Hebrew Bible Textl - Jewish Related Item

In Isaiah 1:1, we are introduced to Isaiah in his own words as “the son of Amoz,” informing his readers that he served as God’s prophet “in the days of Uzziah [52 years], Jotham [16 years], Ahaz [16 years] and Hezekiah [28 years], kings of Judah.” The total reign of these four kings would be 112 years, which means that Isaiah likely began toward the end of Uzziah’s reign. He was one of the longest serving prophets of the southern kingdom of Judah, no fewer than 46 years, about 778-732 B.C.E.

Very little is known about the personal life of Isaiah, compared to what we know of the other prophets of the Old Testament. He was married to a “prophetess.” (8:3) “It is possible that the ‘prophetess’ simply refers to the prophet’s wife, though there are no other examples of this in Scripture. It is possible that Isaiah’s wife had a prophetic gift, but this gift is not affirmed elsewhere.”[1] There are other women within the Old Testament that held the office of a prophetess, making it likely that Isaiah’s wife may very well have had this same assignment. – Judges 4:4; 2 Kings 22:14.

Amoz was Isaiah’s father, this being the only detail of Amoz that is known. (1:1) We are not told of Isaiah’s birth or death, though strong Jewish tradition has it “that the prophet Isaiah was cut in half with a wooden saw. This happened during the reign of King Manasseh. The Old Testament has no record of this incident.”[2] (Compare Heb. 11:37.) His prophetic book places him in Jerusalem with at least two sons with prophetic names and his prophet wife. (Isa. 7:3; 8:1, 3) His years of prophesying for the southern kingdom likely run from 778 B.C.E through the 14th year of Hezekiah’s reign, a little after 732 B.C.E. (1:1; 6:1; 36:1) Some contemporary prophets of Isaiah were Micah in the land of Judah and, to the north, Hosea and Oded. – Micah. 1:1; Hos. 1:1; 2 Chronicles 28:6-9.

Life in Judah throughout these 46 years for Isaiah was unstable and chaotic, to say the least. The political element was in constant turmoil, the courts were corrupt to no end, and the religious structure of the nation was filled with pretense and duplicity. Scattered throughout the hill country of Judea were pagan altars to false gods. A case in point would be King Ahaz, who not only allowed this idolatrous worship, “but was an active participant, not only duplicating the sins of Israel’s kings, but he also sacrificed his son ‘in the fire,’ perhaps as an offering to the god Molech.”[3] (2 Ki 16:3, 4; 2 Ch. 28:3, 4) Sadly, this is only a continuation of a people that were supposed to be in a covenant relationship with Jehovah. – Exodus 19:5-8.

We need not leave the impression that all was lost, for some of Isaiah’s contemporaries were working for the restoration of true worship. For instance, King Uzziah “did that which was right in the eyes of Jehovah.” However, this was not enough, because “the high places were not taken away: the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places.” (2 Ki 15:3, 4) King Jotham followed in his father’s footsteps and “did that which was right in the eyes of Jehovah.” And like in the case of Uzziah, the people of Jotham’s reign “followed corrupt practices.” (2 Ch. 27:2) Sadly, Isaiah spent much of his career in a spiritually defunct kingdom. While some kings promoted false worship, others worked for the return of pure worship, with no real effect on the people. As one can imagine, presenting this prophetic message to such stiff-necked people was going to prove none too easy.

Some have looked to the style throughout the book of Isaiah and have suggested two Isaiah’s, a “Second Isaiah,” “the idea of a multiple authorship of Isaiah has arisen only in the last two centuries. Its simplest, most persuasive form is the ascription of chapters. 1–39 to Isaiah and 40–66 to an anonymous prophet living among the sixth-century exiles in Babylonia.”[4] There is an enormous amount of evidence that there is only one Isaiah, who penned the entire book, centuries before the Babylonian exile.[5]

Chapters 1 to 6 give the reader the historical setting within Judah and Jerusalem, emphasizing the guilt of Judah before God, as well as the commissioning of Isaiah. Chapters 7 to 12 cover the continuous threats of an invasion, giving the people a hope by means of the Prince of Peace, authorized by Jehovah. Chapters 13 to 35 comprise a succession of announcements against numerous nations and a prophecy of salvation, which is to come from Jehovah. Chapters 36 to 39 cover Hezekiah’s reign with significant dealings. Chapters 40 to 66 deal with a release from the Babylonian Empire,[6] and the return of the Jewish people to Judah and Jerusalem restoring Zion.

