: No, this is baloney. Even if it were, in history the Viking myth probably originated long after Isaiah was written around 700 B.C. This differs significantly from the Viking legend which said that all the plants and trees (except for the weak mistletoe) agreed never to harm Balder, on account of his goodness. The other gods celebrated Balderís goodness and invincibility by hurling spears at him, and each spear would swerve to miss. However, the renegade god Loki made some mistletoe grow long enough and strong enough for a spear, which he made. Loki gave it to another god, and it killed Balder. There is not much similarity between this strange display toward a person and God's promise of weapons of war prevailing against a people.
Q: In Isa 55:3, what are the sure mercies of David?
A: Isaiah 55:3 shows God's promises mercifully made to David, regardless of David's sin.
Q: In Isa 55:7, what is wrong with unrighteous thoughts, if we do not act on them?
A: Plenty is wrong, because James 1:14-15 says that desire when it is conceived gives birth to sin. In Job 31:1, Job made a covenant with his eyes not to look lustfully at a girl. Jesus said in Matthew 5:22 that if a man looks at a woman lustfully, the man has already committed adultery in his heart.
Q: In Isa 55:8-9, since Godís ways are so much greater than ours, and we are like grasshoppers compared to God (Isa 40:22), how can we be able to know anything whatsoever about God?
A: God is far wiser and more powerful than us. We can communicate among ourselves, so do not assume that God is just not smart enough or powerful enough to be capable of communicating with us. If a person has not read the entire Bible, yet claims we cannot know anything about God, perhaps the problem is not in the transmission of the message, but the reception.
Q: In Isa 55:11 how does Godís word endure forever, since 1 Ki 22 says the book of the Law was lost and found under Hezekiah?
A: First two things that are not the answer and then the answer.
While God's word does stand firm in the Heavens (Psalm 119:89) and from the time of Isaiah 59:21 God's people would always have His word; more than this is intended here.
The answer: Even before the first Bible existed on the earth, and even before the earth was created, God's word was going forth to accomplish His will in this universe. God works through the Bible, but God is by no means limited to working through His Bible. - Just ask Abraham and Enoch. God's people will always have the guidance and words from God that they need. We should be concerned about our desire to listen, rather than being anxious about God's desire to communicate.
Others verses that show that God's word will stand forever are Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:23-25; Psalm 119:91,144,160. We are to hope in God's word in Psalm 119:74,81.
Q: In Isa 56:3-7, does this teaching about foreigners and eunuchs contradict Dt 23:1?
A: No, because both the times and the privileges are different. During the Exodus and period under the Temple and the Old Covenant, Deuteronomy 23:1 says an emasculated man may not enter the assembly. Isaiah 56:3-7 tells of a future time, either during the Millennium or else in Heaven.
Q: Does Isa 56:3 show that homosexuality will be acceptable in Godís kingdom?
A: Not at all. Homosexuals are not eunuchs, and Isaiah 56:3 mentions eunuchs, not homosexuals. Eunuchs are men with their sexual organs removed, and homosexuals have their sexual organs, which they improperly use. Read the book Coming Out of Homosexuality : New Freedom for Men and Women for more discussion on homosexuality, and When Critics Ask p.272-273, and When Cultists Ask p.82 for more info.
Q: In Isa 57:1, why does a just God let the righteous perish?
A: Four points to consider in the answer.
1. God sometimes does let the righteous be killed, as Ezekiel 13:19; Romans 8:36; and Psalm 44:2 show. Even if God does let us be killed, we still are to be faithful to Him (Daniel 3:18; 2:10)
2. God is still watching over us. Psalm 116:15 says "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." (NIV)
3. Isaiah 57:1 answers this by saying that sometimes God "rescues" the righteous allowing them to be killed to spare them from evil. Evil here can be fear, pain, and anguish over the dreadful situation. Evil here could also be temptation beyond what they could bear, that would take them from God.
4. 1 Peter 1:4-7 reminds us that the brief trials we experience on earth are nothing compared to the eternal riches of Heaven. Amen!
Q: In Isa 57:5, did they really kill children in the valleys?
A: Unfortunately ungodly Jews really did this wicked thing. They learned this wicked practice from the Canaanites, who were unwisely allowed to remain in the land.
Q: In Isa 57:7, what was wrong with making a bed on a mountain?
A: The second most detestable Canaanite religious practice was ritual prostitution.
Q: In Isa 57:8 (KJV), what does "discover thyself to another" mean?
A: This means to be improperly naked before others. In modern times, some people might joke about "skinny-dipping" with the opposite sex, but this is serious to God.
Q: In Isa 57:15, does God dwell on High in eternity, or does God dwell with believers as Revelation 21:3 says?
A: Both. Many Christians see that God is outside of time as well as within time. Jesus walked on this earth inside of time, so it is not a problem for God to be within time. Yet God promised His people eternal life before time began (Titus 1:2).
See When Critics Ask p.273 for more info.
Q: In Isa 58:3-9, why did God not take notice of their fasting?
A: If you fast for God's help, but refuse to obey God, why should you expect any results from your fast?
Q: In Isa 58:9 (NIV), should it say "of oppression"?
A: No. The Prophecy of Isaiah : An Introduction and Commentary p.482 says this is an NIV addition.
Q: In Isa 59:4, how are we supposed to call for justice today?
A: Christians should desire justice not just for ourselves but for everyone. The Bible is very clear that we have a responsibility to call for justice for the oppressed (Jeremiah 7:6; 22:16; Isaiah 1:17) In addition, we should pray "your kingdom come" as Jesus did in the Lord's prayer, for God's ultimate justice to come.
Q: In Isa 60:6, why is Tarshish mentioned here?
A: This is probably the Tarshish (Tartessus) in distant Spain, not the Tarshish (Tarsus) in Asia Minor. This Tarshish, west of Gibraltar, was the farthest town west they knew.
Q: In Isa 60:6, why does it say foreigners would bring gold and frankincense, since the Magi brought Jesus myrrh as well as gold, and frankincense?
A: Of course if they brought the three kinds of gifts, then they brought the two gifts also. Since Isaiah 60:6 is in the context of the Messiah's Second coming in glory, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1207 suggests that myrrh was also brought as a symbol of Christ's suffering, because myrrh was used in wrapping dead bodies.
Q: In Isa 61:1-9 what is the theme here?
A: Isaiah 61:1-9 is an illustration of the life of a believer. This is a passage of good news to the poor that provides 15 contrasts. There are three types of contrasts and the verses where they are found.
Dual parts of God's character:
2a. Year of the LORDís favor and the day of our God's vengeance
8a.God loves justice, but hate robbery and iniquity
Time for us to rebuild:
4a. Rebuild ancient ruins
4b. Restore places long devastated
4c. Renew ruined cities wasted for generations
How God changes us:
1a. Bind up the brokenhearted
1b. Proclaim freedom for captives
1c. Release from darkness the prisoners
2b. Comfort all who mourn
3. Provide for those who grieve
4. Crown of beauty instead of ashes
5. Oil of joy for mourning
6. Garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness
7a. From shame to a double portion of a firstborn
7b. From disgrace to rejoicing
Note that the three types of contrasts are interspersed with each other. When God changes us (verse 1), we recognize God's working and character (verse 2), but after we have grown and rebuilt things for God we can have additional recognition of God's character (verse 8). It is not that we have to work to rebuild and then God sanctifies us, or that God first sanctifies us and then we rebuild, but both are ongoing processes.
Q: In Isa 62:1-2, why is God so concerned with whether we are righteous or not?
A: While Scripture probably does not give every reason God thought of, we can see at least three reasons:
For His Glory God created us, and we glorify Him by praising Him with our words, actions, and lives. Related to this, our righteous testimony for God shames Satan.
For our own benefit, both in this life and in preparation for eternity.
For the sake of others, to be a good witness to them. Our lives are a "letter from Christ" to other people (2 Corinthians 2:2-3), and we should be holy, for we are to shine like stars as we hold out the word of life (Philippians 2:15 NIV).
Q: In Isa 62:4-5, why does God delight in us?
A: Scripture does not directly say, but it gives us many clues. We were made to glorify God. 1 John 4 shows that God actually lives in us. Presumably the Holy Spirit can experience our lives with us. Finally, God is our Father, and as a good earthly father delights in his children, God delights in us even more.
Q: In Isa 63:1-3, where else is this imagery used of God or the Messiah having a robe dipped in blood?
A: In the Old Testament, this is also in Joel 3:13. In the New Testament, the grapes of wrath and the winepress are in Revelation 14:17-20. Jesus is the one who treads the winepress of the fury of God's wrath in Revelation 19:13-16.
