Isaiah Chapter 8 / 2 Nephi 18

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Barren Vineyard explained in Isaiah Chapter 8
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Much like the previous chapter, in Isaiah 8, the prophet continues to admonish the Judah to put their faith in God and not to trust alliances with other nations. The section starts with instructions for Isaiah’s new son to be named Maher-shalal-hash-baz as a sign to the Jews.

Isaiah made sure all knew about it by the scroll or banner he posted with the meaning of his son’s name: “to speed to the spoil, he hasteneth the prey,” predicting the imminent destruction of both Israel and Syria (8:1–4; compare 7:14–16). Then he bears witness that he plans to sit back and wait for the Lord to do his work.

Around 701 B.C. Assyria invaded Judah and conquered the region around Jerusalem, fulfilling this prophecy. Isaiah’s names and his sons’ names served as signs sent from the Lord (8:17–18). Isaiah closes the chapter affirming his conviction that the people should look to God for direction and inspiration and warns that those who do not will find themselves forsaken, hungry, and in the dark (8:19–22).

 THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET
ISAIAH

CHAPTER 8

Christ will be as a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense—Seek the Lord, not muttering wizards—Turn to the law and to the testimony for guidance—Compare 2 Nephi 18.

King James Version

Book of Mormon
2 Nephi 18

Expanded Notes and Commentary

 Joseph Smith Translation (JST) corrections in the Book of Mormon are in RED; commentary and notes are GREEN 

Moreover the Lord
said 
unto me, Take
thee great aroll,
and bwrite in it with
cman’s pen
concerning
dMaher-shalal-hash-baz.

 


x


x

Moreover, the word of the Lord said unto me: Take thee a great aroll, and write in it with a man’s pen, concerning bMaher-shalal-hash-baz.x

 


x


x

aroll, In the ancient Near East, rolls (scrolls) were made by sewing sheets of papyrus or leather together, forming a long, pliable strip suitable for columns of writings—Victor LudlowUnlocking Isaiah in the Book of Mormon. Deseret Book, p 134
dMaher-shalal-hash-bazHEB To speed to the spoil, he hasteneth the prey. This is the longest proper name in the Bible, and in the Hebrew, it has a meaning that was a message of warning to Judah. …The Lord commanded the prophet to give this name to his newborn son.Old Testament Student Manual

And took unto me
faithful witnesses to
record, Uriah the
priest, and Zechariah
the son of Jeberechiah.

 

x

And I took unto me faithful awitnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.

 

x

The scroll that Isaiah was commanded to write on was supposed to be large—perhaps like a banner. The banner was to be prepared in the presence of two associates of Isaiah, Uriah (a religious leader) and Zechariah (a political leader (v. 2). These witnesses were called to fulfill God’s divine law of witnessesOld Testament Student Manual

And went unto athe
prophetess
and she
conceived, and bare a
son. Then said the
Lord to me, Call his
name bMaher-shalal-
hash-baz
.

And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived and bare a son. Then said the Lord to me: aCall his name, Maher-shalal-hash-baz.
x
x
The expression “prophetess” is used here only to designate the prophet’s wife, not a prophetic office or giftYoung, Book of Isaiah, 1:273
This son and Shear-jashub were both given prophetic names to dramatize Isaiah’s message.Old Testament Student Manual

For abefore the child
shall bhave knowledge
to cry, My father, and
my mother, the riches
of Damascus and the
spoil of cSamaria
shall 
be dtaken away
before the king of Assyria.
x

For beholdathe child shall bnot have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, before the riches of Damascus and the cspoil of dSamaria shall be taken away before the king of eAssyria.
x
Isaiah prophesies that his wife would conceive and have a son, and that …that before his son would be old enough to call out for his mother or father, the riches (“booty”) of Damascus (the capital of Syria) and the good (“spoil”) of Samaria (the capital of Israel) would be taken away by the king of Assyria—Victor L. Ludlow, Unlocking Isaiah in the Book of Mormon. Deseret Book, p 134

