Isaiah 9




                        THE BIRTH OF A MARVELOUS CHILD

                                                            (vs. 1-7)


The section of the prophecy commencing with ch. 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.


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.”  Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her

vexationwhen, etc. Our translators have misconceived the construction, and

consequently missed the sense. The first two clauses, which they run

together, are entirely separate and distinct. Translate, Nevertheless there

shall be no (moredarkness to her who was in afflictionAs at the former

time he brought contempt upon the land of Zebulonetc. Contempt was

brought on the more northern part of the Holy Land, first when it was overrun

and ravaged by the Syrians (I Kings 15:20) under Ben-hadad, and more recently

when it bore the brunt of the Assyrian attack (II Kings 15:29) under Tiglath-Pileser

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 (compare 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 6:1Beyond 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 (see I Kings 9:11Joshua 20:721:32).

The word means "circuit," or "ring." Though claimed as theirs by the Israelites,

it was largely peopled by "Gentiles."


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.”

The people that walked in darkness (compare ch. 8:22). All the world was

"in darkness" when Christ came; but here the Jews especially seem to

be intended. It was truly a dark time with them when Christ came (see

Dollinger's 'Judenthum and Heidenthum,' vol. 2. pp. 301-335). Have seen;

rathersaw. The "prophetic" preterit is used throughout the whole passage. 

A great light. "The Light of the world," "the Sun of righteousness,"

"the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,"

first broke on man in that northern tract "by the way of the sea," when Jesus

came forward to teach and to preach in "Galilee of the Gentiles." For thirty

years He had dwelt at Nazareth, in Zebulon. There he had first come forward

to teach in a synagogue (Luke 4:16-21); in Galilee He had done His first

miracles (John 2:114:54); at Capernaum. "Upon the sea coast, in the borders

of Zabulon and Nephthalim," He commenced His preaching of repentance

(Matthew 4:13-17). The "light" first streamed forth in this quarter, glorifying

the region on which contempt had long been poured.


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.”  Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy.

Dr. Kay defends this reading, and supposes a contrast of time between

this clause and the next; he renders, "Thou didst multiply the nation" (i.e. in the

days of Solomon and again in those of Uzziah) "and not increase the joy; 

but now," etc. The objection is that the verbs are all in the same tense, the

simple preterit, and that there is nothing in the original corresponding to

"but now." Almost all other recent commentators accept the solution offered

by the Masoretic reading (לו for לא), which makes the passage simple and easy:

"Thou hast multiplied the nation; its joy thou hast increased; they joy before

thee," etc. (So many Hebrew manuscripts, the Alexandrine Septuagint, the Syriac,

Gesenius, Knobel, Cheyne, etc.) 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. But the prophet is

perhaps taking a wider view, and thinking of the many harvest festivals

prevailing throughout Western Asia, all of them originating in gratitude to THE

GIVER of all good, and many of them comprising manifestations of joy more

jubilant than those habitual to his more sedate countrymen.


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.”  Thou hast broken the

yoke of his burden, etc. The coming of the Messiah sets the Israelites free,

removes the yoke from off their neck, breaks the rod wherewith their shoulders

were beaten, delivers them from bondage into the "glorious liberty of the children

of God." (Romans 8:21)  Not, however, in an earthly sense, since the Messiah's

kingdom was not of this world. The "yoke" is that of sin, the "oppressor"

is that prince of darkness, who had well-nigh brought all mankind under his

dominion when Christ came. His oppressor; literally, his task-master 

the same word which is used of the Egyptian taskmasters in Exodus 5:6

As in the day of Midian. The "day of Midian" is probably the time of Israel's

deliverance from the Midianite oppression by Gideon (Judges 7:19-25). The

special characteristic of the deliverance was, as Dr. Kay well observes, "that

it was accomplished without military prowess by a small body of men selected

out of Israel, selected expressly in order that Israel might not vaunt itself

against the Lord, saying, My own hand hath saved me (ibid. v. 2)."


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.”

For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise; rather, for all

the armor of him that armeth noisily (Knobel, Vance Smith); or, perhaps,

"every hoof of him that trampeth noisily" (Gesenius, Cheyne). The noun

and participle, which are cognate words, occur only in this passage. 

And garments, etc. Translate, And every garment that is rolled in blood

shall be for burningeven fuel for fire. All military dress and equipment shall be

committed to the flames, that the reign of peace and justice may commence

(compare ch. 2:4Psalm 46:9).


