Commentary on Isaiah

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Posts 29
RMC | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Dec 17 2011 2:35 PM

I'm going to be starting a study on Isaiah in the new year, and was wondering if you have any recommendations for commentaries.    What I'm looking for is something that gives cultural background and insights into the Hebrew text (preferably written in a way that someone who doesn't know Hebrew would understand). My preference is a commentary that is not heavy on application, but gives contextual information written in a way a layperson could understand.  Any thoughts?

Posts 382
Sacrifice | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 17 2011 2:47 PM

The are several, but this one .... Young's is excellent

http://www.logos.com/product/3637/the-book-of-isaiah

Then there is Motyer

http://www.logos.com/product/601/the-prophecy-of-isaiah

NAC, Cornerstone, and  WBC

CTS Commentary Recommendations:

http://www.covenantseminary.edu/academics/library/guides/commentaries-isaiah/

 

Yours In Christ

Posts 6557
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 17 2011 3:01 PM

The best commentary on Isaiah I've read is the one by Edward J. Young The Book of Isaiah 3 Volumes

Excellent commentary!

DAL

Posts 5148
DIsciple II | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 17 2011 3:03 PM

RMC:
I'm going to be starting a study on Isaiah in the new year, and was wondering if you have any recommendations for commentaries.

I am not sure if this is of any help, you may have already come across it:

http://www.logos.com/Isaiah

It's the Logos Product Guide for all things Isaiah.

http://www.bestcommentaries.com/isaiah/

is also helpful, it does say it indicates what is available in Logos format.  What is useful, besides a community based rating, is that it gives an indication of whether the commentary is at a level of Technical, Pastoral, Devotional or Special Study.

Maybe if you can given an indication of whether you are purely doing personal study, preparing a sermon series or writing  a paper etc it will be able to help those who are best equipped to give more specific recommendations to better serve you.

Posts 29
RMC | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 17 2011 3:36 PM

Andrew McKenzie:

I am not sure if this is of any help, you may have already come across it:

http://www.logos.com/Isaiah

It's the Logos Product Guide for all things Isaiah.

http://www.bestcommentaries.com/isaiah/

is also helpful, it does say it indicates what is available in Logos format.  What is useful, besides a community based rating, is that it gives an indication of whether the commentary is at a level of Technical, Pastoral, Devotional or Special Study.

Maybe if you can given an indication of whether you are purely doing personal study, preparing a sermon series or writing  a paper etc it will be able to help those who are best equipped to give more specific recommendations to better serve you.

That is very helpful - thank you!  :)  I've been looking at Young's commentary - that one caught my eye earlier.

This is just personal study - the class I'm a part of will be spending 2012 studying Isaiah.  We focus on inductive study, so we tend to focus primarily on the text and move on to the commentaries to complement our study, gain extra insights, and check our own understanding. While I am currently not planning on leading the study, I do like to purchase resources with leading studies in mind as that is a possibility in the future.

Posts 1674
Paul N | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 17 2011 3:40 PM

Andrew McKenzie:

I am not sure if this is of any help, you may have already come across it:

http://www.logos.com/Isaiah

great link Andrew... now I've got to check the links for other books!

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 17 2011 6:30 PM

5 Solas:

The are several, but this one .... Young's is excellent

http://www.logos.com/product/3637/the-book-of-isaiah

I wouldn't trust Young to take out the garbage.  His introduction was so annoying that I was tempted to throw it against the wall.  I would suggest Sweeny's work on Is 1-39 in the FOTL series.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 648
Frank Sauer | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 17 2011 6:38 PM

It's not a commentary but I just picked up Encountering the Book of Isaiah, part of the Encountering Biblical Studies collection. It written by Bryan E Beyer. Love to hear some input from the scholars on it, others in the series have been a nice addition to study and use in our Bible College.

Posts 2828
Michael Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 17 2011 7:01 PM

bestcommentaries.com ranks John Oswalt's commentary on Isaiah in the NICOT as the best by far.   They rank nobody else within 5 points of him on their scale.  That is significant. 

