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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Yeshayahu- Isaiah - Chapter 9

Yeshayahu- Isaiah - Chapter 9

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 9

1. The people who walked in darkness, have seen a great light; those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, light shone upon them.   א. הָעָם הַהֹלְכִים בַּחֹשֶׁךְ רָאוּ אוֹר גָּדוֹל יֹשְׁבֵי בְּאֶרֶץ צַלְמָוֶת אוֹר נָגַהּ עֲלֵיהֶם:
The people who walked in darkness: The inhabitants of Jerusalem, who were darkened by their concern [of falling into the hands] of Sennacherib. Comp. with what Hezekiah said (infra 7: 3), “This day is a day of distress, debate, and blasphemy.”  
have seen a great light: with Sennacherib’s downfall.  
2. You have aggrandized this nation; you have magnified the joy for them; they have rejoiced over You like the joy of harvest, as they rejoice when they divide spoils.   ב. הִרְבִּיתָ הַגּוֹי לוֹ הִגְדַּלְתָּ הַשִּׂמְחָה שָֹמְחוּ לְפָנֶיךָ כְּשִׂמְחַת בַּקָּצִיר כַּאֲשֶׁר יָגִילוּ בְּחַלְּקָם שָׁלָל:
You have aggrandized this nation: They have become aggrandized to all who hear of them, when the nations heard the miracles that were performed for them.  
You have magnified the joy for them: Heb. לוֹ, [lit. for him.] And not for his enemies. It is written לֹא, [spelled ‘lammed aleph,’ meaning ‘not,’] since Hezekiah’s joy was incomplete, because, at that time it was said to him (infra 39:6), everything in your palace… will be carried off to Babylonia."  
like the joy of harvest: Jonathan renders: like the joy of the victors of a battle, which is similar to the harvest; those who slay men cut throats. Scripture deviated from being explicit [lit. changed its language] to expound that the miracle took place on the night of the harvest of the omer.  
as they rejoice when they divide spoils: of Egypt in Moses’ time, for here, too, they divided the spoils of Cush and Egypt and the coveted treasures of all the nations, for, when he returned from Tirhakah, king of Cush, he came to Jerusalem with all the treasures of Cush and Egypt, as it is stated (infra 45: 14): “The toil of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush and the Sebaites…” And all this Hezekiah and his people plundered.  
3. For, the yoke of his burden and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of the one who oppressed him have You broken, as on the day of Midian.   ג. כִּי | אֶת עֹל סֻבֳּלוֹ וְאֵת מַטֵּה שִׁכְמוֹ שֵׁבֶט הַנֹּגֵשׂ בּוֹ הַחִתֹּתָ כְּיוֹם מִדְיָן:
For the yoke of his burden: The yoke which was a burden to Hezekiah, and that he bent his shoulder for this heavy burden to pay harsh tribute, and the rod with which he had oppressed Hezekiah.  
have You broken: You broke them together in one night.  
like the day of Midian: in Gideon’s time, for they, too, fell together in one night, and on the night of the harvest of the Omer, as it is said (Judges 7: 13): “And behold, a roasted cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian.”  
4. For every victory shout sounds with clamor, and garments wallow in blood, but this shall be burnt, consumed by fire.   ד. כִּי כָל סְאוֹן סֹאֵן בְּרַעַשׁ וְשִׂמְלָה מְגוֹלָלָה בְדָמִים וְהָיְתָה לִשְׂרֵפָה מַאֲכֹלֶת אֵשׁ:
For, every victory shout sounds with clamor: Heb. כִּי כָל-סְאוֹן סֹאֵן בְרַעַשׁ. Some (Machbereth Menachem, p. 125, who claims that the root is סא interpret this as an expression of a ‘seah’ and a measure, as our Rabbis expounded it (Sotah 8b, Tosefta 3:1, Mid. Psalms 91:2, [where the Rabbis interpret this passage to mean that a person is rewarded with the same measure he metes out to others]), but, according to the simple interpretation of the language of the Scriptures, it is impossible to explain it as an expression [of a ‘seah,’] since the ‘vav’ and the ‘nun’ are not radicals but like שָׁאוֹן from שׁוֹאֶה, and הָמוֹן from הוֹמֶה, and חָרוֹן from חָרָה, this root will not assume a verb form with a ‘nun’ to say סוֹאֵן, but סוֹאֶה, just as from הָמוֹן, we say הוֹמֶה, and from שָׁאוֹן, שׁוֹאֶה, but one does not say: שׁוֹאֵן, הוֹמֵן, חוֹרֵן. I [therefore,] say that its interpretation is according to the context, and that it is hapax legomenon in Scripture. Its interpretation is an expression of a shout of victory in battle. [We, therefore, explain the words: סְאוֹן סֹאֵן בְרַעַשׁ כִּי כָל- as follows:] The sound of [var. every] victory of any victor in war, is with clamor; it is the galloping of horses and the striking of shields against each other. And the garments of those killed in battle wallowing in blood. But in this victory there is no clamor, and there is no blood.  
but this shall be burnt: He shall be burnt, consumed by fire.  
