Merchant and his wife watch New Year procession of moon god Sin
The Kings of Babylon
• Nebuchadrezzar 604-562
• Amel Marduk (Evil-Merodach [2 Kgs 25:27])
• Neriglissar 560-556
• Labashi Marduk 556 (one month rule)
• Nabonidus 556-39 (Belshazzar, [Daniel 5]
was his regent)—he reigned while Second
Isaiah prophesied though there is no
reference to him by this prophet
The Basis for a Second Isaiah (40-55)
• Historical Background
– First Isaiah: 8c; Kings: Uzziah; Ahaz;
Hezekiah; Enemy: Assyria (Sargon and
– Second Isaiah: 6c; Cyrus the Persian already
known (550-530); but before the fall of
Babylon in 539; Jerusalem already destroyed:
(44:26-28 cities of Judah will be rebuilt, I will
raise their ruins; 51:3 ; 52:9 “ruins of
The Basis for a Second
Isaiah (2)
• Language, style, form
• First Isaiah:
• terse and compact;
• grave and restrained;
• lawsuit/oracles of judgment against
• Second Isaiah:
• warm and impassioned; lyric;
• oracles of salvation; disputations;
lawsuits against the gods
The Basis for a Second
Isaiah (3)
• Theological Themes
• First Isaiah: promised messiah;
inviolability of Zion; a remnant
shall return
• Second Isaiah: servant; God as
creator and redeemer; new
Exodus; denial of existence of
other gods; use of myth; remnant =
exiles; messiah = Cyrus
The Call of the Prophet
• Give comfort: plural imperative.
Who are the addressees?
• Meaning of “comfort”
• 51:3 The Lord will comfort Zion; he
will comfort all her waste places
• 52:9 The Lord has comforted his
people, he has redeemed
• Jerusalem already punished twice
as much as deserved (40:2)
A Voice Crying, In the
• Who is the voice and whom is it
• An “interstate” from Babylon to
Jerusalem, or is it a processional
• Glory of Yahweh revealed (cf. Isaiah
• Universal extent of the promise
• Basis of the promise: the word of
our God will stand forever
What’s transitory?
What’s everlasting?
• Transitory: All humanity and its
• Everlasting: The word of
• An inclusio on the “word of
Yahweh”: Isa 55:10-13
• All creation joins in doxology
and a standing ovation for
The return of the divine
warrior 40:9-11
• Zion’s role as herald to the cities of
Judah (vs. O thou that tellest good
tidings to Zion)
• Warrior returns with booty ([his arm
rules] v. 10)
• the tender shepherd
• he tends his flock
• with his arm he gathers the young
• in his bosom he carries them
• gently leads the nursing ewes
Creation and Mythology
• A hymn to the arm of Yahweh the
warrior (wake up, “arm” of Yahweh)
• Defeater of Rahab and the dragon
• Dried up the sea…a way for the
redeemed to cross over [the sea]
• Procession of the redeemed to Zion
• Joy; end of sadness
A Series of Disputations
• v. 12 Who measured waters in hollow of
• v. 14 Whom did the LORD consult for
• v. 15 Nations are a drop from a bucket
• v. 19 Idols cannot even move!
• v. 23 God brings princes to naught
• vv. 25-27 Yahweh is incomparable; but my
way is hidden from the LORD. So?
Climax of the
disputation in 40:28-31
• Lord is everlasting God; creator
of ends of the earth
• gives power to the faint;
strengthens the powerless
• Those who wait for the Lord will
renew their strength; they shall
mount up with wings like
Another Disputation:
• 24-28 hymnic disputation
• God’s credentials
• Promises to:
• Jerusalem--it shall be inhabited;
• cities of Judah--they shall be
• Cyrus--He is my shepherd;
• temple--it shall be rebuilt
Marduk chose Cyrus and he defeated Nabonidus. Cyrus accuses Nabonidus of
neglecting the gods and oppressing the people.
Oracle of Cyrus’
Election (45:1-7)
• Cyrus as Yahweh’s anointed; Who
has roused a victor from the east
• So that you (Cyrus) may know that I
am Yahweh v. 3
• Marduk looked through all the countries,
searching for a righteous leader. Then he
pronounced the name of Cyrus….Marduk was
well pleased with my deeds and sent friendly
blessings to me, Cyrus, the king who worships
Marduk ANET 315-316
Hymn (45:8) and
disputation (45:9-13)
• Hymn in v. 5 features “salvation,”
“righteousness,” “create”
• Alas for the one who contends with
the “potter.”
• Does the clay say, “You forgot the
• Fetus, “What’s going on?”
• Since I created the whole cosmos all
by myself….
• Cyrus is my agent of redemption!