¶ The Lord spake also
unto me again, saying,

The Lord spake also unto me again, saying:
x
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Forasmuch as this
people refuseth the
waters of aShiloah that
go softly, and rejoice
in bRezin and
Remaliah’s son;


x

Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of aShiloah that go softly, and rejoice in bRezin and Remaliah’s son;
x
x
x
x
x
Through Isaiah the Lord warns that because the people refuse to trust Him and His covenant, symbolized by the gentle waters of Shiloah, He will send upon them a very different kind of water, even the decimating deluge of Assyria that would overflow them and reach even to their neck (8:5–8) —Terry Ball and Nathan Winn, Making Sense of Isaiah, Deseret Book, p. 121

Now therefore, behold,
the Lord bringeth up
upon athemthe bwaters
of 
the river, strong and
many, even the king of
cAssyriaand all his
glory: and he shall come
up over all his channels,
and go over all his banks:

Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of aAssyria and all his glory; and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks.
x
Isaiah uses the metaphor of a calm pool or spring and a strong overflowing river to symbolize the king of Assyria. Since Judah has rejected the still, small voice of the Spirit, the force of Assyria will come upon them and completely devastate the land.—Monte S. Nyman, “Great Are the Words of Isaiah,” Horizon, p 64x
x

And he shall apass
through Judah
he shall
overflow and go over, he
shall reach even to the
bneckand the stretching
out of his wings shall fill
the breadth of thy land,
cImmanuel.

And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall areach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.
x

The Lord will bring up Assyria like a mighty river overflowing all the land—Monte S. Nyman, “Great Are the Words of Isaiah,”  Horizon, p 62

 

x
x

¶ aAssociate yourselves,
ye people, and ye shall
be broken in pieces; and
give ear, all ye of far
countries: gird yourselves,
and ye shall be broken in
pieces; gird yourselves,
and ye shall be broken in
pieces.

aAssociate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear all ye of far countries; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces.xx
x
In plain words Isaiah warns the people that if they make confederacies or associations or counsel with other nations rather than trusting the Lord, they will be “broken” and “come to nought”  —Terry Ball and Nathan Winn, Making Sense of Isaiah, Deseret Book, p. 121xx
x

10 Take acounsel
together, 
and it shall
come to nought; speak
the word, and it shall
not stand: for bGod is
with 
us.

x

x

x

10 Take counsel together, and it shall come to naught; speak the word, and it shall not stand; for God is with us.
x

x

x

x

These two verses (9–10) are acknowledged to be difficult. They seem to be a declaration against the countries coming upon Israel (“all ye of far countries”) that they also will be broken in pieces because God is with Israel and will eventually deliver her from all her enemies. This seems acceptable, as God holds “the destinies of all the armies of the nations of the earth” (D&C 117:6).Monte S. Nyman, “Great Are the Words of Isaiah,”  Horizon, pp 64–65

11 ¶ For the Lord spake
thus to me awith strong
hand
and instructed me
that should not walk in
the way of this people,
saying,
x

11 For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying:

x

It’s at this point that Isaiah decides to lay out what the Lord has told him about this whole affair. He explains that the Lord’s guided him “with a strong hand” (2 Ne. 18:11) [continued in next verse]
x

12 Say ye not, 
aconfederacyto all them
to
 whom this people shall
say, confederacy;
neither fear ye their fear,
nor be afraid.

12 Say ye not, A confederacy, to all to whom this people shall say, A aconfederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.
x
…and guided him away from supporting the confederacy of nations: “Say ye not ‘A confederacy!’ to all to whom this people shall say ‘A confederacy!’”—Joseph Spencer, The Vision of All, p, 196
x

13 Sanctify the Lord of
hosts himself; and alet
him 
be your fear, and let
him 
be your dread.x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x

