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
7:8 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. 4
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.
4 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