Isaiah 11 - Outline of Isaiah (Book Notes menu page)
1. And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,
and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
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;
Chapters 11 - 12 describe the coming King in His Kingdom.
This passage can be outlined according to...
  1. the Character of the King (11:1,2)
  2. the several Characteristics of His Kingdom (11:3- 12:6).
However, the focus of the whole passage is upon the King, the Mighty One, who having judged His enemies (Isa 10:33,34), will establish His Kingdom and restore His people, Israel.
Therefore, the following divisions are suggested:
  1. The King: His Person and Power (11:1,2)
  2. The King: the perfect Judge and His perfect Justice (11:3-5)
  3. The King: the perfect Peace for all who know Him (11:6-9)
  4. The King: the Rest for the nations (11:10-11)
  5. The King: the Restorer of Israel's remnant (11:11-16)
  6. The King: the Salvation of His people (12:1-3)
  7. The King: His Praise, the song of all people (12:4-6)
(1.) The King: His Person and Power (11:1,2)
a rod out of the stem {or, stump} of Jesse... a Branch out of his roots -
This is the Branch of David (see the Notes at Isa 4:2 re: 'the Branch').
  • He arises from the 'stump' of Jesse (David's father), because the kingly line of David would be cut off in judgment, at the Babylonian captivity of Jerusalem.
  • He arises from the roots of Jesse, who was a poor peasant, rather than receiving the throne from his earthly father, because the Davidic kingly line would be reduced to the level of the common man. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, where Jesse raised his sons (eg., 1Sam 17:58), rather than in Jerusalem where king David raised his sons.
The word for Branch, in v.1 (HB= netser, a sprout, shoot, branch), is applied to the Messiah only here. Other passages use a different word for Branch (HB= tsemach, sprout, shoot, growth, eg., Isa 4:2; Jer 23:5; 33:15; Zech 3:8; 6:12).
     The HB word 'netser' is derived from 'natsar' which means 'to watch, to guard, to keep' ('natsar' first occurs, as the first word, in Ex 34:7). Though the Davidic tree was cut off, the LORD would keep His promise alive, and the appointed Sprout would appear to those who watch for His coming. Nazareth, the village where Jesus grew up, means 'the guarded one' or 'the branch' (being derived from these Hebrew words). Thus, the use of 'netser,' here, may hint at his humble upbringing in a place where few would look to find the King. cp. Joh 1:46
the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him...- cp. Mat 3:16; Joh 1:32,33; 3:34
  • Elsewhere in scripture, the Spirit of the Lord is said to be 'sevenfold'
         (eg., Zech 3:8,9 with Zech 4:2,6,10; Rev 4:5; 5:6).
    Many commentators, observe seven aspects of Christ's Spirit listed in v.2-3, and consider these as explanatory of the sevenfold Spirit of the Lord. However, the passage does not state that there are seven points, nor does it claim to be a complete description of Christ's Spirit. Also, in the Revelation, the seven spirits before the throne may represent angelic messengers (see the Notes at Rev 5:6).
  • Listed below are 8 aspects of Christ's Spirit (from v.2,3).
    (Some commentators view the first as an overall title, rather than as a separate point, while others view the last point as part of the preceding point.)
       Note: In the list below, the references [in brackets] speak of the graces which God's Spirit develops in a believer's life. In the Branch, these graces have always been full and complete. However, these references shed light on the meaning of these aspects of His Spirit.
    The Spirit...
    1. of the LORD... - Jehovah, the ever-living One, the great "I Am", Joh 8:58; 10:30
    2. of wisdom... - He is wisdom personified, Prov 8:1,22-30; 1Cor 1:24,30
    3. of understanding (ie., discernment)...- Luk 2:46,47; Joh 2:24,25; 13:3; 19:28; [cp. Col 1:9]
    4. of counsel (ie., prudence, purpose)...- Joh 4:34; 5:30; Rom 11:33,34; [cp. Joh 16:13; Col 2:2,3]
    5. of might...- Mat 8:27; Joh 18:6; [cp. 2Tim 1:7]
    6. of knowledge...- Mat 11:27; Joh 8:55; [cp. Eph 1:17,18]
    7. of fear (ie., reverence, reverent obedience)...- Luk 22:42; Heb 5:7,8
    8. of quick understanding (v.3) - These two words translate one HB word: 'ruwach', smell, scent. He has the smell for (or, of) that which pleases the Lord. Psa 40:8; Joh 4:34; 8:29; [cp. Gen 8:21 (where 'ruwach' is translated 'smelled') with 2Cor 2:14-16 (the sweet savour of Christ)]
(2.) The King: the perfect Judge and His perfect Justice (11:3-5)
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
{ie., decide} after the hearing of his ears:
4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor,
and reprove
{ie., decide} 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.
5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins,
and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
he shall judge with righteousness... equity... - His justice will be absolutely true, right, and
incorruptible by misperceptions, deceptive legal presentations or deceitful testimony.
he shall smite the earth {HB= 'erets, land} with the rod of his mouth...
...with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked {ie., the wicked one}.-
This describes His victory over the armies gathered in the land of Israel for the final battle of Armageddon, and over their leader, the Antichrist. cp. Rev 19:15
righteousness... faithfulness... his girdle - Rev 19:11; Psa 45:1-5
(3.) The King: the perfect Peace for all who know Him (11:6-9)
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.
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.
8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.
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.
the wolf... shall dwell with the lamb...-
A harmony, like that of the Garden of Eden, but which is impossible today, will characterize His Kingdom.
a child shall play... the asp... the cockatrice -
Dangers that cause dread today, will be absent in His Kingdom.
