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1 BUT [in the midst of judgment there is the promise and the certainty of the Lord's deliverance and] there shall be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time [the Lord] brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time He will make it glorious, by the way of the Sea [of Galilee, the land] beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great Light; those who dwelt in the land of intense darkness and the shadow of death, upon them has the Light shined. [Isa. 42:6; Matt. 4:15, 16.]
3 You [O Lord] have multiplied the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before You like the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil [of battle].
4 For the yoke of [Israel's] burden, and the staff or rod for [goading] their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, You have broken as in the day of [Gideon with] Midian. [Judg. 7:8-22.]
5 For every [tramping] warrior's war boots and all his armor in the battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [of Eternity], Prince of Peace. [Isa. 25:1; 40:9-11; Matt. 28:18; Luke 2:11.]
7 Of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from the [latter] time forth, even forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. [Dan. 2:44; I Cor. 15:25-28; Heb. 1:8.]
8 The Lord has sent a word against Jacob [the ten tribes], and it has lighted upon Israel [the ten tribes, the kingdom of Ephraim].
9 And all the people shall know it–even Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria [its capital]–who said in pride and stoutness of heart,
10 The bricks have fallen, but we will build [all the better] with hewn stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put [costlier] cedars in their place.
11 Therefore the Lord has stirred up the adversaries [the Assyrians] of Rezin [king of Syria] against [Ephraim], and He will stir up their enemies and arm and join them together,
12 The Syrians [compelled to fight with their enemies, going] before [on the east] and the Philistines behind [on the west]; and they will devour Israel with open mouth. For all this, [God's] anger is not [then] turned away, but His hand is still stretched out [in judgment].
13 Yet the people turn not to Him Who smote them, neither do they seek [inquire for or require as their vital need] the Lord of hosts.
14 Therefore the Lord will cut off from Israel head and tail [the highest and the lowest]–[high] palm branch and [low] rush in one day;
15 The elderly and honored man, he is the head; and the prophet who teaches lies, he is the tail.
16 For they who lead this people cause them to err, and they who are led [astray] by them are swallowed up (destroyed).
17 Therefore the Lord will not rejoice over their young men, neither will He have compassion on their fatherless and widows, for everyone is profane and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly. For all this, [God's] anger is not turned away, but His hand is still stretched out [in judgment].
18 For wickedness burns like a fire; it devours the briers and thorns, and it kindles in the thickets of the forest; they roll upward in a column of smoke.
19 Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts the land is darkened and burned up, and the people are like fuel for the fire; no man spares his brother.
20 They snatch in discord on the right hand, but are still hungry [their cruelty not diminished]; and they devour and destroy on the left hand, but are not satisfied. Each devours and destroys his own flesh [and blood] or his neighbor's.
21 Manasseh [thirsts for the blood of his brother] Ephraim, and Ephraim [for that of] Manasseh; but together they are against Judah. For all this, [God's] anger is not turned away, but His hand is still stretched out [in judgment].
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1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation