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Dr. Shawn Zelig Aster

Dr. Shawn Zelig Aster

Dr. Shawn Zelig Aster is an assistant professor of Bible at Yeshiva University and has written several articles for myjewishlearning.com.

Isaiah – Chapter 37

May 25, 2012, by

This chapter continues “parallel text” with II Kings, in this case, with chapter 19. Chizkiyahu’s officers reported Ravshakeh’s message to the king, who likewise tore his clothes upon hearing the blasphemy. He sent for Isaiah, saying that the position of the nation is like that of a woman in hard labor. He asked Isaiah to […]

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Isaiah – Chapter 36

May 24, 2012, by

This chapter is the first in a series re-telling incidents from II Kings from a different perspective and with different details. Compare this chapter with II Kings chapter 18. (We will also see some of these incidents described in II Chronicles, when we get there.) In the fourteenth year of King Chizkiyahu’s reign, Sancheriv, king […]

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Isaiah – Chapter 22

May 10, 2012, by

Next, Isaiah reveals a prophecy regarding the “valley of vision,” which Rashi identifies with Jerusalem. “Why have you gone on to the rooftops?” the prophet asks. (Rashi refers us to the story in the Talmud, Taanis 29a, in which the Kohanim ascended the Temple roof to “return” the Temple keys to G-d.) Jerusalem was a […]

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Isaiah – Chapter 21

May 9, 2012, by

Now Isaiah returns to prophesying about Babylonia. Armies will come upon Babylonia like a massive storm that kicks up dust clouds in a dry land. Those who robbed and pillaged will themselves be robbed and pillaged. The nations of Elam and Media will march on Babylonia, relieving the world of their oppression. As usual, Isaiah […]

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Isaiah – Chapter 20

May 8, 2012, by

During Chizkiyahu’s reign, Sancheriv, king of Assyria (here called Sargon) sent his general to conquer Ashdod, then a Philistine city. At that time, G-d gave Isaiah the following instructions. Isaiah was to wear a sack loincloth and walk around essentially naked and barefoot for three years. (According to the Radak, Isaiah didn’t actually do this, […]

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Isaiah – Chapter 19

May 7, 2012, by

Now Isaiah discusses the fate of Egypt. The idols of Egypt will tremble in fear before G-d. The Egyptians will turn on one another, man against man, city against city and district against district. The Egyptians will be without wise advice; they will turn to their idols and sorcerers. G-d will deliver Egypt into the […]

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Isaiah – Chapter 18

May 6, 2012, by

Next, Isaiah refers to the war of Gog and Magog, although the terms do not appear in this chapter (cross-reference with Ezekiel chapter 38). The nation on the other side of the rivers of Cush (Ethiopia) will send armies by sea, telling them to go to Israel and see whether the Jews have, in fact, […]

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Isaiah – Chapter 17

May 5, 2012, by

Next, Isaiah speaks a very harsh prophecy concerning Damascus, capital of Aram. Damascus will be so utterly destroyed that it will cease even being a city. Samaria will cease being the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel; Rezin, king of Aram, will be killed and his whole nation exiled, not just Damascus. Israel and […]

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Isaiah – Chapter 16

May 4, 2012, by

Continuing speaking about Moav, Isaiah refers to the tribute of sheep that the king of Moav would send the king of Israel every year (see II Kings chapter 3). Since the Northern Kingdom of Israel was exiled, Moav should now send the tribute to the remaining kingdom of Judah. Moav will be like a bird […]

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Isaiah – Chapter 15

May 3, 2012, by

Now Isaiah addresses the nation of Moav. Two of their cities were destroyed at night, while they were sleeping and unprepared. The Moabites went to mourn in their temples; they shaved their hair and beards, a sign of mourning among them. They put on sackcloth and cried. Isaiah says that he feels the pain of […]

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