ISAIAH - CHAPTER 8 "The Gentle Waters of Shiloah"


The Gentle Waters of Shiloah

Tuesday, August 20, 2013, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


Isa. 8:6:  "The people refuse the gentle waters of Shiloah that go softly, and they rejoice in Rezin and Ramallah’s son."


The gentle waters of Shiloah are figurative of the Holy Spirit flowing from Zion.

Literally the waters of Shiloah are beneath Zion running from Gihon to the pool of Siloam.


The people followed King Ahaz rather than the Word of the Lord spoken through His prophet.  In unbelief and worldly wisdom, they rejected the gentle waters of the pool of Shiloah.  The disobedient King and nation were to be inundated by the floodwaters of the Euphrates (Assyrian armies).  But the Lord promised to defeat the enemies of Judah, which He did. 


Sunday evening as I was teaching, a prophecy came forth about the waters from the bowels of the earth were gently and softly crying out to the Lord.  I heard this during a prophetic song raised in praise by Bet Amante.


At the time, I had not studied nor did I remember the symbolic words spoken by Isaiah about the gentle waters of Shiloah which flowed beneath Zion. 


I will attempt to teach or preach this message from Chapter 8 as the Holy Spirit leads me into the “deep”.


The symbolic action of Isaiah described in this chapter was intended to reinforce the comforting part of the message in chapter 7, that a remnant would be spared after King Ahaz’s rebellion against the revealed Word of God through the prophet. Namely the forthcoming utter defeat of the two small nations who were at that time attacking Judah.


As the Lord has called us to a study of Isaiah, the Holy Spirit continues to emphasize the remnant in this day who are to be spared further judgments upon the nations of the world.  These judgments will increase unless the people repent, obey the Word of God and  receive the provision and blessing of the Holy Spirit, here described as the gentle waters of Shiloah.


Three children are mentioned in connection with the Syrian-Israelite invasion of Judah.   All three of these portray emphasis in Isaiah’s preaching:


  1. Shear-jashub (a remnant shall return) (from Babylon).
  2. Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (“hasten boot, hurry prey”) - refers to the present deliverance from Rezin and Pekah.

(Both children are Isaiah’s sons)

  1. Immanuel (“God with us”), David’s son and Lord, the virgin-born child who would be the future glory of Judah and every nation!


Isaiah 8:18:  Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has give me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwells in Mt. Zion.”


This verse is fulfilled in Heb. 2:13.  The context of Heb. 2: 6-13 deals with the brethren of the Lord Jesus, those full-grown sons who will be brought to His glory, and those of whom he is not ashamed.  Isaiah and sons were signs and wonders to Israel.  The Messiah and His disciples were to be signs and wonders to the world.


Isaiah 8:1=4:  The Lord said unto me, ‘take a great roll, and write in it with a man’s pen concerning Mahershalalhashbaz’.  I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.  I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son.  Then said the Lord to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz.  For before the child shall have knowledge to cry.  My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.”


Here God spoke to Isaiah that he should prophesy and write it in a scroll that he was to have a son by the prophetess, his wife, and that he should name the child Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz as a sign to Israel.


This is the longest name in the Bible text.  However, there is another equally as long in the title of Psalm 56, “To the chief Musician upon Jonath-elem-rechokim (cry of the dove in the distant Terebinth trees).  (Sorry folks, I couldn’t resist the temptation for a little tongue-in-cheek).


Isaiah did as the Lord instructed and had the prophecy properly recorded before faithful witnesses who could affirm that the prophecy was given before he even went into the prophetess, so that Judah might believe it was of God.  This is described as an ordinary property deed in the name of the child, to symbolize the transfer of the riches of Damascus and Israel to the King of Assyria.


The 10-tribe kingdom of Samaria referred to in verse 4 were confederate with King Rezin of Damascus, Syria.  The 10-tribe kingdom refused to trust in Judah (referred to as the waters of Shiloah that go softly), but rejoiced in Syria.  Because of this it was predicted that the Assyrians from beyond the Euphrates would come and overflow their land like a flood.


The King of Assyria would also invade the land of Judah.  This was partially fulfilled the first time about 3-years later when Assyria destroyed Rezin, king of Syria, and then more completely fulfilled with Israel some 18-years afterward when the 10-tribes were taken captive.  Some remained and were taken captive with Manasseh at the end of the 65-years prophesied in chapter 7:8.


This was fulfilled about 21 months from the giving of this prophecy---9 months for the child to be born, and 12 months after its birth; or in the 3rd year of Ahaz.


Isaiah 8:5-8:  The Lord spoke also unto me again saying, ‘Forasmuch as this people refuses the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Ramallah’s son; therefore, behold the Lord brings upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory; and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks.  He shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of the land, O Immanuel.”


So what do I conclude the prophecy which came forth Sunday evening means for us in the 21st Century?  Well I don’t know, but I am inclined to believe, the Lord is again emphasizing the “call of the gentle waters (Holy Spirit) of Shiloah that go softly” to the people of the earth.  The gentle waters of Shiloah literally are the waters beneath Zion running from Gihon to the pool of Siloam.  The waters here are figurative of the Holy Spirit flowing from Zion.  This further symbolizes God’s supply and protection for his people.


(The Siloam tunnel was not constructed until a generation later.)


The Assyrian forces invited into Palestine by Ahaz, would know no boundaries, but would flood Judah too.  Judah is described as “the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel” – The Kingdom of God-ruled by Immanuel).


