Isaiah saw a vision of YHWH enthroned in glory and he was commissioned with an unusual task for a prophet – that is to harden the hearts of the people. Judgement had been passed on Israel and Isaiah was charged with communicating the verdict to the people in a manner that would ensure they would not repent. After examining the various scholarly proposals for the hardening motif in Isaiah 6, I will offer my own proposal that the commission to harden the hearts is as a direct result of the idolatry of the people. I will go on to describe how the hardening motif functions in this passage and in the rest of Isaiah.
The first temple dedicated to YHWH in Jerusalem was constructed under King Solomon in the tenth century BC at the top of Mount Zion; where it stood until it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 585 BC. Solomon’s Temple was symbolic as the dwelling place of Israel’s god, a restored Eden, a microcosm, the cosmic centre, a bulwark against chaos and the story of Creation in stone.
When Moses first encountered the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the desert God revealed his name to Moses. The account is recorded in Exodus 3. Moses had fled Egypt because he had killed an Egyptian while defending a Hebrew slave. He was now living with his father-in-law, a priest of Midian called Jethro, […]