Isaiah 8

Isaiah and His Children as Signs

1 The LORD said to me, “Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.”[a]
2 So I called in Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnesses for me.
3 Then I made love to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the LORD said to me, “Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.
4 For before the boy knows how to say ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria.”
5 The LORD spoke to me again:
6 “Because this people has rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah and rejoices over Rezin and the son of Remaliah,
7 therefore the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates— the king of Assyria with all his pomp. It will overflow all its channels, run over all its banks
8 and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it, passing through it and reaching up to the neck. Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land, Immanuel[b] !”
9 Raise the war cry,[c] you nations, and be shattered! Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
10 Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us.[d]
11 This is what the LORD says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people:
12 “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.
13 The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.
14 He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah he will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare.
15 Many of them will stumble; they will fall and be broken, they will be snared and captured.”
16 Bind up this testimony of warning and seal up God’s instruction among my disciples.
17 I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my trust in him.
18 Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.
19 When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?
20 Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.
21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God.
22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.

Isaiah 8 Commentary

Chapter 8

Exhortations and warnings. (1-8) Comfort for those who fear God. (9-16) Afflictions to idolaters. (17-22)

Verses 1-8 The prophet is to write on a large roll, or on a metal tablet, words which meant, "Make speed to spoil, hasten to the prey:" pointing out that the Assyrian army should come with speed, and make great spoil. Very soon the riches of Damascus and of Samaria, cities then secure and formidable, shall be taken away by the king of Assyria. The prophet pleads with the promised Messiah, who should appear in that land in the fulness of time, and, therefore, as God, would preserve it in the mean time. As a gentle brook is an apt emblem of a mild government, so an overflowing torrent represents a conqueror and tyrant. The invader's success was also described by a bird of prey, stretching its wings over the whole land. Those who reject Christ, will find that what they call liberty is the basest slavery. But no enemy shall pluck the believer out of Emmanuel's hand, or deprive him of his heavenly inheritance.

Verses 9-16 The prophet challenges the enemies of the Jews. Their efforts would be vain, and themselves broken to pieces. It concerns us, in time of trouble, to watch against all such fears as put us upon crooked courses for our own security. The believing fear of God preserves against the disquieting fear of man. If we thought rightly of the greatness and glory of God, we should see all the power of our enemies restrained. The Lord, who will be a Sanctuary to those who trust in him, will be a Stone of stumbling, and a Rock of offence, to those who make the creature their fear and their hope. If the things of God be an offence to us, they will undo us. The apostle quotes this as to all who persisted in unbelief of the gospel of Christ, 1Pe. 2:8 . The crucified Emmanuel, who was and is a Stumbling-stone and Rock of offence to unbelieving Jews, is no less so to thousands who are called Christians. The preaching of the cross is foolishness in their esteem; his doctrines and precepts offend them.

Verses 17-22 The prophet foresaw that the Lord would hide his face; but he would look for his return in favour to them again. Though not miraculous signs, the children's names were memorials from God, suited to excite attention. The unbelieving Jews were prone to seek counsel in difficulties, from diviners of different descriptions, whose foolish and sinful ceremonies are alluded to. Would we know how we may seek to our God, and come to the knowledge of his mind? To the law and to the testimony; for there you will see what is good, and what the Lord requires. We must speak of the things of God in the words which the Holy Ghost teaches, and be ruled by them. To those that seek to familiar spirits, and regard not God's law and testimony, there shall be horror and misery. Those that go away from God, go out of the way of all good; for fretfulness is a sin that is its own punishment. They shall despair, and see no way of relief, when they curse God. And their fears will represent every thing as frightful. Those that shut their eyes against the light of God's word, will justly be left to darkness. All the miseries that ever were felt or witnessed on earth, are as nothing, compared with what will overwhelm those who leave the words of Christ, to follow delusions.

