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This portion of the book of Isaiah which began in Chapter 7 and continues thru Chapter 12 features a couple of the most famous Messianic prophecies in all of the Old Testament. You remember the Immanuel promise from 7:14 as wicked King Ahaz rejected the opportunity to ask as sign from the Lord: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel” – which means “God with us.”

This same emphasis on the dual God-Man nature of the coming Messiah child continues in 9:6 “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

This section which promises the entrance of the Light of the World is set against the dark, gloomy backdrop of the depths to which the nation had sunk in their rejection of God’s Word and rule. They had even resorted to taking counsel from mediums and spiritists. We saw last week 8 Reasons to Avoid Any Contact with the Dark Side of the Occult – perhaps best summarized in the prophet’s biting sarcasm: “Should not a people consult their God?”

Oswalt: In this segment Isaiah reaches the climax of the section begun at 7:1. In place of an unfaithful monarch whose shortsighted defensive policies will actually plunge the nation into more desperate straits, there is lifted up the ideal monarch who, though a child, will bring an end to all wars and establish an eternal kingdom based upon justice and righteousness.

As we come to this amazing prophecy which encompasses both the First and Second Comings of the Messiah [Remember the intervening gap of the Church Age was not visible from the OT perspective], the grace and mercy of the sovereign covenant-keeping God of Israel is at the forefront. “The zeal of the Lord of hosts” will accomplish the ushering in of this righteous kingdom. The blessing is announced when the people are least deserving. They can do nothing to bring about the deliverance they so desperately need. The Jews should be amazed at the faithfulness of a God who assures them He will keep all the promises He made to Abraham and to David.


Are you living in Gloom or Glory today? If you have been delivered out of the realm of darkness by the light of the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, you should already be experiencing the joy of all of the spiritual blessings God has bestowed on His elect – regardless of your present physical circumstances. But the glory that awaits us in the physical realm will be every bit as real as that glory we already experience in the spiritual realm – and it will last for all eternity.


A. Glorious Future for Distressed Land

“But there will be no more gloom

for her who was in anguish;

in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt,

but later on He shall make it glorious, “

What a tremendous promise! No more gloom or anguish but a glorious future

make light; treat with contempt

the tribes surrounding Sea of Galilee on North and West; most paganized and corrupted; areas attacked first by invasions

Beall: That region of Galilee was indeed dealt with severely by Tiglath-Pilesar of Assyria in 733, as is mentioned in 2 Kings 15:29 (Tiglath-Pilesar king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maachah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali; and he carried them captive to Assyria). The annals of Tiglath-Pilesar confirm the biblical account as well (“the cities of . . . Galaza, Abilakka [=Abel Beth Maachah], which are on the border of Bit-Humria [Omriland] . . . the wide land of Naphtali in its entirety I brought within the borders of Assyria”

Motyer: Isaiah rests his vision on the devastation of the northern lands about 733. The poem must be dated at this time. It would not have been appropriate to single out this one area after the whole northern kingdom had been deported in 722 or at any later date. Rather, in the first hurt of seeing homelands alienated and fellow-Israelites carried captive people would have looked to the prophet for a word from the Lord. His reply that where darkness had fallen light would shine received the most glorious fulfillment.

Van Parunak: The two verbs are often used (though in Piel rather than Hiphil) in contrasting senses, “to despise” and “to honor” (cf. 1 Sam 2:30). In this case, the first verb still refers to the coming invasion(s), but the second points to a later restoration. This contrast would go with a longer-term understanding of “afterward” in the first contrast.

1 Sam. 2:30 “for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed.”

“Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Matt. 4:12-17 makes reference to the fulfillment of this at the First Coming of Jesus as He moved from Nazareth into Capernaum to begin His ministry

B. Geographic Reference for the Promised Messiah

“by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.”

Van Parunak: “Beyond Jordan” would refer to the land east of the Jordan river. The phrase “way of the sea” appears elsewhere only in Ezek 41:12, where it is a directional reference, “toward the west,” and may balance “beyond Jordan” in bounding the region.1 This description differs from “Zebulun and Naphthali” in two ways. First, it emphasizes its mixed character rather than its Israelite heritage. Second, its extent is broader, extending all the way from the sea to the other side of the Jordan, potentially including Asher and Dan.

The invading king from Assyria does not get to write the final chapter in Israel’s history

Motyer: “Galilee of the Gentiles” – introduces the involvement of the Gentiles in this time of future hope. . . the Messiah is for the world

Bracketed by end statement in vs. 7 – emphasis on the Lord as the agent who will take the initiative and accomplish this transformation

“The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.”



A. (:2) Transformation From Extreme Darkness to Extreme Light

“The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light;

Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.”

Van Parunak: In the first half of the verse, the darkness is associated with the people and their conduct. Here it becomes a characteristic of the land, languishing under God’s judgment. When the people walk in darkness, their land becomes darkened.

