|Faith Strengthened||Chapter 8||Part 2|
Matthew 4:13-15, "And leaving Nazareth, he [Jesus] came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zebulon and Naphthali. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zebulon and the land of Naphthali, by the way of the sea beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles."
Let the reader refer to Isaiah 8:23 (verse 9:1 in the English version), and see whether the detached passage, as given in the New Testament, proves anything relating to Jesus. There we read that the anguish is not abating which is poured down upon "her" [Israel]. "The first time it came lightly upon the land of Zebulon, and the land of Naphthali; and the latter time, it fell heavily upon her by the way of the sea, on the side of Jordan, and the boundary of the Gentiles." The prophet had spoken of the preponderance of the empire of Ashur over that of Israel, and he stated that Tiglath Pilessar, King of Assyria, had at first extended his conquest over the lands of Zebulon and Naphthali; and therefore the calamity was deemed to be confined to a narrow compass in the sight of Israel. But afterwards the misery became oppressive, when Sennacherib marched against Judah, and took all its fortified cities; so that Jerusalem was the only country that escaped. The whole country of Palestine being thus ravaged, the prophet pointed out the utmost limits of the country as the marks of the extent of the devastation; hence the allusion to Jordan and the sea, which were the boundaries of the nation. The borders of the neighboring Philistines were therefore called "the boundaries of the Philistines." When Sennacherib came up to attack Jerusalem, the angel of the Lord destroyed 185,000 warriors. Then it was that, according to Isaiah 9:1, "The people who had walked in the darkness of trouble saw"—namely, the light of deliverance, after the total fall of Sennacherib. That salvation is termed "light," is shown by the expression of Esther 8:16, "Unto the Jews was light." Isaiah continues, chapter 9:2, "Thou hast made great the nation (namely, in their position among other nations); Thou hast increased their joy before Thee, according to the joy in harvest;" thus expressing their gratitude and devout sentiments at the miraculous escape from the overwhelming number of the enemy, and their exultation during the distribution of the spoil found in the Assyrain camp. [Isaiah 9:3] "For Thou hast broken the yoke of his burden;" that is, Thou hast frustrated the designs of the cruelty of the Assyrian King; "And the staff of his shoulder, and the rod of his oppression, as in the day of Midian." [When Gideon, with a handful of men, routed in the night the army of the invading Midianites; so that also then a supernatural help saved Israel from utter ruin.] For the attack of the assailants was as the shock of an earthquake—that is to say, this warfare differed from all others in which garments were rolled in blood; whereas in this war there was no bloodshed by human weapons, but the weapons of destruction were [Isaiah 9:4] "burning and of full fire." The prophet then continues to say [Isaiah 9:5], "For unto us a child has been born, unto us a son has been given, and the government has [fallen] on his shoulders." By this prediction was meant Hezekiah, King of Judah, in whose days the signal deliverance happened. This prophecy was given to Ahaz after the birth of Hezekiah, and in consideration of the future piety of this child, this Divine consolation was given. The son who was given us, and who was proved to have been Hezekiah, was nine years old when Ahaz ascended the throne.