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Isaiah 8:5-12 New American Standard Bible 1995

5 Again the Lord spoke to me further, saying,

6 “Inasmuch as these people have rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah And rejoice in Rezin and the son of Remaliah; 7 “Now therefore, behold, the Lord is about to bring on them the strong and abundant waters of the [a]Euphrates, Even the king of Assyria and all his glory; And it will rise up over all its channels and go over all its banks. 8 “Then it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass through, It will reach even to the neck; And the spread of its wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.

9 “Be broken, O peoples, and be [d]shattered; And give ear, all remote places of the earth. Gird yourselves, yet be [e]shattered; Gird yourselves, yet be [f]shattered. 10 “Devise a plan, but it will be thwarted; State a [g]proposal, but it will not stand, For God is with us.”

11 For thus the Lord spoke to me [i]with mighty power and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying,

12 “You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’ In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear [j]what they fear or be in dread of it.


Isaiah 8:5-12 New King James Version

5 The Lord also spoke to me again, saying:

6 “Inasmuch as these people refused The waters of Shiloah that flow softly, And rejoice in Rezin and in Remaliah’s son; 7 Now therefore, behold, the Lord brings up over them The waters of [a]the River, strong and mighty— The king of Assyria and all his glory; He will [b]go up over all his channels And go over all his banks. 8 He will pass through Judah, He will overflow and pass over, He will reach up to the neck; And the stretching out of his wings Will [c]fill the breadth of Your land, O Immanuel.[d]

9 “Be shattered, O you peoples, and be broken in pieces! Give ear, all you from far countries. Gird yourselves, but be broken in pieces; Gird yourselves, but be broken in pieces. 10 Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; Speak the word, but it will not stand, For [e]God is with us.”

Fear God, Heed His Word 11 For the Lord spoke thus to me with [f]a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying:

12 “Do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’ Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, Nor be afraid of their [g]threats, nor be [h]troubled.

While reading Isaiah 8:5-12, one can understand that

a) Isaiah 8:5-7 indicates that God indirectly warns via his prophet Isaiah that the Northern Israelite Kingdom will be attacked by the king of Assyria( symbolically represented by the strong and abundant waters of the Euphrates)

b) Furthermore, Isaiah 8:8 indicates that God warns via his prophet Isaiah also warns that the Southern Kingdom of Judah would be attacked by the King of Assyria

So far so good when it comes to understanding Isaiah 8:5-8.

However, if one continues to read Isaiah 8:9-10, the very last line that states “For God is with us” can cause the bible reader some confusion.

The reason being is that Isaiah 8:5-8 seems to be words of warning of doom and gloom ( i.e. sort of like fire & brimstone preaching) against both kingdoms of Israel.

However, the last line of Isaiah 8:10 which states “For God is with us” is confusing because it does Not seem to be God saying said last line. Essentially, Isaiah 8:9-10 seems to be a defiance.

It seems to be some Godly righteous people who are speaking in Isaiah 8:9-10 as opposed to God himself.

Could someone please provide a detailed explanation on nature, tone, speakers & audiences of the Isaiah 8:5-10 bible passage?

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    YLT has a different take on this : Take counsel, and it is broken, Speak a word, and it doth not stand, Because of Emmanu-El!'.
    – Nigel J
    May 14, 2023 at 8:01

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Isa 8:8-10 is part of the speech from the LORD which begins in V5. It is in three parts which I will set out to show more clearly:

5 And the LORD spoke to me further:

- about Israel

6 “Because this people has rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah and rejoiced in Rezin and the son of Remaliah, 7 the Lord will surely bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates— the king of Assyria and all his pomp.

- about Judah

It will overflow its channels and overrun its banks. 8 It will pour into Judah, swirling and sweeping over it, reaching up to the neck; its spreading streams will cover your entire land, O Immanuel!

- about the surrounding nations

9 Huddle together, O peoples, and be shattered; pay attention, all you distant lands; prepare for battle, and be shattered; prepare for battle, and be shattered! 10 Devise a plan, but it will be thwarted; state a proposal, but it will not happen. For God is with us.”

Thus, Isa 8:5-10 is a triple prophecy essentially saying three things:

  1. Israel would be defeated by Assyria - this was fulfilled in 722 BC when Assyria depopulated Israel and destroyed the government
  2. Assyria would overrun the land of Judah but Assyria would not conquer Judah and Jerusalem - this was fulfilled - see Isa 37.
  3. Assyria would defeat the nations surrounding Judah, despite their best plans to defend themselves, but would not defeat Judah itself because God protected Judah. See Isa 37.

Thus, the triple prophecy of Isa 8:5-10 was fulfilled to the letter.

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  • Thanks. In Pentecostal/Charismatic churches, I've heard of people counter rebuking or nullifying some Godly revelation of some predicted doom & gloom events. I sort of view (Isaiah 8:9-10) as an example of a counter rebuking or nullifying of (Isaiah 8:5-8)'s predicted doom & gloom events. Do you think it is a reasonable evaluation of the bible passages in question? May 14, 2023 at 9:08
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    @user1338998 - I do not believe that the Holy Spirit inspires confused messages that need to be countermanded or nullified. Isa 8:9, 10 is a rebuke to the arrogance of the surrounding nations that contrasts with Judah's dependence on God.
    – Dottard
    May 14, 2023 at 13:04
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The RSV starts a fresh paragraph at v9. It might be helpful to regard vv5-8 and vv9-10 as separate messages.