We read these passages identifying Jesus as the Light of the world in previous weeks:

John 1-3 Light associated with Holiness and contrasted with deeds of darkness and evil

John 8:12 “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness but will have the Light of life.” Light always associated with Life

Remember at the conversion of Saul on the Damascus Road in Acts 9, he was struck with a light from heaven

1 John 1

Heb. 1:1-3 “He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” – Light associated with Glory and Revelation

Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my Light and my Salvation; whom shall I fear?”

2 Cor. 4:4-6

  • It would be a shame for believers who have access to the Light to continue to walk in darkness.

  • It would be unnatural for light to try to have fellowship with darkness.

  • It would be foolish to choose darkness over light in any context.

B. (:3) Transformation From Extreme Sadness to Extreme Gladness

“Thou shalt multiply the nation, Thou shalt increase their gladness;

They will be glad in Thy presence as with the gladness of harvest, As men rejoice when

they divide the spoil.”

2 similes introduced here from 2 very familiar realms of life:

– Joy at harvest time – important for an agricultural society

– Joy upon the occasion of military victory where you get to enjoy the spoils – not motivated by medals of honor; not so interested in the strategic side of things; very interested in who gets what at the end of the day

Beall: The source of the great change is given in v. 3–it is God Himself who would cause (prophetic pft.) the nation to increase (from a small remnant–this increase in the nation is a part of the Messianic promise–Gen 12, 15; Isa 26:15; 66:8; Zech 14:10, 11), increasing its joy . . .The Lord is the only true source of lasting joy (see Ps 16:11; 27:4-6). The simile of a harvest is appropriate, for this is a harvest of people. The picture is quite a contrast from the time of famine in 5:10 and 8:21. The second simile is that of rejoicing over booty from a great military victory, again a contrast from the Assyrian conquest where Israel was the spoil (8:1-15).

Van Parunak: Ps. 126:5-6 — the sowing and reaping are meant as a figure of the captivity. Israel was sown among the nations, to all appearances destroyed just as seed sown upon the earth is wasted. But the years in captivity were, in God’s providence, a fruitful field that brought forth fruit, a revitalized nation


A. (:4) Deliverance From Cruel Bondage for the Oppressed of the Kingdom

“For Thou shalt break

the yoke of their burden

and the staff on their shoulders,

The rod of their oppressor,

as at the battle of Midian.”

Imagery takes us back to the days of Israel’s bondage in Egypt before God’s glorious deliverance – God shall deliver His people in even more spectacular fashion in the last days

Beall: the emphatic words in Hebrew are the yoke, the staff, and the rod–these come first, before the verb

Van Parunak: The first reason for victory is the end of their oppression. Isaiah recalls three implements of oppression.

• The yoke is placed on the neck of an animal so that it can pull a burden.

• The staff îèä is used to beat a slave into submission.

• “Rod” ùÑáè here probably has the sense of “scepter” (cf. the contrast in Isa 14:15, though the English translations are not the same), and reflects the fact that the people are not independent, but under the rule of someone who wants to abuse them.

God will render all three ineffective against them. They will no longer be oppressed.

Motyer: no more burdens, blows, tyrants

Former victories should encourage us regarding the Lord’s power and resources – breaking the yoke of the oppression of the Midianites

Vine: “day of Midian” was the time of Gideon’s victory. God saved the nation, not by its military power or prowess, but by His own choice of a small company and by means far otherwise than that of human might, so that they could not boast in their own strength. So in the coming day, it will be all the Lord’s personal act, for the nation will be in the extremity of weakness.

B. (:5) Execution of Righteous Wrath Upon Kingdom Oppressors

“For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, And cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.”

Van Parunak: You pile it up and burn it. This is what will become of the stomping boots and bloodstained garments of the oppressors. With the end of oppression, the equipment of those who abused them will be burned up.

Refers to the final Battle of Armageddon when the kings of the whole world gather together “for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.” Rev. 16:14

Is. 63:3 “I also trod them in My anger and trampled them in My wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, and I stained all My raiment.” – but in Is. 9 we are talking more about the blood soaked garments of the oppressors

Here we have a picture of the end of hostilities – if even the war garments are burned, how much more the weapons of warfare will be beat into plowshares and pruning hooks

Is. 2:1-5 Don’t forget the ground Isaiah has already covered

Silversides: Finality and Completeness of victory and deliverance; looking beyond the deliverance from Assyria in immediate context; much greater and lasting deliverance spoken of in this context


Silversides: extraordinary means of deliverance – by a child

A. His Nature as it Benefits His People

1. Son of Man – “For a child will be born to us”

2. Son of God – “a son will be given to us”

Van Parunak: It is used 9x with God as subject, to emphasize that the birth of a child is due to his gracious provision. Five of these times are with reference to Solomon, taking us again back to the royal history of David’s house. The child to be born is indeed a gift of God’s promise, going back to the Davidic covenant in 2 Sam 7. . . in two senses: the fulfillment of the promise to David in 2 Sam 7, but also the Son of God, delivered up for sacrifice for the redemption of his people.

