Darkness and Light: Isaiah 9:1


Hi, What are the Jewish commentaries about Isaiah 9:1: “The people that walked in darkness Have seen a brilliant light; On those who dwelt in a land of gloom Light has dawned.” – Especially, Abarbanel, Radak, Malbim, Malbim beur hamilot?

8 months


  1. The darkness – “the shadow of death” – was the feeling that everyone had at that time because it was clear to them that war was imminent.

    Rashi explains that Isaiah was prophesying that the mighty Sancheiriv and his powerful army would be routed. That the darkness of siege and famine would be removed from them and they see the great light of God’s salvation.

    The Redak explains that during the siege the Tribes of Yehudah and Binyamin were surrounded in darkness but they saw a tremendous light that emanated from within the Assyrian camp. According to the Redak the second half of the verse is reiterating the first half using different words.

    The Metzudat Ziyon understands the darkness as being analogous to the “darkness” of the grave.

    The Abarbanel understands the verse very differently and he explains that the darkness will be dissipated by the spiritual light generated during the reign of King Chizkiyahu by the enormous amount of Torah that will be learnt.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team