Multiple Authorship for the Book of Isaiah

Man is unable to foretell the future with any inevitability. Repeatedly their struggles at prophecy are unsuccessful in the extreme. Therefore, a book full of prophetic books, if true, would attract interest, and even attack. The Bible is just such a book.

The primary cause behind questioning Isaiah’s authorship is the same for all other prophetic books. It is their prophetic nature (detailed history written in advance), which is impossible for the Bible critic or liberal scholar to accept as a reality. (Isaiah 41:21-26; 42:8, 9; 46:8-10) If we are to understand the critic, we must examine their thinking. Therefore, let us look at some aspects of their reasoning.

Prophecy is Contemporary, Meaningful and Applicable to the People

The important truth for the Bible critic lies in the understanding that for all occurrences, prophecy pronounced or written in Bible times meant something to the people it was spoken or written to; it was meant to serve as a guide for them if they heeded its counsel. Frequently, it had specific fulfillment for that time, being fulfilled throughout the lifetime of that very generation. Thus, it is true that the penned or spoken words always had some application to the very people who heard them. The words of Isaiah’s chapters 40 to 66 pointed out that the Jewish people would see the destruction of their beloved Jerusalem, be taken into exile to Babylon for 70-years, yet freed by the Medo-Persians, Cyrus, the leader of Persia specifically. Thereafter, the Jewish people would be released to their homeland, to rebuild. All of this took place 200 years plus after the days of Isaiah. Therefore, for the critic, there must have been a second Isaiah writing in 540 B.C.E., just before the return of the Israelites to Jerusalem.[7]

That Isaiah penned the book that bears his name was never thought otherwise until the 12th century C.E. This was not the position of Jewish commentator Abraham Ibn Ezra.[8] “He states in his commentary on Isaiah that the second half of the book, from chapter 40 on, was the work of a prophet who lived during the Babylonian Exile and the early period of the Return to Zion.”  (Pfeffer 2005, 28) Progressively, throughout the next two centuries, more and more scholars were adopting this view. The New Bible Dictionary notes:

Many scholars nowadays deny great portions of the book to Isaiah, not only in the sense that he did not write them down, but in the sense that their subject-matter does not come from him at all. Even chapters 1–35 are believed by some to contain much non-Isaianic material. Some scholars go farther than others, but there is a wide measure of agreement that Isaiah cannot be credited with chapters 13:1–14:23; 21; 24–27; 34–35. In addition, critical scholars are practically unanimous in the view that chapters 40–66 do not come from Isaiah.[9]

A Dissecting of Isaiah

The Bible critics were not going to stop with this Isaiah II. No, they would go on to challenge Isaiah authorship even further. The above theory, known as the Second Isaiah, or Deutero-Isaiah, only led to a suggested Isaiah III. If Isaiah 40 to 66 could not belong to the First-Isaiah, because of the foreknowledge; then, chapters 13 and 14 must be set aside for the very same reason. The critique goes even further as they continue to cut up the book of Isaiah, with chapters 15 and 16 also receiving a writer of its own, another unknown prophet. Chapters 23 to 27 have been set aside as well, belonging to yet another. Another critic argues that chapters 34 to 35 could not have belonged to the 8th century prophet either, as it resembles chapter 40 to 66 that had already been set aside as not being the First-Isaiah. Bible scholar Charles C. Torrey briefly sums up the result of this irrational reasoning. “The once great ‘Prophet of the Exile,’” he says, “has dwindled to a very small figure, and is all but buried in a mass of jumbled fragments.”  (Blenkinsopp 2003, 27) It should be noted that while Torrey brought down the number of alleged Isaiah writers, he still held many of the liberal positions. Nevertheless, not all scholars agree with such dismembering of the prophetic book that was penned in its entirety by one Isaiah, from the 8th century B.C.E.

