ISAIAH 8
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[Yeshayah 8 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)]

1 Moreover Yahweh said unto me, Take thee a great roll [gillayon gadol (great slab)], and write in it with a man's pen [cheret enosh] concerning Mahershalalhashbaz [The Spoil Speeds, the Booty Hastens (the coming Assyrian defeat of Syria and Israel is imminent and the life of this son of Isaiah is a prophetic time line)].

Actually, it should be "tablet," as in Revised Version, and not "roll." And it should be "graving tool," as it is translated in Exodus 32:4, not "pen." It is a "great" tablet: it is important, and it must be clear and prominent.

"A man's graving tool." This is a direct contrast with Immanuel, whose graving was of God, and not man -

"Upon one stone shall be seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts. And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day" (Zech. 3:9).

No "man's graving tool" could be used on God's Altar (Ex. 20:25).

The birth of Isaiah's second son, which is both a type of, and contrast with, the virgin's son Immanuel. *



4 For before the child [ na'ar] shall have knowledge [da'as] to cry, My father, and my mother, [Avi, or Immi] the riches [chayil] of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria [Shomron] shall be taken away before the king of Assyria [Melech Ashur].

And (v. 2) he took "faithful" (sure, dependable) witnesses, Ahaz's own men, Uriah (2 Kgs. 16:10) and Zechariah (2 Chr. 29:1), for this was a sign to Ahaz. He went in unto the prophetess (v. 3), and she bore him a son, to be named Maher-shalal-hash-baz. In less than two years (v. 4), before this child could say "Mother" or "Father," the king of Assyria would subdue and plunder both Syria and Israel. This would be of God, without Ahaz making himself dependent on Assyria. Ahaz need but trust and wait. But he did not. He trusted on the cruel and treacherous Assyrians, the power of the world, rather than on the living and faithful God. *



5 Yahweh spake also unto me again, saying,

6 Forasmuch as this people [HaAm HaZeh] refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go [flow]softly, and rejoice [ delight] in Rezin and Remaliah's son [(alliance with) Retzin and Ben Remalyahu];

The "waters of Shiloah" were Jerusalem's water supply, arising from never-failing springs in the rock under the Temple area, between Mts. Zion and Moriah: the Royal mount and the Priestly mount. Shiloah means "Sent." There is much significance and fitting type here. Clearly these gentle, steady, life-giving waters of the Holy City portray the Word-both written and incarnate. And the Name Shiloh or Shiloah is appropriately applied to Christ, who was "Sent" for Salvation and Life by the love of God to man. These waters, used exactly as instructed, in believing obedience to Christ, gave sight to the blind (Jn. 9:7). *



7 Now therefore, behold [ hinei], Yahweh bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria [Melech Ashur], and all his glory [kavod]: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks:

The Euphrates goes back to the beginning of the Bible story. It was part of the life-giving waters of the Garden of Eden, and will be part of that Garden again. But in Isaiah's day it was the enemy, the mighty Assyrian nation at crest-flood: a rushing, overflowing torrent, drowning all the surrounding nations. *



8 And he shall pass through Judah [swirl into Yehudah]; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of Thy land [eretz], O [Immanu-El].

The Assyrian was a military, plundering desolator, who boasted of his plundering (Isa. 10:13-14). In more recent times the overflowing Euphrates stood for another plundering desolator, the once-fearsome Turk now dried up and impotent, according to the infallible divine fiat.

Isaiah plainly told Ahaz what his newly-bought "friend" would do: overflow Judah "even to the neck," and "fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel." This he did in Ahaz's son Hezekiah's day, up to the neck, but the head was saved by the miraculous destruction of the Assyrian army. This was typical of the victory of Messiah's day, when the latter-day Assyrian would again overflow the land even to the neck. *



9 Associate [Exasperate] yourselves, O ye people [Amim (Nations)], and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves [for battle], and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces.

And the prophet looks forward to that time, challenging the whole Assyrian world, in the spirit of Psalm 2, to associate against God's King on His holy Zion hill, and declaring their utter destruction. *



10 Take counsel together [etzah], and it shall come to nought; speak the word [davar], and it shall not stand: for El is with us [Immanu El].

