Isaiah 9:2-7

Isaiah 9:2-7
Christmas Eve ABC


 The peopleA who walkedB in darknessC

Notes on verse 2a

A “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.
B “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.
C “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 seenD a greatE light;F

Notes on verse 2b

D “seen” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
E “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.
F “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 livedG in a landH of deep darknessI
    on them light has shined.J

Notes on verse 2c

G “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.
H “land” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
I “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.
J “shined” = nagah. 6x in OT. This is to shine, enlighten, or glitter.

You have multipliedK the nation,L
    you have increasedM its joy;N

Notes on verse 3a

K “multiplied” = rabah. This is increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.
L “nation” = 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.
M “increased” = gadal. Related to “great” in v2. See note E above.
N “joy” = simchah. From samach (to rejoice, be glad; properly, to brighten up; also used figuratively). This is joy, rejoicing, pleasure, or glee.

they rejoiceO beforeP you
    as with joy at the harvest,Q
    as people exultR when dividingS plunder.T

Notes on verse 3b

O “rejoice” = samach. Related to “joy” in v3. See note N above.
P “before” = paneh. 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.
Q “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.
R “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.
S “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.
T “plunder” = shalal. From shalal (to plunder, loot, capture). This is spoil, prey, or plunder.

For the yokeU of their burden,V
    and the barW across their shoulders,X

Notes on verse 4a

U “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.
V “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.
W “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).
X “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 rodY of their oppressor,Z
    you have brokenAA as on the dayBB of Midian.CC

Notes on verse 4b

Y “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.
Z “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.
AA “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.
BB “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.
CC “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 allDD the bootsEE of the trampingFF warriorsGG

Notes on verse 5a

DD “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
EE “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.
FF “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.
GG “warriors” = sa’an. Related to “boots” in v5. 1x in OT. See note EE above.

    and all the garmentsHH rolledII in bloodJJ
    shall beKK burnedLL as fuelMM for the fire.NN

Notes on verse 5b

HH “garments” = simlah. Perhaps from semel (image, figure, likeness). This is mantle, clothes, wrapper.
II “rolled” = galal. 18x in OT. This is to roll, roll away, wallow, commit, remove. It is rolling in a literal or figurative sense.
JJ “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.
KK “be” = hayah. This is to be or exist.
LL “burned” = serephah. 13x in OT. From saraph (to burn or kindle). This is burning, fire, or cremation.
MM “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.
NN “fire” = esh. This is fire, burning, flaming, hot. It is fire in a literal or figurative sense.

For a childOO has been bornPP for us,
    a sonQQ givenRR to us;
authoritySS restsTT upon his shoulders;
    and he is namedUU

Notes on verse 6a

OO “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.
PP “born” = yalad. Related to “child” in v6. See note OO above.
QQ “son” = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
RR “given” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
SS “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.
TT “rests” = hayah. Same as “be” in v5. See note KK above.
UU “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.

WonderfulVV Counselor,WW MightyXX God,YY

Notes on verse 6b

VV “Wonderful” = pele. 13x in OT. This is a wonder, marvelous thing, or a miracle.
WW “Counselor” = yaats. This is to advise, counsel, consult, decide, plan, purpose, or determine. It can also have a negative sense of conspire or devise.
XX “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.
YY “God” = El.

    Everlasting Father,ZZ PrinceAAA of Peace.BBB

Notes on verse 6c

ZZ “Everlasting Father” = 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.
AAA “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.
BBB “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).

His authority shall growCCC continually,
    and there shall be endlessDDD peace
for the throneEEE of DavidFFF and his kingdom.GGG

Notes on verse 7a

CCC “grow” = marbeh. Related to “multiplied” in v3. 2x in OT. From rabah (see note K above). This is abundance, increase, greatness.
DDD “endless” = ayin + qets. Literally, “no end.” Qets is from qatsats (to cut or chop off in a literal or figurative sense). This is outer border, end, or extremity. It can also mean infinite.
EEE “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.
FFF “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.”
GGG “kingdom” = mamlakah. From the same as melek (king, royal). This is kingdom, dominion, sovereignty, rule. It can also refer to the realm.

    He will establishHHH and upholdIII it
with justiceJJJ and with righteousnessKKK
    from this time onwardLLL and forevermore.MMM

Notes on verse 7b

HHH “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.
III “uphold” = saad. 12x in OT. This is to support – usually used in a figurative sense. So it is sustain, hold, refresh, comfort, establish.
JJJ “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.
KKK “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.
LLL “from this time onward” = attah. Related to “everlasting father” in v6. From et (time, season, always); from ad (see note ZZ above). This is now or this time.
MMM “forevermore” = ad + olam. Related to “everlasting father” in v6 & “from this time onward” in v7. Literally, “even to forever.” Ad is adah (see note ZZ above). This is old, perpetuity, eternity. It is a duration going back or forward. Olam is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).

The zealNNN of the LordOOO of hostsPPP will doQQQ this.

Notes on verse 7c

NNN “zeal” = qinah. Perhaps from qana (to be jealous, zealous, envious). This is zeal, jealousy, envy, anger,  passion rivalry.
OOO “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “be” in v5. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (see note KK 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.
PPP “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.
QQQ “do” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.

Image credit: “Oh yes, another silhouette!” by gato-gato-gato in Zurich, 2016.

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