9:1 But there will be no
gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land
of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He
shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of
Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.: (Gloom: Isa 8:22)(In
earlier times: 1Ki 15:19,20 2Ki 15:29 2Ch 16:4)(Later on:
Lev 26:24,28 2Ki 17:5,6 1Ch 5:26) (By the way: Mt 4:15)
Righteousness & Justice of Jehovah
& Glory of Jehovah
"A throne" Is 6:6
"A Lamb" Is 53:7
To help keep this chapter in
context observe the preceding table and the following outline adapted
from Talk Thru the Bible which summarizes the first section of Isaiah
dealing primarily with prophecies concerning the Kingdom of Judah...
Prophecies against Judah
A The Judgment of Judah Isa 1:1–31
B The Day of the Lord Isa 2:1–4:6
C The Parable of the Vineyard Isa 5:1–30
D The Commission of Isaiah Isa 6:1–13
E The Destruction of Israel by Assyria Isa 7:1–10:4
1 Sign of Immanuel Isa 7:1–25
2 Sign of Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz Isa 8:1–22
3 Prophecy of the Messiah’s Birth Isa 9:1–7
4 Judgment on Ephraim Isa 9:8–10:4
F The Destruction of Assyria by God
1 Destruction of Assyria Isa
2 Remnant of Israel Isa 10:20–34
3 Restoration of the Messiah’s Kingdom Isa 11:1–16
4 Thanksgiving in the Messiah’s Kingdom Isa 12:1–6
Isaiah 9:1,2 is quoted by
Matthew in Mt 4:15, 16.
The last verse of chapter 8
Then they will look to the earth,
and behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish;
and they will be driven away into darkness (Isaiah 8:22)
Comment: Clearly the content
of Isaiah 9:1 flows from the the previous verse (E.g., notice how Isa
9:1 begins with a
which forces one to return to the
previous passage to determine what is being contrasted). In fact this
is not the best chapter break (remember the chapters and verses
are not inspired but determined by men). In the Hebrew Bible Isaiah
9:1 is classified as Isaiah 8:23. In the Hebrew Bible, Isaiah 9:2-21
is 9:1-20. Beginning with Isa 10:1 the verse numbers in the
English Bible and the Hebrew Bible are again the same.
Criswell adds: This verse is
actually the last verse of chapter 8 and is so arranged in the Hebrew
Thomas Constable has an
interesting introduction to this chapter commenting that...
In contrast to Ahaz, who refused to
listen to and obey God, the Lord would raise up a faithful King (Ed:
Referring to Jesus at His return as King of kings - Rev 19:16-note)
Who would be born and reign in the future (the
technical term for successive passages that together form a unit of
coherent thought or deal with a common subject) climaxes the present
section (Isaiah 7:1-9:7) dealing with the signs of God’s presence.
Again a child (Isa 9:6,7) is the centerpiece of the prophecy and
provides a sign and hope for the future. (Isaiah - Expository Notes)
with the gloom and anguish of Isaiah 8:22. The gloom and
anguish of Isaiah 8:23 probably refers to the Assyrian conquest of
Israel in about 734-733BC, when
annexed much of Israel’s territory and making Samaria a virtual puppet
state. Although this was still prophecy at the time Isaiah recorded
it, the prophet's vision projects his thought from the present as if
it had already come to pass.
In the days of
Pekah king of Israel,
Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came and captured
Galilean, all the land of
Naphtali; and he carried them captive to Assyria. (2Ki 15:29).
Comment: Jews were
removed from their homelands by the Assyrians (Gentiles) and were
replaced with Assyrians and other non-Jews (Gentiles). This set the
stage for this area becoming a "melting pot" of Jews and Gentiles and
helps understand the name of this area as Galilee of the Gentiles.
The large percentage of Gentiles in Galilee explains why when Christ
left Jerusalem to minister in Galilee, many questioned His move (Jn
7:41). The Pharisees went so far as to say "no prophet arises out of
Galilee" (Jn 7:52). One wonders if these "learned" men had ever read
Isaiah 9? More likely they had read Isaiah 9 but their eyes were
blinded to the truth of its prophecy concerning the coming of the
Messiah to this region! (cp 2Co 3:12, 13, 3:14-note ,
2Co 3:15, 16-note,
Motyer comments on
Isaiah's moving in these opening verses from past anguish to
future glory reminding all believers that...
The eye of faith looks at all this
but affirms that, real though it is, it is not the ‘real’ reality (Ed:
Like Paul Harvey used to say this was not "the end of the story!").
As always, the people of God must decide what reading of their
experiences they will live by (Ed: In other words, all
believers live in the present but have a future hope which can serve
as the anchor of our souls in the midst of "stormy times"...we must
however receive this truth in humility so that God's Spirit can use it
to renew our hearts and minds!) Are they to look at the darkness, the
hopelessness, the dreams shattered and conclude that God has forgotten
them (Ed: The Assyrian invasion and subsequent defeat would
certainly suggest that might be the case, but Isaiah is saying it is
not!)? Or are they to recall God's past mercies (Cf. 1Chr 21:13), to
remember His present promises (Isaiah 9:1,2) and to make great
affirmations of faith? (Cf. Ps 74:2-17; 77:6-16.) Isaiah insists here
that hope (Ed: See word study on
is a present reality, part of the constitution of the ‘now’. The
darkness is true but it is not the whole truth and certainly not the
Prophecy of Isaiah An Introduction Commentary 1993) (Logos).
Beloved, what is your present
reality - unemployment, sickness, wayward children, persecution for
your faith, etc? If you are a follower of Christ, then take Paul's
advice (actually these are commands in the
calling for us to make this our "lifestyle", our daily practice, the
"general direction" of our lives) to seek and set our minds on the
things above (Col 3:1-note,
This is not denying that you have present distress or saying that the
distress is "fun", but it is choosing (by faith) to look "not at the
things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the
things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen
are eternal." (2Co 4:17-note,
In earlier (former)
times He treated...He shall make it glorious - In
He refers to
The earlier times would obviously include the times of the
Assyrian invasion and eventual defeat (722BC) of the Northern Kingdom.
God's prophetic promise however was that this land which was now
experiencing gloom and anguish would not always be in darkness.
The land of
Zebulun (map) - Zebulun was the
10th son of Jacob, the 6th borne to him by Leah in Paddan-aram.
Nothing is known of this patriarch's life, save in so far as it
coincides with that of his brethren. For additional historical summary
see entry for
Zebulun - 46v in
Scripture - Ge 30:20; 35:23; 46:14; 49:13; Ex 1:3; Num 1:9, 30f; 2:7;
7:24; 10:16; 13:10; 26:26; 34:25; Deut 27:13; 33:18; Josh 19:10, 16,
27, 34; 21:7, 34; Jdg 1:30; 4:6, 10; 5:14, 18; 6:35; 12:12; 1Chr 2:1;
6:63, 77; 12:33, 40; 27:19; 2Chr 30:10f, 18; Ps 68:27; Isa 9:1; Ezek
48:26f, 33; Matt 4:13, 15; Rev 7:8
These were the two northeastern tribes of the land west of the Jordan
and later came to be known as upper (Naphtali) and lower (Zebulun)
The region of Galilee originally
had been given by the Lord to the tribes of Asher, Zebulun and
Naphtali when Israel began to settle in Canaan (see Josh 19:10–39).
But, contrary to God’s command, Zebulun and Naphtali failed to expel
all of the Canaanites from their territories (Jdg 1:30, 33-note).
From the beginning, therefore, these unfaithful Jews suffered the
problem of mixed marriages and the inevitable pagan influence which
that practice brought.
J: Matthew 1-7 Chicago: Moody Press
The land of
Naphtali - See location of this
tribe in an excellent Biblical historical review at
The Tribe of Naphtali.
Naphtali - 50v in
Scripture - Gen 30:8; 35:25; 46:24; 49:21; Ex 1:4; Num 1:15, 42f;
2:29; 7:78; 10:27; 13:14; 26:48, 50; 34:28; Deut 27:13; 33:23; 34:2;
Josh 19:32, 39; 20:7; 21:6, 32; Jdg 1:33; 4:6, 10; 5:18; 6:35; 7:23;
1Kgs 4:15; 7:14; 15:20; 2Kgs 15:29; 1Chr 2:2; 6:62, 76; 7:13; 12:34,
40; 27:19; 2Chr 16:4; 34:6; Ps 68:27; Isa 9:1; Ezek 48:3f, 34, Mt
4:13, 15, Rev 7:6.
Here is the summary of
The inheritance of Naphtali fell in
the region of Galilee. Centered around the shores of the Sea of
Galilee, this tribe possessed the most fertile and productive region
in all of Canaan. Shepherds and farmers alike found the soil and
vegetation of this area extremely fertile, and able to support large
flocks and herds. The whole of the land is fed by hidden springs
emanating from Mount Herman. This area is well watered by multiple
sources; principally the Jordan River, the springs of Mt. Herman, and
the Sea of Galilee....
The tribe of Naphtali figures in prominently to the history of Israel.
This tribe followed in the footsteps of its founder, the sixth son of
Jacob, Naphtali. As he was a godly man, so was his tribe. However,
they eventually fell into apostasy, as did the other tribes of the
Northern Kingdom. (Ed: Recall that in about 931BC in punishment for
Solomon's idolatry [see 1Kings 11:1-43 for one of the sadder chapters
in Israel's history] the 12 tribes were divided into 10 northern
tribes, which included Naphtali and Zebulun, and 2 southern tribes,
Judah and Benjamin.)
Naphtali left an imprint on the Old Testament through their exploits
on the battle field. They were praised by Deborah in the Song of
Deborah. They provided one of the major workers on the Temple.
Naphtali produced officials in both the courts of David and Solomon.
Despite their later falling away from God, the tribe of Naphtali was
blessed by God.
They are one of nine tribes which appear in all lists of the 12 tribes
of Israel. They are mentioned in the only New Testament list of the
tribes, found in Revelation 7. In the final days of God's judgment,
the tribe of Naphtali will produce 12,000 people sealed on the
forehead as servants of God. (Tribe
(NET = "humiliated", CSB = "humbled"; lightly esteemed) (07043)
(qalal) has the basic sense of something with the quality of
slightness. The idea in the present context is to treat lightly and is
used this way later in Isaiah...
The Lord of hosts has planned it,
to defile the pride of all beauty, to despise all the honored
of the earth. (Is 23:9)
But later (NLT = there
will be a time in the future) - But marks another
with between treating Zebulun and Naphtali with contempt and later
making them glorious. While they deserved God's allowing them to be
treated with contempt because of their unfaithfulness and their sins,
they did not deserve the gracious promise of a Savior Who would
minister powerfully where sin had previously abounded greatly. Such is
the amazing grace of God! As Jesus said He did not come for the
healthy but for the sick (Mt 9:12)!
As Ray Ortlund
God came to His people first where
they had suffered the most, and from that place He launched salvation
for the world.
He shall make it glorious -
Who is He and When will He make this land
glorious? Jesus Christ will shine on the land at His first coming.
Zebulun and Naphtali came under the yoke of
of Assyria (see 2Ki 15:29 above). But because Christ would later live,
and minister, in Galilee (the same geographical area), these lands are
described as glorious.
John MacArthur comments
One of the most beautiful metaphors
used to describe Jesus’ nature and character is that of light. It
conveys the idea of the illuminating, truth-revealing, and
sin-exposing ministry of the Son of God. After first presenting Jesus
Christ as the creative Word of God, John tells us, “In Him was life,
and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the
darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:4, 5).
J: Matthew 1-7 Chicago: Moody Press
Her who was in anguish -
This refers to the lands that were occupied by the Northern Kingdom of
Israel after the split in 931BC. These lands experienced gloom
and anguish at the hands of the Assyrian invaders. These were
the same geographic areas that fell by lot to the tribes of Zebulun
In earlier times He treated
the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later
on He shall make it glorious - This states that these regions in
northern Galilee, the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali which had
suffered the most from Assyria, would experience deliverance.
Refer to the
Map of Israel During the Time of Jesus
- Observe that Galilee lies north of Samaria.
Galilee of the Gentiles -
Galilee means "circuit" (other meanings from various sources
include = cylinder, ring, circle, hence a "district, region" [latter
definition from New Bible Dictionary], Dictionary of NT Background =
"We derive the name Galilee historically from the Hebrew word for
"area" or "region" = galil. The Exhaustive Dictionary of Bible names
by Cornwall & Smith says Galilee means "Circuit - as enclosed or
rolled around; rolling; revolving"). So this phrase might read
something like y "the circuit or region or district of
the Gentiles" and was called by this name because this
northernmost part of ancient Israel was the gateway through which
Gentiles entered the land of Israel, either as traders or
invaders (in the present context the Gentile invaders were the
Young adds that...
The circuit of the nations
is the northern boundary of Palestine in which there was a large mixed
population....Being most remote from Judah it was nearest to the
foreign countries and so subject to heathen influences. Not only the
location of the district contributed to its disgrace, but it had been
the first to tremble in awe before the might of Assyria. This despised
district, despised even in New Testament times, was glorified when God
honored it, and the fulfillment of the prophecy occurred when Jesus
Christ the Son of God dwelt in Capernaum (Matt. 4:13ff.).
Book of Isaiah 3 Vol. Edward J. Young) (Logos)
Regarding Galilee of the
Gentiles, Smith's Bible Dictionary writes that...
Upper Galilee embraced the whole
mountain range lying between the upper Jordan and Phoenicia. To this
region the name Galilee of the Gentiles is given in the Old and
New Testaments. (Isa 9:1; Mt 4:16) Galilee was the scene of the
greater part of our Lord's private life and public acts. It is a
remarkable fact that the first three Gospels are chiefly taken up with
our Lord's ministrations in this province, while the Gospel of John
dwells more upon those in Judea. (Galilee)
By way of the sea -
The way of the sea was known in later centuries as the
Via Maris (map - purple line = Via Maris)
and was a portion of the most important international route through
Israel. It ran about 1,770 miles from Ur in Mesopotamia, northwest
Haran, then southwest through
Palestine to Thebes in southern Egypt. Parts of the road had names.
The way of the sea was the portion that ran from
Hazor, often coming near the
coast, and passing along the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
The NET Bible Note offers
another interpretation for the way of the sea...
