GOD'S WORD® Translation
1But there will be no more gloom for the land that is in distress. God humbled the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali in earlier times. But in the future he will bring glory to the road by the sea, to the land across the Jordan River, to Galilee, where foreigners live.
2The people who walk in darkness will see a bright light. The light will shine on those who live in the land of death's shadow.
3You will expand the nation and increase its happiness. It will be happy in your presence like those who celebrate the harvest or rejoice when dividing loot.
4You will break the yoke that burdens them, the bar that is across their shoulders, and the stick used by their oppressor, as [you did in the battle against] Midian.
5Every warrior's boot marching to the sound of battle and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel in the fire.
6A child will be born for us. A son will be given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. He will be named: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7His government and peace will have unlimited growth. He will establish David's throne and kingdom. He will uphold it with justice and righteousness now and forever. The LORD of Armies is determined to do this!
8The LORD sent a message against Jacob. The message is against Israel.
9All the people of Ephraim and the people who live in Samaria will know it. With arrogant and conceited hearts they will say,
10"Bricks have fallen, but we will rebuild with hand-cut stones. Fig trees have been cut down, but we will replace them with cedars."
11The LORD will set Rezin's oppressors against Israel and will stir up its enemies-
12the Arameans from the east and the Philistines from the west. They will devour Israel with open mouths. Even after all this, his anger will not disappear, and he is still ready to use his power.
13But the people have not returned to the one who struck them, nor have they sought the LORD of Armies.
14So in one day the LORD will cut off from Israel both head and tail, both palm branches and cattails.
15Respected and honored leaders are the head. Prophets who teach lies are the tail.
16Those who guide these people lead them astray. Those who are guided by them will be destroyed.
17That is why the Lord isn't happy with their young men, nor will he show compassion for their orphans and widows. Every one of them is a godless evildoer, and every mouth speaks foolishness. Even after all this, his anger will not disappear, and he is still ready to use his power.
18Surely wickedness burns like fire. It burns up briars and thorns. It sets the underbrush in the forest on fire, and it whirls upward in clouds of smoke.
19The land is scorched by the fury of the LORD of Armies, and the people are like fuel for the fire. No one shows concern for others:
20On the right, one gobbles up food and is still hungry. On the left, another eats and is never full. Each person eats the flesh from his own arm.
21Manasseh is against Ephraim. Ephraim is against Manasseh. Together they attack Judah. Even after all this, his anger will not disappear, and he is still ready to use his power.