The first of John N. Oswalt’s two-part study of the book of Isaiah for the NICOT series, this commentary on chapters 1–39 combines theological acumen, literary sensitivity, philological expertise, and historical knowledge to present a faithful and accurate reading of one of the Old Testament’s most important books.
In the introduction to this work, Oswalt considers Isaiah’s background, unity of composition, date and authorship, canonicity, Hebrew text, theology, and problems of interpretation, and he offers a select bibliography for further research. Oswalt also provides substantial discussions of several issues crucial to the book of Isaiah. He notes, for example, that scholars often divide Isaiah into three divisions, with chapters 1–39 addressing Isaiah’s contemporaries in the eighth century b.c., chapters 40–55 presupposing the exile of the sixth century, and chapters 56–66 presupposing the eventual return from exile. While taking this scholarship into account Oswalt defends the unity of the prophetic book and argues convincingly that the whole book can be attributed to the Isaiah of the eighth century.
The commentary proper, based on Oswalt’s own translation of the Hebrew text, provides pastors, scholars, and students with a lucid interpretation of the book of Isaiah in its ancient context as well as an exposition of its message for today.
Perhaps the most attractive option is that Immanuel and Maher-shalal-hash-baz were one and the same.30 If this were so, this passage would form a more poetic statement of the child’s identity, pointing to the ultimate Immanuel, whereas 8:1–4 would constitute a more prosaic account and be limited merely to the person of Maher-shalal-hash-baz. The references to his conception and birth in 8:3 lend support to the connection, as does the reference to Immanuel in 8:10, shortly after the discussion of the birth of Isaiah’s son.11 people highlighted this
Unless ʿalmâ had overtones of virginity about it, the LXX translation is inexplicable.9 people highlighted this
Evidence cannot create faith; it can only confirm it. Where there is not faith, evidence is merely unwelcome, something which needs to be explained away.8 people highlighted this
The context makes it plain that forgiveness will be given as a result of a changed attitude.6 people highlighted this
Why, then, are the lips unclean? Because that of which they are an expression, the heart and the will, do not belong to God.6 people highlighted this