The way of the sea is the
on map) along the Mediterranean coast, the “region beyond
the Jordan” is the province of Gilead in Transjordan, and Galilee
of the nations (a title that alludes to how the territory had been
overrun by foreigners) is the province of Megiddo located west of the
Sea of Galilee. (Isaiah 9 Commentary)
Another sources adds
The Via Maris was an ancient
trade route which connected Egypt and Syria, running along the
Mediterranean coastline of Palestine. At Dor, the Via Maris cut
through the Jezreel Valley en route to Damascus. This cut through the
tribe's land (Naphtali and Zebulun), thus opening them up to a number
of outside influences and threats. These influences seemingly played a
role in the Israelites losing focus of God's call, and mingling with
the foreign gods and pagan religious practices and lifestyles of their
Gentiles (01471) (goy,
plural goyim) means people or nation. Gentile
refers to all who are not Jews. While some of the uses of goy
refer to nations in general (before Israel became a distinct
national entity - Ge 10:5, 25:23), the majority of the uses of goy
translated nations refer to Gentiles. Goy is used
over 500x in the OT and is translated -- every nation(2), Gentiles(1),
Goiim(1), Harosheth-hagoyim*(3), herds(1), nation(120), nations(425),
people(4). In a very real sense the Bible can be divided into Jews and
non-Jews or Gentiles. Most of the Bible deals with the Jews (even the
early church was primarily Jewish!).
The introduction of Gentiles
shows how God's heart is for all mankind, both Jew and Gentile. Peter
expresses the Father's heart this way...
The Lord is not slow about His
promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not
wishing for any to perish but for all to come to
repentance (Yes, repentance is an integral, inseparable aspect of
genuine salvation contrary to much modern teaching which "jettisons"
the need for personal repentance!). (2Pe 3:9-note)
And so here in the midst of a
description of wrath that is to be poured out soon on God's chosen
people (especially the northern kingdom, but later on the southern
kingdom), God remembers mercy and offers hope not only to His chosen
people, the Jews, but to the Gentiles. Notice how Jesus phrased it
near the end of His earthly ministry...
I have come as light into the
world, that everyone (This would include both Jew and Gentile)
who believes in Me may not remain in darkness (Ed: Unbelief is
spiritual darkness!). (Jn 12:46)
Paul reminds his
primarily Gentile converts in the church at Ephesus of their former
plight before the great light!...
= Continually have this mindset. We
Gentiles are so prone to forget how desperate our situation was
without the intervention of the great light of the Jewish Messiah. May
we continually be great "rememberers" so that we might
continually be great "thankers" who are motivated to by our
gratefulness to walk worthy of our calling as redeemed Gentiles in
Christ our Light and Life - Hallelujah!), that formerly you, the
Gentiles in the flesh (in context physical flesh, not the old "flesh"
nature irrevocably opposed to God and all that is good), who are
called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," (the ethnic
Jews - remembering that not all Jews are really Jews in the sense of
being sharers in the divine life of Christ by grace through faith - Ro
2:28, 29) which is performed in the flesh (removal of the foreskin) by
human hands--remember that you were at that time (1) separate
from Christ, (2) excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and
(3) strangers to the covenants of promise (Abrahamic - Ge
12:1-3, New Covenant - Jer 31:31, 32, 33, Ezekiel 36:24, 25, 26, 27-
Abrahamic vs Old vs New Covenant),
(4) having no hope and (5) without God in the world. (Ep
9:2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great
light. Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them:
(walk: Isa 50:10 60:1-3,19 Mic 7:8,9 Mt 4:16 Lk 1:78,79 2:32 Jn
8:12 Jn 12:35,46 Eph 5:8,13,14 1Pe 2:9 1Jn 1:5-7)(Land: Job
10:21 Ps 23:4 107:10,14 Amos 5:8) Our Daily Bread devotional -
A Great Light
A GREAT LIGHT
ESV = The people who
walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in
a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.
Comment: Notice that some
versions like ESV (as does the KJV, NIV - not every one agrees with
this interpretation - e.g., New American Commentary
disagrees) sees these future prophetic events as so sure that they are
described in the past tense (have seen...has...shined), which
is what is known as the "prophetic past"! That is how certain God's
promises are beloved!
Walk in darkness (cp same
Hebrew word choshek in Isa 8:22) - In Scripture the metaphor of
walking is repeatedly used to refer to the way one lives their life or
how they behave. In the Bible life is viewed as a journey and walking
pictures the course of one's life. These people were living
their lives in total spiritual darkness!
Where have you "walked" this
past week, dear holy one (saint) of the Most High God?
Darkness (02822) (choshek)
is first seen in Genesis 1:2 describing "darkness...over the
surface of the deep." Choshek means “deep shadow” and is
poetical for intense darkness. In the present context the darkness
is figurative and refers to spiritual darkness (cp Job 12:25, 37:19,
Pr 2:13, Ezek 8:12). The Lxx translates choshek with
skotos (word study)
which can describe physical
darkness (eg, Jesus' crucifixion! = Mt 27:45, Mk 15:33, Lk 23:44) but
also is used to describe spiritual darkness (And thus skotos is
used in the NT quote from Isaiah 9:2 = Mt 4:16, cp similar meaning of
skotos in Jn 3:19, Acts 26:18, Ro 2:19, 2Cor 6:14, 1Pe 2:9, 1Jn
1:6). Sins are described as "the deeds of darkness (skotos)" (Ro
Choshek - 77v in the NAS
- Ge 1:2, 4f, 18; Ex 10:21f; 14:20; Dt 4:11; 5:23; Josh 2:5; 1 Sam
2:9; 2 Sam 22:12, 29; Job 3:4f; 5:14; 10:21; 12:22, 25; 15:22f, 30;
17:12f; 18:18; 19:8; 20:26; 22:11; 23:17; 24:16; 26:10; 28:3; 29:3;
34:22; 37:19; 38:19; Ps 18:11, 28; 35:6; 88:12; 104:20; 105:28;
107:10, 14; 112:4; 139:11f; Pr 2:13; 20:20; Eccl 2:13f; 5:17; 6:4;
11:8; Isa 5:20, 30; 9:2; 29:18; 42:7; 45:3, 7, 19; 47:5; 49:9; 58:10;
59:9; 60:2; Lam 3:2; Ezek 8:12; 32:8; Joel 2:2, 31; Amos 5:18, 20; Mic
7:8; Nah 1:8; Zeph 1:15
The people who walk in
darkness will see a great light - A future prophetic hope
for a land that in Isaiah's day appeared hopeless and forsaken. And
yet God had not forgotten nor forsaken this land!
Vine feels that from this
to the end of verse 7 the prophecy
stretches across another interval and passes to the overthrow of the
Antichrist, the oppressor, and the establishment of the Messiah’s
kingdom of peace and righteousness.
Light - Isaiah makes
frequent use of the idea of light (sometimes referring to
literal light and other times using light figuratively, sometimes
contrasted with darkness as in the present passage) - Isa 2:5; 5:20,
30; 9:2; 10:17; 13:10; 30:26; 42:6, 16; 45:7; 49:6; 50:10, 11; 51:4;
58:8, 10; 59:9; 60:1, 3, 19, 20; Elsewhere God is the light
(Ps 27:1) or God’s words are compared to a light (Ps 119:105;
Isa 8:20). (Compare the frequent use of darkness in Isaiah -
Isa 5:20, 30; 9:2; 29:18; 42:7; 45:3, 7, 19; 47:5; 49:9; 58:10; 59:9;
Motyer observes that...
The darkness-light motif points to
a creative work of God, Who alone can make such a transformation (cf.
Ge 1:2, 3; 2Co 4:6-note).
Great light - This figure
is a prophecy of none other than Jesus Christ. This prophecy was
fulfilled, at least in part, when Jesus--the Light of the
world--ministered in Galilee, Matthew recording that
(Context - Nothing in God's
plan happens by accident!) Now when Jesus heard that John had
been taken into custody, He withdrew (often to convey the thought of
escaping danger) into Galilee and leaving
(cp Lk 4:24 - His hometown rejected Him!), He came and settled in
Capernaum (map), which is by the
sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. (Mt 4:12-13)
This (Jesus change of ministry
venue from Judea to Galilee) was to fulfill what was spoken through
Isaiah the prophet, saying, 15 "THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF
NAPHTALI, BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE JORDAN, GALILEE OF THE
GENTILES--16 "THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT
LIGHT, AND TO THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH,
UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED." From that time Jesus began to preach and
for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
(Mt 4:14,15, 16, 17 cp Isa 42:6, 7, How the Light shone in
Cana of Galilee [map]
is recorded in Jn 2:1-11).
Pulpit Commentary: For
thirty years he had dwelt at Nazareth, in Zebulon. There he had first
come forward to teach in a synagogue (Le 4:16-21); in Galilee he had
done his first miracles (Jn 2:11; 4:54); at Capernaum. “upon the sea
coast, in the borders of Zebulon and Naphtali.” he commenced his
preaching of repentance (Mt. 4:13-17). The “light” first streamed
forth in this quarter, glorifying the region on which contempt had
long been poured.
Jesus identified Himself
as the "great light" Who Isaiah had prophesied of over 700
years before His first coming...
Then Jesus again spoke to them,
saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk
in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (Jn 8:12)
Comment: See other allusions
to light in reference to Jesus - Jn 1:4, 5, 3:19, 20,
21, 9:5. 12:35, 36, 46 Ps 36:9. 78:14. Is 60:1-3 Lk 1:78, 79. 2:32.
Acts 13:47, 48. 26:18, 23 2Cor 4:6-note
According to Jewish tradition,
Light was one of the names of the Messiah. (Isa 9:1, 2;
42:6; 49:6; 60:1, 2, 3; Mal 4:2; Lk 2:32). In this passage Isaiah
presents an indisputable prophecy of the coming Messiah.
Those who live in the dark
- KJV = "they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death",
ESV = "those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness"
Just as Isaiah had predicted eight
centuries earlier, the despised, sin-darkened, and rebellious
Galileans were the first to glimpse the Messiah, the first to see the
dawning of God’s
New Covenant (study)!
Not mighty and beautiful Jerusalem, the queen city of the Jews, but
Galilee of the Gentiles would first hear Messiah’s message. Not the
learned, proud, and pure Jews of Jerusalem, but the mongrel, downcast,
nontraditional mixed multitude of Samaria and Galilee had that great
honor. To those who were neediest, and who were most likely to
recognize their need, Jesus went first. The fact that Jesus began His
ministry in Samaria and Galilee, rather than in Jerusalem and Judea,
emphasizes the fact that His gospel of salvation was for the whole
world.... It was no coincidence of history that “the light of the
world” (John 8:12) first proclaimed Himself in Galilee of the
Gentiles. It was in and around Galilee that Jesus had spent all
but a small part of His childhood and early manhood, and it was there
that His ministry first developed and began to spread. As the new day
of the gospel dawned, the first rays of light shined in Galilee.
J: Matthew 1-7 Chicago: Moody Press
9:3 You shall multiply the nation. You shall
increase their gladness. They will be glad in Your presence as with
the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil:
(multiply: Isa 26:15 49:20-22 Ne 9:23 Ps 107:38 Ho 4:7 Zec 2:11
8:23 10:8)(They will be glad: Isa 12:1 25:9 35:2,10 54:1 55:12
61:7,10 65:18 66:10 Ps 4:7 Ps 126:5,6 Jer 31:7,12-14 Ac 8:8 Php 4:4
1Pe 1:8)(As when: Isa 16:9,10) (as men: Jdg 5:3 1Sa
30:16 2Ch 20:25-28 Ps 119:162 Lk 11:22)
You - This has to be
Jehovah because of the effects He produces.
Multiply the nation -
What nation? This may seem obvious but some commentators veer off
course and generalize these promises to all nations (e.g., Ray Ortlund
fails to interpret these passages as specifically related to Israel in
Isaiah: God Saves Sinners -
Preaching the Word - Ortlund also refers to the "church"
282 times in his comments on a prophecy that never mentions the church
is king (and it is!) in assuring accurate
present context leaves no doubt that the nation is Israel.
However since the nature of the promises (eg, end of wars Isa 9:5)
begs a future fulfillment of the promise to Israel, some who believe
that God is finished with Israel are forced to find some other way of
trying to explain these great promises.
God is not finished with
Israel (The miraculous re-birth of Israel as a nation in May, 1948
should be sufficient support that God still has some "unfinished
business" with and in Israel! See related study -
Israel of God - Is God "Finished"
with Israel in His prophetic plan?)
As an aside, dear reader, if one
of Isaiah's prophecy and tries to
explain the prophetic references to Israel as actually speaking of "the
church", then many passages in Isaiah become almost impossible to
interpret. But if one holds to a literal (I am a literalist, not a
dispensationalist!) interpretation of the text and believes firmly
that God is not finished with Israel, the prophecies of Isaiah which
are not yet fulfilled become exciting and imminently understandable.
The reason this point is being emphasized is to alert the Acts 17:11 (note)
"Berean" reader that he or she needs to be very careful in reading
commentaries on Isaiah (including the one you are reading), because
many of the commentaries are geared to be compatible with one's
overall theological leaning (eg, reformed theology, dispensational
theology, covenant theology, etc) rather than simply allowing the text
to speak for itself (See
Read the Text Literally).
So what Isaiah is saying here is
that God will cause the nation of Israel to grow and will also increase their joy. What has
been only a small believing
of Jews over the centuries will be
increased at the end of this age (As an aside, the number of Jews
coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in recent years [these
notes are written in Dec, 2011] is reported to be dramatically
increasing! Praise the LORD!) - see Zech 13:8, 9 which teach that
1/3 of Israel will believe in the Messiah (see why they will believe
in Zech 12:10 - it is not because they are good but because God is
good and keeps His covenant promises forever!), which is far more than at
any time in history (See also Is 26:15;
54:1, 2, 3, 4, 5; 66:7-14).
They will be glad in Your
presence - This indicates Jehovah will be in their midst
Gladness...glad...gladness...rejoice - This will be a time of
great joy (cp Isa 29:19; 35:10; 61:7). As alluded to above a number of
commentaries on Isaiah seek to explain the promises to Israel in an
indirect manner. For example, Ortlund (see note above) comments that
"this miraculous joy's breaking upon the world." (Bolding
added) That is not what the text teaches. This multiplied joy relates
specifically to the nation of Israel. That does not preclude the joy
spilling over to all nations, but all nations are not the primary
recipient of this prophetic promise!
