What does Isaiah 8:4 mean?
ESV: for before the boy knows how to cry ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria.”
NIV: For before the boy knows how to say 'My father' or 'My mother,' the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria.'
NASB: for before the boy knows how to cry out ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria.'
CSB: for before the boy knows how to call 'Father,' or 'Mother,' the wealth of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria will be carried off to the king of Assyria."
NLT: For before this child is old enough to say ‘Papa’ or ‘Mama,’ the king of Assyria will carry away both the abundance of Damascus and the riches of Samaria.'
KJV: For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.
NKJV: for before the child shall have knowledge to cry ‘My father’ and ‘My mother,’ the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be taken away before the king of Assyria.”
Verse Commentary:
The Lord told Isaiah to write a name on a signboard or scroll at least nine months earlier, maybe longer. That name was Maher-shalal-hash-baz, which means "speeding to the plunder, hurrying to the spoil (Isaiah 8:1)." Now, after the birth of his son, the Lord tells Isaiah to call the boy by that name (Isaiah 8:3).

It is explained by the Lord to Isaiah that the boy's name refers to the coming defeat of two of Judah's enemies, Israel and Syria. Before Isaiah's son knows how to call out to his parents, the king of Assyria would oversee the plunder of Damascus, which is the capital of Syria. As well as Samaria, the capital of Israel.

That means that Israel and Syria would be laid to waste within two or three years. Two years after writing these words, Isaiah observed Syria being utterly destroyed, and Israel's provinces conquered, in 732 BC.
Verse Context:
Isaiah 8:1–10 continues the prophetic tone of Isaiah 7. The Lord tells Isaiah to write a name on a sign in front of prominent witnesses. Then Isaiah gives that name to a newborn son. Before that son is old enough to speak, Syria and Israel will be wiped out by Assyria. Assyria will then bring destruction to Judah. This is compared to a mighty river flooding over its banks. In poetry, Isaiah tells the people of Judah that their preparations for war will be meaningless and that they will be shattered.
Chapter Summary:
Isaiah 8 begins with the Lord telling Isaiah to write a name on a large sign. Then Isaiah conceives a son, with a woman referred to as the "prophetess," likely his wife. The son is given the name on the sign. Before the son can speak, Judah's enemies will be wiped out by Assyria. Assyria will then bring destruction on Judah. Isaiah must not live in fear and dread as the people do. They will stumble over the stone of the Lord instead of trusting in Him. Isaiah will continue to hope in the Lord. Those who reject God's truth will live in darkness.
Chapter Context:
The prior chapter included a famous prophecy regarding the virgin birth of Jesus. Isaiah 8 continues to prophesy about the coming destruction of Judah's current enemies: Syria and Israel. Isaiah has a son whose name he has written on a sign. Before that son is old enough to talk, Assyria will destroy Judah's enemies and then bring destruction into Judah. The Lord warns Isaiah to honor God, not live in fear. The people will reject God as their foundation, falling into further sin. But Isaiah declares that he and his family will continue to point toward God's faithfulness. Those who reject God's revelation will live in and frustration and despair. This sets up additional prophecies which connect to the ministry of Christ.
Book Summary:
Isaiah is among the most important prophetic books in the entire Bible. The first segment details God's impending judgment against ancient peoples for sin and idolatry (Isaiah 1—35). The second part of Isaiah briefly explains a failed assault on Jerusalem during the rule of Hezekiah (Isaiah 36—39). The final chapters predict Israel's rescue from Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 40—48), the promised Messiah (Isaiah 49—57), and the final glory of Jerusalem and God's people (Isaiah 58—66).
Accessed 5/21/2024 12:43:43 PM
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