About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

Home Page

Isaiah 28:14 - 22

Previous Section - Chapter 28:1 - 13

Next Section - Chapter 28:23 - 29 

A Deal With Death (ch. 28:14 - 22)


I just remind you that chapters 28 to 33 should be taken as a whole.  It is speaking of a time in Judah's history, that's the southern Kingdom of Israel, when Judah was being threatened by Assyria, who had already captured the northern tribes of
Israel. Judah was in the process of making a treaty with Egyp, one of its long standing enemies, to help in the fight against Assyria.


With the above in mind, verse 14 is directed towards the leaders of Jerusalem, which in turn are the leaders of Judah.  God calls these leaders mockers because by making this deal with Egypt they're telling God that they do not trust Him.  The very thought of that shows pure stupidity.  They mock the only One who can help them.   


Verse 15 confirms this because God says that Judah says it has made a deal with death, with Sheol. Judah may not have understood this treaty with Egypt was a deal with death but God sure did. 


The word "Sheol" is in reference to the place of the dead.  The corresponding in the New Testament is Hades.  In Old Testament times all dead people existed in Sheol.  After Jesus died He went to Sheol, or Hades, freed the righteous souls and left the wicked souls in Hades.  Hades right now is then the place of the departed wicked dead.


The second half of verse 15 tells us that when the "scourge comes", the scourge is in reference to Assyria.  When the scourge does come, Judah was hoping to find protection, not in their God, but in Egypt. 


There are some textual difficulties with th
is verse .  It seems that God is talking.  He is repeating what
Judah 's leaders were saying, but what God says, isn't exactly what the leaders of Judah would say, because the words spoken by God are negative words.  The leaders of Judah would have used positive words.  Therefore, I believe God is making a point to the leaders here.  He is taking Judah's action of making a treaty with Egypt that Judah believes is positive and turning it into His own negative concept of this treaty.  You might call this poetic license.


Verse 16 is quoted a number of times in the New Testament.  Matthew 21:42 and 1 Peter 2:6 to 8 are just two examples.  God says in verse 16 that He has laid a tested stone in Zion.  Because of the above named New Testament quotes we understand that this tested stone is the Lord Jesus Christ who came to  Zion, to Israel, as the Apostle John states in the first chapter of John. 


Jesus was surely a tested stone.  Really, all of His life was one test after another that ended in the biggest test of all, that being His execution.


Note the word "therefore" that begins verse 16.  Because Judah was in the process of forsaking their God, God would eventually send them a Saviour and bring the nation back to Him.  There will finally be justice in the land when the Messiah would rule, as verse 17 states.


The person who puts his trust in this stone, who we know as Jesus, will not be shaken, as stated in verse 16.  The Apostle Peter makes this very point in 1 Peter 2:6 to 8.  The insertion of this verse into this passage gives the reader a choice.  Either you trust God or you trust Egypt.  For us, it's either we trust God or we trust whatever we choose to trust.  As in the days of Judah , we have a choice who we will trust.  An impending attack from Assyria was on the horizon.  The choice had to be made soon. 


For us today, in the 21st century, God's judgment is not far off for the western world, or so I believe.  It's time for us to decide.  Who will we trust as Christians is important because when judgment hits our nations things will get pretty rough.


I believe when verse 17 says that hail and water sweep away Judah 's false refuge and hiding place (that's Egypt) the hail and rain speak of God's judgment. 


Verse 18 speaks of this judgment.  When the attack comes, the deal with death will end.  It will not be effective when God's judgment overwhelms Judah.  I understand that there was an immediate aspect to this prophecy, but, and especially because Jesus quoted verse 16 in Matthew 21:42 in the context of the end of this age, I believe this prophecy can easily be in reference to the Great Tribulation.  It is during those seven years that Israel 's deal with death, the anti-Christ, will cause great destruction in Israel.  Many will be killed, leaving the remaining Israelis on their knees in a spirit of repentance.


Verses 19 to   22 speak of the severity of
God's wrath on Judah.  The word "wrath" is actually used in verse 21.  The Great Tribulation is a time when God's wrath will be demonstrated on earth in a way that it has never been seen.  His wrath will be directed towards Israel, but because the nations of the world come against Israel in those days, His wrath will also be directed towards the nations of the world.


Concerning God's wrath, as in this case here, God uses nations, Assyria here, as a means to demonstrate His wrath.  There are a number of ways in which God demonstrates wrath, as He speaks of here in chapter 28.  God uses military attacks to demonstrate His wrath. He uses financial disasters, ecological and weather disasters, or really, any kind of disaster.


Note the battles at Mount Perazim and the Valley of Gibeon in verse 21.  These were two battles that King David one in times past because God was on his side.  That would no longer be the case.  God would not be on Judah's side.  He'd be on the side of Judah's enemies.  That is what is meant in the last part of verse 21 where God would use Judah 's enemies to do His work.   


In verse 22 Isaiah tells Judah's leaders not to mock him because if they keep mocking then destruction will certainly come on the land.  As in Israel of old, God always has His prophets proclaiming the warning of soon coming judgment.  I believe in the western world today God is raising up prophets, warning both the church and the nations.  As it has always been, the message being declared is a message of repentance


Next Section - Chapter 28:23 - 29 

Previous Section - Chapter 28:1 - 13

Home Page