As with the gladness of
harvest - This is a
term of comparison
for harvest time was well known to be a time of great joy (cp joy at
Feast of Weeks - Dt 16:9, 10, 11,12), and a
similar joy describes the times when Jehovah is present. Is this not
our time of greatest joy today, when we sense His presence in our lives.
If you are missing that joy that comes only from fellowship with
Jehovah (1Jn 1:3), you might ask God's Spirit to search your heart for any
unconfessed sins. In Psalm 51 we see David repeatedly allude to joy in
the context of confession of sins and a broken and contrite heart.
As men rejoice when they
divide the spoil - A second
("as" or "like" identify similes),
emphasizing the greatness of the joy in this presence of Jehovah.
W E Vine comments that
the events described in this passage have...
never been fulfilled in the nation
yet. Only a remnant returned from the captivity. The very opposite of
these conditions has prevailed under successive Gentile domination. At
the close of the coming great tribulation, when the Lord comes in
Person to deliver His earthly people, they will joy over blessings
granted and destruction averted. The Millennium will see a vast
increase in the nation’s population. They will joy before the Lord.
That ever should be the character of our joy—not mere exuberance of
natural feeling, not merely joy in mercy and prosperity, in
deliverance and supply, but joy before the Lord, a joy that exults in
Him, His power and presence.
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson
9:4 For You shall break the yoke of their burden and
the staff on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, as at the
battle of Midian: (Break: Isa 14:25 47:6 Ge 27:40
Lev 26:13 Jer 30:8 Na 1:13)(staff: Isa 10:5,27 14:3-5 30:31,32
Ps 125:3)(As at the battle of Midian: Isa 10:26 Jdg 6:1-6
7:22-25 8:10-12 Ps 83:9-11)
term of explanation
explains why the Jews will have such an overflowing joy (Isa 9:3). As
the subsequent verses show, burdens, staffs and rods will be removed!
Notice that the next two passages also begin with for, together
giving a threefold explanation for the "four fold joy" in Isa 9:3 (Gladness...glad...gladness...rejoice).
You - This is Jehovah,
the "Mighty God" (Isaiah 9:6) the One Who is a Warrior for
Israel and Who is supernaturally able to break the
For You shall break the yoke
of their burden and the staff (cp Lev 26:13)- Picture an ox weighed down by a
heavy yoke. Using this very picturesque comparison, Isaiah continues
his description of Jehovah's hand of blessing on His people. Here he
foretells that they will be set free from the yoke of their burden
(the Gentile nation's burden).
As at the battle of Midian - Isaiah uses another
term of comparison
which would have been familiar to his readers -- the improbable odds
( = supernatural because God reduced Gideon's army from 32,000 to 300!)
against victory over the formidable Midianite forces (Jdg 6:5 "they
would come in like locusts for number, both they and their camels were
innumerable and they came into the land to devastate it") which God gave
to Israel through His instrument (leader) Gideon (Jdg 6:1-40-note,
It is also notable that Gideon was the deliverer of Asher, Zebulun and
Naphtali (Jdg. 6:35), which are two of the tribes addressed in Isaiah
Break...the staff on their
shoulders - cp Ps 81:6. Presumably this pictures a staff laid to
The rod of their oppressor
- Oppressor is literally a taskmaster which is the same word used of
the Egyptian taskmasters (Ex 1:11, 2:11, 5:4, 5, 6, 6:6,7)
When will these supernatural
effects take place (the yoke, staff, rod removed)? When Messiah
returns. It is sad but Scriptural that there will be no peace for
Israel until the Prince of peace returns.
Oswalt comments that...
It is not necessary to look for
some specific liberation which Isaiah has in mind. It is apparent from
the whole context that it is final deliverance which is in view.
(Ed: The final deliverance of Israel at the end of this age)
This is what God holds out to His people and that for which they
justly pray and believe.
Two extremes are to be avoided
here. One extreme is to take the way that the Christian Church has
often taken, saying that true bondage is to personal sin from which
Christ frees us, and thus turning a blind eye on actual physical
oppression (Ed: In other words they spiritualize a passage
which can be interpreted literally! Edward Young takes this approach
in his highly respected 3 volume commentary on Isaiah). The other
extreme is the way of certain forms of liberation theology that seem
to suggest that the only sin is the sin of political oppression, and
that Christ’s only purpose in coming was to give human beings
political freedom. (Bolding added)
Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1–39)(Logos)
9:5 For every boot of the booted warrior in the
tumult, and cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the
fire.: (Tumult: Isa 13:4 1Sa 14:19 Jer 47:3 Joe 2:5 Na
3:2)(Burning: Isa 4:4 10:16,17 30:33 37:36 66:15,16 Ps 46:9 Eze
39:8-10 Mal 3:2,3 Mt 3:11 Ac 2:3,19 2Th 1:8)(fuel: Lev 3:11,16)
For- The second
term of explanation
- see comment related to "for" under Isaiah 9:4. How will
Jehovah put an end to "the yoke of their burden and the staff on their
shoulders, the rod of their oppressor"? This verse explains that He
will accomplish these ends by putting an end to wars! Another way to
describe no wars is "peace on earth." Has this prophecy been
fulfilled? Obviously it has not been fulfilled and awaits a future
time when war will be brought to an end. This can only transpire with
the return of the Prince of peace, Who alone can bring about world
Fuel for fire - Isaiah
describes a future day when the weapons of warfare will only be good
for burning because there will be a God ordained time of peace.
Some commentators side step
trying to explain Isaiah's prophetic promise of global peace and
absence of war. Has this utopian dream of world peace ever occurred in human history? Certainly not.
Therefore Isaiah is speaking a prophecy that awaits a future fulfillment. And yet
Young in his highly respected commentary on Isaiah explains it this
They are no longer needed, for a
Child will be born, and His birth will bring peace to His people, for
He will Himself be the Prince of Peace. “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among men of his good pleasure” (Luke 2:14).
Comment: Beloved, Young's
explanation that Christ's first advent brought global peace is simply
not true. Yes, Young is correct that the Prince of peace has come
(and for believers there is now peace with God Ro 5:1), but literal
world peace still alludes us (have you read the newspaper today?).
World peace will not be realized until the triumphant
Second Coming of
Christ when He crushes all His enemies under His feet (Rev 19:15-note). It is worth
noting that in all 3 volumes of Young's commentary (some 1000 plus
pages), he mentions the Second Coming only two times!
This passage is reminiscent of
the description of world peace in Isaiah 2...
And He (Messiah at His
Second Coming) will
judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples
(i.e., Gentiles) and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and
their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against
nation, and never again will they learn war (The
will be a time of peace). (Is 2:4).
In the Psalms we read the
wonderful prophecy of a future glorious day when...
He (Jehovah) makes wars to cease to
the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He
burns the chariots with fire. (Ps 46:9)
J Vernon McGee comments on Psalm
Messiah comes to the earth in judgment. He is the One who will make wars
to cease, breaks the bow, cuts the spear, and burns the chariot in the
fire. This picture sets before us the last days on earth, when the One
who is “the Stone cut out of the mountain without hands" (whom
Nebuchadnezzar saw in his vision in Da 2:45-note)
will deal an annihilating blow upon this earth.
The prophet Zechariah
describes this same glorious time when all war will end...
I will cut off the chariot
from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; And the bow of war will be
cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; And His dominion will
be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. (Zec
MacArthur comments that:
Zechariah moves to the Second Advent of Christ and the establishment
of His universal kingdom
Comment: If you do not
believe in a Millennial kingdom, with Christ reigning on earth, note
the passage in Zechariah 9:10 says clearly that "His dominion will
be...to the ends of the earth." In short, Messiah's kingdom is
predicted to be a worldwide kingdom!
9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be
given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His
name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father,
Prince of Peace: (For a child: Isa 7:14 Lk 1:35
2:11)(a son: Jn 1:14 3:16,17 Ro 8:32 1Jn 4:10-14)(government:
Isa 22:21,22 Ps 2:6-12 110:1-4 Jer 23:5,6 Zec 6:12,13 9:9,10 Mt 11:27
28:18 1Co 15:25 Eph 1:21,22 Rev 19:16) (name: Isa 7:14 Jdg
13:18 Jer 31:22 Mt 1:23 1Ti 3:16)(Counselor: Isa 28:29 Zec 6:13
Lk 21:15 Jn 1:16 1Co 1:30 Col 2:3)(mighty God (KJV): Isa 45:24,25 Ps
45:3,6 50:1 Jer 23:5,6 Jn 1:1,2 Ac 20:28 Ro 9:5 Tit 2:13 Heb 1:8 1Jn
5:20) (Father: Isa 8:18 53:10 Pr 8:23 Heb 2:13,14)(Prince of
Peace: Isa 11:6-9 53:5 Ps 72:3,7 85:10 Da 9:24,25 Mic 5:4,5 Lk
2:14 Jn 14:27 Ac 10:36 Ro 5:1-10 2Co 5:19 Eph 2:14-18 Col 1:20,21 Heb
7:2,3 13:20) Our Daily Bread devotionals -
A Promised Gift,
Isn't He Beautiful!,
A Great Light,
No Other Name. Sermons by C H Spurgeon:
Isaiah 9:6 His Name--The
Isaiah 9:6 His Name--Wonderful,
Isaiah 9:6 His Name--Counselor,
Isaiah 9:6 His Name--Mighty God
THE PREVIOUS PROPHECIES:
Note that some of the
translations present this prophecy as if it was fulfilled in Isaiah's
day (ESV - "For to us a child is born". Also KJV, NIV). The idea is
that the future prophecy was so certain to transpire, that it was
presented as if it were an accomplished fact in Isaiah's day.
For- The third successive
term of explanation
- see comment related to "for" under Isaiah 9:4. This
third "for" introduces the reason the accoutrements of war are
no longer needed and can be burned (Isa 9:5), why there will be a
removal of burden, etc (Isa 9:4) and why there will be overflowing joy
(Isa 9:3). In other words, joy comes from divine deliverance from
oppression which God brings about by ending war, all of which related
to the coming of a Person, a Child, a Son -- The foundation for all the previous prophecies is the
ultimate prophecy of the Messiah, in Whom all the promises of God are
"yea and in Him amen" (2Cor 1:20KJV)
A child will be born
to us (Other versions such as ESV, NIV have "is" instead of
"will be") - Us is the Jews - for their
benefit. This child will come from the Jews
and is the well known prediction of the birth of the Messiah. The fact
that He will be born indicates that has human parents and thus speaks
of the incarnation of Christ, Who is born of a the virgin Mary (Mt
1:20, 21, 23) so that He might become Immanuel, God with us (Isa
7;14), fully God and fully Man (Jn 1:14; Col 2:9-note)!
It should also be emphasized that Jesus remains a man eternally (Acts
7:55, 56, 1Ti 2:5) and did not relinquish His humanity on His
ascension. And while He emptied Himself of His divine prerogatives, He
never ceased being God (Php 2:5, 6, 7-note,
Php 2:8, 9, 10-note).
The Child was not be a created
angel but a Man. In order to become our Redeemer, He had to first
become our Kinsman, which the writer of Hebrews phrases this way...
Since then the children (Those who
have believed in Messiah and are born again) share in flesh and blood,
He Himself (Messiah) likewise also partook of the same (humanity),
that (Explanation of the purpose) through death (This sums up the
purpose of His Coming) He might render powerless him who had the power
of death, that is, the devil and might deliver those who through fear
of death were subject to slavery all their lives. (Heb 2:14, 15-note).
Comment: For more detailed
discussion see study of
Goel - Our Kinsman Redeemer - In
Shadow (Type) & Substance
Oswalt comments that...
Medieval Jewish commentators,
combating the prevailing messianic claims of Christians, argued that
all this was simply in recognition of the birth of the crown prince,
Hezekiah, and was
only a simple royal birth hymn. However, this view flies in the face
of the chronology of Hezekiah’s birth, and even more seriously, it is
evident from the language that no merely human king is being spoken
of. This is clearly an eschatological figure, the Messiah.
Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1–39)(Logos)
Joseph Alexander says
The modern Jews, in order to
sustain their antichristian exegesis, have devised a new construction
of the sentence which applies all these epithets, except the last, to
God Himself...The doctrine that this prophecy relates to the Messiah,
was not disputed even by the Jews, until the virulence of
antichristian controversy drove them from the ground which their own
progenitors had steadfastly maintained. (The
Prophecies of Isaiah)
A son will be given to us
- God is the giver of this good gift! (Jas 1:17-note) This description emphasizes that Messiah is a gift and that He is a
male (son). While He was a Son, He was the unique, only begotten Son
of God. Israel did not
deserve His coming (none of did for that matter), but God gave His
begotten only Son as the supreme
manifestation of His infinite grace!
By first describing Him as a
child and then as a Son, Isaiah is using the Hebrew literary tool of
repetition for emphasis.
The apostle John
describes this same event in the Revelation emphasizing His
humanity and His maleness...
And she (the nation of Israel) gave
birth to a son, a male child (Messiah's First
Coming, born as a Man - Now notice how the text fast
forwards at least 2000 years signifying a
prophetic time gap) Who is to rule all the nations with a
rod of iron (This describes Messiah's
Second Coming to set up
His kingdom in which He rules for 1000 years - the
and her child was caught up to God (The Ascension of Christ after His
resurrection) and to His throne (At the right hand of His Father in
Heaven). (Rev 12:5-note)
Psalm 2 speaks of Christ's
sonship (and future rule over the nations)...
I will surely tell of the decree of
the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten
You. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your
inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. You
shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like
earthenware.’ .(Ps 2:7, 8, 9 -
The government will rest on
His shoulders - What government? While not everyone will agree
with this interpretation (especially if you do not accept a literal
millennium), this almost certainly refers to Messiah's rule from Zion
on earth during His 1000 year reign (Millennium).
In John's passage quoted above we see that the Messiah is to "rule all
the nations" which clearly parallels the "government...on His
Note also how ‘their shoulders’
(Ed: In context referring to Israel) are released from burdens
(Isa 9:4) when He (Ed: Messiah, Mighty God) shoulders the
burden of rule.
