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 (10:34), 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 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 vs.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. (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 everliving One, the great "I Am", Joh 8:58; 10:30
    2. of wisdom... - He is wisdom personified, Pro 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 (or, 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 and right,
uncorrupted by misperceptions, deceptive legal presentations or deceitful testimony.
he shall smite the earth {HB= 'erets, land} with the rod of his mouth... shall slay the wicked {or, wicked one} -
This describes His victory over the armies gathered in the land 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, that 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}...
in all my holy mountain... - The mountain is the entire kingdom of the Messiah
(not merely Jerusalem). cp. Dan 2:35
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; 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 'offspring' and the 'root' of Jesse and David.
While Jesus is a 'child born' as a descendant of David, whose root was in his father Jesse (9:6), He is also the 'Son given' and 'the everlasting Father' (9:6), by whose covenant the house of David was established (2Sam 7:27-29). 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 (Rom 15:12).
His rest is glorious (ie., rich and abundant). Heb 4:1,9; 1Pet 5:10
(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. Therefore, the first restoration must refer to the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, following the first destruction of Jerusalem, which was yet future in Isaiah's day. (Remarkably, this prophecy was given more than a century before the Babylonian captivity of Jerusalem, and almost 200 years prior to that first restoration.) However, the city was destroyed again (in 70 AD, by the Romans) and the people dispersed. Yet, even before that later destruction, Israel remained without a king and under gentile domination, and its people did not know the Lord. Jesus' disciples enquired about this second restoration, not merely of the city, but of the kingdom (Acts 1:6). cp. Hos 3:4; Eze 11:17-20; 34:23-26
...the remnant... that shall be left...-
The 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 gentile nations, owning Christ as their King (their standard bearer), will be used of Him to regather Israel to their land. Isa 60:3-5,9,10; 66:19,20
the envy of Ephraim shall depart...- There will no longer be a division
between the northern and southern kingdoms. Rather, they will be together in victory over those who previously oppressed them. The nations mentioned in v.14,15 will be humbled and in submission.
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 tongue of the Egyptian sea - The reference is probably to the northwestern bay of the Red Sea (the Gulf of Suez).
Elsewhere, the 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, the Nile was not a factor. The HB word used here for 'river' is almost always used of the Euphrates. The broad Euphrates would pose an obstacle to the highway from Egypt to Assyria. However, when divided into 'seven' (which sometimes means 'many') streams, it will be much more easily crossed.
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 (cp. Isa 19:23) and also of spiritual preparation. 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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