Isaiah 9:1-7

Isaiah 9:1-7
Narrative Lectionary


1 But there will be no gloomA for those who were in anguish.B In the formerC timeD he brought into contemptE

Notes on verse 1a

A “gloom” = muaph. 1x in OT. From uph (to fly, flee, shine, be weary, be faint). This is gloom, covered, dark, distress.
B “anguish” = mutsaq. 3x in OT – 2x in Job & 1x in Isaiah. From tsuq (to press on, compress; figuratively, to oppress or bring distress) OR from yatsaq (to pour out, flow, wash away, or overflow; can imply melting as one does to cast metal; by extension, something being steadfast, stiffened, firmly in place). This is constraint, narrowness, or distress.
C “former” = rishon. From rishah (beginning or early time); from rosh (head, captain, or chief; excellent or the forefront; first in position or in statue or in time). This is first, former, ancestor, beginning, ranked first.
D “time” = eth. Probably from anah (to answer, sing, announce); from ad (forever, all, old); from adah (to pass on, advance, decorate oneself). This is a period or season. It can also mean whenever or continually.
E “brought into contempt” = qalal. This is to be little, insignificant, swift. It can also mean to bring down in esteem, create contempt, curse

the landF of ZebulunG and the land of Naphtali,H but in the latterI time he will make gloriousJ the wayK of the sea,L

Notes on verse 1b

F “land” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
G “Zebulun” = Zebulun. From zabal (to dwell, inclose, reside). This is Zebulun, that tribe, or their territory. It means “habitation.”
H “Naphtali” = Naphtali. From pathal (to twist, twine, wrestle, struggle, behave in an unsavory way). This is Naphtali, meaning “my wrestling.” It can refer to Naphtali, his tribe, or the lands of the tribe.
I “latter” = acharon. From achar (to be behind, delay, be late, procrastinate, continue). This is end, last, coming behind, to loiter, later. It can also refer to the west.
J “make glorious” = kabad. To be heavy, weighty, or severe. It can also be positive abounding in, rich, or honorable. The Hebrew word for “glory,” kabod, is taken from this root.
K “way” = derek. From darak (to tread, march, to walk. Can also mean affixing a string to a box since one needs to step on it to bend it in the process; so also an archer). This is a road as a thing that is walked on. Can be used figuratively for the path that one’s life takes or how one chooses to live one’s life.
L “sea” = yam. Root may mean to roar. This is the sea, often referring to the Mediterranean. It comes from the root in the sense of the roar of crashing surf. This word is sometimes used for rivers or other sources of water. It can mean to the west or to the south.

the land beyondM the Jordan,N GalileeO of the nations.P

Notes on verse 1c

M “beyond” = eber. From abar (to pass over, pass through, or pass by; cross over or to alienate; used for transitions). This is the place across or beyond, by, from, other, the opposite side, against, over. It often refers to the other side of the Jordan river or toward the east.
N “Jordan” = Yarden. From yarad (to go down, descend; going down in a literal or figurative sense; going to the shore or a boundary, bringing down an enemy). This is the Jordan River, meaning “descending.”
O “Galilee” = Galil. 6x in OT.  From galal (to roll in a literal or figurative sense, roll away, roll down, wallow, remove, trust). This is a circle, district, or ring. It is also Galilee.
P “nations” = goy. From the same root as gevah (the back, person, or body); related to gev (among); related to gaah (to rise up). This is nation or people. Often used to refer to Gentiles or foreign nations. It can also be used figuratively for a group of animals. This is where the Yiddish “goy” comes from.

2  The peopleQ who walkedR in darknessS

Notes on verse 2a

Q “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.
R “walked” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
S “darkness” = choshek. From chashak (to be or become dark). This is literal darkness is contrast to light. Figuratively, it can be obscurity, sorrow, misery, blindness, wickedness, destruction, death. It can also be hiding places. Additionally, it can mean judgment, mourning, ignorance, evil, or sin.

    have seenT a greatU light;V

Notes on verse 2b

T “seen” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
U “great” = gadol. From gadal (to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished.
V “light” = or. From or (to be or become light). This is light, sun, sunshine, dawn, or daylight. Figuratively, it can refer to light from instruction, light of a face (that is to say one that is cheerful or finds favor). It can refer to prosperity or salvation; a light that guides, a light eternal from Zion.

those who livedW in a land of deep darknessX
    on them light has shined.Y

Notes on verse 2c

W “lived” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
X “deep darkness” = tsalmavet. 18x in OT. From tsel (shade in a literal or figurative sense; shadow, shade, protection, shelter, or defense); {from tsalal (to be or become dark, shade; this is the shade as during twilight or shadow as associated with something opaque)} + mavet (death, deadliness, the dead, or the place where the dead go; figuratively, pestilence or ruin); {from mut (to die in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is a deep shadow, the grave. Figuratively it is a darkness like death or a calamity. This is the “shadow of death” from Psalm 23:4.
Y “shined” = nagah. 6x in OT. This is to shine, enlighten, or glitter.