Prophecy of Isaiah An Introduction Commentary 1993) (Logos).
Summary of Some of the
Political Characteristics during the Millennium (for complete list
of a Biblical description of the Millennium see
1. Israel reunited as a nation
-Jer 3:18; Ezek 37:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23
2. Israel at peace in the land - Deut. 30:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
8, 9, 10; Is 32:18; Ho 14:5, 7; Am 9:15; Mic 4:4; 5:4, 5a; Zec 3:10;
3. Abrahamic Covenant land-grant boundaries established - Ge
15:18, 19, 20, 21; Ezek 47:13-48:8, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27
4. Christ in Jerusalem rules over Israel - Isa 40:11; Mic 4:7;
5. Davidic Covenant fulfilled with Christ on the throne of David
- 2Sa 7:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16; Is 9:6, 7; Jer 33:17, 18, 19, 20, 21,
22, 23, 24, 25, 26; Am 9:11,12, Lk 1:32, 33
6. Christ rules over and judges the nations - Is 11:3, 4, 5;
Mic 4:2,3a; Zec 14:9; Re 19:15-note
7. Resurrected saints reign with Christ - Mt 19:28; 2Ti 2:12;
8. Universal peace prevails - Is 2:4-note; Is 32:17,18; 60:18;
Ho 2:18; Mic 4:2, 3, 4; 5:4; Zec 9:10
9. Jerusalem made the world’s capital - Jer 3:17; Ezek 48:30,
31, 32, 33, 34, 35; Joel 3:16, 17; Mic 4:1, 6, 7, 8; Zec 8:2, 3
10. Israel exalted above the Gentiles - Isa 14:1, 2; 49:22, 23;
60:14, 15, 16, 17; 61:5, 6, 7, 8, 9
11. The world blessed through Israel - Mic 5:7
Righteousness and justice prevails -
Is 9:7; 11:4; 42:1, 2, 3, 4; Jer 23:5
His name will be called -
In the OT names were a "commentary" on one's character or attributes
or essence of one's being and so we are given insights into multi-faceted picture of the
Messiah, the glorious Son of God Who will one day reign on earth.
Motyer comments that...
God has come to birth, bringing
with him the qualities which guarantee his people’s preservation
(wisdom) and liberation (warrior strength). Everlasting Father
and Prince of Peace describe the conditions the King’s birth
Prophecy of Isaiah An Introduction Commentary 1993) (Logos).
(Literally - "Wonder of a Counselor") -
Note that some translations see two titles for the Messiah (e.g., Isa
9:6KJV, Isa 9:6ASV - see Vine's comment below). This name means
something like "either ‘a supernatural counselor’ or ‘one giving
supernatural counsel’" (Motyer). This coming King will be a wise
counselor in contrast to King Ahaz who was clever in fleshly terms but
was not wise in the sense of godly wisdom. King Ahaz's decision to not
ask God for a sign and to seek security in the arm of flesh (alliance
with the Assyrian king) resulted in God's hand of judgment against the
entire nation. The counsel of a nation's ruler has great impact on the
course of that nation. The coming King will rule with the wisdom of
God for He is God and the nation will reap the benefits thereof. Even
in Christ's first coming, He never sought the counsel of man, and He
never asked for the advice of man. He needs no counselor! (cp Ro
Vine sees Wonderful Counselor
as two distinct names writing...
For the first of these titles
compare Judges 13:18; for the second, see Isaiah 11:2; and for the two
together, Is 25:1. These two are not to be combined into one phrase as
if the first was an adjective describing the Counselor as wonderful:
each is a noun. Contrast Is 28:29, where the phrase is different.
The Lxx has "great
(megas) Counselor (boule - speaks of inner deliberation which
results in a plan, a resolution, a decision)"
Wonderful (06382) (pele')
means a miracle, a marvel, a marvelous thing or something
extraordinary, unusual or astounding which causes a sense of great
amazement. This word is always used in a context of God's acts or
words, except for La 1:9.
Pele' - 12v in the OT in
the NAS - Ex 15:11; Ps 77:11, 14; 78:12; 88:10, 12; 89:5;
119:129; Isa 9:6; 25:1; Lam 1:9; Dan 12:6 (KJV adds a use in
Isa 29:14). NAS = astonishingly(1), wonderful(2), wonders(9).
The TWOT commenting on
this word group adds that...
Preponderantly both the verb and
substantive refer to the acts of God, designating either cosmic
wonders or historical achievements on behalf of Israel. That is, in
the Bible the root pl, refers to things that are unusual, beyond human
capabilities. As such, it awakens astonishment (pl) in man.
Young adds that...
The root (of wonderful) is
used to describe the miracles which God performed in Egypt, namely,
the dividing of the sea, the safe crossing of the Red Sea, the leading
by pillar of cloud and fire, the cleaving of the rocks in the desert
and the providing of water. All these mighty miracles are
characterized as wonders. (The
Book of Isaiah 3 Vol. Edward J. Young) (Logos)
The glory of who He is and what He
has done for us should fill us with wonder. You can never really look
at Jesus, really know Him, and be bored. He is Wonderful, and will
fill your heart and mind with amazement! As well, this is a reference
to the deity of Jesus; “The word ‘wonderful’ has overtones of deity”
(Grogan) (Cp Jdg 13:18 - the name of
Angel of the LORD
is wonderful). (Isaiah 9 Commentary)
Comment: The Angel of the Lord
replies to Manoah that His name is wonderful and is a clear indication
of the deity of the Angel.
(ya'ats) means to advise, give counsel, guide, devise, plan
(First use Ex 18:18 of Jethro telling Moses "I shall give you
counsel"). Most often ya'ats describes giving of good advice.
What Jehovah has "planned (ya'ats) so it will stand" (Isa
14:24). What the "LORD of hosts has planned (ya'ats)...who can
frustrate?" (Isa 14:27). Isaiah asked "With whom did He (Jehovah)
consult (ya'ats)" (Isa 40:14).
Isaiah used ya'ats
in recording a prophetic promise that...
Then (see comment below) I
(Jehovah) will restore your judges as at the first, and your
counselors as at the beginning. After that you (Jerusalem - but
used as a picture of the believing, righteous remnant of Israel) will
be called the city of righteousness, a faithful city.” (Is
expressions of time
inductive Bible study)
marks sequence and in this case marks the termination of this present
age which is brought to a close by the
of Messiah at the end of
Daniel's Seventieth Week,
the time period in Israel's future history which Jeremiah referred to
as the time of Jacob's distress (Jer 30:6, 7). This period
constitutes the last three and one-half years of
Daniel's Seventieth Week,
the time Jesus referred to as the
notes; Mt 24:15, 21, 30,
cp Da 9:27-note)
Ya'ats - 74verses in the
NAS. Notice that Isaiah uses ya'ats in some 17 verses -
Isaiah 1:26; 3:3; 7:5; 9:6; 14:24, 26, 27; 19:11, 12, 17; 23:8, 9;
32:7, 8; 40:14; 41:28; 45:21; Ex 18:19; Num 24:14; 2Sa 15:12; 16:23;
17:7, 11, 15, 21; 1Kgs 1:12; 12:6, 8f, 13, 28; 2Kgs 6:8; 1Chr 13:1;
26:14; 27:32f; 2Chr 10:6, 8f; 20:21; 22:3f; 25:16f; 30:2, 23; 32:3;
Ezra 4:5; 7:28; 8:25; Neh 6:7; Job 3:14; 12:17; 26:3; Ps 16:7; 32:8;
62:4; 71:10; 83:3, 5; Pro11:14; 12:20; 13:10; 15:22; 24:6; Jer 38:15;
49:20, 30; 50:45; Ezek 11:2; Mic 4:9; 6:5; Nah 1:11; Hab 2:10
Spurgeon comments on
Jesus as Counselor exclaiming...
How we need Jesus as our Counselor!
“It was by a Counselor that this world was ruined. Did not Satan mask
himself in the serpent, and counsel the woman with exceeding
craftiness, that she should take unto herself of the fruit of the tree
of knowledge of good and evil, in the hope that thereby she should be
as God? Was it not that evil counsel which provoked our mother to
rebel against her Maker, and did it not as the effect of sin, bring
death into this world with all its train of woe? Ah! beloved, it was
meet that the world should have a Counselor to restore it, if it had a
Counselor to destroy it.
CLEAR DECLARATION OF DEITY
Mighty God - (El Gibbor)
- This could be rendered "God is a Warrior" or "God is mighty."
Ultimately this name speaks of God's military might for no enemy will
be able to prevail against Him. He has the power to deliver which is
exactly what He will do to fulfill Isaiah's prophecy in Isaiah
9:4 (where "You" in context is a reference to Messiah, the "Warrior
God" Who supernaturally breaks the yoke and the staff and the rod from
See Related Resource:
Christ Mighty God - El Gibbor
In using this name, Isaiah
is clearly teaching that the child/son that was to be born was God an
interpretation that is supported by the use of the same phrase in the
A remnant will return, the remnant
of Jacob, to the mighty (gibbor) God. (Is 10:21).
Clendenen has an interesting
comment related to this verse: By itself, this name does not
automatically mean that this son is a divine person, because many
names include the name of God in them. But the later use of this same
name to describe God himself in 10:21 demands that this son be
identified with God in a very close manner. No other person ever has
God’s name and God is never called Moses, Abram, David, or Jeremiah,
so there must be something very special about this son that causes him
to have God’s name. (New
American Commentary: Isaiah 1-39)
El means God and
is the last syllable of Immanuel, testifying to the deity of
Christ. El or God is contrasted with men (Dt 10:17, Hos 11:9).
Jeremiah depicts God as a
Ah Lord GOD! Behold, Thou hast made
the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched
arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee, Who showest lovingkindness to
thousands, but repayest the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of
their children after them, O great and mighty God. The LORD of
hosts is His name (Jer 32:16, 17)
Mighty (01368) (gibbor
cp related verb gabar = be strong, accomplish, excel, prevail)
is from a root which is commonly associated with warfare and has to do
with the strength and vitality of the successful warrior. And thus
this adjective means powerful, strong, brave, mighty. Warrior. Hero.
Mighty man (cp "mighty [gibbor] men of David" - 2Sa 23:8).
See discussion of this word
group from TWOT -
Gibbor Word Group
Jehovah is "the God of
gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty and the awesome
God" (Dt 10:17), the "King of glory, Jehovah strong and mighty,
Jehovah mighty in battle" (Ps 24:8), "a victorious warrior
(gibbor)" (Zeph 3:17), the "Mighty One (gibbor - in context a
prophecy of the Messiah)" (Ps 45:3)
Vine writes that...
In the context of battle, the word
is better understood to refer to the category of warriors. The
gibbor is the proven warrior (eg "valiant warriors [gibbor]" Josh
1:14)...The Septuagint gives the following translations:
mighty; able ruler”) and ischuros (see studies of related words
(“strong; mighty; powerful”).
Gibbor - 150v in
NAS - Ge 6:4; 10:8f; Dt 10:17; Josh 1:14; 6:2; 8:3; 10:2, 7; Jdg 5:13,
23; 6:12; 11:1; Ruth 2:1; 1 Sam 2:4; 9:1; 14:52; 16:18; 17:51; 2 Sam
1:19, 21f, 25, 27; 10:7; 16:6; 17:8, 10; 20:7; 23:8f, 16f, 22; 1Kgs
1:8, 10; 11:28; 2Kgs 5:1; 15:20; 24:14, 16; 1Chr 1:10; 5:24; 7:2, 5,
7, 9, 11, 40; 8:40; 9:13; 11:10ff, 19, 24, 26; 12:1, 4, 8, 21, 25, 28,
30; 19:8; 26:6, 31; 27:6; 28:1; 29:24; 2Chr 13:3; 14:8; 17:13f, 16f;
25:6; 26:12; 28:7; 32:3, 21; Ezra 7:28; Neh 3:16; 9:32; 11:14; Job
16:14; Ps 19:5; 24:8; 33:16; 45:3; 52:1; 78:65; 89:19; 103:20; 112:2;
120:4; 127:4; Pr 16:32; 21:22; 30:30; Eccl 9:11; Song 3:7; 4:4; Isa
3:2; 5:22; 9:6; 10:21; 13:3; 21:17; 42:13; 49:24f; Jer 5:16; 9:23;
14:9; 20:11; 26:21; 32:18; 46:5f, 9, 12; 48:14, 41; 49:22; 50:9, 36;
51:30, 56f; Ezek 32:12, 21, 27; 39:18, 20; Dan 11:3; Hos 10:13; Joel
2:7; 3:9ff; Amos 2:14, 16; Obad 1:9; Nah 2:3; Zeph 1:14; 3:17; Zech
9:13; 10:5, 7. NAS = champion(2), great(1), helpers(1), heroes(3),
men(3), men of outstanding(1), Mighty(1), mighty(27), mighty man(15),
mighty men(57), Mighty One(1), mighty one(2), mighty ones(3), mighty
warrior(1), mighty warriors(2), strong(1), strong man(1), valiant
warriors(1), valiant*(1), warrior(14), warrior has over another(1),
warrior's(1), warriors(17), who is mighty(1).
Eternal Father (In Hebrew
actually Abi'ad [ab = father and ad = eternal] - which literally
"The Father of Eternity") - Isaiah is not saying the Son is the Father
which is the false teaching of
modalism. In context the
Son Who is the King functions as a father would over his children --
He acts like a father -- he protects them, he, feels affection and
compassion for his children, etc (cp to a similar sense in Isa 22:21).
Another example of this meaning of father is found in Job where
I was a father to the needy,
and I investigated the case which I did not know. (Job 29:16)
The NET Bible Note adds
This figurative, idiomatic use of “father”
is not limited to the Bible. In a Phoenician inscription (ca.
850–800BC) the ruler Kilamuwa declares: “To some I was a father, to
others I was a mother.” In another inscription (ca. 800 b.c.) the
ruler Azitawadda boasts that the god Baal made him “a father and a
mother” to his people. (See ANET 499–500.) (Isaiah 9 Commentary)
Vine writes that the idea
of Father is that
He is loving, tender,
compassionate, an all-wise Instructor, Trainer and Provider.
Motyer comments that...
Probably the leading idea in the
name Father here is that his rule follows the pattern of divine
Prophecy of Isaiah An Introduction Commentary 1993) (Logos).
