Isaiah 9


‘Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honour Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.’ Isaiah 9:1-7

This chapter informs us that the Messianic light will shine forth from the darkness, Matthew 4:15-16.

The land of Zebulun, Naphtali, etc were the principal sufferers in the first Assyrian invasion under Tiglath-Pileser, 2 Kings 15:29 / 1 Chronicles 5:26.

They were the first to enjoy the blessing of Christ’s teaching and to see His miraculous works. The land of Galilee, which is the land of the Gentiles will indeed be honoured, Matthew 4:12-16 / Isaiah 42:6.

They were in the darkness, John 1:46 / Matthew 26:69 / Mark 14:70, but they will be in the light, a light has dawned, Isaiah 8:20 / Matthew 4:13-16. During Isaiah’s time, Galilee was a place of doom and gloom, Isaiah 8:21-22.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following, concerning Galilee.

1. The district in which these two tribes dwelt constituted the border-land toward the pagan nations.

2. The Galileans not only dwelt in the vicinity of the pagan, but a large number of them had actually remained in the country, and it had been found impossible to expel them from it, Judges 1:30-35.

3. The Phoenicians, with whom they held commercial contact, and with whom they dwelt intermingled, were among the most corrupt of the pagan nations.

4. They were far from Jerusalem, and, consequently, the influence of religion may be supposed to have been less felt among them than among the other Jews. The true religion was, in a great measure, lost upon them, and ignorance and superstition took its place. Hence, in the New Testament, they are spoken of as almost proverbially rude and ignorant.

We also see that this Messiah is to have a spiritual reign. The Midianites had oppressed Israel, Judges 7:1-10 / Judges 8:1-10, but the ‘shattered yoke’ refers to the relief of Israel from the Midianites, 1 Kings 12:4 / Isaiah 47:6 / Isaiah 58:6. During those days, the war brought bloodshed and there was tumult.

The child who is born is a clear reference to Immanuel, the Christ, Isaiah 7:14, who would come and solve all spiritual confusion. The ‘government being upon His shoulders’ refers to that which the king wore upon his shoulder, it was the sign of authority.

All these names, ‘Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’ are all applied to the Lord Himself. Everything about Him was wonderful, His birth, His life, His teaching, His death, and His glorious resurrection from the tomb.

He is Counsellor that explains the law of God to us, John 6:68 / John 12:48. He is the mighty God, Isaiah 10:21 / John 1:1 / John 1:18 / John 20:28 / Acts 20:28 / Romans 9:5 / Titus 2:13.

He is the Father of all eternity, James 1:18 / Hebrews 12:2 / 1 Peter 2:3, and the Creator of the heavens and the earth, John 1:1.

He is the Prince of Peace, Isaiah 11:6-9 / Luke 2:14, and so, Jesus is now reigning as the Prince of Peace over all things in heaven and on earth.

His kingdom is everlasting, this was established when Christ came to earth, Matthew 16:18 / Colossians1:13 / Hebrews 12:28.

Christ is a descendant of David and is now on the throne of David, 1 Kings 8:25 / 2 Samuel 7:12-13 / Psalms 132:11 / Acts 2:30-36.

Luke, in his Gospel, tells us that Jesus would reign on the throne of David, Luke 1:32. Matthew tells us that Heavenly authority was given to Jesus, Matthew 28:18, and it’s with this authority that ‘he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end’, Luke 1:33.

The Hebrew writer quotes Psalm 45:6-7 in Hebrews 1:8, and writes, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.’

This was prophesied in Psalm 45 and fulfilled in Jesus as He sat upon the throne of David in the heavenly places when He ascended to the Father, Ephesians 1:20-23.

The Hebrew writer also says in Hebrews 8:1 ‘Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven.’

In other words, Jesus fulfilled all of these verses, He is now ruling as King of Kings and Lord of lords over all things, Matthew 28:18 / 1 Timothy 6:15.

The LORD’s Anger Against Israel

‘The Lord has sent a message against Jacob; it will fall on Israel. All the people will know it—Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria—who say with pride and arrogance of heart, “The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.” But the LORD has strengthened Rezin’s foes against them and has spurred their enemies on. Arameans from the east and Philistines from the west have devoured Israel with open mouth. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.’ Isaiah 9:8-12

Isaiah now returns to the present situation and predicts the defeat of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

The Lord sent a message and His Word travels quickly, however, Ephraim mockingly rejects the chastening of the Lord, boasting that things will be only better for them, no matter what God does.

The people are proud and boastful, a people who were self-efficient, a people who thought they didn’t need God. But their arrogance led them into sin, and their sis led them to be judged by God.

Ephraim was the major tribe of the north who represented the entire Northern Kingdom. Despite the bricks having fallen down, in their arrogance, they believe they will rebuild.

Sycamores are the cheap wood, 1 Kings 10:27 / 2 Chronicles 1:15 / 2 Chronicles 9:27, and cedars were the expensive wood, Isaiah 2:18. In other words, they thought they could stand on their own strength rather than relying on God’s power.

They had no chance as God had strengthened Rezin’s foes against them. Once the Assyrians conquered Syria, the Syrians were compelled to join with the Assyrians against the Northern Kingdom of Israel. And so, the Assyrians, along with the Syrians and Philistines, fought against Israel who were caught in between their foes.

Notice the reference to God’s anger, this appears throughout this chapter, Isaiah 9:12 / Isaiah 9:17 / Isaiah 9:21.

‘But the people have not returned to him who struck them, nor have they sought the LORD Almighty. So the LORD will cut off from Israel both head and tail, both palm branch and reed in a single day; the elders and dignitaries are the head, the prophets who teach lies are the tail. Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray. Therefore the Lord will take no pleasure in the young men, nor will he pity the fatherless and widows, for everyone is ungodly and wicked, every mouth speaks folly. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.’ Isaiah 9:13-17

These words describe the second stage of God’s justice, this time it is God who is doing the destroying.

The leaders were leading the people away. The ‘heads’ are the chiefs or rulers of the cities, Deuteronomy 28:13-14, the ‘tails’, are the false prophets, Isaiah 3:12. The ‘branch’ refers to the highest of the people and the ‘reed’ refers to the lowest of the people, Isaiah 19:15.

God is angry and is coming in judgment against Ephraim and no one would be spared.

‘Surely wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns, it sets the forest thickets ablaze, so that it rolls upward in a column of smoke. By the wrath of the LORD Almighty the land will be scorched and the people will be fuel for the fire; they will not spare one another. On the right they will devour, but still be hungry; on the left they will eat, but not be satisfied. Each will feed on the flesh of their own offspring: Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, and Ephraim on Manasseh; together they will turn against Judah. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.’ Isaiah 9:18-21

Even though there were repeated demonstrations of God’s displeasure, the nation was going to devour itself.

Their wickedness is described as a forest fire which is totally out of control, Hosea 7:6. Notice that the people were their own fuel for the fire, they turned on each other.

They devour each other, but want to do more because they are never satisfied, in other words, in their strife, they were destroying their own brothers, Matthew 10:21 / Matthew 10:36 / Mark 13:12.

Manasseh devoured Ephraim, and Ephraim devoured Manasseh, and together they turned upon Judah. Even though they weren’t friendly with each other, Manasseh and Ephraim would combine and turn against Judah, Luke 23:12.

The tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh were descendants of Joseph, Genesis 46:20, and both tribes set themselves against Judah.

God remains angry with His people and everything will be gloomy and dark because of the judgement of God upon His people. God’s hand of judgment was upon His people.

Go To Isaiah 10


"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."