Who was Isaiah's son?


Phases of effectiveness

A biblical orientation is generally very difficult with the prophetic books, since the structuring principles according to which they were built are no longer immediately obvious. You will therefore have to limit yourself to being able to assign important individual texts and to have a rough structure in your head. In the first part of the Isaiah book this is facilitated by the fact that one can distinguish four phases of the effectiveness of the prophet, all of which have to be connected with important text complexes. Isaiah, son of an Amoz, comes from Jerusalem and, as individual texts show, had access to the royal court. He is to be regarded as a representative of an urban upper class, he was married to a prophetess (8.3). He never calls himself a prophet, נָבִיא (nābî ’). Its effectiveness ranges from about 740 (cf. Isa 6,1, but: The year of death of King Uzziah is disputed) to the year 701. The four main phases of Isaiah's effectiveness are in detail:

Overview of the main phases of Isaiah's ministry

Individual texts can be assigned to these periods without any doubt, other texts remain controversial. In the Book of Protojesai, too, there are clearly later texts, especially the so-called Apocalypse in chapters 24-27. On the other hand, there are also texts in the Tritojesajan part that possibly go back to the pre-exilic Isaiah or contemporaries (57: 7-13). So the growth of the book is very complicated.

Important individual texts

The essential texts of the first Isaiah can be found mainly in chapters 1-11. Reading it yourself several times is the best way to work out the content.
Cape. 1 begins with a (later) summary of Isaiah's message (vv. 2-9). Verses 10-17 satirized a priest's torah (a priestly decision) in which the wrongdoings of the people in social and cultic areas are denounced. Verses 21-31 are the first great threat of judgment against Jerusalem.

Pilgrimage to Zion

Isa 2 begins with the vision of a pilgrimage to Zion (vv. 1-5), which can also be found literally in Micah 4. Keyword: "Swords to plowshares" (but see Joël 4:10). Verses 6-22 deal with the coming day of YHWH, a catastrophe also on a cosmic scale. Cape. 3 is again the judgment announcement for Judah, chap. 4,2-6 a salvation announcement for the remainder.

Vineyard member

Isa 5: 1-7 is the well-known member of the vine, the judgment announcement here has taken the form of a parable. The Hebrew play on words in v. 7 to which the parable leads is important:

וַיְקַו לְמִשְׁפָּט וְהִנֵּה מִשְׂפָּח לִצְרָקָה וְהִנֵּה צְעָקָה׃.

In German it can go something like this (K. Koch, Profeten I, 207): He hoped for Gut Regiment (ִשְׁפָּט, mišpāṭ) / but lo and behold blood regiment. On community litter (צְדָקָה, edāqâ) / but see there cry for help. (Compare with the motif Israel as a vineyard also Isa 27.2 and Mt 20.1!) 5,8-24 are a collection of woes (cf. 10,2-4) with which Isaiah again accuses grievances. 5: 25-30 says the coming judgment: A people from afar (Assyria) will come to punish Judah.

"Isaiah's Memorandum"

Isa 6: 1-9: 6 are often referred to as "Isaiah's memorandum" in literature. Cape. 6 is Isaiah's vision of the Council of Thrones, interpreted as a calling or obduration scene. Interestingly, it is not at the entrance to the book, so it is difficult to understand as an appeal report. The so-called Trishagion ("holy, holy, holy") entered the Christian liturgy through Apk 4,8; the Christian community thus imitates the heavenly worship service.

Isa 7 comes from the time of the Syrian-Efraimite War (734-732), in which Isaiah asked King Ahaz not to enter into a coalition with the Assyrians against the combined armies of Syria and Israel (cf. 2 Kings 16) . In this context the famous sentence "If you do not believe, you will not stay" (7.9), a play on the Hebrew verb אמן (’Āman), which in the Hif'il means "to be trustworthy", but in the Nif'al it means "to endure". 7: 10-25 the Immanuel sign is announced, which in the NT (Mt 1.23) is valued as the announcement of the virgin birth of Jesus. Isaiah obviously wants to threaten Ahaz that his successor is already ready, that he is threatened with deposition. The interpretation of this passage is very controversial.

Cape. 8 is significant because it speaks of writing down the message of Isaiah and of his disciples (vv. 1 + 16, cf. 30: 8).

Isa 9: 1-6 heralds the birth and enthronement of the coming king of salvation ("The people who walk in the dark ..."), as well as 11: 1-9, the king of salvation and his kingdom of peace. The authenticity of these pieces (= origin from Isaiah himself) is highly controversial.

