Literature / Book of Isaiah

The Book of Isaiah is the first book of the Major Prophets (Isaiah being the first of the prophets). The story is about God appointing Isaiah to deliver a message to His people who have grown corrupted and sinful. The message of the book is split into two - the first half (1-39) being God's judgment upon His people for their sins while the second half (40-66) being God redeeming them and bringing hope in their lives.


  • Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad: The passage of Isaiah 5:20 condemns the practice of making good and evil equals, making this Older Than Feudalism:
    "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter."
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Isaiah 11:6 provides the Trope Namer. ("...and a little child shall lead them.")
  • The Chosen One: A prophecy makes mention of the Messiah, a descendent of King David who will defeat the enemies of Israel, rebuild the temple, and and rule Israel as appointed by God himself.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come:
    • Isaiah saw 2 centuries into Israel's future. Some scholars believe these were written by other prophets and attributed them to Isaiah to increase its authority.
    • And possibly even centuries beyond that into the future, when God reveals that He is creating "a new heavens and new earth", which is only seen near the end of the Book of Revelation.
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: Invoked in 43:2.
    "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you."
  • Foreshadowing: In traditional Christian interpretation, Isaiah 53 prophesies the coming of Jesus and his crucifixion.
  • Holier Than Thou: God laments that despite going out of his way to reach out to an obstinate people and offer them everything, many of them still act as if they are too sacred for God himself. The King James translation of Isaiah 65:5 is the Trope Namer.
    "Such people are smoke in my nostrils,
    a fire that keeps burning all day."
  • The Man Behind the Man: Isaiah 14:12 (the King James Version in particular) was believed by some Bible students that God is talking to The Man Behind The Kings.
  • Messianic Archetype: The Trope Namer, since Isaiah prophesies that a Messiah will come to restore the kingdom of Israel. However, since Messianic Archetypes are specifically modeled after the Christian Messiah, Isaiah's Messiah doesn't fit the description at all, because either Isaiah is actually talked about Christ and thus obviously not copying him or he's describing someone completely unrelated to Christ, because Isaiah could only have known about the yet-to-be-born carpenter through revelation.
  • Mercy Killing: It's implied in Isaiah 57:1-2 that part of the reason the good and righteous die is because God wishes to spare them from the sufferings of the future.
    "The righteous pass away: the godly often die before their time. And no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evils to come. For the Godly who die will rest in peace."
  • Sacrificial Lamb: The "Suffering Servant" in chapters 49-55.
  • Stop Worshipping Me: In Isaiah 1:11, God goes on a long rant about how he cares nothing for people's sacrifices, assemblies or prayers, because their behavior in their everyday lives didn't reflect their supposed piety.
  • Watering Down: Watered-down wine is used as a metaphor as God's way of telling His people Israel that their spiritual life isn't as pure or as potent as it used to be.
  • Where Is Your X Now?: King Sennacherib of Assyria does this to King Hezekiah when he threatens to destroy Judah, saying "where are the gods" of the nations that he had conquered and suggesting that Hezekiah's God will not save him. It doesn't work well for the Assyrian king when, after King Hezekiah prays to God, he finds that 185,000 of his troops are all dead. (This also appears in 2nd Kings.)