Isaiah 8

Damascus and Samaria Fall

1 Then the LORD said to me, "Take for yourself a large tablet and 1write on it in ordinary letters: 2Swift is the booty, speedy is the prey.
2 "And I will take to Myself faithful witnesses for testimony, 3Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah."
3 So I approached the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. Then the LORD said to me, "Name * him 4Maher-shalal-hash-baz;
4 for 5before the boy knows how to cry out 'My father ' or 'My mother,' the wealth of 6Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria."
5 Again the LORD spoke to me further, saying,
6 "Inasmuch * as these people have 7rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah And rejoice in 8Rezin and the son of Remaliah;
7 "Now therefore, behold, the Lord is about to bring on them the 9strong and abundant waters of the 10Euphrates, Even the 11king of Assyria and all his glory; And it will 12rise up over all its channels and go over all its banks.
8 "Then 13it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass through, It will 14reach even to the neck; And the spread of its wings will fill the breadth of your land, O 15Immanuel.

A Believing Remnant

9 "16Be broken, O peoples, and be 17shattered; And give ear, all remote places of the earth. Gird yourselves, yet be shattered; Gird yourselves, yet be shattered.
10 "18Devise a plan, but it will be thwarted; State a proposal, but 19it will not stand, For 20God is with us."
11 For thus the LORD spoke to me with 21mighty power and instructed me 22not to walk in the way of this people, saying,
12 "You are not to say, 'It is a 23conspiracy!' In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And 24you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it.
13 "It is the 25LORD of hosts 26whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread.
14 "Then He shall become a 27sanctuary; But to both the houses of Israel, a 28stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, And a snare and a 29trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
15 "Many 30will stumble over them, Then they will fall and be broken; They will even be snared and caught."
16 31Bind up the testimony, 32seal the law among 33my disciples.
17 And I will 34wait for the LORD 35who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob; I will even look eagerly for Him.
18 36Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for 37signs and wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who 38dwells on Mount Zion.
19 When they say to you, "39Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter," should not a people 40consult their God? Should they 41consult the dead on behalf of the living?
20 To the 42law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because 43they have no dawn.
21 They will pass through the land 44hard-pressed and famished, and it will turn out that when they are hungry, they will be enraged and curse their king and their God as they face upward.
22 Then they will 45look to the earth, and behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be 46driven away into 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 46

  • 1. Isaiah 30:8; Habakkuk 2:2
  • 2. Isaiah 8:3
  • 3. 2 Kin 16:10, 11, 15, 16
  • 4. Isaiah 8:1
  • 5. Isaiah 7:16
  • 6. Isaiah 7:8, 9
  • 7. Isaiah 1:20; Isaiah 5:24; Isaiah 7:9; Isaiah 30:12
  • 8. Isaiah 7:1
  • 9. Isaiah 17:12, 13
  • 10. Isaiah 7:20; Isaiah 11:15
  • 11. Isaiah 7:17; Isaiah 10:5
  • 12. Amos 8:8; Amos 9:5
  • 13. Isaiah 10:6
  • 14. Isaiah 30:28
  • 15. Isaiah 7:14
  • 16. Isaiah 17:12-14
  • 17. Daniel 2:34, 35
  • 18. Job 5:12; Isaiah 28:18
  • 19. Isaiah 7:7
  • 20. Isaiah 8:8; Romans 8:31
  • 21. Ezekiel 3:14
  • 22. Ezekiel 2:8
  • 23. Isaiah 7:2; Isaiah 30:1
  • 24. 1 Peter 3:14, 15
  • 25. Isaiah 5:16; Isaiah 29:23
  • 26. Numbers 20:12
  • 27. Isaiah 4:6; Isaiah 25:4; Ezekiel 11:16
  • 28. Luke 2:34; Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:8
  • 29. Isaiah 24:17, 18
  • 30. Isaiah 28:13; Isaiah 59:10; Luke 20:18; Romans 9:32
  • 31. Isaiah 8:1, 2; Isaiah 29:11, 12
  • 32. Daniel 12:4
  • 33. Isaiah 50:4
  • 34. Isaiah 25:9; Isaiah 30:18; Habakkuk 2:3
  • 35. Deuteronomy 31:17; Isaiah 1:15; Isaiah 45:15; Isaiah 54:8
  • 36. Hebrews 2:13
  • 37. Luke 2:34
  • 38. Psalms 9:11; Zechariah 8:3
  • 39. Leviticus 20:6; 2 Kings 21:6; 2 Kings 23:24; Isaiah 19:3; Isaiah 29:4; Isaiah 47:12, 13
  • 40. Isaiah 30:2; Isaiah 45:11
  • 41. 1 Samuel 28:8-11
  • 42. Isaiah 1:10; Isaiah 8:16; Luke 16:29
  • 43. Isaiah 8:22; Micah 3:6
  • 44. Isaiah 9:20, 21
  • 45. Isaiah 5:30; Isaiah 59:9; Jeremiah 13:16; Amos 5:18, 20; Zephaniah 1:14, 15
  • 46. Isaiah 8:20

Footnotes 18

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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