Study Guide

Book of Isaiah Chapter 9

Chapter 9

Prince of Peas—Wait… Oh, Prince of Peace (Sorry, We Were Hungry)

  • But the people who are now suffering anguish will not face any more gloom in the future.
  • God had once condemned the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali, but in the future he will make the lands beyond the Jordan much better.
  • Further, the people who were formerly in darkness will now see "a great light." Whereas despair and darkness were what had formerly held sway, good times will finally come.
  • God will destroy the powers that oppress the people, and a holy child will be born.
  • This child will grow into an authority—the "Prince of Peace"—who will rule over a world where war and violence have vanished, one that will be perfectly righteous. God is going to accomplish all this.

Heads or Tails?

  • Isaiah next describes how—even though God had wrought all this devastation on not only Israel but also on Ephraim and Samaria—people will still arrogantly refuse to learn the lesson, trying to rebuild with the same stones that had fallen and re-plant the trees that had been deforested.
  • So God sent the Arameans and Philistines to attack Israel (yes, God's still angry).
  • Since the people failed to turn to God, he cut off Israel's head and tail—specifically, the elders (the head) and the false prophets (the tail). Ouch.
  • Isaiah says that this is why everyone was punished by God, even the widows and orphans. They all followed bad leaders, who led everyone into confusion and wicked behavior. And hey, guess what? God's still angry. (This is becoming a sort of refrain.)
  • The wickedness of the people was like an out-of-control forest fire, burning and consuming everything.
  • God's wrath stoked the fire, it burned up the whole land, and people were like fuel for it.
  • Although everyone kept trying to satisfy their desires and appetites, this was just like eating your own family members (yuck). And nations do this too—with Mannaseh devouring Ephraim, and Ephraim devouring Mannaseh, and Ephraim and Mannaseh together devouring Judah. Isaiah ends by repeating his refrain, saying that God is (can you guess?) angry and his hand is still stretched out in anger.