Saturday, August 09, 2014

Highlighting the Bible, Part XVI, Isaiah

A.Hanson, Paris, 2009
The book of Isaiah is the Hebrew bible book most often quoted by Christians and used by the Gospel writers.  It is divided into three parts, the first part of Isaiah (chap 1-33) is attributed to Isaiah, son of Ahoz, who preached in Judah.  Chapters 34-39 likely date from a later time and their authorship is unknown. The second part of Isaiah (chap 40-55) was written while the Israelites were in exile in Babylonia.  The third part of Isaiah (chap 56-66) was written in the post-exilic period. This book is beloved by Christians because of its use of Messianic imagery.  It is often read during the time of Advent and during Epiphany to celebrate the coming of Jesus.

Isaiah is a fascinating book and in taking it piecemeal at only certain times of the year misses the overarching story.  The first part of the story traces the turbulent history of God's people, which would lead to their exile to Babylon.  The second part of Isaiah speaks more words of comfort than of condemnation.  Finally, the third portion of Isaiah describes the return to Jerusalem.

The following are passages from the book of Isaiah that do not appear in the revised common lectionary:

Isaiah 1:1-9 (The wickedness of Judah)

Isaiah 1:19-31 (The Degenerate City)

Isaiah 2:6-22 (Judgment pronounced on arrogance)

Isaiah 3-4 (more judgment pronounced; Future glory of the survivors in Zion)

Isaiah 5:8-30 (Social injustice announced; Foreign invasion predicted)

Isaiah 6:9-13 (a portion of a vision of God in the temple)

Isaiah 7:1-9 (Isaiah reassures King Ahaz)

Isaiah 7:17-8:22 (Isaiah gives Ahaz the sign of Immanuel; Isaiah's son a sign of the Assyrian invasion; disciples of Isaiah)

Isaiah 9:8-21 (Judgment on arrogance and oppression)

Isaiah 10 (Arrogant Assyria also judged; the repentant remnant of Israel)

Isaiah 11:10-16 (Return of the remnant of Israel and Judah)

Isaiah 12-24 (Thanksgiving and Praise; Oracles against the nations)

Isaiah 25:10-12 (comments about the Moabites)

Isaiah 26-34 (Judah's song of victory; Israel's redemption; Judgment on corrupt rulers; the Siege of Jerusalem; Hope for the future; futility of reliance on Egypt; God's promise to Zion; Judgment on Assyria; Government with justice predicted; peace of God's reign; A prophecy of deliverance from Foes; Judgment on the nations)

Isaiah 36-39 (Sennacherib threatens Jerusalem; Hezekiah consults Isaiah; Hezekiah's prayer; Sennacherib's defeat; Hezekiah's illness; envoys from Babylon warned)

Isaiah 40:12-20 (a poem about the activity of God)

Isaiah 41 (Israel assured of God's help; the futility of idols)

Isaiah 42:10-25 (a hymn of praise; Israel's disobedience)

Isaiah 43:8-15 (God speaks, "bring forth the people who are blind…let all nations gather together")

Isaiah 43:22-28 (God speaks "yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob; I am He who blots out your transgressions)

Isaiah 44:1-5 (God's blessing on Israel)

Isaiah 44:9-28 (the absurdity of idol worship; Israel is not forgotten)

Isaiah 45:8-25 (God speaks, "Who to you who strive with your maker"; idols cannot save Babylon)

Isaiah 46-48 (Idols cannot save; the humiliation of Babylon; God the creator and redeemer)

Isaiah 49:8-50:3 (Zion's children to be brought home)

Isaiah 50:9b-11 ("who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant")

Isaiah 51:7-23 (blessings in store for God's people)

Isaiah 52:1-6 ("awake, awake, put on your strength O Zion!)

Isaiah 52:11-12 ("depart, depart…touch no unclean thing!)

Isaiah 54 (The eternal covenant of peace)

Isaiah 56:2-5 (The covenant extended to all who obey)

Isaiah 56:9-12 (the corruption of Israel's rulers)

Isaiah 57 (Israel's futile idolatry; a promise of help and healing)

Isaiah 59 (Injustice and Oppression to be punished)

Isaiah 60:7-22 (Ingathering of the dispersed; God the glory of Zion)

Isaiah 62:5-7 ("you shall be called priests of the Lord")

Isaiah 63:1-6 (Vengeance on Edom)

Isaiah 63:10-19 (God's mercy remembered; a prayer of penitence)

Isaiah 64:10-12 ("your holy cities have become a wilderness")

Isaiah 65:10-16 (a portion of the righteousness of God's judgment)

Isaiah 66:1-9 (the worship that God demands; The LORD vindicates Zion)

Isaiah 66:15-24 (The reign and indignation of God)

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