Isaiah 11

Isaiah 11

The Righteous Reign of the Branch

11   There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
  And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
    the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and might,
    the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
  And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
  He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
    or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
  but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
    and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
  and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
    and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
  Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
    and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
  The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
    and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
  and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
    and a little child shall lead them.
  The cow and the bear shall graze;
    their young shall lie down together;
    and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
  The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
    and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
  They shall not hurt or destroy
    in all my holy mountain;
  for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
    as the waters cover the sea.

In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.

In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.

  He will raise a signal for the nations
    and will assemble the banished of Israel,
  and gather the dispersed of Judah
    from the four corners of the earth.
  The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart,
    and those who harass Judah shall be cut off;
  Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah,
    and Judah shall not harass Ephraim.
  But they shall swoop down on the shoulder of the Philistines in the west,
    and together they shall plunder the people of the east.
  They shall put out their hand against Edom and Moab,
    and the Ammonites shall obey them.
  And the LORD will utterly destroy
    the tongue of the Sea of Egypt,
  and will wave his hand over the River
    with his scorching breath,
  and strike it into seven channels,
    and he will lead people across in sandals.
  And there will be a highway from Assyria
    for the remnant that remains of his people,
  as there was for Israel
    when they came up from the land of Egypt.


Isaiah 11 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

There is a good point here to be made about the wrath of God. Many skeptics are quick to point out God’s wrath, especially in the Old Testament. Of course, we have all heard the question, if God is so loving, why would He do such a thing? When discerning the character of God, we must not be quick to assume that His ways are the same as our ways. Isaiah mentions this later in his book.

A lot of the text thus far in Isaiah has described God’s judgement. When we think of wrath and judgement, we think of vengeance. We often think of hate and vindictive, selfish rage. I don’t believe this is how we should translate the text. For example, Isaiah 11:4, (while describing Jesus the Messiah) says that “with righteousness, He judges.” Isaiah 11:5 follows with, “Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist.”

When I read these verses, I come the the conclusion that our presupposition for God’s judgement is His righteousness and faithfulness – not a vindictive or hateful rage. His character is flawless. He judges, not because He is emotionally overcome, but because wrongs cannot exist in His presence, and they need to be made right. It is the same reason why we stand up for truth in the face of evil.

Furthermore, this text is describing Jesus. This makes the passage even more amazing! God not only revealed his character to us in words, He sent it in a person so we had an example to follow. Jesus was the incarnation of righteousness and faithfulness. He showed us the heart of God’s judgement over sin.

So, again, I believe it is very helpful to search for God’s ways within the text instead of falsely assuming that He suffers from flaws like we do. We should applaud God’s truth and righteousness. We should thirst for it. Those of us who have already had our sin debt paid by Jesus should not fear God, but draw near to Him.

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