13 Sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
There is a feeling both of tender pleading and of stern warning in Isaiah’s admonition, “Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread” (8:13). The prophet promises that if we fear, or reverence, the Lord, He will be a sanctuary for us. In times of adversity, suffering, or turmoil, those blessed with a testimony and an understanding of Jesus Christ can find peace, perspective, and hope in their faith—a refuge and a sanctuary from the storms of life.—Terry Ball and Nathan Winn, Making Sense of Isaiah, Deseret Book, p. 121

14 And he shall be for 
asanctuarybut for 
bstone of cstumbling and
for drock of eoffence to
both the houses of Israel,
for gin and for fsnare
to 
the inhabitants of
Jerusalem.
x
x

x

14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a astone of bstumbling, and for a crock of doffense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and a esnare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

x
x
x

The Messiah is referred to in the scriptures as a “stone” (see Genesis 49:24Psalm 118:22) and also as a “rock” (see Deuteronomy 32:4, 151 Samuel 2:2). The prophet here uses this expression to describe the rejection of the Savior, the stumbling and offence, by the unbelieving of Israel and Judah. The New Testament writers also cited this passage in showing how the Jews, for the most part, rejected the Savior (see Romans 9:331 Peter 2:8)—Old Testament Student Manual

15 And many among
them shall stumble, and
fall, and be broken, and
be snared, and be taken.

 

15 And many among them shall astumble and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.

x

Note Isaiah’s great skill with words as he describes the downfall of Judah with hammerlike driving force, next, in verse 15—Ridges, David J., The Old Testament Made Easier Part 3  Cedar Fort, Inc., Kindle Edition 

16 aBind up the
testimony, bseal the claw
among 
my disciples.

 

x

16 aBind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.

 

x

Because Isaiah’s people won’t hear any of this, he’s now told—we’ve talked about this passage already several times—to “bind up the testimony” he’s offered, to “seal the law” for a later people that’ll finally be ready to receive his message —Joseph Spencer, The Vision of All, p, 196 

17 And will wait upon
the Lordthat ahideth his
face from the house of
Jacob, and will look for
him.

 

x
x

17 And I will wait upon the Lord, that ahideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.

x

x

Did the Lord “hide his face” from covenant Israel? Footnote 17a gives the answer from Isaiah 54:8: “In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee.” This verse is repeated to the Nephites by the Savior in 3 Nephi 22:8.—Bytheway, John. Isaiah For AirheadsDeseret Book Company. Kindle Edition. 

18 Behold, and the
children whom the Lord
hath 
given me are for
asigns and for wonders in
Israel from the Lord of
hosts, which dwelleth in
mount Zion.x

 

x

18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for asigns and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of Hosts, which dwelleth in Mount Zion.

 

x

Isaiah’s and his sons’ names were signs of the great things the Lord would do for Israel. Their names represent three themes that are prevalent in Isaiah’s writings: the destruction the people would face if they persisted in wickedness, the eventual gathering of Israel back to the promised land and God’s covenant, and the power of Jesus Christ to save His people.Old Testament Study Guide

19 ¶ And when they shall
say unto you, Seek unto
them that have afamiliar
spirits
and unto bwizards
that 
peep, and that
mutter: should not a
people seek unto their
God? cfor the living to
the dead?

 

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

19 And when they shall say unto you: Seek unto them that have afamiliar spirits, and unto bwizards that peep and mutter—cshould not a people seek unto their God for the living to hear from the dead?

 

x

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x

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x

x

x

The expression “familiar spirits” is not an accurate term to convey the significance of the Hebrew term used anciently. The Hebrew word ‘ob means “a leather bottle or bag” (see William Gesenius, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, p. 15). This object was used by the practitioners of necromancy, a deceptive craft of pretended communication with the dead. The art involved a kind of ventriloquism wherein the voice or message of the “departed spirits” was called forth from the bag or sometimes a pit. (See G. Johannes Botterweck and Helmer Ringgren, Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, 1:131, 133–34.) The peeping (chirping) and muttering (twittering) somewhat like birds were intended to invoke the departed spirits or to convey the pretended message (see Young, Book of Isaiah, 1:318). The Lord warned Israel and Judah of such deceptions early in their history (see Leviticus 19:3120:27Deuteronomy 18:10–11).—Old Testament Study Guide

