Book summary

Isaiah, whose name means “the Lord saves”, was a prophet in Jerusalem with gifts of both prophecy and poetry. His writing, which started in the mid-8th century well before the fall of Judah, suggests that God had three main goals for Isaiah:

  • To confront people regarding their sin and coming judgment.

  • To reveal prophecies of hope for the restoration of God’s exiled people.

  • To reveal prophecies of the coming Messiah.

You can look at the Book of Isaiah in two halves. The first half (Chapters 1-33) is mainly about judgment, while the second half (Chapters 34-66) is mainly about restoration and salvation.

Chapters 1-33 — Prophecies of judgment and rebuke

Ch 1 — The setting for Isaiah’s prophecy

Ch 1 — Judah’s rebellion
See how the faithful city
has become a prostitute!
She once was full of justice;
righteousness used to dwell in her —
but now murderers!
Your silver has become dross,
your choice wine is diluted with water.
They do not defend the cause of the fatherless;
the widow’s case does not come before them. (Isa. 1:21-23)

Ch 2-5 — Isaiah’s early prophecies

Ch 2 — The Day of the Lord
The arrogance of man will be brought low
and the pride of men humbled;
the Lord alone will be exalted in that day,
and the idols will totally disappear. (Isa. 2:17)
Ch 3 — Judgment on Jerusalem and Judah
Your men will fall by the sword,
your warriors in battle. (Isa. 3:25)
Ch 4 — The Branch of the Lord
  • In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. (Isa. 4:2)

Ch 5 — Judah’s judgment and exile
I will make it a wasteland,
neither pruned nor cultivated,
and briers and thorns will grow there. (Isa. 5:6)

Ch 6 — God cleanses and commissions Isaiah

  • Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” (Isa. 6:6-7)

Ch 7-12 — The coming Messiah

Ch 7 — The sign of Immanuel
  • The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isa. 7:14)

Ch 9 — To us a child is born
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and for ever. (Isa. 9:6-7)
Ch 9 — Judgment on Israel
But the people have not returned to him who struck them,
nor have they sought the Lord Almighty.
So the Lord will cut off from Israel both head and tail,
both palm branch and reed in a single day; (Isa. 9:13-14)
Ch 10 — Judgment on Assyria
  • I will punish the king of Assyria for the wilful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes. (Isa. 10:12)

Ch 11 — A Messiah descended from David
  • A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. (Isa. 11:1)

  • In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. (Isa. 11:10)

Ch 13-27 — Judgment against other nations

Ch 13-23 — Against the nations
  • Ch 13 to 14:23 — Babylon

  • Ch 14:24-27 — Assyria

  • Ch 14:28-32 — Philistia

  • Ch 15-16 — Moab

  • Ch 17 — Damascus and Samaria

  • Ch 18 — Cush

  • Ch 19-20 — Egypt

  • Ch 21:1-10 — Babylon

  • Ch 21:11-12 — Edom

  • Ch 21:13-17 — Arabia

  • Ch 22:1-25 — Jerusalem

  • Ch 23:1-18 — Tyre

Ch 24 — The Lord’s devastation of the Earth
The earth will be completely laid waste
and totally plundered.
The Lord has spoken this word. (Isa. 24:3)
Ch 25 — Praise to the Lord
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove the disgrace of his people
from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken. (Isa. 25:8)
Ch 26-27 — Judgment and deliverance
  • And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem. (Isa. 27:13)

Ch 28-33 — The Messiah

So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who relies on it
will never be stricken with panic.
I will make justice the measuring line
and righteousness the plumb line;
hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie,
and water will overflow your hiding place.
Your covenant with death will be annulled;
your agreement with the realm of the dead will not stand.
When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by,
you will be beaten down by it. (Isa. 28:16-18)
  • In the day of great slaughter, when the towers fall, streams of water will flow on every high mountain and every lofty hill. The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted. (Isa. 30:25-26)

Chapters 34-66 — Prophecies of salvation and hope

Ch 34-35 — Judgment and salvation

Ch 34 — Judgment for the nations
The Lord is angry with all the nations;
his wrath is upon all their armies.
He will totally destroy them,
he will give them over to slaughter. (Isa. 34:2)
Ch 35 — Salvation for the redeemed
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert. (Isa. 35:5-6)

Ch 36-39 — Hezekiah

Ch 36-37 — Hezekiah’s deliverance
  • Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. (Isa. 36:1)

  • [The commander of Sennacherib’s army called out in Hebrew:] “This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you!” (Isa. 36:14)

  • [Hezekiah prayed to God:] “Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God.” (Isa. 37:20)

  • Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. (Isa. 37:36)

Ch 38 — Hezekiah’s illness
  • In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death… “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” (Isa. 38:1,3)

  • I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city. (Isa. 38:5-6)

Ch 39 — Hezekiah’s pride
  • Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord Almighty: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” (Isa. 39:5-7)

Ch 40-48 — Restoration for God’s people

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. (Isa. 40:30-31)
This is what the Lord says —
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“For your sake I will send to Babylon
and bring down as fugitives all the Babylonians,
in the ships in which they took pride. (Isa. 43:14)
Leave Babylon,
flee from the Babylonians!
Announce this with shouts of joy
and proclaim it. (Isa. 48:20)

Ch 49-53 — The coming Messiah

Ch 49-50 — The Messiah’s mission
And now the Lord says —
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
and gather Israel to himself,
for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord
and my God has been my strength —
he says:
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Isa. 49:5-6)
Ch 51-52 — Encouragement from God
My righteousness draws near speedily,
my salvation is on the way,
and my arm will bring justice to the nations. (Isa. 51:5)
Ch 52-53 — Atonement through the Messiah’s suffering and death
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed. (Isa. 53:5)

Ch 54-59 — Restoration and redemption

“For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
In a surge of anger
I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
I will have compassion on you,”
says the Lord your Redeemer. (Isa. 54:7-8)
“The Redeemer will come to Zion,
to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”
declares the Lord. (Isa. 59:20)

Ch 60-66 — Visions of glory for Zion

Ch 60 — The glory of Zion
The children of your oppressors will come bowing before you;
all who despise you will bow down at your feet
and will call you the City of the Lord,
Zion of the Holy One of Israel. (Isa. 60:14)
Ch 61 — Anointing the Messiah
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners, (Isa. 61:1)
Ch 62-64 — Isaiah prays for Zion’s restoration
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet,
till her vindication shines out like the dawn,
her salvation like a blazing torch. (Isa. 62:1)
Ch 65-66 — The Lord’s mercy in response
  • As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure. From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord. (Isa. 66:22-23)