Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will soon be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light -- a light that will shine on all who live in the land where death casts its shadow.
Israel will again be great, and its people will rejoice as people rejoice at harvesttime. They will shout with joy like warriors dividing the plunder.
For God will break the chains that bind his people and the whip that scourges them, just as he did when he destroyed the army of Midian with Gideon's little band.
In that day of peace, battle gear will no longer be issued. Never again will uniforms be bloodstained by war. All such equipment will be burned.
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, a Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the LORD Almighty will guarantee this!
The Lord has spoken out against that braggart Israel,
and the people of Israel b and Samaria will soon discover it. In their pride and arrogance they say,
"Our land lies in ruins now, but we will rebuild it better than before. We will replace the broken bricks with cut stone, the fallen sycamore trees with cedars."
The LORD will reply to their bragging by bringing Rezin's enemies, the Assyrians, against them --
along with Arameans from the east and Philistines from the west. With bared fangs, they will devour Israel. But even then the LORD's anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike.
For after all this punishment, the people will still not repent and turn to the LORD Almighty.
Therefore, in a single day, the LORD will destroy both the head and the tail, the palm branch and the reed.
The leaders of Israel are the head, and the lying prophets are the tail.
For the leaders of the people have led them down the path of destruction.
That is why the Lord has no joy in the young men and no mercy on even the widows and orphans. For they are all hypocrites, speaking wickedness with lies. But even then the LORD's anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike.
This wickedness is like a brushfire. It burns not only briers and thorns but the forests, too. Its burning sends up vast clouds of smoke.
The land is blackened by the fury of the LORD Almighty. The people are fuel for the fire, and no one spares anyone else.
They fight against their own neighbors to steal food, but they will still be hungry. In the end they will even eat their own children. c21
Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, Ephraim will feed on Manasseh, and both will devour Judah. But even then the LORD's anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)