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 8: 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
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 a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying:

12 “Do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’
Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy,
Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.

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 sanctuary,
But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense
To both the houses of Israel,
As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

15 And many among them shall stumble;
They shall fall and be broken,
Be snared and taken.”

 

16 Bind up the testimony,
Seal the law among my disciples.

17 And I will wait on the Lord,
Who hides His face from the house of Jacob;
And I will hope in Him.

18 Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me!
We are for signs and wonders in Israel
From the Lord of hosts,
Who dwells in Mount Zion.

 

19 And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?

20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

21 They will pass through it hard-pressed and hungry, and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse [p]their king and their God, and look upward.

22 Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.

————————————————————————
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 a 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 The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow;
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 is 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 inquire 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 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 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:

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