5. For a child has been born to us, a son given to us, and the authority is upon his shoulder, and the wondrous adviser, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, called his name, "the prince of peace."   ה. כִּי יֶלֶד יֻלַּד לָנוּ בֵּן נִתַּן לָנוּ וַתְּהִי הַמִּשְׂרָה עַל שִׁכְמוֹ וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ פֶּלֶא יוֹעֵץ אֵל גִּבּוֹר אֲבִי עַד שַׂר שָׁלוֹם:
For a child has been born to us: Although Ahaz is wicked, his son who was born to him many years ago [nine years prior to his assuming the throne] to be our king in his stead, shall be a righteous man, and the authority of the Holy One, blessed be He, and His yoke shall be on his shoulder, for he shall engage in the Torah and observe the commandments, and he shall bend his shoulder to bear the burden of the Holy One, blessed be He.  
and… called his name: The Holy One, blessed be He, Who gives wondrous counsel, is a mighty God and an everlasting Father, called Hezekiah’s name, “the prince of peace,” since peace and truth will be in his days.  
6. To him who increases the authority, and for peace without end, on David's throne and on his kingdom, to establish it and to support it with justice and with righteousness; from now and to eternity, the zeal of the Lord of Hosts shall accomplish this.   ו. לְמַרְבֵּה הַמִּשְׂרָה וּלְשָׁלוֹם אֵין קֵץ עַל כִּסֵּא דָוִד וְעַל מַמְלַכְתּוֹ לְהָכִין אֹתָהּ וּלְסַעֲדָהּ בְּמִשְׁפָּט וּבִצְדָקָה מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם קִנְאַת יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת תַּעֲשֶׂה זֹּאת:
To him who increased the authority: To whom will He call this name? To the king who increases the authority of the Holy One, blessed be He, upon himself, to fear Him.  
authority: an expression of government. [This is to refute those who disagree with us [the Christians]. But it is possible to say that “Prince of Peace,” too, is one of the names of the Holy One, blessed be He, and this calling of a name is not actually a name but an expression of (var. for the purpose of) greatness and authority. Comp. (Ruth 4:11) “And be famous (וּקְרָא שֵׁם) in Bethlehem. Also (II Sam. 7:9, I Chron. 17:8): ” And I shall make for you a name.“ Here too, Scripture means, ” And He gave him a name and authority."]  
and for peace: which is given to him, there will be no end, for he had peace on all his sides, and this “end” is not an expression of an end to eternity, but there will be no boundaries. On the throne of the kingdom of David shall this peace be justice and righteousness that Hezekiah performed.  
and for peace: Heb. וּלְשָׁלוֹם. This ‘vav’ is to rectify the word, thus: He [Hezekiah] increased the authority upon his shoulder, and what reward will He [God] pay him? Behold, his peace shall have no end or any limit.  
from now and to eternity: The eternity of Hezekiah, viz. all his days. And so we find that Hannah said concerning Samuel (I Sam. 1:22): “and abide there forever.” And, in order to refute those who disagree [i.e., the Christians, who claim that this (Prince of Peace) is their deity], we can refute them [by asking], What is the meaning of: “from now” ? Is it not so that the “deity” did not come until after five hundred years and more?  
the zeal of the Lord of Hosts: Who was zealous for Zion concerning what Aram and Pekah planned about it.  
shall accomplish this: but Ahaz does not deserve it, moreover, the merit of the Patriarchs has terminated. [Addendum: And our Rabbis said: The Holy One, blessed be He, wished to make Hezekiah the Messiah and Sennacherib, Gog and Magog. Said the ministering angels before the Holy One, blessed be He, Should the one who stripped the doors of the Temple and sent them to the king of Assyria, be made Messiah? Immediately, Scripture closed it up.]  
7. The Lord has sent a word against Jacob, and it has fallen in Israel.   ז. דָּבָר שָׁלַח אֲדֹנָי בְּיַעֲקֹב וְנָפַל בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל:
The Lord has sent a word against Jacob: [i.e.,] the prophecy that he prophesied concerning the punishment of Pekah son of Remaliah.  
and it has fallen in Israel: From now, it will be fulfilled concerning them.  
