Isaiah lived in Judea during the 8th century Before Christ. The Biblical historical context of Isaiah’s ministry is spoken of in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles.
The 8th Century BC, Isaiah’s time, was a period of great clashes of Empires and changes of civilizations. Rome was founded in 753 BC and Greece was colonizing other regions of the Mediterranean and Black Seas. The Neo-Assyrian Empire, which we will talk more about tonight, reached the peak of its power, conquering the Kingdom of Israel in 722 BC. However, through a series of alliances, first with Israel (Samaria) and Damascus, then with Assyria, Egypt, and finally, The Lord, Judah is able to escape complete conquest for a time. In 727 BC, just 5 years before Israel falls to Assyria, Babylonia, which was later to conquer the Kingdom of Judah in 586 BC, made itself independent of the Assyrian Empire.
A number of culturally important events are also recorded as occurring during Isaiah’s time:
- While the Olympic Games are believed to reach as far back as the 13th century BC, the year 776 is retrospectively set as the first Olympiad.
- June 15, 763 BC: A solar eclipse recorded on this date is used to fix the chronology of the Ancient Near East.
- April 21, 753 BC is traditionally thought to be the date that Romulus founded Rome. This marks the beginning of the Roman ‘Ab urbe condita’ calendar.
- So you have two entire civilizations setting their calendars during Isaiah’s time. How often do you hear of this happening now?
- Near the end of the 8th Century BC, the Upanishads, which are a sacred text of Hinduism, are written.
- Homer’s life and his epics are dated to the 8th Century BC as well.