11 For Yahweh spake thus to me with a strong hand [chezkat haYad], and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people [Derech HaAm HaZeh], saying,

The struggle between the Assyrian and the Holy City has raged from that day to this, with the Assyrian always in the ascendancy. But Immanuel will at last prevail. It is the picture we find so often, as Micah 5-

"This Man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land. And when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight princes of men. And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword" (Mic. 5:5-6).

Beginning at verse 11, the chapter goes into spiritual things, and has largely to do with the mission of Christ, past and future - "Walk not in the way of this people".

That is, Come out, be separate. The nation would reject Immanuel, as we see in the next few verses, but the faithful remnant is called out. *



13 Sanctify [Regard] Yahweh of hosts [as kadosh] himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.

"Sanctify" (that is, promote the holiness on earth of) the Lord, by your separateness and holiness, and make Him alone your (reverential and circumspect) fear.

Clearly Isaiah is looking forward prophetically to the time under Christ when the Covenant will not be national but individual: a great change for Israel, so rooted in their national privilege. *



14 And he shall be for a sanctuary [Mikdash]; but for a stone of stumbling [Even Negef] and for a rock of offence [Tzur Michshol] to both the houses of Israel [Batei Yisroel], for a gin [mokesh (trap)] and for a snare [pach] to the inhabitants of Jerusalem [Yerushalayim].


A Sanctuary is a place of God's appointment where He is manifested, and can be approached in worship. Here is the Mystery of God-Manifestation. The Sanctuary, or Dwelling-place, of God is Christ; first personal, then multitudinous. Isaiah is foretelling the Word made flesh.

And so he was, and has been ever since. It is the tragedy of Israel. The rejected Cornerstone (Psa. 118:22), the Precious Stone of God's engraving (Zech. 3:9) to which the cries of "Grace!" will ascend (Zech. 4:7). *



15 And many [rabbim] among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.

Even the whole nation, unto this day. *



16 Bind up the testimony [ te'udah], seal [chatom] the law [torah] among my disciples.

To bind up and seal is to guard and preserve, to defend and maintain, to keep from change or corruption or loss. The nation would be lost, but not the Law and the Testimony, nor the eternal Divine Purpose.

In Messiah's day, as the nation was cast aside, the Law and Testimony were especially "bound up and sealed" by the Holy Spirit: guiding the apostles in all truth in their preaching and writing, and causing to be completed - and sealed as complete (Rev. 22:19) - the whole "Volume of the Book" which is our inestimable treasure unto this day. *



17 And I will wait upon [for] Yahweh, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob [Bais Ya'akov], and I will look [ [in hope] for him.

As the great majority turn from God, and God in retribution hides His face from them, this is the faithful remnant, represented by the prophet, waiting in patience, and watching in faithfulness, regardless of what others do, or of how many broaden the path, or fall away. *



18 Behold [Hinei], I and the children [yeladim] whom Yahweh hath given me are for signs and for wonders [otot and for mofetim] in Israel [Yisroel] from Yahweh of hosts, which dwelleth in Mount Zion [Tziyon].

In the first instance, this applies to Isaiah and his day. His two sons, Shear-jashub and Maher-shalal-hash-baz, were signs to Israel, in their names and in the events surrounding them. Their names mean "A remnant shall return" and "Speed the spoil, haste the prey." Here is both promise and judgment. The spoil is the riches taken; the prey are the people overcome. Even in this name of judgment there is promise, for these sons represent the mighty ones who will take the spoil and prey.

Isaiah includes himself in the sign: "I and." His own name means "Salvation of God" or "God Saves," and is simply another form of the elements of "Jesus" or "Joshua." Isaiah held forth salvation to Israel, both temporal and eternal. They could be of the faithful returning remnant; they could share the glorious spoil of a world brought to submission to God.

Paul (Heb. 2:13) applies this verse directly to Christ and his brethren: "I and the children whom God hath given me." They are the waiting and watching disciples, preserving the Testimony. And they are the "Sons" who shall be Signs and Wonders in Israel in the great coming Day of glory and manifestation as "Sons of God"-

"He shall see his seed (his sons brought forth in righteousness, born of baptism, then of the Spirit), he shall prolong his days" (Isa. 53:10).

