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The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction & Commentary [Paperback]

Alec Motyer , J. Alec Motyer

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable Tool For A Pastor's Library 4 Nov 2007
By David A. Bielby - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As I work through Isaiah, I have come to appreciate this work more and more. Motyer observes and explains literary artistic value in the text with a minimum of words. He also gives bits on textual criticism, but I find they are sometimes harder for me to grasp what he is referring to unless I have dug into the textual problem already.

But the heart of this commentary is not about literary design or textual criticism. The heart of this commentary is about explaining in a well reasoned way the basic exegetical idea paragraph after paragraph with references to related issues sprinkled throughout the commentary.

One negative is that the format of the text is condensed in my view and therefore a little less comfortable to read than say the NICOT or NIVAC formats.

This past Sunday I worked on Isaiah 38-39. Motyer sees that as the beginning of a new section that ends in Isaiah 55. His outline is interesting and his explanations defending his outline are good. In Isaiah 38-39 he deals with Hezekiah's predicatment and outlines the passage with a Chiastic structure that points to Hezekiah's deeper challenge that seems to underlie the text. I found that in this passage at least, Motyer's comments were more illuminating than even the excellently written NIVAC by Oswalt or the NICOT by Oswalt. Motyer sees the Chiasm in Isaiah 38-39 as pointing to Hezekiah's difficulty in obeying the point of the law where Judah is not to make alliances with foreign nations.

The poetic structure with an emphasis on the dedication of Hezekiah in 38:8-22 and the defection of Hezekiah in 39:1-2 is a fresh and preaching alliterated point that I actually ended up using in my sermon on Hezekiah.

My respect for this author has been on the rise the more I look into his work. He packs a lot into every page. Excellent book, well worth the shekels.
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific One Volume Evangelical Christian Commentary on Isaiah 14 Nov 2006
By Dr. Marc Axelrod - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's amazing how much solid exegesis and theology Motyer packed into this one volume commentary on Isaiah. Motyer is more willing to come out and say that certain prophecies in Isaiah were fulfilled by Jesus. He is also quite good at discerning the structure of the text. For example, he expounds Isaiah 66:19-26 and makes a nice diagram of the blessings associated with living under God's kingdom of justice and righteousness.

This commentary is not quite as elegantly written as the single volume masterpiece penned by Brevard Childs, but Motyer is a reliable guide through the visions that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Jothan, Uzziah, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (Isaiah 1:1-2). I highly recommend this commentary.

Rev. Marc Axelrod
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent work. 25 May 2008
By W. Crosby - Published on
I have not finished this book, however I am well into it and am thoroughly enjoying it. Of all the theologies/commentaries I've read on Isaiah this is either the best or one of them. He interacts with a lot of Rikki Watt's material, Kaiser and a little F.F Bruce. He is a conservative scholar whose work should not be overlooked.
I am a senior at a biblical university with plans to go on to seminary. This book will not leave my side as I study Isaiah in the future. Often times conservative scholars are looked down upon for poor scholarship, but Motyer's work is certainly erudite. Isaiah is rich in vocabulary and fond of metaphor which Motyer captures well. In addition, one does not need a working knowledge of Hebrew grammar/vocabulary to keep up with his teaching. I would recommend this book for the pastor, adult sunday school teacher or serious student. Enjoy!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Conservative, sane, but not necessarily the best 14 May 2012
By Anonymous - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Alec Motyer writes an excellent and sensible commentary on the text of Isaiah. He is conservative on the unity of the book but does not waste large amounts of space dealing with unnecessary critical issues, (something that is thankfully welcome in a world where the unfortunate scholarly trend is to mangle the text with source and form criticism). He is also a sane interpreter of prophecy, and doesn't press the language of the text into absurd "over-literal" meanings. In short, Motyer gets high marks for writing a commentary that reads the text on its own terms.

Motyer's exegesis of the text mostly consists of analyzing individual words and showing parallels, both with other parts of Isaiah and with other portions of Scripture. He does not include a translation of the text, so you'll need to have a Bible open while reading this to follow his points (although if you're reading any commentary, you should really be doing that anyways!) I found a number of his literary considerations to be helpful. He also takes the New Testament use of Isaiah seriously, which adds an additional level of insight to the text.

The only criticism I have is that sometimes Motyer's outlines of specific passages strike me as arbitrarily contrived. It is as if he is trying too hard to make parallels and chiasms "fit" with each other. For instance, in the section on the oracles against the nations (chs. 13-27), he argues that the section breaks into three cycles (13-20, 21-23, 24-27), but then tries to make each individual element in the cycle parallel to each other, resulting in some rather awkward parallels. (One wonders, for instance, how what the oracles against Moab and Arabia have to do with each other, and furthermore, how they would be parallel to the "banquet" passage in 25:1-12). I am also not sure I agree with his overall three-fold division of Isaiah into: "The Book of the King" (1-37), "The Book of the Servant" (38-55), and "The Book of the Anointed Conqueror" (56-66). However, these concerns are really secondary compared to the value of this 500+ page work.

Overall, I would still recommend Motyer's commentary. He has a number of useful exegetical insights. If I could only have one Isaiah commentary, Oswalt would be my first choice. If I could have a second, I would get Motyer and use him to supplement Oswalt.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Prophecy of Isaiah 17 Aug 2010
By Marvin L. Miller - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a good commentary on the book of Isaiah. However it is not easy for the average person to fully grasp its contents. It is geared more for students of theology, dedicated students of the bible, teachers of the bible, or theologians. It's highly technical for the average layman.
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