Isaiah’s Messianic Eschatology? An Analysis of the Intratextual Use of Isa 11:6–9 in 65:25

Intratextual allusion plays a central role in the literary strategy of the book of Isaiah. The reader who lacks sensitivity to these features of the text will inevitably overlook whole worlds of meaning latent within them. This is aptly illustrated by Isa 65:25, which directly draws upon preceding Isaianic material through its condensed quotation of 11:6–9. In this paper, these texts will be examined with a focus on how the use of the earlier passage by the latter contributes to the theological and eschatological program of the book’s concluding chapters. It will be suggested that this case of inner-Isaianic allusion invites the reader to bring the broader context(s) of the earlier material to bear on their evaluation of the meaning of 65:25. This context is not limited to only 11:6–9 but applies to all of chapter 11 and even extends to the book’s first major unit, chapters 1–12. By using a synchronic approach to analyze this inner-Isaianic allusion, this study will also evaluate its broader significance within the book through a literary-canonical reading of Isaiah. It will be argued that the effect of the intratextual allusion in 65:25 is to recast and advance the messianic and eschatological expectations of the source text, which itself must be understood within the context of the larger thematic developments in chapters 1–12. In so doing, 65:25 produces a more cohesive theological portrait at the book’s conclusion, projecting the earlier vision of 11:6–9 beyond its initial historical setting to convey that the divine promises of hope and restoration will be fulfilled for a subsequent generation of the faithful.