Is. 8:1 Moreover the LORD said unto me, Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man’s pen concerning Mahershalalhashbaz. 

Is. 8:2 And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah. 

The Lord is continuing to talk to Isaiah.  Isaiah is to take a large scroll and write what God has told him about his next son, Mahershalalhasbaz, “making speed to the spoil; he hastens to the prey.”  This is evidently the son being referenced in verse 16 of chapter 7.  As is often the case in prophecy, I believe there is a merging of distant and near events regarding the sign being given.  Isaiah obeys and asks two trusted, dependable witnesses to assure the truth and timing of the written record—Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.  This could be the Zechariah mentioned in Chronicles who taught Uzziah about the Lord.”

2Chronicles 26:5 And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.

Is. 8:3 And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz. 

Is. 8:4 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. 

After getting the information recorded and witnessed, Isaiah gets his wife pregnant.  She then bears a son, and he is given the name designated by God.  Verses 4 and 16 of chapter 7 are basically saying the same thing.  The illustration simply means that Syria and Israel will be conquered by Assyria while the child is still a baby—before he is even able to say mommy and daddy.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary states that Isaiah made this prophecy in 734 BC and that this prophecy was fulfilled in 732 BC.

Is. 8:5 The LORD spake also unto me again, saying, 

Is. 8:6 Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah’s son; 

Is. 8:7 Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks: 

Is. 8:8 And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel. 

The Lord speaks to Isaiah again and compares the advent of the Assyrian king and his armies with the waters of a great and mighty river.  Like a flood his attack on Syria and Ephraim will spill over to include Judah.  He seems to be saying that since the people of Judah are rejecting God’s provision and protection in Jerusalem and would choose to follow the way of their brethren in Israel by trusting men and idols, He will allow the chaos and destruction of the king of Assyria and his armies to get right to the gates of Jerusalem, its capital.  Only because God decrees it will Judah eventually be spared.

Is. 8:9 Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. 

Is. 8:10 Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us. 

Isaiah now seems to be speaking to the peoples round about Judah, and from the Hebrew seems to be referencing those peoples who would wish Judah harm.  He is warning them that no matter how they arm themselves or reinforce their strength, they are doomed to failure as to bringing harm to Judah.  The plans and devices of men are nothing when opposing God (“el” – the Almighty), and God has chosen to protect Judah at this time.

Is. 8:11 For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, 

Is. 8:12 Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. 

Strong - vehemence (usually in a bad sense):—force, mightily, repair, sharply.

Instructed - to chastise, literally (with blows) or figuratively (with words); hence, to instruct:—bind, chasten, chastise, correct, instruct, punish, reform, reprove, sore, teach.

Confederacy - an (unlawful) alliance:—confederacy, conspiracy, treason.

It sounds like the Lord is speaking to Isaiah very forcefully with the intent to chasten/teach him.  He is not to respond to circumstances in the same way that most of the people of Judah were responding.  They were responding in fear to this treasonous confederacy of Israel with Syria against their brethren in Judah.  (This is a wonderful picture of how a parent should teach his child the truth and about faith in God—with a firm, guiding hand.)  

Fear is a result of a lack of faith.  Christians should respond to threats far differently than unbelievers.

Is. 8:13 Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 

The LORD of hosts, God Almighty, is the One that should be set apart as the One that Judah should fear if they choose to disobey Him.  Jesus states this same truth in the book of Matthew.

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

As I was listening to this section of scripture again, I got the thought that God was basically saying:  Don’t be afraid of the confederacy of other nations against you.  Let them be afraid of your confederacy with the Lord.

Is. 8:14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 

Is. 8:15 And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. 

The Lord is still speaking to Isaiah and assuring him that He will be his sanctuary, his place of refuge and protection.  For Judah and Israel as a whole, however, the Lord will prove to be a rock that causes them to trip, be struck down, brought to ruin.  He will be the one that causes the people to be trapped, captured.  Many of the people will fall and be crushed and/or taken captive.  Why?  Because they choose to reject Him as their God.

“stone of stumbling…” – These are the very words used of Jesus by the Apostle Peter—yet another declaration of the unity of Father and Son.

1Peter 2:5-8 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.  Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

Is. 8:16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. 

At first I thought Isaiah was continuing in his poetic style of repetition.  After looking at the Hebrew for specific words, I don’t think so.  He’s telling Isaiah to bind up, shut away (put in safekeeping) these words of warning from God as well as the written copy of the Torah and the commandments.  Put them in the safe care of those who follow me.

That is part of our duty as believers.  We are to ensure that God’s word is taught and entrusted to as many believers as possible to provide that truth to as many generations as Jesus chooses to delay His coming.

Is. 8:17 And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. 

Isaiah is content to wait on the Lord, even though he is aware that the Lord has turned His face away from His people for a while.  Isaiah knows that it is not forever.  He will continue to wait with expectation for God to return His people to a place of blessing.

I loved Guzik’s thoughts regarding waiting upon the LORD:  “Waiting on the Lord is not passive inactivity. It means to wait on the Lord as a waiter would wait on a table. It means to be totally attentive to the Lord, focused on His every move, and responsive to His every desire.”

Is. 8:18 Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion. 

Isaiah = the salvation of the Lord

Shearjashub = the remnant shall return

Mahershalalhashbaz = making speed to the spoil; he hastens to the prey

The names of Isaiah and his sons served as living signs and testimony to the people, as did Isaiah’s words of prophecy and warning to them.  They would be constant reminders of the truth of God’s word.  Although He would appear to be absent as far as His people were concerned when they faced the coming judgment, God is still claiming Jerusalem, Mt. Zion, as his dwelling place.  Our actions do not change God’s purposes.

Is. 8:19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

Is. 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. 

Isaiah warns the people regarding seeking sorcerers or those who conjure up ghosts to get advice (e.g., Saul and the witch of Endor).  Instead they should seek God for wisdom and advice.  In fact, God had commanded the people through Moses not to do such things.

Deuteronomy 18:9–12 When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

Why would one go to the dead to get help for the living?  One should seek the truth of God through His word (at this time the Pentateuch, the Psalms etc.) and through His chosen messengers, e.g., Isaiah.  Anyone who speaks a word that doesn’t agree with the truth of God’s written word and the message of His chosen messengers is speaking lies. 

What is it about us that makes us so ready to believe supernatural things that are associated with Satan and his followers rather than God and His word and His prophets?  God’s words of prophecy have been proven time and again, and Satan’s followers have been disproved so many times.  We are so ready to believe the unbelievable (e.g., the universe with all its complexities began with a big bang) and so slow to accept the truth of logic and reason (this creation demands intelligence, a creator, a designer).  We are so quick to rely on ourselves or others and so slow to place all our trust and hope in the Lord.  

Lord, please help me to grow so dependent on You that I don’t take a step without You moving my foot, that I don’t say a word that wasn’t placed there by You, that I don’t think a thought that doesn’t come from Your heart to mine.

Is. 8:21 And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward. 

When the people of Israel and Judah suffer their predicted judgment, they will become weak and hungry.  They will blame their king and their God for their pain and hunger.  

We never seem to want to give God the credit for the good times; we want to take credit for ourselves.  We always want to blame God for the bad times and never want to assume any responsibility in connection with those times.

Is. 8:22 And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness. 

During this time of judgment, the people will be brought to a position of hopelessness and utter despair (which is when we are usually finally ready to listen to the Lord and seek Him).