In my opinion that is the truth.  It is a tremendous work from a great scholar.  I am probably biased because John Oswalt was one of my professors in seminary.  I have never known anyone who combined such scholarship with genuine deep spirituality and piety. 

By all means get your hands on Oswalt's two volumes on Isaiah.  I may be a little biased on this one, but I am a lot right on it.

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

Posts 249
Giovanni Baggio | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 17 2011 7:09 PM

George Somsel:

5 Solas:

The are several, but this one .... Young's is excellent

http://www.logos.com/product/3637/the-book-of-isaiah

 

I wouldn't trust Young to take out the garbage.  His introduction was so annoying that I was tempted to throw it against the wall.  I would suggest Sweeny's work on Is 1-39 in the FOTL series.

Do you not like Young because he doesn't present Isaiah from a "Millennial" "Pre-millennial" point of view? I agree with others who like Young he's great and won't feed you lies like other premillennial/millennial liars do.  Just face it Millennialism and premillennialism are just 2 dangerous -isms that will get your soul damned in hell for ever.  

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 17 2011 7:21 PM

Giovanni Baggio:
Do you not like Young because he doesn't present Isaiah from a "Millennial" "Pre-millennial" point of view? I agree with others who like Young he's great and won't feed you lies like other premillennial/millennial liars do.  Just face it Millennialism and premillennialism are just 2 dangerous -isms that will get your soul damned in hell for ever.  

You haven't been paying attention.  I'm not a premillennialist.  I'm amillenial.  I don't like Young because he's an idiot.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 1374
nicky crane | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 17 2011 8:16 PM

George Somsel:
I don't like Young because he's an idiot

George, you're writing like a curmudgeon! I find Young a bit verbose, but I usually look him up if I have a question about Isaiah which the other commentaries don't answer.  I guess it's a  matter of taste.

Posts 1501
Josh | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 17 2011 9:53 PM

Giovanni Baggio:

Do you not like Young because he doesn't present Isaiah from a "Millennial" "Pre-millennial" point of view? I agree with others who like Young he's great and won't feed you lies like other premillennial/millennial liars do.  Just face it Millennialism and premillennialism are just 2 dangerous -isms that will get your soul damned in hell for ever.  

You might have a point here. I hold a premillennial view AND I am a liar.

 

EDIT: I forgot to post the commentary that I thought is good. Though it is brief, I think the Bible Knowledge Commentary is pretty good on Isaiah. But then again I am pretty bias. Wink EBC is good too.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 17 2011 10:34 PM

Michael Childs:
By all means get your hands on Oswalt's two volumes on Isaiah.  I may be a little biased on this one, but I am a lot right on it.

Oswalt is excellent, if rather meaty. He's less dogmatic than Young, and also less stodgy, but demands more from the reader. Yet he's also available in the NIV Application series, which is much more accessible and applied. Unfortunately both his commentaries are only available in sets.

http://www.logos.com/product/5461/niv-application-commentary-old-testament-prophets

http://www.logos.com/product/5185/the-new-international-commentary-on-the-old-and-new-testament

Here are two screenshots for comparison. The first shows Oswalt's NICOT on the right, and Young on the left. The second shows two pages from Oswalt's NIVAC. The format from that commentary is to split comment into three sections, so you need to see an extract from each section for a true comparison.

Posts 382
Sacrifice | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 18 2011 5:32 AM

 

Giovanni Baggio:

George Somsel:

5 Solas:

The are several, but this one .... Young's is excellent

http://www.logos.com/product/3637/the-book-of-isaiah

I wouldn't trust Young to take out the garbage.  His introduction was so annoying that I was tempted to throw it against the wall.  I would suggest Sweeny's work on Is 1-39 in the FOTL series.

Do you not like Young because he doesn't present Isaiah from a "Millennial" "Pre-millennial" point of view? I agree with others who like Young he's great and won't feed you lies like other premillennial/millennial liars do.  Just face it Millennialism and premillennialism are just 2 dangerous -isms that will get your soul damned in hell for ever.  

