29 Nov. Isaiah 7:1-17,8:3-4

29 Nov. Isaiah prophesies the birth of Immanuel

“Now Ahaz was the son of Jotham, who was the son of Uzziah. When Ahaz was king, Rezin king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah, the king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to fight against it. But they were not able to destroy the city.”

“Ahaz king of Judah received a message saying, ‘The armies of Aram and Israel have joined together.’ When Ahaz heard this, he and the people were frightened. They shook with fear like trees of the forest blown by the wind.”

“Then the LORD told Isaiah, ‘You and your son Shear-Jashub should go and meet Ahaz at the place where the water flows into the upper pool, on the road where people do their laundry. Tell Ahaz, “Be careful. Be calm and don’t worry. Don’t let those two men Rezin and Pekah son of Remaliah scare you.”’”

“’”Don’t be afraid of their anger or Aram’s anger, because they are like two barely burning sticks that are ready to go out. They have made plans against you, saying, ‘Let’s fight against Judah and tear it apart. We will divide the land for ourselves and make the son of Tabeel the new king of Judah.'’’”

“But I, the Lord GOD, say, ‘Their plan will not succeed; it will not happen, because Aram is led by the city of Damascus, and Damascus is led by its weak king, Rezin…’”

“Then the LORD spoke to Ahaz again, saying, ‘Ask for a sign from the LORD your God to prove to yourself that these things are true. It may be a sign from as deep as the place of the dead or as high as the heavens.’ But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask for a sign or test the LORD.’”

“Then Isaiah said, ‘Ahaz, descendant of David, listen carefully! Isn’t it bad enough that you wear out the patience of the people? Do you also have to wear out the patience of my God? The Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin* will be pregnant. She will have a son, and she will name him Immanuel [meaning ‘God is with us’]. He will be eating milk curds and honey when he learns to reject what is evil and choose what is good.’” [*The New Century Version has a footnote pointing out that the Hebrew word translated “virgin” simply means "a young woman".]

“You are afraid of the kings of Israel and Aram now. But before the child learns to choose good and reject evil, the lands of Israel and Aram will be empty. The LORD will bring troubled times to you, your people and to the people of your father’s family. They will be worse than anything that has happened since Israel separated from Judah. The LORD will bring the king of Assyria to fight against you…”

“Then I went to see the prophetess, and she became pregnant and had a son. The LORD told me, ‘Name the boy Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz [meaning ‘there will soon be looting and stealing’] because the king of Assyria will take away all the wealth and possessions of Damascus and Samaria before the boy learns to say ‘my father’ or ‘my mother’.’”

          (Isaiah 7:1-8, 10-17, 8:3-4)



Ahaz, king of Judah, was facing defeat and almost certain death when Aram (Syria) joined forces with Israel to attack the southern kingdom of Judah in 731BC. In this desperate situation, Isaiah was given a sign from God that he had not abandoned Judah.

He told the king that a young woman would shortly give birth to a son and name him ‘Immanuel’, meaning ‘God is with us’. Before the child had grown up, the danger from Syria and Israel would pass as both nations would be attacked and defeated by Assyria (see Isaiah 7:14-16).

A short time later, Isaiah’s young wife gave birth to a son, and Isaiah was reminded again that Syria would soon be defeated (see Isaiah 8:3-8). Damascus (the capital of Syria) was, indeed, destroyed by Assyria within a few months, and Israel was conquered nine years later in 722BC.

While the promise of a child named ‘Immanuel’ was fulfilled in the events around 731BC, Matthew, in his New Testament gospel, states that this prophesy of Isaiah was also looking ahead seven hundred years to the birth of Jesus Christ. He relates how Mary, through the power of the Holy Spirit, conceived Jesus. He then adds, “All this happened to bring about what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be pregnant. She will have a son, and they will name him Immanuel," which means "God is with us"." (Matthew 1:22-23)

The photo (by Alastair Carew-Cox) shows the Nativity window at Birmingham Cathedral.

You can read more about the historical background to Isaiah’s prophesy of the birth of ‘Immanuel’ @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/39-isaiah-predicts-the-fall-of-israel-amp-judah/isaiah-reassures-king-ahaz-of-gods-support/

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