Isaiah 8

Chapter 8

Isaiah’s Son.[a] 1 The Lord said to me: Take a large scroll and write on it in ordinary letters: “Maher-shalal-hash-baz.” 2 I had it attested for me by reliable witnesses, Uriah, the priest, and Zechariah, son of Jeberechiah.

3 Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. The Lord said to me: Name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz, 4 for, before the child knows how to say “father” or “mother,” the wealth of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria.

5 [b]Once again the Lord spoke to me and said:

6 Because this people has rejected
the waters of Shiloah that flow gently
and trembled in fear
before Rezin and the son of Remaliah,
7 the Lord will therefore raise against it
the mighty flood waters of the river
(the king of Assyria and all his glory).
The river will rise above all its channels
and overflow all its banks;
8 it will sweep on into Judah like a flood
reaching up to the neck,
and its wings, spreading out,
will cover the breadth of your land, Immanuel.
9 Realize this, you peoples, and be afraid.
Listen, all you far-distant nations.
Arm yourselves, but be frightened;
arm yourselves, but be frightened.
10 No matter what plans you devise,
they will come to naught,
for God is with us.

11 Isaiah’s Followers. This is what the Lord said to me when he held me firmly with his hand and warned me not to follow the ways of this people:

12 [c]Do not call conspiracy what this people calls conspiracy,
and do not fear what they fear
or stand in awe of them.
13 The Lord is the one whom you should proclaim holy;
he must be the object of your fear and awe.
14 He will become a snare, an obstacle,
a rock over which the two houses of Israel[d] will stumble,
a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
15 And many of them will stumble;
they will fall and be broken;
they will be snared and taken captive.
16 Bind up the testimony and seal the teaching
so that my disciples can keep it in their hearts.
17 I will wait eagerly for the Lord
who has hidden his face from the house of Jacob;
I will place my hope in him.
18 I stand here with the children
whom the Lord has given me
to be signs and portents in Israel
sent by the Lord of hosts
who dwells on Mount Zion.
19 People may say to you,
“Seek guidance from ghosts and mediums
who whisper and mutter.
Should not a people consult its gods
and the dead on behalf of the living
20 while seeking instruction or a message?”
Those who offer suggestions like this
will experience no dawn.
21 They will wander through the land
greatly distressed and starving.
Once their hunger becomes acute,
they will be enraged
and curse their king and their gods.
They will turn their gaze upward,
22 or downward to the earth,
but they will behold only distress and anguish,
confusion and the gloom of darkness.

23 As the land of Zebulun[e] and the land of Naphtali were humbled in the past by the Lord, so in the future he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, the district of the Gentiles.


  1. Isaiah 8:1 The prophet performs an action rich in symbolism: he sires a boy child whose name has been determined in advance; the name means “Quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil.” In this way, the prophet foretells the punishment in store for those who have formed a coalition against the kingdom of Judah. And in fact, Damascus and the provinces of northern Israel will fall into the hands of the Assyrians in 732 B.C.
  2. Isaiah 8:5 Jerusalem had but a single reservoir, the spring of Shiloah. Was this not perhaps a sign of the invisible protection of God? But when faced with the threat from Syria, the king and people sought a more obvious form of security. As a result, the flood waters of the Euphrates (the river, v. 7), that is, the hordes of the Assyrian invaders, will overwhelm Judah.
  3. Isaiah 8:12 The conspiracy is the league between Ahaz and Assyria; the conspiracy which the people fear is the Syro-Ephraimite coalition.
  4. Isaiah 8:14 Two houses of Israel: that is, the kingdoms of Judah and of Israel.
  5. Isaiah 8:23 Zebulun . . . Naphtali: Galilee.

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