Motyer, J. Alec. The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction & Commentary. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993. “Isaiah 1-37, part B, “The Triumph of Grace” (6:1-12:6) Loc. 2243-3909.
Motyer considers Isaiah 6-12 to be a more specific statement of the divine judgment and divine promise which Isaiah summarized in chapters 1-5 (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2243). There is a statement of commission, then two accounts of decision, judgment, a remnant, and a hope. This section concludes with an individual speaking of salvation and reaching out to a community (Motyer 1993, Loc.2262).
Chapter 6 speaks of Isaiah’s reconciliation to God and his commissioning as a prophet (Motyer 1993, Loc.2268). Isaiah dates this event in the year of Uzziah’s death (about 750 B.C.). He is the only prophet to give a date in terms of death (Motyer 1993, Loc.2283). Motyer observes a possible reason. “Uzziah, as the darkness of death closed in upon him, was symbolic of Isaiah’s view of the nation, its plight and its problem” (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2288). God shows himself as the sovereign king (Motyer 1993, Loc.2293). The holiness of God makes him unapproachable by beings such as Isaiah (Motyer 1993, Loc.2325). Isaiah confesses the guilt which he has, analogous to the guilt of all the people (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2336). The cleansing which is brought from the altar serves as a substitute for the condemnation which Isaiah deserved (Motyer 1993, Loc.2348). The task assigned to Isaiah in verses 9-13 is very odd. He is to speak in such a way that hearts will be hardened (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2374). Isaiah begs by speaking very clearly and simply. The listeners rejected the message to the extent that they would no longer hear (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2386). Motyer notes the great promise of verse 13. A remnant will remain and grow (Motyer 1993, Loc.2409).
Chapters 7-11 broaden the scope of Isaiah. Rather than dealing with individual guilt, penalty, and restoration as in chapter 6, the situation is played out in the context of international politics. The issue remains the same - whether or not God is trustworthy (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2425). Motyer gives context of the situation from 2 Kings 15 and 2 Chronicles 28 (Motyer 1993, Loc.2432). King Ahaz, under threat from Assyria, was advised to make an alliance. Isaiah pointed out that God would protect against Assyria (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2452). Judah must stand by faith or fall (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2489). Though God offers Ahaz a sign, Ahaz refuses. Motyer identifies this as a failure to trust God’s judgment and good will (Motyer 1993, Loc.250). God’s sign in Isaiah 7:14, the birth of a child, is often identified as a confirmation of God’s truth despite Ahaz’ doubt (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2525). Motyer discusses the term translated “virgin” at some length, concluding that the most normal understanding is of a pre-marriage young woman. The prophecy of a child seems to be anticlimactic. However, Motyer says, it must point forward to the Davidic heir who is to come (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2576). This is no longer an anticlimax but the culmination of salvation. The child is to be born at a time which seems immediate but also at the right time for a future ingathering (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2599). Neither Isaiah not Motyer explains this situation. In the meantime, Judah’s power will fail. God will call enemies against Judah (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2674). A swarm or razor (7:20) will come against Judah (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2689). All the people are warned of this series of events in their future (8:1) (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2712). Still, in chapter 8, the contrast between a life of faith and dependence on human might is made clear (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2747).
Amid destruction, 8:9-22 speaks again of God’s preserving a remnant (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2769). God will rescue his people with the agency of his Davidic king, Immanuel (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2814). The political enemy is not to be feared. God is the one to fear 2842). Confidence is found in waiting and trusting God (8:17) (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2876). On the contrary, those who are not faithful will be in exile, privation, and will even curse God (8:21) (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2930).
The start of chapter 9 returns to the future hope of the remnant (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2941). “The hope is sure . 9:1-7 is couched in past tenses; the future is written as something which has already happened” (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2941). The restoration to come is sure and complete, more so than the Exodus (Motyer 1993, Loc. 2970). Further, in 9:1, the restoration brings hope even to the Gentiles (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3005). In verse 6 all this restoration is brought about by the birth of the Child. Motyer observes this is not his work, but simply his birth (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3058). The names given to the Child, like other names in Isaiah, are significant in understanding his role and work (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3070). We note the eternal quality of the promised kingdom. The realm will spread, bringing peace (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3098).
Motyer adds a discursive note on the term “wonderful” used in 9:6 (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3114). The word and others in its family have a strong history of referring to that which no human could accomplish. It therefore is normally applied to divinity.
In Isaiah 9:810:16 Isaiah speaks of Israel as if of a nation which is not divided. The means of redemption remains one Messiah (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3166). God’s message has gone out but has been rejected (9:8) (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3177). This brings collapse, anarchy, and perversion. Motyer sees this as a pattern in Israel dealing with Assyria, as well as the broader application to all nations (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3219). The cure for this fall is repentance, turning to the Lord (9:13) (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3240). Apart from repentance, all the people can expect is God’s rejection. The symptoms of rejection include disorder and lack (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3294). Chapter 10 verses 1-4 end the poetic structure begun in chapter 9 by turning attention back to the inept leaders (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3301). Verses 5-15 of Isaiah 10 speak of judgment to come (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3369). God’s choice to use the Assyrians as a tool of judgment, then to destroy Assyria is problematic. “At this point we come face to face with the biblical paradox: the Lord is sovereign, but his instruments are morally responsible agents” (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3388). Motyer goes on to illustrate this concept. The king who has become confident in his ruthless power will himself come to ruin (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3423).
Isaiah 10:16-34 speaks strongly of God’s judgment and the fulfillment of his promises (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3476). Motyer comments on the extensive use of metaphor and careful balance of the writing. Judgment will fall on Assyria as they assault God’s people in Judah.
In chapter 11:1-16, Isaiah speaks of “the hope of the royal Messiah. Again, it is specifically a word of assurance for the dark day of the Assyrian threat but contains in itself clear indications that its fulfilment is for time yet to come” (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3612). Motyer observes that “the root of Jesse” would not simply refer to another king, but to another David, someone of overwhelming importance (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3639). The Spirit of the Lord will equip this Messianic figure for all the works God intends (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3657). The close relationship between the shoot and God is seen clearly in verses 3-5 (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3674). He is utterly righteous, clothed with all the capacities needed for reign (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3697).Hostile relations which we would consider normal will be transformed into peace (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3709). The high point is in verse 10 where the Root draws nations to himself (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3747). All this is accomplished by God’s hand (vv. 11-16). (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3753).
Isaiah 12 is a song to be sung in the day of deliverance (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3814). The text refers in detail to chapter 6, serving as an epilogue. The people who have been redeemed by God are now able to tell the truth of God to one another freely (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3825). All this is based on God’s initiative, approaching his people with forgiveness (Motyer 1993, Loc. 38550. The human response in verses 4-6 is to return praise to God (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3880).