Kirk Patston draws from his scholarly knowledge to open up the complex and majestic book of Isaiah in a commentary that is ideal for everyday reading and reference. He highlights the themes of danger, trust, transformation and judgement which run throughout Isaiah's pages. In a lively way, Patston shares with us his vivid interest in Isaiah, which introduces and confronts us with the 'world-shaking words of the prophets'.
Chapter 1, pages 3-4 'Why read Isaiah?'
"There is something majestic about the book of Isaiah. It is the opening work in that section of the canon that confronts us with the world-shaking words of the prophets. It works as a magnificent introduction to the themes that the prophets will explore.
The book has a grandeur of scope. It asks us to imagine the creation and then the re-creation of the entire world. It evokes the historical periods of the eighth century BC and then into the exile and maybe beyond. It asks us to imagine that the very heavens and earth are taking part in the drama of Israel's history. It insists that God is doing something for which even the ends of the earth wait. The grand themes of Old Testament theology are all here: creation, sin, judgment, redemption. It has been compared to the book of Romans, a theological encyclopedia and even to the whole Bible. The fact that the book has 66 chapters, the same number of books as the Protestant Christian canon, has invited some playful musings.
But the grandeur can easily stump and bewilder us. As a Bible College lecturer I have too often watched the book of Isaiah leave a class disoriented and discouraged – a tragic event given the book's profoundly re-orienting and encouraging message.
Over the years of reading Isaiah I've come to see that its grandeur can mask its simplicity. It's the kind of book that keeps saying the same thing over and over again. In whatever period of history, in whatever military crisis, in whatever spiritual confusion, the book of Isaiah tells us all to trust in the Lord. Its message is that in hidden, surprising ways the Lord is always at work to save people. The Lord is always at work to save people from Jerusalem or Zion. And Zion is really just a special showpiece for what he can do because the Lord is keen to be at work to save people from every place on his earth. In the end, he is saving Zion as the first step in a plan to save the planet and the cosmos, to remake it into a place of beauty and joy. And the more we can know and love what he is doing, the easier it will be to trust him.
It's a simple message with grand implications. That's why the book of Isaiah is grand and simple at the same time. As you read it, pray that you will come to love what God is doing and come to trust him more and more."
Table of Contents:
Part I: Introduction
1. Why read Isaiah?
2. Writing and reading Isaiah
3. The historical worlds of Isaiah
Part II: Trust and Zion (Isaiah 36-39)
4. Orientation to Isaiah 36-39
5. Trusting Assyria (Isaiah 36)
6. Salvation for Jerusalem (Isaiah 37)
7. Salvation for Hezekiah (Isaiah 38)
8. Trusting Babylon (Isaiah 39)
Part III: Transforming Zion (Isaiah 1-12)
9. Orientation to Isaiah 1-12
10. From outrageousness to peace (Isaiah 1:1-2:4)
11. From haughtiness to holiness (Isaiah 2:5-4:6)
12. From scandal to service (Isaiah 5:1-6:13)
13. From fear to dominion (Isaiah 7:1-9:7)
14. From sin to singing (Isaiah 9:8-12:6)
Part IV: Transforming the nations (Isaiah 13-27)
15. Orientation to Isaiah 13-27
16. The nations' defeat and Zion-centred hopes Part 1 (Isaiah 13:1-14:27)
17. The nations' defeat and Zion-centred hopes Part 2 (Isaiah 14:28-20:6)
18. The nations' terror and the hope of serving in Zion (Isaiah 21:1-23:18)
19. The earth's devastation and the hope of worshipping in Zion (Isaiah 24:1-27:13)
Part V: Should we trust Egypt? (Isaiah 28-35)
20. Orientation to Isaiah 28-35
21. Woe or wisdom? (Isaiah 28:1-33:1)
22. A whole new world (Isaiah 33:2-35:10)
Part VI: The trusting, servant nation? (Isaiah 40-48)
23. Orienation to Isaiah 40-48
24. Comforting voices (Isaiah 40:1-11)
25. The servant nation (Isaiah 40:12-42:17)
26. The blind and deaf servant (Isaiah 42:18-44:23)
27. Should we trust Cyrus? (Isaiah 44:24-45:25)
28. Fallen Babylon, fallen servant nation? (Isaiah 46:1-48:22)
Part VII: Serving Zion and the nations (Isaiah 49:1-56:8)
29. Orientation to Isaiah 49:1-56:8
30. A new servant nation (Isaiah 49:1-13)
31. Awakenings (Isaiah 49:14-52:12)
32. A surprising salvation (Isaiah 52:13-53:12)
33. A celebration of salvation (Isaiah 54:1-56:8)
Part VIII: Transforming the world (Isaiah 56:9-66:24)
34. Orientation to Isaiah 56:9-66:24
35. Untransformed (Isaiah 56:9-59:20)
36. The transforming servant (Isaiah 59:21-64:12)
37. The transformed world (Isaiah 65:1-66:24)