Bible Courses, Prophets: ISAIAH Reading Guide
© Rabbi David L. Kline http://good-to-be-a-jew.blogspot.com/
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
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