Chapter nine begins with verse two in the Hebrew text. Isaiah 9:1 seems to bridge the gloom prophecy at the end of chapter eight to the Messiah in this chapter. The first section of this chapter is a prophecy of restoration, delivered as if it were already completed, signifying the certainty of its fulfillment (Isaiah 9:2-7). Everything that was about to happen to them – oppression, invasion, drought, darkness – would be corrected because of a coming “child…son.” Although this passage cannot be used to clearly state Messiah’s deity, the New Testament clarifies that Jesus indeed was always God. However, he would certainly be the promised king to come from David’s line and rule from David’s throne, who would finally bring peace and prosperity to Israel.
Before that time, though, Israel had to be punished by God (Isaiah 9:8-21). Because of the prophets, they knew that judgment was coming, yet they arrogantly believed they could survive it, like a slap on the wrist. They thought they could simply rebuild, bigger and better, when the “spanking” was over. They did not realize that this would be complete destruction coming from foreign nations in all directions. Still, instead of turning to God, they turned even further away from him. He removed their king and prophets, but they did not respond. Famine became so bad that they began to eat human flesh! 1 Finally, the tribes of Israel turned on each other and then on Judah as well. Those who thought they were in power (Israel allied with Syria) became the ones destroyed by God (not by Ahaz’ alliance with Assyria).
- Isaiah 9:20 could be translated that a person ate his own arm or his own offspring. Either option was horrific. Some take this to be a metaphor for attacking other Israelites instead of literal cannibalism. ↩