Outside of the Bible, the Jewish commentary Targum Palestina on Genesis 49:11 says, "How beauteous is the King Messiah! Binding his loins and going forth to war against them that hate him, he will slay kings with princes, and make the rivers red with the blood of their slain, and his hills white with the fat of their mighty ones, his garments will be dipped in blood, and he himself shall be like the juice of the wine-press." See The Expositor's Greek Testament volume 5 p.467 for more info.
Q: In Isa 63:3, will no man be with Jesus when He returns in glory, or will the armies of heaven be with Him in Rev 19:14?
A: Both. Isaiah 63:3 does not refer to Christís appearing in glory, but rather treading the winepress of Godís wrath just prior to that. No one trod the winepress with Christ, and no one from the nations gave support. When Jesus comes in Revelation 19:14, the armies of heaven will be with Him. We want to be a citizen of heaven, not of nations that gather against God. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.293 for more info.
Q: In Isa 63:9-11, what does this verse show about God?
A: This verse mentions God, and the "angel of His presence" that delivered them, and God's Holy Spirit. This actually is a reference to the Trinity. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.306-307 for more info.
Q: In Isa 63:15 (KJV), what does this expression mean?
A: The NASB translates this "stirrings of Thy heart". The NIV translates this "tenderness". Jay P. Greenís Literal translation says "stirrings of your affections".
Q: In Isa 63:17, can anyone say God made them to err from Godís ways and hardened their heart?
A: God hardens the hearts of those who first harden their own, as with Pharaoh. God can make a person's heart extremely hard, as in Romans 1:21-32. In this verse, Isaiah is lamenting that God caused His own people to wander and hardened their hearts. For a person or people who vacillates between obedience and sin, if they just stay on the sin side of things, God can deal with them. In Revelation 3:15-16, Jesus told the Laodicean church that He wished they were either cold or hot, but since they were lukewarm he was going to vomit them out of his mouth. See also the discussion on Exodus 7:22 and Hard Sayings of the Bible p.307 for more info.
Q: In Isa 63:17, did God make the Israelites wander from Him?
A: No, God did not, but God allowed the circumstances that tested them and they failed the test. Even though they failed, Isaiah is asking for mercy from God here.
Q: In Isa 64:7, why is Isaiah saying none call upon God, especially since Isaiah himself called to God?
A: In the immediate context, Isaiah is speaking of the disobedient Israelites. However, in general, no one calls upon God unless God draws them. (Calvinists say God only draws some, and non-Calvinists say God does at least some drawing for everyone.) See the discussion on Isaiah 45:19 for more info.
Q: In Isa 64:8, how is God a potter?
A: God is like a cosmic potter in at least six ways.
1. Selects the clay to use for a pot for His purposes.
2. He is the Creator of the pot
3. Process of reshaping the pot
4. Hardening the pot
5. He has the right to use, sell, or destroy the pot as He wishes.
6. Makes all kinds of pots for all kinds of uses.
Q: In Isa 65:8, what do those called Jews think about Godís servants being given another name by which to be called?
A: That is a good question to ask them. Christians believe this change occurred after Christís death and resurrection.
Q: In Isa 65:20, since Premillennialists say this is during the Millennium, how could people die, even if they live to be 100?
A: There still will be birth and death during the Millennium. However, those who were believers prior to the Millennium will be resurrected and will not die; they will reign with Christ for a 1,000 years. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.307-309 and 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.305 for more info.
Q: In Isa 66:2, why does God esteem those who are humble, contrite in spirit, and tremble at His word?
A: There are three thoughts combined here.
Humble: Those who are not proud are willing to learn, willing to admit they are wrong and be corrected, and willing to change when they are rebuked. As C.S. Lewis taught, a truly humble person is not someone who goes around thinking "I am inferior". Rather, a truly humble person is one who often does not think of himself at all.
Contrite in spirit: This is a person who is sorry when they do wrong, is willing to admit it, and wants to be changed so that they will not do it again.
Tremble at God's word: How many people tremble at God's word today? God wants people who not just humbly admit they do not have the answers to life, but who will turn to God and learn that Jesus is the answer to life, both on earth and for eternity.
In all cases, let's strive to be the kind of person that God esteems.
Q: In Isa 66:3 what kinds of sacrifices are unacceptable to God?
A: Sacrifices include animals, money, other things, and even time that people give up in the sincere practice of their religion. It might be surprising to some people that some sacrifices are simply a waste, because God does not always accept sacrifices. There are two kinds of ungodly sacrifices he does not accept.
Idol sacrifices are abominations, because God here says He views idolatry as seriously as he viewed murder, since both were punishable by death in the Law. 1 Corinthians 10:20 says the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and we should not be participants with demons.
Rebellious people sacrificing, even to the true God are not accepted. God does not want any sacrifices by one who chooses his or her own way and delights in abominations as the last part of the verse says. Psalm 66:18 shows that if someone cherishes sin in their hearts the Lord does not listen to their prayer. Jesus said in Matthew 5:23-24 if you are about to offer a gift at the altar, and you remember that your brother has something against you, first be reconciled with your brother, and then offer your gift.
Regardless of what sacrifices a person makes, whether to God or idols, God does not like those sacrifices if the person delights in abominations.
Q: In Isa 66:23, will the Sabbath be observed again?
A: Isaiah 66:23 prophesies of a future time when all mankind (not just Jews) will bow to God. It is likely during the Millennium. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.190 and The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.6 p.353 for more info.
Q: In Isa 67:6 and Jer 51:57, why will God make people drunk, since drunkenness is wrong in Eph 5:18 and implicitly in Isa 5:22?
A: We are not to be intoxicated, whether with wine, other alcohol, or anything else. However, God will make them intoxicated, and God can do this however He wishes. There is no mention here of alcohol.
Perhaps they genuinely will be intoxicated, whether from less oxygen to the brain or other causes. However, this verse might simply be a metaphor: they will stagger as if they were drunk, because of the great distress.
Q: In Isa, what are the chiasms in this book?
A: A chiasms are a common feature of Hebrew poetry where the meaning of each line is symmetrical, such as
The ocean is green,
...The boat is brown
......The people are small
...In the boat that is dark
Upon an emerald sea.
Chiasms can be 5, 7, 9 or a greater number of odd lines. There are also even-lined chiasms where the two middle lines match.
The chiasms in Isaiah include Isaiah 15:1-14; 21:1-10; 22:8-11; 22:12-14; 23:1-14; 24:1-13; 26:1-21; 27:1-13; 29:9-14; 32:1-5; 37:14-20; 38:1-8; 38:10-20; 41:17-20; 42:1-4; 42:13-17; 43:1-7; 43:8-13; 43:22-24; 43:25-44:5; 44:6-8; 48:17-22; 51:1-3; 51:7-8; 51:13-15; 55:1-13; 56:9-12; 59:14-20; 61:5-9; 63:15-64:12; 65:1-66:24; 65:17-18b; 65:18c-20; 66:5-14; 66:18-24.
The "line" of a chiasm can on occasion be many lines of poetry, as is the chiasm in Isaiah 19:1-20:6. The first line is Isaiah 19:1-5, the middle line is Isaiah 19:16-25, and the third line is Isaiah 20:1-6.
Another example is Isaiah 22:1-14. In this case, within this chiasm are two other chiasms: 22:8-11 and 22:12-14.
Isaiah 30:1-33 is another example of a chiasm where each "line" is rather long. Within this chiasm are two another chiasms, 30:18-26 and 30:27-33.
Symmetrical lines of a chiasm have related meaning, but not always the same meaning. For an example in Isaiah,
22:15-16 The Lord opposes Shebna
...22:17-19 The Lord's purposes for Shebna
...20-23a The Lord's purposes for Eliakim
23b-25 The Lord's warning of Eliakim
Isaiah 58:1-14 is a chiasm, but within the middle "line" (58:6-12, are two pairs of parallel lines.
Motyer calls 35:1-10 a chiasm, but this one is a rather difficult to see.
Isaiah 25:1-12; 31:1-20m, and 40:6c-8b are three examples of symmetry of lines that do not fit a chiasm.
Quite frankly, it is amazing to read through J. Alec Motyer's The Prophecy of Isaiah : An Introduction and Commentary, and see the precise, subtle structure. This structure is a great aid in understanding the meaning of the book.
Q: In Isa, what about the theories that Isaiah was written by multiple authors?
A: According to Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.263-266 the Two-Isaiah Theory, and variations was espoused in 1789 by J.C. Doederlein (1745-1792) and others, including Duhm who had a three-Isaiah theory. These theories answered the following dilemma: "Since they could not believe there were genuine prophecies in the Bible, how could the book of Isaiah have so many prophecies of the Babylonians and Persians that came true?"
