The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Isaiah 11

Isa 11:1

SHOOT... BRANCH: Echoes the figure of Isa 6:13, and contrasts the lopping off of the boughs in Isa 10:33.

JESSE: Implies that when Messiah comes the royal line will no longer be regal but will have sunk back to the ordinariness of common life -- having been cut down (Isa 10:33,34) by successive Gentile conquerors. A root out of a dry ground (Isa 53:2; Rom 11:18; cp similar thought, Mic 5:2).

BRANCH: Heb "netzer" (as in Isa 60;21), root of Nazareth (Mat 2:23). Similar to Heb "tzemach", used elsewhere: Isa 4:2; Jer 23:5; 33:15; Zec 3:8; 6:12.

Isa 11:2

THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD: A 7-fold Spirit, ie 1Co 12:29,30. In Christ will be gathered all the "fullness" of God -- an allusion to the tabernacle, with its Holy Spirit resident there (Col 2:9).

WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING: Surpassing that of Solomon -- which was (merely) prudence and shrewdness in statecraft (2Ch 1:10-12).

Isa 11:3

HE WILL DELIGHT IN THE FEAR OF THE LORD: Lit, "his smelling is in the fear of the LORD." In Amo 5:21 the sw carries the nuance of "smell with delight, get pleasure from." There the LORD declares that he does not "smell with delight" (ie, get pleasure from) Israel's religious assemblies, which prob stand by metonymy for the incense offered during these festivals. In Isa 11:3 there is no sacrificial context to suggest such a use, but it is poss that "the fear of the LORD" is likened to incense. This coming king will get the same kind of delight from obeying (fearing) the LORD [or, delight from those who obey the LORD], as a worshiper does in the incense offered in the Temple (NET notes). Cp ideas, Phi 4:18; ct Isa 65:5.

HE WILL NOT JUDGE BY WHAT HE SEES... OR... BY WHAT HE HEARS: See idea, Joh 2:24,25; 7:24; 8:15.

Isa 11:4

// Psa 72:3,4; Mar 12:43; Joh 12:3.

HE WILL STRIKE THE EARTH: Or, "the oppressor" (by small change in Heb).

HE WILL SLAY THE WICKED: Compassionate to poor and needy, he will be royally indignant against bad men: Rev 1:16; 2:16; 19:15; 2Th 2:8.

Isa 11:5

BELT... SASH: The 2 girdles, or sashes, point to a High Priest (Lev 8:7; Exo 28:4). Cp also Zec 6:12,13: the Branch will be a priest upon his throne!

Isa 11:6

Vv 6-9: "Another passage beautifully depicting the happy days which are yet to dawn on this afflicted and groaning earth, is that well known one in Isa 11. Sweet it is (whether the language be understood lit of a change in the brute creation, or fig of peace and concord among men) to think of the wolf dwelling with the lamb; the leopard lying down with the kid; the calf, the young lion, and the fatling together, and all so gentle, that a little child shall lead them. 'They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea' (v 9). Delightful prospect for this miserable world!" (FLD 271).

Vv 6-8: "Can there be any doubt that the great 'beastly' vision of Dan 7 is intended as commentary on what Isa has written here? The sequence of lion, bear, leopard and dragon (python) are all here, and so also is the Son of man who is to tame all these ancient enemies of his people. It is surely significant that the wolf is to dwell with the lamb (not the lamb with the wolf), and the leopard with the kid. Nor is the pairing of these animals inappropriate, for it has been observed that a wolf attacks sheep-folds, but a leopard will stalk a goat (kid) in inaccessible places where no wolf would venture, and a lion will carry off an ox which neither of the other predators could attempt to move" (WIsa 185).

But these visions are more than figurative; there is also prophesied here the primeval state of creation, when all creatures were given the herbs of the field for food (Gen 1:28) -- here is Paradise restored!

A LITTLE CHILD WILL LEAD THEM: See Lesson, "Little child" in Isa.

Isa 11:8

Figure of mother and children in Isaiah: Isa 8:3,4; 11:8; 26:17,18; 28:9; 45:10,11; 46:3,4; 49:15,20-23; 54:1; 60:16; 66:11-13.

THE HOLE OF THE COBRA... THE VIPER'S NEST: Perfectly safe, because the cobra and the viper are GONE! They have been destroyed (Gen 3:15)!

Isa 11:9

HOLY MOUNTAIN: Jerusalem: Isa 2:2-4; 27:13; Jer 3:17; Zec 14:10.

THE EARTH WILL BE FULL: As in Dan 2:35-44.

FULL OF THE KNOWLEDGE: And full of the Glory (Num 14:21; Psa 72:19). And full of the knowledge of the glory..." (Hab 2:14).

