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Homepage / People and Places of the Bible / Isaiah


First of the Latter Prophets, according to the Masorah. Rabbinic tradition holds it to be the work of one prophet, but the medieval commentator Abraham ibn Ezra and most modern Bible scholars suggest that chapters 40766 were not written by the Isaiah son of Amoz mentioned in the book's opening verse, as they describe events that occurred one and a half centuries after his time. The generally accepted view is that the book has at least two authors. The Isaiah of the first 39 chapters was active in the second half of the eighth century BCE. A member of an aristocratic Jerusalem family, he was close to the palace and priestly circles. He warned Judah against allying itself with Egypt against Assyria; nevertheless, when Judah rebelled against the latter, he offered encouragement to King Hezekiah and the people.

Isaiah vigorously combated social inequity, individual and public profligacy, and indifference to evil. He prophesied about a world in which social justice, harmony, universal brotherhood and peace would prevail: "And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks" (Isa. 2:4). "The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard lie down with the kid; the calf, the beast of prey, and the fatling together, with a little boy to herd them" (Isa. 11:6). He warned that the nation would bring ruin on itself by its sinning but was hopeful that the people would mend their ways and the nation of Israel would assume an honorable position among the family of nations. He believed that the Jewish people would one day be an influential partner in a triumvirate with Assyria and Egypt (Isa. 19:24) and would serve as the spiritual hub of the world: "For instruction shall come forth from Zion, the word of the Lord from [GlossaryPlace, 134001 | Jerusalem]" (Isa. 2:3). Isaiah is the father of the messianic belief in Judaism, foretelling the coming of a "scion of Jesse's stock" who will bring the redemption to his people.

According to most Bible scholars, chapters 40766, which belong to the writings of a different prophet, relate the downfall of Babylon, the rise of the Persian Empire, and the Return to Zion (Shivat Zion) during the reign of King Cyrus. All of these were events which occurred about 150 years after the period of Isaiah son of Amoz. This section is thus ascribed to a Deutero-Isaiah (the second Isaiah).

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Alexander the GreatHasmoneans (the Maccabees)Herod the Great
JesusJohn the BaptistJoshua
MosesPaulCyrus II (the Great)
SamsonAaronAlexander Yannai (Jannaeus; Jonathan)
AmalekAmosAntigonus II (Mattathias)
Aristobulus I (Judah)Bar Giora, SimeonBar Kokhba, Simeon
Eleazar the HasmoneanElishaEssenes
Esther, QueenEzekiel, Book ofEzra
GibeonitesGog and MagogHabakkuk
Jeremiah (Heb. Yirmiyahu)JethroJob
JoelJohanan ben ZakkaiJohanan the Hasmonean
John HyrcanusJohn of GiscalaJonah, Book of
Jonathan the HasmoneanJosephJosephus Flavius (Joseph ben Mattathias)
Joshua son of NunJosiahJudah Maccabee
Julius CaesarLeahLevites
MalachiMatriarchs (Heb. Imahot)Mattathias
NazarenesNazirite (Heb. Nazir)Nehemiah
Obadiah, Book ofPatriarchsPharisees (Heb. Perushim)
RehoboamRuthSadducees (Heb. Tzedukim)
Salome AlexandraSamaritansSamuel
Simeon bar YohaiSimeon the HasmoneanSolomon
Titus, Flavius VespasianusTribes of Israel, TheZadok, The House of
ZealotsZechariah, Book ofZephaniah, Book of
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