Isaiah 7

In this chapter, God interferes, through the prophet Isaiah first, then directly to reassure King Ahaz about the current political affairs.

 

Verse 3-4

3And Yahweh said to Isaiah go out now to meet Ahaz, you and Shear Jashub [ וּשְׁאָ֖ר יָשׁ֣וּב] your son at the end of the aqueduct, from the upper pool, on the highway to the Fuller’s Field, and say to him:

 

Interlinear Hebrew-English Translation of Key Words

  • [יָשׁ֣וּב ]= settlement, community; population, inhabitants; settling, populating; היישוב – Yishuv (Jewish population of Israel prior to the establishment of the State)
  • [וּשְׁאָ֖ר] = remainder; rest, others

Conclusion

God usually asks Isaiah to name his children after the promises or the declarations He makes for the nation of Judea.  We know that from chapter 8, but also we know from the strange names Isaiah has already given his other children. The name Shear-Jashub means the Remnant of the people. So, Judea might have been considered the remnant after God separated it from the nation of Israel.

Verse 4-6

4…(God Said) Take heed, and be quiet; do not fear or be fainthearted for these two stubs of smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and the son of Remaliah.  Because Syria {וַאֲרָ֖ם  = Aram}, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah have plotted evil against you, saying, “Let us go up against Judah and trouble it, and let us make a gap in its wall  {וְנַבְקִעֶ֖נָּה }    for ourselves, and set a king over them, the son of Tabel”—

 

Interlinear Hebrew-English Translation of Key Words

  • {וַאֲרָ֖ם  = Aram} This is what Syria used to be called in those days.
  • {וְנַבְקִעֶ֖נָּה } It could also mean: to swallow it – as in to completely have control over it.

 

Verse 7-9

thus says the Lord [אֲדֹנָ֣י = adonay] God [יְהוִ֑ה = Yah.weh]

“It shall not stand,
Nor shall it come to pass.
For the head of Syria is Damascus,
And the head of Damascus is Rezin.
Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be broken,
So that it will not be a people.
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.” ’ ”

 

 

Interlinear Hebrew-English Translation of Key Words

*[אֲדֹנָ֣י = adonay] = my master, my Lord

*[יְהוִ֑ה = Yah.weh] this does not mean God here, but it is always translated as God for no obvious reason.

*[ לֹ֥א תָק֖וּם וְלֹ֥א תִֽהְיֶֽה ] [la taku:m wala tahya:] Literally, it means “it will not stand nor will it live” لا تقوم و لا تحي

*[ יֵחַת] this word is translated as: “will be broken” – [יֵחַת] literally means to bring with or without niqqud.

*[מֵעָֽם ]  = [ Ma’am] this was translated as “so that it will not be of people”- I could not find a literal translation for this word.

*If you will not believe, Surely you shall not be established.” This is the Hebrew translation I found: [  תַאֲמִ֔ינוּ –   אִ֚ם  ]  [ am. la: tu:minu:] Or do you not believe     [ أم لا تؤمنوا]

[      כִּ֖י   לֹ֥א   תֵאָמֵֽנוּ׃   ] [ kay – la: – tu:minu:] for the sake of not believing? [ كي لا تؤمنوا]

Conclusion

thus says [adonay, Yah.weh]

“It shall not stand,
Nor shall it come to pass.
For the head of Syria is Damascus,
And the head of Damascus is Rezin.
Within sixty-five years Ephraim [will be brought down]

The head of Ephraim is Samaria,
And the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son.
[Or do you not believe,]
[for the sake of not believing?”] ’ ”

 

The Immanuel Prophecy Verse 10-13

KNJV: 10 Moreover the Lord [יְהוָ֔ה] [Yah·weh]  spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 11 “Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above.”

12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!”

13 Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also?

Interlinear Hebrew-English Translation of Key Words

*Spoke = yō·mer  literally means to instruct, make an order. Apparently, in Hebrew, it just means to say.

*sign [א֔וֹת] – [’ō·wṯ]  = letter = sign (noun) ; omen, sign, indication ; (military) ribbon, badge ; לאות – as a sign of    – נַסֶּ֖ה   Try     – לֹא  لاَ  – No

*Hear now: [שִׁמְעוּ  נָ֖א ]  [šim·‘ū  nā ] this means Listen to us.

