Part II -The Isaiah Scroll
The piece of the Isaiah manuscript presented by Biblical Reproductions reflects this period exactly. Part of the text (in chapter 22) describes fortifications carried out in Jerusalem by King Hezekiah in response to the Assyrian threat. The other part of the manuscript is a prophetic vision against Tyre, in Lebanon, and describes the ruin of the area.
Isaiah was in Jerusalem at this time. But his core of belief centered on the sovereignty of God, on the chosen-ness of the people of Israel, of the sanctity of Jerusalem as God’s inviolate home, and of the Temple as His place of worship.
Isaiah therefore confidently predicted that Jerusalem would never fall to the enemy. God would never allow that. Isaiah was correct in his lifetime; the Assyrians lifted the siege (there are several theories of why they did that) and the city was spared for more than a hundred years.
Isaiah’s supreme confidence in the inviolability of Jerusalem was to prove a real problem for Jeremiah, prophesying in Judea 100 years later. The enemy this time was Babylonia and Jeremiah knew that this time the city would fall. But he had to contend with Isaiah’s previous assurances that such a thing would never happen. This obstacle—Isaiah’s former prophecy—made it nearly impossible for Jeremiah to convince the people that this time was different. This time the city was really doomed. They did not believe him, but Jeremiah was right. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, destroyed Jerusalem in the late summer of the year 586 BCE.
The Isaiah Scroll fragment is an exquisite reproduction, presented by Biblical Reproductions, which is licensed by the Israel Antiquites Authority.
Author: Walter Zanger