Guzik on eternal
The idea in these Hebrew words is
that Jesus is the source or author of all eternity, that He is the
Creator Himself. It does not mean that Jesus Himself is the Person of
the Father in the Trinity. (Isaiah 9 Commentary)
Father is a relatively rare
way of describing God in the Hebrew Bible (Dt 32:6; Jer 3:4,19; Isa
63:16; 64:7; Mal 2:10) and a rarer way of describing a king (1Sa
24:12), though the Israelites are frequently called God’s sons (Ex
4:22, 23). (New
American Commentary: Isaiah 1-39)
is a noun that means forever, always, continual, without end (or
beginning). Below are some representative uses related to God as Ruler
or King as well as some other uses in Isaiah.
The Lord is King forever and
ever; Nations have perished from His land. (Ps 10:16).
Your throne, O God, is forever and
ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
For such is God, Our God forever
and ever; He will guide us until death. (Ps 48:14)
He rules by His might forever;
His eyes keep watch on the nations; Let not the rebellious exalt
themselves. Selah. (Ps 66:7).
Splendid and majestic is His work,
And His righteousness endures forever. (Ps 111:3)
Trust in the Lord forever,
For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock. (Is 26:4)
Israel has been saved by the Lord
With an everlasting salvation; You will not be put to shame or
humiliated To all eternity. (Is 45:17)
For thus says the high and exalted
One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high
and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In
order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the
contrite. (Is 57:15).
Do not be angry beyond measure, O
LORD, Nor remember iniquity forever; Behold, look now, all of
us are Your people. ( Isaiah 64:9)
But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing And her
people for gladness. (Isaiah 65:18)
Ad - 49v in NAS -
Ex 15:18; 1Chr 28:9; Job 19:24; 20:4; Ps 9:5, 18; 10:16; 19:9; 21:4,
6; 22:26; 37:29; 45:6, 17; 48:14; 52:8; 61:8; 66:7; 83:17; 89:29;
92:7; 104:5; 111:3, 8, 10; 112:3, 9; 119:44; 132:12, 14; 145:1, 2, 21;
148:6; Pr 12:19; 29:14; Isa 9:6, 7; 26:4; 45:17; 47:7; 57:15; 64:9;
65:18; Da 12:3; Amos 1:11; Mic 4:5; 7:18; Hab 3:6
Young commenting on
eternal Father writes...
He is One who eternally is a Father
to His people. Now and forever He guards His people and supplies their
needs. “I am the good shepherd,” said our Lord, and thus expressed the
very heart of the meaning of this phrase. What tenderness, love, and
comfort are here! Eternally—a Father to His people! (The
Book of Isaiah 3 Vol. Edward J. Young) (Logos)
Prince of Peace
(Sar-Shalom) - Jesus is the one Whose rule will bring peace (cp Isa
32:17). At His
birth (and death) He made possible peace between God and man. At His
Second Coming He will
establish His kingdom in peace at the onset of the
Beloved, the world is desperate for peace in the middle east, but it
will not transpire until the end of this age when the Prince
returns and bring His peace. In Isaiah 11:6, 7, 8, 9 this
peace is discussed in more detail.
Peace (07965) (shalom
- see word study)
conveys a range of meanings including safe, well, happy, friendly;
welfare, health, prosperity, absence of strife, completeness, harmony,
Peace is the absence of war.
Nations have been at war since the fall of man. But when Jesus
returns as the Stone "cut out of the mountain without hands" (Da 2:45-note),
He "will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it (He,
His Kingdom) will itself
endure forever." (Da 2:44-note)
With the crushing and end of all these world kingdoms, comes the end of war.
Micah prophesies of this
future kingdom of world wide peace...
And He (Messiah) will arise and
shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the
name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, because at that time
He will be great To the ends of the earth. And this One will be our
peace. When the Assyrian invades our land, When he tramples on our
citadels, Then we will raise against him Seven shepherds and eight
leaders of men. (Micah 5:4,5)
Therefore having been justified by
faith, we have peace (word
with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Ro 5:1-note)
means a leader; commander; captain; chief; prince; ruler, chieftain,
Vine writes that...
He is a Prince who will in Person
completely subdue every opposing foe, banish every disturbing element
and thus bring peace to His people and to the nations. This the angels
heralded at His Birth (Luke 2:14).
NET Bible Note says that Prince of Peace...
pictures the King as One Who
establishes a safe socio-economic environment for His people. It
hardly depicts Him as a meek individual, for He establishes peace
through military strength (as the preceding context and the first two
royal titles indicate). His people experience safety and prosperity
because their invincible King destroys their enemies. (Isaiah 9 Commentary)
John Calvin applies these
various names of the Messiah...
Whenever, in short, it appears to
us that everything is in a ruinous condition, let us recall to our
remembrance that Christ is called Wonderful, because he has
inconceivable methods of assisting us, and because his power is far
beyond what we are able to conceive. When we need counsel, let us
remember that he is the Counselor. When we need strength, let
us remember that he is Mighty and Strong. When new terrors
spring up suddenly every instant, and when many deaths threaten us
from various quarters, let us rely on that eternity of which he is
with good reason called the Father, and by the same comfort let
us learn to soothe all temporal distresses. When we are inwardly
tossed by various tempests, and when Satan attempts to disturb our
consciences, let us remember that Christ is The Prince of Peace,
and that it is easy for Him quickly to allay all our uneasy feelings.
This will these titles confirm us more and more in the faith of
Christ, and fortify us against Satan and against hell itself.
9:7 There will
be no end to the increase of
government or of peace, on the throne of David and over His kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from
then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish
this: (increase: 2Sa 7:16 Ps 2:8 72:8-11 89:35-37 Jer
33:15-21 Da 2:35,44 Da 7:14,27 Lk 1:32,33 1Co 15:24-28)(establish
it: Isa 11:3-5 32:1,2 Ps 45:4-6 72:1, 2, 3,7 Heb 1:8 Rev 19:11)(zeal:
Isa 37:32 59:16,17 63:4, 5, 6 2Ki 19:31 Eze 36:21, 22, 23)
PERPETUAL & PROGRESSIVE
There will be no end to the
increase of His government or of peace - No end means
Messiah's reign will be perpetual. Increase means His rule will
be progressive until He has universal rule and universal peace. To
state it another way, when Messiah's rule spreads, peace spreads.
Indeed, no one will be able to successfully oppose Messiah's
authority, undermine His government or destroy His peace.
Scientists speak about the how
the universe is continually expanding. Perhaps. But when the King and Creator of that
universe (Jn 1:3, Col 1:16-note,
Heb 1:2-note) returns to rule and reign in power and majesty from Zion, the
Holy City of Jerusalem, all God's children will be witnesses to His forever
expanding kingdom of grace--forever ascending, forever enlarging,
forever accelerating, forever intensifying. Paul alludes to that "growth in
grace" in Ephesians writing...
(God) raised us up with Him, and
seated us with Him in the heavenly places (He speaks of this as an
accomplished fact - in some mystical sense it is true now, but it is
so certain to be true in the future that it is spoken of as a
completed act!), in
Christ Jesus, in order that (Why were were
resurrected and seated with Christ?) in the ages (Beloved we are in an
"age" now [Jews divided all time into 2 ages - present
age = wholly bad and
the golden age to come - cp Mt 24:3, 13:39, 40, 49, 28:20, Da 12:13-note]
- it will end with return of the King to inaugurate the new age of
justice and righteousness in His
to come He might
(demonstrate, put on display) the
riches of His
toward us in Christ Jesus.
(Ephesians 2:6, 7-note)
Ortlund helps us
understand why our future will never be boring (as I often hear
skeptics charge) explaining that the truth of Isaiah 9:7 clearly
There will never come one moment
when we will say, “This is the limit. He can’t think of anything new.
We’ve seen it all.” No. The finite will experience ever more
wonderfully the infinite, and every new moment will be better than the
last. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (Hallelujah!
Joseph Alexander comments
on how it is beyond any doubt that this prophecy speaks of Jesus
Upon the whole, it may be said with
truth, that there is no alleged prophecy of Christ, for which it seems
so difficult with any plausibility to find another subject; and until
that is done which all the Rabbis and a Grotius could not do, we may
repose upon the old evangelical interpretation as undoubtedly the true
Notice how Isaiah 9:6 begins
with a Child and Isaiah 9:7 describes a
King on the throne of David. Young says this kingdom cannot
because it begins
with a child and a child could not be king over a much later
"millennial" kingdom (He would no longer still be a child). What
Young discards is the time gap between Jesus' birth (First
Coming) and His return (Second Coming), this latter event described in Revelation 19:16-note
at which time He presents Himself
as King of kings, takes the throne of David and establishes His Messianic
Kingdom (See events leading up to the
Isaiah 9:7 has not been literally fulfilled so that there has been a time gap
now of almost 2000 years (See another passage which has a clear
time gap). (Related resource:
Jesus' Teaching on "Time Gap" in
Time gaps in interpretation of
The throne of David and over His kingdom -
Isa 9:6 says a son will be given to us (Israel) and here
we see that He must be the "son of David", the rightful heir to
David’s throne Who will fulfill all the promises of the
Davidic Covenant (2Sa 7:12, 13, 14, 15, 16; cf. Ps 89:1-37; Mt 1:1).
This verse refers to a literal throne which Jesus will occupy at His
second coming (cp Rev 20:4-note,
These truths in Isaiah's prophecy shed an entirely new light on a
familiar Christmas carol which addresses Christ's first coming, but
which might be more accurately classified as a
hymn of praise to the King of Glory at His
Joy to the World
by Isaac Watts
Joy to the
world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.
Joy to the earth! the Savior reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
No more let
sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.
He rules the
world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, and wonders of His love.
Luke describes the
throne of David writing...
He (Messiah) will be great and will
be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the
throne of His father David (Lk 1:32).
H A Ironside explains the
throne of David...
God made a covenant with David that
his Son should sit upon his throne and reign in righteousness forever.
This has not yet been fulfilled. When the forerunner of our Lord was
born, his father, Zacharias, declared that God had raised up an horn
of salvation for us in the house of His servant David (Luke 1:69).
These prophetic declarations make clear that David’s throne was to be
established forever, and that he should never be without a man to sit
upon that throne. Our Lord, on His mother’s side, was from the line of
David, as we know, and because of her marriage to Joseph, who was heir
to the throne, the throne-rights passed to Jesus. But He has never
taken His seat upon the throne of David: this awaits His
Second Coming. Even as
He declared through His servant, John, “To him that overcomes will I
grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set
down with My Father in His throne (Rev. 3:21-note).
He is sitting now at the right hand of the Majesty on high, on the
throne of Deity. Soon He will return in glory and will take His own
throne, which is really the throne of David, and will reign in
righteousness over all the earth. (Isaiah 9 - The Promised
To establish it and to uphold
it with justice and righteousness - Earlier Isaiah had
declared that Jerusalem had previously been "full of justice! Righteousness
once lodged in her, but now murderers" (Isa 1:21-note). In chapter 5 God
"looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for
righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress." (Isa 5:7-note). When
Messiah rules He will restore and uphold...justice and
I love Peter's
encouraging words which are based on our blessed future hope (absolute
assurance that God will do good to us in the future!)...
But according to His promise (cp Nu
23:19, Josh 23:14, 2Cor 1:20KJV) we are
Continually. Daily. As the general habit or direction of our life!)
new heavens and a new earth (Rev 21:1-note),
in which righteousness dwells. Therefore (term
beloved, since you
these things (Are you looking expectantly for them beloved? What you
are looking for will determine what you are living for! Twice Peter
emphasizes the importance of believers maintaining a future focus of
upward looking!), be
- Command to be eager, energetic and zealous! Don't delay! Do your
utmost for His highest! What are we to hasten to do?) to be found by
Him in peace,
As Ortlund says King
will not come back to tweak this
problem and that. He will return with a massive correction of all
systemic evil forever.
Messiah's righteous reign...
Behold, the days are coming,"
declares the LORD, "When I shall raise up for David (In fulfillment of
the promise made to David in 2Sa 7:12, 13, 14, 15, 16) a righteous
Branch (Messiah) and He will reign as King and act wisely and do
justice and righteousness in the land. (Jer 23:5)
In those days and at that time (at
the end of this age, at the end of the
Daniel's Seventieth Week) I
(God) will cause a righteous Branch of David (Messiah, the "Son
of David") to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and
righteousness on the earth. In those days Judah will be saved (cp
Ro 11:25, 26, 27-note.
Second Coming) and
Jerusalem will dwell in safety (When?
Because the Prince of peace will increase peace); and this is the name
by which she (Jerusalem) will be called: the Lord is our
righteousness.’ (Jer 33:15, 16).
From then on and forevermore
(Ex 15:18 Ps 10:16, 110:4 145:13, 146:10 Da 2:44 4:3, 7:14,18,27 Mic
4:7 Mt 6:13 Lk 1:33 Heb 1:8 2Pe 1:11) - Messiah's kingdom will be
forever. Although Paul explains that one day Christ will subject
Himself to the Father (1Cor 15:25, 26, 27, 28), it by no means Messiah will
cease to reign (Rev 11:15-note).
I like the ESV Study Bible
description stating that...
The empire of grace will forever
expand, and every moment will be better than the last. (ESV
The zeal of the
LORD of hosts (Jehovah Sabaoth)
will accomplish this - This prophecy will be literally fulfilled.
Why? Because Jehovah is jealous to perform what He has prophesied.
is an apropos name in this context, for it speaks of the Almighty as
the One Who commands armies (a host of angels), leaving no doubt that
He has the wherewithal to accomplish what He purposes to perform!
Zeal (07068) (qina
from qana = to be zealous) means ardor, jealousy. The picture
is that of intense fervor, passion, and emotion. Zeal is an eagerness
and ardent interest in pursuit of something and implies energetic and
unflagging pursuit of an aim or devotion to a cause.
Qina - 39v in the OT in
the NAS - Nu 5:14f, 18, 25, 29f; 25:11; Deut 29:20; 2Kgs 10:16;
19:31; Job 5:2; Ps 69:9; 79:5; 119:139; Pr 6:34; 14:30; 27:4; Eccl
4:4; 9:6; Song 8:6; Isa 9:7; 11:13; 26:11; 37:32; 42:13; 59:17; 63:15;
Ezek 5:13; 8:3, 5; 16:38, 42; 23:25; 35:11; 36:5f; 38:19; Zeph 1:18;
3:8. NAS translates qina as - anger(1), envy(1),
jealousy(24), passion(1), rivalry(1), zeal(14).
