ACT ON REVEALED TRUTH
Isaiah 7:1-23-8 March 15 2009
Ungodly men are often punished by others as bad as
themselves. Being in great distress and confusion, the
Jews gave up all for lost. They had made God their enemy,
and knew not how to make him their friend. The prophet
must teach them to despise their enemies, in faith and
dependence on God. Ahaz, in fear, called them two powerful
princes. No, says the prophet, they are but tails of smoking
firebrands, burnt out already. The two kingdoms of Syria
and Israel were nearly expiring. While God has work for the
firebrands of the earth, they consume all before them; but
when their work is fulfilled, they will be extinguished in
smoke. That which Ahaz thought most formidable, is made
the ground of their defeat; because they have taken evil
counsel against thee; which is an offence to God. God scorns
the scorners, and gives his word that the attempt should not
succeed. Man purposes, but God disposes. It was folly for
those to be trying to ruin their neighbours, who were
themselves near to ruin. Isaiah must urge the Jews to rely on
the assurances given them. Faith is absolutely necessary to
quiet and compose the mind in trials.
1. The Confederate Forces Of Syria and Israel Against
Jerusalem. (Isa. 7:1-2)
Isa. 7:1 When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king
of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of
Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not
overpower it. 7:2 Now the house of David was told, “Aram has
allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people
were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.
The second section of Isaiah’s prophecies, climaxing in the
songs of praise found in ch. 12. (7:1) The invasion of Rezin and
Pekah (probably in 735 /734 B.C.) is known as the Syro-ephraimite
War. Aram (Syria) and Israel (Ephraim; isa.7:2) were trying
unsuccessfully to persuade Ahaz to join a coalition against
Assyria, which had strong designs on lands to the west. Isaiah
was trying to keep Ahaz from forming a counteralliance with
Assyria ( 2 Kings 16:5-18; 2 Ch 28:16-21). Pekah. Ruled 752-732
B.C. (2 Kings 15:27-31). House of David . A reference to Ahaz, who
belonged to David’s dynasty (2 Sam 7:8-11). EPHRAIM. Another
name for Israel, the northern kingdom. Hearts. . . Were shaken .
Ahaz had been defeated by Aram and Israel earlier (2 Ch 28:5-8).
2. Sent Him for His Encouragement and Jerusalem Should
be Preserved (isa. 7:3-9)
Isa. 7:3 Then the LORD said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son
Shear-jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the
Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field. 7:4 Say to him,
‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart
because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood —because of
the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah.
7:5 Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin,
saying, 7:6 “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide
it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” 7:7
Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘It will not take place,
it will not happen, 7:8 for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the
head of Damascus is only Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim
will be too shattered to be a people. 7:9 The head of Ephraim is
Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son. If you do
not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’ ”
Shear -Jashub . NIV (Isa.10:21-22). Isaiah gave each of his
sons symbolic names (Isa. 8:1,3,18). Aqueduct of the upper pool.
Location unknown. Ahaz was probably inspecting the city’s water
supply. Washerman’s Field . Clothes were cleaned by trampling on
them in cold water and using a kind of soap (soda) or bleach
( Malachi 3:2; Mark 9:3). Two smoldering stubs . Damascus
(Aram’s capital; Isa.7: 8) was crushed by Tiglath-pileser III in
732 B.C., and Israel was soundly defeated the same year. Tabeel .
An Aramaic name sometimes associated with the “land of Tob”
east of the Jordan River (Jdg 11:3). Within sixty-five years .
By 670 B.C. Esarhaddon (and, shortly after him, Ashurbanipal)
king of Assyria settled foreign colonists in Israel. Their
intermarriage with the few Israelites who had not been
deported resulted in the “Samaritans” ( 2 Kings 17:24-34 ;
2 Kings 17:29) and marked the end of Ephraim as a separate
nation. Only remaliah’s son . Pekah was a usurper and hardly
worthy to challenge Ahaz, a son of David. Aram (isa.7:8) and
Israel (Isa.7: 9) had human heads. Judah had a divine head; God
was with them (Isa.7:14; 8:8,10). Stand firm . . . Stand . The use
of the same Hebrew verb emphasizes the seriousness of the
Lord’s warning (Isa. 1:19-20,25-26 ).
3. The Confirmation of This by a Sign which God Gave to
Ahaz (Isa. 7:10-14)
Isa. 7:10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, 7:11 “Ask the LORD
your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the
highest heights.” 7:12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not
put the LORD to the test.” 7:13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you
house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will
you try the patience of my God also? 7:14 Therefore the Lord
himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and
will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
A sign . God was willing to strengthen the faith of Ahaz
through a sign ( Ex 3:12). House of David . (Isa. 7: 2). Sign . A
sign was normally fulfilled within a few years (Isa. 20:3;
37:30; 8:18). Virgin . May refer to a young woman betrothed
to Isaiah (Isa.8:3), who was to become his second wife (his
first wife presumably having died after Shear-jashub was born).
