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2

The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light;

those who lived in a land of deep darkness—

on them light has shined.

3

You have multiplied the nation,

you have increased its joy;

they rejoice before you

as with joy at the harvest,

as people exult when dividing plunder.

4

For the yoke of their burden,

and the bar across their shoulders,

the rod of their oppressor,

you have broken as on the day of Midian.

5

For all the boots of the tramping warriors

and all the garments rolled in blood

shall be burned as fuel for the fire.

6

For a child has been born for us,

a son given to us;

authority rests upon his shoulders;

and he is named

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7

His authority shall grow continually,

and there shall be endless peace

for the throne of David and his kingdom.

He will establish and uphold it

with justice and with righteousness

from this time onward and forevermore.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

 


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2. the people—the whole nation, Judah and Israel.

shadow of death—the darkest misery of captivity.

3. multiplied … nation—primarily, the rapid increase of Israelites after the return from Babylon; more fully and exhaustively the rapid spread of Christianity at first.

not increased the joy—By a slight change in the Hebrew, its (joy) is substituted by some for not, because "not increased the joy" seems opposite to what immediately follows, "the joy," &c. Hengstenberg, retains not thus: "Whose joy thou hadst not increased," (that is, hadst diminished). Others, "Hast thou not increased the joy?" The very difficulty of the reading, not, makes it less likely to be an interpolation. Horsley best explains it: The prophet sees in vision a shifting scene, comprehending at one glance the history of the Christian Church to remotest times—a land dark and thinly peopled—lit up by a sudden light—filled with new inhabitants—then struggling with difficulties, and again delivered by the utter and final overthrow of their enemies. The influx of Gentile converts (represented here by "Galilee of the Gentiles") soon was to be followed by the growth of corruption, and the final rise of Antichrist, who is to be destroyed, while God's people is delivered, as in the case of Gideon's victory over Midian, not by man's prowess, but by the special interposition of God.

before thee—a phrase taken from sacrificial feasts; the tithe of harvest was eaten before God (De 12:7; 14:26).

as men rejoice … divide … spoil—referring to the judgments on the enemies of the Lord and His people, which usually accompany revelations of His grace.

4. The occasion of the "joy," the deliverance not only of Ahaz and Judah from the Assyrian tribute (2Ki 16:8), and of Israel's ten tribes from the oppressor (2Ki 15:19), but of the Jewish Christian Church from its last great enemy.

hast—the past time for the future, in prophetic vision; it expresses the certainty of the event.

yoke of his burden—the yoke with which he was burdened.

staff of … shoulder—the staff which strikes his shoulder [Maurer]; or the wood, like a yoke, on the neck of slaves, the badge of servitude [Rosenmuller].

day of Midian—(Jud 7:8-22). As Gideon with a handful of men conquered the hosts of Midian, so Messiah the "child" (Isa 9:6) shall prove to be the "Prince of peace," and the small Israel under Him shall overcome the mighty hosts of Antichrist (compare Mic 5:2-5), containing the same contrast, and alluding also to "the Assyrian," the then enemy of the Church, as here in Isaiah, the type of the last great enemy. For further analogies between Gideon's victory and the Gospel, compare 2Co 4:7, with Jud 7:22. As the "dividing of the spoil" (Isa 9:3) was followed by that which was "not joy," the making of the idolatrous ephod (Jud 8:24-27), so the gospel victory was soon followed by apostasy at the first, and shall be so again after the millennial overthrow of Antichrist (Re 20:3, 7-9), previous to Satan's last doom (Re 20:10).

5. every battle, &c.—rather, "every greave of (the warrior who is) armed with greaves in the din of battle, and the martial garment (or cloak, called by the Latins sagum) rolled in blood, shall be for burning, (and) fuel for fire" [Maurer]. All warlike accoutrements shall be destroyed, as no longer required in the new era of peace (Isa 2:4; 11:6, 7; Ps 46:9; Eze 39:9; Mic 5:5, 10; Zec 9:9, 10). Compare Mal 4:1, as to the previous burning up of the wicked.

6. For—the ground of these great expectations,

unto us—for the benefit of the Jews first, and then the Gentiles (compare "unto you," Lu 2:11).

son … given—(Ps 2:7). God's gratuitous gift, on which man had no claim (Joh 3:16; Ro 6:23).

government … upon … shoulder—The ensign of office used to be worn on the shoulder, in token of sustaining the government (Isa 22:22). Here the government on Messiah's shoulder is in marked antithesis to the "yoke and staff" of the oppressor on Israel's "shoulder" (Isa 9:4). He shall receive the kingdom of the earth from the Father, to vindicate it from the misrule of those to whom it was entrusted to hold it for and under the Most High, but who sought to hold it in defiance of His right; the Father asserts His right by the Son, the "Heir of all things," who will hold it for Him (Da 7:13, 14).

name … called—His essential characteristics shall be.

Wonderful—(See on Isa 8:18; Jud 13:18, Margin; 1Ti 3:16).

Counsellor—(Ps 16:7; Ro 11:33, 34; 1Co 1:24; Col 2:3).

mighty God—(Isa 10:21; Ps 24:8; Tit 2:13) Horsley translates: "God the mighty man." "Unto us … God" is equivalent to "Immanuel" (Isa 7:14).

everlasting Father—This marks Him as "Wonderful," that He is "a child," yet the "everlasting Father" (Joh 10:30; 14:9). Earthly kings leave their people after a short reign; He will reign over and bless them for ever [Hengstenberg].

Prince of Peace—(See on Isa 9:5; Ge 49:10; Shiloh, "The Tranquillizer"). Finally (Ho 2:18). Even already He is "our peace" (Lu 2:14; Eph 2:14).

7. Of … increase … no end—His princely rule shall perpetually increase and be unlimited (Da 2:44).

throne of David—(1Ki 8:25; Ps 2:6; 132:11; Jer 3:17, 18 Eze 34:23-26; 37:16, 22; Lu 1:32, 33; Ac 2:30).

judgment … justice—It is not a kingdom of mere might, and triumph of force over enemies, but of righteousness (Isa 42:21; Ps 45:6, 7), attainable only in and by Messiah.

zeal, &c.—including not only Christ's hidden spiritual victory over Satan at the first coming, but the open one accompanied with "judgments" on Antichrist and every enemy at the second coming (Isa 59:17; Ps 9:6-8).




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