1a Nonetheless, those who were in distress won't be exhausted. At an earlier time, God cursed the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but later he glorified the way of the sea, the far side of the Jordan, and the Galilee of the nations.b2c The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. On those living in a pitch-dark land, light has dawned.
You have made the nation great; you have increased its joy. They rejoiced before you as with joy at the harvest, as those who divide plunder rejoice.
As on the day of Midian, you've shattered the yoke that burdened them, the staff on their shoulders, and the rod of their oppressor.
Because every boot of the thundering warriors, and every garment rolled in blood will be burned, fuel for the fire.
A child is born to us, a son is given to us, and authority will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be vast authority and endless peace for David's throne and for his kingdom, establishing and sustaining it with justice and righteousness now and forever. The zeal of the LORD of heavenly forces will do this.
The Lord sent a word against Jacob; it fell upon Israel;
the people all knew it— Ephraim and the one who rules in Samaria. But with a proud and arrogant heart they said,
"Bricks have fallen, but let's rebuild with stones. Sycamores were cut down, but let's replace them with cedars."
So the LORD raised up their foes against them,d and stirred up their enemies—
Aram from the east and the Philistines from the west— and they devoured Israel with an open mouth. Even then God's anger didn't turn away; God's hand was still extended.
But the people didn't turn to the one who struck them. They didn't seek the LORD of heavenly forces.
So the LORD cut off head and tail, palm branch and reed from Israel in one day.
(Elders and celebrities are the head; prophets who teach lies are the tail.)
But this people's leaders were misleading, and those being led were confused.
So the Lord showed their youth no pity, and showed their orphans and widows no mercy; for everyone was godless and evil; every mouth spoke nonsense. Even then God's anger didn't turn away; God's hand was still extended.
Wickedness burned like fire, devouring thorn and thistle. It kindled the thickets of the forest; they swirled in rising smoke.
The land was scorched by the rage of the LORD of heavenly forces; the people were like fuel for the fire. Not one person pitied another:
they consumed on the right, but remained hungry; devoured on the left, and weren't satisfied. They devoured the flesh of their own children.e21
Manasseh devoured Ephraim and Ephraim Manasseh; together they turned against Judah. Even then God's anger didn't turn away; God's hand was still extended.