Isaiah 1:1
(1) The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz . . .--The term "vision," as descriptive of a prophet's work (1Samuel 3:1), is the correlative of the old term "seer," as applied to the prophet himself (1Samuel 9:9). The latter fell into disuse, probably because the pretenders to the clairvoyance which it implied brought it into discredit. The prophet, however, did not cease to be a "seer;" and to see visions was still one of the highest forms of the gift of the spirit of Jehovah (Joel 2:28). It describes the state, more or less ecstatic, in which the prophet sees what others do not see, the things that are yet to come, the unseen working of the eternal laws of God. As compared with "the word of the Lord," it indicates a higher intensity of the ecstatic state; but the two terms were closely associated, and, as in Isaiah 2:1, a man was said to see "the word of the Lord." Judah and Jerusalem are named as the centre, though not the limit, of the prophet's work.

Verse 1. - TITLE OF THE WORK. It is questioned whether the title can be regarded as Isaiah's, or as properly belonging to the work, and it is suggested that it is rather a heading invented by a collector who brought together into a volume such prophecies of Isaiah as were known to him, the collection being a much smaller one than that which was made ultimately. In favor of this view it is urged

(1) that the prophecies, as we have them, do not all "concern Judah and Jerusalem;"

(2) that there is a mistake in the title, which Isaiah could not have made, none of the prophecies belonging to the reign of Uzziah. But it may be answered, that, in the scriptural sense, all and Jerusalem, prophecy "concerns Judah and Jerusalem," i.e. the people and city of God; and, further, that it is quite impossible to prove that no part of the "vision" was seen in the reign of Uzziah. There are no means of knowing whether Isaiah collected his prophecies into a volume himself or whether the collection was the work of others. In either case, the existing title must be regarded as designed for the entire work. All the earlier prophecies - those of Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, and Zephaniah - have some title introducing them. Verse 1. - The vision (comp. Obadiah 1:1; Nahum 1:1). The term is probably used in a collective sense, but is also intended to suggest the intrinsic unity of the entire body of prophecies put forth by Isaiah. As prophets were originally called "seers" (1 Samuel 9:9), so prophecy was called "vision;" and this latter use continued long after the other (comp. 1 Chronicles 17:15; Ezekiel 12:27; Daniel 9:23; Obadiah 1:1, etc.). Isaiah the son of Amoz (comp. Isaiah 2:1; Isaiah 13:1; Isaiah 37:2; etc.; 2 Kings 20:1; 2 Chronicles 32:32). The signification of the name Isaiah is "the salvation of Jehovah." The name Amen (Amots) is not to be confused with Amos ('Amos), who seems to have been a contemporary (Amos 1:1). Concerning Judah and Jerusalem. The prophecies of Isaiah concern primarily the kingdom of Judah, not that of Israel. They embrace a vast variety of nations and countries (see especially Isaiah 13, 15. - 21, 23, 47.); but these nations and countries are spoken of "only because of the relation in which they stand to Judah and Jerusalem" (Kay), or at any rate to the people of God, symbolized under those names. Jerusalem occupies a prominent place in the prophecies (see Isaiah 1:8, 21; Isaiah 3:16-26; Isaiah 4:3-6; Isaiah 29. 1-8; 31:4-9, etc.). In the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Uzziah (or Azariah, as he is sometimes called) reigned fifty-two years - probably from B.C. 811 to B.C. 759; Jotham sixteen years - from B.C. 759 to B.C. 743; Ahaz also sixteen years - from B.C. 743 to B.C. 727; and Hezekiah twenty-nine years - from B.C. 727 to B.C. 698. Isaiah probably prophesied only in the later years of Uzziah, say from B.C. 760; but as he certainly continued his prophetical career tin Sennacherib's invasion of Judaea (Isaiah 37:5), which was not earlier than B.C. 705, he must have exercised the prophet's office for at least fifty-six years. The lowest possible estimate of the duration of his ministry is forty-seven years - from the last year of Uzziah, B.C. 759, to the fourteenth of Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:5). The highest known to us is sixty-four years - from the fourth year before Uzziah's death ( B.C. 762) to the last year of Hezekiah ( B.C. 698). (See 'Speaker's Commentary,' vol. 5. p. 5.)