You have multipliedZ the nation,
    you have increasedAA its joy;BB
they rejoiceCC beforeDD you
    as with joy at the harvest,EE

Notes on verse 3a

Z “multiplied” = rabah. This is increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.
AA “increased” = gadal. Related to “great” in v2. See note U above.
BB “joy” = simchah. From samach (to rejoice, be glad; properly, to brighten up; also used figuratively). This is joy, rejoicing, pleasure, or glee.
CC “rejoice” = samach. Related to “joy” in v3. See note BB above.
DD “before” = paneh. Literally, “before your face.” From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
EE “harvest” = qatsiyr. From qatsar (to cut down, be short, reap, curtail; used especially for harvesting grass or grain; figuratively, to be discouraged or grieve). This is branch, harvest, one who harvests. Properly, this means severed, reaped. It is the crop being harvested, the time of harvest or the one who harvests. It can also be a bough.

    as people exultFF when dividingGG plunder.HH

Notes on verse 3b

FF “exult” = gil. Properly, this is twirling around because of a strong feeling whether of rejoicing or from fear. This can be rejoice, be glad or joyful, or to cry.
GG “dividing” = chalaq. This is to be smooth in a figurative sense. So, it can refer to the stones that were part of casting lots – hence, apportion, share, distribute. Figuratively, it can also mean to flatter.
HH “plunder” = shalal. From shalal (to plunder, loot, capture). This is spoil, prey, or plunder.

For the yokeII of their burden,JJ
    and the barKK across their shoulders,LL

Notes on verse 4a

II “yoke” = ol. From alal (to insert). This is a yoke that is borne on the neck, whether a literal yoke or used of a figurative one.
JJ “burden” = sobel. 3x in OT. From sabal (to carry a heavy load, do strong labor, be a burden; specially, to be pregnant). This is a load or burden in a literal or figurative sense..
KK “bar” = matteh. From natah (to stretch or spread out, extend, bend). This is a staff, rod, branch, or tribe. It could be a rod for discipline or correction. It could be a scepter to indicate authority, a throwing lance, or a walking staff. Figuratively, it could also be something that supports life (like bread).
LL “shoulders” = shekem. Perhaps from shakam (to rise early, begin work early; properly, this is leaning one’s shoulder or back into a load or a burden; also, loading an animal for work). This is shoulder, neck, or some other place that bears burdens. Figuratively, it can refer to the spur of a hill, or one’s allotted portion.

    the rodMM of their oppressor,NN
    you have brokenOO as on the dayPP of Midian.QQ

Notes on verse 4b

MM “rod” = shebet. This is a rod, staff, club, scepter, dart, or tribe. Literally a stick that can be used for punishing, writing, fighting, walking, ruling; thus, used figuratively for a clan.
NN “oppressor” = nagas. This is driving an animal, worker, debtor, or an army. By implication, it can mean to tax, harass, distress, oppress, or tyrannize. This word can be used for taskmaster or overseer.
OO “broken” = chathath. This is properly to prostrate. So it could be shatter, break, or break down in a literal, violent sense. It could also figuratively refer to being dismayed, discouraged, or frightened. It can also mean to stand in awe.
PP “day” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
QQ “Midian” = Midyan. From the same as madon (strife, contention, brawling); from din (to judge, defend, dispute, govern, strive). This is Midian or a Midianite. It means strife or place of judgment.

For all the bootsRR of the trampingSS warriorsTT
    and all the garmentsUU rolledVV in bloodWW

Notes on verse 5a

RR “boots” = seon. 1x in OT. Probably a loan-word from Assyrian senu (a shoe or leather sandal) OR there is a Hebrew verb sa’an (to tread, tramp, booted warrior, guarded), but the verb may come from this noun. This is sandal or the boot of a soldier.
SS “tramping” = raash. 17x in OT. From raash (to quake, shake, tremble, shake from fear; leap like a locust). This is quaking, shaking, rattling, or rumbling. It can also be commotion, tumult, earthquake, or confused sounds.
TT “warriors” = sa’an. 1x in OT. See note RR above.
UU “garments” = simlah. Perhaps from semel (image, figure, likeness). This is mantle, clothes, wrapper.
VV “rolled” = galal. Related to “Galilee” in v1. 18x in OT. See note O above.
WW “blood” = dam. Perhaps from damam (to cease, be or become mute, silent, still, cut off, hold peace, be astonished, die). This is blood, bloodshed, bloodguilt, lifeblood, and death. It is used for people and animals. More often blood from a wound or the blood of the innocent. Used figuratively for violence or for wine. Closely tied to life and death.

    shall beXX burnedYY as fuelZZ for the fire.AAA

Notes on verse 5b

XX “be” = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
YY “burned” = serephah. 13x in OT. From saraph (to burn or kindle). This is burning, fire, or cremation.
ZZ “fuel” = maakoleth. 2x in OT. From akal (to eat, consume, burn up; eat in a literal or figurative sense). This is something that fire eats i.e. fuel.
AAA “fire” = esh. This is fire, burning, flaming, hot. It is fire in a literal or figurative sense.