8. And the entire people shall know- Ephraim and the dwellers of Samaria-[the fallacy of what they spoke] with haughtiness and with arrogance, saying,   ח. וְיָדְעוּ הָעָם כֻּלּוֹ אֶפְרַיִם וְיוֹשֵׁב שֹׁמְרוֹן בְּגַאֲוָה וּבְגֹדֶל לֵבָב לֵאמֹר:
with haughtiness and arrogance, saying: What they were saying with haughtiness and arrogance.  
9. "Bricks have fallen, and hewn stones we will build; sycamores have been cut down, and we will replace them with cedars."   ט. לְבֵנִים נָפָלוּ וְגָזִית נִבְנֶה שִׁקְמִים גֻּדָּעוּ וַאֲרָזִים נַחֲלִיף:
Bricks have fallen, and hewn stones we will build: The kings we had before Pekah reigned, e.g., Jehoahaz son of Jehu, in whose days we were diminished, like the matter stated (II Kings 13:7): “For the king of Aram had destroyed them,” were inferior, and they went away like a weak brick building that falls, but this one who is [king] now, is like a building of hewn stones, and similarly, cedars are superior to sycamores for construction.  
10. And the Lord strengthened the adversaries of Rezin over him, and his enemies He shall incite.   י. וַיְשַׂגֵּב יְהֹוָה אֶת צָרֵי רְצִין עָלָיו וְאֶת אֹיְבָיו יְסַכְסֵךְ:
And the Lord strengthened the adversaries of Rezin over him: They trust in their dependence on Rezin, king of Aram, and the Holy One, blessed be He, shall strengthen the king of Assyria over him and stir him up to incite him to come upon him. So I heard from my teachers, but I say that “His enemies” is said in reference to the Shechinah. The Holy One, blessed be He, shall incite His enemies [to war] with one another, one nation with another nation, Aram and the Philistines with Israel, and Israel among themselves, as it is stated below in this matter: “Manasseh with Ephraim…”  
11. Aram from the east and the Philistines from the west, and they devoured Israel with every mouth; despite all this, His anger has not turned away, and His hand is still outstretched.   יא. אֲרָם מִקֶּדֶם וּפְלִשְׁתִּים מֵאָחוֹר וַיֹּאכְלוּ אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּכָל פֶּה בְּכָל זֹאת לֹא שָׁב אַפּוֹ וְעוֹד יָדוֹ נְטוּיָה:
Aram from the east: Aram harmed them from the east in the days of Jehoahaz and Joash, and the Philistines harmed them from the west, for the Philistines are west of them.  
despite all this… and His hand is still outstretched: until He brings Sennacherib upon them. Alternatively: Aram from the east and the Philistines from the west were wreaking destruction in Judah in the days of Ahaz, as is explained in Chronicles (II 28:18), and over Israel and Judah as well, Isaiah was lamenting because of these misfortunes.  
12. And the people has not returned to the One Who smites it, and the Lord of Hosts they have not sought.   יב. וְהָעָם לֹא שָׁב עַד הַמַּכֵּהוּ וְאֶת יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת לֹא דָרָשׁוּ:
to the One Who smites it: To the Holy One, blessed be He, Who brings these afflictions upon them.  
13. And the Lord cut off from Israel a head and a tail, a large arch and a small arch in one day.   יג. וַיַּכְרֵת יְהֹוָה מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל רֹאשׁ וְזָנָב כִּפָּה וְאַגְמוֹן יוֹם אֶחָד:
a large arch and a small arch: An expression denoting kings and sultans. כִּפָּה, arcum voltum, arvolt in O.F. [an arch] i.e., those who hover over them like an arch.  
a small arch: Heb. (אַגְמוֹן). This too is a small arch, and since it is bent over like a rush, (אַגְמוֹן), Scripture calls it אַגְמוֹן. And in the Baraitha of Samuel we find that there are constellations in the heavens, appointed to [influence the world], and these are their names. Here the prophet states that all their savants who prophesy for them and gaze at the stars, the Lord will cut off from them.  
14. An elder and a man of esteem is the head, and a misleading prophet is the tail.   יד. זָקֵן וּנְשׂוּא פָנִים הוּא הָרֹאשׁ וְנָבִיא מוֹרֶה שֶׁקֶר הוּא הַזָּנָב:
15. And the leaders of this people mislead, and those led by them are misled.   טו. וַיִּהְיוּ מְאַשְּׁרֵי הָעָם הַזֶּה מַתְעִים וּמְאֻשָּׁרָיו מְבֻלָּעִים:
the leaders: Heb. מְאַשְׁרֵי, leaders. Comp. (Job 23:11) “On His steps (בַּאֲשֻׁרוֹ), my foot has held fast.”  
and those led by them (lit. him): those who learned the ways of the false leaders. [Others read:] Those led in the way of the misleaders who lead them in these ways, confusing and perplexing ways, from which there is no way to emerge. The expression of מְבֻלָּעִים, misled or corrupt, applies to “ways,” in the manner it is stated elsewhere (supra 3:12): “O my people! Your leaders lead you astray, and the way of your paths they have corrupted.”  
