Visualizing Isaiah 1-39
by James Dowden
I was going through stuff on my hard drive, and found some visualizations of the first half of the book of Isaiah I’d forgotten I’d done. So I thought I’d post them here.
1. Isaiah 1-12
Here, the structure is quite simple. There are three oracular sections, the first two introduced by simple headers, and the third by a narrative section that starts in the 1st person and ends in the 3rd. There are a number of woes, but these are not used as a structural device.
2. Isaiah 13-27
There are four large units here: a set of oracles against nations, a narrative section about a prophetic sign, a second set of oracles against nations, and an apocalyptic section. The two sets of oracles against nations are structured into five parts each with headers, the second in each case being relatively short. Once more, a couple of woes appear incidentally. The sign narrative is introduced by a pseudo-header, which works as a clause of the first sentence. The apocalyptic section is notable for its lack of any of the overt structural elements that filled the chapters before.
3. Isaiah 28-39
The first thing to notice here is that the section borrowed from 2 Kings, with the insertion of Hezekiah’s maschil, is a larger-scale structural device softening the transition to chapters 40ff. Chapters 28-35 function as a somewhat apocalyptic unit: there is a pattern of crisis, bad and good solutions, and bad and good results of those solutions. The lone header does not seem to function to structure the work, but the woes function to break it into sub-units.
And that’s all for now!