President Joseph Fielding Smith in commenting on these ancient practices gave this warning that applies even today: “To seek for information through …any way contrary to the instruction the Lord has given is a sin. The Lord gave positive instruction to Israel when they were in the land of their inheritance that they were to go to him for revelation and to avoid the devices prevalent among the heathen nations who occupied their lands. …All through the Bible, the New Testament as well as the Old, the Lord and his prophets have expressed their displeasure when the people turned from the Lord to ‘familiar spirits.’” —Answers to Gospel Questions, 4:33.

20 To the alaw and to the
testimony: if bthey speak
not according to this word,
it is because there is no
clight in them.

x

x

20 To the alaw and to the testimony; and if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

x

x

x

Isaiah testifies that spiritual light comes from the Lord through the Law (the first five books of the Old Testament) and the testimony of the prophets—(whose words are also contained in books of the Old Testament). The New Testament often refers to certain Old Testament writings as “the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:40)—Bytheway, John. Isaiah For AirheadsDeseret Book Company. Kindle Edition. 

21 And athey shall pass
through it, hardly
bestead and hungry:
and it shall come to pass,
that when they shall be
hungry, they shall fret
themselves, and bcurse
their 
king and their God,
and look upward.

21 And they shall pass through it hardly bestead and hungry; and it shall come to pass that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward.
x
x

He affirms his conviction that the people should look to God for direction and inspiration and warns that those who do not will find themselves forsaken, hungry, and in the dark  —Terry Ball and Nathan Winn, Making Sense of Isaiah, Deseret Book

x
x

22 And they shall look
unto the earth; and behold
trouble and adarkness,
bdimness of anguishand
they shall be driven to
darkness.x

x
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x

x

22 And they shall look unto the earth and behold trouble, and adarkness, dimness of anguish, and shall be driven to darkness.
x
x

x

x

x

x
He hopes such fools will recognize that the answers they seek are to be found in the sealed writings of Isaiah, in a text directed to the surviving remnant. Unfortunately, such misguided people will “curse . . . their God” (v. 21) and then “be driven to darkness” (v. 22). They won’t seek out Isaiah’s writings or join those who will be preserved to read them when they can be opened again.—Joseph Spencer, The Vision of All, p, 196

THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET
ISAIAH

CHAPTER 9

 aNevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, bwhen at the first he lightly afflicted the land of cZebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. aNevertheless, the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at first he lightly afflicted the bland of cZebulun, and the land of dNaphtali, and afterwards did more grievously afflict by the way of the Red Sea beyond Jordan in Galilee of the nations.

Verse 1 is positioned as the last verse of chapter 8 in the Hebrew Bible. It serves as a transition from the end of chapter 8 to the topic of the Savior’s mortal mission, in chapter 9—Ridges, David J., The Old Testament Made Easier Part 3Cedar Fort, Inc., Kindle Edition.

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Other Chapter Links to the Book of Isaiah (those in blue are posted others are pending)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48
49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
61 62 63 64 65 66

 

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I am a retiree from Scouting. There I blogged for VoiceOfScouting.org, a site with more than 250,000 readers. During 42 years in the workplace, I've had many years senior level management with the BSA, professional associations, and high tech user groups. My background includes capital fundraising; outdoor adventure program development; property and construction management; event/conference planning; risk management and safety; lobbying federal, state and local government agencies; public relations; strategic planning; member advocacy and staff/volunteer training. Along the way, I have also taught Gospel Doctrine Classes and been both the ward and stake Sunday School President. In these settings, I have seen teachers and class members minimize Isaiah, a book Christ has commanded us to "search diligently." (3 Ne 23:1) With that in mind, I will do my best to explore and post my discoveries about the book of Isaiah. I am not a Bible scholar; like you, I read Isaiah in the Old Testament cycle of study in LDS Gospel Doctrine Classes and again in the Book of Mormon Cycle, so this is a whole new scripture adventure for me.

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