Isaiah’s Wife, An Old Testament Prophet

Not much is known about Isaiah’s wife except that he considered her a prophet in her own right, as can be gleaned by this passage,

Then I made love to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said to me, “Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.” (Isaiah 8:3, New International Version NIV)

As such, we know she had prophetic gifts which she used in her service to God. She and her husband Isaiah were of one mind in understanding God’s word and thoughts, and God’s guidance and counsel. It may even be that Isaiah, already a priest, determined to marry a woman who shared his devotion for the Lord, and the gift of prophecy, that their marriage would be one of powerful, united labor of love to God.

Theirs would have been the illustration of Paul’s later discourse on the sort of marital relationship that most honored God, and was in best keeping with the Lord’s intentions in Ephesians 5, a combination of the word “hupotasso” for wives and “agapeo” for husbands.

Hupotasso: The word ‘submit’ in Greek is hupotasso, also translated ‘be subject to,’ ‘to arrange yourself underneath,’ ‘give allegiance to,’ ‘tend to the needs of,’ ‘be supportive of,’ ‘be responsive to,’ ‘to place oneself at the disposition of.’ It was generally a military term that referred to taking one's position in a phalanx of soldiers.

This was not reference to rank or status, it was an equal sharing of the common task. If a soldier failed to join the others, or held back during an advance, the captain might use a form of hupotasso to order that soldier to return to his place in the line, join his compatriots and fulfill his part in the assignment. In this context, Paul was using the word hupotasso to mean to willingly yield to and be supportive of, out of humility and respect.

Agapeo: The Bible makes it clear, men are to lead in love. To love with self-sacrificing love NOT self-centered satisfaction that demands.

In this call for harmony, Paul was instructing wives to be actively involved with their husbands, supportive, responsive, side-by-side. The wife and the husband are to sacrificially love each other in all respect, honor and humility, under God Who is their Head. Paul focused the wife on yielding to and being supportive of her husband, out of reverence to Christ, as unto the Lord. Paul drew the husband’s attention to Jesus’ love for the Church: Jesus’ care rather than control, responsibility rather than rule.

This is not so much a description of who gets to be the boss, but rather of sacrificial love, nuanced as yielding in the wife and sacrificial serving in the husband. Thus submission and love are two aspects of the very same thing; namely, of that selfless self-giving which is the foundation for an enduring and growing marriage.

The head of the family is ultimately the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son. He is the guide for family decisions, the source for all needs, authority over both husbands and wives. God is sovereign over both the husband’s dreams and life plans, and the wife’s. In a Christian marriage, organic unity in making decisions together, tending the family together, doing life together is God’s best.

“This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the Church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 6:21-33 NIV)

The full picture of Christ and the Church is made complete when both the husband and the wife are willing to love each other sacrificially, to respect and honor each other, to be willing to hold each other accountable to God, and to His word.

This is surely the picture of marital cooperation between the prophets Isaiah and his wife in the naming and raising of their two sons, and their united ministry of teaching and prophesying in Israel.

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