Bible Courses, Prophets: ISAIAH Reading Guide

© Rabbi David L. Kline  

ISAIAH reading guide

1-10; 28-32 Primarily Isaiah of 8th century Jerusalem. Themes: justice, reliance on God rather than foreign alliances, righteous remnant.  Brief glosses are common.
1   Note the poetry in this classic chapter.  25-8 are a later interpolation of hope.
2   1-5 are post exilic.  The rest, despite vivid images, is obscure.
3   1-9 social disintegration.   12- 4:1 thoughts about women.
4   2-6 describes post exilic conditions
5   “Vineyard Gone Wild” clear and powerful, poetic and moralist, classic Isaiah, like 1.
6   “Heaven Calls” easy reading but what can this vision/story/poem mean?
7   “Emanuel” 1-16 the king and the prophet.  17-25  The end of agriculture?
8   1-4 Symbolism.  The rest, despite quotable lines, is obscure.
9   1-6 Messianic.  Exilic?  7-20 Suffering shows God’s anger.
10 God uses Assyria to punish oppression.  24-6 Merciful interpolation.
            11 Restoration.  Messianic peace.
            12 Psalm of thanksgiving. 
            13-23 Oracles against the nations, settling accounts.  Probably belong to                                                 Trito Isaiah, see below
            24-27 Apocalyptic, probably late 5th century.  “Last judgment,” Israel survives, God                                     reigns.
28  Drunken foolishness leads to destruction.  23-9 Agricultural parable about suffering.
29  1-5 Woe Ariel,  6-8 Woe attackers,  9-12 Stupidity,  13f Lip service,   15 join to 30  16-24              Redemption, prb exilic
30  1-17 Woe to rebellious sons who depend on Egypt,  17-33 hopes for bright future
31   Woe yet more to dependence on Egypt (verses 5,7 are out of place, contradict theme)
            32  1-8, 15-18 Messianic promises (exilic) 9-20 Threats, primarily against women
            33  Messianic peace and plenty.  Probably early post exilic
            34-35  Probably exilic, 6th century.  Vengeance against Edom, return of Israel
            36-39  Mostly lifted from 2 Ki 18-20 (Deutronomist historian), inserted by editors as                                     bridge to exilic setting of Deutero Isaiah

40-55  Deutero Isaiah.  Babylonian exile. Themes:  faith in future, monotheism, Israel is servant of God, return to Jerusalem.  Likely in 538 (Cyrus’ order to return), this material combined with reinterpreted works of 8th century Isaiah to form first edition of book.
40    Comfort ye My people. . .  Prepare a way. . .  God is coming       The Creator will succor
41    Israel, My servant, chosen             Fear not             The desert will bloom
42    Light unto the nations. . .            My blind and deaf servant           
43    Return from ends of earth            You are My witnesses                       
44    Monotheism            Absurdity of idolatry                        Return to Yahh, all is forgiven
45    Cyrus the messiah            Creator, light and darkness, all           
46    Monotheism
47    The end of Babylon
48    The Holy City                        Implications of monotheism                        Leave Babylonia in joy
49    Servant of Yahh: tasks            Tsion, the abandoned, will be loved and protected again
50    Yah the source of suffering (punishment) but also of deliverance
51    Deliverance, strength, joy, comfort            Arise Jerusalem
52    Good news                        Suffering servant
53    Vicarious suffering            All we like sheep. . .
54    Sing and shout!                        All shall be well
55    Witness to the world            Faith                        Peace

56-66            Trito Isaiah.  Post exilic, 5th century, written in Judah, responding to economic, social, and religious difficulties of restoration.  Themes: individual, persevere in righteousness, keep up the hope.
56    Justice, Shabbat, burnt offerings                 Outsiders welcome                        Greedy, evil leaders
57    :3 Idolatry persists                                    The contrite will find shalom
58    The kind of fasting that counts                        Call Shabbat a delight
59    Injustice delays redemption                        Keep faith in the covenant
60    Rise and shine, Tsion                                    Triumph
61    Joy, jubilee, blessings, beauty
62    For the sake of Tsion,  Heftsibah, Beulah, deliverance, security
63    Grapes of wrath for Edom                        God the protector, but led us astray?
64   Show Yourself!                        Clay and Potter                        Don’t be angry
65   Provoking God’s anger        But for My servants, a new heaven and earth             Wolf and lamb
66    Who needs a temple?        Mother Tsion                Glorious return            All will come worship

No comments: