Jesus Christ grew up in this territory, in the city of Nazareth, fulfilling a prophecy from Isaiah 9:1-2:
- It is called 'Galilee of the Gentiles'. The tribe of Zebulun (as did other tribes) allowed various Canaanite peoples to continue living among them instead of driving them out and were thus subject to the temptation of intermarrying with them and having their own religious practices corrupted with pagan influences. No wonder that by Jesus' time, the area was known for its Gentile presence. Interestingly, Jesus' ministry was largely conducted in this area. God's intent was for the Jews to eventually spread the knowledge of God to all peoples.
- I notice that the area is noted as being 'by way of the sea' -- which to me is another indication that the territory of Zebulun must have had some real contact with the sea in some physical way.
- The last part of verse 2, where the people see a great light, and where a light dawns on those living in the shadow of death is also interesting, especially in light (pun intended) of the fact that Jesus claims to be the light of the world. (See Luke 2:32, John 1:4-9; 8:12; 9:5; 12:35; 12:46, for just some of the verses about this.)
- Later in this 9th chapter in Isaiah, verses 6-7 have some incredible things to say. A son is supposed to be born who will be called, among other names,
'Everlasting Father' or, as some have translated it, 'Father of Eternity',
which is pretty hard to explain unless this son is somehow God.
Also, "of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end" (v.7). Again, how could a mere human govern indefinitely? Moving on in this verse, "He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom...with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever." So this one who rules forever must be from David's line.
The end of verse 7 states that "the zeal of the Lord will accomplish this", so if it seems as though there are some incredible things going on in this passage, things which would take a miracle to accomplish, then you are right. God Himself is bringing salvation to mankind. I think that this fact that the Lord is the One who will accomplish this is both comforting and realistic, for we could never have the power/righteousness to do it by ourselves.
There are plenty of other interesting things about the tribe of Zebulun which you can discover if you take a look at all the passages in which this individual and tribe is mentioned. You can take a concordance (a book which lists where each word is found in the Bible) -- there are free ones online -- and check it out for yourself. You can just type in the word you are interested in and a list of where the term is found in the Bible will appear. One thing which I discovered is that this tribe was known for being steadfast warriors, which I hadn't realized. Other aspects may be mentioned when we get to Moses's blessing of all the tribes in the book of Deuteronomy.