The idea that the composer of Isaiah II lived in Babylon was being lost with some scholars. As Dr. Gleason L. Archer points out, “the references to geography, flora, and fauna found in Deutero-Isaiah were far more appropriate to an author living in Syria or Palestine.”[10] Professor Bernard Duhm (1847-1928) introduced the world to three Isaiah, with none of them being the Isaiah of the 8th century B.C.E., nor having lived in Babylon. Duhm argues that Isaiah II penned chapters 40-55 about 540 B.C.E., near the region of Lebanon.  Isaiah III, in Jerusalem, penned chapters 56 to 66 at the time of Ezra, 450 B.C.E. Duhm would go on to argue that some of the data within Isaiah was even further removed from Isaiah I, some belonging to the first-century B.C.E. Once they settled on a final set of dates for the dissected Isaiah, it was this criticism that George Adam Smith (1856 – 1942), accepted in his The Book of Isaiah (The Expositor’s Bible; 2 vols., 1888, 1890). This criticism would receive one serious blow, only five years after the death of Smith.

Prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest manuscripts of the Old Testament were dated to about the ninth and tenth centuries C.E., known as the Masoretic texts (MT).[11] The Isaiah scrolls identified as “IQisaa” and “IQIsab” are complete copies of the book of Isaiah, but the latter is the earliest known copy of a complete Bible book, and dates to about 175 B.C.E. Both are from cave 1 of the Dead Sea area. Thus, the idea that some portion of the book of Isaiah was penned in the first-century B.C.E. is not long attainable. Gleason Archer stated that about the two Isaiah scrolls “proved to be word for word identical with the standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95% of the text. The 5% of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling.” (Archer 1994, 19) It should be noted that the earlier criticisms of Isaiah did not go unchallenged as a result of the DSS, as numerous scholars throughout the nineteenth-century established that there was but one Isaiah, and he lived and wrote in the eighth-century B.C.E.

Entering the Twentieth-Century

The twentieth-century scholars have attempted to move the date of Isaiah out of the first-century B.C.E., closer toward Isaiah I, in an attempt to lower the number of Isaiah’s. Dr. C. C. Torrey mentioned above, argued for just one writer for chapters 34 to 66, who lived in Jerusalem at the close of the fifth century. Torrey did not see these chapters as addressing the exiles, but addressing the people who lived right there in Palestine. To him the mere five mentions of Cyrus and Babylon, were interpolations,[12] and could be ignored.

Different Themes and Subject Matter

The Bible scholar often uses the Latin term a priori, which means to work from something that is already known or self-evident to arrive at a conclusion. Another common term among the scholars can possibly further clarify this biased position. A preconception is an idea; an opinion formed in advance, based on little or no information that reflects bias. The Bible critic approaches the study of the book of Isaiah with his or her own preconception that there is no such thing as advanced knowledge events, history written in advance, prophecy. Therefore, the critic will accept, reject, ignore, or fail to mention evidence based on whether or not it fits the preconceived notion of their antisupernatural mindset. For the critic, it is feasible that a Jewish writer living about 540 B.C.E would be able to surmise the rise of Cyrus the Great, to overthrow Babylon (44:28; 45:1), as he could surmise this from his observation of current affairs. However, it is impossible for the critical mind to accept that a Jewish writer of the eighth century could make such observations because Babylon was not even an empire at that time, and Cyrus was yet to be born for some 150 years.

The idea that God’s Word prophesied so specifically as to mention Cyrus by name 150 years in advance may seem foreign to the average Bible reader. However, it is not as uncommon as one might think. God’s Word is known to mention people and places hundreds of years in advance. God’s prophecy regarding Josiah called for some successor of David to be named as such, and it predicted his acting against false worship in the city of Bethel. (1 Ki 13:1, 2) Over three hundred years later, a king named Josiah fulfilled this prophecy. (2 Ki 22:1; 23:15, 16) Of course, the same critics would just argue that we have another interpolation. However, this argument can be used only so much, before we run into a case where it will not work. In the eighth century B.C.E., Isaiah’s contemporary, the prophet Micah predicted that a great leader would be born in the unimportant town of Bethlehem. However, there were two towns in Israel at that time that was named Bethlehem, but this prediction identified which one: Bethlehem Ephrathah, the place of King David’s birth. (Micah 5:2; Lu 2:1-7) This is not so easily dismissed, as the Jewish scribes of Herod the Great were aware of these facts. The book Archaeology and Old Testament Study states the following concerning the future of Babylon after Cyrus conquered it:

“These extensive ruins, of which, despite Koldewey’s work, only a small proportion has been excavated, have during past centuries been extensively plundered for building materials. Partly in consequence of this, much of the surface now presents an appearance of such chaotic disorder that it is strongly evocative of the prophecies of Isa. xiii. 19–22 and Jer. l. 39 f., the impression of desolation being further heightened by the aridity which marks a large part of the area of the ruins.”―Thomas 1967, 41.