Cape. 9 + 10 collect judgments against Israel as against Assur, 10.20-27 express the expectation that (only) a remnant will be saved (cf. the name of the Isaiah son Shear-Jashub "a remnant turns around" in 7 , 3).

Cape. 12, a psalm, concludes the first part of the book, the important thing here is the reference to Zion as a guarantor of salvation.

Foreign peoples sayings

Cape. 13-23 are sayings of foreign peoples, i.e. they target other nations, for example against Babel (chapters 13-14 + 21), Moab (15 + 16) Syria (17) or Egypt (18-20). But these sayings are always implicitly addressed to Judah: The calamity of these peoples means at the same time salvation or relief for their own people. In addition, there is a political warning not to get involved with such groups that are doomed. Some of these texts have also been heavily revised or supplemented. Important individual texts are chap. 14, the song of derision about the fall of the King of Babel, which is also important because of its representation of the realm of the dead, and chap. 20, according to which Isaiah walks naked through Jerusalem for three years as a sign against Egypt / Ethiopia.

Isaiah apocalypse

The Isaiah Apocalypse 24-27 is a late text, but it can hardly be dated with certainty. In contrast to the previous texts, the expectation of an oppressive end time is expressed here; the chapters are clearly eschatological. The most important individual text is 26:19: "Your dead will live", an early formulation of the resurrection hope, see also 25.8 "He will destroy death for ever and the Lord will wipe away all tears ...".

Assyrian cycle

The Assyrian cycle chap. 28-31 dates from around 701, when the Assyrian king Sennacherib stood at the gates of Jerusalem but was unable to take the city. The salvation perspective, which is important for Zion theology, is found here, namely that Jerusalem will be saved for the sake of Zion. The text 28,23f. is one of the rare parables of the OT: God can change his tools like a peasant, so he can bring salvation and disaster as it is necessary.


Cape. 32 formulates the expectation of a peace kingdom coming after these events, chap. 33-35, on the other hand, are clearly marked eschatologically; in terms of content, they already refer to the later parts of the book.

Isaiah stories

With the announcement of salvation in chap. 35 probably originally closed the Book of Isaiah, later chapters 36-39 were added, which recount the events surrounding Sennacherib's siege of Jerusalem. In the current post-Isaiah order, these chapters confirm the message of the prophet who announced the conquest and conquest of Jerusalem (cf. the word of King Hezekiah in 39: 8: "The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good") .

Main themes

Within what has been preserved from the preaching of the first Isaiah, three important complexes of topics can be identified, which can be linked to a few selected texts:

Residual thought

The remainder of the thought, the idea that a small part of the people will survive the judgment or be left by YHWH. It is disputed whether this idea is to be understood as a negative announcement (only a remnant will remain) or ultimately as an announcement of salvation: A fully valid whole will develop from the rest.

Zion Theology

Isaiah is considered to be one of the most important representatives of Old Testament Zion theology. Jerusalem / Zion is the place of the presence of God ("presence theology"), not the abode of God. From this special closeness stems, on the one hand, a special obligation of the residents to show themselves worthy of God's presence, on the other hand, also a special care of YHWH, who will not allow the destruction of Zion. (Compare the Psalms of Zion 46, 48, 76, 84, 87 and the theme chapter "The Temple in Jerusalem".


An important motive in the history of the impact is Isaiah's idea that the people have to believe YHWH (cf. especially 7.9 and 28.16, the word from the cornerstone: "Whoever believes in him will not be ashamed"). In contrast to today's understanding, it is important that it is not about belief in something (cf. especially Rom 10: 8), but rather an unconditional trust in the saving power of God, for example in relation to King Ahaz, who himself prefer to rely on political alliances.

“To the next chapter


Rough breakdown of Protoyesaya

1-11Words to Israel, therein: 6-8:report about Isaiah
12laterThank you song / Word of salvation
13-23Words againstforeign peoples
24-27Isaiah apocalypse
28-31The "Assyrian cycle "
32The comingFriedensreich
33-35latereschatological chapter
36-39Isaiah stories, see 2 Kings 18-20

Overview of the main phases of Isaiah's ministry

1Socially critical period, before the year 734 BC. (Chapters 2; 3 + 5)
2Period of the Syrian-Efraimite War, 734-732 (chap. 7 + 8)
3Time of the anti-Assyrian uprisings 721-711 (chap. 18 + 20)
4Period of the uprisings under Hezekiah up to the siege of Jerusalem 705-701 (chap. 28-31)

Electronic Bible Studies

The texts on this page are taken from:

Old testament

Rösel, Martin: Biblical studies of the Old Testament. The canonical and apocryphal scriptures. With learning overviews by Dirk Schwiderski, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 10., veränd. Edition 2018.