Isaiah: Chapter Two | The Wolfe Notes

Welcome, Family! We're spending 2024 with the prophet Isaiah. While we claim no expertise, we're excited to sit with you as we both learn at the feet of Jesus. Each month, we offer a calendar that outlines daily exercises (adapted from Jenn Wilkin's Women of the Word Bible study process) to progress through Isaiah. Download January's calendar to begin with us and witness what we uncovered in our weekly "Wolfe Note" postings:

Chapter One Notes.

Contents:

  1. Different Versions Noting and clarifying differences between AMP and NIV.
  2. Annotation My thoughts, connections, clarifications, and questions.
  3. Research on the meaning of "in that day".
  4. Summary An approximately twenty word overview of the chapter.
  5. Memorization Why I choose to memorize Isaiah 2:22.
  6. Reflection On what I learned about God and myself from Chapters 1 and 2.
  7. Response How I choose to respond to my learning.

Different Versions

I read Chapter Two in the New International Version (NIV) and the Amplified Bible (AMP). The NIV is a thought-by-thought translation and the AMP is a word and context translation.

Major differences I noticed (*My thoughts alone are in italics and designated with an asterisk.):
  • The Amplified Bible adds words in parentheses for clarification or to consider additional possibilities. Like:
    • Isaiah 2:1 The word [from God] which Isaiah son of Amoz saw [in a vision] concerning [the nation of] Judah and [its capital city] Israel.
    • Isaiah 2:3 ... Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, / To the house (temple) of the God of Jacob;...
  • has been (AMP) vs. will be (NIV). Verse 9. No tense given in Hebrew; up to interpretation. Ellicott offers two suggestions: either it's saying the men bow down to idols so don't forgive them or the mean man must be bowed down. 
  • will have a day of reckoning (AMP) vs. has a day in store (NIV). Verse 12. In Hebrew: For a day of the Lord of Hosts (army, organized for war, mass of persons, campaign) will come against all. Neither translation was precise, more interpretive. *The AMP sets a serious, warning tone while the NIV softens it.
  • ships of Tarshish (AMP) vs. trading ship (NIV). Verse 16. Literally "ships of Tarshish". *NIV generalizes by substituting "trading ship" here. They were merchant ships that carried heavy cargo. Either made in Tarshish or so-named because they were able to sail as far as Tarshish in the western Mediterranean (Spain). Used later for ships of a certain class or  size. Adds to the prestige and wealth of the nations that own them. (Zondervan & Pulpit
    • I Kings 22:48 AMP: Jehoshaphat had [large cargo] ships of Tarshish constructed to go to Ophir for gold, but they did not go, because the ships were wrecked at Ezioni-geber.
    • Jonah 1:3 NIV But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish...
  • beautiful craft (AMP) vs. stately vessel (NIV). Verse 16. A direct Hebrew translation would be desirable or delightful pictures (images). Again, neither translation is precise but offers an interpretation based on the prior phrase. Ellicott states the phrase "imagery of delight" and suggests it refers to maniacally prized artwork transported on the ships of Tarshish. Pulpit adds that this is the only occurrence of the word in the Bible, it's difficult to determine its exact meaning. However, the overall meaning is the same: "the judgment of God will fall on the most valued contents of palaces and grand houses, no less than upon forests and the mountains..." *The AMP translation offers a closer interpretation of the original language, however neither interpretation loses the overall message of the verse.
  • terrify (AMP) vs. shake (NIV). Verse 19 & 21 Hebrew - pachad: dread.; Literally to affright the earth. Not certain in what way (Pulpit). *The NIV inserts its own interpretation of what "affright the earth" looks like. "The awe-inspiring coming of God causes not only people but also nature to quake in terror. His coming, called a theophany, is often accompanied by earth-shaking phenomena. Assyrian kings associate the same convulsion with their coming." - Zondervan
    • Hebrews 12:26 AMP: His voice shook the earth [at Mount Sinai] but now he has given a promise, saying, "YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE [starry] HEAVEN."
    • Isaiah 24:19 NIV: The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is violently shaken.

