THERE WILL BE NO MORE GLOOM FOR THOSE WHO WERE IN
DISTRESS: A picture of Jerusalem (fem in Heb), apprehensive of invasion and
yet coming through unscathed. (This first phrase of Isa 9:1 actually belongs at
the end of Isa 8:22.)
Poss context: "Isaiah, in disfavor at the court of Ahaz,
because of his strong opposition to fashionable idolatries (2Ki 16:11-17; Isa
8:9) and wrong-headed political alliances (Isa 8:12), was hunted out of Judah
and took refuge in Galilee (Isa 8:16,17). Thither he spread abroad his prophetic
message of a new era of godliness and prosperity, which the new king (Hezekiah)
would bring in in due time" (WGos 111).
IN THE PAST HE HUMBLED THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF
NAPHTALI: The overrunning of the Northern Kingdom in the first of the
Assyrian inroads under Tiglath-pileser III.
ZEBULUN... NAPHTALI: "Rejoice, O Zebulun": Deu
33:18-23; cp Psa 68:27,28; Act 2:7. This land also witnessed the deliverances of
God in the days of Deborah and Barak (Jdg 4;5).
BUT IN THE FUTURE HE WILL HONOR GALILEE: The spiritual
renewal and re-unfication of the 12 tribes in the days of Hezekiah (2Ch
(NT): As cited in Mat 4:14-16, these regions of Galilee
were honored to witness the great miracles and to hear the wonderful words of
BY THE WAY OF THE SEA: The sea of Galilee, or
Chinnereth (Num 34:11; Deu 3:17; Joh 6:1; Mar 6:53).
ALONG THE JORDAN: Or "beyond Jordan", ie Perea, Gilead,
THE PEOPLE WALKING IN DARKNESS... LIVING IN THE LAND OF THE
SHADOW OF DEATH: Those who were dragged away into captivity by the Assyrians
(// Psa 107:10). The Northern Kingdom, having been ravaged by Sennacherib, is
being prepared to hear the glorious message of Isaiah and Hezekiah.
DARKNESS: The reason for affliction: darkness, or
ignorance of God's will.
HAVE SEEN A GREAT LIGHT... A LIGHT HAS DAWNED: The
shining forth of the Shekinah Glory in the destruction of Sennacherib's host,
and the liberation of the captives.
(NT) Cited by Zechariah the priest and father of John the
Baptist in his psalm of praise: Luk 1:78,79. More generally, Jesus as the Light
from God in Joh 1:4,5,9; 8:12; 9:5 -- as foretold in Isa 42:6; 49:9.
Vv 3-5: The destruction of Sennacherib's army, bringing joy to
the nation, and "multiplying" them through the return of the captives carried
away earlier by the Assyrians (WGos 112); cp Isa 26:15; 49:19; 54:2,3.
AS PEOPLE REJOICE AT THE HARVEST: The deliverance from
Sennacherib came at Passover (Isa 30:29; 31:5; 26:20,21), and the captives came
home to a phenomenal harvest inaugurating a year of Jubilee freedom (2Ki
19:29,30; Isa 61:1,2; cp Psa 126; Isa 25:6).
DIVIDING THE PLUNDER: Isaiah has another picture of the
plundering of the stricken Assyrian camp by the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Isa
MIDIAN'S DEFEAT: The slaughter of Midian at the rock
Oreb (Isa 10:26); fall of Oreb, Zeeb, and Zalmunnah: Jdg 6-8. Gideon's battles
typify the victories of Christ. Cp Psa 83:9.
YOKE: As in Isa 10:24-27; 14:25; cp Nah 1:13.
ROD: As in Isa 10:5.
EVERY WARRIOR'S BOOT: Only here in OT. "Apparently the
Heb has borrowed an Assyrian word to describe the jackboots of Sennacherib's
soldiers. These are plainly shown in more than one Assyrian bas-relief. In this
respect also these international bullies of ancient days were the prototypes of
Hitler's storm troopers" (WIsa 166).
DESTINED FOR BURNING... FUEL FOR THE FIRE: The divine
fire which destroyed Sennacherib's army: Isa 37:36; 30:30,31; 31:9; Psa 46:9;
76:3. "The nation of Israel will be multiplied, and its joy increased only when
the yoke and staff and rod of all oppressors have been broken, only when the
clever contrivances and brutalities of modern war have all been consigned by the
Prince of Peace to burning and fuel of fire" (WIsa 167).
Vv 6,7: Primary fulfillment to Hezekiah: already born (note
present tenses). Cp //s to Isa 22 -- a Hezekiah prophecy: "government, father,
shoulder, David, throne" (Isa 22:21-23).
THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE ON HIS SHOULDERS: The government
of Israel is here symbolized by one of its emblems: the royal robe fastened at
the shoulder. In Jdg 16:3,4: Samson possesses the gate of his enemy Dagon,
carrying it on his shoulders to Hebron. [The gate, especially of one's enemies,
also symbolizes governmental power (Rth 4:1, and other refs].
When we come to the New Testament, reference to the royal
shoulder suggests the shoulder of Jesus, that bore the cross (John
WONDERFUL COUNSELOR, MIGHTY GOD, EVERLASTING FATHER, PRINCE
OF PEACE: This is probably intended to be all one name, like
Mahershalalhashbaz (Isa 8:1). Following the Soncino Bible, this could be read:
"Pele-joez-gibbor-el-abi-ad-sar-shalom" = (perhaps) "The wonderful counselor,
the mighty God, IS the everlasting Father OF the prince of peace". (Some of
these same "names" are combined elsewhere: in Isa 28:29; 25:1, for examples,
about God Himself.)
