Study Guide

Book of Isaiah Chapter 7

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Chapter 7

Three Kings (No, not the Movie with Ice Cube and George Clooney)

  • Shifting the setting of the story, we're now in the reign of King Uzziah's grandson, King Ahaz. King Ahaz has just found out that King Pekah of Israel and King Rezin of Aram have allied with Ephraim to launch an attack on Jerusalem. He—along with everyone else—gets really nervous.
  • But God speaks to Isaiah and tells him to go meet King Ahaz and reassure him, saying that their evil plot to conquer Jerusalem won't come to pass.
  • God says that those who don't stand firm in faith won't stand at all.

Mmmm… Curds

  • The Voice of God tells King Ahaz that he should ask God for a sign. But King Ahaz doesn't really get what's going on, apparently, and he says he's not going to put God to a test by asking him for a sign.
  • So Isaiah, saying that this kind of misunderstanding is really wearying and annoying for God, says that he'll reveal what the sign will be to Ahaz.
  • A young woman will give birth to a child and name him Immanuel (which means "God is with us").
  • Translation Station: The Hebrew word translated as "young woman" here sometimes got translated in the ancient world to read "virgin." As you could guess, most ancient and medieval Christians read this verse as a reference to the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary. Hence, the Christmas carol (also a whole body of theology, but never mind that) “O Come, O Come Immanuel,” which celebrates Jesus as the Immanuel of Isaiah. That said, most scholars think the Hebrew as it stands just means young lady, with no comment on her—ahem—extracurriculars.
  • He's going to eat curds and honey (de-lish) and know how to tell evil from good, choosing the good.
  • But before he knows how to do all this, the land of the two kings now getting ready to attack Judah will be deserted, and God—using the King of Assyria as his tool—will bring more disastrous days on those kings and their lands (and on Judah, too) than have been seen since Ephraim split from Judah.

Mack of Bees

  • God will whistle for the fly from Egypt and the bee from Assyria, and they'll settle in the abandoned rocks and crags of the land and on the pastures and bushes.
  • God will use the King of Assyria like a razor to shave off the beard and the hair of the head and feet from the lands he's attacking.
  • On that day, says God, one person will keep alive two sheep and a cow, and will be able to eat the abundant curds from these animals. In fact, everyone will be able to eat curds and honey.
  • But briars are going to grow up in the places where there used to be vineyards, and on all the hills, which will become overrun with wandering cows and sheep, just to top it all off.

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