Christmas – Isaiah 9

Christmas – Isaiah 9

Isaiah 9 contains three very important prophecies about Jesus: where he would live (vs. 1), a list of His titles, and what His kingdom would be like (vs. 6, 7). Nazareth is by the Sea of Galilee in the land of Naphtali and foreshadows Matthew 2: 23 in that He would be called a Nazarene. Handel immortalized verse 6 and 7 but these names/titles are important: christmas angelsWonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Verse seven clearly puts this ruler in David’s family and places justice and righteousness as keystones in His government. The last line is often overlooked but it too is important – The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

These promises came to Judah and Israel not in a “great time” period but at a very low one. Just like Father to encourage His people when things look bleak. Ahaz, the fifteenth ruler of Judah, was actively rebelling against God (2 Chronicles 28 and 2 Kings 16). So God used Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel Christmas 1to do some cleaning up of Judah (see Fifteen – Cleaning Up to Celebrate). Idolatry, oppression by foreign kings, and bloodshed was the life of the people of God when Isaiah spoke this prophecy. Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, certainly stepped up and turned things around for Judah but only Jesus could fulfill the names in verse six.

Pic of angels: http://www.squidoo.com/vintagechristmasimages 

Nativity scene by Mark Johanningmeier

Hezekiah part 2

In part one I said to study Hezekiah start with Ahaz his father.  So I followed my own advice and did it again. Ahaz was a “bad” king and the nagging thought of “why” has been with me for several days. In 2 Chronicles it says he starts his reign at the age of twenty and ruled for sixteen years; that makes him 36 when he died. (see my timeline) Hezekiah started ruling when he was 25 so a little math tells us that Ahaz started his family at 11 years old. Maybe now we can start seeing why Ahaz was a mess. His great-grandsons at the end of 2 Chronicles were active very early also. This sort of answered my next question, why was Hezekiah so different? Probably he was not raised around his father instead he may have been raised by his mother’s parents.  Ahab, the king associated with Elijah, did this with his children; it was good business and at least kept part of the family safe in case of attack.

To add a few thoughts about Hezekiah and some things he did and may have done. In Proverbs 25 the heading in my NIV Bible says that these proverbs were copied by Hezekiah’s men but had been written by Solomon. So that adds to his “good” of cleaning and reopening the Temple and helping revival by holding Passover for the first time in over 250 years.

These, as always, are almost impossible to prove but because of the content I think he may have written Psalm 102 and 116 during or after his illness. I give him Psalm 119 just for the scholarly work that went into its writing and the phrase of verse 67, “before I was afflicted.” Psalm 119 is acrostic, which means that a verse or section was written using each letter in their alphabet. Each one of the sections also has eight verses in it, the number of “new beginning.” Something that I noticed several years ago was that if you lined them up and read all of the similar verses they made sense that way also. Example read verse 8, 16, 24, 32, 40, 48, 56, 64, 72, 80, 88, 96, 104, 112, 120, 128, 136, 144, 152, 160, 168 and 176 together they make a continuous thought. So you can read the 22 sections or you can read it as 8 sections with 22 verses each. (see Psalm 119 rewritten) See the other Psalms I try to connect with people.

The picture is from http://christianimagesource.com/king_hezekiah_g337-king_hezekiah__image_4_p2265.html 

Hezekiah

The meaning of Hezekiah is “strengthened of Jah.” Jah or iah is a short form of Jehovah; many names in the Bible end in iah.

His life story is found in 2 Kings 18-20, 2 Chronicles 29-32 and Isaiah 36-39 (see The Life of Hezekiah, I put all three together) but there are other books that have not been found that also contains records of historical events of Judah and Israel, they are mentioned in the Bible. (see Samuel & Chronicles) I think everyone has noticed how closely the books of Kings and Chronicles are related; a reason for this is that the two writers, possibly Ezra and Baruch (Jeremiah’s scribe), used a common source and tailored the books for specific readers. He lived approximately 250 years after Solomon’s son Rehoboam and witnessed the fall of the Northern Kingdom.

Hezekiah’s reign lasted twenty-nine years and there are four major components of his time as king that are reported in our Bible.

  1. The restoration of the worship to the Temple.
  2. The attack of Sennacherib king of Assyria.
  3. His healing and its conformation.
  4. The visit of envoys from Babylon.

I tend to read the stories about the kings individually but with Hezekiah you must start with his father, Ahaz. His father did the things he undid in 2 Chronicles; Ahaz stopped Temple worship and put pagan altars there and around Jerusalem. The story in Chronicles covers cleaning and restoration of the Temple while 2 Kings covers the attack of Sennacherib.  Isaiah’s story of Hezekiah mirrors what is found in 2 Kings except for Is.38: 9-20. His illness is in Isaiah and 2 Kings while the visit from Babylon is told in all three.

The amazing thing to me is not the fact that one king was good and one was bad but that the people are not objecting to the change. Can you image what a person who was alive during Ahaz and his leaving Jehovah to then have his son Hezekiah push for reform to have his son Manasseh be the worst of all the kings of Judah must have thought? That is reflected in the story of Elijah at first the people said nothing but voiced approval when Elijah gave the challenge of fire. (1 Kings 18:21-24)

The timeline is my own. It is an Excel document and covers the time from Solomon to the 70 years of Exile. But I only can screen shot short pieces of it.