9 But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish [for with judgment comes the promise of salvation]. In earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He will make them honored [by the presence of the Messiah], by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.
2 The people who walk in [spiritual] darkness [a]Will see a great Light; Those who live in the dark land, The Light will shine on them. 3 You [O God] will increase the nation, You will multiply their joy; They will rejoice before You Like the joy and jubilation of the harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil [of victory]. 4 For You will break the yoke of Israel’s burden and the staff (goad) on their shoulders, The rod of their oppressor, as at the [b]battle of Midian. 5 For every boot of the marching warrior in the battle tumult, And [every soldier’s] garment rolled in blood, will be used for burning, fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a Child shall be born, to us a Son shall be given; And the government shall be upon His shoulder, And His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 There shall be no end to the increase of His government and of peace, [He shall rule] on the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From that time forward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.
God’s Anger with Israel’s Arrogance
8 The Lord sends a word (message) against Jacob, And it falls on Israel [the ten northern tribes, the kingdom of Ephraim]. 9 And all the people know it, That is, [c]Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria [its capital], Who say in pride and arrogance of heart: 10 “The bricks have fallen down, But we will rebuild [all the better] with ashlar (hewed stones); The sycamores have been cut down, But we will replace them with [expensive] cedars.” 11 Therefore the Lord raises against Ephraim adversaries from Rezin [king of Aram] And spurs their enemies on, 12 The Arameans on the east and the Philistines on the west; And they devour Israel with gaping jaws. In spite of all this, God’s anger does not turn away But His hand is still stretched out [in judgment].
13 Yet the people do not turn back [in repentance] to Him who struck them, Nor do they seek the Lord of hosts [as their most essential need]. 14 Therefore the Lord cuts off head and tail [the highest and the lowest] from Israel, Both [the high] palm branch and [the low] bulrush in one day. 15 The elderly and honorable man, he is the head; And the prophet who teaches lies, he is the tail. 16 For those who lead this people are causing them to go astray; And those who are led [astray] by them are swallowed up. 17 Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men, Nor does He have compassion on their fatherless or their widows; For every one of them is godless and an evildoer, And every mouth is speaking foolishness. In spite of all this, God’s anger does not turn away But His hand is still stretched out [in judgment].
18 For wickedness burns like a fire; It consumes briars and thorns, It even sets the forest thickets ablaze; And it swirls upward in a column of smoke. 19 By the wrath of the Lord of hosts the land is burned up, And the people are like fuel for the fire; No man spares his brother. 20 They slice off [in discord] what is on the right hand but are still hungry, And they eat what is on the left hand but they are not satisfied; Each eats the flesh of his own arm. 21 [The tribe of] Manasseh devours [the tribe of his brother] Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh, And together they are against Judah (the southern kingdom, the house of David). In spite of all this, God’s anger does not turn away But His hand is still stretched out [in judgment].
Assyria Is God’s Instrument
10 Woe (judgment is coming) to those [judges] who issue evil statutes, And to those [magistrates] who constantly record unjust and oppressive decisions, 2 So as to deprive the needy of justice And rob the poor of My people of rightful claims, So that widows may be their spoil And that they may plunder the fatherless. 3 Now what will you do in the day of [God’s] punishment, And in the storm of devastation which will come from far away? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your wealth [for safekeeping]? 4 Nothing remains but to crouch among the captives Or fall [dead] among the slain [on the battlefield]. In spite of all this, God’s anger does not turn away, But His hand is still stretched out [in judgment].
5 Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger [against Israel], The staff in whose hand is My indignation and fury [against Israel’s disobedience]! 6 I send Assyria against a godless nation And commission it against the people of My wrath To take the spoil and to seize the plunder, And to trample them down like mud in the streets. 7 Yet it is not Assyria’s intention [to do My will], Nor does it plan so in its heart, But instead it is its purpose to destroy And to cut off many nations. 8 For Assyria says, “Are not my princes all kings? 9 “Is not Calno [conquered] like Carchemish [on the Euphrates]? Is not Hamath [subdued] like Arpad [her neighbor]? Is not Samaria [in Israel] like Damascus [in Aram]? 10 “As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols, Whose carved images were greater and more feared than those of Jerusalem and Samaria, 11 Shall I not do to Jerusalem and her images Just as I have done to Samaria and her idols?” [declares Assyria].
12 So when the Lord has completed all His work [of judgment] on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, He will say, “I will punish the fruit [the thoughts, the declarations, and the actions] of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the haughtiness of his pride.” 13 For the Assyrian king has said,
“I have done this by the power of my [own] hand and by my wisdom, For I have understanding and skill. I have removed the boundaries of the peoples And have plundered their treasures; Like a bull I have brought down those who sat on thrones. 14 “My hand has found the wealth of the people like a nest, And as one gathers eggs that are abandoned, so I have gathered all the earth; And there was not one that flapped its wing, or that opened its beak and chirped.”
