Unit 24: Day 4, Isaiah 17–23

“Unit 24: Day 4, Isaiah 17–23,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)

“Unit 24: Day 4,” Old Testament Study Guide

Unit 24: Day 4

Isaiah 17–23


Isaiah prophesied that the Israelites would be scattered because they had forgotten God. He also prophesied of the ensign that would be raised up (the establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) in the beginning of the last dispensation and of its role in gathering scattered Israel from many nations. Additionally, Isaiah testified of the future Davidic king, even the Messiah, and teaches us about Jesus Christ’s power to deliver the oppressed and of the universal nature of the Atonement.

Isaiah 17–18

Isaiah prophesies of the scattering and the latter-day gathering of Israel

Isaiah 17 was a message of doom for Damascus, the capital city of Syria, and for the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Isaiah prophesied that these two nations would be conquered and scattered by the Assyrian army (see also Isaiah 10:5–6). Isaiah also prophesied that the Lord would rebuke and destroy the Assyrians and the other nations who oppressed Israel.

Read Isaiah 18:1–3, looking for how Isaiah used the following items to teach about the future:

  • Ambassadors

  • Swift messengers

  • An ensign on the mountains

  • A trumpet

Did you notice the word woe in verse 1? Rather than referring to suffering or affliction, the word woe as used here is a greeting (see Isaiah 18:1, footnote a).

  1. In your scripture study journal, write how you think each of the items listed above describes aspects of the restored Church of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 19–21

Isaiah prophesies Egypt’s destruction and future conversion and the destruction of other nations

Isaiah 19 records Isaiah’s prophecy that because of Egypt’s idol worship and evil practices, the Lord would smite Egypt. However, Isaiah also prophesied that the Egyptians would eventually recognize their need for the Lord and turn to Him.

In Isaiah 20–21 we read that Isaiah prophesied that other wicked nations would be destroyed.

Isaiah 22–23

Isaiah prophesies that Jerusalem will be attacked and scourged by Babylon

Isaiah prophesied that the city of Jerusalem would be spared from the Assyrian army (see 2 Kings 19:32–35). This occurred during Isaiah’s lifetime. Through preparations made by the Southern Kingdom of Judah and with the Lord’s help, Jerusalem was spared. However, in Isaiah 22:1–7 we read that Isaiah prophesied that Jerusalem would not be spared when the Babylonian army attacked more than a century later.

Read Isaiah 22:8–11, looking for what the people in Jerusalem thought they could depend on for protection from the Babylonian army.

portion of Hezekiah’s tunnel

A portion of Hezekiah’s tunnel

The people thought they could depend on their supply of weapons, the fortifications that strengthened the city wall, and Hezekiah’s tunnel (which diverted water into the city from a spring outside the city wall) for protection from the Babylonian army because these were the same preparations that had been made when Jerusalem was miraculously spared from the Assyrian army during the reign of Hezekiah.

While the preparations that were made to withstand the siege of an invading army were wise and helpful, notice in verse 11 why relying on only these preparations to save themselves was a problem. You may want to mark what the people would forget to do.

Read Isaiah 22:12–14, and then read Isaiah 22:12, footnote a, and Isaiah 22:13, footnote a, to discover what the Lord would call for the people in Jerusalem to do and how they would respond.

The phrase “let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die” (Isaiah 22:13) refers to a belief that people are entitled to seek pleasure and commit sin without being concerned about the consequences of their actions. These people either did not believe in God and the immortality of the soul, or they believed that God would not punish them for their sins (see also 2 Nephi 28:7–9).

One principle this prophecy can teach us is that trusting in our own strength instead of trusting in God can lead us into sin and ultimately to destruction.

  1. Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. Why do you think trusting in our own strength instead of trusting in God can lead us to commit sin?

    2. Why do you think Satan is successful in promoting the idea that people are entitled to seek pleasure and commit sin without being concerned about the consequences of those actions?

In Isaiah 22:15–19 we read what Isaiah wrote about Shebna, the keeper of the treasury of Jerusalem. Shebna was prideful about Jerusalem’s wealth, and Isaiah prophesied that Assyria would take Shebna and many of Jerusalem’s treasures into captivity.

Isaiah also prophesied that a man named Eliakim would replace Shebna. Eliakim’s name means “God shall cause to arise” (see Isaiah 22:20, footnote a). This prophecy is also an important and insightful reference to the atoning mission of the future Messiah. Read Isaiah 22:21–23, looking for what Isaiah prophesied about Eliakim that points us to Jesus Christ and the Atonement.

From these verses we learn the following truth: Jesus Christ holds the key of the house of David and the keys of salvation for all mankind.

“The key of the house of David” (Isaiah 22:22) symbolizes the right to rule, which can be obtained only through the holy priesthood of God. The power of the priesthood is centered on the Lord Jesus Christ, who has the power to “shut” and to “open” [Isaiah 22:22]—to bind and to loose—and no one can override that power.

“Isaiah made a symbol of Shebna’s replacement, Eliakim. His name means ‘God shall cause to arise,’ anticipating the Savior, who holds the ‘key of the house of David’ but was fastened ‘as a nail in a sure place’ until the burden of the Atonement was complete. Upon Him rests ‘all the glory of his father’s house.’ Isaiah recommended depending on Him for everlasting security [Isaiah 22:20–25]” (Ellis T. Rasmussen, A Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament [1993], 517–18).

  1. Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. Why is it important to understand that we must rely on Jesus Christ for our salvation?

    2. How does knowing that Jesus Christ holds the keys to our salvation affect how you feel about Him?

In Isaiah 23 we learn that Isaiah prophesied that the coastal city of Tyre would also be destroyed.

  1. Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Isaiah 17–23 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: