KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
Isaiah, the son of Amoz, was reared in aristocratic surroundings in the land of Judah, and ministered during the reigns of: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh. Isaiah was called to be a prophet about 740 B.C., the year Uzziah died. His last dated ministry was in 701 B.C., although most of Isaiah 40-66 must have been written during the reign of Manasseh before Isaiah’s martyrdom around 680 B.C.
Isaiah is considered the most literary of the writing prophets, and he incorporated vivid word pictures in his prophecies. His writings contain both prose and poetry, and the beauty of his words has been an inspiration down through the ages. Isaiah’s primary message was to Judah, although he also wrote to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, which was taken into captivity during his ministry. Isaiah also directed a portion of his prophecy to nations that surrounded Israel and Judah at the time.
The main point of Isaiah’s writing in chapters 1-12 was to warn of judgment and to call the people of Judah and Israel back to God. In chapter 6, he described his personal call. Then, in chapters 7-11, he foretold of the Messiah and entreated the people to return to salvation and holiness. Isaiah promised a time of restoration for the Jewish people and also a time of peace for the world in the distant future.
King Ahaz of Judah (7th chapter) was informed that Rezin, King of Syria had joined with Israel to attack Judah in about 734 B.C. Isaiah was instructed by God to go with Shearjashub (his son whose name meant “a remnant will return” — a reminder of God’s mercy) to meet with King Ahaz. They were to meet the King “at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field.” The conduit of the upper pool refers to the Gihon Spring, which was east of Jerusalem and was the city’s main water source. The fuller’s field was used to lay fresh woven cloth or other clothing to dry and whiten in the sun.
When Isaiah and his son met with King Ahaz, the prophet told Ahaz that God would not allow Judah to be taken over at that time. Although Judah was at other times attacked during Isaiah’s ministry, the land did not fall into captivity during Isaiah’s lifetime.
As often happens, the people resented Isaiah’s message of admonition and judgment, and tradition tells us Isaiah suffered a martyr’s death at the hands of Manasseh, King of Judah around 680 B.C.
God used Isaiah to expound upon judgment for sin; of salvation to the repentant; sanctification, a cleansing work; the promised Messiah; and restoration to the outcast.