Motyer: The emphasis falls not on what the child will do when grown up but on the mere fact of his birth. In his coming all that results from his coming is at once secured.

B. His Governing Role in Relationship to the World – all the nations

“And the government will rest on His shoulders;”

He has broad shoulders; He can handle the load

Doesn’t shirk His responsibilities – King of Israel – will reign over all the world

Would be futile to try to resist His rule; yet man persists in wanting to control his own life; refusing to yield submission to the one who rightfully has the rule

C. His Names in Relationship to His People and His Governing Role

“And His name will be called”

1. Wonderful Counselor – Do you know Him as your wonderful counselor?

Addresses issues of guidance, direction, comfort, emotional strength

This king needs no counselor; He Himself is the ultimate counselor

All wisdom dwells in Him

Beall: “Wonder-worker Counselor” — The English word “wonderful” does not really do justice to the concept behind this Hebrew word. As Victor Hamilton notes in the Theological Wordbook of the OT, “preponderantly both the verb and substantive refer to the acts of God, designating either cosmic wonders or historical achievements on behalf of Israel. That is, in the Bible the root al,P, refers to things that are unusual, beyond human capabilities” (p. 723). This word is used in Judg 13:18 where the Angel of the Lord tells Manoah that His name is yalip,, i.e., incomprehensible to man.

Alternate view:

Van Parunak: So, following the Massoretic accentuation, we will take the first name, “Miracle,” as a summary of the four to follow. God is giving the nation a child, who will bear the government on his shoulder, and his name is “Miracle.” More specifically, there are four ways in which he is a miracle. . .

“Counselor” — We are likely to think of this word as referring to a psychologist or social worker, someone who helps people work through their problems. But in the Bible, it refers specifically to a member of the government, someone who advises a ruler: 2 Sam 15:12 . . .The Child’s relation to God as Counselor is what allows him to be our high priest (Heb 4:15), our advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1), the one mediator between God and men (1 Tim 2:15). He is a partaker of our flesh and so is sympathetic with our weakness, yet by his obedience has earned the attention of the Most High and can sway him to spare us.

2. Mighty God – Do you know Him as your mighty God?

Addresses issues of weakness

Beall: As Young points out, in Isaiah the term lae is used exclusively of God (for example, Isa 31:3: Egypt is a man, and not God [lae]). Furthermore, everywhere the phrase occurs elsewhere in Scripture it clearly refers to God (Isa 10:21–this reference is especially notable in that it occurs only one chapter away from Isa 9:6; Deut 10:17; and Jer 32:18). The quality of “might” is another of the attributes given to the Messiah in 11:2 (hr’Wbg>). As Ridderbos notes, the two qualities given in the first two titles, wisdom and power, constitute “the two cardinal qualities of the King. Power uninformed by wise counsel, and counsel powerless to act, are both unfruitful” (p. 102).

Van Parunak: God,–“Mighty” is a term commonly applied to warriors. It describes someone who is warlike, heroic, able to prevail in conflict.

3. Eternal Father – Do you know Him as your eternal Father?

Addresses issues of loneliness, insecurity

4. Prince of Peace – Do you know Him as your Prince of Peace?

Addresses issues of anxiety, worry, fear, strife, turmoil, stress

Van Parunak: It is important to remember that the Hebrew word ùÑìåí , commonly translated “peace,” has a much broader meaning than just the end of hostilities. It denotes prosperity in every way.


Chiastic Structure once again

A1. Duration — Perpetual Reign

“There will be no end”

B1. Characterization — In Righteousness and Prosperity and Peace

“to the increase of His government or of peace,”

C1. Identification/Scope — Fulfillment of Davidic Kingdom

“On the throne of David”

What promises constitute the Davidic Covenant?

C2. Identification/Scope — Fulfillment of Davidic Kingdom

“and over his kingdom,”

B2. Characterization — In Righteousness and Prosperity and Peace

“To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness”

No more cycling of world kingdoms with their rise and fall; this is the end game culmination

Van Parunak: Judgment refers to the exercise of the processes of government. The first failure of government is neglect. . . The second way that government can fail is when its processes are executed, but against a false standard (such as pleasing the ego of a dictator, or gratifying the fleshly lusts of the majority). Messiah’s government is based upon righteousness, conformity to the nature and will of God, who (Psa 145:17) is “righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.”

A2. Duration — Perpetual Reign

“From then on and forevermore.”


“The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.”

Only God can bring about such a transformation

Beall: The identical phrase is repeated in Isa 37:32, when the Lord prophecies that He will defeat Assyria and spare Jerusalem.

Learned that God is a Jealous God – won’t tolerate His people fooling around with the occult;

God is also a Zealous God – will accomplish His kingdom objectives

Oswalt: Zeal and Jealousy are two sides of the same concept. Both bespeak a kind of concern for someone that desires an exclusive place in that person’s affections.