Was Isaiah a false prophet?

In Isaiah chapter 7, it is written that Ahaz, the king of Judah, was under a joint attack from Pekah, the king of Israel, and Rezin, the king of Syria. His people were terrified; “the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind” (verse 2, ESV).

According to the passage, the prophet Isaiah then receives a message from the Lord for Ahaz, informing the king that “It shall not stand, and it shall not come to pass.” Isaiah then offers Ahaz the chance to ask a sign from the Lord, any sign. “Let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven” (verse 10). Ahaz refuses this offer, saying, “I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.”

At this, Isaiah informs Ahaz that “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good” (14-15). The rest of the passage poetically describes how the attackers will be defeated and how their enemies’ land will be desolate.

So, in other words, this passage is saying that within two or three years–before the child can tell right from wrong–that the land of Judah will be in peace and prosperity, and that they will not suffer conquest at the hands of their neighbors. It cannot only refer to the birth of Christ, hundreds of years later, because it is specifically referring to the upcoming battle with Syria and Israel.

(In fact, if it were not for Matthew 1:23 which specifically states that the prophecy applied to Jesus, I would be hard pressed to draw any connection between the birth of Christ and this passage.)

So, we’ve established that for the prophecy to be true, that A) a virgin must give birth to a son in the near future to be a sign for King Ahaz and that B) the nation of Judah must win its conflict with Israel and Syria.

Now, take a look at II Chronicles 28, which describes these same events. We can see in verses 5-6 that “the LORD his God gave him into the hand of the king of Syria, who defeated him and took captive a great number of his people and brought them to Damascus. He was also given into the hand of the king of Israel, who struck him with great force. For Pekah the son of Remaliah killed 120,000 from Judah in one day, all of them men of valor, because they had forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers.” The passage goes on to describe Israel and Syria’s exploits against the house of Judah.

Isn’t that exactly the opposite of what Isaiah said would happen? Is there some explanation for this contradiction that I’m missing? Or was Isaiah a false prophet?

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