Isaiah 9

1 But there shall be no gloom to her that was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the latter time hath he made it glorious, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased their joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, thou hast broken as in the day of Midian.
5 For all the armor of the armed man in the tumult, and the garments rolled in blood, shall be for burning, for fuel of fire.
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, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this.
8 The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.
9 And all the people shall know, [even] Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in pride and in stoutness of heart,
10 The bricks are fallen, but we will build with hewn stone; the sycomores are cut down, but we will put cedars in their place.
11 Therefore Jehovah will set up on high against him the adversaries of Rezin, and will stir up his enemies,
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 still.
13 Yet the people have not turned unto him that smote them, neither have they sought Jehovah of hosts.
14 Therefore Jehovah will cut off from Israel head and tail, palm-branch and rush, in one day.
15 The elder and the honorable man, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.
16 For they that lead this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.
17 Therefore the Lord will not rejoice over their young men, neither will he have compassion on their fatherless and widows; for every one is profane and an evil-doer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
18 For wickedness burneth as the fire; it devoureth the briers and thorns; yea, it kindleth in the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke.
19 Through the wrath of Jehovah of hosts is the land burnt up; and the people are as the fuel of fire: no man spareth his brother.
20 And one 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 arm:
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.

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Isaiah 9 Commentary

Chapter 9

The Son that should be born, and his kingdom. (1-7) The judgments to come upon Israel, and on the enemies of the kingdom of Christ. (8-21)

Verses 1-7 The Syrians and Assyrians first ravaged the countries here mentioned, and that region was first favoured by the preaching of Christ. Those that want the gospel, walk in darkness, and in the utmost danger. But when the gospel comes to any place, to any soul, light comes. Let us earnestly pray that it may shine into our hearts, and make us wise unto salvation. The gospel brings joy with it. Those who would have joy, must expect to go through hard work, as the husbandman, before he has the joy of harvest; and hard conflict, as the soldier, before he divides the spoil. The Jews were delivered from the yoke of many oppressors; this was a shadow of the believer's deliverance from the yoke of Satan. The cleansing the souls of believers from the power and pollution of sin, would be by the influence of the Holy Spirit, as purifying fire. These great things for the church, shall be done by the Messiah, Emmanuel. The Child is born; it was certain; and the church, before Christ came in the flesh, benefitted by his undertaking. It is a prophecy of him and of his kingdom, which those that waited for the Consolation of Israel read with pleasure. 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. 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? Give then, O Lord, to thy people to know thee by every endearing name, and in every glorious character. Give increase of grace in every heart of thy redeemed upon earth.

Verses 8-21 Those are ripening apace for ruin, whose hearts are unhumbled under humbling providences. For that which God designs, in smiting us, is, to turn us to himself; and if this point be not gained by lesser judgments, greater may be expected. The leaders of the people misled them. We have reason to be afraid of those that speak well of us, when we do ill. Wickedness was universal, all were infected with it. They shall be in trouble, and see no way out; and when men's ways displease the Lord, he makes even their friends to be at war with them. God would take away those they thought to have help from. Their rulers were the head. Their false prophets were the tail and the rush, the most despicable. In these civil contests, men preyed on near relations who were as their own flesh. The people turn not to Him who smites them, therefore he continues to smite: for when God judges, he will overcome; and the proudest, stoutest sinner shall either bend or break.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH 9

This chapter contains a prophecy, partly of comfort to the church and people of God, against the calamities predicted in the preceding chapter Isa 8:1-22; and partly of punishment, to be inflicted upon the ungodly Israelites by their enemies. The comfort promised arises from the appearance of Christ, the great light, in some certain places of the land mentioned, said before to be afflicted, Isa 9:1,2 which would occasion a joy among them; illustrated by some similes, by the joy in harvest, and at the dividing of spoils, Isa 9:3 the cause of which is a deliverance from a burdensome yoke of tyranny and bondage, wrought in like manner as that by Gideon formerly; different from all other salvations, which are usually obtained with noise and blood, Isa 9:4,5 the author of which is the Messiah; who is described by his birth as man, and by his divine sonship as God; or by his person, having two natures united in him; and by the government devolved on him; and by his several names, which express the greatness and glory of his person and office; and by the increase and administration of his government, Isa 9:6,7 then follows a denunciation of judgment on Israel, Isa 9:8 the instruments of which are pointed at, Isa 9:11,12, and the persons described that should suffer, high and low, rich and poor, young and old, Isa 9:14,15,17 the reasons of it, their making light of former corrections, Isa 9:9,10 their impenitence and hardness under chastenings, Isa 9:13 their going astray by means of their leaders; and their hypocrisy and wickedness, Isa 9:16-18 all which would occasion the wrath of God to burn against them, and consume them, Isa 9:18,19 yea, through hunger and want of provisions, should destroy one another, Isa 9:20,21.

Isaiah 9 Commentaries