*small [מְעַ֤ט ] [ m.ع.t] A little – few,

*Is it [was written next to weary instead of next to small] [הל  هَلْ]

*to weary: [א֣וֹת ] letter – sign (noun); an omen, sign, indication ; (military) ribbon, badge; לאות – as a sign of-

*People: [אֲנָשִׁ֔ים ]  [الناس]

*but: [כִּ֥י ] it doesn’t mean but- it means in order to, for the purpose of, [كَيْ] it can also mean, then, in some context.

*Will you weary: [תַלְא֖וּ ] do not worry – [תלא] [tala] please

*Also: [גַּ֥ם ] also, in addition; even ; (biblical) furthermore, indeed.

*My God: [אֶת־ אֱלֹהָֽי׃  ] [’eṯ- ’ĕ·lō·hāy. ]  This means YOUR GOD NOT [my God]!!!

 Conclusion

What the last sentence in verse 13 literally says is:

هل قليل عليك ان تمتحن الناس (?) فهيا امتحني  الاهك٠

.Is it small for you to test people (?) so there you go, try me, your God

Verse 14-16

14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin [עַלְמָ֗ה OR hā·‘al·māh,– عالمة] shall conceive [ hā·rāh ]and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel  [The Nations or the people of God]. 15 Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings…”

Interlinear Hebrew-English Translation of Key Words

*Therefore: [לכן ] [لكن] this doesn’t mean; therefore. It means but!!!  There’s a big difference between therefore and but!

*conceive –  hā·rāh – [ הָרָה֙ ]  to conceive, to imagine, to think up; hrth – to conceive, to become pregnant

*Immanuel: [עִמָּ֥נוּ אֵֽל׃  ] [עמנואל ]

[עמנו] means (People of or nations of) and [אֵֽל׃] means (God – this is the name of God when it’s shortened)  = People of nations of God

Conclusion

Here God simply says: “but, don’t worry, I will give you a sign.  The knower (female knower) or in another term the prophetess will conceive and give birth to a boy and will call him The Nation of God.

[“هذا يعني ان الرب استدرك هنا قائلا، “و لكن،لا عليك، فها أنا أعطيك دليلا]

[  العالمة تحبلو تولد ابن و تقرا سموا (تسميه)   ]

العَلاَمةُ -الأثر -العَلَمُ : شيء منصوبٌ في الطريق يُهتدَى به – العَلاَّمَةُ رجل عالم متمرس في علمه-

In chapter 8, we’ll learn that Isaiah’s wife was a prophetess, and people might have called her a woman of knowledge, so in that case, this meaning makes perfect sense

 

Verse 17-25

 17 The Lord [יְהוָ֜ה = Yahwa]  will bring the king of Assyria upon you and your people and your father’s house—days that have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah.”18 And it shall come to pass in that day That the Lord will whistle for the fly That is in the farthest part of the rivers of Egypt, And for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.19 They will come, and all of them will rest In the desolate valleys and in the clefts of the rocks, And on all thorns and in all pastures. 25 And to any hill which could be dug with the hoe, You will not go there for fear of briers and thorns; But it will become a range for oxen And a place for sheep to roam.”

Conclusion

When looking closer to 14-25, this becomes clear that it’s not about a prophecy of a Messiah but it’s about a prophecy warning of war and hard times coming that will teach those who will live it and endure it to reject evil and embrace goodness. So, the curds and honey here may sound good and they’re good in the eyes of God, but not as the reader may think. This curd and honey were harvested from among the thorns. It’s wisdom collected in hardship and it is highly admired by God. This is why God uses evil – the second type of evil – to fight human nature and teach it to align itself to His will.  This may sound and seem scary to us, but if we put ourselves in God’s ‘shoes’ so to speak, pour our awareness into our own spiritual realm and find a reality that horrifies us and belittles us, then our responsibility is to stand up to that reality and devise all the plans necessary to bend it to our goodwill and shape it accordingly. We are in God’s realm and this is how God perceives us to be; part of himself.

 

How were these verses interpreted as a Messianic Prophecy?