Though I am A-Mil, I still like Young for the scholarship he brings to the table. I read 'outside' of my theological persuation as often there is A LOT of good stuff in their content overall. I never agree 100% with ANY commentary. As matter a fact, as I mature in grace and truth, 10 years from now I will find some things I do not even agree with in my own  ..... Always Reforming. Additionally, you may well note that two of Young's books are required reading at WTS: "Thy Word is Truth" and "My Servants the Prophets." Just because we may disagree with a person somewhere along the line does not mean we need to throw everything they have said to the wind. I have an idea that through Paul withstood Peter to the face (Gal. 2), he still listened and learned from him ....

As Mathison states:

Edward J. Young was one of the founding faculty at Westminster Theological Seminary and taught Old Testament there for many years. His massive three-volume commentary on Isaiah is something of a modern classic among Reformed students of Scripture. It has been replaced in the NICOT series by the fine work of Oswalt, but it should not be relegated to the dust bin. There is much of value in these volumes.

Yours In Christ

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 18 2011 5:50 AM

5 Solas:

Though I am A-Mil, I still like Young for the scholarship he brings to the table. I read 'outside' of my theological persuation as often there is A LOT of good stuff in their content overall. I never agree 100% with ANY commentary. As matter a fact, as I mature in grace and truth, 10 years from now I will find some things I do not even agree with in my own  ..... Always Reforming. 

My opposition to Young stems not from any eschatological position.  My comment on that was simply in response to the Bag's remark.  I rather oppose his view of scripture and the tediousness with which he writes.  If you would care to post his remarks on Is 7.14, I think that will well demonstrate the problem.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 382
Sacrifice | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 18 2011 6:03 AM

George Somsel:

5 Solas:

Though I am A-Mil, I still like Young for the scholarship he brings to the table. I read 'outside' of my theological persuation as often there is A LOT of good stuff in their content overall. I never agree 100% with ANY commentary. As matter a fact, as I mature in grace and truth, 10 years from now I will find some things I do not even agree with in my own  ..... Always Reforming. 

 

My opposition to Young stems not from any eschatological position.  My comment on that was simply in response to the Bag's remark.  I rather oppose his view of scripture and the tediousness with which he writes.  If you would care to post his remarks on Is 7.14, I think that will well demonstrate the problem.

Yes, you made this clear above - however I was not responding to your assertion, I was answering GB.

I do not know how to attach texts and all to this forum, but it is online:

http://www.dabar.org/SemReview/Young-Isaiah7.htm

 

Yours In Christ

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 18 2011 9:29 AM

5 Solas:

I do not know how to attach texts and all to this forum, but it is online:

http://www.dabar.org/SemReview/Young-Isaiah7.htm

 

Young attempts to establish that Isaiah was referring to the birth of Jesus.  Shazzam! Lightning  He knows it all.  Am I saying that God could not have put such in his mind?  No, that is not what I am saying.  God is God and can do whatever he jolly well pleases, but that is not the way he operates.  We find that God is faithful and maintains the "rules" by which the universe he has created operates.  First, it should be noted that this is designated as a sign.  A sign which signifies nothing is not a sign.  OK, here is a portion of his statement

Edward J Young:
Why too does not Isaiah make clear who this child is to whom he is referring? From the meager data which he gives there is not sufficient warrant for saying that the child is his own. And certainly there is no warrant for saying that the child is Hezekiah, for as Jerome long ago pointed out, Hezekiah had already been born at this time. What warrant would the wife of Isaiah have for calling a child of hers Immanuel, supposing that there were some child born to her in addition to Shear-jashub and Maher-shalal-hash-baz, and assuming that this particular child was the sign intended? And what warrant would the wife of Ahaz have for making a similar assumption about the birth of Hezekiah? For if the sign was to have meaning, not only the mother of the child know by direct revelation from God that her own child is the precise sign intended by God, but the nation generally must also know this fact so that it can properly appreciate the sign. Otherwise, the child might be born and the nation would have no means of knowing, unless further revelation were given to it through the prophet, that one particular child was the sign intended by God.

