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Isaiah 9New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 9

The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
Upon those who lived in a land of gloom
    a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
    and great rejoicing;
They rejoice before you as people rejoice at harvest,
    as they exult when dividing the spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
    the pole on their shoulder,
The rod of their taskmaster,
    you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.[a]
For every boot that tramped in battle,
    every cloak rolled in blood,
    will be burned as fuel for fire.
For a child[b] is born to us, a son is given to us;
    upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
    Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
His dominion is vast
    and forever peaceful,
Upon David’s throne, and over his kingdom,
    which he confirms and sustains
By judgment and justice,
    both now and forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this!

Judgment on the Northern Kingdom[c]

The Lord has sent a word against Jacob,
    and it falls upon Israel;
And all the people know it—
    Ephraim and those who dwell in Samaria—
    those who say in arrogance and pride of heart,
“Bricks have fallen,
    but we will rebuild with cut stone;
Sycamores have been felled,
    but we will replace them with cedars.”
10 So the Lord raises up their foes against them
    and stirs up their enemies to action—
11 Aram[d] from the east and the Philistines from the west—
    they devour Israel with open mouth.
For all this, his wrath is not turned back,
    and his hand is still outstretched!
12 The people do not turn back to the one who struck them,
    nor do they seek the Lord of hosts.
13 So the Lord cuts off from Israel head and tail,
    palm branch and reed in one day.
14 (The elder and the noble are the head,
    the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail.)
15 Those who lead this people lead them astray,
    and those who are led are swallowed up.
16 That is why the Lord does not spare their young men,
    and their orphans and widows he does not pity;
For they are totally impious and wicked,
    and every mouth speaks folly.
For all this, his wrath is not turned back,
    his hand is still outstretched!
17 For wickedness burns like fire,
    devouring brier and thorn;
It kindles the forest thickets,
    which go up in columns of smoke.
18 At the wrath of the Lord of hosts the land quakes,
    and the people are like fuel for fire;
    no one spares his brother.
19 They hack on the right, but remain hungry;
    they devour on the left, but are not filled.
    Each devours the flesh of the neighbor;
20 Manasseh devours Ephraim,[e] and Ephraim Manasseh,
    together they turn on Judah.
For all this, his wrath is not turned back,
    his hand is still outstretched!


  1. 9:3 Day of Midian: when God used the judge Gideon to deliver these northern territories from Midianite oppression (Jgs 6–7).
  2. 9:5 A child: perhaps to be identified with the Emmanuel of 7:14 and 8:8; cf. 11:1–2, 9. This verse may reflect a coronation rather than a birth. Upon his shoulder: the reference may be to a particular act in the ritual in which a symbol of the king’s authority was placed on his shoulder (cf. 2 Kgs 11:12; Is 22:22).
  3. 9:7–20 + 5:25–30 These verses describe a series of judgments God sent against the Northern Kingdom of Israel because of its sins. Despite the judgments, however, Israel continued to rebel, and God’s anger remained unabated, as the recurring refrain emphasizes (9:11, 16, 20). The refrain ties Is 9:7–20 together as a unit, but 9:20 is far too abrupt to be the original conclusion to the oracle. With its series of past judgments and repeated refrain, the oracle resembles Am 4:6–12; by analogy with that model one expects a conclusion in which the prophet turns from the narration of past judgments to the announcement of a future judgment. Is 5:25–30 fits the pattern found in 9:7–20 and provides a suitable and possibly original conclusion for the whole oracle.
  4. 9:11 Aram: the Syrian kingdom, with its capital at Damascus.
  5. 9:20 Manasseh…Ephraim: two of the leading tribes of the Northern Kingdom. The reference is to the civil wars that marked the final decades of the Northern Kingdom (2 Kgs 15:10, 14–16, 25; cf. Hos 7:3–7).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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