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Isaiah Nine

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Isaiah 9:1 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.

Galilee. This is the first indication that the region of Galilee, in Isaiah's time a part of the northern kingdom that was so “afflicted” by the Assyrians, would eventually be the first area in Immanuel's land to see “a great light” (Isaiah 9:2) when Immanuel would begin His preaching ministry (Matthew 4:12-17).

Isaiah 9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

great light. This prophecy was fulfilled, at least in part, when Jesus—the Light of the world—ministered in Galilee. Isaiah 9:1-2 is quoted with this application in Matthew 4:14-16.

Isaiah 9:3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

not increased the joy. Because it seems more compatible with the general tone of the passage, many translators and commentators (ancient and modern) have eliminated the word “not.” However, the very fact that “not” seems so incompatible would make it unlikely that any copyist would (either intentionally or accidentally) insert the word into the passage. Thus, it is probably correct as it stands here. The meaning seems to be that, even though God had greatly multiplied the nation, as promised to Abraham (Genesis 22:17), there had been no increase in true joy among the people. Though they had been blessed and made free physically, they were still in bondage spiritually (see Isaiah 9:8-21).

Isaiah 9:4 For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.

Isaiah 9:5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

child is born. This is truly one of the most amazing prophecies ever given. No doubt referring back to the promised virgin-born Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14), the child born is the human Jesus, born as a babe, while the Son given is the eternally begotten Second Person of the Godhead united in the glorious hypostatic union—God with us!

Wonderful, Counsellor. It is probable that the first name of His fourfold Name, paralleling the adjective/noun structure of the other three, is “Wonderful Counsellor.” The testimony, even of His enemies, was that “never man spake like this man” (John 7:46).

mighty God. This is a marvelous paradox! The helpless infant in the manger is God Almighty! He has “all power ... in heaven and earth” (Matthew 28:18).

everlasting Father. The question might arise as to how the Son could also be “The everlasting Father.” Actually, this phrase could also be translated “Father of Eternity,” reminding us that the eternal Son was the Creator of Time, as well as Space and Matter and, in fact, all things (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). In the unfathomable, yet glorious mystery of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus noted also that “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).

Prince of peace. “Prince of peace” indicates He is the very first leader who will bring true peace to the world. Melchizedek (who was either the preincarnate Christ or at least a type of Christ) is called “King of Salem,” which means “King of Peace” (Genesis 14:18; Hebrews 7:2). He is the great Peacemaker (Matthew 5:9), who “made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:20).

Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

increase. Reigning eternally, Christ and His glorified saints will continue to extend His domain, by exploration, development, and utilization, throughout His infinite creation—forever. See notes on Revelation 22:3.

throne of David. Although His kingdom will be of unlimited extent, its center will be in the New Jerusalem, on the throne of David, as promised to Mary before He was born (note Luke 1:32, 33; also see Ezekiel 37:25).

zeal of the Lord. This magnificent kingdom can never be achieved by human effort, but only by the “zeal of the Lord of hosts.”

Isaiah 9:8 The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.

Isaiah 9:9 And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart,

Isaiah 9:10 The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.

Isaiah 9:11 Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join his enemies together;

Isaiah 9:12 The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

stretched out still. Note the repetition of this phrase in Isaiah 9:17, 21—also in Isaiah 5:25 and 10:4. The raising of God's hand in anger and judgment must inevitably follow unrepented rebellion and sin.

Isaiah 9:13 For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts.

Isaiah 9:14 Therefore the LORD will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day.

Isaiah 9:15 The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.

Isaiah 9:16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.

Isaiah 9:17 Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

Isaiah 9:18 For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke.

Isaiah 9:19 Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother.

Isaiah 9:20 And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm:

Isaiah 9:21 Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: and they together shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.