Biblical People
Isaiah, KJV of NT Esaias. [Heb. YeshaÔyahuÆ, "Yahweh saves." The name occurs on ancient Hebrew seals. The Hebrew names YeshaÔyahuÆ and its shortened form YeshaÔyah were borne by several men mentioned in the Bible, but their names are transliterated Jeshaiah (also Jesaiah); Gr. E÷saé ¬as.] Greatest of the Hebrew prophets and author of the book that bears his name. He was a son of Amoz (Is 1:1; not Amos) and came to the prophetic office toward the close of the reign of Uzziah (Azariah), c. 790-c. 739 b.c. and served also under Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (d. c. 686). Tradition makes him cousin of Uzziah. The chronology of Sennacherib's campaigns into Judah (chs 36 and 37) shows that Isaiah remained active in the prophetic office approximately to the close of Hezekiah's reign, and that his ministry therefore spanned more than half a cent. Called to be a prophet in his youth, Isaiah fully dedicated himself to God's service at the time of his only recorded vision, in which a realization of God's infinite holiness of character effected a more thorough conversion and response on his part than had earlier been experienced (ch 6). His contemporaries in the prophetic office were Hosea in the northern kingdom of Israel (Hos 1:1) and Micah in the southern kingdom of Judah (Mic 1:1). Isaiah, an eloquent, educated, and cultured man, lived in Jerusalem and served as the political and religious counsellor of the nation. He attempted to hold Judah steady and loyal to God during the turbulent and uncertain years that witnessed the dissolution of the northern kingdom of Israel and its fall in 723/22 b.c., and through the repeated Assyrian invasions of Judah in the years that followed. Fearlessly he rebuked the sins of the people, counselled the rulers to rely on the Lord instead of depending on entangling foreign alliances, foresaw the Babylonian captivity, and wrote at length concerning the glorious restoration that would culminate in the coming of Messiah and the establishment of His eternal kingdom-should God's people cooperate with Him. Isaiah's influence was largely responsible for the reformation effected by Hezekiah, whom he encouraged and guided throughout his reign. His counsel and admonition were chiefly responsible for persuading king and people to stand firm when Sennacherib threatened to take Jerusalem. According to tradition Isaiah fell a martyr to Hezekiah's son, Manasseh, who abolished the reforms instituted by his father and, presumably, had the prophet sawn asunder (cf. Heb 11:37) -- Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary.

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