Presuppositions

 The critic will argue that Isaiah 2:2-4 contains the conversion of the non-Jew, which hardly belongs to the eighth-century B.C.E., but occurs hundreds of years later. Therefore, this passage and all similar ones actually come from a later era in Israelite history. The critic will argue that Isaiah 11:1–9 contains the idea of world peace, and must be removed as belonging to Isaiah I. The critical will argue that a verse like Isaiah 14:26, which speak of judgment that is to befall the whole earth is to be removed, as it is not of the mindset of Isaiah’s day. The critic will argue that the apocalyptic nature Isaiah chapters 24 to 27 are of a time in the fifth-century Jewish mindset.

Evidence of One Isaiah

The name of Jehovah God “the Holy One of Israel” is found 12 times in Isaiah chapters 1 to 39 and 13 times in Isaiah chapters 40 to 66, yet this name appears only 6 times in the rest of the Hebrew Old Testament. This interconnects the so-called two Isaiah’s together as one. This expression being repeated throughout the whole of the book is of great value in establishing that we have one book, written by one prophet of the eighth-century.―Isa. 1:4; 5:19, 24; 10:20; 12:6; 17:7; 29:19; 30:11, 12, 15; 31:1; 37:23. Also, 41:14, 16, 20; 43:3, 14; 45:11; 47:4; 48:17; 49:7; 54:5; 55:5; 60:9, 14. Compare 2 Kings 19:22; Psa. 71:22; 78:41; 89:18; Jer. 50:29; 51:5.

Another similarity between chapters 1 to 39 and chapters 40 to 66 is a “way” or “highway.” (11:16; 35:8; 40:3; 43:19; 49:11; 57:14; 62:10) Yet, another similarity runs through the whole of Isaiah is the idea of a “remnant” or “remaining ones.” (1:9; 6:13; 10:20, 21, 22; 11:11, 12, 16; 14:22, 30; 15:9; 16:14; 17:3, 6; 21:17; 28:5; 37:31; 46:3; 65:8, 9) There is also a recurring reference to “Zion,” a term used 29 times in chapters 1 to 39 and 18 times in chapter 40 to 66. (2:3; 4:5; 18:7; 24:23; 27:13; 28:16; 29:8; 30:19; 31:9; 33:5, 20; 34:8; 46:13; 49:14; 51:3; 11; 52:1; 57:13; 59:20; 60:14; 62:1; 11; 65:11; 25; 66:8) Even more, there is another distinctive figure of speech such as the expression, “pangs of a woman in labor.” 13:8; 21:3; 26:17, 18; 42:14; 54:1; 66:7.

Literary Style

Another expression found only in Jeremiah 9:12 and Micah 4:4 as well as crossing through both chapters 1 to 39 and 40 to 66: “the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it.” (1:20; 40:5; 58:14) Another title found only in Isaiah and appearing throughout the complete book is: “the Mighty One of Israel.” (1:24; 49:26; 60:16) Another phrase common to Exodus 7:19; Psalm 1:3, 119:136, Pro 5:16, Lam 3:48, as well as Isaiah is “streams of water.” (30:25; 44:4) The style of this author was to use what was known as emphatic duplication. (2:7, 8; 6:3; 8:9; 24:16, 19; 40:1; 43:11, 25; 48:15; 51:12; 57:19; 62:10) This evidence could be repeated with other terms, some less distinctive, yet nevertheless, it authenticates the book as being of one author.

There is another aspect to the Cyrus evidence that actually works against the two Isaiah criticisms. We are to believe that this Second-Isaiah or some redactor[13] of about 540 B.C.E. is so skilled at smoothing out a document, attempting to make it as though it were one document, by having numerous terms and phrases show up throughout the alleged two Isaiah’s, to then develop the Cyrus of Persia situation. Throughout chapters 41 to 48, there are numerous specific references to Cyrus, or allusions to him and his kingdom. In these references, Cyrus’ character and person is developed, as well as there being a prophetic element to his actions that is presented as though being far into the future. If written in the midst of the current affairs, it would be pointless to build a character that is extremely well known, unless you presented him as being a product of prophecy.