All these anti-supernatural theories have in common that Isaiah 6 was a part of early Isaiah who wrote in the eighth century, and Isaiah 40-46 was not done by the early Isaiah. The Dead Sea scroll 1QIsa was found with all of Isaiah, it had a blank space separating chapters, but the blank space was between Isaiah 33 and 34. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.9 for more info on this.
However, besides the anti-supernatural bias, there are a countless problems with these multiple Isaiah theories. The next question will give the external evidence, and the question after that the internal evidence.
Q: In Isa, what is the external evidence of the number of authors of Isaiah?
A: Some skeptical critics have tried to say there were multiple authors of Isaiah, while evangelical Christians and conservative Jews say there was just one. Concerning the liberal theory, here are three points of negative evidence, followed by the positive evidence.
N1. Unknown in antiquity. The Jews themselves were unaware of any possibility of Isaiah being the product of two different authors. They considered the parts after chapter 40 Isaiah too, as Nahum 1:15, Zephaniah 2:15, and the son of Sirach in Ecclesiasticus 48:22-25. Josephus never mentions two Isaiahs. The early church fathers never heard of the theory of two Isaiahs, either. If there were two or more Isaiah's, surely someone back then would have heard about it.
N2. Only a modern skeptical/liberal view. Liberal scholars have maintained that Isaiah was by two or more authors. On one hand the skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.524,547-550 says the view of Isaiah being by a single author has no important advocates today. Apparently every single conservative Bible scholar is not important to Asimov. The scholarly Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.6, says that prior to the eighteenth century, the only writer to suggest that multiple authors wrote Isaiah was the Twelfth-century Jew Ibn Ezra, who quoted a Moses ben Samuel Ibn Gekatilla who had the same view. It was not until more than a millennium later that anyone heard or thought up that Isaiah was by more than one author.
N3. The liberal theories cannot agree among themselves. Once you get to a three or more Isaiah theory, the theorists cannot agree among themselves which parts go with which pseudo-Isaiah's or how many Pseudo-Isaiah's there are. It sort of reminds you of Mark 14:55-56 when false witnesses tried to slander Jesus, no two of them could agree.
P1. What Jesus and the Gospel writers knew about Isaiah - Jesus mentions verses he said were by Isaiah in Matthew 13:14; 15:7; Mark 7:6. In Luke 4:17-20 Jesus was given a scroll from Isaiah the prophet, He read Isaiah 49:8-9 from it, and said "scripture" has been fulfilled in your presence. Jesus and the New Testament writers quoted both parts of Isaiah extensively, many times attributing them to Isaiah, and they never knew of two Isaiahs.
John 12:38 says that Isaiah was the author of Isaiah 53:1. Jesus, Paul, and the New Testament writers said verses in the first, middle, and later parts of Isaiah were by Isaiah.
Jesus did not know of any two-Isaiah or three-Isaiah theory. Jesus and the Gospel writers said the following was by the prophet Isaiah
Isaiah 42:1 Matthew 12:17-18
Isaiah 40:3 Matthew 3:3
Isaiah 40:3-5 Luke 3:4
Acts 8:28 Isaiah 53:7-8
Isaiah 52:1; 6:9-10 John 12:38-41
P2. Acts 8:28-30 mentions the Ethiopian eunuch reading through Isaiah the prophet. In Acts 28:26 Paul quotes from the first part of Isaiah, Isaiah 6:9-10 as said to be by Isaiah. In Romans 10:20 Paul quotes from Isaiah 65:1.
P3. What the Jews knew about Isaiah: The apocryphal book Ecclesiasticus 48:24, written in the second century B.C. quotes from Isaiah 61:3 saying this is by Isaiah.
P4. Early Christians, Justin Martyr (wrote about c.138-165 A.D.) was one of the church fathers who mentions that Isaiah wrote this in his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew chapter 97.
Clement of Rome (96-98 A.D.) in First Clement chapter 16 quotes (with explanations) almost all of Isaiah 53.
Epistle of Barnabas (c.70-130 A.D.) also refers to verses in Isaiah.
Cyprian, bishop of Carthage from 248 to his martyrdom in 258 A.D., quotes from "Isaiah" in Treatise 12 the third book in many places. In "verses" 5,11,20,34,59,75,100 Cyprian quotes as Isaiah passages in Isaiah after 40:1. In "verses" 41,53,60,113,115,118 Cyprian quotes as "Isaiah" passages in Isaiah before 40:1.
It is accepted that Isaiah might have written the later chapters might have later in his life. That is why Assyria is not mentioned in the later chapters.
Conclusion: We could go on looking for more external references, but the conclusion is this: Jesus and the apostles said this was by Isaiah. Modern atheists and "Christian liberals" have no substantial reasons to prove this was not so. Either we believe what Jesus and the apostles affirmed without hesitation, or we deny what they taught. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.8-10 for a more extensive discussion on the unity of Isaiah. In the next question we will look at the internal evidence.
Q: In Isa, what is the internal evidence for the number of authors of Isaiah?
A: Internal evidence is within the book itself. First we will honestly give evidence that implies more than one author, and then the evidence that implies one author.
M1. Isaiah is only one book, but it does fall naturally into two parts, right before chapter 40.
M2. Different chapters do discuss different parts, and chapters 40-45 for example, say a lot about the character of God.
M3. Isaiah mentions Seraphs in Isaiah 6:2,6 and fiery serpents ("saraph" serpents) only in Isaiah 124:29; 30:6.
M4. Only in the later chapters of Isaiah is Cyrus or Persia prophesied. Only in the earlier chapters, probably written earlier, is Assyria mentioned.
M5. Isaiah 26:10 says the wicked do not behold the majesty of the Lord, while Isaiah 40:5 says all will see God's glory. However, the Hebrew word in Isaiah 26:10 means gave at or contemplate, so the wicked do not regard the Lord, but all will see the Lord. Regardless of the Hebrew word, Isaiah 26:10 speaks of the current time, and Isaiah 40:5 speaks of the endtimes.
However, there are many arguments for the unity of the book. The simplest explanation for these three points is that Isaiah wrote different parts at different time in his life.
S1. "Early Isaiah" prophesies about Babylon too
It mentions the Babylonians exiling the people of Judah in Isaiah 39:5-8. The land would be 90% emptied in Isaiah 6:11-12. The first 39 chapters mentions Babylon in 63 verses (Isaiah 13-14:23; 21:1-10; 39:1-8), while the last 26 chapters of Isaiah mention Babylon in 28 verse (chapters 46 and 47).
Liberals and skeptics have an answer to this evidence though: the parts in "early Isaiah" that mention Babylon must have been written later and inserted, as Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.538 "suspects". This is actually a non-falsifiable argument. In other words, someone could use the "undetectable insertions argument" to say every piece of literature that was ever written being written by multiple authors.
S2. Both early and late Isaiah prophesy about the endtimes in Isaiah 24-27 and Isaiah 63-66.
However, liberals and skeptics such as Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.542 have an answer for this: this say that Isaiah 24-27 was not written by Isaiah.
S3. Chiasms in both parts
All of Isaiah is chock-full of chiasms. Isaiah 1-39 has at least 18, and Isaiah 40-66 has at least 23. As one goes through Isaiah, one sees some more complex patterns, but these gradually increase in complexity and do not start abruptly at chapter 40. It should be expected that for someone who lived a long time, one might see a gradual change in writing style.
S4. Other similarities in both parts. As The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1030 and When Critics Ask p.265-267 show, there are at least ten similar passages in both parts:
(1:15 and 59:3,7) (2:29 and 57:4-5), (2:3 and 51:4), (10:1-2 and 59:4-9), (28:5 and 62:3), (29:18 and 42:7), (29:23 and 60:21), (30:26 and 60:19), (33:24 and 45:25) and (35:6 and 41:18).
Here are some of the similarities between Isaiah 1-39 and 40-66 according to When Critics Ask p.265-267.
a) 1-39 has "the Holy one of Israel 12 times, and 40-46 has it 14 times.
b) 1:15 says "Your hands are full of blood." And 59:3 says "For your hands are defiled with blood."
c) 28:5 says "For a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty to the remnant of His people." And 62:3 says "You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God."
d) 35:6 says "For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert." And 41:18 says "I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
S5. Isaiah is unique among the prophets in mentioning Godís highway (11:16; 19:23: 35:8; 40:3; 62:10).
S6. Isaiah is also peculiar in mentioning the "Holy One of Israel". This occurs 12 times in Isaiah 1-39, 15 times in Isaiah 40-66, and only 7 times in the rest of the Old Testament.
