Isaiah 9

1In the past, people thought the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali were not important. But at a later time, ˻God˼ will make that land great: the land near the sea, the land across the Jordan River, and Galilee where the non-Jews live. 2Those people lived in darkness. But they will see a great light. Those people lived in a place as dark as the place of death. But the “Great Light” willl shine on them. 3God, you will cause the nation to grow. You will make the people happy. And the people will show their happiness to you. It will be like the joy during harvest time. It will be like the joy when people take their share of things they have won in war. 4Why? Because you will take away the heavy burden. You will take away the heavy pole on the people’s backs. You will take away the rod that the enemy uses to punish your people. This will be like the time you defeated Midian. 5Every boot that marched in battle will be destroyed. Every uniform stained with blood will be destroyed. Those things will be thrown into the fire. 6This will happen when the special child is born. God will give a son to us. This son will be responsible for leading the people. His name will be “Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace.” 7Power and peace will be in his kingdom. It will continue to grow for this king from David’s family. This king will use goodness and fair judgment to rule the kingdom forever and ever. The Lord All-Powerful has a strong love ˻for his people˼. And this strong love will cause him to do these things. 8My Lord gave a command against the people of Jacob ˻(Israel)˼. That command against Israel will be obeyed. 9Then every person in Ephraim ˻(Israel)˼, even the leaders in Samaria, will know that God ˻punished them˼. Those people are very proud and boastful now. Those people say, 10“These bricks might fall, but we will build again. And we will build with ˻strong˼ stone. These small trees might be chopped down. But we will put new trees there. And the new trees will be large, strong trees.” 11So the Lord will find people to fight against Israel. The Lord will bring Rezin’s enemies against them. 12The Lord will bring the Arameans from the east and the Philistines from the west. Those enemies will defeat Israel with their armies. But the Lord will still be angry with Israel. The Lord will still be ready to punish the people. 13God will punish the people, but they will not stop sinning. They will not return to him. They will not follow the Lord All-Powerful. 14So the Lord will cut off Israel’s head and tail. The Lord will take away the branch and the stalk in one day. 15(The head means the elders and important leaders. The tail means the prophets that speak lies.) 16The men that lead the people are leading them the wrong way. And the people that follow them will be destroyed. 17All the people are evil. So the Lord is not happy with the young men. And the Lord will not show mercy to their widows and orphans. Why? Because all the people are evil. The people do things that are against God. The people speak lies. So God will continue to be angry with the people. God will continue to punish the people. 18Evil is like a small fire. First, the fire burns weeds and thorns. Next, the fire burns the larger bushes in the forest. And finally, it becomes a great fire—and everything goes up in smoke. 19The Lord All-Powerful is angry, so the land will be burned. All the people will be burned in that fire. No person will try to save his brother. 20People will grab something on the right, but they will still be hungry. They will eat something on the left, but they will not be filled. Then each person will turn and eat his own body. 21(˻This means˼ Manasseh will fight against Ephraim, and Ephraim will fight against Manasseh. And then both of them will turn against Judah.) The Lord is still angry against Israel. The Lord is still ready to punish his people.

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