Once we get past the idea that such devious thinking would be within the mind of some mysterious writer, who then had the tremendous skills to carry it out; we then must believe that this composer would have possessed knowledge that was beyond his circumstances. Little does the critic realize that he is giving just as much power to the mysterious composer as was given to Isaiah the prophet by Jehovah God. This redactor or Second-Isaiah would have had an extensive knowledge of Israel’s governmental affairs from the eighth-century to the sixth century, the ability to deduce from current affairs that Cyrus would level Babylon, and release a remnant to return to Jerusalem (Zion), to rebuild. Further, he would have possessed a knowledge of Canaanite idolatry that is reflective of the first 39 chapters; a subject that had long been a dead issue to the Israelites of the sixth-century. Moreover, he would have had to see centuries later that the Messiah [Jesus], would have had to die for the transgressions of others.―Matt 4:15-16.

The critic would have his listeners believe that chapters 40 to 66 have no connection to the eighth-century B.C.E. This could not be further from the truth, as one considers Isaiah 44:23f.; 45:8; 50:1; 55:12f.; 56:1; 57:1; 59:3; 61:8; 63:3f.f As was stated earlier Micah is a contemporary of Isaiah, his writing being completed about 16-years after Isaiah, covering 777 – 716 B C.E. There is a great resemblance between what Isaiah wrote in chapters 40 to 66 and what Micah penned: Isaiah 41:15f, and Micah 4:13; Isaiah 47:2f. and Micah 1:11; Isaiah 48:2 and Micah 3:11; Isaiah 49:29 and Micah 7:17; Isaiah 52:12 and Micah 2:13; Isaiah 56:10 and Micah 3:5; Isaiah 58:1 and Micah 3:8. On this Old Testament scholar R. K. Harrison wrote:

Obviously the same glorious expectation of the future under divine providence, the same broad conception of the nations of the Near East, and the confident expectation that a renewed Israel would return from exile, were characteristic of both prophets. (Harrison 2004, 779)

An Anthology of one Author

An anthology is a book that consists of essays, stories, or poems by different writers.[14] If one considers that Isaiah did not write the entire book that bears his name in one setting, but different sections over a forty-six-year prophetic career; his book become a collection of his different writings throughout his life. For instance, Isaiah may have penned a section of his work at the age of twenty, and another at the age of thirty, and another at forty-three, and another at fifty-two and the final at sixty-five. This could explain the differences in style and literary expression as we are literally different people through our seventy to eighty-year life. As a result, this anthology of the book of Isaiah would have had each section being written under different circumstances and in different historical settings, making the critics argument not relevant.

The following analogy illustrates in modern terms how the book of Isaiah was written over time. Imagine a newspaper writer, at the age of twenty-three, writing an assignment in 1935 about The Great Depression. Then imagine the same writer, in his forties, embedded with the troops and writing articles about World War II from 1942-1945. Next, imagine the writer in his seventies being asked to come out of retirement to cover the Vietnam Conflict in 1969. Then, in 1991, this same writer in his nineties, who had seen the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, decides to pen one last article in his life. The writer dies in 1995 and several years after his death, a compilation of his articles is published in an anthological book about life in the twentieth-century.

Isaiah 1:1 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

Isaiah 2:1 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

Isaiah 13:1 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

The prophetic utterance concerning[15] Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.

The Bible Takes the Witness Stand for Isaiah

As the Bible is a collection of 66 smaller books, all of which are inspired of God, it deserves the opportunity to get on the stand for itself, to testify in its own behalf. It is obvious that first-century Christians believed that the book of Isaiah had just one author. Luke was the writer of the Gospel bearing his name, as well as the Book of Acts. In Acts, Luke tells of an Ethiopian official, who “had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah.” (Chapter 53) This is the very portion of Isaiah that is attributed to the Deutero-Isaiah.” Acts 8:26-28

Luke 1:1-4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things accurately from the beginning, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know fully the certainty of the things that you have been taught orally.

Acts 1:1-2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

 1 The first account, O Theophilus, I composed about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.

“The general consensus of both liberal and conservative scholars is that Luke is very accurate as a historian. He’s erudite, he’s eloquent, his Greek approaches classical quality, he writes as an educated man, and archaeological discoveries are showing over and over again that Luke is accurate in what he has to say.”―John McRay (Strobel 1998, 97)

Luke Wrote

Luke 4:17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

17 And the scroll[16] of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. And he unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

The words that Jesus would go on to read in verse 18-19 of Luke chapter 4 are found in Isaiah 61:1-2. Does Luke attribute this to the alleged Deutero-Isaiah? No, he specifically says “the prophet Isaiah.”