The asp and the cockatrice are different types of poisonous serpents.
they shall not hurt {HB= ra'a, be evil, be wicked, be injurious}...
nor destroy {HB= shachath, destroy, corrupt, deal corruptly}... (cf. Gen 3:1-6)
in all my holy mountain... - This mountain is the entire Kingdom of the Messiah
(not merely Jerusalem). cp. Dan 2:35; Zech 14:9
the knowledge of the LORD... - Because all of His subjects know the King,
the Prince of Peace, who "is our peace," His Kingdom is full of peace. cp. Isa 9:6,7; Hab 2:14; Eph 2:14
(4.) The King: the Rest for the nations (11:10)
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.
a root of Jesse...- cp. v.1; Rev 22:16
This King is both the 'root' and the 'offspring' of Jesse and David.
  • As the Son of man, Jesus, is a 'child born' as a descendant of Jesse and David.
    In that sense, His humanity is rooted in Jesse. Isa 9:6
  • As the Son of God, He is a 'Son given' and 'the everlasting Father.'
    He came into the world which He created, to fulfill the purposes of God (Joh 1:1-4,14).
    As created beings, Jesse and David are rooted in the One who gave them life.
    Likewise, the promise to David, concerning the everlasting kingdom of his son, is rooted in the One who made that covenant, and who will fulfill it. 2Sam 7:8-13,25-29 ensign {ie., a standard, a signal flag, a rallying point} - cp. v.12; Isa 2:3,4
The world will come together around the King, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The nations {gentiles} will seek Him and find in Him a resting place (Isa 32:17,18; Mat 11:28-30; Rom 15:8-12).
His rest shall be glorious (ie., rich and abundant). Heb 4:1,9; 2The 1:7-12; 1Pet 1:7-9; 5:10,11
(5.) The King: the Restorer of Israel's remnant (11:11-16)
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
{ie., a region along the Nile in southern Egypt},
and from Cush
{ie., Ethiopia, a region of Africa south of Egypt},
and from Elam
{ie., Persia},
and from Shinar
{ie., Chaldea, Babylonia},
and from Hamath
{ie., a principle city in upper Assyria},
and from the islands
{or, coasts} of the sea.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
the second time to recover the remnant... from Assyria and from Egypt...-
The Exodus under Moses did not include exiles from Assyria. However, following the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem (in 586 BC), many Israelites were taken captive and resettled in territories (including Assyria) which Babylon controlled. Some of the poorer people were allowed to remain in the land, but many of these fled to Egypt (contrary to Jeremiah's counsel, in Jeremiah ch.39-44).
     Therefore, the 'first time' that the LORD 'recovered' the remnant, from Assyria and Egypt, must refer to the return to Jerusalem, in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. (Isaiah proclaimed this prophecy more than a century before the Babylonian captivity of Jerusalem, and almost 200 years prior to that first return of a remnant to Jerusalem.) However, the city was again destroyed and its people dispersed, in 70 AD, by the Romans.
     Note that, the first time the LORD 'recovered' the remnant, the Temple and city were rebuilt, but the Davidic kingdom was not restored. From the Babylonian captivity onward, Israel remained without a king, under gentile domination, as it does today.
     Just before Jesus' departure, His disciples asked about the promised second restoration, not merely of the city, but of the Kingdom (Acts 1:6,7). That was not the time. But the time will come, when Christ returns to earth. See Hos 3:4,5; Eze 11:17-20; 34:23-26
...the remnant of his people which shall be left...-
The second restoration follows the devastation of the Tribulation period. Isa 10:21-23; Zech 13:8,9
he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble {ie., gather in} the outcasts of Israel...
...and gather {ie., gather out} the dispersed from the four corners of the earth.-
The gentile nations, owning Christ as their King (their standard bearer), will honor Him by regathering the people of Israel, out of the lands where they were scattered, into their land. Isa 60:3-5,9-10; 66:19,20
the envy of Ephraim shall depart... (v.13) -
There will no longer be a division between the northern and southern kingdoms. Eze 37:21-24
Rather, they will be united under one King, and together in victory over those who previously oppressed them. The nations mentioned in v.14,15 will be humbled and in submission to the King of Israel.
they {ie., Israel} shall fly upon... the Philistines... Edom... Moab... Ammon...-
Nations which were formerly enemies of Israel will be defeated and brought under Israel's dominion, as the Lord fights for His people and also empowers them in battle. Mic 4:11-13; Zech 12:4-9
the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea.-
This probably refers to the northwestern bay of the Red Sea (the Gulf of Suez).
Elsewhere, this HB word for 'tongue' is translated 'bay' (Josh 15:2,5; 18:19).
The focus of the passage is on the Lord's preparation of the way for Israel to return to their land, just as He made a way for them during their original exodus from Egypt (cp. Ex 14:21). At that time, He opened a temporary path through this part of the Red Sea, but in the future, this obstacle will be removed entirely from the route of the highway.
the river... - The reference is probably to the Euphrates river. cp. Rev 16:12
Some think the Nile is intended. However, during the original Exodus, it was the Red Sea (not the Nile) that obstructed Israel's departure from Egypt. This HB word for 'river' is frequently used of the Euphrates. The broad Euphrates would pose an obstacle near the northern end of the highway from Egypt to Assyria. However, when divided into 'seven' (which sometimes means 'many') streams, it will be much more easily bridged.
a highway... - to enable the return of the remnant
from the lands, to which they were taken captive, during the closing battles of the Tribulation period (Zech 14:1-3). This speaks of a physical highway to facilitate their transportation (cp. Isa 19:23), and also, of a spiritually prepared path, free from every fear that might hinder the return of war weary exiles. During Israel's journey from Egypt, the Lord prepared the way before them, even where no roads existed (Ex 23:20). cp. Isa 27:13; 35:8-10; 42:15,16; 57:14

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