1 However, those in Judah who were distressed/worrying will not continue to suffer. Previously, Yahweh humbled the people in the land where the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali live. But in the future he will honor the people who live in the Galilee region, along the road between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, where many foreigners live.
2 Some day, it will be as though [MET] the people who walked in darkness will see a great light.
A great light will shine on those who live in a land where they have great troubles/distress.
3 Yahweh, you will cause us people in Israel to rejoice;
we will become very happy.
We will rejoice about what you have done
like [SIM] people rejoice when they harvest their crops,
or like soldiers rejoice
when they divide up among themselves the things that they have captured in a battle.
4 You will cause us to no longer be slaves [MET] of those who captured us;
you will lift the heavy burdens from our shoulders.
It will be as though you will break the rods of those who oppressed us,
like you did when you destroyed the army of the Midian people-group.
5 The boots that the enemy soldiers wore
and their clothing which has stains of blood on them
will all be burned up;
they will only be fuel for a big fire.
6 Another reason that we will rejoice is that a special/important child will be born for us,
a woman will give birth to a son,
and he will be our ruler.
And his names will be ‘Wonderful Counselor’, ‘Mighty/Powerful God’, ‘Our Everlasting Father’, and ‘King/Ruler who causes us to have Peace.’
7 His rule, and the peace that he brings/causes, will never end.
He will rule fairly and justly [DOU].
He will rule [MTY] like his ancestor King David did, forever.
This will happen because Yahweh, our Supreme Commander, greatly desires that it happen.
God will punish Israel
8 The Lord has warned the descendants of Jacob;
he has said that he will punish Israel.
9-10 And all the people in Samaria and other places in Israel know that,
but they were very proud and arrogant [DOU].
They said, “Our city has been destroyed,
but we will take away the broken bricks from the ruins
and replace them with carefully cut stones.
Our sycamore-fig trees have been cut down by our enemies,
but we will plant cedar trees in their place.
11 But Yahweh brought the armies of Assyria, the enemies of King Rezin of Syria, to fight against Israel
and incited other nations to attack Israel.
12 The army of Syria came from the east,
and the army of Philistia came from the west,
and they destroyed Israel
like a wild animal tears another animal apart and [MET] devours it.
But even after that happened, Yahweh was still very angry with them.
He was ready to strike them with his fist again.
13 But even though Yahweh punished his people like that,
they still did not return to him and worship him.
They still did not request Yahweh, their Supreme Commander, to assist them.
14 Therefore, in one day Yahweh will get rid of those who are like Israel's head and those who are like its tail;
the ones who are like the top of the palm tree and the ones who are like the bottom.
15 The leaders [DOU] of Israel are the head,
and the prophets who tell lies are the tail.
16 The leaders of the people have misled them;
they have caused the people that they are ruling to be confused.
17 For that reason, Yahweh is not pleased with the young men of Israel,
and he does not even act mercifully toward the widows and orphans,
because they are all ungodly and wicked,
and they all say things that are foolish.
But Yahweh still is angry with them;
he is ready to strike them with his fist again.
18 When people do wicked things,
it is like [SIM] a brushfire that spreads rapidly.
It burns up not only briers and thorns;
it starts a big fire in the forests
from which clouds of smoke will rise.
19 It is as though the whole land is burned black
because Yahweh our Supreme Commander is extremely angry with the Israeli people.
They will become like [SIM] fuel for that great fire,
and no one will try to rescue even his own brother from that fire.
20 Israeli people will attack their neighbors who live in houses at the right to get food from them,
but they will still be hungry.
They will kill and eat the flesh of those who live in houses at the left,
but their stomachs will still not be full.
21 People of the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim will attack each other,
and then they will both attack the people of Judah.
But even after that happens, Yahweh will still be very angry with them;
He will be ready to strike them with his fist again.