Isaiah Becomes a Prophet
1In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a very high
throne. His long robe filled the Temple. 2Heavenly creatures of fire stood above
him. Each creature had six wings: It used two wings to cover its face, two wings
to cover its feet, and two wings for flying. 3Each creature was calling to the
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD All-Powerful.
His glory fills the whole earth.”
4Their calling caused the frame around the door to shake, as the Temple filled
5I said, “Oh, no! I will be destroyed. I am not pure, and I live among people
who are not pure, but I have seen the King, the LORD All-Powerful.”
6One of the heavenly creatures used a pair of tongs to take a hot coal from the
altar. Then he flew to me with the hot coal in his hand. 7The creature touched my
mouth with the hot coal and said, “Look, your guilt is taken away, because this
hot coal has touched your lips. Your sin is taken away.”
8Then I heard the Lord’s voice, saying, “Whom can I send? Who will go for
So I said, “Here I am. Send me!”
9Then the Lord said, “Go and tell this to the people:
‘You will listen and listen, but you will not understand.
You will look and look, but you will not learn.’
10Make the minds of these people dumb.
Shut their ears. Cover their eyes.
Otherwise, they might really understand
what they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears.
They might really understand in their minds
and come back to me and be healed.”
11Then I asked, “Lord, how long should I do this?”
“Until the cities are destroyed
and the people are gone,
until there are no people left in the houses,
until the land is destroyed and left empty.
12The LORD will send the people far away,
and the land will be left empty.
13One-tenth of the people will be left in the land,
but it will be destroyed again.
These people will be like an oak tree
whose stump is left when the tree is chopped down.
The people who remain will be like a stump that will sprout again.”
The Holy Bible, New Century Version
Title: Holman Bible Handbook
Isaiah 1-5 describes how God’s people rejected their “Holy One” (1:4; 5:24).
In Isaiah 6 the prophet tells of his face-to-face encounter with this Holy God. In
the year of King Uzziah’s death (740 B.C.) Isaiah received a vision of the real
King, the Lord, seated on His heavenly throne. Seraphs surrounded Him,
chanting “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty” (6:3). Overwhelmed by God’s
splendor, Isaiah acknowledged his and his people’s sinful condition. After Isaiah
was symbolically purified, the Lord commissioned him as a messenger to His
spiritually insensitive people. He was to preach until judgment swept through the
land and the people were carried into exile, leaving only a remnant.
Title: Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament Vol. 7: Isaiah
Author: Keil, C.F. and Delitzsch, F.
THE PROPHET’S ACCOUNT OF HIS OWN DIVINE MISSION—ISAIAH 6
The time of the occurrence here described, viz., “the year that king Uzziah
() died,” was of importance to the prophet. The statement itself, in the
naked form in which it is here introduced, is much more emphatic than if it
commenced with “it came to pass” (vay’hi; cf., Ex 16:6; Prov 24:17). It was the
year of Uzziah’s death, not the first year of Jotham’s reign; that is to say, Uzziah
was still reigning, although his death was near at hand. If this is the sense in
which the words are to be understood, then, even if the chapter before us contains
an account of Isaiah’s first call, the heading to chapter 1, which dates the
ministry of the prophet from the time of Uzziah, is quite correct, inasmuch as,
although his public ministry under Uzziah was very short, this is properly to be
included, not only on account of its own importance, but as inaugurating a new
ear (lit. “an epoch-making beginning”). But is it not stated in 2 Chron 26:22, that
Isaiah wrote a historical work embracing the whole of Uzziah’s reign?
Unquestionably; but it by no means follows from this, that he commenced his
ministry long before the death of Uzziah. If Isaiah received his call in the year
that Uzziah died, this historical work contained a retrospective view of the life
and times of Uzziah, the close of which coincided with the call of the prophetic
author, which made a deep incision into the history of Israel. Uzziah reigned fifty-
two years (809-758 B.C.). This lengthened period was just the same to the
kingdom of Judah as the shorter age of Solomon to that of all Israel, viz., a time
of vigorous and prosperous peace, in which the nation was completely
overwhelmed with manifestations of divine love. But the riches of divine
goodness had no more influence upon it, than the troubles through which it had
passed before. And now the eventful change took place in the relation between
Israel and Jehovah, of which Isaiah was chosen to be the instrument before and
above all other prophets. The year in which all this occurred was the year of
Uzziah’s death. It was in this year that Israel as a people was given up to
hardness of heart, and as a kingdom and country to devastation and annihilation
by the imperial power of the world. How significant a fact, as Jerome observes in
connection with this passage, that the year of Uzziah’s death should be the year
in which Romulus was born; and that it was only a short time after the death of
Uzziah (viz., 754 B.C. according to Varro’s chronology) that Rome itself was
founded! The national glory of Israel died out with king Uzziah, and has never
revived to this day. In that year, says the prophet, “I saw the Lord of all sitting
upon a high and exalted throne, and His borders filling the temple.” Isaiah saw,
and that not when asleep and dreaming; but God gave him, when awake, an
insight into the invisible world, by opening an inner sense for the supersensuous,
whilst the action of the outer senses was suspended, and by condensing the
supersensuous into a sensuous form, on account of the composite nature of man
and the limits of his present state. This was the mode of revelation peculiar to an
ecstatic vision (dí dêóôPóåé, Eng. ver. “in a trance,” or dí ðíåšìáôé, “in the
spirit”). Isaiah is here carried up into heaven; for although in other instances it
was undoubtedly the earthly temple which was presented to a prophet’s view in
an ecstatic vision (Amos 9:1; Ezek 8:3; 10:4-5; cf., Acts 22:17), yet here, as the
description which follows clearly proves, the “high and exalted throne” is the
heavenly antitype of the earthly throne which was formed by the ark of the
covenant; and the “temple” (: lit., a spacious hall, the name given to the
temple as the palace of God the King) is the temple in heaven, as in Ps 11:4;
18:7; 29:9, and many other passages.
(Note: It is to this, and not to ‘Adonai, as the Targum and apparently the
accents imply, that the words “high and exalted” refer.)
There the prophet sees the Sovereign Ruler, or, as we prefer to render the noun,
which is formed from = duun, “the Lord of all” (All-herrn, sovereign or
absolute Lord), seated upon the throne, and in human form (Ezek 1:26), as is
proved by the robe with a train, whose flowing ends or borders (:
, as in Ex 28:33-34) filled the hall. The Sept., Targum, Vulgate, etc.,
have dropped the figure of the robe and train, as too anthropomorphic. But John,
in his Gospel, is bold enough to say that it was Jesus whose glory Isaiah saw
(John 12:41). And truly so, for the incarnation of God is the truth embodied in all
the scriptural anthropomorphisms, and the name of Jesus is the manifested
mystery of the name Jehovah. The heavenly temple is that super-terrestrial place,
which Jehovah transforms into heaven and a temple, by manifesting Himself
there to angels and saints. But whilst He manifests His glory there, He is obliged
also to veil it, because created beings are unable to bear it. But that which veils
His glory is no less splendid, than that portion of it which is revealed. And this
was the truth embodied for Isaiah in the long robe and train. He saw the Lord,
and what more he saw was the all-filling robe of the indescribable One. As far as
the eye of the seer could look at first, the ground was covered by this splendid
robe. There was consequently no room for any one to stand. And the vision of the
seraphim is in accordance with this.