5:6 I will make it a wasteland;
no one will prune its vines or hoe its ground, 1
and thorns and briers will grow there.
I will order the clouds
not to drop any rain on it.
7:23 At that time 2 every place where there had been a thousand vines worth a thousand shekels will be overrun 3 with thorns and briers. 7:24 With bow and arrow 4 men will hunt 5 there, for the whole land will be covered 6 with thorns and briers. 7:25 They will stay away from all the hills that were cultivated, for fear of the thorns and briers. 7 Cattle will graze there and sheep will trample on them. 8
1 tn Heb “it will not be pruned or hoed” (so NASB); ASV and NRSV both similar.
3 tn Heb “will become” (so NASB); NAB “shall be turned to.”
4 tn Heb “with arrows and a bow.” The more common English idiom is “bow[s] and arrow[s].”
5 tn Heb “go” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV); TEV “go hunting.”
6 tn Heb “will be” (so NASB, NRSV).
7 tn Heb “and all the hills which were hoed with a hoe, you will not go there [for] fear of the thorns and briers.”
8 tn Heb “and it will become a pasture for cattle and a trampling place for sheep.”
sn At this point one is able to summarize the content of the “sign” (vv. 14-15) as follows: A young woman known to be present when Isaiah delivered this message to Ahaz (perhaps a member of the royal family or the prophetess mentioned in 8:3) would soon give birth to a boy whom the mother would name Immanuel, “God is with us.” Eventually Immanuel would be forced to eat sour milk and honey, which would enable him to make correct moral decisions. How would this situation come about and how would it constitute a sign? Before this situation developed, the Israelites and Syrians would be defeated. But then the Lord would usher in a period of time unlike any since the division of the kingdom almost 200 years before. The Assyrians would overrun the land, destroy the crops, and force the people to subsist on goats’ milk and honey. At that time, as the people saw Immanuel eating his sour milk and honey, the Davidic family would be forced to acknowledge that God was indeed with them. He was present with them in the Syrian-Israelite crisis, fully capable of rescuing them; but he was also present with them in judgment, disciplining them for their lack of trust. The moral of the story is quite clear: Failure to appropriate God’s promises by faith can turn potential blessing into disciplinary judgment.