For a childBBB has been bornCCC for us,
    a sonDDD givenEEE to us;
authorityFFF restsGGG upon his shoulders;
    and he is namedHHH

Notes on verse 6a

BBB “child” = yeled. From yalad (to bear, bring forth; can mean to act as midwife or to show one’s lineage). This is something born – so, offspring, youth, fruit.
CCC “born” = yalad. Related to “child” in v6. See note BBB above.
DDD “son” = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
EEE “given” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
FFF “authority” = misrah. 2x in OT. May be from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, persevere, contend, strive, wrestle, prevail; to have the power of a prince). This is rule, dominion, government, empire.
GGG “rests” = hayah. Same as “be” in v5. See note XX above.
HHH “named” = qara + shem. Literally, “will be called his name.” Qara is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth. Shem may be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.

WonderfulIII Counselor,JJJ MightyKKK God,LLL
    EverlastingMMM Father, PrinceNNN of Peace.OOO

Notes on verse 6b

III “Wonderful” = pele. 13x in OT. This is a wonder, marvelous thing, or a miracle.
JJJ “Counselor” = yaats. This is to advise, counsel, consult, decide, plan, purpose, or determine. It can also have a negative sense of conspire or devise.
KKK “Mighty” = gibbor. From gabar (to be strong or mighty; to prevail or be insolent). This is strong, mighty, or powerful. This can imply a warrior, hero, or tyrant.
LLL “God” = El.
MMM “Everlasting” = ad. From adah (to advance or continue; to take away or remove; adorning oneself with ornaments). This is old, perpetuity, eternity. It is a duration going back or forward.
NNN “Prince” = sar. This is chief, leader, ruler, lord, official, governor, prince, military leader. It refers to someone at the top of a rank or class.
OOO “Peace” = shalom. From shalam (to be complete or sound; to have safety mentally, physically, or extending to one’s estate; so, if these things are safe and complete, the implication is that one would be friendly; and, if being friendly, one would make amends and that friendship would be reciprocated). This is completeness, soundness, welfare, favor, friend, good health. It is to be safe and figuratively well, happy, at peace, friendly. Abstractly, it includes the ideas of welfare and prosperity (not in excessive wealth, but in having enough).

7 His authority shall growPPP continually,
    and there shall be endlessQQQ peace
for the throneRRR of DavidSSS and his kingdom.TTT

Notes on verse 7a

PPP “grow” = marbeh. Related to “multiplied” in v3. 2x in OT. From rabah (see note Z above). This is abundance, increase, greatness.
QQQ “endless” = ayin + qets. Ayin is nothing, not at all. Qets comes from qatsats (to cut off or chop off in a literal or figurative sense). This is the outermost border or extremity, the end.
RRR “throne” = kisse. From the same as kese (full moon); perhaps from kasah (to cover, conceal, overwhelm; to cover as clothes do or to hide a secret). This is throne – a seat that is covered or has a canopy. Thus, it is a seat that conveys authority.
SSS “David” = David. From the same as dod (beloved, love, uncle); the root may mean to boil, which is used figuratively to describe love. So, this implies someone you love such as a friend, a lover, or a close family member like an uncle. David’s name likely means something like “beloved one.”
TTT “kingdom” = mamlakah. From the same as melek (king, royal). This is kingdom, dominion, sovereignty, rule. It can also refer to the realm.

    He will establishUUU and upholdVVV it
with justiceWWW and with righteousnessXXX
    from this time onward and forevermore.YYY

Notes on verse 7b

UUU “establish” = kun. Properly, this means in a perpendicular position. So, it is set up in a literal sense – establish, fix, fasten, prepare. In a figurative sense, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous.
VVV “uphold” = saad. 12x in OT. This is to support – usually used in a figurative sense. So it is sustain, hold, refresh, comfort, establish.
WWW “justice” = mishpat. From shaphat (to judge, defend, pronounce judgment, condemn, govern). This is a verdict or formal sentence whether from humans or from God. It includes the act of judging as well as the place that judging takes place, the suit itself, and the penalty. Abstractly, this is justice, which includes the rights of the participants.
XXX “righteousness” = tsedaqah. From the same as tsedeq (rightness, righteousness, vindication. It is everything that is just or ethical. That which is right in a natural, moral, or legal sense. It also includes just weights (i.e. true weights). Figuratively, this is justice, righteousness, equity – even prosperity). This is righteousness, justice, righteous acts, and moral virtue.
YYY “forevermore” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).

The zealZZZ of the LordAAAA of hostsBBBB will doCCCC this.

Notes on verse 7c

ZZZ “zeal” = qinah. Perhaps from qana (to be jealous, zealous, envious). This is zeal, jealousy, envy, anger,  passion rivalry.
AAAA “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “be” in v5. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (see note XX above). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
BBBB “hosts” = tsaba. From tsaba (to wage war, serve, assemble, fight, perform, muster, wait on). This is a large group of persons (used figuratively for a group of things). It implies a campaign literally as with army, war, warfare, battle, company, soldiers. Can also be used figuratively for hardship or for worship.
CCCC “do” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.

Image credit: “Descending into Harwood’s Hole” in Takaka Hill, New Zealand – photo by Paul Rowe, 2013.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply