Book of Isaiah : Introduction to Isaiah 36-39



Introduction to Isaiah 36-39

These four chapters (36-39) make up this seventh section of Isaiah. Each section clearly revolves around a theme of persevering through hardships. War, death and pride’s pain all are clearly exposed. Isaiah shows how seriously God is interested in man’s deep devotion to Himself and that nothing else will satisfy.

This section has its own characteristics distinct from the other chapters. Although there are other narrative sections, they are all rather small.

Chapters 36-39, however, are narrative in form with prophetic poetry inserted. Perhaps, these chapters were inserted to steer the book. Isaiah is trying to bring his people to a proper understanding of the real situation. He has shown what judgment was like and how Judah herself resembled these nations. They themselves were also to expect God’s judgment.

Isaiah also uses these chapters as a special introduction to chapters 40-66 so that we can properly appreciate them. Judah would no longer be the focus. God wanted to show that He would indeed keep his promises to His people. Something much better was coming than what the best kings and kingdoms could present. In the following chapters God is going to reveal to us wonderful news in much clearer detail than before.

Chapter 36

Chapter 36 shows the full consequences of King Hezekiah and the elders foolish decision to persist in disobedience by trusting in Egypt.

God exposed them. Their rebellion from Assyria’s power of course was good, but they still trusted in Egypt. Although some of Assyria’s accusations would not come about, most of them made God’s people to think more soberly of their relationship with God.

Chapter 37

Chapter 37 in another way showed how foolish it was for Hezekiah and the elders of Judah to trust in Egypt. Egypt of course never helped them a bit. God saved Jerusalem overnight. The contrast is a lesson. These chapters also serve as an excellent example of how to enter into the trust of the true God.

The knowledge of what they need to do is more deeply instilled in them now that the darkness surrounds them; the new day will soon dawn when all the barrenness of the darkness will become the beauty of the new age.

Chapter 38

Chapter 38 makes us aware of our frailty. Death is another enemy we ourselves have no power over. Even the good king’s life was subject to death.

The city of Jerusalem still was under the threat of Assyria’s return. All were waiting death’s turn and the ugliness of war.

But again we are shown man cannot trust in himself, but he can trust in God. God has power of life and has power to extend it. The lesson itself reminds us how often we trust our own basic strengths rather than acting in full obedience displaying God’s strengthening power.

Chapter 39

Chapter 39 is an extremely short chapter giving us the final warning and implanting of despair within us or even in the best of men.

Kind Hezekiah was a great man but fell in the swell of pride and success. Judah and Jerusalem’s end was just off the horizon. The things King Hezekiah did were good, but what he did was insufficient. So we all are looking over the horizon expecting despair but hoping there might be that ray of light giving hope to mankind.

Summary and Application

In summary, this narrative section has several purposes.

  • 1) To clearly show that Judah would be destroyed.
  • 2) To instill within the readers a sense of doubt and despair in themselves and their circumstances. This prepares them for chapters 40-66.
  • 3) To remind the readers the problems they faced were because of a lack of trust in God and that even their “good” was not acceptable.

Romans 3:11-21 emphasize the fallen nature of man and its result. How would you respond to those who wonder about the end of those who never heard of Jesus? Do you trust in Jesus casually or real seriously? Why?

Book of Isaiah: Plan and Outline

Overview of the Book of Isaiah
Discussion on Ten Sections of Isaiah
Outline of Isaiah

Graphical Redemptive Chart of Isaiah
Light & Dark Illustrative Diagram

Background of the Book of Isaiah

A Historical Timeline of Isaiah

Isaiah and Judah's Chronology
Assyria's Relationship with Israel/Judah

Section Introduction & Background

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Paul J. Bucknell

Biblical Foundations for Freedom