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,

Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Unto us a child is born (compare ch. 7:14-16, where the promise of "a child," "a son,"

is first made - a child who was, like this Child, to be "God with us"). The government

shall be upon His shoulder. The word translated "government" (misrah) occurs only

here and in v. 7. It is probably to be connected with sar, "prince," and Israel.

Government was regarded as a burden, to be born on the back or shoulders, and

was sometimes symbolized by a key laid upon the shoulder (ch. 22:22). Vizier

means "burdened." The Latin writers often speak of the civil power as borne

on the shoulders of magistrates (Cic., 'Orat. pro Flacc,' § 95; Plin., 'Paneg.,' § 10).

As God, our Lord governed all things from the beginning; as man, He set up a

"kingdom" which He still governs - upon the earth. His name shall be called. 

It is perhaps not very important whether we view what follows as one name or

several. “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).

If the peacefulness has not yet very clearly shown itself, the reason would

seem to be that our Lord's kingdom has yet to come into the hearts of most men.




                        The Significance of the Names of Christ (v. 6)


Five names of the Redeemer are here declared by Isaiah, in addition to the

name given him in chapters 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. Very specially worthy of consideration are the five names here

put forth, which may be viewed either separately or in their connection.

And first separately:




Ø      Wonderful is the Son in His eternal relation to the Almighty Father, an

unchanging relation of mutual love and tenderness, differenced by the fact

of derivation, and the sense on the one hand of bestowal, and on the other

of acceptance and dependence. Wonderful, wholly transcending our utmost

reach of thought, is that eternity of pre-existence which he enjoyed with

the Father and the Holy Spirit, not only before the world was, but before it

had pleased the Divine Nature to bring into existence any other being

besides itself.


Ø      Wonderful, again, is He in that repeated act of creation, so clearly

assigned to Him (John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2), whereby He brought out

of nothing (ibid. ch. 11:3) the entire existing universeangels and

archangels, principalities and powers, cherubim and seraphim; matter

arranged and unarranged; sun, moon, stars, planets, satellites, nebulae;

man, animals; — all of them “the work of His hands,” created by Him

out of non-existence.


Ø      Even more wonderful is He in His dealings with the children of men


o        His patience with them,

o        His regard for them,

o        His mediatorial office towards them,

o        His inward revelation of Himself to them,

o        His constant presence with them,

o        His sacramental communication of Himself to them,


all unworthy as they are.


Ø      Wonderful is He in his life on earth, which even unbelievers cannot but



o        wonderful in His triumph over death and the grave;

o        wonderful in His ascension into heaven in the sight of men;

o        wonderful in His appearances to Paul and Stephen;

o        wonderful in the might wherewith He still sustains His Church,


so that even the very “gates of hell” cannot prevail against it!


·         THE NAME OF “COUNSELOR” As the “Loges,” or “Reason,” no

less than the “Word” of God, the Son was identified by the ancient Fathers

with the “Wisdom” of the Book of Proverbs, of whom it is said, “I Wisdom

dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge.... Counsel is mine, and

sound wisdom; I am understanding.... The Lord possessed me in the

beginning of his way, before His works of old. I was set up from

everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was when He appointed

the foundations of the earth, then I was by Him, as one brought up with

Him; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before him” (Proverbs

8:12-30). He was thus, in some sort, the Counselor of the Triune Synod

which presided over the world and directed all its affairs. But, further, He

was the Counselor of man. The Logos was “the true Light which lighteth

every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9). Our natural reason

and conscience come from Him, for He has implanted them in us, to counsel

us aright. All revealed light is also from Him, for He is the Word and the

Truth. He counsels us from within, by the inward monitor who tells us

what is right; He counsels us from without, by His apostles, His evangelists,

His Church, His living ministers. Do we lack wisdom generally? let us ask of

Him, and He will pour light into our souls. Do we need counsel on any

special matter? Let us take it to him, and he will show us the wisest and

best course.   (James 1:5)


·         THE NAME OF “MIGHTY GOD.” The Son of God is Himself God,

and if God, then certainly “MIGHTY” — nay, “ALMIGHTY!” What the

Messiah was to do, could be done by none less than God. He was to redeem

mankind; He was to vanquish death and sin; He was to triumph over Satan;