Matthew wrote

Matthew 3:1-3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

 1 Now in those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”[17] For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said,

“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness,
‘Make ready the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.’”[18]

These prophetic words come from Isaiah 40:3. Does Matthew attribute these prophetic words to some unknown prophet, some Deutero-Isaiah? No, he clearly states that it was “Isaiah the Prophet.”

Mark wrote

Mark 1:1-3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

 1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, [the Son of God].[19]

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet;[20]

“Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,

the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Make ready the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.’”

The latter portion of that quotation comes from Isaiah 40:3. Peter played a major role in helping Mark with his Gospel. Therefore, in one verse, we can get the assessment of two prominent Christians. Neither shows any knowledge of there being another Isaiah, the so-called Deutero-Isaiah.

John Wrote

John 12:36-43 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

36 While you have the light, trust[21] in the light, so that you may become sons of light.”

The Jews’ Lack of Faith Fulfills Isaiah’s Prophecy

Jesus said these things, and he went away and was hidden from them. 37 But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not trusting[22] in him. 38 So that the word of Isaiah prophet might be fulfilled, which he said:

“Lord, who has trusted in the thing heard from us,
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”[23]

39 For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again,

40 “He has blinded their eyes
and he hardened their heart,
so that they would not see with their eyes,
and understand with their heart, and turn,
and I might heal them.”[24]

41 These things Isaiah said because he saw his glory, and he spoke about him. 42 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing him, so that they might not be put out of[25] the synagogue; 43 for they loved the glory of men more than the glory of God.

The apostle John drew from both sides of the alleged two Isaiah’s: John 12:38 in Isaiah 53:1 and John 12:40 in Isaiah 6:1. There is no indication that two separate writers were being considered.

Paul wrote

Romans 10:16, 20; 15:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord,[26] who has believed what he has heard from us?”

20 And Isaiah is very bold and says,

“I was found by those who did not seek me;
I became manifest to those who did not ask for me.”[27]

12 And again Isaiah says,

“There shall come the root of Jesse,

And he who arises to rule over the Gentiles,

In him shall the Gentiles hope.”[28]

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, Paul refers to Isaiah 53:1 in Romans 10:16, Isaiah 65:1 in Romans 10:20, and Isaiah 11:10 in Romans 15:12. Thus, we can see that Paul makes references to both chapters 1-39 and chapters 40-66. The context is quite clear that he is referring to the same writer throughout. Obviously, the writers of the New Testament never had any idea of two, three, or more writers for the Book of Isaiah.

Let us look again to the Dead Sea Scrolls, particularly the Isaiah scroll mentioned earlier, which dates to about 175 B.C.E. This one scroll especially refutes the critical claim of a Deutero-Isaiah. How? Within this document, chapter 40 begins on the last line of a column, with the opening sentence being completed in the next column. Therefore, this suggests that the copyist was not aware of a change from a Proto-Isaiah to a Deutero-Isaiah, or some sort of division at this point.

First-Century Jewish Historian

Flavius Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian makes it quite clear that the prophecies pertaining to Isaiah belonged to Isaiah the prophet, but come from the eighth-century B.C.E. as well.  “These things Cyrus knew,” Josephus writes, “from reading the book of prophecy which Isaiah had left behind two hundred and ten years earlier.” It is also Josephus’ position that these very prophecies may have been what contributed to Cyrus releasing the Jews, to return to their homeland, for Josephus writes that Cyrus was “seized by a strong desire and ambition to do what had been written.” Jewish Antiquities, Book XI, chapter 1, paragraph 2.

Isaiah the Prophet―Trustworthy

Having looked at a small portion of the evidence, what conclusions should we draw? One inspired writer, who lived in the eighth-century B.C.E., whose father was Amoz, penned the book of Isaiah. This book for 2,000 years was never questioned as belonging to more than one writer. Yes, we openly acknowledge that there is a style shift from chapter 40 forward. However, as was stated earlier, the prophet worked on sections of this writing for 46 years, living in different historical settings. In a lifetime, all of us are different people. Therefore, the way this writer may express something at 21 years of age, would certainly be penned differently at the age of 44. Moreover, Isaiah was commissioned to deliver a variety of messages, some coming as warnings, others as judgment, still others as: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” (Isaiah 40:1) There is no doubt that the Israelites were comforted by the promise that they would be released after 70-years of exile in Babylon, to return to their homeland. Below the reader will find four specifically selected books, which offer a far more extensive amount of evidence that the Book of Isaiah is but one Isaiah, from the eight-century B.C.E.

