Isaiah 28-33 : a literary and contextual analysis
Tradi tionally, in Isaianic studies, the aim of many commentators
SInce the time of Duhm has been to try to rediscover the words of the
eighth century prophet of Jerusalem. Descriptive words such as
"a u then tic" and "secondary" betray the misconception tha t material
which does not reach back to the time of the prophet is somehow less
authentic and authoritative.
The present study follows more recent trends in looking at the
Book of Isaiah as a literary whole and in arguing that each section must
be understood and interpreted not only in the light of its immediate
context but also in the light of its place and function within the entire
Six chapters (Isaiah 28-33) are analysed in two ways. Firstly the
vocabulary is examined to establish linguistic and thematic similarities with
other parts of the book and with the rest of the OT; secondly the many
subsections within the six chapters are looked at contextually to
determine how they relate to each other and consequently reveal a
consistent and unified message.
The way in which the material is arranged in chs 28-33 to
highlight various themes may be seen as a microcosm of what is
happening throughout the en tire book. One of the techniques used to
actualize and unify composite traditions may be the concept of wisdom
which seeks to instruct the reader in the way of righteousness.
This analysis of chs 28-33 complements a similar one carried out
by Sweeney  on chs 1-4. The conclusions, too, are similar in that
both studies emphasize that any section of Isaianic material, large or
small, only makes sense ,*hen looked at in the light of the entire book.