ISAIAH - CHAPTER 7 - Isaiah Confronts Ahaz Print E-mail



Tuesday Morning Bible Study, August 13, 2013, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


The Present Truth message of Isaiah 7 is not so much about Syria, Ephraim and Assyria, although the spirits over those nations under the exotic names of Rezin, Pekah, Tabeel and the son of Remaliah are still the ruling powers and principalities over those nations. 


The message is that Ahaz feared the enemies of Judah more than he feared God and refused to listen to the voice of God through His prophet, Isaiah.  In his rebellion against God’s Word  through Isaiah, judgment came upon Judah.  In the closing verses, Isaiah proceeds to describe the invasion of the Assyrians.


The outward failure of Isaiah’s ministry, predicted at his call to office, was manifest a few years later at the time of the Syria-Ephraim War, which is the setting for this chapter.


King Ahaz of Judah proved blind to political realities and to the Word of God.   King Ahaz is fearful of the confederacy of the kings of Syria and Ephraim against Judah.  The purpose was to remove Judah’s line of kings established by Divine Covenant---the extermination of the Messianic seed.


In the midst of their evil maneuvers, the Lord declares through Isaiah, the great Emmanuel prophecy.


Ahaz was set over Israel to guard the nation and people through whom the Lord raised up and kept to bring forth the Messiah.  His job was not only to guard the nation under the direction of the Lord, but also to guard the Messianic seed.    


About 735 B.C., Ahaz faced the coalition of Rezin, King of Syria, and Pekah, King of Israel.  They advanced against Jerusalem to punish Ahaz for not aligning himself with them to check the growing power of Assyria, who was relentlessly and boldly pressing toward the Mediterranean.  Ahaz and Judah were fearful and hard pressed.  Rezin and Pekah’s plan  was to  replace Ahaz with a Syrian nominee, Tabeel.


Isaiah, however, far from being intimidated had nothing but contempt for the petty kingdoms to the north.  Even the spelling of the names Rezin and Tabeel were deliberately inaccurate and derisive.  Tabeal means roughly, “good-for-nothing”.   His graphic phrase “smoldering stubs of firewood” is plainly contemptuous.   


Isaiah was sent by God and the scene of the confrontation between Ahaz and Isaiah lay just outside the city, on the east.


  The issue, “Where should help be found, in Assyria or in God”?


Isaiah 7: 3-7: “Then said the Lord to Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, you, and Shearjshub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s fields.  Say to him, take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be faint-hearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah.  Syrian, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah have taken evil counsel against you, saying, Let us go up against Judah and vex (TERRORIZE)us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal.  Thus says the Lord God, ‘It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass…”


Isaiah was sent with his son, Shearjshub (“the remnant shall return”) unto Ahaz to persuade him to trust in God, who had already decreed the destruction of Rezin, Pekah and their plans.


The name of Shearjshub now took on a special significance.  Any future revolt against Assyria would invite invasion and deportation by way of punishment.   Until now Judah had scarcely attracted Assyria’s attention.   But frightened by the Syria-Ephraim invasion, Ahaz now proposed to solicit Assyria’s aid, thereby making Judah a vassal of the imperial power.


The Lord God is the God of Judah and Jerusalem and no King thereof had the authority to place Judah and Jerusalem under another authority.


The purpose of Isaiah was to dissuade Ahaz from seeking Assyrian support, and to persuade him to share Isaiah’s own firm faith in Israel’s God.  First he uttered God’s solemn promise that the warlike intentions of Damascus and Samaria would come to nothing. 


Verse 8 is difficult.  The mention of sixty-five years is not easy to explain.  The general sense seems to be that Rezin and Pekah may have the full resources of their kingdoms behind them, but they are still powerless in reality.  It may also be implied that Rezin and Pekah are the legitimate rulers only of their own realms---and that Ahaz is the legitimate ruler of Jerusalem and Judah.


9b: “…If you will not believe, surely you will not be established.”



10-12:  The Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, ‘Ask for a sign of the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above.’  But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord.”


By now Ahaz has made up his mind to appeal to Assyria for military assistance, and that is why the show of piety.  He declined to seek a sign from God.  The last thing he wanted was tangible proof, by a sign such as lightning or earthquake, that he had made the wrong decision.  He knew any sign from God would almost certainly be an embarrassment to him.  Thus he rejected God.


God chose to provide a sign, which could not be overlooked by the king or his advisers and entourage of the house of David.  The sign was to be that of the birth of Immanuel.


13-16:  He said, Hear you now, O house of David; is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also?  Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good.  For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that you abhor shall be forsaken of both her kings.”


The most important truth here is the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, Immanuel, “God is with us”.   The day would come when a virgin would conceive and bear the Son whose name would signify the final and definitive salvation of His people (Mt. 1:21).  Then at last God’s presence would be with His people in a very different and more wonderful way in the abiding presence of the Son of God.  The Word became flesh to bring an everlasting defeat to Satan and the old man.


Child= a royal child, for he was eating the royal food (Canaan or Kingdom food of milk and honey),


In the short-term, a sign was to confront Ahaz.  Before nine months could elapse the Syrian and Israelite invaders would have departed so dramatically that many mothers in Judah would name their new-born sons, Immanuel, ‘God is with us”.  The Syria-Ephraim invasion would have vanished and it would be self-evident that Isaiah’s prophecy was right-on with God.  However, the God who has acknowledged that He is with his people was purposing to bring grave trouble on them, through the agency of the Assyrians.  This threat would be fulfilled in a few years before the children now in the womb could grow in years to discriminate between good and evil.


This chapter ends with four short oracles which Isaiah may have uttered on different occasions, but which together serve to amplify the threat of verse 17.


The Lord shall bring upon you, and upon your people, and upon your father’s house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria.  It shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.” 


Fly = Satan is Beelzebub, the Lord of flies (Ex. 8:21-24). Armies of Egypt that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt (Coptic land, shut in or restrained).

Hiss = to call by a whistle.

Bee = Armies of Assyria

Assyria = the hired razor


This will be a double invasion in the desolate valleys and in the holes of the rocks and upon all thorns (cares of this world), and upon all bushes (pastures).  In the same day shall Jehovah shave with a razor (a sign of disgrace and punishment) the head and the hair of the feet.  It shall also consume the beard.  It shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep (symbol of poverty); and it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter.  Butter and Honey shall every one eat who is left in the land (the remnant).  It shall come to pass in that day that every place shall be where there were a thousand vines at a thousand shekels; it shall even be for briers and thorns (cursed). 


With arrow and with bows shall men come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns.   If you went to slopes once hoed, you would see only thorns and thistles, a cattle-run and sheep-walk.


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.


Scripture from K.J.V. – I entered into the labors of F. F. Bruce Bible Commentary, David F. Payne.

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