S7. The establishment of justice is distinctive of Isaiah. It is in verses 9:7; 11:4; 16:5; 28:6; 32:16; 33:5; 42:1,3-4; 51:5.
S8. Peace is mentioned in Isaiah 9:7; 26:3; 26:12; 27:5; 32:17; 33:7; 36:21; 38:17; 39:8; 42:14; 45:7; 48:18,22; 52:7; 53:5; 54:10,13; 55:12; 57:2,11; 57:19,21; 59:8; 60:17; 62:1,2; 64:12; 66:12.
S9. Joy is mentioned in Isaiah 9:3,17; 12:3; 16:10; 22:13; 24:8,11; 29:19; 32:13,13; 35:2,10; 51:3,11; 52:9; 55:12; 60:15; 61:3,7; 65:14,18,19; 66:5,10.
S10. The rarely used Hebrew word for thorn bush, na'asus only occurs in the entire Old Testament in Isaiah 7:19 and 55:13.
S11. If Isaiah 40-66 was written during the exile, why does it so prominently mention rocks, mountains, valley streams, etc.?
S12. Books written during or after the exile would be expected to have Babylonian and Aramaic terms. All of Isaiah has no Aramaic terms.
Finally, the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary also mentions the underlying reason for the "Second Isaiah" theory of the 18th century. Since the prophecies of Cyrus and Babylon are so precise, liberal critics take that as "proof" that Isaiah 40-66 was after these occurred, which was over a century after Isaiah. However, taking this argument to its logical conclusion, the preciseness of the Messianic prophecies in Isaiah 53 would likewise "prove" that Isaiah 40-66 was written after Jesusí crucifixion. Both Jews in general and the Dead Sea scrolls in particular shows the falsehood of that.
Conclusion: Conservative Christians readily acknowledge that different parts of Isaiah might have been written during different parts of his life, and various chapters emphasize different things. However, if someone is looking for evidence of the number of authors of Isaiah (assuming the person wants to see evidence), how much more evidence do you need that it was by a single author?
See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.270-271 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1030-1031 and the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.857-858 for more discussion on the inconsistency of the two-Isaiah theory.
Q: Was Isa written by three authors, as the critic Berhard Duhm claimed?
A: Berhard Duhm postulated that chapters 56-66 were by a "third Isaiah" who lived in Palestine or Egypt. He also said the servant songs "Isaiah 42:1-4; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12 were by a second Isaiah. The original Isaiah did not even write the rest of it, as many said Isaiah did not write chapters 13-14, 24-27 and 35-39.
However, it is unclear that Berhard Duhm himself held to the servant songs being by a second Isaiah. Perhaps a pseudo-Berhard wrote various parts of his commentary and the publisher just compiled these together. In fact, if you selectively analyze his writing, you might even find two or more pseudo-Berhards. Of course it is easy for me to say this, since Duhm wrote in 1892 and is no longer alive to defend himself. It is also easy for me to say this as long as I do not have to give any defensible evidence.
Seriously, these views presuppose that God could not have given any information about the future. Since Isaiah prophetically mentioned Babylon, that had to be written after Babylon conquered Judah. Since Isaiah prophetically predicted Cyrus, that had to be written in the time of Cyrus.
Therefore it is a circular argument that since Isaiah mentions Babylon and Cyrus, therefore it had to be written during the time of Babylon and Cyrus and thus not be prophetic.
The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.553 also says that many suggest chapters 56-66 were written by a Third Isaiah. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.7 for more info on why this view is wrong.
Q: Was additional material added to Isaiah, such that the book did not achieve its final form until as late as 350 B.C. as the skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.525-526 claims?
A: No. He provides no evidence for such as claim. This view is an outgrowth of the multiple Isaiah theory, and it is amazing what otherwise intelligent people can come up with, without any evidence.
Q: In Isa, what are some of the earliest manuscripts that still exist today?
A: Dead Sea scrolls: (c.1 B.C.) 23 separate copies of Isaiah. (The Dead Sea Scrolls Today p.30, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English 4th ed., The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated : The Qumran Texts in English 2nd ed.). However, the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.436-438 says there were only 18 copies. The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.261 says there are at least 12 manuscripts of Isaiah in cave 4 alone. The manuscripts are:
1QIsa(a) - contains the entire text of Isaiah except for a few gaps at the bottom of the pages. It is dated paleographically from 125-100 B.C., and from 207-107 B.C. by radiocarbon dating according the Responses to 101 Questions on the Dead Sea Scrolls p.20. The radiocarbon dating using an accelerated mass spectrometer was actually done twice. The Zurich lab gave 201-93 B.C., and the Tucson lab gave 202-114 B.C. according to The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls p.31. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.252 has a photograph of one of the pages. It has been dated by Mass Spectrometer radiocarbon dating to 202-107 B.C. (The Dead Sea Scrolls Today p.18). The internal date is 125-100 B.C. You can see a photograph of two pages this scroll (Isaiah 49:4-51:13 and 51:13-52:12) in the New International Dictionary of the Bible p.472,261.
1Q8 (=1QIsa(b)) - (100 B.C. to 100 A.D.) contains Isaiah 7:22-25; 8:1; 10:16-19; 12:3-6; 13:1-8,16-19; 15:3-9; 19:7-17,20-25; 20:1; 22:11-18,24-25; 23:1-4; 24:18-23; 26:1-5; 28:15-20; 29:1-8; 30:10-14,21-26; 35:4-6; 37:8-12; 38:12-22; 39:1-8; 40:2-3; 41:3-23; 43:1-13,23-27; 44:21-28; 45:1-13; 46:3-13; 47:1-14; 48:17-22; 49:1-15; 50:7-11; 51:1-10; 52:7-15; 53:1-12; 54:1-6; 55:2-13; 56:1-12; 57:1-4,17-21; 58:1-14; 59:1-8,20-21; 60:1-22; 61:1-2; 62:2-12; 63:1-19; 64:1,6-8; 65:17-25; 66:1-24 according to The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls p.414-417. Responses to 101 Questions on the Dead Sea Scrolls p.20-21 says it is fairly well preserved from chapter 41 on. It also says it is even closer to the Masoretic text than 1Q Isa(a).
4Q55 (=4QIsa(a)) to 4Q68 (=4QIsa(o), 4q69a (=4QPapIsa(p)). 4Q62 (=4QIsa(h)) contains small fragments of five different manuscripts. These have Isaiah 1:1-6,10-16,18-31; 2:1-16; 3:14-22; 4:5-6; 5:1,13-13-28; 6:3-8,10-13; 7:4-20; 8:1-14; 9:3-12,17-20; 10:1-10,16-19,23-33; 11:4-16; 12:1-6; 13:1-19; 14:1-13,20-24,28-32; 15:1-9; 16:none; 17:8-14; 18:1,5-7; 19:1-25; 20:1-6; 21:1-16; 22:10-25; 23:1-18; 24:1-15,19-23; 25:1-2,8-12; 26:1-19; 27:1,5-6,8-12; 28:6-14,16-18?,22,24? 29:1-9; 30:8-17; 31:none, 32:none; 33:2-8,16-23; 34:none; 35:9-10; 36:1-2; 37:29-32; 38:none; 39:1-8; 40:1-4,22-26; 41:8-11; 42:2-7,9-12,14-25; 43:1-4,12-15,16-24; 44:3-7,19-28; 45:1-4,6-8,20-25; 46:1-3,8-13; 47:1-6,8-9; 48:6-8,8-22; 49:1-15,21-23; 50:none; 51:1-2,8-16; 52:2,4-7; 53:1-3,6-8,8-12; 54:1-11,7-17; 55:1-7; 56:7-8; 57:5-8,9-21; 58:1-3,5-713-15; 59:15-16; 60:20-22; 61:1-3,3-6; 62:none; 63:none; 64:5-11; 65:1; 66:20-24
4Q69b (=4QIs(r)) Isa 30:23
5Q3 (=5QIsa) Isa 39:3? Or Isa 41:25?; 40:16,18-19
Among the Dead Sea scrolls was also a commentary on Isaiah (3Q4).
Overall, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction p.25 says that the two copies of Isaiah found in cave 1 were identical with the standard Hebrew Bible in 95% of the text. (As a cross-check, I compared three passages of Isaiah and I saw agreement of every consonant of 93.3%, 95.1%, and 96%, with an overall average of 94.6%.)
So overall, preserved among the Dead Sea scrolls are every single verse of Isaiah.
Christian Bible manuscripts, from about 350 A.D., contain the Old Testament, including Isaiah. According to The Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge p.746, the Chester Beatty Papyrii (2nd-4th century A.D.) contain Isaiah.