15 Is the axe able to lift itself over the one who chops with it? Is the saw able to magnify itself over the one who wields it? That would be like a club moving those who lift it, Or like a staff raising him who is not [made of] wood [like itself]! 16 Therefore the Lord, the God of hosts, will send a wasting disease among the stout warriors of Assyria; And under his glory a fire will be kindled like a burning flame. 17 And the Light of Israel will become a fire and His Holy One a flame, And it will [d]burn and devour Assyria’s thorns and briars in a single day. 18 The Lord will consume the glory of Assyria’s forest and of its fruitful garden, both soul and body, And it will be as when a sick man wastes away. 19 And the remaining trees of Assyria’s forest will be so few in number That a child could write them down.
A Remnant Will Return
20 Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.
21 A [e]remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. 22 For though your people, O Israel, may be as the sand of the sea, Only a remnant within them will return; The destruction is determined [it is decided and destined for completion], overflowing with justice (righteous punishment).
23 For the Lord, the God of hosts, will execute a complete destruction, one that is decreed, in the midst of all the land.
24 Therefore, the Lord God of hosts says this, “O My people who dwell in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrian who strikes you with a rod and lifts up his staff against you, as [the king of] Egypt did.25 For yet a very little while and My indignation [against you] will be fulfilled and My anger will be directed toward the destruction of the Assyrian.” 26 The Lord of hosts will brandish a whip against them like the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb; and His staff will be over the [Red] Sea and He will lift it up the way He did in [the flight from] Egypt.27 So it will be in that day, that the burden of the Assyrian will be removed from your shoulders and his yoke from your neck. The yoke will be broken because of the fat.
28 The Assyrian has come against Aiath [in Judah], He has passed through Migron [with his army]; At Michmash he stored his equipment. 29 They have gone through the pass, saying, “Geba will be our lodging place for the night.” Ramah trembles, and Gibeah [the city] of Saul has fled. 30 Cry aloud with your voice [in consternation], O Daughter of Gallim! Pay attention, Laishah! Answer her, Anathoth! 31 Madmenah has fled; The inhabitants of Gebim have fled [with their belongings] to safety. 32 Yet today the Assyrian will halt at Nob [the city of priests]; He shakes his fist at the mountain of the Daughter of Zion, at the hill of Jerusalem.
33 Listen carefully, the Lord, the God of hosts, will lop off the [beautiful] boughs with terrifying force; The tall in stature will be cut down And the lofty will be abased and humiliated. 34 He will cut down the thickets of the forest with an iron axe, And Lebanon (the Assyrian) will fall by the Mighty One.
Righteous Reign of the Branch
11 Then a Shoot (the Messiah) will spring from the stock of Jesse [David’s father], And a Branch from his roots will bear fruit. 2 And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him— The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and strength, The Spirit of knowledge and of the [reverential and obedient] fear of the Lord— 3 And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make decisions by what His ears hear; 4 But with righteousness and justice He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the downtrodden of the earth; And He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. 5 And righteousness will be the belt around His loins, And faithfulness the belt around His waist.
6 And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatted steer together; And a little child will lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear will graze [together], Their young will lie down together, And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the nursing child will [safely] play over the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den [and not be hurt]. 9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea.
10 Then in that day The nations will make supplications to the Root of Jesse Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious.
The Restored Remnant
11 Then it will happen on that day that the Lord Will again acquire with His hand a second time The remnant of His people, who will remain, From Assyria, from [Lower] Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush (Ethiopia), from Elam [in Persia], from Shinar [Babylonia], from Hamath [in Aram], And from the coastlands bordering the [Mediterranean] Sea. 12 And He will lift up a signal for the nations And assemble the [f]outcasts of Israel, And will gather the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth. 13 Then the jealousy of [g]Ephraim will depart, And those who harass [h]Judah will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, And Judah will not harass Ephraim. 14 Ephraim and Judah will [unite and] swoop down on the slopes of the Philistines toward the west; Together they will plunder the sons (Arabs) of the east. They will possess Edom and Moab, And the sons of Ammon will be subject to them. 15 And the Lord will utterly destroy The tongue of the [i]Sea of Egypt; And with His scorching wind He will wave His hand over the River; He will strike and divide it into seven channels And make [it possible for] people [to] walk over in sandals. 16 And there will be a highway from Assyria For the remnant of His people who will be left, Just as there was for Israel In the day when they came up out of the land of Egypt.