Established in power in Jerusalem - the remnant returned, the spoil taken - they will be Signs and Wonders that neither scattered Israel nor the heathen Gentile world can then miss or ignore.

"He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he hath poured out his soul unto death" (Isa. 53:12).

So saith the Spirit of the suffering, dying, and then glorified Servant of Yahweh. And God through Zephaniah addresses the meek of the earth-

"Wait upon Me until the day that I rise up to the prey, for My determination is to gather the nations, to pour on them My fierce anger" (Zeph. 3:8).

Darkness fell over the land at the coming of the gentile destroyers and the complete obliteration of the Kingdom of God: darkness in many ways for: "The sun went down over the prophets, and it was dark unto them"- as Micah (3:6) (who prophesied at this same time) foretells. For over four hundred years there was no word at all from God. *



19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them [mediums] that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep [ spiritists that whisper], and that mutter: should not a people [Am] seek unto their Elohim? for the living to the dead? [Should they consult the mesim (dead ones) for the benefit of the chayyim (living)?]

In verse 19, Isaiah appeals to Judah not to listen to any other voice, to any of the wisdom of man, to any who claimed to have supernatural powers, or communications with the dead.

Ahaz was a pre-eminent sinner in this respect. He served other gods in abundance, and did all the superstitious abominations of the heathen. But the warning is for all time. To pretend special powers and/or to communicate with the dead is the stock in trade of all man's religions. We see it particularly in Catholicism, with its professed priestly powers, and the dead guides they seek to and call "saints." But it is not just Catholicism. It is universal, based on the superstition of dead "saints" and the immortality of the soul. *



The consulting of familiar spirits was one of the Jewish vices of old that brought down upon them the destruction of their commonwealth. Instead of seeking wisdom, and knowledge, and counsel of the priests and prophets whom God raised up for them, they consulted the dead through mediums who pretended to hold intercourse with them.

...But there are many who do wonderful things that do not believe on Jesus; this text from John is therefore not applicable to them. They do their works, not as the result and evidence of faith, but by the energy of their own wills, operating upon the nervous systems of the patients. The promise of Jesus is not to them; hence its fulfilment is not to be found in their mesmeric doings.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, April 1854


20 To the law [torah] and to the testimony [te'udah]: if they speak not according to this word [Davar HaZeh], it is because there is no light [shachar (dawn, light)] in them.

There are various translations of the latter part, but they signify the same, and, as usual, the Authorized Version expresses it best. We have the Word of God, and it is an inestimable treasure. It is our wisdom to use every opportunity we have to learn more of it, and to test everyone and everything by it.

It is easy to slip into the conceit that because we are Christadelphians, we are automatically on our way to life - a few accepted doctrines our painless privileged passport to perpetuity -and we do not need to constantly study and learn and check our course and conduct.

We must keep the Word pre-eminent. The scriptural picture is that the Word is essential daily food for the spiritual man within us, without which he will inevitably weaken and die. If God guides us in answer to our prayers, it will be through the Word. He has appointed that as the meeting-place with Him, and if we neglect that, we shall find Him nowhere. *



21 And they shall pass through it [shall roam about therein], hardly bestead [hard-pressed] and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their elohim, and look upward [ curse by their melech and Elohav, and look upward].

Isaiah is clearly speaking of those mentioned throughout the chapter as rejecting the Word and stumbling at the Stumbling-stone. But to what time or occasion does it apply? In the first instance to the terrible calamities inflicted by Assyria, warned of in verse 8. Though Hezekiah and Jerusalem were saved, and the few chosen in the city, the whole country was devastated and thoroughly looted. Sennacherib claims to have carried off 200,000 captives from Judah on just one occasion, and incalculable amounts of cattle and spoil. Doubtless cursing their King and their God, and vainly "looking upward" for deliverance occurred many times over in these dark times, and those that followed.

But its ultimate and major fulfillment was in the rejecting and cursing of their Messiah, who was their God-appointed King, and Immanuel: "God with us"-"God manifest in the flesh" (1 Tim. 3:16). *


22 And they shall look unto the earth [eretz]; and behold trouble [ hinei, tzarah] and darkness, dimness [gloom] of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.