Isaiah describes God's
promise to bring forth a believing
For out of Jerusalem shall go forth
and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the LORD of hosts
shall perform this. (Isaiah 37:32)
Comment: While this promise
had a literal historical component that spoke of the Jews being
delivered from Sennacherib in Hezekiah’s day, it was also a
foreshadowing of a future, final restoration of Israel (specifically
the remnant who would believe in Messiah at the end of this present
age during the time of Jacob's distress). And so in the context of
Isaiah 37:32, the LORD’s “zeal” refers to His intense devotion to and
love for His chosen people, an ardor which prompts Him to protect and
restore them (those who believe).
In Psalm 69 David
For zeal for Your house has
consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen
Comment: John quotes this
passage as applied to the Messiah (Jn 2:14).
Spurgeon adds: His burning
ardor, like the flame of a candle, fed on his strength and consumed
it. His heart, like a sharp sword, cut through the scabbard. Some men
are eaten up with lechery, others with covetousness, and a third class
with pride, but the master passion with our great leader was the glory
of God, jealousy for his name, and love to the divine family. Zeal for
God is so little understood by men of the world, that it always draws
down opposition upon those who are inspired with it; they are sure to
be accused of sinister motives, or of hypocrisy, or of being out of
their senses. When zeal eats us up, ungodly men seek to eat us up too,
and this was preeminently the case with our Lord, because his holy
jealousy was preeminent. With more than a seraph's fire he glowed, and
consumed himself with his fervor.
Motyer adds that...
Zeal (qina) is that ‘jealousy’
which is a component of all true love and pre-eminently of the Lord’s
love. His love will brook no rival and is provoked by disloyalty (Nu.
25:11; Ps 79:5). It is equally, however, the power of love moving the
Lord to make his people’s cause his own (Is. 42:13; 59:17; 63:15) and
the passionate commitment of his nature to fulfill his purposes for
them (37:32). All this zealous determination is that of Yahweh, the
exodus-God, whose nature it is to save his people and overthrow his
foes. It is backed by divine omnipotence (for Almighty/‘of hosts’ see
on 1:9) and pledged to achieve this, the advent and kingdom of the
Prophecy of Isaiah An Introduction Commentary 1993) (Logos).
9:8 The Lord sends a message against Jacob, and it
falls on Israel.: (Message: Isa 7:7,8 8:4-8 Mic 1:1-9 Zec
1:6 5:1-4 Mt 24:35)
MESSAGE TO THE
This verse begins a new section
addressed to the Northern Kingdom (also known as Jacob, Israel,
Ephraim) which continues through the next chapter (Isaiah 10:4) and
is divided into 4 subsections (Isa 9:8-12, 13-17, 18-21, 10:1-4) each ending with the same
In spite of
all this His anger does not turn away,
And His hand is still stretched out.
(Isaiah 9:12, 17, 21, 10:4)
Alexander introduces this
Having repeatedly interchanged the
three great subjects of this prophecy (1) the deliverance of Judah
from the power of Syria and Israel, (2) its subsequent punishment by
means of the Assyrians and (3) the reign of the Messiah, for Whose
sake the kingdom was to be preserved, the prophet Isaiah passes here
abruptly from the last to the first, and again predicts the punishment
of Ephraim. He reverts to this event, which had already been
repeatedly foretold, for the purpose of declaring that the blows would
be repeated as often and as long as might be needed for the absolute
fulfillment of God's threatenings. He begins by showing that Israel
had already been forewarned. (The
Prophecies of Isaiah)
Constable adds that
Isaiah 9:8-10:4 is written in the form of a poem which...
consists of four strophes each
ending with the refrain, “In spite of all this His anger does not turn
away and His hand is still stretched out” (Isa 9:12, 17, 21; 10:4).
The progression of thought is from pride (Isa 9:9-12) to
flawed leadership (Isa 9:13-17) to selfishness (Isa
9:18-21) to social injustice (Isa 10:1-4). (Isaiah - Expository Notes)
Lord - See study of
Adonai - My Lord, My Master.
The Lord now shifts from a hope filled description of the time of the
Messiah's rule back to the punishment of God's people.
A message (Literally "a
word") - This is God's Word through His mouthpiece Isaiah and
it is living and active, able to cut like a sword (Heb 4:12-note). Clearly
this is a
negative message (as emphasized by the words "against"
and "falls on"). The
makes this even clearer
for the English
The Lord has sent death upon Jacob, and it has come upon Israel.
In Isaiah 55 we see the
supernatural, energetic aspect of God's Word, God Himself
So shall My word be which
goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the
matter for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)
Comment: In the present case
His Word will accomplish divine judgment on the Northern Kingdom,
despite their failure to receive it personally
The prophet Hosea alludes
to the cutting power of God's Word writing...
Therefore (see context Hos 6:1, 2,
3, 4) I have hewn (Hebrew = killed; Lxx = mown down, cut off) them in
pieces by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of My
mouth; and the judgments on you are like the light (NIV says
lightning but others consider this a reference to the morning light or
dawn - i.e., His judgments are as inescapable as light) that goes
forth. (Ho 6:5)
Comment: The Lord had sent
messages of judgment and condemnation through His messengers, the
prophets, which had the effect of "mowing down" those who were
unfaithful to Jehovah. As J Vernon McGee puts it "In other words, God
says, “I skinned them alive by the prophets.”
See Related Resource -
Power of God's Word
As Young says...
Sometimes God sends plagues;
sometimes He sends help; now He sends a word, and this word
was sent into Jacob. (Ibid)
Jacob - This refers to
the 10 Northern Tribes. Isaiah had primarily addressed the southern
kingdom of Judah and Benjamin in chapters 7 and 8, but now turns his
attention to the 10 northern tribes with a similar but not identical
Israel - The name Israel
in this context again refers to the ten tribes which in the next verse
are referred to as the kingdom of Ephraim. While a play on words was
probably not intended with the phrase a message...falls on Israel,
the truth as the subsequent passages demonstrate is that the message
has fallen on spiritually deaf, staunchly defiant ears. Irregardless
the word spoken would come to pass just as it was predicted.
9:9 And all the people know
it, that is,
Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, asserting in pride and in
arrogance of heart: (All the people: Isa 26:11 1Ki 22:25
Job 21:19,20 Jer 32:24 44:28,29 Eze 7:9,27 Eze 30:19 33:33)(Ephraim:
Isa 7:9 10:9-11)(pride: Isa 46:12 48:4 Pr 16:18 Mal 3:13 4:1
THE FIRST STANZA:
PRIDE AND ARROGANCE
And all the people know -
God's prophetic Word (His divine threatening) had permeated the entire
society of Ephraim (even without email!) No one will have an excuse when the Word falls! Everyone would know.
This was not a dropped call like we all encounter with our cell phones
but a message from the Lord which was "loud and clear." In short, this
prophecy of judgment was not cloaked in mystery or doubt but was one
that was to be known by everyone in the Northern Kingdom. Why? Because
when the prophecy was fulfilled, they would understand that it was
clearly from the Lord (for only the Lord can tell the future because
only the Lord controls the future.).
Ephraim...Samaria - These
names (along with Jacob...Israel in Isa 9:8) signify the northern kingdom
(the 10 tribes that joined Jeroboam when God tore the undivided
kingdom of Israel from Solomon's son Rehoboam, circa 931BC - for
background read 1Ki 12:16-33).
Ephraim was the largest and most
influential tribe in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. So, often the
Lord refers to the Kingdom of Israel by the name Ephraim. Samaria was
the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. There isn’t any doubt
whom this prophecy is directed to. (Isaiah 9 Commentary)
Asserting in pride and in
arrogance of heart - All the people of Ephraim had heard and
understood but they continued to indulge their pride and
self-security. This is the condition of the people's heart
and it sets the stage for the words they speak in verse 10 (cp Jesus'
teaching on heart condition and the words out of our mouth - Mt 12:34,
Pride (01346) (ga'avah from gaa = to be high) is an interesting Hebrew word which in
some contexts can describe the violent agitation of a body of water
(Ps 46:3), in other contexts can mean "majesty" (loftiness of God) (Ps
68:34), but which usually signifies pride (loftiness of self!),
arrogance, conceit as in the present passage.
Ga'avah - 19v in NAS
- Deut 33:26, 29; Job 41:15; Ps 10:2; 31:18, 23; 36:11; 46:3; 68:34;
73:6; Pr 14:3; 29:23; Isa 9:9; 13:3, 11; 16:6; 25:11; Jer 48:29; Zeph
3:11. NAS translates as arrogance(2), back(1), haughtiness(1),
majesty(3), pride(8), proud(2), proudly(1), swelling pride(1).
Arrogance (01433) (godel)
means greatness in terms of size (Ezek 31:7), of divine power (Ps
79:11), of divine dignity (Dt 32:3), of divine majesty (Dt 3:24), of
divine mercy (Nu 14:19), of the false greatness or bravado of one’s
heart (Isa. 9:9) and was used to describe the extreme arrogance of the
heart of the king of Assyria (Isa. 10:12).
Godel - 13v in NAS
- Nu 14:19; Dt 3:24; 5:24; 9:26; 11:2; 32:3; Ps 79:11; 150:2; Isa 9:9;
10:12; Ezek 31:2, 7, 18. NAS = arrogance(1), arrogant(1),
Regarding arrogance Motyer
Arrogance (gōdel from gādēl,
‘to be great’) is the spirit of Moab in Isa 16:6 (not godel but 01347
= ga'on), not to be beholden to any, superiority blended with
self-sufficiency. The heart is the organ of thought, feeling
and response, and is coupled here with pride and arrogance to depict
one who stubbornly backs his own judgment, trusts his own responses,
depends on his own resources and puts his own policies to work.
Prophecy of Isaiah An Introduction Commentary 1993) (Logos).
Beloved, it behooves us all to
be on "high alert" for the subtle rise of pride in our hearts
because God is always forced to oppose such an attitude. James
writes that God
gives a greater grace. Therefore it
says, "GOD IS OPPOSED (antitasso
= set an army in array
against, to arrange in battle order, to line oneself up against and so
to resist, oppose or be hostile toward) TO THE
(pictures a sense of superiority, haughtiness, inflated opinion of
self), BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE
Comment: This is a verse all
and upon which they should
meditate. Ponder for a
moment being continually opposed (the verb antitasso is
= continuous action) by the
God! We also do well
to notice how pride shuts off the flow of God's grace in view of our
continual need for His grace to live the supernatural life (cp 1Co
kardia - see word study)
refers not only to his intellect per se only but in Hebrew speaks of
that which rules one's very being, the very center of human life --
the seat of affections, emotions, desires. The heart connotes
"the totality of man’s inner or immaterial nature." Israel's root
problem was the problem with their heart. And beloved when we begin to
backslide, you can usually trace the pathogenesis to a "heart
(command) over your heart with all diligence (watching takes spiritual
alacrity = a cheerful readiness or promptitude), (Why is guarding one's
heart so critical to our spiritual lives?) For from it flow the
springs of life. (Pr 4:23-see
in depth note on this vitally important topic!)
9:10 The bricks have fallen down, but we will
rebuild with smooth stones. The sycamores have been cut down, but we
will replace them
with cedars.": (bricks: 1Ki 7:9-12 10:27 Mal 1:4)
The very words of the
self-confident Ephraimites are now recorded. Instead of being warned
and instructed by what they had already suffered, they presumptuously
look for greater prosperity than ever!...The oriental bricks are
unburnt, so that most of their brick structures are as little durable
as mud walls. The sycamore is durable but too light and spongy to be
used in solid building. The latter is accordingly contrasted with the
cedar and the former with hewn stone, the two most highly valued
building materials. (The
Prophecies of Isaiah)
The bricks have fallen down
- This is Israel's prideful declaration and this portion of their arrogant assessment was accurate -
the bricks had fallen down!
But we will rebuild with
smooth stones...but we will replace them with cedars - Sin (and
pride is the height of sin) is deceitful (Heb 3:13) and so here we see
a but, which in context marks a change from an accurate
statement to an inaccurate statement! It is as if the Northern Kingdom
was saying "Who cares if God judges us, for we will rebuild with
something better (smooth stones and cedars
surpass bricks and common sycamore) and so we don't fear
what God brings against us!” By definition, when someone is deceived,
they don't know it. The people of Israel are sorely deceived by their
sinful pride and arrogance and they think they can oppose the hand of
God which is stretched out against them! They will be proven wrong!
What a brief but deeply
psychological picture this is of an unfaithful generation that keeps
dreaming of better times to come and lightheartedly ignores the severe
judgments of God.
Notice the repeated phrase we
will...we will which reflect their pride and arrogance
of heart. National disaster should have prompted national
repentance, but their hearts were hard and their necks were stiff
(spiritually speaking). Jehovah's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease
and His compassions never fail for they are new every morning even in
the midst of wrath He is forced to bring on a people. And in His great
mercy, He provides a way of escape, even as He did for King David
after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba and killed her husband
Uriah. Had Israel repented, He would have relented of His wrath. In
Second Chronicles we read God's response to the heart that
If I shut up the heavens so that
there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if
I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My
name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their
wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and
will heal their land. (2Chr 7:13, 14)
9:11 Therefore the LORD raises against them
adversaries from Rezin, and spurs their enemies on,: (Raises
up: Isa 8:4-7 10:9-11 17:1-5 2Ki 15:29 16:9)
Therefore - Whenever you
term of conclusion,
interrogate with the 5W/H'S.
You can always ask "Why is it there for?" Even when God's punishment
comes, the people will still arrogantly disregard the clear signs of
His hand of discipline and trust in themselves to rebuild the damage.
Their hard hearted response forces God to continue His punishment of
these prideful people.
And thus because they believed they
would be able to weather the storm of attack and then rebuild, God
would send successive waves of enemies against Israel (The Syrians
before and the Philistines behind). The destruction of Israel would be
complete, and their proud promise to rebuild would be unfulfilled. (Isaiah 9 Commentary)
Has God allowed some
event in your life to bring you to the end of yourself and in
brokenness, humility and repentance, to turn to Him, seeking His face,
His forgiveness and His will for your life? If so, please hear and
heed His call to humble yourself and receive His Word implanted which
is able to save your soul (the first time - justification, but every
day - sanctification).