He was to be a meritorious Sacrifice. “God with us” had already been

declared to be one of His names (ch. 7:14). Now He is announced as

“God the Mighty One.” Isaiah could not have intended to call a mere man

“God;” he must have recognized, as David had done (Psalm 45:6), that the

Messiah would be more than man, would in some way or other be a

partaker of the Divine nature. (And Praise be to God – we also have been

given that nature – II Peter 1:4 – CY – 2020)  Jeremiah did the same when

he announced the Messiah as “Jehovah our Righteousness.”  ( I recommend

Jeremiah ch. 23 v.6 – Jehovah-Tsidkenu – Names of God by Nathan Stone #809 this website – CY –

2020)  The prophets may not have been aware of the doctrine of the Trinity,

but they could conceive an incarnation of God. The name of “Mighty God”

in Isaiah’s list must be accepted as a distinct announcement of the true

Divinity of the Messiah, just as the words “child” and “son,” which had

been previously applied to Him (v. 6), were announcements of His true



·         THE NAME OF “EVERLASTING FATHER.” When the Messiah is

called a “Father,” we must understand the word as meaning primarily

“Protector.” So Job was a “father to the poor” (Job 29:16), and

Eliakim a “father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem (ch. 22:11). The

idea of protection, however, implied in “Father” does not exhaust the

connotation of the word. It contains also the notions of “Creator” and

“Preserver,” of one whom we are bound to love, honor, and obey. “Have

we not all one father?” says Malachi. “Hath not one God created us?” “If I

be a Father,” says Jehovah by his mouth, “where is my honor? (Malachi

1:6; 2:10)  The Messiah was to be “Father” in all these senses. As the Second

Person in the Holy Trinity:


Ø      He created man; as “God with us,”

Ø      He preserves him;


as the typical Man, the Head of the redeemed human race, He will ever keep

and protect him. The prophet calls Him “Everlasting Father,” first, to show

that He is no mere human protector, like Job or Eliakim; but also, further, to

indicate by an additional phrase HIS DIVINITY, since God alone is

everlasting,” or “eternal.” His people are assured by the epithet that:


Ø      He will never cease to be their Protector,

Ø      will never desert them, or

Ø      weary of interposing for them.


No; “He ever liveth to make intercession for us” (Hebrews 7:25). He is

“Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, the First and the Last”

(Revelation 1:8). He “will not fail us,nor forsake us” (Deuteronomy 31:6).


·         THE NAME OF “PRINCE OF PEACE.” So long as there is evil, there

must be war between good and evil. The Messiah is “Prince of Peace,”

especially, because He comes:


Ø      to convert the world;”

Ø      to “turn men from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God;”

Ø      to destroy sin, and “bring in everlasting righteousness” (Daniel 9:24).


When there is universal righteousness, there will be universal peace.

Certainly, the time is not yet come. The Prince of a peaceful kingdom,

whose servants may not seek to advance His kingdom by violence, has not

annihilated evil, has not swept all the wicked from the world. And so the

fight goes on; evil men still stir up wars and tumults, and good men are

forced to resist them. But the “Prince of Peace” shows His power and

justifies His name,


Ø      in the peace that He introduces into the hearts that love Him;

Ø      in the peace found wherever the Spirit of Christ prevails, as:


o       in pious households,

o       in brotherhoods and sisterhoods,

o       in assemblies of Christian men like our convocations, etc.;


Ø      in the comparative peace that obtains in Christian lands, the growing

desire for peace and hatred of war, the readiness to resort to arbitration,

and the like.


Taken in connection, the five names would seem to teach”


Ø      the mysteriousness of Christ’s nature, which lies at the very basis of

Christianity, and upon which all else is built;


Ø      the wisdom of His teaching, which makes Him our only safe “Counselor;”


Ø      the power which He has, as “Mighty God,” to accomplish all His designs

in His own good time;


Ø      the love which leads Him to exert this power continually in the

protection of His Church; and


Ø      the peaceful condition to which He will in the end bring His Church,

when its probation is accomplished and He comes to reign over it as its

visible King. The names begin in the past, advance to the present,

and end in the far future. They first bespeak our reverence and awe,

the foundations of religious feeling. They then call forth our trust,

showing Christ to us All-Wise, Almighty. They end by eliciting our

love towards Him as a protecting “Father,” who will at last conduct

us to perfect peace.


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.”  Of the increase of His government and peace

there shall be no end. The Messiah's kingdom shall ever increase more and more;

there shall be no limits to it; ULTIMATELY IT WILL FILL THE WORLD

(compare Matthew 28:18-19). The continual spread of Christianity tends to the

accomplishment of this prophecy. Upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom. 

