1 The gloom will be dispelled for those who were anxious. In earlier times he humiliated the land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali; but now he brings honor to the way of the sea, the region beyond the Jordan, and Galilee of the nations.
2 The people walking in darkness see a bright light; light shines on those who live in a land of deep darkness. 3 You have enlarged the nation; you give them great joy. They rejoice in your presence as harvesters rejoice; as warriors celebrate when they divide up the plunder. 4 For their oppressive yoke and the club that strikes their shoulders, the cudgel the oppressor uses on them, you have shattered, as in the day of Midian's defeat. 5 Indeed every boot that marches and shakes the earth and every garment dragged through blood is used as fuel for the fire. 6 For a child has been born to us, a son has been given to us. He shoulders responsibility and is called: Extraordinary Strategist, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His dominion will be vast and he will bring immeasurable prosperity. He will rule on David's throne and over David's kingdom, establishing it and strengthening it by promoting justice and fairness, from this time forward and forevermore. The Lord's intense devotion to his people will accomplish this.
8 The sovereign master decreed judgment on Jacob, and it fell on Israel. 9 All the people were aware of it, the people of Ephraim and those living in Samaria. Yet with pride and an arrogant attitude, they said, 10 "The bricks have fallen, but we will rebuild with chiseled stone; the sycamore fig trees have been cut down, but we will replace them with cedars." 11 Then the Lord provoked their adversaries to attack them, he stirred up their enemies -- 12 Syria from the east, and the Philistines from the west, they gobbled up Israelite territory. Despite all this, his anger does not subside, and his hand is ready to strike again.
13 The people did not return to the one who struck them, they did not seek reconciliation with the Lord who commands armies. 14 So the Lord cut off Israel's head and tail, both the shoots and stalk in one day. 15 The leaders and the highly respected people are the head, the prophets who teach lies are the tail. 16 The leaders of this nation were misleading people, and the people being led were destroyed. 17 So the sovereign master was not pleased with their young men, he took no pity on their orphans and widows; for the whole nation was godless and did wicked things, every mouth was speaking disgraceful words. Despite all this, his anger does not subside, and his hand is ready to strike again.
18 For evil burned like a fire, it consumed thorns and briers; it burned up the thickets of the forest, and they went up in smoke. 19 Because of the anger of the Lord who commands armies, the land was scorched, and the people became fuel for the fire. People had no compassion on one another. 20 They devoured on the right, but were still hungry, they ate on the left, but were not satisfied. People even ate the flesh of their own arm! 21 Manasseh fought against Ephraim, and Ephraim against Manasseh; together they fought against Judah. Despite all this, his anger does not subside, and his hand is ready to strike again.