The LORD raises against
them...spurs their enemies on - God is
He is not the source of evil (cp Jas 1:13-note).
But in His sovereignty and
omnipotence, God is able
to use evil nations to accomplish His purposes, using them to chastise
His rebellious chosen people. (See examples of God raising up and
stirring up peoples and nations for His purposes - 2Sa 12:11, 1Ki
11:14, 23 1Chr 5:26, 2Chr 21:16, 2Ch 33:11, 2Chr 36:22, 23, Ezra 1:1,
Isa 10:5, 13:17, Ezek 38:16)
Rezin - Rezin refers
to the Arameans (Syrians). Their adversaries refers to the Assyrians.
9:12 The Arameans on the east and the Philistines
on the west and they devour Israel with gaping jaws. In
of all this His anger does not turn away, And His hand is still
stretched out.: (Arameans: 2Ki 16:6 2Ch 28:18 Jer
35:11)(devour Israel: Dt 31:17 Ps 79:7 129:3-6 Jer 10:25)(In
spite of all this - Isa 9:17,21 5:25 10:4 Jer 4:8)
SPITE OF ALL THIS..."
Isaiah 9:12, 17, 21,
Arameans on the east -
Map of Aram (note it is northeast of Israel).
Philistines on the west -
Map of Philistia.
In spite of all this -
The crushing (gaping jaws) invasions of the Arameans and
Philistines would not be enough to break Israel's pride and arrogance.
The upshot? More divine judgment would come. This repeated refrain
describing God's anger reminds us of Jonathan Edwards' famous
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.
The heart of godless men has not
changed much as evidenced by John Calvin's description of the
society in his day...
How many are the distresses with
which Europe has been afflicted for thirty or forty years? How many
are the chastisements by which she has been called to repentance? And
yet it does not appear that those numerous chastisements have done any
good. On the contrary, luxury increases every day, lawless passions
are inflamed, and men go on in crimes and profligacy more shamelessly
than ever. In short, those very calamities appear to have been so many
excitements to luxury and splendour. What then should we expect but to
be bruised with heavier blows?
His anger does not turn
away...His hand is still stretched out (in anger not mercy) -
The Arameans and Philistines did not signal the end of their
affliction by God.
In this unit (Isaiah 9:8 through Isaiah 10:4) as we have noted there
are four identical refrains (Isa 9:12, 17, 21, 10:4, cp Isaiah 5:25)
which repeat the description of Jehovah's refusal to turn back from
judging Israel (one refrain should have been enough to cause a holy
fear and dread!) Men can vainly resist God's righteous anger but
cannot cause it to go away.
Ephraim/Israel refused to turn
back to God (repent) even in the face of His hand of judgment and thus
He would not turn away His anger. This proved to be a spiritual recipe
for complete destruction of the nation of Israel (defeated and taken
into exile by the Assyrians in 722BC).
Beloved, America is at a
historic, spiritual crossroad. God's Name is being slowly,
systematically removed by the secularists from every aspect of our
society (from removal of public prayer to removal of His name off our
coins to removal of His name from the pledge of allegiance! And the
list is growing!). If we the people fail to turn back to God as a
nation, we can see from Israel's example what will surely come to pass
in our great nation which was once truly one nation under God! Pray
Hand is still stretched out
- It is worth nothing that in other contexts the outstretched hand is
not God’s judgment but reflects His offer of mercy (Isa 65:2; Ro
10:21). This phrase was also used to describe His redemption of Israel
through the exodus (Ex 6:6, Dt 4:34, 5:15).
9:13 Yet the people do not turn back to Him Who
struck them, nor do they seek the LORD of hosts: (people:
Isa 1:5 26:11 57:17 2Ch 28:22 Job 36:13 Jer 5:3 31:18-20 Eze 24:13 Ho
5:15 7:10,16)(Nor: Isa 31:1 Deut 4:29 Jer 29:11 50:4,5 Ho
THE SECOND STANZA:
Yet the people - Yet
is like "but", marking a
What is being contrasted?
Logically, when we burn our hand and feel pain, we instantly retract
our hand. Similarly, one would think of Israel as surely being willing
to pull their hand back so to speak, and to recognize the hand of the
LORD as the source of their retribution. But in this case they did not
do so. Repeatedly in the book of Judges, God would send enemies
against Israel and in their oppression they would cry out for His
deliverance and He would send a deliverer or a judge to set them free
from their oppressors. And "yet" not in this case. Why not? What
happens when we repeatedly burn our finger? We get a scar with loss of
sensation (which is what happens to lepers who get a destructive
neuropathy which leaves them insensitive to pain and thus they often
injure themselves without being aware because the sense of pain is
gone). So too, we see this same dynamic occur with Israel's heart.
The people do not turn back
- Continued strokes from God are still without effect. In short they do not repent of their
wickedness and ungodly behavior.
departing from God.
Repentance is returning to God.
Motyer observes that...
Before repentance wrath melts and mercy triumphs.
To Him Who struck them -
God Himself brought this about!
Struck them - (Isa 1:5, 5:25, 9:13, Jer 2:30, 5:3)
Nor do they seek the LORD of
hosts - This is a sad statement. Divine discipline had no positive
effect on the people of the Northern Kingdom.
Alexander notes that to
in the idiom of Scripture, is to
pray to Him (Isa 4:6), to consult Him (Isa 8:19), to resort to Him for
help (Isa 31:1), to hold communion with Him (Amos 5:4,5). Hence, it is
sometimes descriptive of a godly life in general (Ps 14:2). So here it
includes repentance, conversion, and new obedience.
Clendenen writes that...
Seeking God is a purposeful
looking for assistance from the Almighty (31:1). It requires people to
admit they need help and causes them to rely on someone stronger than
themselves. It involves a heart’s desire for God, a willingness to ask
for guidance, and by implication includes a commitment to “turn,
repent” and follow God’s answer. (New
American Commentary: Isaiah 1-39).
The Northern Kingdom was like
Rehoboam of the Southern Kingdom who
did evil because he did not set his
heart to seek the LORD. (2Chr 12:14)
Comment: Note the
prerequisite for seeking is setting. The root problem of not seeking
is not setting -- not setting one's heart on God. The fruit of this
rotten root is rebellion (did evil), the antithesis of seeking God (cp
In King Asa's reign in
Judah we see the importance of seeking the LORD for...
whoever would not seek the
LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, man
or woman...15 And all Judah rejoiced concerning the oath, for they had
sworn with their whole heart and had sought Him earnestly, and He let
them find Him. So the LORD gave them rest on every side. (2Chr 15:13,
Comment: Clearly not seeking
God reflects a serious problem, one that warranted death in the OT.
Some fear to seek the Lord diligently because they are afraid that if
should they really find God, He would be more of a burden than a
blessing. The Chronicler wanted us to know that when we seek God in
this radical way and find Him, the reward is rest all around. Had the
people of the Northern Kingdom responded with repentance (manifest by
seeking Him), He would have relented and given them rest.
Charles Simeon has the
following sermon comments related to Isaiah 9:13...
RICH as God is in mercy to
repenting sinners, he is full of indignation against the impenitent.
Hence his most gracious invitations and promises are often intermixed
with the most awful threatenings (Mt 11:20, 21, 28). He had just
before declared his intention of sending the Messiah to his chosen
people. He now threatens them with utter excision for their
impenitence (Compare Isa 9:6, 7. with Isa 9:11, 12, 13, 14, 15). The
grounds of his displeasure are no less visible amongst ourselves than
amongst the Jews. We are at this time suffering under his chastising
hand. But few, if any, of us are suitably affected with his
judgments....(Remember) God does not ever afflict his people willingly
and without a cause. Sin is the ground of the controversy that he has
with us. It is for the removal of this that he sends afflictions, upon
individuals -- His most highly favored people are not exempt from
chastisement: while they have any sin unmortified (Ed:
What sin are you refusing to mortify dear child of God? Be sure His
rod of discipline is able to reach you if you persist His loving
warning to lay aside the old and put on the new!),
God will not leave them altogether unpunished (cp Jer 30:11). Even
the upright Job had much dross which was to be purged in the furnace
of affliction (Job 23:10-note).
David also found much benefit arising from his trials: and
acknowledged them to have been tokens of God’s love and faithfulness
(Isaiah 9:13 Our
impenitence Under Divine Chastisement)
9:14 So the LORD cuts off head and tail from
palm branch and bulrush in a single day: (cut: Isa 3:2,3
19:15 2Ki 17:6-20 Ho 1:4,6,9 4:5 5:12-14 8:8 9:11-17 Ho 13:3 Am
2:14-16 3:12 5:2,3 6:11 7:8,9,17 9:1-9 Mic 1:6-8)(day: Isa
10:17 30:13 Ho 10:15 Rev 18:8,10,17)
So - (therefore) - A
term of conclusion
related to how God shall strike Ephraim and Samaria.
So the LORD cuts off
head...from Israel - The head refers to the elder and honorable man,
the leaders of the nation. The point is that Jehovah will destroy
Israel's leadership. Isaiah described the totality of leadership as
the head and tail of this national animal.
So the LORD cuts off...tail
from Israel (cp Dt 28:13, Isa 19:15) - The tail refers to the false prophets (see next
As in Isa 3:1, 2, 3, 4, inadequate
leadership is one of the signs of divine judgment at work.
Palm branch and
Bulrush - The former
was highly esteemed for its beauty and utility and it stood over the
much smaller bulrush (or reed) which grew in the marshes. And so they
picture in general that which is superior and inferior, and stand as
symbols for every class in the community. The Lxx supports this idea
translating them as megas (great) and mikros (small).
In a single day -
God would cut off Ephraim's
leadership abruptly and suddenly.
9:15 The head is the elder and honorable man, and
the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail: (elder:
Isa 3:5 5:13 1Sa 9:6)(prophet: Isa 28:17 29:10 1Ki 13:18 22:22,
23, 24, Jer 5:31 14:14,15 Jer 23:9,14,15,25, 26, 27 27:9,10,14,15
28:15,16 29:21,22 Eze 13:1-16,19,22 Hos 9:8 Mal 2:9 Mt 7:15, 24:24 2Co
11:13, 14, 15 Gal 1:8,9 2Th 2:9, 10, 11, 12 2Ti 4:2,3 2Pe 2:1, 2, 3
1Jn 4:1 Rev 19:20)
The prophet who teaches
falsehood - See passages below under leading astray.
9:16 For those who guide this people are leading
astray; and those who are guided by them are brought to confusion.:
(Those who guide: Isa 3:12 Mt 15:14 23:16-36) (Guided by
them: Nu 6:23-26 1Ki 8:55,56 2Ch 30:27 Heb 7:7)
For - Explains why the
leaders and prophets were specifically singled out to be cut off.
Leading astray - Evil
leaders lead to evil deeds (cp Jesus' warning Mt 15:14). Bad company corrupts good morals. A little
leaven, leavens the entire loaf. There are many passages that relate
to evil leaders leading others astray...
The righteous is a guide to his
neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. (Pr 12:26)
He who leads the upright astray in
an evil way Will himself fall into his own pit, But the blameless will
inherit good. (Pr 28:10)
O My people! Their oppressors are
children, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who guide you
lead you astray, And confuse the direction of your paths. (Isa 3:12)
The prophets prophesy falsely, And
the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so! But
what will you do at the end of it? (Jer 5:31)
Then the LORD said to me, "The
prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent
them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to
you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their
own minds. (Jer 14:14)
I have heard what the prophets have
said who prophesy falsely in My name, saying, 'I had a dream, I had a
dream!' 26 "How long? Is there anything in the hearts of the prophets
who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the deception of their
own heart, 27 who intend to make My people forget My name by their
dreams which they relate to one another, just as their fathers forgot
My name because of Baal? 28 "The prophet who has a dream may relate
his dream, but let him who has My word speak My word in truth. What
does straw have in common with grain?" declares the LORD. 29 "Is not
My word like fire?" declares the LORD, "and like a hammer which
shatters a rock? 30 "Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,"
declares the LORD, "who steal My words from each other. 31 "Behold, I
am against the prophets," declares the LORD, "who use their tongues
and declare, 'The Lord declares.' 32 "Behold, I am against those who
have prophesied false dreams," declares the LORD, "and related them,
and led My people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting;
yet I did not send them or command them, nor do they furnish this
people the slightest benefit," declares the LORD. (Jer 23:25, 26, 27,
28, 29, 30, 31, 32)
Your prophets have seen for you
false and foolish visions;
they have not exposed your iniquity
so as to restore you from captivity, but they have seen for you false
and misleading oracles. (Lam 2:14)
Comment: Iniquity not
exposed. The truth in this verse is a loud trumpet call to the
modern church to not shy away from exposing iniquity, to not be
fearful of calling sin "sin", to not be afraid of "hard" (or vertical)
preaching, to not disregard the truth that repentance is related to
genuine belief, to not be willing to affirm to the sheep that the Word
of God provides everything necessary for life and godliness, etc, etc.
American Christianity is being destroyed by "lack of knowledge" (cp
Hos 4:6). The consequences of sowing seeds of soft preaching is the
rotten fruit of unrighteous behavior which is beginning to be seen all
across the land of America. God's offer is the same as it was in the
OT..."Return to Me...that I may return to you." (Zech 1:3, cp 2Chr
15:4, 2Chr 30:6, 7, 8, 9, Isa 31:6, Jer 3:12, 13, 14, Jer 4:1, 25:5,
35:15, Lam 3:39 Ezek 33:11 Hos 6:1, 14:1,2, Joel 2:12, 13, Mal 3:7)
Father by Thy Spirit please make the prayer of the psalmist be the
continual plea on the lips of every blood bought, heaven bound
follower of Christ - My soul cleaves to the dust. Revive me (us)
according to Thy word. (Psalm 119:25).
