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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

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Commentary on Isaiah

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9.1–6 :

The ideal Davidic king. Isaiah describes liberation from some form of adversity (perhaps the Assyrian conquests of Israelite territory described in the previous vv., or Syro‐Ephraimite pressures on Judah). The verbs are in the past tense. Some interpreters view them as examples of the “prophetic past,” which predicts future events using the past tense because they are as good as done. Thus it is not clear whether the Davidic king whose birth and rule are described (vv. 5–6 ) has already been born (if the verbs are a regular past tense) or will be born in the future (prophetic past). If the former, the v. probably refers to Ahaz's son Hezekiah, as many modern and rabbinic commentators believe (though other possibilities exist depending on the date of the passage). Most later readers (both Jewish and Christian) understood the passage to describe an ideal future ruler, i.e., the Messiah.

5 :

“The Mighty God…ruler”: This long sentence is the throne name of the royal child. Semitic names often consist of sentences that describe God; thus the name Isaiah in Hebrew means “The LORD saves”; Hezekiah, “The LORD strengthens”; in Akkadian, the name of the Babylonian king Merodach‐baladan (Isa. 39.1 ) means “the god Marduk has provided an heir.” These names do not describe that person who holds them but the god whom the parents worship. Similarly, the name given to the child in this v. does not describe that child or attribute divinity to him, contrary to classical Christian readings of this messianic verse.

9.7–10.4 :

The fate of the Northern Kingdom, Israel. A repeated refrain in 9.11, 16, 21, and 10.4 structures this poem into four sections. The same refrain is found in 5.25 , and scholars speculate that 5.25–30 may originally have been the poem's fifth and final section. The verbs here are in the past tense, but their significance is unclear. They may predict disasters to come (in which case the verbs exemplify “the prophetic past” described in 9.1–6 n. ); alternatively they may review disasters that God already sent in an unsuccessful attempt to chasten the Northern Kingdom (in which case the prophet does not predict coming events but presents an interpretation of recent history). The verbs in 5.26–30 clearly have a future tense and represent a prediction of Assyrian invasion which ends the poem. The following remarks assume the verbs in the first four sections refer to the past and are interpretations of recent events, not predictions of upcoming ones.

7–11 :

The first section may refer to the earthquake that shook Israel and Judah early in Isaiah's career; cf. Amos 1.1; Zech. 14.5 .

12–17 :

The second section refers to the chaos in the Northern Kingdom during the coups and massacres described in the mid‐740 s (see 2 Kings ch 15 ).

18–20 :

The third section recalls the earthquake, political chaos, and Israel's anti‐Judean policies during the Syro‐Ephraimite crisis.

10.1–4 :

The fourth section. As he comes to the climax of his indictment against the Northern Kingdom, the prophet returns to the theme of the rich who mistreat the poor and pervert justice for their own gain; cf. 1.17; 3.8–15; 5.8–10; 32.7 .

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