Isaiah 8

Chapter eight records another son that Isaiah and his wife had (one son was mentioned in Isaiah 7:3). Due to the proximity of the birth announcement to this birth, some scholars believe that Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz was the “son” referred to in the chapter seven prophecy, especially since Isaiah 8:8, 10 both end with “Immanuel.” They see that as a nickname or title rather than the boy’s given name. His given name means “Speeding to the Plunder, Hurrying to the Spoil” (Constable). Nine months earlier God had Isaiah write that phrase on a tablet and witnessed by Uriah and Zechariah (not the later writing prophet). This served as the prophecy that Israel was soon to be plundered by Assyria (Isaiah 8:1-4). Rather than accepting God’s gentle stream of blessings, Israel had rejected Jehovah, so he brought Assyria on them like a torrential flood (Isaiah 8:5-8). Israel’s response was a mocking song: “Do your worst against us, but you will be broken because God is with us!” (Isaiah 8:9-10)

Yet they were afraid of the situation, and God told Isaiah to not be like them (Isaiah 8:11-15). They would devise conspiracy theories and be afraid, but Isaiah was to hold fast to the truth from God. Quoted by both Paul and Peter with reference to Jesus (Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:8), Isaiah was told that God himself would be the one that the Jews would trip over as they tried to live their own way. Isaiah told his followers to keep a record of his messages tied up in a scroll, likely for proof in the future that these events had been foretold (Isaiah 8:16-18). He then confirmed that he would put his trust in God, exactly as God had said.

Possibly in response to Isaiah’s affirmation of his trust, God warned him that people would come to him looking for oracles, but instead of seeking them from God, they would ask for incantations, divination, and necromancy (Isaiah 8:19 – 9:1). This was “because their minds [were] spiritually darkened.” Rather than receive the blessings they sought, they would become destitute, even to the point of cursing God, and their country would be overthrown. However, that would not always be the case.