Isaiah 7 - Outline of Isaiah (Book Notes menu page)
I.B.1. Immanuel rejected by worldly wisdom, 7:1-25
1. And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz
the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah,
[that] Rezin the king of Syria,
and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel,
went up toward Jerusalem to war against it,
but could not prevail against it.
2 And it was told the house of David, saying,
Syria is confederate with Ephraim.
And his
{ie., Ahaz'} heart was moved, and the heart of his people,
as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.
Ahaz the son of Jotham - kings of Judah, the southern kingdom, ruling from Jerusalem.
Jotham, like his father, Uzziah, served the LORD (2Kin 15:32-34). But after Jotham's death, his son, Ahaz, turned away from the LORD and served false gods, even offering his children in sacrifice to idols (2Kin 16:1-4).
Pekah son of Remaliah - was king of Israel (the northern kingdom, also referred to as Ephraim).
His capital city was Samaria.
Syria is confederate with Ephraim.-
The northern and southern kingdoms of Israel were engaged in war against each other.
Jerusalem had withstood previous attacks by Ephraim and by Syria acting independently. But now, the kings of Ephraim (Israel) and Syria had made an alliance and combined their forces. This, placed Judah at a great disadvantage, and caused their great fear. (see 2Chr 28:1-7)
the house of David - Ahaz, occupying the Davidic throne, was the contemporary representative.
his heart was moved - Ahaz, being worthy of judgment, had ample reason to fear.
Where would his fear move him? unwise alliances with Egypt or other nations? ...or, to turn in repentance to seek the LORD? (Isa 31:1)
     Yet, despite the wickedness of king Ahaz, the Lord had determined to preserve Jerusalem, for it was not His time to send Judah into captivity. Therefore, He sent Isaiah with a message. (Chapters 7 - 12 are a series of related messages, delivered during the reign of Ahaz.)
3 Then said the LORD unto Isaiah,
Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son,
at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field;
4 And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not,
neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands,
for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah.
5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah,
have taken evil counsel against thee, saying,
6 Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us,
and set a king in the midst of it, [even] the son of Tabeal:
the conduit of the upper pool - This was the primary source of water for the city.
The conduit brought water into the city from the Gihon spring which was outside the eastern wall of the city. No doubt, Ahaz had gone there to oversee the fortification of this pool and conduit, in anticipation of a siege of the city. A few years later, Hezekiah would abandon the exposed conduit, replacing it with a tunnel to make the flow of water more secure (2Chr 32:30).
     The word 'pool' is HB= berakah, usually translated 'blessing', but sometimes rendered as 'pool' in other places (eg., Psa 84:6). In a dry land, a pool of water is a great blessing, for it means life.
     The word used for 'upper' means 'uppermost'. Elsewhere, this word describes the God who is above all other 'gods' (eg., 'most high', in Gen 14:18-20,22; Isa 14:14), and the Messiah, who is the King 'higher than' all other kings (Psa 89:27).
     Ahaz, wicked as he was, was a conduit of the Blessing from the Most High, since Christ would come into the world through the Davidic line. Joh 7:37,38; Acts 3:19-21
in the highway of the fuller's field - The 'highway' was a path elevated above the surrounding ground
for the purpose of keeping the traveler out of the mud. The field of the 'fuller' was where clothing was laundered. Ahaz and his sinful nation had not been walking in the way of righteousness and needed cleansing (cp. 'highway' in Prov 16:17; Isa 35:8).
Shearjashub- The name of Isaiah's son means "a remnant shall return."
It's prophetic significance was that the nation was under judgment and would soon be carried away captive from their land. Even so, the Lord would bring back a remnant according to His promises.
fear not... the two tails of these smoking firebrands - (ie., the kings of Israel and Syria)
Although the enemies of Judah were hot with anger, they would cause no more harm than the cold end of a torch.
the son of Tabeal {meaning 'God is good'} -
The enemy kings had intended to install a subservient king in Jerusalem. The son of Tabeal is not mentioined elsewhere in scripture, because God thwarted their plans.