Clement of Rome (96-98 A.D.) in 1 Clement chapter 16 quotes (with additional commentary) all of the Septuagint version of Isaiah 53.
Justin Martyr (wrote c.138-165 A.D.) quotes Isaiah more than any other book except for Psalms. He quotes all of part of 209 verses. Isaiah 1:3,7,9,16-20,23,27; 2:3,5f; 3:9-16; 5:18-25; 6:8; 7:10-17; 8:4; 9:6; 11:1ff; 14:1; 18:6; 19:24; 26:2,3; 27:1; 29:13,14; 30:1-5; 33:13-19; 35:1-7; 39:8; 40:1-17; 42:1-13,16; 43:10,15; 44:6,9-20; 49:6,8; 50:4,6; 51:4,5,10ff,13-15; 53:1-12; 54:1,9; 55:3ff; 57:1-12; 58:13,14; 62:10-12; 63:1-6,15-19; 64:10-12; 65:1-3,8f,9-12,17-25; 66:1,5-11,21,24
Many of these quotes (1:3; 3:9ff; 5:18,20; 19:24f; 52:2; 53; 57:1-4; 58:1-22; etc. he said were by Isaiah.
Vaticanus (325-350 A.D.) contains all of Isaiah
Sinaiticus (340-350 A.D.) contains all of Isaiah. It starts the page after 4 Maccabees end. It ends on the same page as Jeremiah starts.
Alexandrinus (c.450 A.D.) contains all of Isaiah, which was placed after the twelve books of the minor prophets.
Q: Which early writers referred to Isaiah?
A: Pre-Nicene writers who referenced or alluded to verses in Isaiah are:
Philo the Alexandrian Jew (15/20 B.C.-50 A.D.) refers to four verses in Isaiah: 1:9; 5:7; 47:22; 54:1.
Clement of Rome (96-98 A.D.) quotes Isaiah 1:16-20. 1 Clement ch.8 p.7. He also quotes Isaiah 66:2 in ch.13 p.8
Ignatius of Antioch (c.100-117 A.D.) alludes to Isaiah 5:26; 49:22 in his Letter to the Smyrnaeans ch.1 p.86 (shorter, Greek version)
Epistle of Barnabas (100-150 A.D.) ch.4 p.139 quotes Isaiah 5:21 as "Scripture says".
2 Clement (120-140 A.D.) ch.2 p.517 quotes Isaiah 54:1. The writer also quotes Isaiah 29:3 as by Isaiah in ch.3 p.518.
Polycarp (100-155 A.D.) quotes the last fourth of Isaiah 52:5 in Letter to the Philippians ch.10 p.35
Justin Martyr (c.138-165 A.D.) quotes all or part of 209 verses in Isaiah. He quotes Isaiah 66:1 as by Isaiah in Dialogue with Trypho the Jew ch.23 p.206. He quotes Isaiah 49:1-17 as one block in Dialogue with Trypho ch.50 p.220
Hegesippus (170 A.D.) mentions scripture in Isaiah in Fragments of Five books of Commentaries on the Acts of the Church p.763
Meleto/Melito of Sardis (170-177/180 A.D.) says Isaiah is one of the books of the Old Testament in his letter to Onesimus. On Pascha p.72. This is preserved in Eusebiusí Ecclesiastical History book 4 ch.26.
Athenagoras (177 A.D.) refers to Isaiah 41:4; 44:6; 43:10,11; 46:1. He also says, "Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah" and the other prophets. A Plea for Christians ch.9 p.133
Theophilus of Antioch (168-181/188 A.D.) quotes Isaiah 40:22 as by Isaiah. Theophilus to Autolycus book 2 ch.13 p.100.
Irenaeus of Lyons (182-188 A.D.) quotes Isaiah 7:10-17 and says, "Carefully, then, has the Holy Ghost pointed out, by what has been said, His birth from a virgin, and His essence, that He is God (for the name Emmanuel indicates this)." Irenaeus Against Heresies book 3 ch.21.4 p.452
Irenaeus of Lyons (182-188 A.D.) quotes Isaiah 7:11 as by Isaiah in Irenaeus Against Heresies book 3 ch.21.6 p.453
Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.) quotes Isaiah 40:11 as by Isaiah. The Instructor book 1 ch.5 p.213
Tertullian (198-200 A.D.) refers to Isaiah 58:1-2 as by Isaiah. An Answer to the Jews ch.9 p.164
Theodotus the probable Montanist (ca.240 A.D.) quotes from one-fourth of Isaiah 19:20 as a prophecy in Excerpts of Theodotus ch.16 p.45
Theodotus the probable Montanist (ca.240 A.D.) quotes Isaiah 40:6 in Excerpts of Theodotus ch.9 p.44. He also quotes Isaiah 2:3; 19:20 and 46:6.
Hippolytus (222-235/6 A.D.) quotes Isaiah 1:16-19 as by Isaiah. Discourse on the Holy Theophany ch.10 p.237.
Commodianus (c.240 A.D.) mentions Isaiah and the law which Moses in wrath dashed to pieces. Instructions of Commodianus ch.38 p.210
Origen (225-254 A.D.) refers to the Isaiah son of Amoz and the Vision of Nahum. Homilies on Genesis. Homily 11 ch.3 p.173
Novatian (250/4-256/7 A.D.) quotes Isaiah 7:14 as referring to Christ. Treatise Concerning the Trinity ch.12 p.621.
Anonymous Treatise Against Novatian (250/4-256/7 A.D.) ch.10 p.660 quotes Isaiah 57:1,11 as by Isaiah.
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) "In Isaiah ... in the 117th Psalm ... Also in Zechariah ... Also in Deuteronomy: ... Also in Jesus [Joshua] the son of Nave" Treatises of Cyprian Treatise 12 ch.2.16
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) says that the Son, Christ, was born of the Virgin Mary. Letters of Cyprian Letter 72 ch.5 p.380. He also refers to Isaiah 7:14 in Letter 8 p.288
Firmilian of Caesarea to Cyprian (256 A.D.) quotes Isaiah 2:2. Letters of Cyprian Letter 74 ch.1 p.390
Pontius (after 258 A.D.) in mentioning Philip and the eunuch, said the eunuch "was reading from the prophet Isaiah" The Life and Passion of Cyprian ch.3 p.268
Dionysius of Alexandria (246-256 A.D.) says that Isaiah 66:3,4 and Isaiah 43:9 are by Isaiah in Epistle 11 to Hermammon p.107.
Adamantius (c.300 A.D.) "The Prophets and the gospel plainly speak of two Advents of Christ Ė the first in humility, and the one after this, in glory. Then he quotes Isaiah 53:2-3. Dialogue on the True Faith First part ch.25 p.68
Victorinus of Petau (martyred 304 A.D.) quotes Isaiah 11:2,3 as by Isaiah. On the Creation of the World p.342.
Peter of Alexandria (306,285-310/311 A.D.) quotes Isaiah 66:24 as by Isaiah in The Canonical Epistle canon 4 p.270. He also quotes Isaiah 66:24 as by the prophet. Ibid canon 5 p.271.
Methodius of Olympus and Patara (270-311/312 A.D.)
Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.) "Lord, who sat at the right hand of God, but Christ the Son of God, who is King of kings and Lord of lords? And this is more plainly shown by Isaiah," The Divine Institutes book 4 ch.12 p.110
Eusebius of Caesarea, Hilary of Poitiers, Athanasius, Basil of Cappadocia, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory of Nanzianzen, Gregory of Nyssa, Didymus the Blind, Rufinus, Jerome, Sozomen (allusion), Sulpitius Severus, Council of Carthage (393-419 A.D.), Epiphanius of Salamis, John Chrysostom, Augustine of Hippo, John Cassian, Socratesí Ecclesiastical History, and others refer to Isaiah.
Ambrose of Milan (370-390 A.D.) quotes Isaiah 40:12 as by Isaiah. On the Holy Spirit book 2 ch.9.90 p.126.
Pacian of Barcelona (342-379/392 A.D.) quotes Isaiah 1:18 as by Isaiah Letter 3 ch.17.2 p.59
Q: What are some of the differences between the Masoretic text and Great Isaiah Scroll of the Dead Sea Scrolls?
A: Before looking at the text of the Great Isaiah scroll (1QIsa(a)), a few words should be said about the margins. In eleven places there is what appears to be a sideways Tau (or Chi) Greek letter next to passages that are Messianic. It might be because Chi was the first letter of the Greek word for Christ. This does not prove Christian influence though, because "Christ" was recognized by Jews before Jesus' time as the Greek translation of Messiah or anointed one. These eleven passages are Isaiah 32:1ff; 42:1ff; 42:5ff; 42:19ff; 44:28; 49:5-7; 55:3-4; 56:1-2; 56:3ff; 58:13ff; 66:5ff. See The Archaeology of the New Testament p.346-348 for a more extensive discussion on this. Unless otherwise noted, the first is the Masoretic text (MT), and the second is the Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsa(a)).
