Volume one of two in the EP Study Commentary series (covering chapters 1-39), recording the prophet’s ministry against the background of the ever-present threat posed by the mighty Assyrian Empire, culminating with God’s deliverance of the southern kingdom of Judah in the time of Hezekiah.
The section concludes with a warning of the Babylonian exile, thus providing a link with the later chapters, in which the prophet’s vision will be drawn forward to a time when Yahweh will again intervene to deliver his people and ultimately to the coming of Christ.
There were no investigative journalists in the ancient world to bring to the attention of the public matters which the rich and powerful wished to keep hidden. But to a certain extent their role was fulfilled in ancient Israel by the prophets of Yahweh, amongst whom was numbered Isaiah. He exposed the follies of the rich, oppression in society, commented on the inadequacies of foreign alliances, and resolutely confronted wayward kings.
The role of a prophet, however, differed in many key respects from that of a journalist. For one thing, the prophet was called and commissioned by God for the role that he had to play. A true prophet did not opt for this as a career: it was divinely assigned to him.