January 30, 2015: Daily Bible Reading Commentary for Isaiah 23-28
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Context: People are stubborn. They do not always want to listen, so sometimes the Lord has to take drastic action in order to get their attention. So it is with the people of Judah. They have been warned time and time again to not put their faith in the hands of men (making alliance with other nations). The other nations will fall. The prophecy against Tyre is the final in a group of prophecies that predict the fall of nations that Judah have and may rely upon to save them from the invading Assyrian army. If all nations Judah could ask for help have fallen, who then will they turn to for salvation? God has a plan for every nation, a theme in today's reading. Chapter 24 marks a shift in view; instead of looking at individual cities, we now have a more world perspective. God will pronounce divine judgment on sinners and the places where they live. Chapter 24 also relates to John's vision recorded in Revelation. Chapter 25 is one of anticipation. It tells us of the praises God will receive at the end of days. Chapter 26 brings us back to the present (Isaiah's time). The Hebrew audience is experiencing God's wrath and crying out for divine mercy. Chapter 27 refers back to 15:1-7. God can take something hopeless and make it beautiful and productive, if we are willing to accept God's help. Chapter 28 foretells of the Assyrians invading Jerusalem and warns against giving glory to anyone or anything other than God (pride).
World History: Around 721 BC, the Assyrian army captured Samaria, the capitol of Israel. All residents were carried off into slavery. This defeat left Judah alone. At the time, Judah was a vassal kingdom to Assyria and required to pay a large tribute. Ahaz and Hezekiah were co-rulers of Judah, until Ahaz's death around 715 BC. At this time Hezekiah instituted religious changes, including the destruction of all idols. Hezekiah also took a stand against Assyria and refused to pay tribute.