The Book of Isaiah is classified as one of the major books
on prophecy in the entire Old Testament. The prophet’s main purpose
in writing was to expose the root cause of the sins of God’s
people–which was selfishness, idolatry, and moral impurity.
The book is divided into two sections. Chapters 1–39 cover
the period before the Babylonian captivity, when the remnant was
delivered from Babylon, and the main theme is consolation after
trial. Isaiah actually experienced the events in the first 39
chapters, but he prophesied the events of chapters 40–46. He wrote
those chapters to comfort and encourage the Jews who would be
returning to the land after their exile in Babylon.
Some modern critics teach that there was more than one
Isaiah. Nowhere in the Book of Isaiah, or in the Bible, or even in
Jewish or Christian tradition, is there any mention, or even a hint,
of more than one Isaiah. A “second Isaiah” is a figment of modern
criticism. The Book of Isaiah, in our Bible, as well as in Jesus’
day, was one book, not two. It is not a patchwork but, from
beginning to end, it is characterized by a unity of thought, set
forth in the sublimest of language, that makes it one of the
grandest things ever written.
It has been suggested that the Book of Isaiah is a Bible in
miniature. Its 66 chapters are divided into two parts: 39 chapters
in the first and 27 chapters in the second. Like the Old Testament,
the first 39 chapters emphasize judgment, while the last 27 chapters
emphasize mercy and comfort.
The name “Isaiah” means “the salvation of Jehovah” and the
word salvation is repeated many times in the book. Isaiah was
apparently from a good family since he had access to the palaces of
several kings. He was married and the father of at least two sons,
and he began his ministry near the close of the reign of King Uzziah
around 758 b.c.