January 09, 2015: Daily Bible Reading Commentary for Isaiah 7-11
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Context: The events of chapter 7 and 8 take place during the reign of King Ahaz. Judah was facing attack from the Israelite king Pekah and the Syrian king Rezin, who wanted Judah to join them in an attack against Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III. In chapter 7, Isaiah approaches King Ahaz and tells him that God has promised to deliver Judah, however, Ahaz had other plans and had already asked the king of Assyria to assist him. Ahaz did not want to be reliant upon God’s power (2 King 16 and 2 Chronicles 28). Ahaz falsely believed that God needed him and doubted His power. Isaiah then foretells of the destruction Assyria will bring to the land, but they were not to fear, for it was all part of the Lord’s plan. The beginning of chapter 9 offers a message of hope during a dark political time. The remainder of chapter 9 and continuing through chapter 10 warns of taking pride in our past achievements. Our trust must be placed in the Lord. Failure to do so will result in the wrath of the Lord. Chapter 11 again talks about the coming Messiah. God has plan for the future. He will be victorious. The times of pain, war, distress, and suffering are temporary, and will only last until God’s kingdom reigns.
World History: Syria and Israel were facing an unwinnable war against Assyria. Syria and Israel wanted the aid of King Ahaz of Judah. Since King Ahaz was not willing to support them, they wanted to overthrow him and replace him with a puppet king. Instead King Ahaz aligned himself with Tiglath-pileser III, king of Assyria. Tiglath-pileser III became king in 745 BC (approximately 10 years before these events in Isaiah). He was a war king, taking back territories and expanding into new ones. Tiglath-pileser III eventually defeated the forces of Israel and Syria, turning Syria into a province and taking land and taxes from Israel. King Ahaz was made an Assyrian vassal and required to pay a heavy tribute to Assyria. In Egypt, there were power struggles for the throne, ending with much of Egypt united under one ruler. Greeks were colonizing and developing city states. During this time, a settlement at Syracuse was established.