7 Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.
8 For the head of Syria [is] Damascus, and the head of Damascus [is] Rezin;
and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people.
9 And the head of Ephraim [is] Samaria, and the head of Samaria [is] Remaliah's son.
If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.
It shall not stand...- The Lord tells Ahaz not to fear because He will ensure the failure
of the campaign by Ephraim and Syria against Jerusalem.
the head of Damascus... - Damascus, the capital of Syria, ruled by Rezin
the head of Samaria... - Samaria, the capital of Israel, ruled by Pekah, son of Remaliah.
Rezin and Pekah began their ventures against Judah during the reign of Jotham, father of Ahaz. During the third year of Ahaz' reign, Pekah was assassinated. About that time, Rezin was killed in battle with the Assyrians (cp. 2Kin 15:27-38; 16:1-9). So, within a short time, the deaths of both Rezin and Pekah would confirm the prophet's message.
Ephraim {shall} be broken, that it not be a people...- Isaiah foretold that within 65 years,
the northern kingdom of Israel would no longer exist as a nation. In fact, following Pekah, Israel would have one last king, Hoshea, whose nine year reign ended with the Assyrian captivity. 2Kin 17:1-6
If ye shall not believe, ye shall not be established {ie., will not stand firm, will not be certain} -
Ahaz was an unbelieving sceptic. How could he be assured and find rest in God's message?
10. Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,
11 Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God;
ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.
12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.
ask thee a sign...- The Lord offered Ahaz a sign to answer his unbelief and satisfy honest doubts.
I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord.- Ahaz' refusal of a sign was sheer hypocrisy.
By his sinful life, he had been testing the Lord for many years. In quoting: "Ye shall not tempt the LORD thy God," he condemned himself, for this is a warning against unbelief and disregard of God's Word (cp. Deu 6:13-16; Psa 78:18,41,56; Mat 4:7).
Ahaz preferred willful ignorance. He did not want proof of the truth of God's Word (cp. Isa 6:9,10).
Yet, God's Word will not fail those who put it to the test (2Sam 22:31; Psa 18:30; 34:8).
13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David;
[Is it] a small thing for you to weary
{ie., to offend, to grieve} men,
but will ye weary my God also?
14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign;
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall call his name Immanuel.
15 Butter and honey shall he eat,
that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good,
the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.
the Lord himself shall give you a sign -
This sign is given, not to unbelieving Ahaz, but to 'the whole house of David.'
The sign is regarding the Blessing from the Most High that would come through the conduit of David's lineage.
a virgin {HB='almah} shall conceive...- The sign, of the virgin birth of Christ,
rests upon the firm foundation of God's Word. Joseph tested it and found it sure (Mat 1:18-23).
  • Critics say this word for 'virgin' {HB='almah} can be translated 'young woman' and does not necessarily mean 'virgin.' However, wherever it is translated as 'young woman' or 'maid,' it refers to an unmarried woman of marriageable age, with the understanding that she is a virgin. Here is a list of all of the OT occurrences:
    • Gen 24:16 (damsel is HB= naarah; virgin is HB= bethulah), in Gen 24:43 (virgin is HB= almah). All three words describe the same person, who was a virgin.
    • Ex 2:8, 'maid' (of Miriam, sister of Moses, while she was an unmarried teen)
    • Psa 68:25, 'damsels'
    • Prov 30:19, 'maid' (during courtship)
    • Song 1:3 and Song 6:8, 'virgins'
    • 1Chr 15:20 and Psa 46:1 where "alamoth" is a musical term, perhaps similar to 'soprano' or 'voices of young women.'
