This article is about the Prophet. You may be looking for the book named for him.
Isaiah (Heb: Yeshayahu), son of Amoz, was a prophet in Judah during the reigns of kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. His history is found in the Old Testament, and he was the author of the eponymous book containing prophecies revealed to him by God.
His primary message was the coming judgment coming to a nation that had neglected the worship of God as taught in the Law. Within these warnings was the promise of the coming Messiah, who would one day save the people from the inevitable disaster they faced. He was the advisor to four kings over a period of over fifty years in the eighth century BC.
Though his death is not mentioned in Scripture, tradition teaches that he died at the hands of the evil king Manasseh, son to Hezekiah.
The name Isaiah means "Yah is Salvation" (from Shua + Yah), or "Salvation is of the LORD."
Isaiah was born during the reign of Uzziah (aka Azariah) of Judah about 30 years before the king's death in 739 BC. Having come of age in Azariah's later years, the young man never would have seen the king in public, for the king had been stricken with leprosy and resided in a royal house outside of Jerusalem. Times were good, for the king had made changes based on the Law of God. In those days, Jotham, son of Uzziah, was co-regent with his father.
To the north, the nation of Israel was in serious trouble as the dynasty founded by Jehu met one setback after another. That dynasty would end in the same year that Isaiah was called to be a prophet in Judah. By the end of Isaiah's ministry, Israel would fall to the same Assyrian armies that threatened Judah and Jerusalem during Hezekiah's reign.
Family and Early Life
Isaiah was born to a godly family in Judah in about 770 BC. His father Amoz named him "Yah is Salvation," with an eye on the turmoil in Israel and the reforms in Jerusalem. In the providence of God, that name became the message of the young man after his call to the ministry in 740 BC.
In that year, Isaiah confessed to God that he was unworthy to come near. He was unable to speak for a holy God because everyone around him had no idea about the things of God. The decadence of the northern kingdom had corrupted the people of Judah — especially the upper class in which Isaiah lived — to such an extent that the good king Uzziah had been arrogant in the temple. His influence on his family had been reduced as Jotham began to reign from the palace.