The Book of Isaiah (Hebrew: ספר ישעיהו) is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible Canon and the first of the Major Prophets in the Christian Old Testament Bible Canon. It is identified by a superscription as the words of the 8th-century BCE prophet Isaiah ben Amoz, but there is evidence that some of it was composed (or re-composed) during the Babylonian captivity and later.
The long (66 Chapters) Book of Isaiah can be divided in two major topics: From chapter 1 to 33 promises judgment and restoration for Judah, Jerusalem and the nations; From chapters 34 to 66 presume that judgment has been pronounced and restoration follows soon. It can thus be read as an extended meditation on the destiny of Jerusalem into and after the Exile.
One important part of the book describes how GOD will make Jerusalem the centre of His worldwide Rule through a royal saviour (a Messiah) who will destroy her oppressor (Babylon); Very outstanding from Jewish standards, this time the prophet Isaiah “annointed” the Messiah the foreign Persian king Cyrus the Great, who is merely the agent who brings about YAHWEH’s kingship. Isaiah speaks out against corrupt leaders and for the disadvantaged, and roots righteousness in GOD’s Holiness rather than in Israel’s covenant. Isaiah 44:6 contains the first clear statement of monotheism: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no GOD”. This model of monotheism became the defining characteristic of the Abrahamic Religions: the post-Exilic Judaism, and the basis for Christianity and Islam.
Isaiah was one of the most popular works among Jews in the Second Temple period (c. 515 BCE – 70 CE). In Christian circles, it was held in such high regard as to be called “the Fifth Gospel”, and its influence extends beyond Christianity to English literature and to Western culture in general, from the libretto of Handel’s Messiah to a host of such everyday phrases as “swords into ploughshares” and “voice in the wilderness“.