Isaiah 8

Dictionary:
1-Maher-shalal-hash-baz Hebrew: מַהֵר שָׁלָל חָשׁ בַּז- (/ˈmɑːhɛr ʃælæl ˈhæʃ bɑːz/;

Hurry to the spoils!” or “He has made haste to the plunder!” –
2-Shiloah: The waters of, a certain soft-flowing stream, (Isaiah 8:6 ) better known under the later name of Siloam -the only perennial spring of Jerusalem. This entry was also found in Easton’s Bible Dictionary.
Of course, the various spelling of the first phonic is due to the fact that Hebrew speakers were unable to pronounce the [s] phonic and found it easier to replace it by its neighbour [sh] phonic. In this case, the word was initially pronounced ‘Silwan’, and was altered because of the local accent to become ‘Shiloh’.


Context:

Isaiah 1-10

Clarke’s Commentary on Isaiah 8:6

The people of Israel have rejected” – The gentle waters of Shiloah, a small fountain and brook just outside of Jerusalem, which supplied a pool within the city for the use of the inhabitants, is an apt emblem of the state of the kingdom and house of David, much reduced in its apparent strength, yet supported by the blessing of God; and is finely contrasted with the waters of the Euphrates, great, rapid, and impetuous; the image of the Babylonian empire, which God threatens to bring down like a mighty flood upon all these apostates of both kingdoms, as punishment for their manifold iniquities, and their contemptuous disregard of his promises. The brook and the river are put for the kingdoms to which they belong, and the different states of which respectively they most aptly represent. Juvenal, inveighing against the corruption of Rome by the importation of Asiatic manners, says, with great elegance, that “the Orontes has been long discharging itself into the Tiber:” –

 

 

Comments: Verses 11 to 19 [ESV]
There seems to be a general agreement in Bible commentaries that Isaiah is the author of 16-22 and that the speaker in 12-16 is God himself. I’m going to demonstrate that this is almost impossible for a variety of reasons. But first, I will need to rewrite the same verses in a slightly different layout. All that is between the quotation mark is the object of the speech of the Lord. All that is not, it is Isaiah’s:

11 For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying:

12“Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread.”
“13 But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honour as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. “
“14 And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offence and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.
“16 Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching[f] among my disciples.”
“17 I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.”
“18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.”
“19 And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?”
“20 To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.”
“21 They will pass through the land,[g] greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against[h] their king and their God, and turn their faces upward.”
“22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.
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Notice that Isaiah didn’t speak since verse 11. The rest of the chapter was monopolized by another speaker.  Let’s see who was speaking in the remainder of chapter 8.

I- Is the Lord (= God the Father) the same as the speaker in verse 12-22?

The interpretation of the identity of the Lord in verse 11, could easily be explained by the assumption that it is equal to the identity of God the Father. However, this interpretation becomes more controversial when we regard the Lord as being the speaker in verses 12-22. This interpretation could only work fine with verse 12 “12 “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear”
The reason why this interpretation works fine with verse 12 is that the verse came first in the Lord’s speech before any further information indicating the contrary, was revealed.
However, from verse 13 onward, this interpretation starts running into problems.

In verse 13, the speaker calls Isaiah to honour and glorify the Lord of Hosts.
13 But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honour as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.
The speaker (who is not Isaiah because He is addressing Isaiah using the pronoun YOU) is talking about another majestic entity greater than him, called the LORD OF HOSTS, using the pronoun ‘He’. Therefore, the speaker and the Lord of Hosts are not the same person.

In verse 17, the speaker tells Isaiah that He will wait for the will of the Lord (Lord of the Hosts), who, He says, is hiding his face. He also said to Isaiah that He will put his hope in the Lord.
17 I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.
[The speaker, who is not Isaiah, promises to wait for another majestic entity greater than him, called THE LORD OF HOSTS. The speaker also said that the Lord of Hosts is hiding his face from the nation of Israel. Therefore the speaker is not the Lord of Hosts, because the speaker is there in the midst of the nation.

