The Immanuel Prophecy In Isaiah 7:14–16 And Its Use In Matthew 1:23: Harmonizing Historical Context And Single Meaning -- By: R. Bruce Compton

Journal: Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal
Volume: DBSJ 12:1 (Fall 2007)
Article: The Immanuel Prophecy In Isaiah 7:14–16 And Its Use In Matthew 1:23: Harmonizing Historical Context And Single Meaning
Author: R. Bruce Compton


The Immanuel Prophecy In Isaiah 7:14–16 And Its Use In Matthew 1:23: Harmonizing Historical Context And Single Meaning

R. Bruce Compton1

Introduction And Historical Background

14Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. 15He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. 16For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken (Isa 7:14–16).2

In Isaiah 7:1 Ahaz (735–715 b.c.) of the southern kingdom is confronted in 734 b.c. by a combined force of Rezin (750–732 b.c.) from Syria and of Pekah (752–732 b.c.) from the northern kingdom. The two kings had earlier formed a coalition to ward off Assyrian hegemony. Ahaz apparently had rejected their previous overtures to join them. In response, the two kings sent their combined forces against Jerusalem in an effort to depose Ahaz, replace him with a king of their choosing, and force the southern kingdom into joining their cause (v. 6).3

The motive behind this Syro-Ephraimite incursion, it may be assumed, was two-fold. By having the southern kingdom as part of the coalition, the coalition’s chances against the formidable Assyrian forces would be enhanced. At the same time, a buffer would be provided for the coalition’s southern flank in case Egypt decided to take advantage of the political instability in the region.4

In order to alleviate Ahaz’s concern about the forces arrayed against him, God sends Isaiah with a message of hope. Isaiah promises Ahaz that God will intervene on his behalf and defeat the two kings opposing him (v. 7). Isaiah then directs Ahaz to seek a sign from God, even a miraculous sign, that will serve as a confirmation of God’s promise (v. 11). However, Ahaz refuses to ask for a sign, ostensibly to avoid putting God to the test (v. 12).5 His response is, in fact, a pious facade.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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