BACKGROUND OF THE LESSON. Isaiah, whose name means “salvation of the LORD,” was the greatest of the writing prophets. He carried on his ministry in the Southern Kingdom of Judah during the reigns of four kings, possibly from 740 to 680 B.C., a period of about sixty years during which the Jews of the Northern Kingdom of Israel were carried away into captivity by the Assyrians in about 722-721 B.C., and Judah was invaded by the Assyrians in 701 B.C. The Book of Isaiah opens with “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.” This period was a time of transition for Judah. Uzziah had come to the throne when he was sixteen and ruled for fifty-two years (see II Chronicles 26:3). He was a godly king, and during his reign Judah prospered (see II Chronicles 26:4-15). However, later in his life, he became proud, usurped the ministry of the priesthood, and fell under God’s judgment. He spent the last days of his life as a leper (see II Chronicles 26:16-23). Our lesson text takes place during the year that King Uzziah died and Judah was unfaithful to the LORD which would lead to Him sending them into captivity years later (see Isaiah 5:1-7).
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