A Study in the Word – Isaiah’s Background No. 10


Literary Style:

The book is called a “vision” (1:1).  This is true of two other prophets, Obadiah and Nahum.  

The Hebrew is chazon, “something seen,” so Hebrew prophets were sometimes called “seers.”  To “see” as a prophet is to discern the mind of God and bring his will to bear upon a situation.  Consequently, the prophets regularly begin their writings with phrases like “the heavens were made open and I saw visions of God” (Eze. 1:1), or “The words of Amos . . . which he envisioned in visions concerning Israel” (Amos 1:1; also see Revelation 1:1-2).  

The prophet “is expected to be able to discern what God thinks about a given situation, what his attitude is toward their behavior in the past, what he requires of them in the present and how will he act in the future” (Dictionary of Biblical Imagery.   

Isaiah saw what God wanted and expected, and then he shared with Israel what God had to say (1:2).  Listening in obedience to the Lord through his prophet was expected from the people.  Those who listened and obeyed become the faithful remnant in Isaiah.  

The book closes with a vision of God’s messengers who were and are faithful to share their message of repentance and salvation to a lost world, to those who continually refuse to listen and therefore stand under God’s judgment (66:18-24).

Dr. David Moore is a Baptist preacher in Pampa and an online instructor in Bible and theology for Taylor University and Nations University.  Email: dm5867se@outlook.com