However, if it be insisted that every phrase be applied,
separately, to some human being, then -- first of all -- it may be applied to
Hezekiah (he is the initial fulfillment of the "child" in Isa 7:14, and the
"little child" in Isa 11), and then secondarily (though, of course, most
importantly) to Jesus...
COUNSELOR: Used by Micah in Virgin Birth prophecy (Mic
4:9). "Counsel" refers to the personal fellowship between God and His Son: Psa
16:7; Mar 1:35; Joh 6:15; 5:19,20; 8:28; 12:49; 14:10. True counsel, wisdom,
only from God: Jer 10:23; Job 12:13; Isa 40:12-14; 11:2-4. Christ brought God's
counsel (Deu 18:15-18), as "one having authority" (Mat 7:29). See also 1Co 1:30;
Col 2:3; Zec 6:12.
MIGHTY GOD: "El Gibbor" = "mighty hero" (Moffatt). The
Father has given His own Name to His Son as well (Phi 2:9; cp Psa 45:3,6; Heb
1:8). In general Scriptural terminology, one who acts on behalf of God may be
called "God": (a) angels: Gen 16:13; 18:13; Exo 23:20,21; Hos 12:3,5; (b) men:
Exo 22:28; 22:6; 21:8 (elohim); Psa 138:1; Joh 10:34 (cit Psa 82:1,6); (c) the
Messiah: Isa 8:13,14; 61:1,6; 64:4; 65:16; Zec 12:10; Mal 3:1; Joh 20:28; Heb
EVERLASTING FATHER: In Hebrew idiom, "father" may
signify "master, leader, teacher" (ie, Isa 22:21; Gen 45:8; 2Ki 5:13; Jdg 18:19;
Gen 4:20,21). So, literally, this phrase may mean "father of the age to come"
PRINCE OF PEACE: As was Melchizedek (Gen 14; Heb 7).
"The peace" -- or the "prince who brings peace" -- "when the Assyrian comes into
the Land" (Mic 5:5) -- about Hezekiah first, before it is about Jesus. Cp the
angels' testimony at the announcement of Jesus' birth: "Glory to God in the
highest, and on earth PEACE to men on whom his favor rests" (Luk
THE ZEAL OF THE LORD ALMIGHTY WILL ACCOMPLISH THIS:
Same phrase used in Isa 37:32 re destruction of Sennacherib's host.
Vv 8-21: "A prophecy spoken by Isaiah personally against the
Northern Kingdom -- supporting the theory that Isaiah fled north for refuge from
the hostility of Ahaz. The Manasseh-Ephraim refs in v 21 support this idea, as
does the picture (in vv 9-12) of Israel fighting against enemies to the north
and south" (WIsa 169).
A spirit of arrogant self-confidence in Israel, entirely out
of keeping with their current situation. Also, seemingly, a failure to rely on
the God of Israel at all (v 13).
Rezin, king of Syria, paid tribute to Assyria for a time.
Later, he joined Pekah of Israel (Isa 8:6) against Judah, and thus angered
Yahweh (Isa 8:4). Rezin took Elath from Judah. Ahaz paid Tiglath-pileser to
defeat Rezin (2Ki 16:6-9).
ARAMEANS FROM THE EAST: After Rezin's death, the
Syrians were forced to aid Assyria by fighting against their former ally,
Israel. Cp Amo 1:3.
"These men of northern Israel neither gave due honour to
Jehovah nor were they willing to consider that the piling up of 'misfortune'
against them was His work" (WIsa 170).
HEAD AND TAIL: Cp v 15: the leading men of wide
experience in politics and the false prophets teaching religious lies (Isa
29:10; Jer 14:14; Hab 2:18).
PALM BRANCH AND REED: The high and the lowly all
THOSE WHO GUIDE THIS PEOPLE MISLEAD THEM: Jeroboam (1Ki
12:26-30), Nadab (1Ki 15:26), Baasha (1Ki 15:34), Jehu (2Ki 10:29,31), and
EVERY MOUTH SPEAKS VILENESS: A word specifically used
of sexual perversions: Gen 34:7; Deu 22:21; Jdg 19:23,24; 20:6,10;
WICKEDNESS BURNS: Either (1) it was Israel's wickedness
which kindled the "fire" of judgment, or (2) metonymy: the "fire" is the
punishment for their wickedness!
THE FORESTS: In these days the two main forests (which
have long since disappeared) were in Ephraim (Jos 17:15) and Manasseh (2Sa
18:6,8 -- east of Jordan).
BRIERS AND THORNS: Base and vile men (2Sa 23:6; Isa
33:12; Heb 6:8), who are destroyed to make way for better things.
EACH WILL FEED ON THE FLESH OF HIS OWN OFFSPRING: As,
gruesomely, in Deu 28:53. Or, "they eat every man the flesh of his neighbour".
"It was a period when all sense of moral decency and social
responsibility had disintegrated. It was a chaotic era such as the twentieth
century has already achieved in modern Israel, where there has come about an
unhappy fragmentation in politics, economics, and religion, and an exacerbation
of social spirit such as would dismay utterly the idealism of the early
Zionists. Both then and now the best comfort is in Isaiah's superbly eloquent
promise of a Prince of Peace sitting on David's throne (vv 6,7). But modern
Israel wants none of it" (WIsa 172).