David Dorsey ( Literary Structure of the Old Testament, The: A Commentary on Genesis-Malachi ) outlines Isaiah as a sevenfold chiasm:
A. Condemnation, pleading, promise of future restoration, 1:1-12:6
B. Oracles to the nations, 13:1-26:21
C. Woes, 27:1-35:10
D. historical narrative, 36:1-39:
C’. Yahweh triumphs over idols, 40:1-48:22
B’. Servant Songs, 49:1-54:17
A’. Condemnation, pleading, promise of future restoration, 55:1-66:24
The Book of Isaiah - In this series, for about two months, I will be addressing the lectionary texts from the Prophets, first Isaiah, then Jeremiah. Isaiah is a fascinating book. Sometimes called a “fifth Gospel,” it is quoted in the New Testament more often than any other OT book. Isaiah is at once “the prophet of a glorious future (e.g. 1:26–27; 2:2–4; 4:4–6; 9:1–7; 11:1–16)” as well as “the prophet of disaster and total loss (e.g. 5:24–30; 6:11–12; 7:17–25)” (Motyer). Isaiah is a kind of reflection of the whole of Scripture (66 books/first 39 focus on Israel, chs. 40-66, like the NT addresses the Messiah).
The Beginning of Isaiah - We learn from the first 20 verses of Isaiah the setting of his work as prophet. He ministered for about 50 years (B.C. 739-868). Chapters 1-5 are a kind of introduction to Isaiah, before the well-known “Call of Isaiah” in ch. 6: “In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple” (6:1).
The Burden of Isaiah - In verses 10-20, Isaiah brings the prophetic word to bear on a people who have a familiar problem: they continue to follow the forms, but they are no long livingly worshiping the living God. They are dead to God in heart, but still alive in their motions. There is judgment for such people; however, that is not the word here: God pleads for them to repent. “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool” (1:18). Do you want your day in court, before the living God? He invites you: Come now, and let us reason together.