ch. 9




THE BIRTH OF A MARVELOUS CHILD. The section of the prophecy

commencing with Isaiah 7:1 terminates in this glorious burst of glad

and gracious promise. The gist of the whole section is: “Israel shall not

suffer from Pekah and Rezin; her oppressors shall be Assyria and Egypt,

more especially the former; Assyria shall overwhelm her, crush her, lay her

low; she shall remain awhile in gloom and darkness; but at length the

darkness shall be dispelled; a ‘great light’ shall shine forth, first in the

north, then over all the land; ‘the rod of the oppressor’ shall be broken; a

Child shall be born, who shall bear marvelous names, and shall rule over

the full kingdom of David in justice and righteousness forever.” God has

spoken, and God will perform this.


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v. 1 - At the first... and afterward; rather,

at the former time... in the latter time. The contrast is between two periods

of Israel’s history, the existing period and the Messianic. And afterward

did more grievously afflict her. This is altogether wrong. Translate, So in

the latter time He hath brought honor on the way of the sea. The perfect is

a “prophetic perfect,” and the reference is to the honor that would be done

to the northern districts, “the land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali,” by

the Messiah dwelling there (Matthew 4:14-16). The way of the

sea; i.e. the district about the sea of Tiberias, called “the sea of Kinnereth”

(equivalent to “Gennesareth”) in Numbers 34:11, and “the sea of

Galilee” in John. 6:1. Beyond Jordan; i.e. the tract east of the sea and of

the upper Jordan, where the five thousand were fed, and where our Lord

was transfigured. Galilee of the nations. The name “Galilee” seems to

have been given to the outlying circuit, or zone, on the north, which was

debatable ground between the Israelites and their neighbors (1 Kings 9:11;

Joshua 20:7; 21:32). The word means “circuit,” or “ring.”  Though claimed

as theirs by the Israelites, it was largely peopled by “Gentiles.”


v. 2 - “A Great Light” - All the world was in darkness when Christ came –

the True Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world!

John 1:9


v. 3 - "according to the joy in harvest" -“The joy in harvest” was to the

Jews the joy of the Feast of Tabernacles, or in gathering (Exodus 23:16),

held when the last fruits were brought in.



v. 6 - The Significance of the Names of Christ. - Five names of the

Redeemer are here declared by Isaiah, in addition to the name given

Him in Isaiah 7-8., viz. Immanuel.  Names of Christ are always

worthy of the deepest and most attentive consideration, for each

reveals some portion of His nature, each exhibits some aspect of Him,

so to speak, which is distinct from other aspects; and it is only by

meditating upon all, that we approximate to a full and complete

conception of His manifold excellences.


“His name shall be called” -  Isaiah does not really mean that the “Child”

should bear as a name, or names, any of the expressions, but only that

they should be truly applicable to him.  “Wonderful, Counselor” - It has

been proposed to unite these two expressions and translate, “Wondrous

Counselor” (compare “wonderful in counsel,” Isaiah 28:29.  Some take

the words separately -  Wonderful -The Messiah would be“wonderful” in

His nature as God-Man; in His teaching, which “astonished” those who

heard it (Matthew 7:28); in His doings (Isaiah 25:1); in the circumstances

of His birth and death; in His resurrection, and in His ascension. “Wonder”

would be the first sentiment which His manifestation would provoke, and

hence this descriptive epithet is placed first. As the Word, as Wisdom itself,

as He who says, “Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am Understanding”

(Proverbs 8:14), He is well named “Counselor.” None will ever seek His

counsel in vain, much less repent of following it.The mighty God-  rather,

perhaps, Mighty God; but the difference is not great, since El, God, contains

within itself the notion of singularity, which is given to ordinary nouns by the

article. The term El, God, had been previously applied to the Messiah only in

Psalm 45:6. It denotes in Isaiah always “divinity in an absolute sense; it is never

used hyperbolically or metaphorically.” “The Everlasting Father” - rather,

Everlasting or Eternal Father. But here, again, there is a singularity in the idea,

which makes the omission of the article unimportant; for how could there be more

than one Everlasting Father, one Creator, Preserver, Protector of mankind who

was absolutely eternal? If the term “Father,” applied to our Lord, grates on our

ears, we must remember that the distinction of Persons in the Godhead had not

yet been revealed. “The Prince of Peace-  literally, Prince of Peace. A “Prince

of Peace” had been long shadowed forth, as in Melchizedek, “King of Salem,”

i.e. “of Peace;” and again in Solomon, “the peaceful one;” and Isaiah

himself had already prophesied the peacefulness of the Messiah’s kingdom

(Isaiah 2:4). Compare the song of the angels at our Lord’s birth (Luke 2:14).