But there is one train of thought which links them. Firstly, why is Assyria going to become so menacing? It is because Judah sought to escape the threat of ch7 (Ephraim and Syria) by appealing to the human help of Assyria instead of relying on the Lord's help.That is what is meant by "refusing the waters of Shiloah".By calling in the Assyrians, they have exposed themselves to the bad side of the Assyrians. They should have been willing to trust in the power of the Lord.

Then the power of the Lord is also the theme of vv9-10, now as a message addressed to the enemies of his people. These enemies are the ones who need to be dismayed because their own strength will come to nothing. "For God is with us".

So these are samples of two important kinds of prophecy. "Warning to God's people" in vv5-8, and "promise of support for God's people" in vv9-10.

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  • Thanks. In Pentecostal/Charismatic churches, I've heard of people counter rebuking or nullifying some Godly revelation of some predicted doom & gloom events. I sort of view (Isaiah 8:9-10) as an example of a counter rebuking or nullifying of (Isaiah 8:5-8)'s predicted doom & gloom events. Do you think it is a reasonable evaluation of the bible passages in question? May 14, 2023 at 9:09
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    @user1338998 Both messages are from God, I would have thought. They're just different aspects of what God wants to say to the world. May 14, 2023 at 10:05
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According to the NABRE, the audience in the first verses is Judah. The "flowing waters of Shiloah," refers to pool of Shiloah in Jerusalem, fed by the Gihon spring.

The stream that flows from the Gihon spring into the pool of Shiloah in Jerusalem and provides a sure supply in time of siege; here it symbolizes the divine protection which Judah has rejected by seeking Assyrian support. (footnote to Isaiah 8 NABRE)

But I am inclined to agree with @Dottard that "this people" refers to Israel, which has rejected Jerusalem (the waters of Shiloah) in favor of Bethel's shrine. Moreover "rejoicing in Rezin and the son of Remaliah" is a clear reference to Israel's alliance with Syria.

The prophecies of vss. 5-8 are indeed dire, but not final, because Assyria will ultimately fail in its attempt to conquer Judah after defeating Israel.

The intended audience shifts in verse 9 from Judah to her enemies. God speaks to Judah's foes and tells them:

Be shattered, O you peoples, and be broken in pieces!... Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; Speak the word, but it will not stand, For God is with us.

The phrase "God is with us" is a pun on the name Immanuel. It was first introduced by the prophet in the previous chapter as the name of the child who will be a sign to King Ahaz of Judah, signifying that the northern kings Pekah of Israel and Rezin of Syria will not prevail over Judah, because of the coming of the Assyrian power. Thus, the prophet challenges Judah's enemies, confident that their plans will fail because of "Immanuel" -- who is a human child born to the prophetess (8:3) and also a sign of God's continuing presence with Judah.


Note: For Christians, Immanuel is another name for Jesus, but this does not preclude the name also being given to the child mentioned in Isaiah 7-8.

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  • Thanks. In Pentecostal/Charismatic churches, I've heard of people counter rebuking or nullifying some Godly revelation of some predicted doom & gloom events. I sort of view (Isaiah 8:9-10) as an example of a counter rebuking or nullifying of (Isaiah 8:5-8)'s predicted doom & gloom events. Do you think it is a reasonable evaluation of the bible passages in question? May 14, 2023 at 9:09
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The following interpretation just came to me now.

I've met people with Pentecostal/Charismatic church background who have the Charismatic gift of discernment/prophesy. In rare cases, it's really interesting how some of these Discernment/Prophetic Charismatic people/ministers are blessed to reveal Godly information.

As you read through (Isaiah 8:5-8), if you think about it, Isaiah is sort of like a sonar man.

First part of Godly prophetic revelatory information

(Isaiah 8:5-8) (NASB1995)

5 Again the Lord spoke to me further, saying, 6 “Inasmuch as these people have rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah And rejoice in Rezin and the son of Remaliah; 7 “Now therefore, behold, the Lord is about to bring on them the strong and abundant waters of the [a]Euphrates, Even the king of Assyria and all his glory; And it will rise up over all its channels and go over all its banks. 8 “Then it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass through, It will reach even to the neck; And the spread of its wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.

(Isaiah 8:9-10) (NASB1995)

9 “Be broken, O peoples, and be [d]shattered; And give ear, all remote places of the earth. Gird yourselves, yet be [e]shattered; Gird yourselves, yet be [f]shattered. 10 “Devise a plan, but it will be thwarted; State a [g]proposal, but it will not stand, For God is with us.”

It's sort of like Isaiah behaving like a sonar man who receives Godly warning message in (Isaiah 8:5-8), and then proclaims in to the kingdom of Judah( maybe even Northern Israel as well).

And then, in (Isaiah 8:9-10) , I'm speculating that Isaiah speaks his very own personal counter prayer declaration of defiance against the enemies of Godly people of Judah & possibly Northern Israel ( i.e. Assyrians, Rezin's Aram & members of Pekah's sinful Northern Israel )

In Pentecostal/Charismatic churches, I've heard of people counter rebuking or nullifying some Godly revelation of some predicted doom & gloom events. I sort of view (Isaiah 8:9-10) as an example of a counter rebuking or nullifying of (Isaiah 8:5-8)'s predicted doom & gloom events.

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