The speaker reveals to Isaiah that He (the speaker) and the children He was assigned by the Lord of Hosts (who lives on Mount Zion) are signs and portents to the lost sheep.
18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.
The speaker, who is not Isaiah, declares that He, and other beings/humans who He calls children of God and disciples, are sent by THE LORD OF HOSTS to be signs and portents to the nation of Israel.  Therefore the speaker is not the Lord of Hosts, because the speaker cannot be sending himself children and disciples to save.

The speaker comments on the fact that some people ask Isaiah (regularly perhaps) to inquire of mediums and necromancers. The speaker is rhetorically wondering if it was not far better to enquire of the Lord of Hosts.
19 And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?
[the speaker, who is not Isaiah, now talks to Isaiah using the pronoun (YOU), to comment on people seeking prophecies from mediums and necromancers, noting that they should be enquiring from God instead.  If the speaker was God, then He would most probably have said: inquire of me. Although that could just be a figure of speech like when a parent, for example, is talking to her child about going someplace without permission saying: should a child not ask his parents permission when they go someplace? ] Therefore the speaker may not be God, because the speaker did not say: let them inquire of me, but this is not a final evidence as it could be just a figure of speech. 

 

Nouns and Pronouns:

All the previous verses show that there is only one speaker between verse 12 and 22, but that there are three pronouns (I, He, you).

1- Pronoun [I] for the speaker: The speaker spoke about himself directly and indirectly in the verses between 12-22 but He spoke about himself more clearly in verses 17 and 18.

2- Pronoun [you] for Isaiah:
The speaker in the verses 12-22 spoke to Isaiah directly using the pronoun YOU.

3- Pronoun [He] for the Lord of Hosts:
The speaker in verses 12 – 22, spoke to Isaiah about the Lord using the pronoun [HE] to mark his gender and distance (the Lord of Hosts was not a part of the conversation, therefore, He was absent).
+The speaker spoke about the Lord calling him: THE LORD OF HOSTS (twice in 13/18) and once as the Lord in verse 18.
+The use of the word Lord is only seen as a shortening for the combined word: THE LORD OF HOSTS. The context in verse 18 indicates this “18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts
It makes more sense that the Lord who has given the children to Him is the same as the Lord who used them as signs and portents.
+Therefore we conclude that the speaker, only spoke about THE LORD OF HOSTS to Isaiah, even though He used the term ‘The Lord‘ once.

We then conclude that the Lord of Hosts and the speaker are not the same person but that the term “The Lord” also refers to the term “the Lord of Hosts”.

II- If the Lord of Hosts is different from the speaker, and verse 11 tells us that the Lord spoke, does this imply that there are two Lords?

11 For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying:

This issue leads to one of the following semantical conclusions:
1- Either the term ‘The Lord’ in verse 11 is the same as the speaker in the next verses.
2- Or the term ‘The Lord’ in verse 11 is different from the speaker in the next verses.

1- If the Lord in v.11 is the same as the speaker, then we can conclude that the Lord in v11 cannot be God the Father, because the speaker in the following verses declares a greater entity than himself. This stands in contrast with what we believe God to be in the Christian faith. God is the Head. He is the biggest power there is. He is omnipotent, omniscient, etc.

2- If The Lord in verse 11 is indeed God the Father, then He and the speaker in v12-22 must be different, in which case, how and where did the linguistic transition take place?
This hypothesis requires more in-depth reading to Isaiah 8, and in particular to verse 11, to know how did the Lord of hosts who the narrator announces to be the future speaker, turned out not to be the future speaker after all.
This will also lead us to assume that either there were two Lords, one of which was higher in status than the other, or that the Lord of Hosts delegated the message to another entity who was of a lower status than his own.
Since neither hypothesis is conclusive, this is a good indication that there is a confusion; a misinterpretation, somewhere, in the text.
Let’s look at verse 11 closely.