v. 7 - "of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end" –

            it shall fill the world!



from henceforth even for ever” – The kingdom is to be both universal in

respect of extent,  and in respect of duration, eternal.


"the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this" - The zeal; or, jealousy.

God’s jealousy of His own honor, which is bound up with the prosperity

and final triumph of His people over all their enemies, will assure the

performance of all that is here prophesied.





ISRAEL. The remainder of this chapter, together with the first four verses

of the next, seems to have formed originally a distinct and separate

prophecy. The passage is a poem in four stanzas, with the same refrain at

the end of each: For all this his anger is not turned away,.” since Israel

continued impenitent. It would have ceased had they repented and turned to

God (see v. 13). His hand is stretched out still; not to save, but to smite.

A somewhat early date has been assigned to the prophecy, as; for instance,

some period in the reign of Jotham” but the internal evidence only proves

that it was written before the destruction of Samaria by the Assyrians.


v. 13 - "neither do they seek the Lord of hosts" - Israel had set itself

to seek after Baal from the time of Ahab (1 Kings 16:31). The reform

of Jehu (2 Kings 10:28) had gone but skin-deep. Baal was still “sought

to,” rather than Jehovah, when the final judgment came (2 Kings 17:16;

Hosea 2:13).



v. 15 - "the honorable"??- who claimed to be among

            the honorable, but who were really  the

            lowest of the low!


v. 16 – “For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and

            they that are led of them are destroyed”


v. 17 - "every mouth speaketh folly" (lewdness or



v. 18 - the contagion of the wicked overspreads

            a whole nation in the same way that fire

            spreads over a field of stubble.


The flames of wickedness give no light to a land, but

plunge it in heavy, hopeless gloom.


v. 19 - "the people shall be as the fuel of the fire"


Though the general ravage, devastation, and desolation of the land,

with its buildings, its trees, and its other vegetable products, is

included in the image of the fire devouring the thorny brakes and

tangled thickets of a dense forest, yet the threat is intended still more

against the Israelite people, who were the true “fuel of the fire,” since

the ravage would go on until the land should be depopulated.


Internally in Israel there were anarchy and disturbance.


Externally, there was the conquest of Israel by the Assyrians under

Shalmaneser and Sargon.


The same instrument, Assyria, was employed for the first chastisement

and the last. Shalmaneser, the successor of Tiglath-Pileser, towards the

middle of his short reign, having “found conspiracy in Hoshea” — who

had murdered Pekah and succeeded him — “came up throughout all the

land of Israel, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years”

(2 Kings 17:5). At the end of the three years the city fell, about the same

time (B.C. 722) that Sargon, having murdered Shahnaneser at Nineveh,

caused himself to be proclaimed supreme ruler of the Assyrian empire.

Sargon, following a recognized Assyrian practice, deported the principal

part of the population, and settled it partly in Upper Mesopotamia, partly

in the cities of Media (2 Kings 17:6). The life of the nation thus came to

an end. God had borne with it for two centuries and a half — tried it,

tested it, sent it prophets and seers (2 Kings 17:7-23), chastened it,

corrected it; but all in vain. Notwithstanding all that He could do and did,

they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their

fathers, and rejected His statutes, and His covenant that He made with

their fathers, and His testimonies which He testified against them; and

followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were

round about them, and left all the commandments of the Lord their God,

and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to

anger” (2 Kings 17:14-17). Nothing, therefore, remained but to “remove

them out of His sight” — to sweep them away with the besom of

destruction. The fate of Israel is a warning, primarily, to nations; but

also, secondarily, to individuals. God lays his chastisements on them

too, for the purpose of bringing them to repentance. If they resist and are

impenitent, He follows up blow with blow. If they remain obdurate,

He breaks their pride and crushes them.