In (Gen 24:43) the same Hebrew word (‘Almah ) refers to a
woman about to be married ( Proverbs 30:19). (Matt 1:23)
apparently understood the woman mentioned here to be a type
(a foreshadowing) of the Virgin Mary. IMMANUEL. The name “God
is with us” was meant to convince Ahaz that God could rescue
him from his enemies.(Num 14:9; 2 Ch 13:12; Psalms 46:70.
“Immanuel” is used again in (Isa.8:8,10), and it may be another
name for Maher-shalal-hash-baz (Isa.8:3). If so, the boy’s
names had complementary significance (Isa. 8:3). Jesus was
the final fulfillment of this prophecy, for he was “God with us”
in the fullest sense (Matt 1:23; Isa 9:6-7). Curds and honey .
Curds (a kind of yogurt) and honey meant a return to the simple
diet of those who lived off the land. The Assyrian invasion
would devastate the countryside and make farming impossible.
(Isa. 7:22-25) for the significance of the expression.) When he
Knows . . . Wrong . . . Right. Suggests the age of moral
determination and responsibility under the law —most likely
12 or 13 years of age. Thus, “when” this boy is 12 or 13
(722 /721 B.C.), he will be eating curds and honey instead of
agricultural products —due to the devastation of Israel by
Assyria. Some believe that this expression involves a shorter
period of time, identical to that in (Isa.7:16 and 8:4).
4. Prepare for Another (Isaiah 7:16)
Isa. 7:16 But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong
and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be
Beforethe boy knows . . . Land. . . Laid waste . (Isa.7:4; 8:4).
“Before” the boy is 12 or 13 years old, Aram and Israel will
be plundered. This happened in 732 B.C., when the boy was about
two years old.
Secret disaffection to God is often disguised with the
colour of respect to him; and those who are resolved that they
will not trust God, yet pretend they will not tempt him. The
prophet reproved Ahaz and his court, for the little value they
had for Divine revelation. Nothing is more grievous to God than
distrust, but the unbelief of man shall not make the promise of
God of no effect; the Lord himself shall give a sign. How great
soever your distress and danger, of you the Messiah is to be born,
and you cannot be destroyed while that blessing is in you. It shall
be brought to pass in a glorious manner; and the strongest
consolations in time of trouble are derived from Christ, our
relation to him, our interest in him, our expectations of him and
from him. He would grow up like other children, by the use of the
diet of those countries; but he would, unlike other children,
uniformly refuse the evil and choose the good. And although his
birth would be by the power of the Holy Ghost, yet he should not
be fed with angels’ food. Then follows a sign of the speedy
destruction of the princes, now a terror to Judah. "Before this
child," so it may be read; "this child which I have now in my arms,"
(Shear-jashub, the prophet’s own son, Isa 7:3,) shall be three or
four years older, these enemies’ forces shall be forsaken of both
their kings. The prophecy is so solemn, the sign is so marked, as
given by God himself after Ahaz rejected the offer, that it must
have raised hopes far beyond what the present occasion suggested.
And, if the prospect of the coming of the Divine Saviour was a
never-failing support to the hopes of ancient believers, what
cause have we to be thankful that the Word was made flesh! May
we trust in and love Him, and copy his example.
2. Here is another sign in particular of the speedy destruction of these potent princes that were now a terror to Judah, v. 16. "Before this child (so it should be read), this child which I have now in my arms” (he means not Immanuel, but Shear-jashub his own son, whom he was ordered to take with him for a sign, v. 3), "before this child shall know how to refuse the evil and choose the good” (and those who saw what his present stature and forwardness were would easily conjecture how long that would be), "before this child be three or four years older, the land that thou abhorrest, these confederate forces of Israelites and Syrians, which thou hast such an enmity to and standest in such dread of, shall be forsaken of both their kings, both Pekah and Rezin,” who were in so close an alliance that they seemed as if they were the kings of but one kingdom. This was fully accomplished; for within two or three years after this, Hoshea conspired against Pekah, and slew him (2Ki. 15:30), and, before that, the king of Assyria took Damascus, and slew Rezin, 2Ki. 16:9. Nay, there was a present event, which happened immediately, and when this child carried the prediction of in his name, which was a pledge and earnest of this future event. Shear-jashub signifies The remnant shall return, which doubtless points at the wonderful return of those 200,000 captives whom Pekah and Rezin had carried away, who were brought back, not by might or power, but by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts. Read the story, 2Chr. 28:8-15. The prophetical naming of this child having thus had its accomplishment, no doubt this, which was further added concerning him, should have its accomplishment likewise, that Syria and Israel should be deprived of both their kings. One mercy from God encourages us to hope for another, if it engages us to prepare for another.
God Bless My Friend
Robert G O’Haver