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DB. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 0.T. Old Testament, COT. Schrader's Cuneiform Inscriptions and the Old Testament,
based on the second edition of the German work (KAT.2). KAT.3 The third edition of Schrader's Keilinschriften und
das Alte Testament, by Winckler and Zimmern. KIB. Schrader's Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek, vols. i-vi. ZATW. Stade's Zeitschrift für Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft. Enc. Bibl. Encyclopaedia Biblica. SBOT. Sacred Books of the Old Testament. i, ii, &c. Rawl. refers to Rawlinson's Cuneiform Inscriptions
of Western Asia in successive volumes. J. Yahwistic writer in the Hexateuch. E. Elohistic writer in the Hexateuch. I. Isaiah's writings. R. Redactor. Ex. Exilian writer. PE. Post-exilian writer. A.V. Authorized English Version. R.V. Revised English Version. RS.? Religion of the Semites (Robertson Smith), second
edition. PRE3 Herzog's Realencyclopädie für Protestantische Theologie
und Kirche (third edition). LOT.' Driver's Literature of the Old Testament (sixth edition). Is.' Isaiah's biography. Is. Later biography of Isaiah.
THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET
[R] The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he i
CHAPS. i-xii. FIRST COLLECTION OF ISAIAH'S ORACLES. Chap. i. Indictment of Judah for disobedience.
i. 1. The words of this first verse are the editorial title added to the collection of Isaiah's prophecies. As they now stand before us, this first verse is introductory to the entire collection contained in this book; but this was not its original function, as an examination of the contents of the verse clearly shows. For the scope of the prophecies is here limited to Judah and Jerusa. lem, but when we turn to the series of 'burdens' (or “utterances') respecting the destinies of the varied cities and states contained in chaps. xiii-xxiii, the inadequacy of the title which restricts the subject of the oracles to the Southern Palestinian Kingdom becomes at once manifest. Accordingly we are driven to the conclusion that this superscription or title was originally intended to refer to the much smaller collection of Isaianic prophecies contained in chaps. i-xii; chap. xii being a poetic epilogue probably com. posed in much later times (see notes on that chapter). To this smaller collection the superscription forms an adequate descriptive preface or title, though in the oracle, chaps. ix. 8-X. 4, v. 25-30, the denunciations of the prophet are also directed against the Northern Kingdom of Ephraim. But even this small collection is made up of still smaller ones. Chaps. ii. 1-iv. 6 commence with an introductory title and close (as they begin) with a bright poem respecting the religious future of Zion; while chaps. viix. 6 not improbably form another smaller group.
Various considerations of language strongly militate against the Isaianic authorship of this verse. Among these we may note that the Hebrew word for "vision' (hāzón) is a term belonging to later Hebrew literature, and is employed to designate a collection of oracles. In this technical sense it is employed in the superscription to the oracles of Obadiah and Nahum (Obad. i. 1; Nahum i. 1). Another detail is the expression . Judah and Jeru. salem. Isaiah in his own language (iii. 1, 8; v. 3) reverses the order. When we compare this verse with the similar headings
saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. of other prophecies (Jeremiah, Hoşea, Amos), it is a
clearly seen to be editorial.
Ewald in his commentary on the Prophets of the Old Covenant calls this opening chapter" The great arraignment,' and this correctly describes the general contents. The accusation convicts Israel of faithlessness and ingratitude (verses 2, 3), as well as obstinate folly in the face of the heaviest chastisements (4-9). The prophet then rebukes the utterly false conceptions of religion which laid stress on externals; abundance of sacrifices, frequent festivals and crowds in the temple-courts, while the heart was evil and the hands blood-stained. Cleansing of from evil deeds, justice and mercy are God's supreme requirements (10-17). It is impossible under the actual moral conditions to expect acquittal before God's tribunal. The only path to national safety and prosperity lies through obedience to God's
s will (18-20). Then follows a lament over the degenerate city unfaithful to its past, given over to bribery, and neglectful of the claims of justice and mercy (21-24%. Yet better days are coming, the restoration of the good old times. The city will become purified, and its rulers will be righteous once more in their dealings (25-28). Repentance and shame for the old heathenish practices in groves and under terebinths will be wrought in the mind of the people by the stern and consuming discipline of national calamity (29-31).
