7:1 During 1 the reign of Ahaz son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel marched up to Jerusalem 2 to do battle, but they were unable to prevail against it. 3
7:2 It was reported to the family 4 of David, “Syria has allied with 5 Ephraim.” They and their people were emotionally shaken, just as the trees of the forest shake before the wind. 6 7:3 So the Lord told Isaiah, “Go out with your son Shear-jashub 7 and meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool which is located on the road to the field where they wash and dry cloth. 8 7:4 Tell him, ‘Make sure you stay calm! 9 Don’t be afraid! Don’t be intimidated 10 by these two stubs of smoking logs, 11 or by the raging anger of Rezin, Syria, and the son of Remaliah. 7:5 Syria has plotted with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah to bring about your demise. 12 7:6 They say, “Let’s attack Judah, terrorize it, and conquer it. 13 Then we’ll set up the son of Tabeel as its king.” 14 7:7 For this reason the sovereign master, 15 the Lord, says:
“It will not take place;
it will not happen.
7:8 For Syria’s leader is Damascus,
and the leader of Damascus is Rezin.
Within sixty-five years Ephraim will no longer exist as a nation. 16
3 tn Or perhaps, “but they were unable to attack it.” This statement sounds like a summary of the whole campaign. The following context explains why they were unable to defeat the southern kingdom. The parallel passage (2 Kgs 16:5; cf. Num 22:11; 1 Sam 17:9 for a similar construction) affirms that Syria and Israel besieged Ahaz. Consequently, the statement that “they were not able to battle against them” must refer to the inability to conquer Ahaz.
5 tn Heb “rests upon.” Most understand the verb as נוּחַ (nuakh, “rest”), but HALOT 685 s.v. II נחה proposes that this is a hapax legomenon which means “stand by.”
6 tn Heb “and his heart shook and the heart of his people shook, like the shaking of the trees of the forest before the wind.” The singular pronoun “his” is collective, referring to the Davidic house/family. לֵבָב (levav, “heart”) here refers to the seat of the emotions.
7 tn The name means “a remnant will return.” Perhaps in this context, where the Lord is trying to encourage Ahaz, the name suggests that only a few of the enemy invaders will return home; the rest will be defeated.
8 tn Heb “the field of the washer”; traditionally “the fuller’s field” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); NIV “the Washerman’s Field.”
9 tn Heb “guard yourself and be quiet,” but the two verbs should be coordinated.
10 tn Heb “and let not your heart be weak”; ASV “neither let thy heart be faint.”
11 sn The derogatory metaphor indicates that the power of Rezin and Pekah is ready to die out.
12 tn This sentence opens with the conjunction יַעַן כִּי (ya’an ki, “because”). Consequently some take vv. 5-6 with what precedes, as another reason why Ahaz might be tempted to fear (see v. 4). However, it is more likely that vv. 5-6 give the basis for the Lord’s announcement in vv. 7-9. The conjunction יַעַן כִּי here introduces the basis for judgment (as in 3:16; 8:6; 29:13), which is then followed by the formal announcement of judgment.
13 tn Heb “and let us break it open for ourselves”; NASB “make for ourselves a breach in its walls”; NLT “fight our way into.”
14 tn Heb “and we will make the son of Tabeel king in its midst.”
sn The precise identity of this would-be puppet king is unknown. He may have been a Syrian official or the ruler of one of the small neighboring states. See Y. Aharoni, Land of the Bible, 370.
16 tn Heb “Ephraim will be too shattered to be a nation”; NIV “to be a people.”
sn This statement is problematic for several reasons. It seems to intrude stylistically, interrupting the symmetry of the immediately preceding and following lines. Furthermore, such a long range prophecy lacks punch in the midst of the immediate crisis. After all, even if Israel were destroyed sometime within the next 65 years, a lot could still happen during that time, including the conquest of Judah and the demise of the Davidic family. Finally the significance of the time frame is uncertain. Israel became an Assyrian province within the next 15 years and ceased to exist as a nation. For these reasons many regard the statement as a later insertion, but why a later editor would include the reference to “65 years” remains a mystery. Some try to relate the prophecy to the events alluded to in Ezra 4:2, 10, which refers to how the Assyrian kings Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal settled foreigners in former Israelite territory, perhaps around 670