Background of Isaiah
The first part of the book assumes the background of conflicts among Israel, Judah was the name of Jacob's fourth son and one of the 12 tribes., Syria, and Assyria. Chapters 7 and 8 especially reflect the Syro-Ephraimite war in which Syria and Israel (Ephraim) attacked Judah, perhaps in an attempt to remove King Judean king in the time of Isaiah who engaged in pagan worship and placated the Assyrians. (735-715 B.C.E.) and force Judah to join a coalition against the expanding kingdom of Assyria. Isaiah urged Ahaz to “stand firm in faith” (Isaiah 7:9), relying on God’s promises to protect the Davidic throne, rather than allying himself with Assyria, but Ahaz rejected this counsel (2 Kings 16:5-9). Assyria came to the aid of Judah, but success was short-lived. After Assyria had conquered Damascus (Syria) in 732 B.C.E., it moved against Israel, destroying Samaria in 722/721 B.C.E. (The fall refers specifically to the disobedience of Adam and Eve when they listened to Satan rather than adhering to God's command not to eat the fruit from the tree. When people act contrary to God's will, they are said to fall from from grace... of the The Northern Kingdom consisted of ten of the twelve tribes of Israel and lasted for 200 years until it was destroyed by Assyria in 721 B.C.E. In the northern kingdom the kings were evil. Prophets like Elijah and Amos railed against them and their evildoing.). Judah, the The Southern Kingdom consisted of two tribes of Israel, Judah and Benjamin. Jerusalem was its capital, and the kingdom lasted from 931-586 B.C.E. As with the Northern Kingdom many of the kings were wicked, and prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel spoke their often judgmental..., then became a vassal state of the Assyrian empire.
Later, Isaiah again urges reliance on God when Judean king noted for his reforms in time of Isaiah revolts against Sennacherib was the Assyrian king who besieged Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah, the Assyrian king (about 705-701 B.C.E.), and seeks an alliance with Egypt (Isaiah 30:15b, 18; 31:1). Sennacherib is, in fact, defeated, and Jerusalem is spared (Isaiah 37:36-38). In all these events, Israel and Judah are buffeted between the great powers of the day, Egypt to the south and west, Assyria and Babylon to the north and east. The two kingdoms of God’s people seek advantage in one way or another, but the prophets, including Isaiah, recognize that the only advantage for such politically insignificant states is their reliance on the promises and protection of God. For the prophets, these promises include the coming messianic kingdom when God’s rule will be complete (see, for example, Isaiah 2:1-4; 9:2-7; 11:1-9).
In the second part of the book, Babylon has become the great power, and has destroyed Jerusalem and taken many of its people captive (597 and 587 B.C.E.). Now a new prophet, sometimes called “Second Isaiah refers chapters 40-55 of the book of Isaiah. This work was likely written during Israel's exile in Babylon (597-538 B.C.E.). Second Isaiah includes poetic passages of hope as well as descriptions of the Suffering Servant.,” preaches words of comfort, promising that God will bring release to the exiles (chapters 40-55). This happens in 538 B.C.E., when the Persian ruler, Persian leader who allowed Jewish exiles to return home., captures Babylon. The exiles’ return and the reestablishment of a new life in Jerusalem form the background of the final part of the book of Isaiah (chapters 56-66).