Isa 3:24 "for" (MT) vs. "for shame" (1QIsa(a))
Isa 7:14 (second person feminine or perhaps third person) vs. (masculine) (1QIsa(a).)
Isa 8:2 "I will call as witness(es)" (MT and 4QISa e) vs. "and have it attested" (1QIsa(a)) ). See The Dead Sea Scrolls & Modern Translations of the Old Testament p.127)
Isa 11:6 "calf and beast of prey (lion), and the fatling" (MT and 4QIsa c)vs. "calf and beast of prey (lion) will feed" (1QIsa(a))
Isa 14:4 (unknown word in the MT) vs. "insolence/fury" (1QIsa(a)) 1 letter difference (d to r)
Isa 14:30 "he/it will slay" (MT) vs. "I will slay" 1QIsa(a) and Latin.
Isa 15:9 "[city of] Dimon" two times (MT) vs. "[city of] Dibon" (1QIsa(a)) vs. "[city of] Dimon" first time and the manuscript is destroyed for the second part. (1QIsa(b)) (Dibon is well-known, but Dimon is not known.
Isa 21:8 "And [like] a lion he called out" (MT) vs. "the lookout/watcher/sentry for the lion" (1QIsa(a)).
Isa 23:2-3 "they filled you" (MT, probably 4QIsa a) vs. "your messengers" (1QIsa(a), apparently 1QIsa(b) too) two letters different). See The Dead Sea Scrolls & Modern Translations of the Old Testament p.129 for more info.
Isa 28:16 "he has founded" vs. "his is founding/about to found" (1QIsa(a) and the Septuagint)
Isa 29:5 "your strangers/foreigners" vs. "your arrogance" (1QIsa(a))
Isa 30:5 "aliens" (MT) vs. "enemies" (1QIsa(a), Septuagint, Targum) (1 letter difference)
Isa 30:16 "should say" (MT) vs. "clay/the pot" (1QIsa(a))
Isa 33:8 "cities" (MT) vs. "witnesses" (1QIsa(a))
Isa 34:5 "be drunk" (MT) vs. "be seen" (1QIsa(a))
Isa 37:9 "to learn" (MT) vs. "to turn back" (LXX and 2 Kings 19:9)
Isa 37:25 (absent) (MT) vs. "in foreign lands" (1QIsa(a) and 2 Kings)
Isa 37:27 "field" (MT) vs. "blasted/scorched" (1QIsa(a) and 2 Kings)
Isa 37:28 "I know your sitting down" (MT) vs. "I know your rising up and sitting down" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint)
Isa 38:11 "no more among the inhabitants of the world" (some Hebrew) vs. "no more among the inhabitants of the rest" (MT, Vulgate) vs. "no more among the inhabitants of the land" p(Targum) vs. "no more" (LXX)
Isa 38:14 "LORD" (Bomberg 1524-1525 A.D. Old Testament) vs. "Lord" (MT, Dead Sea scrolls)
Isa 38:15 "He has both spoken to me" (MT, Vulgate) vs. "And shall I say to Him" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Targum) vs. (absent) (LXX)
Isa 38:16 "make haste" (MT) vs. "put to shame" (LXX)
Isa 40:3 "Make straight in the desert" (MT, Targum, Vulgate) vs. "Make straight" (LXX)
Isa 40:6 "And he said" (MT, Targum) vs. "And I said" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, Vulgate)
Isa 40:12 "waters" (MT, Septuagint, Vulgate) vs. "waters of the sea" (Dead Sea scrolls) vs. "waters of the world" (Targum)
Isa 41:14 "worm Jacob, men of Israel" (MT) vs. "worm Jacob, insect Israel" (Syriac)
Isa 41:29 "worthless" (MT, Vulgate) vs. "nothing" (Dead Sea scrolls, Syriac, Targum) vs. (the first half of the verse is absent in the Septuagint)
Isa 45:2 I will level the swellings/rough places" (MT) vs. "I will level the mountains (1QIsa(a), Septuagint) vs. "I will trample down the walls" (Targum) vs. "I will humble the great ones of the earth" (Vulgate)
Isa 45:8 "that they may bring forth salvation" (MT) vs. "that salvation may sprout forth/spring up" (1QIsa(a)) (one letter difference)
Isa 47:13 "predict from what" (MT) vs. "predict what" (LXX, Syriac, compare Vulgate)
Isa 48:11 "for why should it be profaned" (MT) vs. "for why should my name be profaned" (LXX, Old Latin/Italic)
Isa 49:5 "is gathered to him" (Qere Masoretic text, Dead Sea scrolls, Septuagint) vs. "not gathered to him" (Kethib Masoretic text)
Isa 49:12 "Sinim" (MT) vs. "Syene" (1QIsa(a)). Syene is todayís Aswan, but Sinim is unknown.
Isa 49:24 "captives of the just/a righteous person" (MT, Targum) vs. "captives of the mighty/tyrant) (1QIsa(a), Syriac, Vulgate) vs. "captives unjustly" (LXX)
Isa 51:16 "planting the heavens/sky" (MT) vs. "stretching out the heavens/sky" (Syriac) vs. "fixed the heavens/sky"
Isa 51:19 "How can I comfort you?" (MT) vs. "How can he comfort you?" (1QIsa(a)) (1 letter difference)
Isa 52:5 "make them wail" (MT) vs. "mock" (Dead Sea scrolls) vs. "marvel and wail" (LXX, "boast themselves (Targum) vs. "treat them unjustly" (Vulgate)
The text: Here is a detailed sample from Isaiah 52:14-53:12. Except where otherwise noted, the first is the Masoretic text, the second is the Great Isaiah scroll from the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the third is the Greek Septuagint. In this section there are 197 Hebrew words in the Masoretic text, 207 Hebrew words in the Dead Sea Scroll text, and the Greek Septuagint has 332 Greek words. There are 55 differences between the Masoretic text and the Great Isaiah scroll, though some of the differences are older vs. new Hebrew words with the same meaning. Alternately they could be dialect differences.