Cross References 61

  • 1. S Deuteronomy 27:8; Job 19:23; Isaiah 30:8; Jeremiah 51:60; Habakkuk 2:2
  • 2. ver 3; Habakkuk 2:2; Jeremiah 20:3; Hosea 1:4
  • 3. S 2 Kings 16:10
  • 4. ver 16; S Joshua 24:22; S Ruth 4:9; Jer 32:10,12,25,44
  • 5. S Exodus 15:20
  • 6. S Genesis 3:15
  • 7. S ver 1
  • 8. Isaiah 7:16
  • 9. S Genesis 14:15
  • 10. S Isaiah 7:8
  • 11. S Isaiah 5:24
  • 12. S Nehemiah 3:15; John 9:7
  • 13. S Isaiah 7:1
  • 14. Isaiah 17:12-13; Isaiah 28:2,17; Isaiah 30:28; Isaiah 43:2; Daniel 11:40; Nahum 1:8
  • 15. S 2 Chronicles 28:20; S Isaiah 7:20
  • 16. Isaiah 10:16
  • 17. S Joshua 3:15
  • 18. Isaiah 28:15
  • 19. Isaiah 18:6; Isaiah 46:11; Jeremiah 4:13; Jeremiah 48:40
  • 20. S Isaiah 7:14
  • 21. S Joshua 6:5; Isaiah 17:12-13
  • 22. S Job 34:24
  • 23. Jeremiah 6:4; Jeremiah 46:3; Jeremiah 51:12,27-28; Ezekiel 38:7; Joel 3:9; Zechariah 14:2-3
  • 24. S Job 5:12
  • 25. S Proverbs 19:21; S Proverbs 21:30; S Isaiah 7:7
  • 26. S Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Romans 8:31
  • 27. Ezekiel 1:3; Ezekiel 3:14
  • 28. Ezekiel 2:8
  • 29. Isaiah 7:2; Isaiah 20:5; Isaiah 30:1; Isaiah 36:6
  • 30. S Isaiah 7:4; Matthew 10:28
  • 31. 1 Peter 3:14*
  • 32. S Numbers 20:12
  • 33. S Exodus 20:20
  • 34. Isaiah 29:23
  • 35. S Isaiah 4:6; Ezekiel 11:16
  • 36. S Psalms 118:22
  • 37. Jeremiah 6:21; Ezekiel 3:20; Ezekiel 14:3,7; Luke 20:18
  • 38. S Luke 2:34; Romans 9:33*; 1 Peter 2:8*
  • 39. S Psalms 119:110; Isaiah 24:17-18
  • 40. Proverbs 4:19; Isaiah 28:13; Isaiah 59:10; Luke 20:18; Romans 9:32
  • 41. S Ruth 4:7
  • 42. Isaiah 29:11-12; Jeremiah 32:14; Daniel 8:26; Daniel 12:4
  • 43. S Psalms 27:14; Habakkuk 2:3
  • 44. S Deuteronomy 31:17; Isaiah 54:8
  • 45. S Psalms 22:5; Hebrews 2:13*
  • 46. S Genesis 33:5; Hebrews 2:13*
  • 47. S Exodus 3:12; Ezekiel 4:3; Ezekiel 12:6; Ezekiel 24:24; Luke 2:34
  • 48. S Deuteronomy 28:46; S Ezekiel 12:11
  • 49. Psalms 9:11
  • 50. S 1 Samuel 28:8
  • 51. S Leviticus 19:31
  • 52. Isaiah 29:4
  • 53. S Numbers 27:21
  • 54. S Isaiah 1:10; Luke 16:29
  • 55. S Ruth 4:7
  • 56. ver 22; Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 59:9; Isaiah 60:2; Micah 3:6
  • 57. S Job 18:12
  • 58. Job 30:3
  • 59. S Exodus 22:28; Revelation 16:11
  • 60. S Job 15:24
  • 61. S ver 20; S Job 3:13; S Isaiah 5:30; S Joel 2:2; Matthew 25:30; Revelation 16:10

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. "Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz" means "quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil" ; also in verse 3.
  • [b]. "Immanuel" means "God with us."
  • [c]. Or "Do your worst"
  • [d]. Hebrew "Immanuel"

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains a confirmation of the sudden destruction of the kingdoms of Syria and Israel, by another sign; a threatening to those that gloried in the kings of those nations, with an invasion of their land by the Assyrian monarch; a sarcastic address to those that joined in confederacy against Judah; some directions and instructions to the people of God; and some prophecies concerning the Messiah, and the miserable estate of the Jews, that should reject him and his Gospel. The sign given is a son of the Prophet Isaiah, whom his wife conceived and bore, and whose name was written with a man's pen, Mahershalalhashbaz, of which there were witnesses, whose names are mentioned; and it is predicted, that before this child should have knowledge to call his father and mother, Damascus and Samaria, the chief cities of Syria and Israel, would be taken and spoiled by the king of Assyria, Isa 8:1-4 who would invade, the land of Israel, and even pass through the land of Judah, as a chastisement not only of the Israelites that rejoiced in Rezin and Remaliah's son, the kings of Syria and Israel; but also of those Jews who chose to be under them, or neglected the promise of God, and applied to Assyria for help, Isa 8:5-8 and then both the people of Israel and of Syria are addressed, in a sarcastic way, to associate and take counsel together, when they should be broke to pieces, and their counsel come to nought, Isa 8:9,10 and the prophet being instructed by the Lord how to behave among the people of the Jews, advises them not to join with them whose cry was a confederacy with Assyria, nor to be afraid of the two kings that were come up against them, but to sanctify the Lord of hosts, and trust in him, and make him the object of their fear and dread, Isa 8:11-13 which is enforced from the consideration of what the Lord, who is no other than the Messiah, would be, both to his own people, and to his enemies; to the one a sanctuary, and to the other a stone of stumbling, a rock of offence, a trap, and a snare, Isa 8:14,15 then follows an instruction to the prophet to take care of the Gospel of Christ, and communicate it to his disciples, Isa 8:16 upon which the prophet determines to keep waiting and looking for his coming, who at present was hidden from the people of God, Isa 8:17 wherefore the Messiah is introduced, as presenting himself and his children to the prophet's view, which would be for signs and wonders in Israel, gazed at and reproached, Isa 8:18 and then the folly and vanity of seeking counsel of the Scribes and Pharisees, when Christ should be come in the flesh, is exposed; whose Gospel should be attended to, and not those dark and blind guides, Isa 8:19,20 and the chapter is concluded with the wretched condition of the Jews that called Jesus accursed; they should pass through the land, and find no food; and look into it, and see nothing but darkness and misery, Isa 8:21,22.

Isaiah 8 Commentaries

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