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Isaiah 9

Is it Reigning Out?

But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness-- on them light has shined. 3 You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. 4 For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

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Isaiah is probably referring to king Hezekiah whom he hopes will reunite Israel and Judah again. It doesn't quite work out as planned thanks to Assyria (and obviously Israel wasn't too interested in uniting with Judah at the time anyway). Isaiah envisions a united Israel with a king in the lineage of David. When Israel split from Judah, the 10 northern tribes' kings were not davidic, while Judah maintained the davidic line. This was often used by Judah as part of its claim to legitimacy over Israel. This is later used in Christianity as part of the argument to legitimize messianic kingship and partly why Isaiah is often quoted or referenced in the New Testament (and represents about 20% of the Old Testament lectionary passages). At any rate, it is here a mixed message of hope and warning ... hope for a united kingdom at some point in the future, but a warning that not following God leads to the same fate as Israel's (aka destruction).

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