Isaiah Biography

(Judean Prophet)

Born: 800 BC

Born In: Kingdom of Judah

Isaiah was an 8th-century BC Israelite prophet who predicted the coming of Jesus Christ. He is believed to have lived about 700 years before Jesus Christ was born. The Book of Isaiah is named after him. He is considered a significant contributor to Christian and Jewish traditions. Not much is known about his personal life, but there is enough evidence to suggest that he was probably a member of an aristocratic family. He was born in Jerusalem and is said to have been called to be a prophet by a divine vision he had in the year of King Uzziah’s death. From his writings, it is evident that he was thoroughly educated in the language of prophetic speech, and it is sometimes argued that he was born into a family of prophets. As a pious and principled man, he was disturbed by the inequalities in society and the evils perpetrated by men. He sympathized with the poor and the downtrodden. He served as the mouthpiece of God to the common people and tried to warn them of dire consequences if they indulged in sinful activities. He was married and had at least two sons. His wife is referred to as “the prophetess” in his writings.

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Quick Facts

Also Known As: Prophet Isaiah

Died At Age: 100

Family:

Spouse/Ex-: The Prophetess

father: Amoz

children: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, Shear-Jashub

Born Country: Israel

Spiritual & Religious Leaders Israeli Men

Died on: 700 BC

Biography

Isaiah was born in the 8th century BC in Jerusalem, Israel. His father’s name was Amoz. There is no mention of his mother’s name anywhere.

Not much is known about his childhood or early life. Since Isaiah often Communicated with kings, it is believed that he was from an aristocratic family. However, there are also speculations that he was from a priestly family. Some also argue that he was from a family of prophets.

According to the writings of ancient rabbis, Isaiah was believed to be a descendant of Judah and Tamar. His father, Amoz, was allegedly the brother of King Amaziah.

From his writings, it is evident that he was trained in the traditional styles of prophetic speech. He wrote in the finest of classical Hebrew, and his language was refined and formal.

Isaiah is counted among the four eminent Hebrew prophets who addressed the citizens of Judah and Israel in the latter half of the 8th century BC. The other three were Amos (unrelated to Isaiah; not to be confused with his father), Hosea, and Micah. Isaiah’s writing style is similar to that of Amos, an older contemporary.

He was a kind-hearted man who sympathized with the poor, underprivileged, and downtrodden. He had contempt for the priests and other people who hoarded riches and pursued a lavish life while exploiting the poor. He was much disturbed by the inequalities and injustices prevailing in society. 

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The Book of Isaiah

The Book of Isaiah, named after prophet Isaiah, is the first of the Major Prophets in the Christian Old Testament and the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible. Prophet Isaiah is the author of the words used as its superscription.

Isaiah is believed to have written the segment known as Proto-Isaiah, comprising the first 39 chapters of this book.

The book was extremely popular among Jews in the Second Temple period (c. 515 BC-70 AD) and was highly regarded in the Christian circles as well, where it was called “The Fifth Gospel.”

Isaiah’s Vision

According to the writings in the Book of Isaiah, the prophet Isaiah was first called to prophecy around 742 BC. He had a vision, probably in the Jerusalem Temple, in which he “saw” God and had an intense spiritual experience, connecting with the “divine glory and holiness.”

During this time, he became aware that God was looking for a messenger to communicate with the people of Israel. Even though he was not feeling confident enough, Isaiah offered his service to God. It was a very difficult thing for him to do owing to his sense of inadequacy.

Thus commissioned by God to be “his” messenger, Isaiah proclaimed to the people of Israel the “coming of a messiah”. He described a mysterious figure who would be a “suffering savior” and a “light to the gentiles”. This “savior” would apparently suffer for the transgressions of the common people.

In The Book of Mormon, Jesus Christ is quoted to state that "great are the words of Isaiah”. Everything prophesied by him is believed to come to fruition.

Family & Personal Life

Isaiah was married and had at least two sons. His wife was called "the prophetess" in his works. Some modern interpreters state that this was because she either had prophetic abilities herself or was simply called so as she was the wife of a prophet.

The couple’s elder son was called Shear-jashub, meaning "A remnant shall return." The younger one was named Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, meaning, "Spoil quickly, plunder speedily."

Isaiah died sometime in the 7th century BC. The exact circumstances of his death are not known though certain sources suggest that he was killed by King Manasseh, the 14th king of the Kingdom of Judah.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, May 9 is designated for celebrating Saint Isaiah the Prophet.


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