Posted by: mattcolvin | June 30, 2010

Questions on Isaiah 6-9

First, some useful dates:

Uzziah: reigned 767-739
Jotham: 739-734
Ahaz: 734-728
Hezekiah: 728-699

722 – Israel (Northern kingdom) taken into captivity by Assyria.
586 – Judah taken into captivity by the Neo-Babylonians; temple is destroyed.

1. What is the function of a seraph (“burning one”)?
2. What emotions and actions does Isaiah successively experience in the throne room of YHWH?
3. What is God’s sentence in 6:9-10? What reaction does it provoke from Isaiah?
4. Another translation of 6:13 is more pessimistic: “Even if a tenth part remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak whose stump remains standing when it is felled.” Which translation do you prefer? Which makes more sense in the context?

Historical background: Chapter 7 concerns the so-called ‘Syro-Ephraimite War’, a failed attempt by the northern kingdom of Israel, in alliance with Syria, to conquer Judah.

5. Why do you think Ahaz is at the aqueduct? Why that location? How does it affect his ability to trust Isaiah’s prophecy?
6. Ahaz has two options: trust in YHWH, or ally himself with Assyria in the world-political power struggle. What are the consequences of choosing Assyria?
7. What are the names of the three children mentioned in chapters 7-8? What do they mean?
8. A better translation of 8:19 would be: “Now if people say to you, ‘Consult the ghosts and familiar spirits that chirp and mutter; should not a people consult their gods, the dead on behalf of the living, for teaching and instruction?’ Surely, those who speak like this will have no dawn!” In light of this different translation, what are the two options before the people?
9. What are the equivalent two options for us today? What is the equivalent of consulting the “ghosts and familiar spirits” today?
10. What are the two events prophesied in chapter 9, one in 9:1-7, the other in 9:8-21? What separate locations do these prophecies concern?

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