(8th century BCE) 

Isaiah was the first of the major prophets of the Old Testament and delivered oracles for the southern kingdom of Judah in the eighth century B.C. Isaiah had a prophetess wife and two sons named Shear-jashub and Maher-shalal-hash-baz.

Isaiah described his calling to the Lord in the sixth chapter of his book. In a vision he saw God surrounded by seraphim angels who were crying out of God’s holiness and glory. Isaiah was overwhelmed at the sight and felt terror for laying his eyes on God. Then a seraph brought a burning ember, or coal, to Isaiah’s lips, he was cleansed of sin. Now, full of confidence, Isaiah offered himself to the Lord’s service.

Within Isaiah’s time as a prophet, the kingdom of Judah was constantly threatened by the aggressive Assyrian Empire. The Assyrians took over the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C., which brought the powerful empire to the doorstep of Judah. Isaiah always stressed the importance of patiently trusting in God and doing his will to deal with such situations of difficulty. Unfortunately, his wisdom and advice were often ignored, which usually further complicated the problems of the kingdom.

The Book of Isaiah also includes some beautiful verses that offer many intimations of the coming of Christ. The 11th chapter of Isaiah’s prophecies presents the gifts of the Holy Spirit. How Isaiah died is not recorded; however, it has been asserted that when the evil Manasseh became king of Judah, he had the good prophet martyred.

Adapted by A.J. Valentini from: Doyle-Nelson, T. (2020, August 27). St. Isaiah the Prophet, Pray For Us. NCR.