A close examination of this chapter reveals that it is not a homogeneous unity composed at one and the same time. This was indeed perceived as long ago as 1780 by Koppe; but Cornill carries dişintegration too far when he divides the chapter into four separate utterances (verses 2-3, 4-9, 10-17; and 18-31), and maintains that the connecting links consist of certain key words or phrases such as 'Sodom' and 'Gomorrah' in verses 9 and 10, and sons' ( children?) in verses 2 and 41. For the recurrence of phrases is a well-known feature of Hebrew style in continuous passages, and therefore affords us no satisfactory criterion of independence or separateness in the passages (cf. the Psalms of degrees, especially Ps, cxxi). A more trustworthy though hardly certain' indication consists in the metre (i.e. number of accented syllables), upon which Duhm bases his critical conclusions. Both form and contents point to the integrity of the entire section (verses 2–17). To what historical circumstances do they refer? About this opinions have been divided. The older commentators (Gesenius, Delitzsch, and Dillmann) argued for the date 735 B.C.,
Zeitschrift für Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft (designated by the cipher ZATW.), 1884, p. 84 foll.
[I]'Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the LORD 3 when Jerusalem, in the days of Aḥaz, was beleaguered by the united forces of Ephraim and Aram. The last-named critic argued that the severe denunciations of social oppression and acts of violence on the part of the rich and powerful (verses 15 and 17) are more in the style of the older discourses of Isaiah v. 7 foll., x. I, foll., and are better suited to the degenerate times of Ahaz than to the reign of the upright and faithful Hezeķiah. On the other hand, it has been doubted whether the social condition of Judah at the close of the eighth century varied much from that which prevailed in the days of Aḥaz, while the description of the isolation of Zion as 'like a booth in a vineyard or a lodge in a cucumber field is better suited to the desperate crisis of 701 B.C.; when Jerusalem was closely invested by Sennacherib's armies, This is the view adopted by the more recent commentators Cheyne, Driver, Marti, 'and G. A. Smith. The writer of this commentary inclines, however, to the earlier view represented by Dillmann, and regards his arguments as fairly cogent.
On the other hand, it is not easy to determine the date to which verses 19, 20 belong, and the same remark applies to the following six verses, 21-26, composed in elegiac measure, to which verses 27, 28 may perhaps be a later addendum (as Duhm supposes). Both these brief sections are assigned by Marti to the year 705'B. C., but there are no definite grounds for this assumption.
The same uncertainty as to date attaches to the closing verses, 29-31, which characterize the prevalent cultus 'of the high places. The metrical form is quite distinct from that of the sections which precede, but there is no sufficient internal ground for assigning its authorship to a late period ; in fact, Cheyne seems disposed to assign to Isaiah (Introd., p. 7), but Marti confidently regards it as late. It may be a fragment of a denunciation of tree-worship by Isaiah, as Cheyne surmises, and it should probably be assigned
earlier date than 722 B.C. Duhm, in fact, considers that it refers to Northern Israel rather than Judah, and compares chap. ii. 6 foll., X. 1-4, xvil. I-II. This view of the passage is confirmed when we turn to Hosea the prophet of the Northern Kingdom (iv. 13).
This opening chapter, placed at the head of the collection, chaps. i-xii, may be regarded as a characteristic summary of all that is most essential in Isaiah's teaching. In 'it we find blended the dominant notes of the oracles of both Amos and Hosea, viz. (1) God's character as righteous and His demand that His people should be just and merciful in their conduct, and that moral take prece. dence of ritual obligations (verses 12-17, 18, 23'; cf. Amos iii. 9, 10, iv. 1, v. 10-27), and (2) God's character as love outraged by faithless Israel (verses 2, 3, 21 ; of. Hos. i-iii, xi. 1-8).