Annotation

Notes on my process. *Denotes my thoughts alone. ! Denotes a connection. Researched quick answers are in italics. *R Indicates a topic with more extensive notes under the research heading.
  1. Introduction (v1)
    1. Why repeat who is saying it with every chapter? v1
    2. Who is Amoz? v1 His father. A way of distinguishing one Isaiah from another. No one really knows who precisely Amoz was. (Bible Hub & Zondervan)
  2. Prophecy (v2-4)
    1. When are the last days? v2 *R
    2. *The language here elicits awe: "the highest of the mountains...exalted above the hills"  and interest: "all the people will stream to it." v2
    3. *Their desire will be for Him. v3
    4. Where is Zion? v3 Here means (Millennial) Jerusalem. True religion - beginning with the near sacrifice of Isaac - has its origins and symbolic future here. (Bible Hub & Bible Study Tools
    5. Why law from Zion and word from Jerusalem? Compare to Sodom and Gomorrah in 1:9-10. v3 Poole defines the law as the gospel (*coming from God who reigns in spiritual Zion) and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem the accomplishment (*seen in Christ who came from physical Jerusalem and is the Word made flesh).; The comparison to Sodom and Gomorrah is an attempt to make them see how desperately they need to hear what God says (Jesus) and follow His laws (the gospel). - Gill
    6. *How much better that we choose to come to God, learn His ways, and walk His paths now than to wait until that day. v3
    7. *Judge = tell us what is right so there is no need to fight. v4
    8. *This verse portrays the world finally at peace. v4
  3. Entreaty (v5) Isaiah's tone is pleading.
  4. Current Reality (v6-9)
    1. Why is the phrase "the house of Israel" interchangeably used with "the house of Jacob"? Is there a reason why one is chosen over the other? Israel was used in chapter 1, but Jacob is used here. v6 Jacob referenced when service of God requires toil, struggle, and effort.  Israel is used when service is pleasurable and natural. Chabad *Perhaps also when they are acting from their human nature instead of as God's elect? GotQuestions suggests we not read into it as they are often used interchangeably and often in the same verse.
    2. *Their influence is from places other than God. v6
    3. *Their motivation is earthly treasure. v7
    4. *Their worship is to self-made idols. v8
    5. *So, divine punishment is justified. In resignation, Isaiah suggests God not forgive them. v9
  5. Entreaty (v10) *Humble yourself.
  6. Prophecy (v11-21)
    1. What is the significance of v11 echoing v9?
    2. *Foretells that God alone will reign supreme, no matter what man thinks. v12
    3. Day of reckoning - does that mean vengeance? A return to the proper order? Settlement of accounts (Wordnikv12 
    4. *! I hear Jeremy Camp singing "There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears. But until that day, we'll hold onto You always". v12
    5. Why cedars and oaks? v13 Literal interpretation, an area once known for strong trees will no longer have trees. -Pulpit
    6. *High and lifted up indicates the pride of Lebanon and Bashan. V13
    7. *The third repetition of this verse (also 9 and 11) indicates importance. Isaiah wants us to remember, perhaps he's telling us of a pattern or emphasizing the certainty that it will happen. v13
    8. *! No other God before me. Exodus 20:3 v18
    9. *Verse 19 echoes verse 10.
    10. After experiencing revelation, idols are thrown to the moles and bats. Why to moles and bats? Does this signify their disgust and repugnance? Or something more? v20 Blindness implied in regard to idols and love of darkness - Pulpit & Ellicott
    11. Verse 21, 19, and 10. Third repetition here also, like 9, 11,13. *This repetition serves to create a mood of fear for God.
  7. Advice (v22)

Research

When is that day?

  • The immediate reference is to the historical judgments of the Assyrian and Chaldean invasions. (Archer quoted in Coffman)
  • Isaiah 2:1-4 holds a message of importance given again in Micah 4:1-3. (Coffman)
  • The end of history, commonly referred to as "the day of the lord" but also closely associated with "that day." It's is always a time when God personally intervenes to accomplish a specific part of His plan and delivers the "remnant from Israel". Some theories of how it might look (Got Questions) :
    • Judgement Day: A day when God's will and purpose for earth and man are fulfilled. 
      • Zephaniah states [that on that day] even the fish in the sea will be destroyed (Zephaniah 1:3
      • Hebrews 12:26-27 indicates the shaking of His voice will shake the earth. (A shaking earth, depending on version, is also referenced in Isaiah 2:19 & 21.) And shaking earth the second time will also shake the heavens leaving only what cannot be shaken, those things that are not created.
    • The Millennium: A thousand-year reign of Christ reigns before cleansing heaven and earth. (Coffman & Enduring Word)

