Isaiah: A Covenant to Be Kept for the Sake of the Church

By Allan Harman
Geanies House, UK : Christian Focus (2005). 472 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Michael Grisanti
19.1 (Spring 2008) : 124-125

This volume represents Harman’s third contribution to the “Focus on the Bible” series (Psalms—1998, Deuteronomy—2001). In writing this commentary, Harman sought to avoid simply distilling the ideas of other commentaries. In fact, he focused on grammar and syntax volumes, lexicons, and theological dictionaries in the early stages of writings and did not reference secondary literature until a later stage of writing. Harman strongly argues for Isaiah of Jerusalem as the author of the entire book. The volume ends with helpful subject, person, and Scripture indices.

Just a few comments about some key passages will illustrate the author’s approach. Harman works through various interpretations of the Immanuel prophecy in chapter 7 and advocates an exclusively messianic understanding of Isaiah 7:14. In commenting on chapters 24–27, Harman refuses to identify the chapters as apocalyptic. He identifies certain apocalyptic tendencies, but also regards these chapters as prophetic as well. He does not believe that apocalyptic replaced prophetic literature, but that it supplements biblical literature. When dealing with passages that look to distant rather than near fulfillments, Harman is not clear on whether he sees these events taking place in a literal millennial period or in the present church age. He refers to a regathering of exiles, but emphasizes that this regathering is spiritual. However, when commenting on the return mentioned in chapter 49, Harman seems to regard this as a literal return to the land of promise.

Except for the ambiguity on the eschatogical significance of certain passages, Harman is a clear writer and provides a helpful exposition of the text of this great book of Isaiah.