(ESV)11 For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying:
OR 21st Century King James Version
11 For the Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying,
OR Ketab El Hayat (NAV)
11 لأَنَّ الرَّبَّ خَاطَبَنِي حِينَ وَضَعَ يَدَهُ عَلَيَّ وَأَنْذَرَنِي أَنْ لَا أَسْلُكَ فِي طَرِيقِ هَذَا الشَّعْبِ قَائِلاً:

This verse 11 is a compound sentence made out of two fundamental sentences:

For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying:

These two parts which are linked through the conjunction (and) are, grammatically speaking, two separate clauses and could easily be set apart into two independent sentences. Therefore, each of these two parts could be analysed independently of the other. So, we will be focusing on the first part of the compound sentence solely due to the fact that it is the only clause that reveals information about the “THE LORD” and his identity.
I- The structure of the first part of the Compound Sentence in verse 11:

For The Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me
Grammatical Analysis Conjunction/Connective Subject

[came as Nominal Phrase (article + noun)]

Verb in the past tense Conjunctive Adverb Object: (contains proposition ‘to’ and objective pronoun ‘me’) Adverbial Clause [proposition ‘with’, possessive pronoun ‘his’, adjective ‘strong’, proposition ‘upon’, objective pronoun ‘me’]
Semantical  Analysis For’ justifies the previous text (verse) by the use of the following verse. An alternative to the name of God/Jesus /the Holy Spirit  God’s action of speaking set in the past tense. as a result or consequence of this; therefore- It supports the Conjunctive “For” and the use of the past tense. to Isaiah – the prophet is spoken to. He is now on the receiving end. This is to describe HOW The Lord spoke to Isaiah. While reading this, one can imagine that the Lord who, perhaps, has a similar image to the human physical body, was resting his hand on Isaiah while talking to him.
In this sentence, all grammatical parts have simple structure except the adverb, thus we will focus on this part next.

 

with his strong hand upon me
Grammarical Analysis Proposition- Indication is not clear Possessive pronoun Adjective Noun Proposition – indicating the place Objective pronoun
Semantic Analysis Varies?

Find below

Of the Lord For a while, this could represent an interpretation of the meaning that we’re created on the image of God. Varies?

Find below

Isaiah

 

With

It indicates being together or being involved:

• I ordered a sandwich with a drink.

• He was with his friend when he saw me.

• She has been working with her sister at the nail shop.

• The manager will be with you shortly.

It indicates the meaning:  “having”:

• I met a guy with green eyes.

• Were you the one talking with an accent?

• People with a lot of money are not always happy.

It indicates the meaning: “using”:

• I wrote a letter with the pen you gave me.

• This is the soup that I made with rice and barley.

• He cut my hair with his gold scissors.

It indicates the meaning: feeling:

• I am emailing you with my sincere apology.

• He came to the front stage with confidence.

It indicates agreement or understanding:

• Are you with me?

• Yes, I am, completely, with you.

• She agrees with me.

It indicates the manner in which an action has taken place:

  • They were walking with their arms across.
  • She was sleeping, with her pillow on her head!
Upon

1.up and on; upward so as to get or be on:

He climbed upon his horse and rode off.

2.in an elevated position on:

There is a television antenna upon every house in the neighbourhood.

3.in or into complete or approximate contact with, as an attacker or an important or pressing occasion:

The enemy was upon us and our soldiers had little time to escape.

The Christmas holiday will soon be upon us and we have hardly begun to buy gifts.

The time to take action is upon us.

4.immediately or very soon after:

She went into mourning upon her husband’s death.

5.on the occasion of:

She was joyful upon seeing her child take his first steps.

6.on (in any of various senses, used as an equivalent of on with no added idea of ascent or elevation, and preferred in certain cases only for euphonic or metrical reasons):

He swore upon his honour as a gentleman.

