Us a Child Is Born
9:1 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as
was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted
the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward
did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea,
beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.
9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great
light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death,
upon them hath the light shined.
9:3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the
joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest,
and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
9:4 For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the
staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the
day of Midian.
9:5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise,
and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning
and fuel of fire.
9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name
shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The
everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall
be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom,
to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with
justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD
of hosts will perform this.
The Lord’s Anger Against
9:8 The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath
lighted upon Israel.
9:9 And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the
inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness
9:10 The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with
hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change
them into cedars.
9:11 Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of
Rezin against him, and join his enemies together;
9:12 The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and
they shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his
anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out
9:13 For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them,
neither do they seek the LORD of hosts.
9:14 Therefore the LORD will cut off from Israel head and
tail, branch and rush, in one day.
9:15 The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the
prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.
9:16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and
they that are led of them are destroyed.
9:17 Therefore the LORD shall have no joy in their young
men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and
widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and
every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not
turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
9:18 For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour
the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of
the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of
9:19 Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is the land
darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire:
no man shall spare his brother.
9:20 And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry;
and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be
satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own
9:21 Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: and they
together shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is
not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
and Assyrians first ravaged the countries here mentioned
which lay remote
and most exposed to the inroads of the neighbouring enemies, and
afterwards he more grievously afflicted the land by the way of the
sea and beyond Jordan (Isaiah
9:1), referring probably to
those days when God began to cut Israel short and to smite them in
all their coasts,
2 Kings 10:32.
Note, God tries what less judgments will do with a people before he
brings greater; but if a light affliction does
not do its work with us,
to humble and reform us, we must expect to be afflicted more
grievously; for when God judges he will overcome.2
2 Thus it was in
those very places of Israel which had formerly suffered the most
that Christ first came forward to teach in a synagogue, and there he
did his first miracle in Cana of Galilee. See Luke 4 and John 2.
"Thus the light began to shine in the land of Zebulun and Naphtali
where the gloom had first settled centuries earlier.
The present tense in this marvelous passage should not be
confusing. The language is in the present
or the past because of the certainty of the prophecy.3
"The numbers of a nation
are its strength and wealth if the numerous be industrious; and it
is God that increases nations, Job 12:23. Yet it follows, "Thou
hast not increased the joy--the carnal joy and mirth, and those
things that are commonly the matter and occasion thereof. But,
notwithstanding that, they joy before thee; there is a great
deal of serious spiritual joy among them, joy in the presence of
God, with an eye to him." This is very applicable to the times of
gospel light, spoken of
The gospel brings with it plenty and victory; but those that would
have the joy of it must expect to go through a hard work, as the
husbandman before he has the joy of harvest, and a hard conflict, as
the soldier before he has the joy of dividing the spoil; but the
joy, when it comes, will be an abundant recompense for the toil.2
The question arises as to why the
particular deliverance "of Midian"
was the one selected for mention here. The great deliverance
promised under the reign of Messiah in this passage would not be
accomplished by military power. The Prince of Peace would have no
use for the weapons of military might but would rely upon spiritual
weapons; and the deliverance from the Midianites accomplished by
Gideon was the most effective illustration for the peace that would
be won under the Messiah. Gideon's deliverance was accomplished
without military prowess by a small group selected out of Israel
expressly for the purpose, so that Israel might not vaunt itself
against the Lord, saying, My own hand hath saved me.3
The burning of
military weapons, clothing, and equipment are spoken of here as
being abolished so as to prepare our minds for the New Era under
Messiah; but instead of the glorious New Age being foretold as the
work of some new Joshua or Gideon, "It is the Child already foretold
as Immanuel in Isa. 7:14."who suddenly appears as the hope of the
This Child was born for the benefit of us men, of us
sinners, of all believers, from the beginning to the end of the
world. Justly is he called Wonderful, for he is both God and man.
His love is the wonder of angels and glorified saints. He is the
Counsellor, for he knew the counsels of God from eternity; and he
gives counsel to men, in which he consults our welfare. He is the
Wonderful Counsellor; none teaches like him. He is God, the mighty
One. Such is the work of the Mediator, that no less power than that
of the mighty God could bring it to pass. He is God, one with the
Father. As the Prince of Peace, he reconciles us to God; he is the
Giver of peace in the heart and conscience; and when his kingdom is
fully established, men shall learn war no more. The government shall
be upon him; he shall bear the burden of it.4
Glorious things are spoken of Christ's
government. There is no end to the increase of its peace, for the
happiness of its subjects shall last for ever. The exact agreement
of this prophecy with the doctrine of the New Testament, shows that
Jewish prophets and Christian teachers had the same view of the
person and salvation of the Messiah. To what earthly king or kingdom
can these words apply?4
References and notes
1. King James Authorized Version
Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible
Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament
Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
9:5-6 – Historic Events or Messianic Prophecy?