1:1-9 Isaiah signifies, The salvation of the Lord; a very suitable name for this prophet, who prophesies so much of Jesus the Saviour, and his salvation. God's professing people did not know or consider that they owed their lives and comforts to God's fatherly care and kindness. How many are very careless in the affairs of their souls! Not considering what we do know in religion, does us as much harm, as ignorance of what we should know. The wickedness was universal. Here is a comparison taken from a sick and diseased body. The distemper threatens to be mortal. From the sole of the foot even to the head; from the meanest peasant to the greatest peer, there is no soundness, no good principle, no religion, for that is the health of the soul. Nothing but guilt and corruption; the sad effects of Adam's fall. This passage declares the total depravity of human nature. While sin remains unrepented, nothing is done toward healing these wounds, and preventing fatal effects. Jerusalem was exposed and unprotected, like the huts or sheds built up to guard ripening fruits. These are still to be seen in the East, where fruits form a large part of the summer food of the people. But the Lord had a small remnant of pious servants at Jerusalem. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed. The evil nature is in every one of us; only Jesus and his sanctifying Spirit can restore us to spiritual health.The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz,.... This is either the particular title of the prophecy contained in this single chapter, as Jarchi and Abarbinel think; seeing the second chapter Isaiah 2:1 begins with another title, "the word that Isaiah saw", &c. or rather it is the common title of the whole book; since it is the vision which Isaiah saw in the reign of four kings, as is later affirmed; and so is no other than in general "the prophecy of Isaiah", as the Targum renders it; called a "vision", because it was delivered to him, at least the greatest part of it, in a vision; and because he had a clear perception of the things he prophesied of, as well as delivered them in a clear and perspicuous manner to others: hence the Jews say (m), that Moses and Isaiah excelled the other prophets, seeing they understood what they prophesied of. The name of Isaiah, the penman of this book, signifies either "the Lord shall save", according to Hilleras (n); or "the salvation of the Lord", as Abarbinel, Jerom, and others; and is very suitable to the message he was sent with to the people of God; to acquaint them that the Lord had provided a Saviour for them, and that he would come and save them. He is said to be "the son of Amoz"; not of Amos the prophet; the names differ; the name of the prophet that stands among the twelve lesser prophets is "Amos"; the name of Isaiah's parent is "Amoz". It is a tradition with the Jews (o), that Amoz, the father of Isaiah, was brother to Amaziah, king of Judah, so that Isaiah was of the royal family. Abarbinei endeavours to confirm it from that greatness of mind, freedom and boldness, he used in reproofs, and from his polite and courtly way of speaking; and this is mentioned by Aben Ezra as a reason why the Jews did not harm him, as they did Jeremiah: but this tradition is not equally regarded by the Jewish writers; and though Kimchi takes notice of it, yet he says the genealogy of Isaiah is not known, nor of what tribe he was. If he was of the seed royal, this is an instance of God's calling some that are noble, not only by his grace, but to office in his church; and it is with a view to this tradition, no doubt, that Jerom (p) calls him "vir nobilis", a "nobleman". It is also a rule with the Jews (q), that where the name of a prophet's father is mentioned, it is a sign that his father was a prophet; and so they say this Amoz was, though the king's brother; and that he is the same with the man of God that came to Amaziah (r), 2 Chronicles 25:7 but Aben Ezra suggests, that this rule does not always hold good.

Which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem; that is, chiefly and principally; for though Ephraim, or the ten tribes of Israel, are mentioned, yet very rarely; and though there are prophecies concerning other nations in it, yet these relate to the deliverance of the Jews from them, or to God's vengeance on them for their sake. Judah is put for the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and is particularly mentioned, because the Messiah, so much spoken of in this book, was to spring from thence, whose title is the Lion of the tribe of Judah; and though Jerusalem was in it, yet that is also particularly taken notice of, because not only the temple, the place of divine worship, was in it, and it was the metropolis of the land; but because the Messiah, when he came, was often to appear here, and from thence the Gospel was to go forth into all the world; and this was a figure of the Gospel church state to the end of the world, which often bears this name: and many things are said in this prophecy not only concerning the coming of Christ, but of the Gospel dispensation, and of various things that should come to pass in it; concerning the glory of the church in the latter day, the calling of the Gentiles, the conversion of the Jews, the destruction of antichrist, and the new heavens and new earth.

In the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah: if Isaiah began to prophesy in the first year of Uzziah's reign, as Kimchi and Abarbinel think, relying pretty much on 2 Chronicles 26:22 and lived out the reign of Hezekiah, as he must, if he was put to death by Manasseh, according to the tradition of the Jews, he must prophesy a hundred and twelve or thirteen years; for Uzziah reigned fifty two years, Jotham sixteen, Ahaz sixteen, and Hezekiah twenty nine; but as this seems to begin his prophecy too soon, since so small a part of it was in or concerns Uzziah's reign; so it seems too late to fix the date of his prophecy from the year that King Uzziah died, when he had the vision in Isaiah 6:1 and desired to be sent of the Lord; which is the opinion of Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and others; but Dr. Lightfoot's opinion is more probable, who places the beginning of his prophecy in the twenty third year of Uzziah; though perhaps it may be sufficient to allow him only ten years of Uzziah's reign: and as he lived through the two reigns of Jotham and Ahaz, so it is certain that he lived through more than half of the reign of Hezekiah; his whole reign was twenty nine years; and therefore it was when he had reigned fourteen years that he was taken sick, and then fifteen years more were added to his days; and the year after this came the messengers from Babylon to congratulate him on his recovery; all which Isaiah gives an account of Isaiah 38:1 but how long he lived and prophesied after this cannot be said: had his days been prolonged to the times of Manasseh, it would have been written, as Aben Ezra observes, and who pays but little regard to the tradition of the Jews concerning Isaiah's being put to death by Manasseh; if the thing, says he, is "cabala", a tradition, it is truth; but he seems to call in question its reality; however, it is not to be depended on.

(m) R. Eleazar in Yalkut, pars 2. fol. 118. 2.((n) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 319. (o) T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 10. 2. & Sota, fol. 10. 2. & Seder Olam Zuta, p. 104. Juchasin, fol. 12. 1. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 11. 2.((p) Ad Paulam, fol. 8. M. tom. 3.((q) T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 15. 1.((r) Kimchi in 2 Chronicles 25.7.

Song of Solomon 8:14
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