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The Righteous Reign of the Coming King


But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.


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.


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.


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.


For all the boots of the tramping warriors

and all the garments rolled in blood

shall be burned as fuel for the fire.


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.


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 L ord of hosts will do this.


Judgment on Arrogance and Oppression


The Lord sent a word against Jacob,

and it fell on Israel;


and all the people knew it—

Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria—

but in pride and arrogance of heart they said:


“The bricks have fallen,

but we will build with dressed stones;

the sycamores have been cut down,

but we will put cedars in their place.”


So the L ord raised adversaries against them,

and stirred up their enemies,


the Arameans on the east and the Philistines on the west,

and they devoured Israel with open mouth.

For all this his anger has not turned away;

his hand is stretched out still.



The people did not turn to him who struck them,

or seek the L ord of hosts.


So the L ord cut off from Israel head and tail,

palm branch and reed in one day—


elders and dignitaries are the head,

and prophets who teach lies are the tail;


for those who led this people led them astray,

and those who were led by them were left in confusion.


That is why the Lord did not have pity on their young people,

or compassion on their orphans and widows;

for everyone was godless and an evildoer,

and every mouth spoke folly.

For all this his anger has not turned away;

his hand is stretched out still.



For wickedness burned like a fire,

consuming briers and thorns;

it kindled the thickets of the forest,

and they swirled upward in a column of smoke.


Through the wrath of the L ord of hosts

the land was burned,

and the people became like fuel for the fire;

no one spared another.


They gorged on the right, but still were hungry,

and they devoured on the left, but were not satisfied;

they devoured the flesh of their own kindred;


Manasseh devoured Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh,

and together they were against Judah.

For all this his anger has not turned away;

his hand is stretched out still.


13. But the people hath not turned. 150150     For the people turneth not. — Eng. Ver. The copulative ו (vau) is rendered by some interpreters for, as if the Prophet were assigning a reason why the Lord does not cease to employ his scourges in the continual infliction of chastisements; that is, because the people are so hardened and obstinate that they will not repent. When there is no repentance, it is unreasonable to expect that God will yield to obstinate men, as if he were vanquished; and the consequence is, that he prepares himself for inflicting severer punishment. Since, therefore, no chastisements had produced any amendment in Israel, he must perish; for when they had been so frequently struck and punished, and did not at all repent, this was a proof of the most desperate wickedness.

This is a very severe rebuke, that although the Lord not only admonishes us by words, but actually pushes us forward, and constrains us by various chastisements, still we grow hardened, and do not suffer ourselves to be drawn away from our crimes and our lusts. Desperate wickedness is thus evinced, and nothing more heinous could be spoken or conceived. It is a heinous offense, when men do not receive instruction as soon as it is delivered to them; it is more heinous, when they are not affected by rebukes; it is the most heinous of all, when, in spite even of chastisements, they grow hardened, and even kick, or by their headstrong behavior inflame still more the indignation of the Judge, and do not consider why they were punished, or what it is to which the Lord calls them. Accordingly, when no remedies produce any good effect, what must we think but that the disease is incurable and utterly desperate?

This rebuke applies not to the Israelites only but to us also. Already hath the Lord chastised the whole world by various afflictions, so that hardly any part could be exempted from distresses and calamities. And yet all appear to have obstinately conspired against God, so that, whatever He does, they cease not to retain their former character, and to carry on their wicked courses. Justly, therefore, might the Lord address to us the same expostulation, and assuredly he addresses us by the mouth of Isaiah; and we ought not to look for another Prophet to threaten new chastisements, seeing that our case is not different from that of the Israelites, and we are involved in the same blame with them.

Nor have they sought the Lord of hosts. This is immediately added as an explanation, for the reason why God inflicts punishment is, to bring back the wanderers to himself. By this method, indeed, he appears to drive men to a greater distance from him; but as it belongs to him to bring out of the grave those whom he appeared to have wounded and slain, by terrifying sinners he only humbles them, in order that they may return to him. And indeed the beginning of conversion is to seek God, or rather it is the only rule of living well; if we turn aside from it we have no rest for the sole of our foot. But we must now inquire what it is to seek God, or in what manner we ought to seek him; for hypocrites will always be ready to plead, that by prayers and fastings, and tears, and a sorrowful countenance, they earnestly entreat God and implore forgiveness. But God chooses to be sought in another manner; that is, when the sinner truly subdued, willingly takes the yoke which he had shaken off, and yields obedience to him whom he had despised.

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