Verse 14 is a prophecy about the tribe of Judas’ future. This prophecy tells Judas that God is giving them a sign. In the face of it, the verse promises that God will give them a sign (the virgin birth) in the near future to tell them that they will not perish. But reading between the lines, the verse tells Judas that the sign which God is giving them right then and there is the PROMISE that they have already been elected to be the nation in which Jesus Christ will be born. The sign is the promise of the birth and not the act of birth itself. So, although the act of birth is in the very long future, it could be still considered an effective sign in the meantime IF Judas would believe the promise of God and would strengthen their faith. So, in another word, if Judas truly believed the prophecy Isaiah gave, and if they truly believed the promise of God about the coming of Emmanuel, then their faith will render the prophecy and promise to be a sign for them. (The faithful could have reasoned this way: If God has already elected us to be the nation that saves the world, then this is enough sign for us to tell us that we will not perish).
Clearly, Judas neither understood the meaning of the sign nor were willing to put their faith and assurance on God’s promises.


Verse 15: He shall eat: It is not saying that the action of eating will be repetitive. The verse might be talking about a type of nourishment that is not regular and hasn’t been given before. For if Isaiah was talking about regular food, he would formulate the sentence in a different way, as ‘he would grow eating on curds and honey’, and ‘curd and honey will nourish him throughout the days of his life’, ‘curd and honey would be his daily food’, etc.
Instead, Isaiah said: He shall eat. It’s a one time action. It’s not only this. Let’s look at the rest of the sentence.
The action of eating is linked with the conditional ‘when’. He will do this when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.

Now let’s analyze the remainder of the sentence: “when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good”. When do people learn how to do those two things? Is there a particular age, when a man usually learn to be perfect? In fact, is a man ever able to be perfect? Is there truly a particular age to perfect wisdom; when a man learns (knows) how to refuse what is evil and choose what is good?

Some Bible interpreters understood this to mean a person’s ability to know what is right and wrong at the age of 12. But is this really what Isaiah meant?

As we can see, this verse does not say ‘when he knows what is good‘ but instead, it says “when he knows how to choose the good“. Most of us know what is good, but not most of us know how to choose what is good. In actual fact, most fail to choose good over evil, although they can intellectually distinguish very well between the two. This means that humanity is yoked by some sort of compulsion to doing evil. The understanding is there, the will in some respects is also there, but knowing how to overcome the compulsion, the strong emotional tendencies to doing what we know we’re not supposed to do, is the thing that Isaiah refers to, between the lines, in this chapter.

Besides, the verse did not say: “When the boy knows what is evil“, but instead it said: “when he knows how to refuse the evil”. It is an ability that reflects maturity, strength in character,  and a deep knowledge of Truth.

In addition, the verse “he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good” does not imply a temporary ability to resisting Evil and choosing Good. The skill here isn’t to be able to resist evil sometimes, and for the rest of the time to fail, like everybody else.  On the contrary, the verse means that he learned the ‘How To’ once and for all. When we fully know how to do something, then we become skilled at it, and so we will always know how to do it right. The emphasis here is on KNOWING HOW. This ‘knowing how’ is completely different from ‘trying and being able to’. To know how to do something is to discover (or get given) the secret coding of its making (the making of the self), and the technique on how to monitor it and control it.
But let’s just assume that the verse doesn’t really hide a metaphor. Let’s assume that Isaiah was talking literally about food intake, and about the age of the child.
Now, if this is the case, a 12-year-old child may indeed reach some sort of spiritual wisdom, but how come that the boy will only start eating (weaning) when he is at about the age of 12?! Don’t children start eating solid food when they are infants; at least at the age of one?

We can see that associating between the age of spiritual maturity and of weaning is not logical in the literal sense. The age of twelve years is too late to start weaning a child solid food, and one year is too early to develop perfect wisdom regarding the issues of good and evil.