A Lawsuit against the
nations 41:1-5
• Nations as witnesses and deities as
• Who is it that roused from the east
one victorious at every step? =
Cyrus against Medes and Lydians
• Yahweh as prosecutor, arbiter, and
• I, Yahweh, am the first and with the
• John 8:28; Rev 1:17; 2:8; 21:6; 22:13
Oracle of Salvation
• Address
• Assurance of
• Nominal
• Verbal
• Israel my servant
• Do not be afraid
• I am with you…I am
your God
• I will strengthen
you, I will help
you—the tenses
are Perfects
Other oracles of
• 41:14-16; 43:1-4, 5-7; 44:1-5; 54:4-6
• Fear not, you worm Jacob 41:14
• Your redeemer is the Holy One of
Israel v. 14
• I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia
and Seba in exchange for you 43:3
• For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great compassion I will
gather you 54:7
Take Home Exam
• Write an essay of 3-5 pages on one of the
following: Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah,
Ezekiel, Second Isaiah, or Daniel
• This essay should show your appreciation
for or comprehension of the message of
this prophet/book and offer a response to
• The response might consist of a critique of
the message or an appropriation of it for
ministry and mission today.
A Lawsuit against the
gods 41:21-29
• The former things and the new
• Do good, do harm….just do
• I stirred up one from the north and
he has come. (41:25)
• Who declared it from the beginning
• Is there any god besides me? 44:8
Hymn of Salvation 52:710
• How beautiful are the feet of
the messenger who announces
• Who brings good news
• who announces salvation
• Who says to Zion, “Your God
• All the ends of the earth will
see the “victory” of our God
Second Isaiah and the
Priestly Writer—Which
way to the future?
• P looked back to the everlasting
covenant with the ancestors and to
the possibility of reestablishing an
ideal “Mosaic” community
• Second Isaiah: Do not remember the
former things, or consider the things
of old. I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not
perceive it? 43:18-19
The Servant Songs in
Second Isaiah
42:1-4 (5-7)
49:1-6 (7)
50:4-9 (10-11)
Should they be read separately
from the rest of the book?
Who is the servant?
• Duhm: poems added
secondarily by someone who
had leprosy
• Mowinckel: Servant = Second
Isaiah himself
• Sellin: 1898 = Zerubbabel; 1901
= Jehoiachin; 1922 = Moses
• Or does the servant represent
Israel? the prophet and Israel?
The “Servant” in Second
• Word servant appears 21 times in
• 19 times singular; 2 times plural
(44:26 by emendation =
//messengers; 54:17 the vindication
of the servants of Yahweh comes
from me)
• 8 times in servant poems; 1x =
Israel; 2x = not Israel; 5x = unclear
• 13 times elsewhere; = 8x explicitly
Israel; 3x implicitly Israel; 2 plural
The First Servant Poem
• v. 1: servant is agent of
“justice” (Yahweh’s sovereignty)
to the nations
• not by shouting nor by force
• Israel makes clear to the world
Yahweh’s sovereignty
• Israel shows Yahweh’s
sovereignty by experiencing
deliverance from Babylon
Isaiah 42:5-9
• Addressed to servant directly;
in vv 1-4 servant was presented
to others
• Yahweh’s credentials as creator
• Covenant of/for the people
(covenant people), light to the
• To open blind eyes and to free
from prison
The Second Servant
Poem 49:1-6
• Servant reports pre-natal call (Samson;
Jeremiah; John the Baptist)
• Servant is Yahweh’s secret weapon
• Israel in whom I will be glorified! v.3
• vv. 5-6 servant has mission to Israel and to
the nations in addition to raising up tribes
of Jacob
• Has the prophet become the true Israel?
• Or does true Israel have a mission to
faithless Israel?
The Third Servant Poem
• Psalm of confidence by one who has
experienced opposition
• “Prophetic” Israel did not rebel
• Lord Yahweh helps me; who can put
me in the wrong?
• Trusting in Yahweh and leaning on
his God
• What is the vocation of the one who
hears Second Isaiah’s good news?
The Fourth Servant
Poem 52:13-53:12
• 52:13-15 Yahweh is speaker
• Ultimate vindication of the
• The servant had a bad
• The nations will be startled at
the servant
The Fourth Servant
Poem (2)
• Who is “we” and “us” in 53:1? the
nations? The “many”?
• Servant made a disgusting appearance;
people could not stand to look at him
• 53:4-6 “We” people change their
evaluation of the servant
• He bore our sicknesses, our iniquities, our
• Servant’s wounds = healing for us.
The Fourth Servant
Poem (3)
• The servant never said a mumbling
word (v. 7)
• Was the servant killed? Was Second
Isaiah executed? Did Israel in exile
die a metaphorical death?
• Servant dies ignominiously
• Servant’s life = a sin offering;
expects coming vindication
The Fourth Servant
Poem (4)
• Through his humiliation the
servant makes the “many”
• He bears their iniquities
• Yahweh again the speaker
• Final vindication because
• he poured himself out unto death
• he carried the sins of many
• he prayed for them
Wisdom 2
• He professes to have knowledge of
God, and calls himself a child of the
Lord…Let us see if his words are
true, and let us test what will
happen at the end of his life; for if
the righteous person is God’s child,
he will help him, and will deliver him
from the hand of his adversaries. Vv.
Wisdom 5
• The unrighteous will be amazed at
the unexpected salvation of the
righteous…these are persons whom
we once held in derision…Why have
they been numbered among the
children of God….So it was we who
strayed from the truth, and the light
of righteousness did not shine on us.
Vv. 2-6
NT echoes
• If the servant originally is the
prophet and/or Israel
• And if Jesus is the servant
• Then we--in our good
confession--are also called and
empowered to be servants

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