Isaiah 7:14-16, the son and the child

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by rlvaughn, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    Isaiah 7:
    Isaiah prophesied of the virgin birth of Jesus as recorded in Isaiah 7:14 and explained in Matthew 1:22-23.

    1. Is the person referenced by the pronoun "he" in verse 15 the same as the virgin-born son in verse 14?
    2. Is the child in verse 16 the same as the "he" in verse 15 and/or the same as the virgin-born son in verse 14?
    3. What is the significance of these being either the same person or a different person(s)?
    4. What is the significance of the change between second person singular pronouns (e.g. "thee" in v. 11 and 17) and second person plural pronouns (e.g. "ye" and "you"in v. 14)?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Van

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    Hi R. L. Vaughn, as you probably know several differing views can be found in the commentaries.

    My view is that the author of Isaiah was talking about a near term fulfillment of prophecy. Later Matthew, also inspired used Isaiah's words for another purpose, to refer to Jesus.

    So the "he" in verse 15 is not necessarily Jesus. The idea may be that by the time this "boy" is 12 or 13, he will be eating off the land, because his parents farming facilities will have been destroyed. So the boy in verse 16 is the same near term fulfillment as found in verse 15.

    The "double" prophecy, with both a short term fulfillment and a Messianic or End Times fulfillment is an important approach to understanding scripture. Lots of people, including me, embrace it. But others reject it.

    The singular pronoun seems to refer to someone living at that time, whereas the plural could (repeat could) envision all of us with knowledge of Matthew's use. But that would seem to be thin.

    Hope some of this helps.
     
  3. Van

    Van
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  4. rlvaughn

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    Thanks for your comments, Van. I understand the concept of "double prophecy", "dual fulfillment" or "double reference". I have no problem with an immediate application and remote fulfillment -- as in Psalm 41:9 and John 13:18 -- but I struggle to reconcile the same kind of thing with a virgin birth prophecy. It seems in context that there should be some immediate sign to Ahaz, but how much of sign is a young woman conceiving and bearing children, if there is not something specific or miraculous about it? One commentator I read (Gleason Archer) stresses calling this a "type" -- which, apparently, at least in his thinking, relieves the need of the immediate application being literal in the same way as the remote fulfillment. [Curiously, he goes on to say the virgin was Isaiah's wife mentioned in Isaiah 8:3, who was still a virgin at the time of his prophecy in 7:14. Hard to assert, unless she was a second wife to Isaiah, since he already has a son. See 7:3.]
     
  5. Van

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    I do not have a strong feeling whether the woman was a type or foreshadowing of Mary, but conceived the old fashioned way, or she too was a virgin at conception. I do not think scripture tells us. The point of the passage may be it (virgin birth) was not a miracle, not a test of the Lord. But the foretelling of the near term devastation sufficed for a sign.

    I think Isaiah's second wife is mentioned in 8:3.
     
  6. Deacon

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    I highly respect John Walton's book, "The Lost World of Genesis One".
    It's evangelical and original, two traits not often found together.

    He wrote a paper a while back that's worth the read; evangelical and original!

    ISA. 7:14: WHAT'S IN A NAME [LINK] Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

    Rob
     
  7. Van

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    While I found the linked article informative, some of the arguments seemed farfetched.
     
  8. rlvaughn

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    Deacon, thanks for the link. I've printed it off to read later.

    Van, would you clarify? Do you mean a possible occurrence of conception without a human father in the days of Ahaz and Isaiah?

    Do you feel there is any other evidence that Isaiah had more than one wife?
     
  9. Van

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    If the second wife of Isaiah was a type or foreshadowing of Mary, then "the young women" rather than the virgin would have a child. That may be the practical view, I am just saying scripture does not say she conceived the old fashioned way. Arguments from silence are just that.
     
  10. rlvaughn

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    It seems to me the only reason to assume there was a second wife of Isaiah is to try to explain that she could have been the virgin of Isaiah 7:14. So that seems kind of like a round of circular reasoning to me.

