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Isaiah 8:10-14

Context

8:10 Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted!

Issue your orders, but they will not be executed! 1 

For God is with us! 2 

The Lord Encourages Isaiah

8:11 Indeed this is what the Lord told me. He took hold of me firmly and warned me not to act like these people: 3 

8:12 “Do not say, ‘Conspiracy,’ every time these people say the word. 4 

Don’t be afraid of what scares them; don’t be terrified.

8:13 You must recognize the authority of the Lord who commands armies. 5 

He is the one you must respect;

he is the one you must fear. 6 

8:14 He will become a sanctuary, 7 

but a stone that makes a person trip,

and a rock that makes one stumble –

to the two houses of Israel. 8 

He will become 9  a trap and a snare

to the residents of Jerusalem. 10 

1 tn Heb “speak a word, but it will not stand.”

2 sn In these vv. 9-10 the tone shifts abruptly from judgment to hope. Hostile nations like Assyria may attack God’s people, but eventually they will be destroyed, for God is with his people, sometimes to punish, but ultimately to vindicate. In addition to being a reminder of God’s presence in the immediate crisis faced by Ahaz and Judah, Immanuel (whose name is echoed in this concluding statement) was a guarantee of the nation’s future greatness in fulfillment of God’s covenantal promises. Eventually God would deliver his people from the hostile nations (vv. 9-10) through another child, an ideal Davidic ruler who would embody God’s presence in a special way (see 9:6-7). Jesus the Messiah is the fulfillment of the Davidic ideal prophesied by Isaiah, the one whom Immanuel foreshadowed. Through the miracle of the incarnation he is literally “God with us.” Matthew realized this and applied Isaiah’s ancient prophecy of Immanuel’s birth to Jesus (Matt 1:22-23). The first Immanuel was a reminder to the people of God’s presence and a guarantee of a greater child to come who would manifest God’s presence in an even greater way. The second Immanuel is “God with us” in a heightened and infinitely superior sense. He “fulfills” Isaiah’s Immanuel prophecy by bringing the typology intended by God to realization and by filling out or completing the pattern designed by God. Of course, in the ultimate fulfillment of the type, the incarnate Immanuel’s mother must be a virgin, so Matthew uses a Greek term (παρθένος, parqenos), which carries that technical meaning (in contrast to the Hebrew word עַלְמָה [’almah], which has the more general meaning “young woman”). Matthew draws similar analogies between NT and OT events in 2:15, 18. The linking of these passages by analogy is termed “fulfillment.” In 2:15 God calls Jesus, his perfect Son, out of Egypt, just as he did his son Israel in the days of Moses, an historical event referred to in Hos 11:1. In so doing he makes it clear that Jesus is the ideal Israel prophesied by Isaiah (see Isa 49:3), sent to restore wayward Israel (see Isa 49:5, cf. Matt 1:21). In 2:18 Herod’s slaughter of the infants is another illustration of the oppressive treatment of God’s people by foreign tyrants. Herod’s actions are analogous to those of the Assyrians, who deported the Israelites, causing the personified land to lament as inconsolably as a mother robbed of her little ones (Jer 31:15).

3 tc Heb “with strength of hand and he warned me from walking in the way of these people, saying.” Some want to change the pointing of the suffix and thereby emend the Qal imperfect יִסְּרֵנִי (yissÿreni, “he was warning me”) to the more common Piel perfect יִסְּרַנִי (yissÿrani, “he warned me”). Others follow the lead of the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa and read יְסִירֵנִי (yÿsireni, “he was turning me aside,” a Hiphil imperfect from סוּר, sur).

4 tn Heb “Do not say, ‘Conspiracy,’ with respect to all which these people say, ‘Conspiracy.’” The verb translated “do not say” is second masculine plural, indicating that this exhortation is directed to Isaiah and other followers of the Lord (see v. 16).

sn The background of this command is uncertain. Perhaps the “conspiracy” in view is the alliance between Israel and Syria. Some of the people may even have thought that individuals in Judah were plotting with Israel and Syria to overthrow the king.

5 tn Heb “the Lord who commands armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts], him you must set apart.” The word order is emphatic, with the object being placed first.

6 tn Heb “he is your [object of] fear, he is your [object of] terror.” The roots יָרֵא (yare’) and עָרַץ (’arats) are repeated from v. 12b.

7 tn Because the metaphor of protection (“sanctuary”) does not fit the negative mood that follows in vv. 14b-15, some contend that מִקְדָּשׁ (miqdash, “sanctuary”) is probably a corruption of an original מוֹקֵשׁ (moqesh, “snare”), a word that appears in the next line (cf. NAB and H. Wildberger, Isaiah, 1:355-56). If the MT reading is retained (as in the above translation), the fact that Yahweh is a sanctuary wraps up the point of v. 13 and stands in contrast to God’s treatment of those who rebel against him (the rest of v. 14).

8 sn The two “houses” of Israel (= the patriarch Jacob) are the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah.

9 tn These words are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. וְהָיָה (vÿhayah, “and he will be”) does double duty in the parallel structure of the verse.

10 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.



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