The other thing to look at in trying to penetrate this verse is what did curd and honey mean to the Israelites of that time? Both curds and honey are natural food. Honey could be consumed as it is without being processed. It only needs to be taken from the honeycomb. Curd, on the other hand, needs to be milked from the cow or sheep, then put in a suitable container (usually made out of goat skin). This need to be shaken fiercely for some time, then put indoors to cool down. As we see, both foods do not need any major preparation to become suitable for eating. Both foods come straight from the main (the sheep or the bee), without the need for an intermediary (the middleman who is the farmer or the grinder or the cook, etc).
Besides, both of these types of food are concentrated and known to be extremely healthy for the body.
“Honey is used because of its antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It is also soothing, anti-inflammatory effects on respiratory issues. Milk contains vitamin and minerals including vitamin-A, B, and D, as well as calcium, animal protein, and lactic acid.”

This is how honey and curds affect the body. But is this how they also affect the mind?

Medical researchers have long established that there is indeed a dialectical relationship between what we eat and how we feel, think and act. Unfortunately, as for all dialectical relationships, it has to have a point at which the relationship is instigated. The relationship between humanity and food begins after the moment of conception; the formation of the DNA and the development of the fetus.

The DNA sets the foundation of the soul; that is the mind, the will, and the emotions. It also provides the parameters within which the soul can stretch or shrink.  Spirituality and wisdom are birthed from within these parameters and shaped by them. This is why we notice billions of shades and colours to the truth in the human mind.  The environment on the other hand; including the nature of food ingested, plays a very limited role in the expansion or the shrinking of the soul. Good food may help stabilise the condition of the soul; be it anxiety, fear, distress, etc but it cannot undo its vulnerabilities. In the same way, bad food, drink or drug consumption can lead to mental illness where vulnerabilities already exist in the soul/DNA of the consumer.  Medical researchers provide evidence that cigarettes, for example, don’t contribute to cancer in every single case. The impact of alcohol is not necessarily a violent behaviour in every drinker and drugs don’t lead to madness in each case of drug addiction. This is not to dismiss the impact of these elements even on those who have the best of DNAs but to say that someone with a DNA that has no mental or psychological vulnerabilities will probably never succumb to any of these addictions anyway.

Linking the curds and honey with the condition of knowing how to resist evil and choose good can only be metaphorical. These two types of food are used here as a metaphor for something greater. They are either a spiritual reward for the person’s spiritual breakthrough or it is a consequence of his spiritual breakthrough, regardless of whether this consequence is negative or positive in itself. This means, regardless of whether this consequence is a joyful state (being filled by the Holy Spirit) or it is a price to pay (the crucifixion).

Once this boy knew how to control himself, resist the evil and choose the good, he then became a master of himself and his choices.

“16 For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted.”

Although it sounds as if the ‘before’ is the very near past, there is no reason for it not to mean ‘hundreds of years before the boy knows, etc’. This may mean that before Jesus Christ became a temple to the Holy Spirit, or in general sometime before the action of redemption took place, those two kings had failed.

 

What challenges the potential of this prophecy to become a Messianic prophecy is the fact that a time limit was set on the events that are to take place; 65 years from the time Isaiah had prophesied.
If we’re very eager for this Messianic prophecy to be true, we could ignore the historical time period when Isaiah lived and claim that all these events happened 65 years before Jesus was born!
However, historians have established, through archaeological and anthropological research, that Isaiah might have lived around the 8th-century BC (around 740 BC) – which makes it impossible to be turned into a Messianic prophecy. 

 

Isaiah: إشَعْياءَ
Ahaz آحازَ
Jotham يُوثامَ
Uzziah عُزِّيّا
Judah يَهُوذا
Rezin رَصِينُ
Syria أرامَ
Pekah فَقَحُ
Remaliah رَمَلْيا
Jerusalem القُدْسِ
David: داوُدَ
Ephraim أفْرايِمَ
—————-
Ephraim was the younger son of Joseph, son of Jacob, and Asenath, daughter of Potiphera (priest of the sun god Re of Heliopolis). Ephraim is the ancestor of the Tribe of Ephraim. Before his death, Jacob adopted his grandchildren Ephraim and Manasseh to be equal with his own sons (Genesis 48:5).
Shear-Jashub: شَآرَياشُوبُ
—————————-

Sheol: When the Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek in ancient Alexandria around 200 BC, the word “Hades” (the Greek underworld) was substituted for Sheol, and this is reflected in the New Testament where Hades is both the underworld of the dead and the personification of the evil it represents.