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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah

(Return to Old Testament Contents)

 

(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for verse-by-verse study or meditation. To focus each verse we have also added in italic a description of what is happening)

 

FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah 9: Light & Darkness

        

For structure & preliminaries, see chapter 1

  

v.1-7 A Promise of Blessing for the future 

v.1,2 A Light coming to the North (Israel)

v.3-5 How this light will be felt

v.6,7 The One who is the Light

v.8-21 The Lord's Anger Against Israel

   

[Note: In chapter 8 a warning was given of Assyria being used by the Lord to come down on Judah, the southern kingdom, which would mean that Israel, the northern kingdom would also suffer, as they so often did when invaders came from the north. (This mostly happened because to the east was a large desert area, not conducive to armies invading from that direction.) Yet, now in chapter 9, what we first have is a prophecy that says a bright light will come to the north (Galilee). Matthew, in his Gospel, specifically applies this prophecy being fulfilled to Jesus who spent much of his three years of ministry in Galilee. Nevertheless this is balanced by a warning of destruction is brought to Israel in respect of the present. Blessing will come in the distant future but in the near future it will be judgment.]

 

 

v.1-7 A Promise of Blessing for the future

 

v.1,2 A Light coming to the North (Israel)

 

v.1 (the north [Israel] has often been humbled by invaders from the north, but in the future it iwl be honoured) Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honour Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

v.2 (this land of darkness [from invaders] will see a great light) The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness  a light has dawned.

v.3-5 How this light will be felt

 

v.3 (yes, in the future there will be great rejoicing) You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.
v.4 (for freedom will come to the land) For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.
v.5 (and peace as all fighting comes to an end) Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.

v.6,7 The One who is the Light

 

v.6  (the light will be an amazing child ) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
v.7 (who will be a great ruler ) Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it  with justice and righteousness  from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

 

v.8-21 The Lord 's Anger Against Israel

 

v.8 (Back to the present, a word to Israel) The Lord has sent a message against Jacob; it will fall on Israel.
v.9 (this applies to all the proud in the north) All the people will know it—  Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria— who say with pride  and arrogance of heart,
v.10 (you think you can overcome any misfortune) “The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.”
v.11 (but God is winding up your enemies) But the Lord has strengthened Rezin's foes against them and has spurred their enemies on.
v.12 (Aram from the east, Philistines from the south-west) Arameans from the east and Philistines from the west have devoured Israel with open mouth. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.

v.13 (because these foolish people have not learnt from God's discipline so far) But the people have not returned to him who struck them, nor have they sought the Lord Almighty.
v.14 (there will be a pruning going on in Israel) So the Lord will cut off from Israel both head and tail, both palm branch and reed in a single day;
v.15,16 (leaders will be the head and then the [false] prophets the tail) the elders and dignitaries are the head, the prophets who teach lies are the tail.
v.16 (all these false guides will be dealt with ) Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray.
v.17 (indeed this will include everyone who have spoken foolishly) Therefore the Lord will take no pleasure in the young men, nor will he pity the fatherless and widows, for everyone is ungodly and wicked, every mouth speaks folly. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.

v.18 (wickedness will bring destruction) Surely wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns, it sets the forest thickets ablaze, so that it rolls upward in a column of smoke.
v.19 (God's anger will result in a destructive fire) By the wrath of the Lord Almighty the land will be scorched and the people will be fuel for the fire; they will not spare one another.
v.20 (poverty and famine will come upon them) On the right they will devour, but still be hungry; on the left they will eat, but not be satisfied. Each will feed on the flesh of their own offspring:
v.21 (one half of the north will turn on the other and then on Judah) Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, and Ephraim on Manasseh; together they will turn against Judah. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.

[Summary: So blessing is destined in the future for Galilee, a light that brings freedom and peace – but that is far off. In the present unrighteousness prevails in Judah and so the Lord will bring discipline first through the Arameans and the Philistines and then by the north turning on the south. In a sense verses 1-7 look past the present where judgment is necessary to show that present judgment doesn't mean total destruction. Hope is always held out for the future]

 

Continue to Chapter 10