  • The angel quoted Isa 7:14, to answer Joseph's doubts (Mat 1:18-23). In Matthew's account, the quote is from the LXX (the Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the OT), where the Greek word translated 'virgin' is 'parthenos' which always means 'virgin.' Mary had become pregnant, and she would bring forth a son, while she was still a virgin. If the meaning were simply 'young woman,' Joseph's questions would have remained unanswered.
Immanuel {ie., God with us} - Only the virgin birth of Christ can explain how God became a man,
conceived by the Holy Spirit within the womb of a human mother (Luk 1:31-35). Only by His virgin birth could Jesus be both the son of God and the son of David. Mary, as a virgin, was the first to question how this could be possible.
before the child shall know to refuse evil... the land that thou abhorrest {ie., loathe, dread} shall be forsaken...-
Yet, there is a contemporary message for the unbelieving Ahaz. Another child would soon be born who was not Immanuel (because this child would need to learn the difference between good and evil). Yet, like Immanuel, the Lord would demonstrate the truth and power of His Word through his coming. This would be Isaiah's second son (Isa 8:1-4 also 8:18). While he was still very young, the lands which Ahaz feared would both lose their kings through death.
    In order to reconcile the birth of Isaiah's son with the word 'virgin' ('almah') in the prophecy, some scholars believe this son must have been the first son born to Isaiah's second wife, who would have been a virgin when the prophecy was uttered. However, scripture does not tell us whether Isaiah had a second wife. In any case, since the primary application of the prophecy was for the distant future, not all elements of the picture would fit the near application. Isaiah's son was neither Immanuel nor virgin born, but he was a 'type' of the One who was.
butter {ie., curds} and honey shall he eat...- These words do not depict luxury and abundance,
but rather the poverty and simplicity of lifestyle that was about to befall Judah. In the remainder of the chapter, Ahaz is told that although he would be spared the wrath of Samaria and Damascus, his land would be ravaged by Assyria.
17. The LORD shall bring upon thee,
and upon thy people, and upon thy father's house,
days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah;
[even] the king of Assyria.
18 And it shall come to pass in that day,
[that] the LORD shall hiss
for the fly that [is] in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt,
and for the bee that [is] in the land of Assyria.
19 And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys,
and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes.
20 In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired,
[namely], by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria,
the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard.
the Lord {shall} shave with a razor that is hired... by the king of Assyria -
Ahaz, not believing the Lord's promise of deliverance (v.5-9), had hired Assyria to defend him against the confederacy of Ephraim and Syria (2Kin 16:7,8; 2Chr 28:16-21). Yet, the Lord would use Assyria to exercise His judgment upon the northern kingdom, and His judgment would overflow to Judah.
shave... the head... feet... beard - The forces of Assyria
which would take Israel captive, would also denude and humiliate Judah.
Egypt... Assyria.- Not only would they be overrun by Assyria,
but Judah would become the battle ground between these two great nations, which would ravage the land to support their troops.
21 And it shall come to pass in that day,
[that] a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep;
22 And it shall come to pass,
for the abundance of milk [that] they shall give
he shall eat butter
{ie., curds}:
for butter
{ie., curds} and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land.
23 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] every place shall be,
where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings,
it shall [even] be for briers and thorns.
24 With arrows and with bows shall [men] come thither;
because all the land shall become briers and thorns.
25 And [on] all hills that shall be digged with the mattock
{ie., a hoe},
there shall not come thither the fear of briers and thorns:
but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of lesser cattle.
in that day...- ie., because of the Assyrian and Egyptian conflict,
those, who remained in Judah, would barely support themselves off the land.
the abundance of milk - was not necessarily a good thing,
for it was an indication that few calves would be born alive or survive long.
where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings... briers and thorns...-
A large amount of previously productive and valuable agricultural land would lie untended and return to wild overgrowth, to be visited only occassionally by hunters. But where men remained to work the ground, few workers would venture into the fields, for fear of the foreign forces. Instead, they would allow their cattle to graze on what should have been their crop land.

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