The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.
3 You have multiplied the nation
And increased its joy;[a]
They rejoice before You
According to the joy of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4 For You have 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 warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle,
And garments rolled in blood,
Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.
6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
This Child was born because the world was in darkness (v.2). Natural man gropes about in spiritual darkness. The shadow of death surrounds him constantly. Therefore the Child brought light and life, not a light like the flash of a weapon which deals Out death but a light that radiates and glows with life. Multiple sorrow was the aftermath of the fall (v. 3). God had said, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow.” But the Child was born so that joy might be multiplied, a joy like that of the harvest festival or of victorious soldiers. Spiritual bondage was the lot of all men (v.4). Man’s slavery under sin was like bearing a heavy yoke or burden, like being struck on the back with staves and rods. Therefore the Child came to break this burdensome yoke and to shatter those rods and staves in a victory as miraculous as Gideon’s over the Midianites Judg. 7: 19-23).
War was being aggressively waged by man’s enemies (v. 5) . They had effective equipment for bringing men to their knees: marching boots that enabled them to trample roughshod over their opponents, uniforms that were scarlet-colored from the blood which they absorbed. But the Child turned the tide in this war, stripping the foe of boots and uniforms and burning all of his equipment.
Those were the reasons for the gift of the Son. But how could the Son effect such a deliverance from darkness, sorrow, bondage, and war? The four names that were given Him give us a clue to His power and ability (v. 6) .