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First of the major prophets in the Bible. Isaish, son of Amoz prophesied during the 8th century B.C.E. in Jerusalem, from the death of King Uzziah until the middle of Hezekiah’s reign. He protested strongly against moral laxity and injustice. His great visions include world peace at the end of days (2:1-4) and the vision of the divine presence in the Temple (6:1-5). Isaiah maintained that God is more interested in justice to the weak and the poor than the offerings of sacrifices in the Temple.

Three major events are reflected in Isaiah’s prophecies: the invasion of the kingdom of Judah by the armies of Israel and Damascus for the purpose of forcing King Ahaz into an anti-Assyrian alliance in 734 B.C.E.; the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians in 721 B.C.E.; and Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah in 701 B.C.E. Throughout this time, the small kingdom of Judah faced a dual danger: the risk of being swallowed up by neighboring empires, and spiritual destruction through the loss of its belief in one God. Isaiah’s political wisdom impelled him to advise strict isolation for Judea and avoidance of entangling alliances with foreign nations. In chapters 40 to 66, called by some authorities the Second Isaiah, the prophet comforts the exiled, suffering, and despairing people in the great poem beginning, “Comfort ye, comfort ye, My people, saith your God” (chapters 40-44).

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