What was it like,
The life of the wife of the Prophet,
Mrs. Isaiah, neb’iah?
Were there morning coffee groups
Especially for stay-at-home-prophetess-moms
Calling to their offspring as they played?
I told you to share those apricots!
Do stop tattling on your brother!
When your father gets home…”
Visions to share,
Messages to pass along,
Commiserating over that nasty burn,
“Right on his lips!
‘Angelic coal,’ he says.
‘Let the coffee cool next time’
Is more like it!”
Or was the reality more solitary,
Singular in her calling
To share the burden of the Word,
Equal partner, yet nameless
In the shade of a known name
Mother of oddly-named sons
Mentioned only by her ministry,
Forgotten in history
No like-minded friends to natter,
Chatter with at the well, perhaps
But one precious to God,
From Whom salvation comes,
One with whom, like so many,
Aware or unaware,
–Mark J. Leamy
Isaiah’s wife was a prophetess. In Isaiah 8, she is described as “neb’iah” which means “prophetess.” Neb’iah does not mean “married to a prophet” –it means that this woman received messages from God. (Other Old Testament women who held this title include Deborah and Miriam.) Although we know the unique names of her sons (Isaiah 8), we do not know her given name.
There is no record of the prophetic words God gave to Mrs. Isaiah. Was her message so near to Isaiah’s that there was no need to record it? Or were her messages more personal to her listeners—maybe even messages for Isaiah himself? How did she feel about her children’s strange names? What did she think when Isaiah came home with burned lips and a desire to share God’s messages of doom?
Mark’s poem captures some of these ponderings, and a reminder that none of us are alone. Whether we are aware or unaware, God is speaking to each of us. Of course we don’t all see visions of doom (thank you, Lord!) or hear audible voices from the sky. But Immanuel is with us.
…I have cried out to You, O Lord, for help;
And in the morning my prayer will come to You. (Psalm 88:13 Amplified)
I will hear [with expectant hope] what God the Lord will say,
For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones—
But let them not turn again to folly. (Psalm 85:8 Amplified)
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. (Psalm 143:8)
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long. (Psalm 25:5)
Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions;
I will put them into practice with all my heart. (Psalm 119:34)
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory. (Psalm 73:24)
Lord, show me again how to listen to you,
to make reading your word a priority,
to meditate on what I read—to mull over a verse or a phrase for a day,
to spend time with and listen to godly friends,
and to relax in the knowledge that you will guide me.
Note: Biblegateway has a short summary of Isaiah’s wife here.
Photo credit: Jim Olsen