Hi, I'm Tim Coombs, co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY and a member of the network of biblical storytellers. To learn more about its mission, go to nbsint.org.
The book of Isaiah actually entails 3 prophetic traditions under the name of Isaiah. The first part is perhaps the historic Isaiah himself. This is represented by chapters 1 through 39. Isaiah lived in the time of King Ahaz and Hezekiah of Judea. And Isaiah was warning to keep faith in God and to not place your trust in foreign kings. And when Ahaz decided to place his trust in other kings, Isaiah prophesied that another would come. There are what many people call the beginning of the messianic prophecies in Isaiah. Perhaps most famous is Isaiah 9, in which Isaiah calls for wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, Prince of Peace, made famous and handles Messiah. Beyond what we call First Isaiah, there is Second Isaiah, which is chapters 40 to 55. Now, Second Isaiah is written at the end of the Babylonian Exile. A time when Babylon overcame Judea and carted off all the people to live in Babylon. At this time, there was actually a war a civil war in Babylon, and it looked like Persia was going to take over. And so this Isaiah is encouraging the hope of the people with turning home. It begins ""Comfort, comfort my people."" As opposed to telling the people that they're wrong or sinful, or something like that. It also includes passages of about suffering servants, which is debated about whether that is pointing as Christians might think towards Jesus, or just representative of the people in general. The Third Isaiah are the last 10 chapters of the document. And this is about the return home. This is when the Persians are in power. This occurs around 5, 10 BC, and it is a hope for the people and restoring the kingdom. It's a call for the people to be a light for the nations. A new kingdom established by God, where there will be no more pain and suffering anymore. So Isaiah is 1 book, but it covers a huge swathe of the history of the Jewish people.