Note that Young attempts to pooh-pooh the idea that Isaiah could have been referencing Hezekiah by stating categorically that Hezekiah had already been born.  But had he?  The time-line at this point is totally unclear.  The AYBD notes

AYBD:
The precise timing of Ahaz’s accession is obscured by the conflicting references in 2 Kgs 16:2 and 2 Chr 28:1 when compared with the contradictory information about the death of Ahaz and the accession of Hezekiah (2 Kgs 16:19–20; 18:1). If Hezekiah succeeded Ahaz when he was 25 years old (2 Kgs 18:2), then Ahaz could only have been 11 years old when he became a father since he is said to have been 36 at the time of his death (2 Chr 28:2).

. Edited by Freedman, David Noel, Gary A. Herion, David F. Graf et al sv "Ahaz". New York: Doubleday, 1996.

The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary

It is possible, and probably has happened, that an 11 yr old could become a father, but it seems highly unlikely—as does the requirement that he would have died at 36 (possible, but not likely given the details of the record).

Regarding the use of the Hebrew word עלמה to designate the mother he states

 

Edward J Young:
And this is a good consideration, one which cannot be avoided in any serious study of this particular Messianic prophecy. Why is it that, of the various available words in the Hebrew language, Isaiah selects this particular one for a designation of the mother? …. Why, however, did he choose the word 'almah? The answer is ready at hand, for 'almah is a word which is never used of a married woman.

Really??  Well, perhaps not married, but certainly not a virgin in the modern sense of the term

TANAK:

2 Oh, give me of the kisses of your mouth,
  For your love is more delightful than wine.
3
Your ointments yield a sweet fragrance,
  Your name is like finest oil—
 
Therefore do maidens [עלמות] love you.
4
Draw me after you, let us run!
  The king has brought me to his chambers.
  
Let us delight and rejoice in your love,
 
Savoring it more than wine—
 
Like new wine they love you!

Oh, give me of the kisses of your mouth,
  For your love is more delightful than wine.
3Your ointments yield a sweet fragrance,
  Your name is like finest oil—
  Therefore do

Regarding the name he states

Edward J Young:
The sign, then, which the Lord gives to His people is simply the declaration that the Messiah will be born and that His birth will be of a supernatural kind. Matthew is entirely correct in thus interpreting the verse, when he remarks: "Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold! a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matthew 1:22,23). And what greater, more comforting sign than this could there be? Those who truly waited for the consolation of Israel need not fear even the folly of their king, for this dark moment of Israel's history God sent a ray of light, the announcement of the sure birth of the promised Redeemer.

But still a sign which is not seen is not a sign. Let us consider the name Emmanuel—"God [is?] with us."

The king was considered to be adopted as the son of God at his accession to the throne.

TANAK:

4He who is enthroned in heaven laughs;
  the Lord mocks at them.
5Then He speaks to them in anger,
  terrifying them in His rage,
6"But I have installed My king
  on Zion, My holy mountain!"
7
Let me tell of the decree:
  the Lord said to me,
  "You are My son,
  I have fathered you this day.

Ps 2:4-7

The author of the Gospel according to Matthew used this passage and understood the "maiden" to be a literal virgin in the modern sense of the term. Such appropriation of an OT passage is not uncommon in the NT. It did not, however, thereby obviate the meaning of the text in its historical context. The sign in Isaiah was that a member of the group at court designated as a member of the עלמות was pregnant and would bear a son who would subsequently become king.

TANAK:

6For before the lad knows to reject the bad and choose the good, the ground whose two kings you dread shall be abandoned.

I. e., before the child achieves the status of manhood, the kings whom Ahaz dreaded would be no more.

Judaism 101:
So what does it mean to become a bar mitzvah? Under Jewish Law, children are not obligated to observe the commandments, although they are encouraged to do so as much as possible to learn the obligations they will have as adults. At the age of 13 (12 for girls), children become obligated to observe the commandments. … The celebrant is also generally required to make a speech, which traditionally begins with the phrase "today I am a man."

http://www.jewfaq.org/barmitz.htm

Young's problem is that he never learned to read a book. You don't read from back to front (unless you are reading Hebrew, in which case "back" is still "front"). You don't read Matthew and use it to interpret Isaiah.

