According to chapter 1:1 the Prophet Isaiah (Meaning, Jehovah is Salvation) was the son of the Amoz, who according to an old Jewish tradition was the brother of King Amaziah. In any case Isaiah had a fairly free entry to the King’s court in Jerusalem (Is. 7:3; 38:1; 39:3). Isaiah was married and had two sons by the names of Shear-jashub (Hebr. “A remnant shall return”, Is. 7:3) and Maher-shalal-hash-baz (Hebr. “Swift for spoil, hasty for prey”, Is. 8:3).
Isaiah’s prophetic service covered the reigns of the kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. Uzziah’s autocracy started around the year 767 BC and Hezekiah died around 697 BC. The prophet’s service fell into this time. According to Jewish tradition Isaiah shall have been persecuted by the impious king Manasseh (son of king Hezekiah) and sawn asunder in a hollow trunk (compare with Hebrews 11:37).
The book of Isaiah is mentioned around 60 times in the NT, which is more than all other prophets together. 28 references only originate from the chapters 40 to 66 whereby Isaiah’s name is mentioned explicitly 11 times (Math. 3:3; 8:17; 12:17; Luke 3:4; Luke 4:17; John 1:23; John 12:38; Acts 8:28-33; Romans 10:16; Romans 10:20-21).
The most remarkable reference in this connection is John 12:38-41. Isaiah chap. 53 and chap. 6 are referred to there whereby Isaiah’s name is mentioned three times! The Word of God herewith confirms the unity of the book itself.
Further clear testimonies to the unity of Isaiah are the scrolls found at the Dead Sea. In 1947 an approximately 7ms long leather-scroll with the whole text of the book Isaiah dating from the 2nd century BC was found in Qumran among others. This is the oldest completely maintained copy of a book of the OT. Such a scroll is mentioned in Luke 4:17-20 (compare Acts 8:28-35).
Isaiah is the first of all prophetic books in the modern editions as well as in the Hebrew Bible where he is the first of the “later prophets”. Although Isaiah was not the first prophet his prophecies form the longest and most extensive prophetic book of Holy Scripture.
It is Isaiah who writes in the most detailed manner of the promised Messiah (only the Psalms are of an even more messianic character) and is therefore also called “the evangelist among the prophets”. This is why he duly comes in the first place among the so-called four Major Prophets.
The book of Isaiah consists of two large parts (chap. 1 – 35 and 40 – 66), which are separated by a historical part (chap. 36 – 39). The first main part contains the outer and the second the inner history of the people of God.
Among the different names of God in Isaiah the “Holy One of Israel” has a special place. This name appears 28 times (Is. 1:4; 5:19.24; 10:17: His Holy One; 10:20; 12:6; 17:7; 29:19.23: the Holy One of Jacob; 30:11.12.15; 31:1; 37:23; 41:14.16.20; 43:3.14.15; 45:11; 47:4; 48:17; 49:7; 54:5; 55:5; 60:9.14). This name is elsewhere only to be found in 2 Kings 19:22; Psalms 71:22; Psalms 78:41; Psalms 89:18; Jeremiah 50:29; Jeremiah 51:5 and Ezekiel 39:7 (Holy One of Israel).
Besides the book of Psalms there is none other in the OT containing so many prophecies concerning the Lord Jesus.
It is as if the prophet had had Christ constantly before his eyes (compare Is. 6 and John 12:38-41).
The most important paragraphs are:
- The promised redeemer is Jehovah Himself: chap. 47:4; 48:17
- The incarnation of the Son of God: chap. 7:14; 9:2.6; 11:1-2; 48:16
- His humiliation: chap. 4:2; 42:1; 50:4-5; 53:1-2
- His rejection: chap. 8:14; 49:4; 53:3
- His sufferings: chap. 50:6; 52:14; 53:3-7. 10-12; 63:9
- His glory: chap. 9:7; 11:3-10; 25:8 , 28:16; 32:1; 49:6; 52:15; 53:9-12; 58 -66.
Besides these references there are many more in this book speaking of the Messiah, the redeemer Jesus Christ.