That the Messiah is to sit on the throne of David, suggests, but does not absolutely

imply, his Davidic descent. That descent is, however, announced with sufficient

clearness in ch. 11:1, 10To order it, and to establish it.gradual establishment

of the kingdom would seem to be implied, such as is taught also in the parables

of the mustard seed and the leaven. From henceforth EVEN FOR EVER!  The

kingdom is to be both universal in respect of extent (see the first note on the verse),

and in respect of duration eternal. 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.  






                                                            (vs. 8-21)


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, but His hand is stretched out still." A somewhat early date has been

assigned to the prophecy, as; for instance, "some period in the reign of Jotham"

(Cheyne); but the internal evidence only proves that it was written before the

destruction of Samaria by the Assyrians. 


8 “The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.”

Jacob... Israel. These words do not show that the prophecy is directed against the

kingdom of Israel only. "Jacob" designates Judah rather than Israel in ch. 2:3,5-6;

and the expression, "both the houses of Israel," in ch. 8:14, shows that the term

"Israel" embraces both kingdoms. The distinctive names by which Isaiah

ordinarily designates the northern kingdom are "Ephraim" and "Samaria."


9 “And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria,

that say in the pride and stoutness of heart,” Even Ephraim; rather, 

especially Ephraim. The prophecy is no doubt mainly directed against the

northern kingdom. That say in the pride and stoutness of heart; rather, in the

pride and stoutness of heartwherein they say.


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.”

The bricks are fallen down, etc.; i.e. we have suffered a moderate damage,

but we will more than make up for it; all our losses we will replace with

something better. Bricks were the ordinary material for the poorer class

of houses in Palestine; stone was reserved for the dwellings of the rich

and great (Amos 5:11). Sycamore wood was the commonest sort of timber,

cedar the scarcest and most precious, having to be imported from Phoenicia

(I Kings 5:6II Chronicles 2:3Ezra 3:7). (On the contrast between cedar and

sycamore wood, comp. II Chronicles 1:15.) Cut down. The Israelites probably

alluded to damage done by Tiglath-Pileser in his first invasion. The Assyrians

were in the habit of actually cutting down trees in foreign countries, in order

to injure and weaken them; but the present passage is, perhaps, rather intended

to be figurative.


11 “Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him,

and join his enemies together;”  Therefore the Lord shall set up the adversaries of

Rezin against him. "Against him" means "against Ephraim," or the kingdom of Israel.

"The adversaries of Rezin" could only be the Assyrians; but these seem precluded

by the next verse, which mentions only "Syrians" and Philistines." Hence many

critics accept the variant reading of several manuscripts sarey for tsarey - which 

gives the sense of "the princes of Rezin" (so Lowth, Ewald, Houbigant, Weir, Cheyne).


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.”  The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; or, 

the Syrians from the eastand the Philistines from the west. The Semitic races

regarded the world as looking to the rising sun, and used for the east the

preposition signifying "in front," for the west that signifying "behind." Syria

seems to have been hostile to Samaria until the league was formed between

Rezin and Pekah, and may have become hostile again after Pekah's death

(II Chronicles 28:23). We read of a Philistine invasion of Judah in Chronicles

(ibid. v. 18), but not of their attacking Israel. Still, it was as easy for them to

attack the one as the other. They abutted on the territory of Israel towards the

southwest, as Syria did towards the north-east. 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; not to save,

but to smite.


13 “For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek

the LORD of hosts.”  The people. The people of Israel, as distinct from the

people of Judah. The particular judgment announced in vs. 11-12 is clearly to

fall on them. Neither do they seek the Lord of hosts. Israel had set itself to seek

after Baal from the time of Ahab (I Kings 16:31). The reform of Jehu (I Kings 10:28)

had gone but skin-deep. Baal was still "sought to," rather than Jehovah, when the

final judgment came (II Kings 17:16Hosea 2:13).


14 “Therefore the LORD will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush,

in one day.”  Head and tail, branch and rush; i.e. the whole nation, from the highest

to the lowest. The "branch" intended is the "palm branch," at once lofty in position

and the most glorious form of vegetable life (Psalm 92:12Song of Solomon 7:7-8, etc.);

the "rush" is the simple "sedge" that grows, not only low on the ground, but in the

"mire" (Job 8:11). The same expression occurs again in ch. 19:15.


