Isaiah 8: 21-22. “And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward. And they shall look unto the earth: and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish: and they shall be driven to darkness.”
These last two verses of Chapter 8 paint a picture of complete despair. The people had turned to spiritism, but not to God. It is interesting that this trend has continued down through the centuries. Just before a time of great trouble, people tend to turn for comfort to psychics and spiritists, but not to true spirituality. And then, when the trouble falls, they often curse in the Name of God.
The Assyrians were hard taskmasters. The people were “hard bestead,” or, passing through the darkness of defeat, they were hard-pressed, hungry, discouraged. Even then, instead of repenting, they would fret and fume and curse by the king, and curse by God, just as they had done when Moses led them out of Egypt. They would even turn their faces up toward heaven, seeking light in their darkness, but their hearts were not with God. They would turn again in despair toward the earth, seeking some other relief, but no relief would come. These were desperate times, as they were conquered, killed, captured, driven out of Immanuel’s land.
But then–the great hope of the next words from Isaiah.