Now I urge you, brethren, keep your
eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the
teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.18 For such men
are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by
their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the
unsuspecting. (Ro 16:17, 18)
But I am afraid, lest as the
serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led
astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.4 For if
one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you
receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different
gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. (2Cor
These things (What things? Read
chapters 1 and 2 of 1John) I have written to you concerning those who
are trying to deceive (lead you astray just like Isaiah describes here
in Isa 9:16) you. (1Jn 2:26)
(Jesus to the church at Thyatira)
But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who
calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants
astray, so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things
sacrificed to idols. (Rev 2:18-note)
Those who are guided by them are
brought to confusion - More literally this reads "and the ones
being led were swallowed up (or ruined)." The idea is they were being destroyed.
9:17 Therefore the Lord does not take pleasure in
their young men, nor does He have pity on their orphans or their
widows; for every one of them is godless and an evildoer, and every
mouth is speaking foolishness. In
of all this His anger does not turn away, and His hand is still
stretched out.: (does not take pleasure: Isa 10:2 13:18
27:11 62:5 65:19 Ps 147:10 Jer 18:21 Zec 9:17)(Every one of them:
Isa 10:6 Job 15:34 Jer 5:1 Mic 7:2 Mt 16:3 )(every mouth: Isa
32:6,7 Mt 12:34)(In spite of all this: Isa 9:12,21 5:25
10:4 Eze 20:33)
Therefore - Because of
the foolish leaders which led the people astray and caused confusion.
Alexander says "because the people are thus incorrigibly
The Lord does not take
pleasure - God desired to find pleasure and joy (cp Zeph 3:17)
with His chosen people, but he was unable to do so because every one of them is godless.
Nor does He have pity -
That the Lord would not have mercy on the needy expresses in the
strongest of terms the extent and severity of the threatened
Orphans or their widows -
This is an amazing statement, the Scriptures repeatedly describe
orphans and widows as peculiarly the object of God's care. But here we
see that the Lord does not take pleasure in or have pity on even the weak and
needy of the society, because the
decay of the society has spread like a deadly virus infecting the entire
society from top to bottom (cp the prophecy in Jer 18:21).
For - Explains why God's
judgment which might seem so harsh is fully justified.
Godless (02611) (chaneph)
has the root idea of to incline away from what is right (from God) and
thus means ungodly, filthy, profane. Job 13:16 says "a godless man may
not come before His presence" and thus chaneph separates one from God.
Job 8:12 says "the hope of the godless will perish" signifying those
who have this trait have no hope after death. Read the 13 uses for a
good sense of what characterizes a godless person. Isaiah's verdict is
that they are all filthy, profane and ungodly, including the orphans
and widows! The
translates chaneph with anomos which describes those who
are lawless, who behave as if they have no law. It is interesting that
this term is used by Paul to describe the coming Antichrist (2Th 2:8),
which helps us understand why God's anger does not turn away!
Chaneph - 13v in the
NAS - Job 8:13; 13:16; 15:34; 17:8; 20:5; 27:8; 34:30; 36:13; Ps
35:16; Pr 11:9; Isa 9:17; 10:6; 33:14
9:18 For wickedness burns like a fire; It consumes
briars and thorns; It even sets the thickets of the forest aflame, and
they roll upward in a column of smoke.: (wickedness: Isa
1:31 30:30,33 33:12 34:8-10 66:16,17 Nu 11:1-3 Deut 32:22 Job 31:11,12
Am 7:4 Na 1:6,10 Mal 4:1 Mt 13:49,50 25:41 Mk 9:43-50)(Consume:
Isa 10:16-18 27:4 Heb 6:8)(kindle: Eze 20:47,48)(Roll upward:
Isa 5:24 Ps 37:20 Ho 13:3 Joe 2:20 Rev 14:11)
THE THIRD STANZA:
For - Explains why God's
hand is still stretched out for the destruction of His people (Isa
9:17). Why? Because that destruction is the natural effect (rotten
fruit) of their own wickedness (bad seed).
Wickedness (godlessness) burns like fire
- What is the figure of speech? "Like fire" is the simile which
points out that wickedness like fire is destructive.
Wickedness (sin) is like a rampaging wildfire - it spreads rapidly
and is all consuming!
"Evil was uncontrollable and destructive, and so can be compared to a
forest fire." ( (Net
Remember that while figures of speech
always have literal meaning, we are not to make our imagination
become too imaginative! In this verse, the context explains the
destructive nature of the phrase "like fire".
Wickedness is always inherently self-destructive.
Jameison comments that...
makes consumption, not only
spreading rapidly, but also consuming like fire: sin is its own
Briars and thorns - This
is a figurative description of the wicked (Is 27:4, 2Sa 23:6).
John Oswalt sums up this
Here Isaiah lays bare the true
nature of sin. It is not a little misguided playfulness as it is so
often depicted. It is a rebellion against God’s order for life. As
such, it can only be destructive, like a grass fire which works its
way through the brush at the edge of the forest deceptively slowly but
then increases speed until it bursts into the woods with a roar and an
upward rush of smoke. Because sin seeks gratification in denial of the
created order, it can find such gratification only in increasingly
flagrant denials. The sinful acts themselves cannot satisfy. Soon
rebellion for its own sake, a raging fire, is all that is left.
Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1–39)(Logos) (Wordsearch)
9:19 By the fury of the LORD of hosts the land is
burned up, and the people are like fuel for the fire. No man spares
his brother.: (the land: Isa 5:30 8:22 24:11,12 60:2 Jer
13:16 Joe 2:2 Am 5:18 Mt 27:45 Ac 2:20)(Fuel: Isa 9:5)(no
man (KJV): Isa 13:18 Eze 9:5 Mic 7:2,6 2Pe 2:4)
By the fury of the LORD of
hosts the land is burned up - Stop and ponder what the fury
of the Omnipotent, Holy, Righteous, Just God might look like! The fire
of the people's wickedness inevitably brought the fire of God's wrath!
Fury (05678) ('ebrah)
is from a Hebrew word group that conveys the sense of movement. To be
carried away by a strong feeling. Thus 'ebrah describes an
"overflowing" (moving) anger, a state of intense displeasure which can
imply outbursts as actions of anger. It is used in some contexts to
Day of the Lord - Brief Study
(Isa 13:9, 13, Zeph 1:15, 18) (See also article by Richard Mayhue -
The Prophet's Watchword: Day of the
Ebrah - 33v in the NAS
- Gen 49:7; Job 21:30; 40:11; Ps 7:6; 78:49; 85:3; 90:9, 11; Pr 11:4,
23; 14:35; 22:8; Isa 9:19; 10:6; 13:9, 13; 14:6; 16:6; Jer 7:29;
48:30; Lam 2:2; 3:1; Ezek 7:19; 21:31; 22:21, 31; 38:19; Hos 5:10;
13:11; Amos 1:11; Hab 3:8; Zeph 1:15, 18 NAS = anger(1),
fury(14), overflowings(1), rage(1), wrath(16).
LORD of hosts - Study
Jehovah Sabaoth, LORD of hosts (of
He is pictured as a Warrior and in this passage as warrior .
People are like fuel for the
fire - They are an expendable commodity.
No man spares his brother
(Literally - "men were not showing compassion to their brothers." NET
= "People had no compassion on one another.") - This is a picture of the dire conditions and desperate state of men during
this time. Men become consumed with self. Survival of self becomes all one can contemplate.
Tribal and familial relationships lose their meaning when conditions deteriorate to this
level. What a dreadful picture this passage paints!
NET Bible Notes...
The uncontrollable fire of the
people’s wickedness (Isa 9:18) is intensified by the fire of the
Lord’s judgment (Isa 9:19). God allows (or causes) their wickedness to
become self-destructive as civil strife and civil war break out in the
land. (Isaiah 9 Commentary)
9:20 And they slice off
is on the right hand but still are hungry, and they eat
is on the left hand but they are not satisfied. Each of them eats the
flesh of his own arm.: (And he: Isa 49:26 Lev 26:26-29
Jer 19:9 La 4:10)
BARRENNESS OF THEIR
SELF CENTERED LIFE
And they slice off
(Describes Jesus - Is 53:8, cutting of trees - 2Ki 6:4) what is on
the right hand - This refers to stealing food. Whether it was
literally fulfilled in some cases is difficult to state, but that
would be a possibility considering the previous passage ("no man
spares his brother") and the overwhelming urges of hunger which
accompany severe famine.
Not satisfied - As noted
this pictures the severity of the famine. There is not enough to
satisfy, even when it is stolen from others!
Each of them eats the flesh
of his own arm - Some interpret this figuratively, but there are
other passages that suggest a literal reading, while unsavory, is not
unreasonable. The Law had given stern, sobering warnings that
conditions would be so bad that even such a barbaric act as
cannibalism would be practiced.
Further, you shall eat the flesh of
your sons and the flesh of your daughters you shall eat. (Lev 26:26)
Then you shall eat the offspring of
your own body, the flesh of your sons and of your daughters whom the
LORD your God has given you, during the siege and the distress by
which your enemy shall oppress you.54 "The man who is refined and very
delicate among you shall be hostile toward his brother and toward the
wife he cherishes and toward the rest of his children who remain, 55
so that he will not give even one of them any of the flesh of his
children which he shall eat, since he has nothing else left, during
the siege and the distress by which your enemy shall oppress you in
all your towns.56 "The refined and delicate woman among you, who would
not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground for delicateness
and refinement, shall be hostile toward the husband she cherishes and
toward her son and daughter, 57 and toward her afterbirth which issues
from between her legs and toward her children whom she bears; for she
shall eat them secretly for lack of anything else, during the siege
and the distress by which your enemy shall oppress you in your towns.
Comment: OT prophetic
warnings in the Law of Moses were literally fulfilled in a later siege
of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70AD. Josephus gives a dreadful detail
respecting a woman named Mary, who, in the extremity of the famine,
during the siege, killed her sucking child, roasted, and had eaten
part of it, when discovered by the soldiers!
And the king said to her, "What is
the matter with you?" And she answered, "This woman said to me, 'Give
your son that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.'
"So we boiled my son and ate him; and I said to her on the next day,
'Give your son, that we may eat him'; but she has hidden her son."
(2Ki 6:28, 29, cp Jer 19:9, Lam 2:20, 4:10 Ezek 5:10 - [Jeremiah,
Lamentations and Ezekiel refer to the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem in
the years preceding 586BC)
The NET Bible Note says
the metaphor (eating flesh of one's
own arm) is that of a desperately hungry man who resorts to an
almost unthinkable act to satisfy his appetite. He eats everything he
can find to his right, but still being unsatisfied, then turns to his
left and eats everything he can find there. Still being desperate for
food, he then resorts to eating his own flesh (or offspring, as this
phrase is metaphorically understood by some English versions, e.g.,
NIV, NCV, TEV, NLT). The reality behind the metaphor is the political
turmoil of the period...There was civil strife within the northern
kingdom; even the descendants of Joseph were at each other’s throats.
(Isaiah 9 Commentary)
Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh,
together they are against Judah. In
of all this His anger does not turn away, and His hand is still
stretched out.: (Ephraim: Jdg 7:2 1Sa 14:20 2Ki 15:30
2Ch 28:6-8 Mt 24:10 Ga 5:15 )(this: Isa 9:12,17 5:25 10:4 Jer
Ephraim - This passage describes
civil war between Manasseh and Ephraim, the two sons of Joseph, the two main tribes
of the Northern Kingdom (cp Ge 41:50, 51, 52; 48:5).
It is interesting to observe the
parallels between ancient Israel and modern American society where we
see a severely split society, with radical liberals adamantly opposed
to staunch conservatives and secular humanists continually demeaning
and slandering the godly remnant! Are these signs of disintegration of
America? This is a sobering chapter!
Solomon's words still ring true...
exalts a nation,
But sin is a disgrace to any people.
Alexander observes that
Manasseh and Ephraim were chosen...
because the tribes of Ephraim and
Manasseh were more nearly related to each other then to any of the
rest, and therefore their hostility afforded the most striking
illustration of the mutual rancor which the prophet has described as
Henry Morris comments on
the preceding proverb observing that...
The unique blessings of God on the
American nation are primarily attributable to the spiritual
convictions and motivation of so many of its founders and pioneers;
its present moral decline and religious apathy and
apostasy are an ominous portent for the future.
Jameison comments that
these two tribes are...
So closely united as to form
between them but one tribe; but now about to be rent into factions,
thirsting for each other’s blood.
Oswalt adds that...
The particularly devouring power of
sin is seen in its capacity to destroy human relations. These
connections, upon which humanity is most deeply dependent, cannot
survive the fire of self-serving. It is sad when the environment is
abused through sin; it is tragic when human relationships are
destroyed. Yet, that had been the history of Israel up to and
including Isaiah’s own day.
Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1–39)(Logos)
His hand is still stretched
out - Motyer explains that...
It is the final condemnation of
this society that with all the bonds of family relationship, shared
experiences and divine blessing commonly enjoyed, the only thing which
in the end united them was a common enmity. Even in those anarchic,
perilous times, energy and resources were found to go to war with
Judah (e.g. 2Ki 15:37).
Prophecy of Isaiah An Introduction Commentary 1993) (Logos).
(1.) They do nothing to turn away
his anger; they do not repent and reform, do not humble themselves and
pray, none stand in the gap, none answer God’s calls nor comply with
the designs of his providences, but they are hardened and secure. (2.)
His anger therefore continues to burn against them and his hand is
stretched out still. The reason why the judgments of God are prolonged
is because the point is not gained, sinners are not brought to
repentance by them. The people turn not to him that smites them, and
therefore he continues to smite them; for when God judges he will
overcome, and the proudest stoutest sinner shall either bend or break.
Not only are the main northern
tribes unable to get along together, but they also have turned to
attack their blood relatives in Judah. This conflict, called the
Syro-Ephraimite War, began because Ahaz refused to join the
anti-Assyrian coalition supported by Syria and Israel (Is 7:1–4).
Consequently, God’s anger has not yet finished its purposes and his
hand is still stretched out to bring more judgment on the northern
nation of Israel. Up to this point, Isaiah’s audience in Judah would
have agreed with everything Isaiah has said. The northern nation of
Israel was proud, violent, wicked, and about to fall apart. Judah
agreed with the Lord’s judgment of the nations and especially God’s
conclusion that they deserve punishment for attacking Judah. Like the
prophet Amos in Amos 1:3–2:3, Isaiah convinces his audience of the
sinfulness of others first, so that he can apply the theological
principles of those situations to similar problems that existed in his
present audience. (New
American Commentary: Isaiah 1-39)