Isa 52:14 "his disfigurement" vs. "my disfigurement" vs. "without glory" (LXX)
Isa 52:14 "sons of men" (LXX also) vs. "sons of man"
Isa 52:15 "they shall shut" (future tense) vs. "they already shall shut" (past tense with the future tense prefix) vs. "they shall shut" (LXX)
Isa 52:15 "they shall see" (LXX too) vs. "they saw"
Isa 53:1 "upon/to whom" vs. "to whom" (LXX too)
Isa 53:2 "dry" spelling difference
Isa 53:2 "majesty" (MT), vs. "majesty to him" (1QIsa(a)) vs. "comeliness" (some Septuagint)
Isa 53:2 "notice" vs. "see Him" vs. "saw him" (LXX)
Isa 53:2 "we will desire" vs. "we should desire him" vs. absent (LXX)
Isa 53:3 "a man" vs. "and a man" (LXX also)
Isa 53:3 "familiar with" vs. "acquainted / having known"
Isa 53:3 "one from whom men hide their face" (possible spelling difference)
Isa 53:3 "we despised him" vs. "he was/being despised"
Isa 53:4 "he was familiar with" vs. "he will be announced / made known" vs. "we accounted him" (LXX)
Isa 53:4 (sicknesses / diseases) (2 word spelling difference)
Isa 53:4 "struck" (MT) vs. "and struck" (1QIsa(a))
Isa 53:4 "struck by God and afflicted/tormented" (MT) vs. "in suffering and in affliction/torment" (LXX)
Isa 53:5 "transgression ... stripe" vs. "transgressions ... stripes" (one letter per word) vs. "sins ... bruises" (LXX)
Isa 53:5 "crushed ... the punishment" vs. "and crushed ... and the punishment" vs. "bruised / made sick ... bruise" (LXX)
Isa 53:5 "he was crushed" vs. "bruised / made sick" (LXX)
Isa 53:5 "are were healed" vs. "shall be healed"
Isa 53:6 - no differences in the Masoretic text vs. 1QIsa(a)
Isa 53:6 "did go / have gone astray; we turned every one to his own way, and the LORD has made to light" (MT, 1QIsa(a)) vs. "have gone astray; everyone has gone astray in his way; and the Lord gave him up for our sins" (LXX)
Isa 53:7 "oppressed" (1 letter probable spelling difference" vs. "affliction"
Isa 53:7 "and as an ewe" vs. "as an ewe" vs. "as a sheep" (LXX)
Isa 53:7 "he did not open" vs. "he will not open" vs. "so he opens not his mouth"
Isa 53:7 "mouth" (probable spelling difference) vs. "mouth" (LXX)
Isa 53:8 "oppression / prison" (MT and 1QIsa(a)) vs. "humiliation" (LXX)
Isa 53:8 "who" (probable spelling difference)
Isa 53:8 "For" (probable spelling difference)
Isa 53:8 "my people" (MT and Septuagint) vs. "his people" (1QIsa(a))
Isa 53:8 "stroke" vs. "he was stricken" vs. "he was led to his death"
Isa 53:9 "he made / put / gave" vs. "they made / put / gave" vs. "I will give"
Isa 53:9 "and with" vs. "and a time [with]" vs. "and the" (LXX)
Isa 53:9 "in his death / tomb" (MT, 1QIsa(a)) vs. "for his death" (LXX)
Isa 53:9 "mouth" (probable a spelling difference)
Isa 53:10 "to make him sick / by disease" vs. "pierced him (to death)" (1QIsa(a)) vs. "stroke" (The words "sickness/disease" and "pierced him" are not at all similar in Hebrew. The Septuagint meaning is very close to the 1QIsa(a) here)
Isa 53:10 "he shall prolong" (different Hebrew words)
Isa 53:11a "soul" (ancient Hebrew apparently had a slightly different genitive conjugation than later Hebrew) vs. "soul" (LXX)
Isa 53:11b "will see and be satisfied" (MT) vs. "will see the light and be satisfied" (both 1QIsa(a) and 1QIsa(b)) vs. "to show him light, and to for him with understanding; to justify the just one who serves many well; and he shall bear their sins" (LXX)
Isa 53:11c "his servant" (MT) vs. "my servant" (1QIsa(a))
Isa 53:11d "he" (probable spelling difference in the MT and 1QIsa(a))
Isa 53:12a "and for" different Hebrew words in the MT and 1QIsa(a)
Isa 53:12b "sin" (MT) vs. "sins" (1QIsa(a))
Isa 53:12c "made intercession for the transgressors" (MT) vs. "shall be stricken for their transgressions" vs. "delivered because of their transgressions" (LXX)
Isa 56:12d "Come, they say, let me get wine" (MT) vs. "Come you say, let us get wine" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Syriac, Vulgate, Targum)
Isa 57:11 "silent even for a long time" (MT) vs. "silent and closed my eyes" (LXX, Vulgate)
Is 60:19 "the moon give light to you" (MT) vs. "the moon give light to you by/in the night" (1QIsa(a), Septuagint, Old Latin/Italic, Targum))
Isa 61:1 "release from darkness for the prisoners" (MT) vs. "release from darkness for the blind" (LXX)
Isa 63:9 "It was no anguish or angel" (MT) vs. "It was no messenger or angel" (LXX)
Isa 64:7 "have melted us into the hand of our iniquity" (MT) vs. "have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity" (LXX, Syriac, Old Latin/Italic, Targum)
Isa 65:7 "your sins and your ancestorsí sins" vs. "their sins and their ancestorsí sins" (LXX, Syriac)
Isa 66:2 "all these things came to be" (MT) vs. "all these things are mine" (LXX, Syriac)
Isa 66:18a "For I their works" (MT) vs. "For I know their works" (LXX, Syriac)
Isa 66:18b "it is coming" (MT) vs. "I am coming" (LXX, Syriac, Vulgate, Targum)
Isa 66:19 "pul" (MT) vs. "Put (=Libyans) (some Septuagint)
Press on this link, www.BibleQuery.org/isa53.html for the full text of the Masoretic text, Great Isaiah Scroll, and the Greek Septuagint.
As to which should be trusted more, a case can be made either way. On one hand, the Dead Sea Scrolls go all the way back to the time of Christ. On the other hand, since the Dead Sea scrolls show the substantial accuracy of the Masoretic text, and the Masoretic scribes took tremendous care in precisely copying the Bible accurately, one could make a case for the Masoretic text being more precise.
Here is an example of where the scribe of 1QIsa(a) was apparently careless from The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This is the Masoretic text.
Isa 16:8-9 "For the fields of Heshbon and the vineyards of Sibmah languish. *The leaders of the nations have broken down its choice branches, which reached as far as Jazer and extended into the wilderness; its shoots were spread and wide, even crossing the sea. Therefore I will weep with the crying of Jazer for the vine of Sibmah.* I will water..." vs. "For the fields of Heshbon and the vineyards of Sibmah languish. I will water..." The 1QIsa (a) scroll is missing the part between the asterisks (*).
Bibliography for this question: Messianic Prophecies from a Dead Sea Scroll by Catherine Geever, Margaret Heinle, and Preston Heinle, had the Dead Sea Scroll text, the differences, and a discussion of the differences. Jay P. Green's Interlinear Bible, C.L. Brenton's The Septuagint Version: Greek and English, and The Dead Sea Scrolls & Modern Translations of the Old Testament by Harold Scanlin were also used.
Q: In Isa, what are some of the translation differences between the Hebrew, the Greek Septuagint and other translations?
A: Of all the Old Testament books, the Septuagint translation of Isaiah probably was the poorest done. Here are a few of the translation differences, primarily from chapter 6. Unless otherwise noted, the first is the Masoretic text, and the second is the Septuagint.
Isa 1:17 "Rebuke the oppressor" vs. "Rebuke the oppressed" (some manuscripts according to the NKJV)
Isa 1:29 "they shall be ashamed" (many Masoretic Text, Septuagint, Vulgate) vs. "you shall be ashamed (some Masoretic text, Targum)
Isa 2:9b-10 present (4QIsa(a), 4QIsa(b), Septuagint) absent (Great Isaiah Scroll)
Isa 2:12 "proud and lofty ones, and on all that is lifted up; and it will be abased;" (MT) vs. "every one that is proud and haughty, and upon every one that is high and towering, and they shall be brought down;" (LXX)
Isa 3:24 "instead of beauty" (MT) vs. "instead of beauty, shame (Dead Sea Scrolls)
Isa 5:17 "strangers will eat" (MT) vs. "lambs will feed" (LXX)
Isa 6:2 "Above it stood the seraphs" (MT) vs. "And seraphs stood round about him" (LXX)
Isa 6:5 "Woe is me" (MT) vs. "Woe is me, for I am pricked to the heart" (LXX)
Isa 6:6 "flew to me" (MT) vs. "was sent to me" (LXX)
Isa 6:7 "your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is covered" (MT) vs. "will take away thine iniquities, and will purge off thy sins." (LXX) (active vs. passive voice)
Isa 6:8 "go for us" (MT) vs. "go to this people" (LXX)
Isa 6:9-10 "be ever hearing but never understanding; be ever seeing but never perceiving. Make the heart of this people calloused; and make their ears dull and close their eyes" (MT) vs. "You will be ever hearing, but never understanding; you will be ever seeing, but never perceiving. This peopleís heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes" (LXX) (translations from NIV footnote)
Isa 6:10 "Make the heart of this people..." (MT) vs. "For the heart of this people..." (LXX)
Isa 6:11 "laid waste, a desolation" (MT) vs. "left desolate" (LXX)
Isa 6:12 "the desolation in the midst of the land is great" (MT) vs. "they that are left upon the land shall be multiplied" (LXX)
Isa 6:13 "be consumed" (MT) vs. "be for spoil" (LXX)
Isa 6:13 "oak that in being felled yet has its stump - the holy seed is its stump" (MT) vs. "acorn when it falls out of its husk." (LXX)
Isa 7:14 "she shall call his name" (MT) vs. "His name shall be called." (LXX and Dead Sea 1QIsa(a)) The difference is one consonant. See General Introduction to the Bible p.368 for more info.
Isa 7:14 "young woman" (Ďalmah) in Hebrew (MT, Dead Sea scrolls)) vs. virgin" (parthenos) in the Greek Septuagint vs. young woman (neanis) in the Greek translations of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion. See The Anchor Bible Dictionary vol.3 p.395 for more info.