12 And on that day you will say, “I will give thanks to You, O Lord; For though You were angry with me, Your anger has turned away, And You comfort me. 2 “Behold, God, my salvation! I will trust and not be afraid, For the Lord God is my strength and song; Yes, He has become my salvation.” 3 Therefore with joy you will draw water From the springs of salvation. 4 And in that day you will say, “Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name [in prayer]. Make His deeds known among the peoples [of the earth]; Proclaim [to them] that His name is exalted!” 5 Sing praises to the Lord, for He has done excellent and glorious things; Let this be known throughout the earth. 6 Rejoice and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
Prophecies about Babylon
13 The [mournful, inspired] oracle ([j]a burden to be carried) concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw [in a prophetic vision]:
2 Lift up a signal banner on the bare mountain, Summon them [the Medes and Persians] with a loud voice, Wave the [beckoning] hand so that they may enter the doorways of the [Babylonian] nobles. 3 I [the Lord] have commanded My consecrated ones, I have even called My great warriors, My proudly exulting ones [the Medes and the Persians who triumph for My honor]— To execute My anger. 4 A sound of tumult on the mountains, Like that of many people! A sound of the uproar of the kingdoms, Of nations gathered together! The Lord of hosts is mustering an army for battle. 5 They are coming from a distant country, From the end of heaven [the farthest horizon]— The Lord and the weapons of His indignation— To destroy the whole land.
Judgment on the Day of the Lord
6 Wail, for the day of the Lord is at hand! It will come as [k]destruction from the [l]Almighty (All Sufficient One—Invincible God)! 7 Therefore [m]all hands will fall limp, And every man’s heart will melt. 8 They [of Babylon] will be shocked and terrified, Pains and anguish will grip them; They will be in pain like a woman in childbirth. They will stare aghast and horrified at one another, Their faces aflame [from the effects of the unprecedented warfare]. 9 Listen carefully, the day of the Lord is coming, Cruel, with wrath and raging anger, To make the land a horror [of devastation]; And He shall exterminate its sinners from it. 10 For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not flash with their light; The sun will be dark when it rises, And the moon will not shed its light. 11 In this way I will punish the world for its evil And the wicked for their wickedness [their sin, their injustice, their wrongdoing]; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud And will abase the arrogance of the tyrant. 12 I will make mortal man more rare than fine gold, And mankind [scarcer] than the pure gold of Ophir. 13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; And the earth will be shaken from its place At the wrath of the Lord of hosts In the day of His burning anger. 14 And like the hunted gazelle, Or like sheep that no man gathers, Each [foreign resident] will turn [and go back] to his own people, And each one flee to his own land. 15 Anyone who is found will be pierced through, And anyone who is captured will fall by the sword. 16 Their children also will be smashed to pieces Before their eyes; Their houses will be looted And their wives ravished.
Babylon Will Fall to the Medes
17 Listen carefully, I will put the Medes [in motion] against them, Who have no regard for silver and do not delight in gold [and therefore cannot be bribed]. 18 Their bows will cut down the young men [of Babylon]; They will take no pity on the fruit of the womb, Their eyes will not look with compassion on the children. 19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the [n]Chaldeans’ pride, Will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them. 20 Babylon will never be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation; Nor will the Arab pitch his tent there, Nor will the shepherds let their sheep lie down there. 21 But desert creatures will lie down there, And their houses will be full of owls; Ostriches also will live there, and [o]wild goats will dance there. 22 [p]Hyenas will howl in their castles, And jackals in their luxurious palaces. Babylon’s time has nearly come, And her days will not be prolonged.
Isaiah 9:2Or have seen, Hebrew perfect tense. The perfect tense is used frequently in this passage and should probably be interpreted as the prophetic future, that is, the use of the perfect (past) tense to describe a future event as a certainty.
Isaiah 9:4A reference to Gideon’s great victory over the Midianites (Judg 7:22-25).
Isaiah 9:9The names “Israel” and “Ephraim” are used interchangeably to refer to the ten tribes of the northern kingdom.
Isaiah 10:17During a single night this prophecy was fulfilled (2 Kin 19:35).
Isaiah 11:13A reference to the ten northern tribes. Israel split into two kingdoms after Rehoboam the son of Solomon became king. Jeroboam ruled from the city of Shechem in the north, and Rehoboam ruled from the city of Jerusalem in the south (1 Kin 12:1-20).
Isaiah 13:7Babylon was taken by surprise on the night of Belshazzar’s sacrilegious feast when Belshazzar was killed, and Darius the Mede was made king over Babylonia, the realm of the Chaldeans (Dan 5:30). The Chaldeans became the dominant people in Babylonia when Merodach-baladan declared himself king of Babylon. The words “Chaldean” and “Babylonian” are used interchangeably.
Isaiah 13:19The Chaldeans dominated and ruled Babylonia from 625 b.c., until their empire fell in 539 b.c., but they were known as early as 1000 b.c. as an aggressive, tribal people in the southern region of Babylonia. They were highly skilled in both the science of astronomy and the pseudo-science of astrology. They kept meticulous records of celestial motion and correctly calculated the length of a year to within just a few minutes. Babylon, their capital city, was the center of trade and learning in the western part of Asia. The classical literature of the Chaldeans was written in cuneiform, but the common language, both written and spoken in Babylon, was Akkadian that was increasingly influenced by Aramaic.
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