Isa 11:10

ROOT OF JESSE: As well as the Branch of Jesse (Isa 11:1). Christ as both root and offspring of David (Rev 22:16).

BANNER: The little shoot or branch will grow to be a full-grown tree, being transformed into a pole, or stake, or ensign (Num 21:9, sw; Joh 12:32).

FOR THE PEOPLES... THE NATIONS: For the tribes of Israel (peoples = am) (and for Gentiles: nations = goyim) to flee to for aid. So cited in Rom 15:12: "the Gentiles will hope in him".

THE NATIONS WILL RALLY TO HIM: Happened also in the days of Hezekiah (2Ch 32:23; cp Isa 60:5; 49:12). [This actually happened in Hezek's time, when the king recovered from a deadly disease, and simultaneously the Assyrian invader was overthrown by divine power. This sent a shock wave through all surrounding countries, and many foreigners brought gifts to the LORD in Jerusalem (2Ch 32:23; cp Isa 60:5; 49:12).

HIS PLACE OF REST WILL BE GLORIOUS: God's place of rest = Temple (Isa 66:1; Psa 132:8,14). Here a unique temple permanently filled with God's own Glory, not a sanctuary left desolate or only occasionally honored with a divine visitation.

Isa 11:11

A SECOND TIME: Implies a first time, ie when Moses led Israel out of Egypt (cp Isa 49:9-11; 63:11,12; 43;1-5,16-19; Mic 7:15; Psa 68:22...).

RECLAIM: Or "recover" (KJV). The Heb sig "purchase" or "redeem" (sw Exo 15:6; Psa 74:2).

FROM LOWER EGYPT, FROM UPPER EGYPT: "The lean-on-Egypt policy advocated by Hezekiah's princes at the time of his dire sickness must have been accompanied by a flight thither on the part of many terrified Jewish civilians. There is archaeological evidence of at least one Jewish colony in Egypt in this very period" (WIsa 187,188).

"This wretched situation anticipates an oppression and scattering of Jews in a day which lies yet in the future... When the Jews... come under the tyranny of their Arab enemies, many of them will become slaves in the territories round about (Deu 28:68), until in their penitence they are given a Messiah to lift them permanently out of their misery (Isa 27:12,13; Zep 3:10)" (WIsa 188).

Isa 11:12

A BANNER FOR THE NATIONS: Even Gentiles are now convinced that God is on the side of Israel. They too (though not all) will come to Jerusalem to humble themselves in worship before the God of Israel (Isa 14:2; 49:22; 66:20).

THE EXILES OF ISRAEL: The "outcasts" and "dispersed" of the chosen race: Isa 60:4; Amo 9:15.

Isa 11:13

Those in Ephraim (Northern Kingdom) who envy Judah (because of the Temple?) will depart (into captivity), and those in Judah who are the enemies of Ephraim (because of their schism?) will be destroyed (by the Assyrians)... leaving behind those amenable to "peace" with one another. Thus, a "window of opportunity" for Hezekiah's reconciliation program.

(NT) But the true fulfillment of this awaits the Messiah, who will make Israel and Judah one (Eze 37:16,22; cp Jer 3:18).

Isa 11:14

After the overthrow of Sennacherib's army, Hezek's authority over Philistia was reasserted, as well as expeditions against Edom (Isa 34:6,7; 63:1-6; Oba 1:18-21) and Moab (Isa 25:10; Zep 2:7-9).

THEY WILL SWOOP DOWN: Like birds of prey.

PHILISTIA: See Lesson, Philistia in prophecy.

Isa 11:15

// Isa 27:12,13: also a regathering of Jewish exiles from Egypt and Assyria.

THE LORD WILL DRY UP THE GULF OF THE EGYPTIAN SEA: As did Moses (Exo 14:21), permitting the return of exiles from Egypt. Cp Mic 7:15; Isa 19:16.

HE WILL SWEEP HIS HAND OVER THE EUPHRATES RIVER: This is the true original of the prophecy of the drying up of the Euphrates River in Rev 16:12. See Lesson, Euphrates, drying up.

Isa 11:16

A HIGHWAY FOR THE REMNANT OF HIS PEOPLE: "Now, instead of Israelite captives and strangers building roads for their conquerors, a highway of deliverance is provided for them, as in the day of Moses (Exo 14:29). This is a constantly recurring theme in Isaiah, appropriate to the return of that multitude of captives carried away by Sennacherib (Isa 19:23; 35:8; 40:3; 49:11; 62:10; 63:12,13)... The repeated comparison with the Exodus is picked up in the Apocalypse where the Song of Moses and of the Lamb is associated with the last 7 plagues (Rev 15:3,8) which lead on to the drying-up of Euphrates (Rev 16:12). Perhaps the counterpart to the Song of Moses (Exo 15) is to be found in Isa 14:4-27" (WIsa 190).

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