Second, verse 2 emphasizes the fact that this entire nation came forth from the “rock” of Abraham and Sarah. From only one child of theirs, a whole nation had grown. I agree that this does show an amazing increase in population. Isaiah seems overjoyed at this growth.
I am wondering how much the author was influenced by the mindset of the times about having children.
The Bible tells multiple stories of women who were ridiculed and scorned because they did not have children. It seems the more children one had, the more the community viewed one as blessed.
In our current culture, I think expectations remain for couples to have children. Family members may ask questions that feel like pressure. People who want to have children and have difficulties doing so face personal heartache and disappointment. However, I do not see our society, as a whole, scorning and ridiculing women who do not have children. Perhaps that mindset is there for some, but it is not the accepted standard of our day.
Another difference in cultures is that today, at least in the small town America with which I am familiar, people tend to raise their eyebrows at families who produce many children. If a couple gives birth to eight or more children, there may be a television show–or, at least, a news story–about the family because it is so unusual. Some of those news stories have revealed abuse that has given large families a taint of disrepute. Overall, I think our culture views such reproductive proliferation as an oddity, not so much as a blessing.
In the Old Testament, the goal was to increase the population of the nation. Psalm 127 talks about the blessing of sons “like arrows in the hand of a warrior” and the happiness of having a “quiver full of them.” I think of Jacob and Job and how they were seen as blessed because of having many children. Some would say that doesn't sound like such a wise and responsible perspective in light of today’s world population.
I find it interesting how the attitudes towards having many children have changed over time.