Song of Solomon 1:2-4

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 382
Sacrifice | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 18 2011 9:45 AM

Normal.dotm 0 0 1 571 3258 IIIM 27 6 4001 12.0 0 false 18 pt 18 pt 0 0 false false false

As I stated above, I do not completely agree with every single item in every single commentary I read (I have over 20 commentaries in Logos on Isaiah, not including what else is on the shelf, journals, etc.). IMO, Young tries to work around some of the Hebrew in Isaiah 7:14 (see JETS 30/3, 1987, you may find Grace Journal 10.2 valuable as well). However, in Young's 7:14, I do learn some things from him that are helpful for my understanding of the text (he presents several readings of the information, etc.).

But just to be clear, commentaries are meant to be guidelines – we should not consider them – ANY of them - to be perfect or inspired, et. al. We all should mature in the faith (compare the 1536 and the 1559 version of the Institutes, 200 pages vs. 1500 pages, et. al.). While some guide better on particular passages than others, we are responsible for studying to show ourselves approved unto God…..

On this particular passage, my studies have actually lead me to have an understanding which is consistent with the Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible, which states:

Ahaz refused to choose a sign, so God selected on for him. ….

Virgin, The Hebrew word for 'almah' signifies a maiden of marriageable age, with connotations of virginity (see Ge 24:43 [HALOT list among its meanings: "marriageable girl," "a girl who is able to be married," and "a young woman" (until the birth of her first child]); it occurs seven times, never clearly of a maiden who had lost virginity. The Septuagint… strongly supports the translation "virgin," as does the NT (Matt. 1:23). Nevertheless, the sign did not specify that such a woman would conceive while still a virgin (see below).

Immanuel. Literally, "God with us." This name was symbolic; it was not the child's actual name (cf. 9:6). The implication was that the child would symbolize God's willingness to accompany Judah in battle against Syria, Israel and Assyria (see 2 Ch 13:12). God offered to protect Judah from the Syrian-Israelite coalition and from Assyria, but Ahaz rejected the offer. Thus the Immanuel child to be born would later display the folly of rejecting God's gracious offer. The NT identifies Jesus' virgin birth as a fulfillment of this sign (Mt 1:23), but Christians have taken different views as to how this fulfillment is to be understood. The traditional Christian understanding is that Isaiah himself had in mind the supernatural birth of the Messiah and directly pointed to this event in the distant future as a sign against Ahaz's disbelief. The principle difficulty with this view are that this sign was directed to Ahaz who died hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, and that the birth of the Immanuel child was to take place before the destruction of Syria (Aram) and Israel (v. 16), which happened shortly after the prophecy was given. [so it does not adequately address the meaning to the "immediate audience," or Deut 18:22, etc.].

Second, a number of interpreters have held that Isaiah was referring to virgin [young woman] to whom he was betrothed (cf. 8:3), his first wife having died. In this view the child he had in mind was Maher-Shala- l-Hash-Baz, who is described in the next chapter (cf. 7:15-16 and 8:3-4). From this perspective, the woman and child of Isaiah's day were types or foreshadowings of Jesus' virgin birth. As the child of Isaiah's time  was a sign of the redemption of God's people as well as of judgment against unbelief, so Jesus was the ultimate sign that God would rescue his faithful people and bring judgment against unbelief among the Jews who rejected God's offer of salvation in him. See BC 10.17; HC 15. –but, see "Double Reference and Fulfillment" - http://reformedanswers.org/answer.asp/file/40346  and "Literal Interpretation" - http://reformedanswers.org/answer.asp/file/40074

 Enjoy.

Yours In Christ

Posts 2706
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Ted Hans | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 18 2011 10:06 AM

5 Solas, I can see from your post count that you are relatively new to the forum. You have listed some of Young's credentials but it is a miss fire with George because George disagrees profoundly with Young's view of the scripture. Below is what i am referring to & scholars who hold such a position are not real scholars in George's view

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy

"We affirm that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit.
We deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.
Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God's acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God's saving grace in individual lives."

 

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