Isaiah 8: 11-12:  The Lord spoke to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, ‘Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, a confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.”


Again another confirmation from the prophetic word from this past Sunday evening where we are commanded to not allow fear to cause us to miss the “new” realm we are being catapulted into in this day for those who will walk in faith, humility and obedience without offense.


In this section, we have the account of how the prophet turns from his more public ministry to devote himself to the small circle of believing ones.  The prophet then turns to his children, the spiritual children who are faithful witnesses, and his own children.  Jehovah declares to Isaiah that as the people have refused the gentle method of His persuasion, they are now to be dealt with by the overwhelming method of His judgment.


In the midst of the uproar, Jehovah is to be a sanctuary for those who trust Him, and a rock of offense for the disobedient.


This church gets hammered from this pulpit about refusing to take offense.  The Lord is a rock of offense for the disobedient.  If we are walking with a pure heart trusting the Lord, He will give us the wisdom to deal with all who oppose the Lord’s guidance and correction.   The Lord is releasing to the mature a new grace of Wisdom for this time.



The Hebrew for associate here is “raa” and is translated various ways; associate yourselves; make friendships; make confederacies; do your worst; tremble; know this; rage away; etc. 


The sense of the passage is that regardless of how the enemies of Judah shall join together and make alliances; such enemies shall be destroyed; for God is with us and will protect Judah (the Kingdom of God – where Immanuel reigns). 


“Put forth your best effort, you nations; you shall be destroyed.  Arm for the struggle; you shall be shattered.  Form your plot; it shall not stand.  Lay your plans; they shall not prevail for God is with us.”


Isaiah 8:13-18:  “Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.  He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  Many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broke, and be snared, and be taken.  Bind up the testimony; seal the law among my disciples.  I will wait upon the Lord, that hides his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.  Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has give me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwells in Mt. Zion.”


Isaiah was then instructed to bind the testimony and seal the law and his children are to be for signs and wonders.  He then turns to the instruction of this small group of disciples, first describing the false way of seeking familiar spirits and wizards, with disastrous results, and then delivering to them the message of hope.


In Verse 17, “I will look for Him” is the same as “I will put my trust in Him." Many did stumble and fall and were destroyed by rejecting the message of Isaiah as well as the future rejection of their Messiah.


Familiar Spirits is a teaching unto itself.  There are those who seek familiar spirits through wizards and witches, spirits which peep and mutter (and imitate departed loved ones, thus claiming communication with the dead).  Should not a people seek the living God instead?


Go to the law and to the testimony of the written Word of God if you want light.  These do not speak according to the written word of God because there is no light in them.


This was the last sin of Saul.  For centuries many nations and kings sought guidance from the oracle of Apollo at Delphi, Greece, and the priestesses there.  The vulgate renders “by Pythons and diviners”.  A Python among the Greeks and Romans denoted one that had the spirit of prophesying; it was particularly applied to the priestess of Delphi.


8:19:  “When they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards, that peep, and mutter; should not a people seek unto their God for the living to the dead?  To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them


This is just one of the reasons, people of God that this church stays faithful and diligent to the Word of God as the final word of prophecy.


“Chirp” and “Chatter” means to make a nose by the gentle opening of the mouth.  By such a method came chirps and whisperings which the ancients ascribed to the departed dead.  It was believed that departed spirits did not speak out openly and clearly, but with an indistinct, low, gentle, suppressed voice.  Bodily motions of the mediums gave the impression of calling the dead from under the earth.


Isa. 8:21-22:  They shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry; and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God and look upward.  They shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.”


Those who do not live in the light of God’s word will live and walk in spiritual darkness.  They shall wander here and there through Immanuel’s land hungry and oppressed by the judgments of God through other nations; fretting themselves in spite of their trust in demon spirits who promise them help; and they will curse the king and their god for their miseries.  They shall look up to heaven and down to the earth for help and shall find none; they shall have trouble and spiritual darkness and anguish to the point of despair.  Hardly bestead” means that the people who look to evil spirits will be so confused and in such darkness that they will be beset with many troubles and suffer many hardships.


The Lord has consistently used the Assyrian as his instrument of judgment.  The United States of America has been attacked and is now at war with the Assyrians.  They are doing every thing within their power to take over this nation.  If we do not turn to the Lord and trust Him and His provision, their aggression will increase because our government leaders have joined in confederacy with the Assyrians for mammon.


It is my persuasion that the Lord of Hosts who dwells in Mt. Zion (the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven) is again speaking to us through the Words penned by Isaiah as the Lord spoke to him gently calling the people of the world to turn to “Immanuel” and trust in Him.  If we will do this instead of trusting in confederacies of governments, nations, government agencies, and religious power structures, we will have all we need provided for us through the gentle waters of Shiloah which flow softly from beneath Mt. Zion.


One of the words Pastor Roxanne Alexander spoke to me this past Sunday morning comes to mind, she said three rivers were going to join with our river causing the river to rise.  In order to flow with our church’s “gentle waters of Shiloah”, they, too will have to flow “softly”.  When natural rivers come together, there is turbulence until they become one river.  It is my belief as the “rivers of God” begin to flow together, we will flow softly as the gentle waters of Shiloah and THE RIVER OF GOD will rise higher and higher.


Carolyn Sissom

Scripture from K.J.V.

I entered into the labors of F. F. Bruce Bible Commentary, F. F. Payne.