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II Chronicles 27; Isaiah 9-12 Listen
Jotham (Judah) was a little temple shy (II Chronicles 27)
1 Jotham was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Jerushah, the daughter of Zadok.
2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Uzziah did: howbeit he entered not into the temple of the LORD. And the people did yet corruptly.
3 He built the high gate of the house of the LORD, and on the wall of Ophel he built much.
4 Moreover he built cities in the mountains of Judah, and in the forests he built castles and towers.
5 He fought also with the king of the Ammonites, and prevailed against them. And the children of Ammon gave him the same year an hundred talents of silver, and ten thousand measures of wheat, and ten thousand of barley. So much did the children of Ammon pay unto him, both the second year, and the third.
6 So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God.
7 Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all his wars, and his ways, lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.
8 He was five and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem.
9 And Jotham slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Ahaz his son reigned in his stead.
Jotham filled in for his Dad (Uzziah) quite a bit before beginning his own rule (II Kings 15:1-7, see notes). You'll recall that Uzziah didn't get out in public after he was diagnosed with leprosy. Jotham followed the One True God, but did not rid Judah of its corrupt religious practices, polytheism and idol worship.
It's interesting that he never entered the temple. Why? It doesn't say, but here's a guess. You will recall that his father, Uzziah, defied God when he went into the temple to burn incense; he was confronted by the high priest and a platoon of associate priests. When he defied them, he was struck with leprosy on his head while there in the temple in front of everybody present. After an incident like that happened to Jotham's father, do you suppose that was the reason he was just a little tentative about even going into the temple himself?
Jotham was mighty in battle - whipped the Ammonites and brought them into subjection, but he only reigned 16 years before he died. In addition, however, he did rule a number of years in place of his leprous father. Here's Jotham's eulogy in verse 6, "So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God."
We are also told that Jotham had considerable successes against the Ammonites. They paid an annual tribute to Judah. Jotham gets an honorable burial at his death and is succeeded by his son Ahaz.
A Summary of King #11 from 750 to 731 B.C. over Judah: Jotham
II Kings 15:32-38
II Kings 15:34 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD: he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done.
II Chronicles 27:6 So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God.
II Kings 15:35 Howbeit the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burned incense still in the high places.
1 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.
2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4 For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.
5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah lived and prophesied through the demise and fall of the Northern Kingdom (referred to as Ephraim) to the Assyrians in 721 B.C. This prophecy in chapter 9 likely was given between 734 and 722 B.C. You will recall, the Northern Kingdom was always under wicked leadership, and the people responded accordingly.
The reference in verse 1 to the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali refers to the invasion and annexation of the northern parts of Israel by Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III in 733/732 B.C., which took place in II Kings 15:27-31 (see notes) during Pekah's reign over Israel. Incidentally, Pekah was the second to the last King of Israel before their fall in 721 B.C. Then down through verse 7 we see a prophecy regarding the coming Messiah.
Matthew included this prophecy (verses 1-2) in his gospel with reference to the ministry of Jesus in Matthew 4:15-16 (see notes):
Matthew 4:15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;
Matthew 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
Matthew explains from Isaiah's prophecy that the same territory of Israel that first fell to Assyrian captivity would be the first to see the Messiah. After all, Jesus came from Galilee (that same northern territory) about which Isaiah gives his Messianic prophecy here.
The Messiah is clearly prophesied in Isaiah 9:6-7. It was important for them to understand that the Kingdom was not gone forever. Although they had rejected the throne of David when Israel split into two kingdoms after the death of Solomon, one day they will be reunited under the throne of David by the Messiah of verses 6-7. Bible prophecy tells us that this will not take place until the (yet future) millennium. In this passage we see the essence of what is described in Hebrew as a "prophetic perfect." Hebrew doesn't have a clear differentiation of tenses equivalent to English. Sometimes future fulfillments are translated in past tense intending that the reader understands the future fulfillment to be so certain that it is stated as though it has already taken place. Such is the case with verse 6, "For unto us a child is born..." The birth of the child is a yet-future event as seen in the grammar of the remainder of verse 6 and verse 7. This Hebrew language "prophetic perfect" translated as past tense is used frequently by the Old Testament prophets. Sometimes it is referred to as the "prophetic past."
Notice these clearly-state characteristics of the Messiah from Isaiah 9:6-7:
Incidentally, isn't it interesting that this Messianic prophecy contains language ascribing deity to the Messiah ("the mighty God, the everlasting father"), yet the Jewish leaders of Jesus' day were insistent that for Jesus to claim such was blasphemy. That either shows how little they understood about Isaiah or how very self-serving and deceptive they were. I'm going for the latter.
A prophecy regarding Israel's fall (Isaiah 9:8-10:4)
9:8 The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.
9 And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart,
10 The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.
11 Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join his enemies together;
12 The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
13 For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts.
14 Therefore the LORD will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day.
15 The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.
16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.
17 Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
18 For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke.
19 Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother.
20 And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm:
21 Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: and they together shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
10:1 Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;
2 To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!
3 And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?
4 Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
From Isaiah 9:8 through 10:4, the fall of Israel (northern kingdom) is prophesied. King Resin of Damascus (Syria) gets mentioned here. His story is found in Isaiah 7:1-9 (see notes) and II Kings 16 (see notes). He, along with the King of Israel (Northern Kingdom), conspired to attack Judah under King Ahaz. Out of fear, Ahaz made an alliance with the King of Assyria who subsequently defeated Syria and Israel; King Rezin was killed in the process. Israel's greed had caused Ahaz of Judah to invite Assyria into the area for assistance. Oh...well...the fall of Israel was imminent anyway. Now...hang on for the big "day of visitation" (verse 10:3); Assyria isn't done.