    Most consider the older versions, which seem to be more literal translations, as using a euphemism for sexual relations (i.e.)
    Newer translations seem to go with the dynamic of what they think it means.
    I may be wrong, but I don't think most people see 8:3 as silent on the subject.
     
  11. Van

    Van
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    Yes, if the lady in 8:3 is the same as 7:14, then the case is closed. How do you know?
     
  12. rlvaughn

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    The scriptures do not specify details about Isaiah's wife, but the only reason to believe the wife of Isaiah in chapter 8 is not the same wife and mother of Shearjashub is the desire to have 8:3 fulfill 7:14 and her be a virgin at the time the prophecy was given. So what is not proven is used to prove what is not proven. There are two noticeable differences between the child of 7:14 and Isaiah's son in 8:3:

    7:14 The prophesied son was to be called Immanuel (God with us).
    8:3 Isaiah's son was called Mahershalalhashbaz (make speed to the spoil).
    These are not the same names in structure or meaning.

    7:15-16 The prophecy against Syria and Israel stood in relation to "before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good."
    8:3 The prophecy against Syria and Israel stood in relation to "before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother."
    These are not the same time frames.
     
  13. rlvaughn

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    Deacon, thanks for the article. I read over it last night, but could use a second going over to understand it better. It was interesting, though I am not prepared to agree with Walton's conclusions. I like his emphasis on exegesis driving the understanding of the passage. One problem I have understanding verses 15 and 16 is that if verse 14 is strictly and only a future prophecy of the Messiah, how do verses 15-16 relate to the matter at hand? All the events re Syria, Ephraim and Jerusalem would occur long before the birth of the child, making his age at the timing of the events irrelevant. One way around that is to make 15-16 refer to a different child than 14, but that seems forced (though there is a change in the singular/plural number with the pronouns used). It is contextually appealing to see the sign as more the name rather than the birth. But then I have trouble fitting all this into what Matthew said about it -- "this happened in order to fulfill" what Isaiah prophesied, and the emphasis there is the birth rather than the exact name (which is fulfilled in the person being "God with us" rather than named "God with us").
     
  14. The Biblicist

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    Isaiah 7:14-9:6 is a clear messianic passage. The primary reference is to the Messiah while the secondary reference is historical as the Holy Spirit's intentions are made clear by New Testament writers. Isaiah 8:16-18 is explicitly messanic in its primary application. This is like asking if Psalm 16 has its primary application with David or with Christ. Peter claims that David knew he was speaking primarily of Christ. Likewise, this Isaiah passage is speaking primarily of Christ on purpose, intentionally as neither Isaiah 7:14 or 9:6 could remotely have as its primary purpose or design to contemporary history or persons.
     
  15. Deacon

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    What do they say, CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT.

    Things didn't necessarily have to be clearly understood by those who spoke and recorded God's word. The meaning became 'primarily' clear upon the revelation of Jesus Christ.

    Context #1 Isaiah's spoken word at the time of delivery.
    Context #2 Isaiah's meaning when writing of the episode.
    Context #3 Isaiah's meaning to future generations upon acceptance of canonicity (Second Temple view).
    Context #4 Isaiah's meaning to future generations (church)

    Rob
     
  16. rlvaughn

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    I agree, and would also include up to the Branch in chapter 11. Do you think the child referenced in 7:15-16 is the same child as in verse 14? From 14 to 15 Isaiah changes from addressing the plural you (Judah/Israel) to the singular thee (Ahaz). Does this change to a child in their time, perhaps Shearjashub, who eats butter and honey is the time of "shaving" by Assyria? (E.g. 22 And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land.) Thanks.
     
  17. The Biblicist

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    It is not uncommon for a prophecy to include an immediate contemporary figure but yet we can see that the full prophecy is impossible to apply to the immediate person or thing. So the immediate may have a limited application but certainly cannot meet the full application of the prophecy. I think that is the case here. The child "Shearjashub" is the imperfect incomplete immediate application but the mind of the Spirit as manifested in the details has in view only Christ as its primary object.
     

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