Old Testament

First Isaiah

Immanuel – Discussion Questions

Interpretation Questions:

1. What point is conveyed by presenting the child of a king as the child of a shepherd? Does this denigrate the status of the kingly child, or uplift the status of the shepherd? What is emphasized in the text?
2. Language and cultural translation play a large part in how we understand this prophecy. The lack of distinction between “virgin” and “young woman” in the Greek translation led to many theological conclusions we hold today. Is this phenomenon a “problem” for translation? Or is that how it should work?

Application Questions:

1. Dr. Baden and Dr. Collins come to agree that the Emmanuel prophecy likely had a completely different context and meaning than how Christians came to interpret it. Does this change how we think about this prophecy in relation to Christianity? Does Christianity “lose” something with this interpretation?
2. Reflect on how important parts of the Emmanuel prophecy have become to Christian theology. Where do you see echoes of this prophecy in certain teachings or practices?
3. Dr. Baden and Dr. Collins conclude that this prophecy attempts to encourage people to further rely on God. Is this interpretation different from what you have heard before? Do you agree with it?

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