Isaiah 8:1

ESV Then the LORD said to me, “Take a large tablet and write on it in common characters, ‘Belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz.’
NIV The LORD said to me, 'Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.'
NASB Then the Lord said to me, 'Take for yourself a large tablet and write on it in ordinary letters: Maher-shalal-hash-baz.
CSB Then the Lord said to me, "Take a large piece of parchment and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-shalal-hash-baz.
NLT Then the Lord said to me, 'Make a large signboard and clearly write this name on it: Maher-shalal-hash-baz. '
KJV Moreover the LORD said unto me, Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man's pen concerning Mahershalalhashbaz.

What does Isaiah 8:1 mean?

Chapter 8 continues to deal with the same events described in the previous chapter (Isaiah 7). Now, the conversation takes place between the Lord and Isaiah without King Ahaz present.

The Lord tells Isaiah to take up a large tablet. Translations and commentators differ on the best English translation of the Hebrew word gillāy'wōn. Some say "scroll" or "signboard." Since the Lord apparently means for Isaiah to make this seen for others, it may best be understood as a flat piece of wood or metal. The purpose is not merely to write, but to make something clear and obvious for others to observe.

The Lord then tells Isaiah to write on the tablet "in common characters," or "with an ordinary pen (NIV)." This is likely means as an instruction to write in easy-to-read letters. The Lord intends for people to be able to see, read, and understand what Isaiah will write. His message is not secret, nor hidden, nor is it meant to be kept from the people.

The Lord tells Isaiah to write what will become a name: Maher-shalal-hash-baz. Some translations put the words "belonging to" before this name. This lengthy name means something close to, "speeding to the plunder, hurrying to the spoil." It appears the sign was to be a multi-part prophecy. One aspect was the birth of the baby Isaiah spoke of in Isaiah 7:14–17. The other was the destruction of Israel and Syria by the King of Assyria. This becomes clearer in the following verses (Isaiah 8:3–4).
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