BALANCE BETWEEN THE DOOM AND BLESSINGS
Charles e Whisnant, Teacher
Outline and Notes from Wednesday Night Bible Study
I had Seneca read, Bill Bower read, Charity read three translations of the passage for better understanding of the chapter. But as I said, after reading the chapter we had still a lot to learn. A simple reading would give us some help but not enough.
What I said to Charity on the way to the service about this lesson. What we have in chapter nine is a mini sample of what Isaiah said over a period of time. What I find so amazing: the Bible is really a compressed form of the whole. What we have in the book of Isaiah is a very small condense book of more than 40 years of ministry by the prophet Isaiah. When we read Isaiah we get just a brief summary of what was going to in the times of Israel. What I like to do is read between the black lines. I want to know who and where and when and how that happens in this chapter.
So many just read the chapter and just say “I read the chapter.” Many preachers will just go to chapter six and seven and preach a sermon. But what I am learning if you don’t know what verse 2 to 5 is all about you will not really get the full impact why verse six and seven are in the chapter.
I love to get the historic setting of the chapter. This takes some serious study and research, but it’s worth it.
1 Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, As when at first He lightly esteemed The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, And afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In Galilee of the Gentiles.
I took the first word: “Nevertheless” as a starting point of the lesson. My Dad would take one or two words and preach a sermon. The one I loved was “But God.” I heard him preach that many times as a youth.
There is always a balance between the gloom and doom. God’s grace is always shown to be balance. \
As you read the Psalms: Vs. 1-3 is discouragement, vs. 4-6 is a reflection on the attribute of God, vs. 7-10 is a rejoicing for the grace of God.
2 The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined
The following is the notes that I had before me. 45 minutes later I had finished the lesson.
Nevertheless, the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation,….
The words may be rendered, “for there shall be no weariness to him that straitens” or “afflicts” them ; so Jarchi, who interprets it of the king of Assyria; but it is better to understand it of Titus Vespasian, who would not be weary of, but indefatigable in carrying on the siege of Jerusalem, and in distressing the Jews in all parts: or thus,
“For there shall be no fleeing from him that is oppressed in it”
Either that is besieged in Jerusalem, or distressed in Judea; or so the words are a reason of the former distress, and a continuation and amplification of it; Though many interpreters think they are to be understood by way of comfort, and as a lessening of it, which is the sense of our version:
When at first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali;
Who are Zebulun and Naphtali? I want to know? Where is land? So I looked it up on the internet! Downloaded more than 12 pages on this subject. They were the two of the twelve sons of Jacob.
Either by Pul king of Assyria, in the reign of Menahem king of Israel, 2 Kings 15:19 or rather by Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria, in the reign of Pekah king of Israel, since by him Galilee, and all the land of Naphtali, were carried captive, 2 Kings 15:29 which at the time of this prophecy was past, and was but a light affliction in comparison of what followed: and afterwards did more grievously afflict her: by Shalmaneser king of Assyria, in the reign of Hoshea king of Israel, who took Samaria, and carried Israel or the ten tribes into captivity, from whence they returned not;
And yet it is suggested, that the tribulation and distress that should come upon the Jews by the Romans should be greater than the heaviest of these; there should be no fleeing, no escape, no, not of any, as at those times mentioned, but wrath should come upon them to the uttermost, and particularly in the places following:
By the way of the sea;
which some understand of the Mediterranean sea, and of that part of the land of Israel which lay next it; but it seems rather to design the sea of Tiberias or Galilee, as Jarchi rightly interprets it: beyond Jordan; a part of the land of Israel so called, known by the name of Peraea, in Galilee of the nations; which was inhabited not only by Jews, but by persons of other nations, and therefore so called;
Now these places suffered much in the wars between the Jews and the Romans, by skirmishes, sieges, robberies, plunders, &c. as appears from the history of Josephus.
Some interpreters understand all this, as before observed, as an alleviation of those times of trouble, as if it would be less than in former times; but it is certain that it was to be, and was, greater than ever was known, Matthew 24:21 it is true, indeed, it may be considered as an alleviation of it, and as affording some comfort in a view of it, that in those very parts where there should be so much distress and misery, the Messiah, previous to it, would appear, and honour it with his presence, who is afterwards spoken of, and so, in connection with the following words,
“But obscurity shall not be brought to it”
(The land) “to which distress is brought; as at the first time he caused reproach towards the land of Zebulun, and towards the land of Naphtali, so in the last” (time)
“He will give glory by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, on the border of the nations”:
And if it be asked what that glory should be, the answer is,
“The people that walked in darkness“,
and so the sense may be, that whereas the inhabitants of Zebulun and Naphtali, and all Galilee, were lightly esteemed of, being mean and illiterate, not famous for any arts or sciences, and having no prophet among them, should, in the days of the Messiah, be highly honoured, and made glorious by his presence, ministry, and miracles among them . See Matthew 14:13, where it is quoted, and applied to Christ’s being in those parts. (Notes gleamed from John Gills commentary)