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Study questions on Isa 9:8-10:4 for 8 March 09

Judgment on the Northern Kingdom, 9:8-10:4

  1. Preview the entire section. How is its division into shorter paragraphs marked?
  2. Where have we seen this refrain before, and how was it previously used to compare the past and the future? (Note: Throughout this section, the verb tenses alternate between past and future in a most striking fashion. Most translations force them entirely into the future (AV) or past (NET). In fact, this variation strikingly emphasizes the point made in the refrain.)
  3. What common elements are repeated in each paragraph?
  4. As we work through the successive paragraphs, try to highlight the progression of thought from one to the next.


  1. See if you can find other places where the Lord sends a “word” (singular, not plural). Does this idiom describe a message, or something else?
  2. Review the record of the last days of the Northern Kingdom in 2 Kings 17. In what sense did God’s word “light upon Israel”?
  3. In v. 9, the verb form translated “shall know” is better rendered “knew” (past).
    1. What did they know?
    2. In the light of this knowledge, why is their statement in v. 10 inappropriate? What should they have said?
    3. How do these verses anticipate Rom 1:20-21?
    4. What principles do we learn here for speaking to unbelievers about the Lord?
  4. Verse 11 is an example of the shifting time references. “Join” is future, but “set up” and “devour” are past. Who is Rezin, and who are his adversaries?
  5. Who is the “him” against whom the Lord set up the adversaries of Rezin?
  6. Study the idiom of the hand stretched out in the OT.
    1. Contrast it with the idiom of the strong hand and the arm stretched out. Look for systematic differences in
      1. who does the stretching and
      2. whether the focus is on judgment or blessing.
    2. What is the prototypical example of each action?
    3. How do these observations illuminate your understanding of this refrain?
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Study Questions on Isa 9:7 for 1 March 2009

We didn’t get to Isa 9:7 this past Lord’s day, so the questions on that verse from last week are still good for this week. In addition, you might like to read ahead Isa 9:8-10:4 and think about questions you might ask about that section.

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Study Questions on Isa 9:6-7 for 22 Feb 2009

Here are the questions that some of you suggested in our discussion on Feb 15. Feel free to add others or comment on these by replying to this post.

We noted that one important question, in the light of alternative translations, concerns the number of names given to the child in v. 6. Are there five (as in the KJV, ASV, and Handel’s Messiah), or four (most newer translations)? My answer to this question (five) requires a knowledge of Hebrew, and is discussed in an additional post here.

  1. What is the distinctive meaning of each name? You might want to consider how these names are used elsewhere in the Bible
  2. Is there some grouping or significance in the order in which they are presented?
  3. How are these names related to the description of Messiah’s reign in v.7? Clearly, “prince of peace” corresponds to the statement that “of peace there shall be no end.” Are others also reflected?
  4. Both verses 6 and 7 mention “the government” instituted by this child. How does this government contrast with the previous administration?
  5. Try to diagram v.7. How are the phrases and clauses related to one another?
  6. Verse 7 contains several pairs of parallel words. List them, and compare and contrast the words in each pair.
  7. What point in history does v. 7 describe? Are there other Scripture passages that might help situate the events described here?
  8. (A general question applicable to any passage:) So what? How will my understanding of this passage change my life this week?

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