Isaiah 7

1 In the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it. 2 David’s house was told, “Syria is allied with Ephraim.” His heart trembled, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the forest tremble with the wind. 3 Then the LORD said to Isaiah, “Go out now to meet Ahaz, you, and Shearjashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway of the fuller’s field. 4 Tell him, ‘Be careful, and keep calm. Don’t be afraid, neither let your heart be faint because of these two tails of smoking torches, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have plotted evil against you, saying, 6 “Let’s go up against Judah, and tear it apart, and let’s divide it amongst ourselves, and set up a king within it, even the son of Tabeel.” 7 This is what the Lord GOD says: “It shall not stand, neither shall it happen.” 8 For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within sixty-five years Ephraim shall be broken in pieces, so that it shall not be a people; 9 and the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.’” 10 The LORD spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 11 “Ask a sign of the LORD your God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.” 13 He said, “Listen now, house of David. Is it not enough for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin will conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15 He shall eat butter and honey when he knows to refuse the evil, and choose the good. 16 For before the child knows to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land whose two kings you abhor shall be forsaken. 17 The LORD will bring on you, on your people, and on your father’s house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria. 18 It will happen in that day that the LORD will whistle for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. 19 They shall come, and shall all rest in the desolate valleys, in the clefts of the rocks, on all thorn hedges, and on all pastures. 20 In that day the Lord will shave with a razor that is hired in the parts beyond the River, even with the king of Assyria, the head and the hair of the feet; and it shall also consume the beard. 21 It shall happen in that day that a man shall keep alive a young cow, and two sheep; 22 and it shall happen, that because of the abundance of milk which they shall give he shall eat butter: for everyone will eat butter and honey that is left within the land. 23 It will happen in that day that every place where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silver shekels, shall be for briers and thorns. 24 People will go there with arrows and with bow, because all the land will be briers and thorns. 25 All the hills that were cultivated with the hoe, you shall not come there for fear of briers and thorns; but it shall be for the sending out of oxen, and for the treading of sheep.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-9

Ungodly men are often punished by others as bad as themselves. Being in great distress and confusion, the Jews gave up all for lost. They had made God their enemy, and knew not how to make him their friend. The prophet must teach them to despise their enemies, in faith and dependence on God. Ahaz, in fear, called them two powerful princes. No, says the prophet, they are but tails of smoking firebrands, burnt out already. The two kingdoms of Syria and Israel were nearly expiring. While God has work for the firebrands of the earth, they consume all before them; but when their work is fulfilled, they will be extinguished in smoke. That which Ahaz thought most formidable, is made the ground of their defeat; because they have taken evil counsel against thee; which is an offence to God. God scorns the scorners, and gives his word that the attempt should not succeed. Man purposes, but God disposes. It was folly for those to be trying to ruin their neighbours, who were themselves near to ruin. Isaiah must urge the Jews to rely on the assurances given them. Faith is absolutely necessary to quiet and compose the mind in trials.

Verses 10-16

Secret disaffection to God is often disguised with the colour of respect to him; and those who are resolved that they will not trust God, yet pretend they will not tempt him. The prophet reproved Ahaz and his court, for the little value they had for Divine revelation. Nothing is more grievous to God than distrust, but the unbelief of man shall not make the promise of God of no effect; the Lord himself shall give a sign. How great soever your distress and danger, of you the Messiah is to be born, and you cannot be destroyed while that blessing is in you. It shall be brought to pass in a glorious manner; and the strongest consolations in time of trouble are derived from Christ, our relation to him, our interest in him, our expectations of him and from him. He would grow up like other children, by the use of the diet of those countries; but he would, unlike other children, uniformly refuse the evil and choose the good. And although his birth would be by the power of the Holy Ghost, yet he should not be fed with angels’ food. Then follows a sign of the speedy destruction of the princes, now a terror to Judah. “Before this child,” so it may be read; “this child which I have now in my arms,” (Shear-jashub, the prophet’s own son, Is. 7:3,) shall be three or four years older, these enemies’ forces shall be forsaken of both their kings. The prophecy is so solemn, the sign is so marked, as given by God himself after Ahaz rejected the offer, that it must have raised hopes far beyond what the present occasion suggested. And, if the prospect of the coming of the Divine Saviour was a never-failing support to the hopes of ancient believers, what cause have we to be thankful that the Word was made flesh! May we trust in and love Him, and copy his example.

Verses 17-25

Let those who will not believe the promises of God, expect to hear the alarms of his threatenings; for who can resist or escape his judgments? The Lord shall sweep all away; and whomsoever he employs in any service for him, he will pay. All speaks a sad change of the face of that pleasant land. But what melancholy change is there, which sin will not make with a people? Agriculture would cease. Sorrows of every kind will come upon all who neglect the great salvation. If we remain unfruitful under the means of grace, the Lord will say, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforth for ever.

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