A New Day Is Coming
1 But there will be an end to the gloom those people suffered. In the past, people thought the land of Zebulun and Naphtali was not important. But later, that land will be honored—the land along the sea, the land east of the Jordan River, and Galilee where people from other nations live. 2 Those people lived in darkness, but they will see a great light. They lived in a place as dark as death, but a great light will shine on them.
3 God, you will make the nation grow, and you will make the people happy. They will rejoice in your presence as they do at harvest time. It will be like the joy when people take their share of things they have won in war. 4 That will happen because you will lift the heavy yoke off their shoulders and take away their heavy burden. You will take away the rod that the enemy used to punish your people, as you did when you defeated Midian.* as you … Midian See Judges 7:15-25.
5 Every boot that marched in battle and every uniform stained with blood will be destroyed and thrown into the fire. 6 This will happen when the special child is born. God will give us a son who will be responsible for leading the people. His name will be “Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace.” 7 His power will continue to grow, and there will be peace without end. This will establish him as the king sitting on David’s throne and ruling his kingdom. He will rule with goodness and justice forever and ever. The strong love† strong love The Hebrew word means strong feelings like love, hate, anger, zeal, or jealousy. that the LORD All-Powerful has for his people will make this happen!
God Will Punish Israel
8 The Lord gave a command against Jacob and someone in Israel fell.‡ Or “The Lord sent a command to Jacob and it happened to Israel.” 9 So all the people in Ephraim, including the ruler in Samaria, learned their lesson.
Those people are very proud and boastful now. They say, 10 “Yes, those bricks fell, but we will rebuild with strong stone. Yes, those little trees were chopped down, but we will plant new trees. And they will be large, strong trees.”
11 The LORD found people to go up and fight against Rezin. He stirred up Rezin’s enemies. 12 As for Israel, the Arameans are in front of him and the Philistines are behind him. And they are both eating away at him. But the Lord is not finished yet. He is still angry, and his arm is raised to continue punishing Israel.
13 The people did not stop sinning. They did not come to the LORD All-Powerful for help. 14 So the LORD cut off Israel’s head and tail. He took away the branch and the stalk in one day. 15 (The head means the elders and important leaders. The tail means the prophets who told lies.)
16 Their guides are leading them the wrong way, so those who follow them will be destroyed. 17 All of them are evil. So the Lord is not happy with the young men, and he will not show mercy to their widows and orphans. That is because they are evil hypocrites. They tell lies.
The Lord has punished them, but he is not finished yet. He is still angry, and his arm is raised to continue punishing his people.
18 That evil was like a small fire that started among the weeds and thorns and then spread to the larger bushes in the forest. Finally, it became a giant fire, and everything went up in smoke.
19 The LORD All-Powerful was angry, so the land was burned. The people were fuel for the fire. No one showed any compassion to anyone else. 20 People looked to the right and grabbed whatever they could, but they were still hungry. They grabbed whatever was on their left, but still they were not satisfied. So they turned on themselves and began to eat the bodies of their own children. 21 Manasseh fought against Ephraim, and Ephraim fought against Manasseh. Then both of them turned on Judah.
But the Lord is not finished punishing his people. He is still angry, and his arm is raised to continue punishing them.
†9:7 strong love The Hebrew word means strong feelings like love, hate, anger, zeal, or jealousy.
‡9:8 Or “The Lord sent a command to Jacob and it happened to Israel.”