16. Therefore, over his youths, the Lord shall not rejoice, and on his orphans and his widows He shall not have mercy, for all of them are hypocrites and evil doers, and every mouth speaks obscene language; despite all this, His anger has not turned away, and His hand is still outstretched.   טז. עַל כֵּן עַל בַּחוּרָיו לֹא יִשְׂמַח | אֲדֹנָי וְאֶת יְתֹמָיו וְאֶת אַלְמְנֹתָיו לֹא יְרַחֵם כִּי כֻלּוֹ חָנֵף וּמֵרָע וְכָל פֶּה דֹּבֵר נְבָלָה בְּכָל זֹאת לֹא שָׁב אַפּוֹ וְעוֹד יָדוֹ נְטוּיָה:
and evildoers: Wicked. Comp. (1: 4) “Evildoing seed.”  
17. For wickedness has burnt like fire, and thorns shall consume them, and it kindled in the thickets of the forest, and they have become entangled by the thickening smoke.   יז. כִּי בָעֲרָה כָאֵשׁ רִשְׁעָה שָׁמִיר וָשַׁיִת תֹּאכֵל וַתִּצַּת בְּסִבְכֵי הַיַּעַר וַיִּתְאַבְּכוּ גֵּאוּת עָשָׁן:
For wickedness has burnt like fire: Their wickedness shall burn them and consume them like fire.  
worms and thorns: [i.e.,] their [worms and thorns] shall consume their rebels and their transgressors.  
and it kindled in the thickets of the forest: in the impoverished segment of the population.“Thicket” refers to the branches.  
and they have become entangled by the thickening smoke.: They shall become entangled and hemmed in by the strength of the conflagration. Every expression of entanglement has only בך as its radical. Comp. (Job 28:11) “From the recesses (מִבְּכִי) of the rivers” ; (Psalms 94: 7) “The valley of entanglement (הַבָּכָא).” And the ‘nun’ appears in it sometimes, and here an ‘aleph’ appears in place of the ‘nun,’ like the ‘aleph’ of אִבְחַת, “the howling of the sword” (Ezekiel 21:20), and the ‘aleph’ of וְאַחְוָתִי, “And my speech in your ears” (Job 13: 17).  
18. By the wrath of the Lord of Hosts, the smoke has reached the earth, and the people has become like a conflagration of fire; no one has pity on his fellow-man.   יח. בְּעֶבְרַת יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת נֶעְתַּם אָרֶץ וַיְהִי הָעָם כְּמַאֲכֹלֶת אֵשׁ אִישׁ אֶל אָחִיו לֹא יַחְמֹלוּ:
the smoke has reached: Heb. נֶעְתַּם. Jonathan translates: The earth has become scorched. But I find it difficult to explain it in that manner, for it should state נֶעֶתְמָה [since אֶרֶץ is a feminine noun,] and since it is hapax legomenon in Scripture, appearing neither in the sense of the Targum nor any other sense, I explain it according to its context: By the wrath of the Holy One, blessed be He, this smoke reached the earth, and it is an expression that it was ‘decreed’ upon the earth or an expression of ‘reaching’ the earth.  
19. And he snatched on the right and is still hungry, and he ate on the left and they are not sated; each one eats the flesh of his arm.   יט. וַיִּגְזֹר עַל יָמִין וְרָעֵב וַיֹּאכַל עַל שְׂמֹאל וְלֹא שָׂבֵעוּ אִישׁ בְּשַׂר זְרֹעוֹ יֹאכֵלוּ:
And he snatched on the right: They will pillage and plunder one another on the right or on the left and it will not suffice them.  
each one… the flesh of his arm: Jonathan renders: each one plunders the possessions of his relative.  
20. Manasseh with Ephraim, and Ephraim with Manasseh, together they shall [unite] against Judah; despite all this, His anger has not turned away, and His hand is still outstretched.   כ. מְנַשֶּׁה אֶת אֶפְרַיִם וְאֶפְרַיִם אֶת מְנַשֶּׁה יַחְדָּו הֵמָּה עַל יְהוּדָה בְּכָל זֹאת לֹא שָׁב אַפּוֹ וְעוֹד יָדוֹ נְטוּיָה:
Manasseh with Ephraim: Manasseh will join Ephraim.  
and Ephraim with Manasseh: With Manasseh, and together they will unite against Judah.  
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