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Isaiah (11px IPA: /IPA: / or UK IPA: /IPA: /; Hebrew: יְשַׁעְיָהוּ</span>, Modern Yeshayahu Tiberian Yəšạʻyā́hû ; Greek: Şablon:Polytonic, Ēsaïās ; "Yahu is salvation") was a prophet in the 8th-century BC Kingdom of Judah. Jews and Christians consider the Book of Isaiah a part of their Biblical canon; he is the first listed (although not the earliest) of the neviim akharonim, the later prophets. Christians believe that Isaiah prophesied the virgin birth of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 7:14, King James version):
"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel."
Many of the New Testament teachings of Jesus refer to the book of Isaiah.
Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335–395), believed that the Prophet Esaias (Isaiah) "knew more perfectly than all others the mystery of the religion of the Gospel." Jerome (c. 342–420) also lauds the Prophet Esias, saying, "He was more of an Evangelist than a Prophet, because he described all of the Mysteries of the Church of Christ so vividly that you would assume he was not prophesying about the future, but rather was composing a history of past events."
Isaiah prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah (or Azariah), Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (Isaiah 1:1), the kings of Judah. Uzziah reigned fifty-two years in the middle of the 8th century BC, and Isaiah must have begun his career a few years before Uzziah's death, probably in the 740s BC. Isaiah lived till the fourteenth year of Hezekiah (who died 698 BC), and may have been contemporary for some years with Manasseh. Thus Isaiah may have prophesied for the long period of at least sixty-four years.
Isaiah's wife was called "the prophetess" (Isaiah 8:3), either because she was endowed with the prophetic gift, like Deborah (Judges 4:4) and Huldah (2 Kings 22:14-20), or simply because she was the wife of "the prophet" (Isaiah 38:1). The second interpretation, that it was simply an honorary title, "Mrs. Prophet" as it were, is likely. They had two sons, naming one Shear-Jashub, meaning "A remnant shall return"Isaiah 7:3 and the younger, Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, meaning, "Spoil quickly, plunder speedily."Isaiah 8:3
In early youth, Isaiah may have been moved by the invasion of Israel by the Assyrian monarch Tiglath-Pileser III (2 Kings 15:19); and again, twenty years later, when he had already entered on his office, by the invasion of Tiglath-Pileser and his career of conquest. Ahaz, king of Judah, at this crisis refused to co-operate with the kings of Israel and Syria in opposition to the Assyrians, and was on that account attacked and defeated by Rezin of Damascus and Pekah of Israel (2 Kings 16:5; 2 Chronicles 28:5–6). Ahaz, thus humbled, sided with Assyria, and sought the aid of Tiglath-Pileser against Israel and Syria. The consequence was that Rezin and Pekah were conquered and many of the people carried captive to Assyria (2 Kings 15:29, 16:9; 1 Chronicles 5:26).
Soon after this Shalmaneser V determined wholly to subdue the kingdom of Israel, Samaria was taken and destroyed (722 BC). So long as Ahaz reigned, the kingdom of Judah was unmolested by the Assyrian power; but on his accession to the throne, Hezekiah, who was encouraged to rebel "against the king of Assyria" (2 Kings 18:7), entered into an alliance with the king of Egypt (Isaiah 30:2–4). This led the king of Assyria to threaten the king of Judah, and at length to invade the land. Sennacherib (701 BC) led a powerful army into Judah. Hezekiah was reduced to despair, and submitted to the Assyrians (2 Kings 18:14–16). But after a brief interval war broke out again, and again Sennacherib led an army into Judah, one detachment of which threatened Jerusalem (Isaiah 36:2–22; 37:8). Isaiah on that occasion encouraged Hezekiah to resist the Assyrians (37:1–7), whereupon Sennacherib sent a threatening letter to Hezekiah, which he "spread before the LORD" (37:14).
According to the account in Kings (and its derivative account in Chronicles) the judgment of God now fell on the Assyrian army and wiped out 180,000 of its men. "Like Xerxes in Greece, Sennacherib never recovered from the shock of the disaster in Judah. He made no more expeditions against either southern Palestine or Egypt."
The remaining years of Hezekiah's reign were peaceful (2 Chr 32:23–29). Isaiah probably lived to its close, and possibly into the reign of Manasseh, but the time and manner of his death are not specified in either the Bible or recorded history. There is a tradition (reported in both the Martyrdom of Isaiah and the Lives of the Prophets) that he suffered martyrdom by Manasseh due to pagan reaction.
Although Isaiah is not mentioned by name in the Qur'an or in the authenticated sayings of Prophet Muhammed, Some Muslim sources have accepted him as a prophet. Some Muslim scholars such as (Ibn Kathir, Kisa'i) reproduced the Jewish traditions, transmitted through early Jewish converts to Islam, regarding Isaiah. Such Old Testament stories, which are not confirmed by revealation in the Quran or prophetic hadeeth, are referred to as Isra'iliyyah, and are not considered strong enough to be used as evidence in Islamic law. Isaiah is mentioned as a prophet in Ibn kathir's Stories of the Prophets</ref> and modern (Muhammad Asad, Abdullah Yusuf Ali) accepted Isaiah as a true Hebrew prophet, who preached to the Israelites following the death of King David. Isaiah is well known in Muslim exegesis and literature, notably for his predictions of the coming of Jesus and Muhammad. Isaiah's narrative in Muslim literature can roughly be divided into three sections. The first part establishes Isaiah as a prophet of Israel during the reign of Hezekiah; the second part focuses on Isaiah's actions during the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib; and the third part is primarily focused upon Isaiah warning the people of coming doom.
Muslim exegesis preserves a tradition, which parallels that of the Hebrew Bible, which states that Hezekiah was the king that ruled over Jerusalem during Isaiah's time. Hezekiah obeyed and gave an ear to what Isaiah advised him but, nonetheless, this was a turbulent time for Israel. Tradition, however, maintains that Hezekiah was a righteous man and that the turbulence increased after Hezekiah's death. After the death of the king, Isaiah told the people to not forsake God and he warned Israel that the people must cease from their persistent sin and acts of disobedience. Muslim tradition maintains that the unrighteous people of Israel were angered and sought to kill Isaiah. In a death which resembles that attributed to Isaiah in Lives of the Prophets, Muslim exegesis recounts that Isaiah was martyred by Israelites by being sawed in half.
Rabbinic literature Edit
According to the Rabbinic literature, Isaiah was a descendant of the imperial house of Judah and Tamar (Sotah 10b). He was the son of Amoz (not to be confused with Prophet Amos), who was the brother of King Amaziah of Juda. (Talmud tractate Megillah 15a).
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