The book written by the prophet Isaiah is a tremendously rich book filled with not only many prophecies concerning Israel and the Messianic figure that would one day redeem them but the book is filled with historical data concerning the restoration from exile. There are many historical and prophetic texts in the book that can be tremendously difficult to understand especially taking into consideration that we are living in a completely different culture and setting.
I must admit that it took me quite some time to find a couple of good commentaries on the book of Isaiah that come to us from a balanced view. Both commentaries that I am about to recommend are, in my mind, two of the best available on the market. What I appreciate from both is that they approach the texts both historically but keep the prophecies in their context as still future when they are intended in this light.
My first recommendation is one that I just acquired recently and it has been a tremendous blessing as it has opened up much of the book of Isaiah to me especially historically and culturally. The title of the commentary is “The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction & Commentary” written by OT Scholar J. Alec Motyer. It is a one volume commentary that numbers at close to 550 pages. Motyer offers a very good introduction to the book especially dealing with the controversial authorship of the prophecy. What I found very profound and helpful is the way that Motyer divided up the book of Isaiah. He defined Isaiah 1-37 as the book of the king, chapters 38-55 as the book of the servant and finally Isaiah 56-66 as the book of the Anointed Conqueror. He also points out three themes that are reoccurring throughout the prophecy mainly the Hope of the coming Messiah, the city and an outline of the Holy One of Israel. I appreciated that Motyer used his pages well and didn’t get into long winded theological babble that some commentators have been guilty of doing while commenting on this book. I appreciated Motyer’s ability to deal with other ideas and he was able to defend his position well on many counts. There is no question that this is a must have for anyone who is willing to examine the book of the prophecy of Isaiah.
My second recommendation on the book of Isaiah is an older volume which used to be a 2 volume set that was condensed into one volume. The title is simply An Exposition of Isaiah by H.C. Leupold. I must make my readers aware that this is not an easy volume to get your hands on since it has been out of print for quite some time. The book is a wonderful companion to Motyer and whatever he is lacking, Leupold fills the gap. The commentary is approximately 375 pages in length with large lettering hence Leupold doesn’t always find the depth that Motyer produces. There are instances that Leupold does give a much needed simplistic argument of a text which Motyer helps to build upon in his commentary. Both these volumes together and a good match.
While I enjoy both these commentaries tremendously, I am always open to new recommendations in regards to this particular book. If you have any recommendations to share, please feel free to do so.