Summary: Isaiah speaks Messianically. The people in darkness to see a great Light. Unto us a child is born. He shall be the Prince of Peace and shall reign on David's throne. Compare Isaiah 9.
Understanding Isaiah's terminology:
More grievously afflict (v. 1)—Trouble a lot more, torment
Spoil (v. 3)—Property taken from their enemies in war
Yoke (v. 4)—A wooden frame placed around the necks of animals or people so they can pull or carry heavy loads; here it symbolizes bondage or slavery
Staff, rod (v. 4)—Sticks used to correct or to beat animals or slaves and sometimes used for aid in walking
Zeal (v. 7)—Eager desire
Stoutness (v. 9)—Boldness or strength
Adversaries (v. 11)—Enemies
Hypocrite (v. 17)—A person who pretends to be what he or she really is not
Folly (v. 17)—Foolishness
Briers (v. 18)—A prickly plant or shrub
Verses 1-7: The northernmost part of Israel, near the sea of Galilee, was the area of Israel first attacked by enemies who came from the north (see the map on p. 48). When those conquering armies came, this area suffered the most destruction. Isaiah’s prophecy quoted in 2 Nephi 19:1–7 promised this area deliverance through a child, a descendant of David, who was also their “Mighty God.” This area of Galilee is where Jesus spent much of His mortal ministry. As recorded in 2 Nephi 19:5, He removed their captivity and burdens not with physical battle, but by the inner burnings of the Holy Ghost (see also D&C 19:31).(B of M student manual)
Verse 2: "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." To me, this verse means that the Gospel will be spread across the earth. Those who have not yet experienced this joy will have the opportunity.
Verse 7: "Of the increase of government and peace there is no end." I can't help but think of the promises of the next life. We will be able to, because of what Christ did for us, create worlds without number and know the peace that we can only dream of now.
Verse 10: "The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones; the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars." No matter what obstacles or trials we face, there is a way to overcome them. We will find the solution. We will find peace. And will will find these things because of what Christ did for us.
Verse 17 & 21: "For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still." I love this phrase! In the previous verses, we read of the numerous sins and abominations men will commit. The Lord will not take away the consequences of these actions. But He is there for us. The second we want to turn our hearts back to Him, He will be there waiting, with His hand outstretched. Can you imagine that kind of love? No matter how far we stray, the Lord will always be there, waiting for us. He will never give up on us. He will always love us. There will be times in our lives when we will question this very thing. But we must remember--His hand is stretched out still!