Assyria...God's instrument for the punishment of Israel (Isaiah 10:5-11)
5 O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.
6 I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
7 Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.
8 For he saith, Are not my princes altogether kings?
9 Is not Calno as Carchemish? is not Hamath as Arpad? is not Samaria as Damascus?
10 As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria;
11 Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?
The Assyrians were the conquerors of the Northern Kingdom in 721 B.C. However, they had help - God himself! Verses 5-11 proclaim that Assyria operated as an instrument of God to punish the wickedness of the Northern Kingdom. Wow! The implied lessons for Christians in this scenario are innumerable. Doesn't that support the principle of scripture that God sometimes uses wicked people to teach important lessons to Believers? Both chastisement and trial in the Believer's life may sometimes come at the hand of those who reject God himself. Pharaoh is another example of that principle in operation as explained in Exodus 10:1-2 (see notes).
Assyria has their own dreadful day coming (Isaiah 10:12-19)
12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.
13 For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man:
14 And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped.
15 Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.
16 Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.
17 And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day;
18 And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth.
19 And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them.
So, does Assyria get any commendation from God for their assistance in chastising Israel? NO...NONE AT ALL! They didn't know they were helping God and did not mean to do so. Assyria is mentioned by name in this prophecy. Therefore, verses 12-19 are harsh verses directed at wicked Assyria, prophesying their impending downfall to the Babylonians - an event which happened over 100 years later in 609 B.C. In verse 15, Assyria is portrayed as a mere tool of God (axe, rod, staff). While Assyria may have thought they were in control, it was actually God doing the work of chastisement against Israel.
20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
21 The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.
22 For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
23 For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.
24 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt.
25 For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction.
26 And the LORD of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb: and as his rod was upon the sea, so shall he lift it up after the manner of Egypt.
27 And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.
28 He is come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron; at Michmash he hath laid up his carriages:
29 They are gone over the passage: they have taken up their lodging at Geba; Ramah is afraid; Gibeah of Saul is fled.
30 Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim: cause it to be heard unto Laish, O poor Anathoth.
31 Madmenah is removed; the inhabitants of Gebim gather themselves to flee.
32 As yet shall he remain at Nob that day: he shall shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.
33 Behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror: and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled.
34 And he shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one.
Notice the phrase "in that day" in verse 20. That refers to the judgment of Israel by God at the hand of the Assyrians resulting in the 721 B.C. fall during the reign of King Hoshea of Israel (II Kings 17, see notes). Mingled in with the prophecy of the destruction of Assyria in these verses is the promise that a remnant of Israel will return from Assyrian captivity (verse 22). For more information on this return of the remnant, click here to read the notes on Isaiah 44:21-28.
Then there's (Zion) Jerusalem. Would they fall to the Assyrians? No! Isaiah prophesied that the Assyrians would attack Jerusalem and fail. Notice verses 24-25 "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt. For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction." This remarkable prophecy is fulfilled in 701 B.C. during Hezekiah's reign in Judah and is one of the most exciting stories in the Old Testament. Assyria had taken the entire region (including most of Judah) and only lacked little ol' Jerusalem to complete the job. However, just as Isaiah's prophecy here in verses 24-25 says, Assyria failed in taking Jerusalem...by a miracle of God. So, the very powerful Empire of Assyria would cease to exist, just as Isaiah prophesies here in chapter 10. If you want to read the story of Assyria's failure to conquer Jerusalem as conveyed in II Kings 18:13-19:37, II Chronicles 32:9-22 and Isaiah 36-37, click here.
1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.
14 But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.
15 And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.
16 And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.
There's coming a day when the throne of David (son of Jesse) will rule the world. First of all, we know this prophecy is yet future for the same reason the Jews in the day of Jesus knew it to be yet future; it has not happened yet.
The provisions of this prophecy are very comprehensive:
This Messianic rule by Jesus Christ is yet future to us. It describes the period which begins with the yet-future millennium which will be preceded by the Battle of Armageddon in Revelation 19:11-21 (see notes). That will mark the beginning of the fulfillment of Isaiah 11. For additional information regarding the conditions that will exist beginning with the millennium, read the notes on the following references.
It should be specified that this regathering "from the four corners of the earth" (verse 12) is different from the return of the exiles from Babylonian exile in 535 B.C. Then, the Jews were returned from the other side of the Euphrates; Isaiah prophesies here a world-wide regathering of Jews. Today, Jews are scattered around the world. Isaiah speaks of the time when they will return. We know that this return takes place at the end of the tribulation period.
Actually, there are two distinct periods about which this passage may be referring. Only John's Revelation refers to the one-thousand-year period we know as the millennium in Revelation 20:1-10 (see notes). John tells us that Satan is bound for that one-thousand-year period, but is loosed at the end to make one final attempt to lead a rebellion against Jesus Christ. This short-lived attempt fails. Then, beginning in Revelation 21 (see notes), we see in verse 1, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." Revelation 21 goes on to detail conditions on the "new earth" where evil will never again exist. When reading prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the future reign on the throne of David, it is often difficult to distinguish between the two periods divided by Revelation 20 and 21. Both periods are similar in environment, but unregenerate man will no longer exist after Revelation 20...after the millennium.
Israel will sing a song (Isaiah 12)
1 And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.
2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
4 And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.
5 Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.
6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.
Everybody's gonna be happy when Jesus establishes himself in the millennium. In this chapter we find in these six verses a song of redemption that will be sung throughout the rule of the Messiah. I guess it will be like their national anthem.
The double rendering of the name of God, Jehovah (aka Yahweh) is interesting in verse 2. In Hebrew it says "Jehovah Jehovah." Perhaps that is intended to convey the same emphasis as when God spoke to Moses in Exodus 3:14 (see notes), "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."