15 “The ancient and honorable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth

lies, he is the tail.”  Some suppose this verse to be a gloss, or marginal note, which

has crept into the text; but it is too pointed and sarcastic for a mere gloss. There is

no reason to doubt its being Isaiah's. Having spoken of "the tail," he takes the

opportunity of lashing the false prophet, who claimed to be among the "honorable,"

but was really the lowest of the low, worse than his dupes, the true "tail" (compare 

ch. 28:729:1030:10).


16 “For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them 

are destroyed.”  The leaders of this people cause them to err (compare ch. 3:12).

Both the peoples were led into idolatry by their rulers, but Israel especially.

Jeroboam, the first king, introduced the calf-worship, and his successors from

first to last persisted in his sin. Ahab added the still grossest idolatry of Baal.

Those who held high position under the kings were equally bad examples

to the people (see above, ch. 1:23). Are destroyed. First, morally corrupted

and debased, then physically given over to destruction - slaughtered by Philistines,

Syrians, and Assyrians.


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.” The Lord shall have no joy in their

young men. "The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear Him, in those that hope

in His mercy" (Psalm 147:11). He can have no joy or delight in evil-doers,

or idolaters, or in those whose speech is profanity. Neither shall have mercy

on their fatherless and widows. The widow and the orphan are objects of

God's tenderest love and compassion (Exodus 22:22Deuteronomy 10:1814:29

here, ch. 1:17, etc.); but when the wickedness of a land provokes Him to send any

one of His "four sore judgments" (“...sword..famine...noisome beasts...pestilence..-

Ezekiel 14:21) upon it, the widow and the fatherless must suffer with the other

inhabitants. God pities them, doubtless, but His justice and His righteous anger

force Him to restrain His pity, and carry out His judgment in spite of it. 

Every one is an hypocrite; or, corrupt; compare, "They are all gone aside,

they are all together become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not

one" (Psalm 14:3). A certain allowance must be made for the natural hyperbole

of strong feeling. Every mouth speaketh folly. The word translated here (and

generally) "folly" is rendered "villany" (wicked or criminal behavior) in ch. 32:6 

and Jeremiah 29:23.  Its proper meaning seems to be "lewdness” (crude and offensive

in a sexual way) or "profligacy." (licentious or dissolute behavior)


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.”  Wickedness burneth as the firei.e. the contagion of

wickedness overspreads a whole nation in the same rapid way that fire

spreads over a field of stubble or a forest. (I saw on television tonight

the skyline of San Francisco, footage from Oregon and Washington

State an example in real life of the biblical metaphor used here!  This being

September 9, 2020 – CY)  They shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke;

ratherthey - i.e., the forest thickets - shall be whirled upward with the uplifting

of smoke. The burning thickets shall mount up with the volumes of smoke into

the air, and hang there as a murky but lurid pall. The flames of wickedness

give NO LIGHT to a land, but plunge it IN HEAVY, HOPELESS GLOOM!


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.”  Is the land

darkened; rather, burst up (συγκέκαυταιsugkekautai - Septuagint). The root used

occurs in Arabic in this sense. It is not used elsewhere in Scripture. The people s

hall be as the fuel of the fire. Though the general ravage, devastation, and

desolation of the laud, 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. No man shall spare his

brother. We have here a new feature. Not only shall foreign enemies – Syrians

and Philistines - devour Israel, but the plague of civil war will also be let loose

upon them (compare v. 21, and see II Kings 15:30, where we find that Pekah fell

a victim to a conspiracy headed by Hoshea).


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:”  He shall snatch; rather, one shall devour.

A man, i.e., shall plunder and ravage in one quarter, and yet not be satisfied;

then he shall do the same in another, and still desire more. "Increase of appetite

 shall grow by what it feeds on." There shall be no sense of satiety anywhere. 

The flesh of his own arm. In a civil war, or A TIME OF ANARCHY (The

United States of America is flirting with this now, we have been in A MORAL

CIVIL WAR for fifty years, and it is now starting to become physical – CY – 2020),

each man is always "eating the flesh of his own arm"i.e. injuring his neighbor,

who is his own natural protector and defender.


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.”  Manasseh, Ephraim. These two are mentioned as the two principal

tribes of the northern kingdom (compare I Chronicles 9:3II Chronicles 30:1, 10, 18

31:1 34:9). It is not to be supposed that civil discord was confined to them.

Probably there was a general disorganization. Still, all the tribes would at any

time willingly unite "together against Judah" (see II Kings 15:37

II Chronicles 28:6-8)  (Ephraim and Manasseh were twin brothers, and were

considered equal to all the tribes of Israel – In the American Civil War –

1861-65, brother fought brother!  CY – 2020)



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