9:1 Nevertheless a the dimness [shall] not [be] such as [was] in her distress, b 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 c the nations.
(a) He comforts the Church again after these great threatenings promising to restore them to great glory in Messiah. 9:2 The people that d walked in darkness have seen a great e light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the f light shined.
(b) With which Israel was punished, first by Tiglath-pilesar, which was a light scourge in respect to that which they suffered afterward by Shalmaneser, who carried the Israelites away captive.
(c) While the Jews and Gentiles dwelt together by reason of those twenty cites, which Solomon gave to Hiram.
(d) Which were in captivity in Babylon and the prophets speaks of that thing which would come to pass 60 years later as though it were now done. 9:3 Thou hast g multiplied the nation, [and] increased the joy: they rejoice before thee according to the joy in harvest, [and] as [men] rejoice when they divide the spoil.
(e) Meaning, the comfort of their deliverance.
(f) This captivity and deliverance were figures of our captivity by sin and of our deliverance by Christ through the preaching of the Gospel, ( Matthew 4:15 Matthew 4:16 ).
9:4 For thou hast broken the h yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.
(g) Their number was greater when they went into captivity then when they returned but their joy was greater at their return, ( Haggai 2:9 ).
9:5 For every battle of the warrior [is] with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but [this] shall be i with burning [and] fuel of fire.
(h) You gave them perfect joy by delivering them, and by destroying the tyrants, that had kept them in cruel bondage, as you delivered them by Gideon from the Midianites, ( Judges 7:21 ).
(i) He speaks of the deliverance of his Church, which he has delivered miraculously from his enemies, but especially by the coming of Christ of whom he prophecies in the next verse. 9:6 For to us a child is born, to 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 k Father, The Prince of Peace.
(k) The author of eternity, and by whom the Church and every member of it will be preserved forever, and have immortal life. 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. l The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
(l) His singular love and care for his elect. 9:8 The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon m Israel.
(m) This is another prophecy against them of Samaria who were mockers and contemners of Gods promises and menaces. 9:10 The n bricks have fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycamores are cut down, but we will change [them into] cedars.
(n) We were but weak, when the enemy overcame us, but we will make ourselves so strong, that we will neither care for our enemies, nor fear Gods threatenings. 9:11 Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of o Rezin against him, and join his enemies together;
(o) Rezin king of Syria, who was in league with Israel, was slain by the Assyrians, after whose death, Aram that is, the Syrians were against Israel, who on the other side were assailed by the Philistines. 9:18 For wickedness p 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 rising of smoke.
(b) Wickedness as a bellows kindles the fire of Gods wrath which consumes all his obstinate enemies. 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 q spare his brother.
(q) Though there was no foreign enemy, yet they will destroy one another. 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 r flesh of his own arm:
(r) Their greediness will be insatiable, so that one brother will eat up another, as though he should eat his own flesh.