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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.


18. For wickedness burneth as the fire. The Prophet attacks the wicked, who are accustomed to defend themselves by laying the blame on God. Either they practice evasions, in order to convince themselves that they are innocent, or, when they have been convicted, they still extenuate their guilt, as if the severity of God were beyond proper bounds. Never, certainly, do they acknowledge that God is just in punishing them, till they are compelled to acknowledge it; and even though they do not venture to excuse themselves publicly, still they fret and murmur. With the view of repressing such insolence, the Prophet compares the calamities to burning, but shows that the wickedness of men is the wood and fuel, by which the anger of God is kindled: as if he had said, “All exclaim and make loud complaints that the wrath of God burns violently, and yet they do not consider that their own sins are the fans by which it is inflamed, and that those sins supply the fuel, and that even themselves are consumed by the inward fire of their crimes.”

It shall devour the briers and thorns. The meaning is, that this flame will seize every part of Judea. Two things are here expressed, that the punishment of sin proceeds from the judgment of God, and yet that the blame lies with the sinners themselves, that they may not remonstrate with God as if he had dealt cruelly with them. There is a beautiful gradation; for we perceive that it usually happens that a fire, kindled in the lowest part of any place, gathers strength by degrees, spreads wider and wider, and ascends to the higher parts. Such will the wrath of God be; for Isaiah shows that it does not all at once seize the wicked, but is gradually kindled, till it utterly destroy them. At first the Lord proceeds gently, but if a light chastisement produce no good effect, he increases and doubles the punishment. If he see that we are obstinate, his wrath burns to the uttermost, so as to destroy us altogether, and consume us like a thick forest. Lastly, as the Prophets elsewhere declare, we must be like chaff and straw as soon as the wrath of God is kindled. (Psalm 83:14; Isaiah 5:24; 33:11; 40:24; 41:2; 47:14)

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