[1] E. Ray Clendenen, New American Commentary: Isaiah 1-39 (B & H Publishing Group, 2007), 222.

[2] Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, vol. 15, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of Hebrews, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 355.

[3] Paul R. House, vol. 8, 1, 2 Kings, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 336.

[4] D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994).

[5] For additional verbal agreements and similarities within Isaiah, cf. G.L. Robinson and R.K. Harrison, “Isaiah,” in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982), pp. 895–898.

[6] The Babylonian Empire at the time of prophecy, late eighth century B.C.E., is merely an unknown entity, who is yet to grow into an Empire, unseating the current Assyrian Empire.

[7] It should be noted that the words of Jehovah by way of Isaiah were very much applicable to his audience of the eighth-century B.C.E. The exile to Babylon (150 years away), was applicable for Isaiah and his audience and started the moment he penned the words. It was a process, which began with their guilt before Jehovah, as outlined in chapters 1:1-6:13.

Judah and Jerusalem’s guilt; the commission of Isaiah (1:1–6:13)

Hostile intentions of an enemy invasions and promise of relief (7:1–12:6)

Declaring international desolations (13:1–23:18)

Judgment on the whole world, promise of salvation by Jehovah (24:1–35:10)

Jehovah delivers Judah from Assyria; Babylonian exile foretold (36:1–39:8)

Release from Babylon by the Jehovah God through Cyrus, restoration of Israel, Messiah to come (40:1–66:24)

[8] Abraham Ibn Ezra (1089-1164) was a Jewish scholar of the Middle Ages, who penned a commentary on ever Old Testament book, as well as poetry and grammatical treatise, being more read than all, with the exception the greatest Jewish scholar of that period, Rashi.

[9] D. R. W. Wood and I. Howard Marshall, New Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 514.

[10] Gleason Leonard Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 3rd. ed.]. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1998), 368.

[11] Hebrew Bible: the traditional text of the Hebrew Bible, revised and annotated by Jewish scholars between the 6th and 10th centuries C.E.

[12] An interpolation is to alter or deliberately falsify a text by adding words to it or removing words from it.

[13] A redactor is a person who edits or revises a document in preparation for publication.

[14] Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary., Eleventh ed. (Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).

[15] Or oracle; a serious, lengthy address kind of prophetic message

[16] Or roll

[17] Matt. 4:17

[18] Isa. 40:3

[19] Son of God (υἱοῦ θεοῦ) is absent in א* Θ 28c al by either a human error in copying or an addition by the copyist adding to the title – B D W al (e.g., Rev. 1:1). Because of the strong witnesses and the fact that “Son of God” is a theme throughout Mark, it could have been original; thus, it is retained in brackets.

[20] Some manuscripts that carry no textual weight have in the prophets; however, the first part of Mark’s quote is actually from Malachi 3:1, the second portion from Isaiah 40:3, which makes it easy to see why some copyist would have altered “Isaiah the prophet.” Comfort suggests that Mark’s attributing all of it to Isaiah may have been because his Roman audience would like be more familiar with Isaiah. Regardless, Mark does not acknowledge any Deutero-Isaiah.

[21] The grammatical construction of pisteuo “believe” followed by eis “into” plus the accusative causing a different shade of meaning, having faith into Jesus.

[22] The grammatical construction of pisteuo “believe” followed by eis “into” plus the accusative causing a different shade of meaning, having faith into Jesus.

[23] Quotation from Isaiah 53:1

[24] Quotation from Isaiah 6:10

[25] Or expelled from

[26] Quotation from Isaiah 53:1, which reads, “Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of Jehovah been revealed?”

[27] Quotation from Isa 65:1, which reads, “I have let myself be sought by those who did not ask for me;

    I let myself be found by those who did not seek me.”

I said, ‘Here I am; here I am!’ to a nation that was not calling on my name.

[28] A quotation from Isa 11:10, which reads, “In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples, to him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.”