Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation…
In bright contrast to the preceding gloomy outlook, bursts the enrapturing view of future glory on the prophet's soul.
I. COMPENSATION FOR PAST SUFFERING. Not forever is the land to lie darkened. A great light of deliverance is to appear. The prophet's glance rests on the northern and eastern portions of the kingdom of Ephraim. They had been conquered by Assyria, and the people carried away captive (2 Kings 15:29). But "as the former time brought shame to Zebulon and Naphtali, the latter also bringeth honor towards the sea, beyond the Jordan, towards the heathen-march." The depopulated land will bask in the sunshine of restored prosperity. Assembling "before Jehovah," i.e. in his sacred place, they will rejoice as at a harvest ingathering, or at a division of spoil after victory. For the Assyrian yoke will be broken, and crushing will be the defeat of the foes of the nation, like that of Midian in days of yore. Every trace of war and barbarity will be placed under a ban, and be destroyed by fire - the boot that had clanked on the heel of the foreign soldier, and the red battle-garment.
II. THE EVERLASTING KINGDOM OF PEACE. The pledge of its establishment is the promise of the wondrous Child.
1. His names. Not only Immanuel, God with us, is he to be called; but other names bespeak his attributes as a great Prince. Wonderful Counselor: against whose deep providence no plots can contend, and conspiracies of short-sighted craft will be in vain. Hero-God: invincible in battle. Everlasting Father: maintaining and fostering his people, educating them by law and by love. Prince of peace: who will cause wars to cease to the ends of the earth. "The empire is peace," was the noted word of a potentate of one time, that charmed the ear for the moment, only to deceive men's hopes. None but the Messiah can assure peace to the nations, as nothing but the fellowship of the truth and of justice can disincline the nations to war.
2. The nature of his government. It is for "endless wealth." It is to resume, in the deepest and best sense, the well-remembered glories of David's kingdom. It is to be supported, not by countless battalions ("The Lord delighteth not in the legs of a man"), but by "justice and righteousness henceforth and forever." Its spread will include the spread of true religion. Hence it may be confidently expected that the "zeal of Jehovah," the ever-burning energy of Divine love, will bring to pass these happy results.
"The great Shepherd reigns,
And his unsuffering kingdom yet will come." - J.
Parallel VersesKJV: Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.
WEB: But there shall be no more gloom for her who was 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 has made it glorious, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.