Do we have the correct interpretation of Isaiah 9:5-6? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
We return now to Campbell’s book and we’re looking at this passage in Isaiah. Campbell argues that the child in the passage is Hezekiah. Does he have a case here?
Not really. Isaiah 7 is the one that starts all of this off with the Syro-Ephraimite war. Judah is being told that they need to join in to resist Assyria and if they don’t, the other nations will destroy Judah. Isaiah tells Ahaz to not worry about the situation. The whole plan will fall apart and Judah will survive.
Ahaz is highly resistant to this and Isaiah tells him to ask for a sign and Ahaz says “No! I will not ask for a sign!” Isaiah then says that he will get a sign anyway. The virgin shall be with child! While this is a prophecy of the virgin birth, which I do affirm, the immediate context is not about the virgin birth, which I do affirm.
The point of this prophecy is that the child will grow up and before he is done being weaned, the whole coalition will fall apart. The virgin in this case is the wife of Isaiah. She would have a child and the prophecy will be initially fulfilled.
Here then is a reason why this cannot be Hezekiah. Hezekiah was of the lineage of Judah and Isaiah would not be giving birth to a king like that. The child is instead Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.
Campbell doesn’t really give much of an argument, but since I have said that this is about the virgin birth, which I do affirm, I should further expand on my position. The child in the case of Isaiah was never named Immanuel. Jesus was said to be Immanuel in the New Testament, meaning God with us. This could be an inclusio with bookends of the Gospel being “God With Us.”
The virgin birth, which I do affirm, is a greater fulfillment that was meant to be
for the whole of the House of David. The greater evil to be dealt with is the evil of sin. The prophecy points beyond the immediate situation and goes to a far-distant future.
Jesus is the one that is also truly God with us. Also, keep in mind that the writers of the LXX saw this as referring to a virgin by their usage of the word parthenos. Jesus is the true hope of Israel in the end and the one that is the ultimate sign of the person of God being with us.
The other part of this chapter is a look at Daniel 9. There is a lot that is said I understand in the appendix and I have not got to that point yet so we will get to that at a later date. It is a complex issue.
We will next time be looking at the effect of Paul on Christianity which I have a lot to say about. We’ll deal with that then.
And I affirm the virgin birth.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)