Isaiah 7:  Immanuel

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

Ask for a Sign


7:3 Shear-Jashub means “A Remnant Will Return.”  The name of Isaiah’s son spoke of a coming Exile and then the salvation of the remaining faithful.  All this would occur long after Isaiah’s lifetime.  Ahas was probably standing at the aqueduct at the time of this encounter, seeking to secure Jerusalem’s supply of water in ase of the siege (2 Chr. 32:30).

3  Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-Jashub your son, at the end of the aqueduct from the upper pool, on the highway to the Fuller’s Field,

7:4 God contemptuously dismissed the arrogant kings of Israel and Syria.  What Ahaz greatly feared, God considered merely stubs of smoking firebrands drawn from a bonfire.  The son of Remaliah is Pekah, king of Israel.

4  and say to him: ‘Take heed, and be quiet; do not fear or be fainthearted for these two stubs of smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and the son of Remaliah.

7:5, 6 Tabel means “Good for nothing.”  Syria and Israel wanted to place and incompetent puppet king over Judah.

5  Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah have plotted evil against you, saying, 6  “Let us go up against Judah and trouble it, and let us make a gap in its wall for ourselves, and set a king over them, the son of Tabel”—

7:8 sixty-five years is best taken as a reference to Rezin of Aram’s age:  before his 65 year the destruction will come.  And it did!

8  For the head of Syria is Damascus, And the head of Damascus is Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be broken, So that it will not be a people.

7:9 You is plural.  The prophet was speaking to the royal family and the nation.  Believe and established are a play on the same Hebrew word from which we get our word amen.  Believing entails having knowledge of God’s Word, accepting that it is true, and placing our trust in the Lord to help us keep it.  Believing the Lord is the key to receiving His promises (John 14:1).

9  The head of Ephraim is Samaria, And the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If you will not believe, Surely you shall not be established.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  John 14:1

7:11 The sign pertains to the prediction in vv. 7-9, the demise of the power of Samaria.  In the depth or in the height indicates that Ahaz could ask for any sign he wished.

11  “Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above.”

7:10-12 Put the Lord to a test?  Ahaz’s refusal may sound pious.  But Ahaz was commanded to ask for a sign:  some clearly supernatural event that would confirm Isaiah’s promise.  His disobedience was a demonstration of unbelief, not piety.

10  Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 11  “Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above.” 12  But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!”

7:14 Immanuel.  The name means “God with us.”  But the unusual and emphatic position of the words making up the name show it should be understood, “WITH US is God!”  Thus, the name Immanuel captures the awe and wonder of the incarnation, and the unimaginable fact that the God of the universe entered the stream of time to become one with us.

7:14  Virgin birth The Hebrew word translated virgin means “young woman of marriageable age.”  The Hebrew ideal of marriage makes its translation as “virgin” likely.  However, the intent is absolutely clear in Matt. 1:23 which quotes Isaiah and uses a Greek word, Parthenos, which unequivocally means “virgin.”  In fact, the concept of the virgin birth is a cornerstone of biblical Christianity.  Only if Jesus was truly God the Son could He have lived a sinless life and died on the cross as our substitute, a sufficient sacrifice for mankind’s sins.

14  Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

23  “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” [4] which is translated, “God with us.  Matt. 1:23

7:15 Contrast with “bread and wine” from cultivated lands and symbolically reporesent the Judean’s simple diet after the Assyrian invasion.  Thus the Child, similar to Isaiah’s son Shear-Jashub, would be identified with the remnant.

15  Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good.

7:16 Before the boy knows enough.  The boy mentioned here is to serve as a type of the promised son of the virgin and is undoubtedly Isaiah’s own son, Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.  A Jewish boy became bar-mitzvahed, a “son of the commandment,” at 12 or 13 years of age.  At this time he was considered a moral adult, responsible enough for his won acts to reject wrong and choose the right.

Thus the sign providing Isaiah’s words about the salvation to be won by Immanuel would be the destruction of Israel and Syria by Assyria within a dozen years.  And this is exactly what happened, for by 722 B.C.  Just 13 years after Ahaz became king, the two lands he feared lay in waste!

Note:  Syria is the later name for the ancient nation of Aram.

7:16 For before Similar prophecies were spoken of the Child’s birth and Isaiah’s other son Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (8:3):  Israel and Syria would be destroyed before this child and Isaiah’s son would reach maturity (see 8:4 where Syria is referred to as Damascus and Israel as Samaria).

16  For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings.

7:18 The invading hordes are likened to swarming insects – the fly and the bee – blanketing Judah, a condition fulfilled in the Assyrian invasions.

18  And it shall come to pass in that day That the Lord will whistle for the fly That is in the farthest part of the rivers of Egypt, And for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.

7:20 shave… the hair:  This was a symbol of humiliation.  Hired refers to Ahaz’s follish idea of paying Assyria to save him from the alliance of Syria and Israel.

20  In the same day the Lord will shave with a hired razor, With those from beyond the River, with the king of Assyria, The head and the hair of the legs, And will also remove the beard.

7:21, 22 in that day:  This phrase can indicate times of trouble as here, or periods of blessing.  A young cow and two sheep out of what used to be a large herd indicates impoverishment in the time of trouble.  The land would be so depopulated and impoverished that the limited fare of curds and honey would look like an abundance.

7:23-25 vines… thorns:  The productivity of the land would be greatly reduced in the period of God’s judgment.  The repetition of briers and thorns in vv. 23-25 is emphatic; in other words, the land would no longer be cultivated.

23  It shall happen in that day, That wherever there could be a thousand vines Worth a thousand shekels of silver, It will be for briers and thorns. 24  With arrows and bows men will come there, Because all the land will become briers and thorns. 25  And to any hill which could be dug with the hoe, You will not go there for fear of briers and thorns; But it will become a range for oxen And a place for sheep to roam.


Isaiah’s Message to Ahaz

7 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 [1] with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind. 3  Then said the Lord unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub [2] 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 (trouble) [3] it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal: 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. 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. 13  And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary 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 [4] 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.

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 (whistle) 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. [5] 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. 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: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land. [6] 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 (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.



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