      • Revelation 20:4 NIV: ...They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
      • Revelation 20:6 NIV: ...they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
    • The Rapture: An instantaneous event. Christ redeems believers and sends unbelievers to damnation. (Got Questions)
  • Referenced often in scripture. Some occurrences (Got Questions):
    • Isaiah 2:12 NIV: The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled),
    • Joel 1:15 NIV: Alas for that day! For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.
    • Obadiah 15 NIV: The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.
    • Acts 2:20 NIV: The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
    • 2 Thessalonians 2:2 NIV: not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us- whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter - asserting that the day of the Lord has already come.
  • Used differently in Old and New Testaments (Got Questions):
    • Old Testament carries a tone of nearness and expectation.
    • New Testament carries a tone of caution, mystery, and reverence.
*Conclusions: "That day" references a time in the future when God returns to fulfill His promises by restoring us to the eternal promise land. A day that The Chosen playfully regards as "soon". (There's that word again.) We don't know when it will happen, how it will look, or what precisely will happen, but we know the Who behind it all is faithful.

Summary

Isaiah prophesies about the day when God will restore proper order, humbling all men so only God is exalted.

Memorization

I chose to memorize Isaiah 2:22. This verse seems to be the culminating argument, Isaiah's urgent request to us, and advice I want to remember:
Stop regarding man whose breath of life is in his nostrils for so little time; for why should he be esteemed? (AMP)

We act like we know more, like we have it all figured out, but why are we trusting vapor when God is everything? He is the I am. Then, now, and forevermore. Esteem Him; listen to Him.


Reflection

On Isaiah Chapter 1.
  • God:
    • Feels hurt when we rebel, confusion when we refuse to respond to correction, and abhorrence when we insincerely pray, worship, and perform.
    • Tells us what is good: seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow and knows that we must learn it.
    • Shares what must be done to restore right relationship with Him: willingly obey.
  • I:
    • Feel justified in my hurt when others don't act how I want them to, when they ignore my direction or honest requests regarding their actions and choices, and when they treat me insincerely. I can relate to God's emotions.
    • Struggle to do what is good. I don't always seek what is right (according to God), but instead choose what seems right (according to me). I'm often too busy with my own life, my own things, to even notice the poor and needy, the ones without a relationship with God, or the forgotten and unprotected - even when they are right in front of me.
    • I'm not always obedient to God. Obedience means first listening to His voice then doing what He says. It should come like breathing: my soul's response to His leading. But I don't always listen to His will nor am I always willing when I do. I drag my heels. I question: "Was that really Him?" Yet, the more I follow and willingly obey, the more I recognize His voice. Willing response happens when I keep reminding myself that I am His; I was made to obey.
On Isaiah Chapter 2.
  • God:
    • Will restore earth to His original intent for it.
    • Realizes our great struggle is pride.
    • Makes even the earth shake with His majesty.
  • I:
    • Have idols my own hands have made - acceptance, achievement, appreciation.
    • Suffer from pride - abilities, intelligence, character.
    • Was made to bring others with me in my travel to Zion where I learn and obey.

Response

  1. Repent. Acknowledge my deficiencies from righteousness (seen in my idols and pride) that add up to my need for Jesus. Then, focus on: Loving God with all my heart, mind, body, and spirit. - Mark 12:30
  2. Seek to discover what God wants me to do at the feet of Jesus (using His word for encouragement) on Mt. Zion (and guidance). The sum of it being: Love my enemies. Lead them to Jesus.
  3. Do it with willing obedience, despite my feelings.

In Closing

Father God, I long for the day when restoration reigns. When we will finally live as we were meant to: in complete unity with You. Until that day, teach me to love You above all else, even above myself. Guide me in loving my enemies. Lead me as I lead them in love to You. 


Learning with You,

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