Isaiah 31 has been a source of great difficulty for interpreters through the centuries. The chapter contains multiple examples of unusual syntax, vocabulary, and imagery. These difficulties can be solved if the chapter is understood as the prophet’s response to a specific episode in the late eighth-century conflict between the Neo-Assyrian Empire and the kingdoms of the Levant. It addresses the quandary the Judean elite faced in approximately 713 BCE in responding to the invitation of Yamani, king of Ashdod, to join a rebellion against Assyria. The chapter references specific figures who took part in earlier anti-Assyrian rebellions in the southern Levant, including Re’u of Egypt and Azuri of Ashdod.
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