The Added Years Of Hezekiah’s Life -- By: Benjamin Reno Downer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 080:319 (Jul 1923)
Article: The Added Years Of Hezekiah’s Life
Author: Benjamin Reno Downer


The Added Years Of Hezekiah’s Life

An Inquiry into the Significance of this Period for Isaiah Criticism

Benjamin Reno Downer

(Continued from April issue.)

Analysis Of Subject

Chapter III. Idolatry and the Conqueror From the East............................................360

Chapter IV. The Servant of Jehovah and Salvation for Scattered Israel and the Nations………………………………………………………………………...........371

Chapter V. The Question of Fulfillment....................................................................382

III. Idolatry And The Conqueror From The East

By far the strongest argument produced by those who deny Isaiah’s authorship of chapters 40–66 of the prophecy has reference to what are called the Cyrus passages. It is claimed that these are not predictions of a conqueror to come, but that they appeal to the facts of his victorious career as already well known. We may admit the force of this contention. It is unnatural, on the one hand, to think of the prophet as taking his stand in the ideal future, and describing things which would be largely unintelligible to his own day. And, on the other hand, the explanation of so many perfect tenses in the descriptions as prophetic puts a considerable strain on this use of the Hebrew perfect. Much has been made of the tremendous sensation caused by the conquests of Cyrus, as though he were the chief figure in chapters 40–48. Yet the passages which directly refer to the conqueror are few. They are chs. 41:1–7, 25; 44:28–45:13; 46:11; and (?) 48:14–16. It is the purpose of this chapter to inquire whether Cyrus is, after all, the person referred to, except in so far as he may have fulfilled the idea set forth in the prophet’s predictions.

It will now be necessary to examine these passages

somewhat in detail. Isa. 46:11 presents no difficulty, and may be dismissed. It simply describes a rapacious conqueror under the figure of a bird of prey. Isa. 48:14–16 has affinities with another class of passages, and will be deferred for consideration later. This leaves two main passages for our immediate discussion.

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