To be able to establish which meaning from the list above applies to the proposition ‘with’, we need to establish first the following points:

+Is the term Strong Hand used literally or metaphorically?
+Is the phrase ‘talking with his strong Hand’ an Adverbial Complement of time or of manner?

1-Adverbial Complement of Manner:
The most obvious function for the preposition ‘with’ is to be a complement of manner. In this, it would be a description of the way the Lord was positioning his hand while speaking. This grammatical reading to the phrase would impose a semantic reading to the meaning of the phrase. This semantic reading would entail that God has a human-like body with hands that are like those of a man and can be used in the same way. The suitable meaning of ‘upon’ that goes with it, is, therefore, the meaning found in option 1 and 2 from the table above; 1.up and on; upward so as to get or be on, and 2.in an elevated position on:

2-Adverbial Complement of time:
The other possibility is that ‘with’ is used here to indicate the meaning: ’using’, ‘through’, ‘via’, etc: [The Lord spoke to me using his strong hand, upon me].
When we start interpreting the phrase to mean ‘using’, more emphasis is given to the sentence’s tail than before. Suddenly it becomes almost as important as the head of the sentence. [The Lord spoke… (using ) his strong hand was (being) upon me]
Gradually, we start seeing a new interpretation of the text come alive. The Adverbial Complement of ‘utility’ does not only put the focus on the tail but also provides more opportunity for both the head and the tail to be regarded as equally important, offering an even more exciting interpretation for the verse. However, this interpretation will also require the use and provision of synonyms rather than the literal wording of the last phrase:
[The Lord spoke through his strong hand (which He placed ) upon me] OR [The Lord spoke through his strong hand (which came) upon me]

This analysis opens the door to a more in-depth reading of the text. Suddenly, we stop seeing the hand laying on Isaiah as being a very unimportant action of which implications and motifs are extremely ambiguous and not understood (like why would the Lord place his hand on Isaiah while talking to Him? How did the Lord place his hand on Isaiah, Him being a spiritual entity? Why was that mentioned at all: why was that important for the reader to know?)
Next, we begin discovering the significance of such a phrase in the verse.

[The Lord spoke to me (not directly) but through his Hand]
The “Hand” here becomes more alive and bursting with meaning. On one hand, it is perceived to be the channel through which the Word of God travels, and on the other hand, it becomes seen as part of God, something that is conscious in itself; a person.

This interpretation, in my opinion, is more faithful to the parabolic, metaphoric style that Jesus for example adopted, and to the theology of the Trinity which sees God as being much bigger and more complex than we, humans, perceive him to be.

God is extremely vast and complex, to the point that each part of him, constitute a separate conscious power. Example of these parts is God’s Word, which is also his son; Jesus Christ. And another example is God’s Holy Spirit, who is also a person.

Therefore, I conclude that the “Hand” of God is also a conscious person who plays the role of the messenger of God in Isaiah 8. This messenger could be Jesus or the Holy Spirit themselves. Or he could be yet another part of God that may never be revealed to us. If the Hand was the Holy Spirit, then the preposition ‘upon’ would fit the meaning of coming on me or through me.

We now able to see three pronouns in verse 11. Isaiah (I), the Lord (He), and the Hand of God (He).
So, who is the “Hand” of God in Isaiah 8:11?
As we progress through the chapter, we find more keywords and phrases that can potentially help us know the identity of ‘the Hand of God’, and also the identity of the true speaker in Isaiah 8:12-22.

CONCLUSION

Therefore, the only possible speaker is the ‘hand’ of God. Such an understanding provides us with much food for thought.

This leads us to ponder over the Lord’s relationship with God (v17). 18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.

The speaker in verses 12-22 used the pronoun (I) to speak about himself, addressed Isaiah using the pronoun (you), talked about God through the pronoun (He), and about the disciples (them).
The speaker talks about the Lord of Hosts who seems to be the highest power in Heaven and earth, and thus God Himself.