Isa 8:2 "I cause to be attested" (MT) vs. "have it attested" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, Syriac)
Isa 9:3 "You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy" (Dead Sea scrolls, Targum) vs. "You have multiplied the nation and not increased joy" (MT, Vulgate) vs. "Most of the people You brought down in your joy" (LXX)
Isa 9:17 "did not rejoice over" (MT) vs. "did not take pity on" (Dead Sea Scrolls)
Isa 10:16 "The LORD" (MT, Dead Sea Scrolls) vs. "The Lord [Adonai]" (Bomberg Old Testament 1524-1525 A.D. according to the NKJV)
Isa 10:27 "the yoke will be broken/destroyed because you have grown so fat" (MT, NRSV) vs. "the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing" (MT, Greenís literal translation) vs. "the yoke will be broken/destroyed from off of your shoulders" (LXX)
Isa 10:30 "Lift up your voice, O daughter of Gallim!" (MT, Targum, Vulgate) vs. "Listen to her, O Anathoth" (LXX, Syriac)
Isa 10:34 "with a majestic one" (MT) vs. "with majestic trees" (LXX, Vulgate)
Isa 11:6 "calf and the lion and the yearling together" (MT) vs. "calf and the lion will feed together" (LXX)
Isa 11:15 "destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt" (MT, Vulgate) vs. "dry up the tongue of the Sea of Egypt" (LXX, Syriac, Targum per the NKJV)
Isa 14:2 "Beckon them to enter the gates of the nobles" (MT) vs. "draw your swords, you nobles." (LXX)
Isa 14:4 (un known meaning in the Hebrew MT) vs. "insolence/fury" (Dead Sea Scrolls, compare Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate)
Isa 14:21 "fathers" (MT) vs. "father" (Syriac)
Isa 14:30 "of the remnant he will kill" (Masoretic text) vs. "of the remnant I will kill" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Vulgate)
Isa 15:4 "the armed men of Moab shout/cry aloud" (MT) vs. "the loins of region of Moab quiver/cry aloud" (Targum, Vulgate, Septuagint, Syriac)
Isa 15:9 "Dimon [unknown place]" (MT, Targum) vs. "Dibon [in Moab]" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Vulgate, compare Syriac) vs. "Rimon" (LXX)
Isa 16:9 "O Elealah [the name of a place]" (MT) vs. "O Dibon [the name of a place]" (Dead Sea Scrolls, some Septuagint, Vulgate)
Isa 16:10 "I have hushed" (MT) vs. "is hushed" (LXX)
Isa 17:2 "The cities of Aroer are forsaken" (MT, Vulgate). vs. "It shall be forsaken forever" (LXX) vs. "Its cities shall be forsaken and desolate" (Targum)
Isa 17:9a "bough" (MT) vs. "Amorites" (LXX) vs. "laid waste" (Targum) vs. "as the plows" (Vulgate)
Isa 17:9b "an uppermost branch" (MT), vs. "Hivites/Evaeans" (LXX) vs. "in ruins" (Targum) vs. "corn/grain" (Vulgate)
Isa 18:7 "of a people tall and smooth" (MT) vs. "from a people tall and smooth" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, Vulgate) vs. "to a people tall and smooth" (Targum)
Isa 19:14 "poured into it" (MT) vs. "poured into them" (LXX, compare the Targums)
Isa 19:18 "city of destruction" (most Masoretic text) vs. "city of the sun" (some Masoretic text, Dead Sea scroll, Targum, Vulgate) vs. "city of righteousness" (LXX)
Isa 21:8 "a lion shouted/called out" (MT) vs. "the lookout/watcher shouted/called out" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Syriac)
Isa 22:3 "fled from far away" (MT) vs. "fled far away" (LXX, Syriac, Vulgate)
Isa 22:19 "So I will drive you out of your office, and from your position he will pull you down" (MT) vs. "So I will drive you out of your office, and from your position" (LXX) vs. "So I will drive you out of your office, and from your position I will pull you down" (Syriac, Targum, Vulgate)
Isa 23:2-3 "Sidon, whom the seafarers have enriched/replenished. On the great waters came the grain of the Shihor" (MT) vs. "Sidon, who cross over the sea; your envoys are on the sea/great waters. The grain of the Shihor" (one Dead Sea Scroll)
Isa 23:10 "Go through your land" (MT) vs. "Till your land" (Dead Sea Scrolls, some Septuagint)
Isa 25:11 "And He shall spread His hands in his midst, as he who swims strokes to swim. And He shall lay low his pride with the skill of His hands." (MT, Greenís literal translation) vs. "And he shall spread forth his hands, even as he also brings down man to destroy him: and he shall bring low his pride in regard to the thing on which he has laid his hands."(LXX)
Isa 26:19 "my corpse/dead body" (MT, Dead Sea Scrolls, Vulgate) vs. "their corpses/dead bodies" (compare Syriac, Targums) vs. "those in the tombs" (LXX)
Isa 26:19 "Your dead ones shall live, my corpse/dead body; they shall rise up. Awake and sing, dustdwellers; for the dew of lights is your dew; and the earth shall cast out departed spirits." (MT) vs. "The dead shall rise, and they that are in the tombs shall be raised, and they that are in the earth shall rejoice; for the dew from thee is healing to them: but the land of the ungodly shall perish." (LXX)
Isa 27:2 "vineyard of red wine" (some Masoretic text, Vulgate) vs. "vineyard of delight" (some Masoretic text, Septuagint) vs. "choice vineyard" (Targum)
Isa 27:8 (Hebrew meaning uncertain in the Masoretic text) vs. "By warfare" (LXX)
Isa 29:13 "Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men." (MT) vs. "They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men." (LXX)
Isa 33:2 "be their arm every morning" (MT) vs. "be [the/an/?] arm every morning" (LXX) vs. "be our arm every morning" (Syriac, Targum, Vulgate)
Isa 33:8 "the cities are despised" (MT) vs. "its witnesses are despised" (Dead Sea Scrolls) vs. "removed form their cities" (Targum)
Isa 34:7 "wild oxen" vs. "mighty ones"
Isa 35:8 "there will be a highway and a way" (MT) vs. "there will be a highway" (Dead Sea scroll 1QIsa(a))
Isa 37:20 "alone are the LORD" (MT) vs. "alone, O LORD, are God." (Dead Sea Scrolls, 2 Kings 19:19)
Isa 37:25 "dug wells" (MT) vs. "dug wells in foreign lands" (Dead Sea Scrolls, 2 Kings 19:24)
Isa 37:27 "roofs and terraced fields" (most Masoretic manuscripts) vs. "roof" (some Masoretic manuscripts, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and some Septuagint manuscripts)
Isa 38:11 "dwell in the place of cessation" (most Masoretic manuscripts) vs. "dwell in this world" (as few Hebrew manuscripts) vs. "dwellers of the death rest"
Isa 40:3 "him who cries" vs. "one crying"
Isa 40:3 "straight in the desert/wilderness a highway of our God" (MT) vs. "straight the paths of our God" (LXX)
Isa 40:11 "and carry them in His bosom, gently lead those" (MT) vs. "gently lead those" (LXX)
Isa 41:2 "righteous one" vs. "righteousness"
Isa 41:2 "foot" vs. "feet, so that it should go
Isa 45:2 (unknown meaning in the Masoretic text) vs. "mountains" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint)
Isa 49:5 "gathered to Him" (Qere, Dead Sea scrolls, Septuagint) vs. "not gathered" (Kethib)
Isa 49:12 "Sinim" (MT) vs. "Aswan [Egypt]" (Dead Sea Scrolls) vs. "land of the Persians" (LXX)
Isa 49:24-25 "from the righteous" (2 times) (MT) vs. "from the fierce" (2 times) (Dead Sea Scrolls, Vulgate, Syriac) vs. "from the giant" (2 times) (LXX)
Isa 50:11 "you gird yourselves with firebrands" (MT) vs. "lighters of firebrands" (Syriac) vs. "feed a flame" (LXX)
Isa 51:19 "how may I comfort you" (MT) vs. "who will comfort you?" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate)
Isa 52:5 "mock" (MT) vs. "wail" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Vulgate) vs. "howl" (LXX)
Isa 52:14 "astonished at you" (MT, Septuagint) vs. "astonished at him" (Syriac, Targums)
Isa 52:15 "so he will sprinkle many nations" (MT) vs. "so will many nations marvel at him" (LXX)
Isa 53:11 "light" (MT) vs. "light of life" Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint)
Isa 61:1 "darkness for the prisoners" (MT) vs. "darkness for the blind" (LXX)
Isa 61:1 (absent) (MT, Septuagint) vs. "the dead are raised" (Dead Sea scroll 4Q521). (See The Case for Christ p.142 for more info.)
Isa 66:19 "to Tarshish, to Pul" (MT) vs. "to Tarshis, to Put [Libyans]" (some Septuagint manuscripts)
Bibliography for this question: the Hebrew translation is from Jay P. Greenís Literal Translation and the Septuagint rendering is from Sir Lancelot C.L. Brentonís translation of The Septuagint : Greek and English. The Expositor's Bible Commentary, General Introduction to the Bible, and the footnotes in the NASB, NIV, NKJV, and NRSV Bibles also were used.
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