Isaiah 11

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning,
that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4

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A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2006 James Melough

11:1.  “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.”


Jesse means of him who is, with my subsistences as a possible second meaning.  “Him Who is” is God, the eternally existing One, Who has never had a beginning, and Who will never have an end.  It is to be remembered however, that this applies to Jesse only in the sense that his life, like that of every other man, had its origin in God, the Source of all life.  Man will exist for ever, either in the bliss of heaven, or in the torment of the lake of fire.  The reference here is to the Lord Jesus Christ as Son of man, come down to earth to expiate man’s sin, and make eternal life available to all who will trust in Him as Savior.


The stem speaks of the Lord’s incarnation and His identification with humanity, but His being the Branch speaks of Him as the One Who has made eternal life available to every repentant sinner, He alone having the power to lay down His life, and to take it up again, as it is written, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again,” John 10:18.


Since a rod is the Biblical symbol of authority or rule, the Lord’s being spoken of as a rod points to Him as “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS,” Revelation 19:16.


11:2.  “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 of the fear of the Lord.”


This was literally fulfilled at the time of the Lord’s baptism, as recorded in all four Gospels, Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22, and John 1:32, when the multitude saw the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, alighting upon Him. 


“... the spirit of the Lord” is the Holy Spirit, through Whom the Lord was endued with perfect discernment to distinguish between right and wrong; through Whom He was filled with perfect knowledge of all things; through Whom He, as Son of man, was imbued with reverence for God the Father.


11:3.  “And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove (judge, decide) after the hearing of his ears:”


“quick” is used here in the sense of His having a lively, active, clear understanding of the reverence that is due to the Father; and relative to judgment and rebuke, He would not make decisions simply in response to what He saw or heard, i.e., on the basis of outward appearances, but on what He, by His omniscience, knew to be true.


11:4.  “But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips, shall he slay the wicked.”


When the Lord was here on earth perfect righteousness governed His words and deeds whether in addressing the pleas of the poor, or in defending the rights of the people whose appeals were ignored by those whose duty it was to administer impartial justice.  During His time in the world He inveighed against injustice, but didn’t attempt to stop it, because His coming then was to expiate sin by the offering of Himself “without spot to God”; but in the Millennium He will be reigning as King of kings, and Lord of lords, His impartial administration of justice making that era the most glorious the world has ever known.


The “rod of his mouth,” and “the breath of his lips” are metaphors for the Scriptures.  In the Millennium all will be compelled to obey His word, or die; one great difference between that era and the present being that in the Millennium the sentence against infraction will be executed immediately. 


11:5.  “And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.”


In this verse “loins” refer to the waist or small of the back, and “reins” are literally the loins, so that the truth being declared is that the Lord is girded with righteousness and faithfulness, i.e., He is sinless, and completely trustworthy.


11:6.  “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”


11:7 “And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.”


11:8.  “And sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp (cobra), and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ (adder’s) den.”


11:9.  “They shall not hurt nor 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 the Millennium the carnivores will be herbivorous, so that there will be no animosity between the animals, nor between them and man, as it is written, “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat.  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord,” Isaiah 65:25.


11:10.  “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.”


The One referred to here is the Lord Jesus Christ.  His being “a root of Jesse” points to His deity.  He is the Creator.  His being “an ensign of the people” speaks of Him as a signal, sign, or banner of salvation.  He is the One, who by His vicarious death has become the Savior of the world. 


Relative to His being a sign, the unbelieving Jewish leaders said, “Master, we would see a sign from thee.  But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth,” Matthew 12:38-40.  His miracles attested His deity, but unbelief rejected the evidence even when the sign was fulfilled by His death and resurrection, which were typified in Jonah’s being swallowed by the great fish, and then vomited up again.


But what unbelief rejects, faith accepts.  The despised Gentiles, by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, enter into rest that is eternal and glorious.


11:11.  “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.”


This refers to the regathering of Israel at the end of the Great Tribulation, from her present worldwide dispersal amongst the nations since AD70.  That return of the Jews to Palestine, which began in 1948 and continues to the present, is but another sign that the Great Tribulation is imminent.


11:12.  “And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”


Some understand this to mean that the beginning of Israel’s return to Palestine will be the sign to the nations of the imminence of the Great Tribulation; but others take it to mean that her establishment in the land will signal the beginning of the Millennium when she will be chief among the nations.  This latter seems to be the correct view.


11:13.  “The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.”


The division between Israel (the ten tribes), and Judah and Benjamin (here designated as Judah), occurred during the reign of Jeroboam, see 1 Kings 12:20, and continued until the Diaspora of AD70.  In the Millennium that separation will be healed: Israel will be a unified nation again.


11:14.  “But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.”


This describes the universality of Israel’s dominion in the Millennium.  She will be chief of the nations.


11:15.  “And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.”


“the tongue of the Egyptian sea” is the Red Sea; and “the river” here is the Euphrates.  God will dry up the Red Sea, and divide the Euphrates into seven branches, so that men will be able to cross dryshod over both in the Millennium.


11:16.  “And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.”


Many commentators understand that “Assyria” is used here as representative of all the countries from which Israel will be gathered back to Palestine at the end of the Great Tribulation, nor does there seem to be any good reason not to accept this suggestion.

[Isaiah 12]

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     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
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