Assuming that the speaker is the same from verse 12 to verse 22, we can conclude that he was not the Lord of Host.

Contextual Evidence:

1-The speaker did not ask for glorification for Himself but for the Lord of Hosts. 13 The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, And let Him be your dread. 14 He will be as a [l]sanctuary,”

This is evidence that the status of the Lord, the speaker, is beneath the Lord of Hosts.
2-The Lord who spoke to Isaiah continued talking about God, using the pronoun ‘He’ in the rest of the chapter.

3-It would not make sense if God was to talk about himself using the pronoun (He) in 10 simultaneous verses.

4-It is not possible for the speaker to be Isaiah because the speaker is talking to Isaiah using the pronoun (you);13 The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow;”

5-The context supports the fact that the speaker is different from the person of God; He promises to wait for the Lord; God, He declares that he is used by the Lord; God, etc. 

17 I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.
6-[The speaker talks about the Lord of Hosts, projecting a relationship of faith, hope and prayer; the same as us! It is also a relationship of trust and understanding. The speaker seems to know the Father very well, and so He is prepared to wait patiently for the Father to bring forth his promises.]
7-[The speaker tells us that He is being used by God, which confirms his status as the hand of God. He also talks about his disciples/children who were given to him by the Father.  16 Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching[f] among my disciples.  [The speaker has disciples among us]

There is a big significance in knowing the true identity of the speaker through this declaration: what He does for God, and who is with him in his mission?]

18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.

Now, let’s read these similar verses. In the New Testament, Jesus said in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”

He also said in John 6:38, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”

John 6:39, “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”

John 6:40, “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

The similarity between verse 18 and the above verse forms, in my opinion, the greatest evidence that the speaker was the Christ. The fact that Christ is not on his own, brings up even more food for thought. Jesus had disciples (given children). These given children cannot be lost sheep. In fact, these children were given to Jesus to be used as signs and portents for the lost sheep. So, they are not sheep and are not lost. They are in fact (according to this reasoning) children of the Christ in a spiritual sense. They are therefore disciples and apostles.

Through reading and studying the remainder of chapter 8, and comparing what the Lord’s said in verse 18 with the above verses in the New Testament, I conclude that the ‘hand’ of God could only refer to the Christ who John says was there from the beginning of time. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

Furthermore, reports about Near Death Experiences (NDE) provide nowadays an added insight into the spiritual realm. After crying to God, some of these witnesses who were in their way or already in Hell, saw a big strong hand, emerging in the darkness, to snatch them from the pit. Most of these witnesses found themselves later on conversing with the Christ.

I, then, conclude that the Lord who is speaking to Isaiah in chapter 8 is the Christ.

This understanding leads us to consider the possibility that the Christ has always existed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary: ————————————————————————

Comments: Verses 20 to 22 [ESV]


20 To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.

The unbelievers of this testimony will have no future in Heaven. I believe that this is not a declaration of punishment for their unbelief, but an explanation of why they did not believe. They did not believe because they have already been set for destruction due to something that surpasses our understanding.

21: Those who are not chosen are those who have no dawn (no future in Heaven). Those who will ‘pass through’ the land (or the worldly life) hungry and then angry with God.

22: The speaker (Jesus or the Holy Spirit) might be talking about the souls of these people after they have already experienced physical death. When these people find themselves surfing on the face of the earth, hungry. What provided me with this understanding is the fact that He said: “They will look to the earth”. This means that they are no longer a part of it. According to many Near Death Experiences, when the body dies, the soul often rises high up, moves around and looks downwards to the earth. But when these souls look downwards, they will not see what is happening on earth, but instead what is happening in Hell. When looking downwards, they will think that what is beneath them is the earth they left, but they soon find out that it is something else. The speaker says that they will see “distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish”, which is what people see in Hell. And they will be thrust into thick darkness, means maybe shoved, pushed, etc, towards Hell.
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