I didn’t find this section of Old’s book quite as helpful as some other sections. However, that is probably because I have already done a fair bit of work on Isaiah, and thus found him saying fewer good insights that I hadn’t already found in other commentators. Nevertheless, there are still good things here, and for those who haven’t spent much time in Isaiah studies, there will probably be many helpful things. I will be treating here both his section on “Isaiah,” and his section on “Deutero-Isaiah,” since I do not regard the two sections of the book as having been written by different authors.
Old notes that Isaiah may well have been both priest and preacher (p. 61). He makes a very important point when he argues that “the prophet is not merely the mouthpiece of God, who in some sort of trance utters the words or God quite apart from his own intelligence. The prophet understands the oracle; he is a witness to its truth and an advocate of its application” (p. 63). Of course, this statement needs qualification. Not all prophets understood everything about which they spoke. Peter tells us that the prophets longed to look into these things, what manner or time the Spirit in them was indicating when the Spirit told them about Jesus. However, Old’s point has more to do with the fact that the prophets were not just mindless automatons, copying down God’s words like a machine. The theory of concursus comes into play here: God worked through the individual authors’ experiences, personalities, eccentricities, in short everything that made up that person. Thus Paul does not sound like John. Yet each were inspired to write what God told them to write, and to do so in a way that is without error.