Larry Hunt's Bible Commentary


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Isaiah 9

Chapter 9

Vs. 6-7: Since there was a first Immanuel (in the lifetime of Isaiah) and a second Immanuel (the Christ), I am inclined to believe that this prophecy also had two manifestations, one as a child in the lifetime of Isaiah to be a sign to the prophet’s contemporaries and a foreshadowing of the Christ, and another as Christ himself.  In fact, I am tempted to believe that this prophecy is actually yet another reference to Immanuel because of its similarity to the Immanuel prophecy: a child is born whose coming heralds the deliverance of the people of God from their enemies.  Of course, since I believe it has its ultimate fulfillment in Christ, I believe without doubt that it does refer to the second Immanuel, but there are problems that arise when I try to apply this prophecy to the first Immanuel as well.  If it does refer to the first Immanuel, and the first Immanuel is Isaiah’s child (see notes on 8:3) it seems odd that the child in this prophecy would be called a prince in the line of David with regal authority over the people of God.  The Oxford commentary suggests, “Hezekiah is the best candidate” (990).  That seems like a very reasonable conclusion because the child in this prophecy, while being a Judean king in the line of David, was also a great light in the darkness of Galilee (part of the Northern Kingdom, not Judah in the south) and a deliverer of the people who lived in that land.  Hezekiah’s religious reforms, which involved those living in the north as well as Judeans (2nd Chronicles 30:1-9) could have fulfilled this part of the prophecy.  Nevertheless, if the child of this prophecy was Hezekiah, I don’t know how to reconcile that with the idea that he was synonymous with the first Immanuel (who I believe was the child of Isaiah, not a Davidic prince); therefore, Isaiah may have been referring to two separate individuals: his own child (Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, a.k.a. the first Immanuel), and Hezekiah.  It is worth noting that, while there are similarities between the child of this prophecy and the first Immanuel, the two children are not as closely identified with each other as the first Immanuel is with Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, so perhaps there is room to see them as separate individuals.  After all, the child in this prophecy does not function as a timeline, whereas Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz and the first Immanuel do.

I wonder if the Jews considered this prophecy to be messianic fairly soon after Hezekiah’s reign.  If that was the case, it might indicate that they did not believe it was fulfilled (entirely) by Hezekiah’s life.

v. 8: This verse does obviously begin a new thought, distinct from that of vs. 6-7, and this new thought is tied together poetically through 10:4 by the refrain “for all this his anger has not turned away; his hand is stretched out still” (8:12, 17, 21, 10:4).  The Oxford commentary suggests that the appearance of this refrain in 5:25 should be linked to the four appearances here in chapters 9 and 10.  If 5:25 is the first of a five-part poem with this refrain, then this is a really uniquely structured poem.

Vs.18-19: Notice the symbiosis between the wrath of God and the self-destructiveness of the wicked.  Both are represented by the same metaphor: a consuming fire.  I believe Isaiah is describing how the free will of completely wicked people can be used by God as a tool for their own destruction.  See also 10:7 and 33:10-12.


2 Responses to “Isaiah 9”

  1. […] with ours whenever we make evil decisions (such as the decision not to seek him).  See notes on 9:18-19 and […]

  2. […] with ours whenever we make evil decisions (such as the decision not to seek him).  See notes on 9:18-19 and […]

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