|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:1-7 The Syrians and Assyrians first ravaged the countries here mentioned, and that region was first favoured by the preaching of Christ. Those that want the gospel, walk in darkness, and in the utmost danger. But when the gospel comes to any place, to any soul, light comes. Let us earnestly pray that it may shine into our hearts, and make us wise unto salvation. The gospel brings joy with it. Those who would have joy, must expect to go through hard work, as the husbandman, before he has the joy of harvest; and hard conflict, as the soldier, before he divides the spoil. The Jews were delivered from the yoke of many oppressors; this was a shadow of the believer's deliverance from the yoke of Satan. The cleansing the souls of believers from the power and pollution of sin, would be by the influence of the Holy Spirit, as purifying fire. These great things for the church, shall be done by the Messiah, Emmanuel. The Child is born; it was certain; and the church, before Christ came in the flesh, benefitted by his undertaking. It is a prophecy of him and of his kingdom, which those that waited for the Consolation of Israel read with pleasure. This Child was born for the benefit of us men, of us sinners, of all believers, from the beginning to the end of the world. Justly is he called Wonderful, for he is both God and man. His love is the wonder of angels and glorified saints. He is the Counsellor, for he knew the counsels of God from eternity; and he gives counsel to men, in which he consults our welfare. He is the Wonderful Counsellor; none teaches like him. He is God, the mighty One. Such is the work of the Mediator, that no less power than that of the mighty God could bring it to pass. He is God, one with the Father. As the Prince of Peace, he reconciles us to God; he is the Giver of peace in the heart and conscience; and when his kingdom is fully established, men shall learn war no more. The government shall be upon him; he shall bear the burden of it. Glorious things are spoken of Christ's government. There is no end to the increase of its peace, for the happiness of its subjects shall last for ever. The exact agreement of this prophecy with the doctrine of the New Testament, shows that Jewish prophets and Christian teachers had the same view of the person and salvation of the Messiah. To what earthly king or kingdom can these words apply? Give then, O Lord, to thy people to know thee by every endearing name, and in every glorious character. Give increase of grace in every heart of thy redeemed upon earth.
Verse 4. - Thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, etc. The coming of the Messiah sets the Israelites free, removes the yoke from off their neck, breaks the rod wherewith their shoulders were beaten, delivers them from bondage into the "glorious liberty of the children of God." Not, however, in an earthly sense, since the Messiah's kingdom was not of this world. The "yoke" is that of sin, the "oppressor" is that prince of darkness, who had well-nigh brought all mankind under his dominion when Christ came. His oppressor; literally, his task-master - the same word which is used of the Egyptian taskmasters in Exodus 5:6. As in the day of Midian. The "day of Midian" is probably the time of Israel's deliverance from the Midianite oppression by Gideon (Judges 7:19-25). The special characteristic of the deliverance was, as Dr. Kay well observes, "that it was accomplished without military prowess by a small body of men selected out of Israel, selected expressly in order that Israel might not vaunt itself against the Lord, saying, My own hand hath saved me (Judges 7:2)."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden,.... Of Galilee, of the nation multiplied, of the spiritual inhabitants of it, whose joy was increased; and this is one reason of it, because they were delivered by the Lord from the burdensome yoke of the ceremonial law, which was broken off and abolished by Christ; and from the tyranny of Satan, the god of this world, out of whose hands they were ransomed and delivered; and from the dominion of sin, under the power of which they had been in bondage.
And the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor; different phrases, expressive of the same thing; the bondage and slavery of the law, sin, and Satan:
as in the day of Midian; when Gideon got an entire victory over the Midianites, with a few unarmed men, by the sound of trumpets, and breaking of pitchers, Judges 7:16 and may denote the easy manner in which Christ obtained a conquest over all his and our enemies; and the means by which it is made known unto us, and we are freed from bondage to spiritual enemies; namely, by the ministration of the Gospel, compared to the blowing of trumpets; and which is a treasure put into earthen vessels, frail and weak men.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. The occasion of the "joy," the deliverance not only of Ahaz and Judah from the Assyrian tribute (2Ki 16:8), and of Israel's ten tribes from the oppressor (2Ki 15:19), but of the Jewish Christian Church from its last great enemy.
hast—the past time for the future, in prophetic vision; it expresses the certainty of the event.
yoke of his burden—the yoke with which he was burdened.
staff of … shoulder—the staff which strikes his shoulder [Maurer]; or the wood, like a yoke, on the neck of slaves, the badge of servitude [Rosenmuller].
day of Midian—(Jud 7:8-22). As Gideon with a handful of men conquered the hosts of Midian, so Messiah the "child" (Isa 9:6) shall prove to be the "Prince of peace," and the small Israel under Him shall overcome the mighty hosts of Antichrist (compare Mic 5:2-5), containing the same contrast, and alluding also to "the Assyrian," the then enemy of the Church, as here in Isaiah, the type of the last great enemy. For further analogies between Gideon's victory and the Gospel, compare 2Co 4:7, with Jud 7:22. As the "dividing of the spoil" (Isa 9:3) was followed by that which was "not joy," the making of the idolatrous ephod (Jud 8:24-27), so the gospel victory was soon followed by apostasy at the first, and shall be so again after the millennial overthrow of Antichrist (Re 20:3, 7-9), previous to Satan's last doom (Re 20:10).
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