Is. 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
This verse is a prophecy about a future branch (descendant) from the family of Jesse, the father of King David. This particular “Branch” is also spoken of in Jeremiah and Zechariah.
Jeremiah 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
Jeremiah 33:15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
Zechariah 3:8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.
Zechariah 6:12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD….
These verses tell us several things about this Branch/descendant:
As you continue to read the scripture presented, I think it is quite obvious that the only man to whom all these truths would apply is the man, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God. It is also clear that this is describing a time yet future on planet earth when Jesus will be on the throne and all nature will be subject to Him. I believe this is referencing the 1,000 years of His rule on planet earth as described in Revelation 20.
Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Is. 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 “man,” Jesus, will be especially blessed because His spirit will be:
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Notice that man became a living soul; the emphasis was on spiritual life—not physical. Just as God is a being with the ability of choice, so He created us with the ability to choose. Through Satan’s deceit “we,” through Adam and Eve, decided to believe a lie—that God was holding out on us. From that point on fellowship was broken, and we no longer possessed the “spirit of the Lord”; we became spiritually dead. After Jesus returned to heaven victoriously resurrected, the gift of that Spirit was and is given to those who choose to trust in Jesus by faith for their salvation. They are reborn in the Spirit.
I was reading through David Guzik’s commentary and found this comment he attributed to Bultema that adds insight: “The seven-branched lampstand that held the oil lamps for the tabernacle is also an illustration of the seven aspects of the Holy Spirit. “This candlestick had one stem in the center from which protruded three branches to the right and three to the left. Similarly, in this text, three pairs of the names of the Spirit are grouped around the central stem.”
Is. 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 after the hearing of his ears:
Because the seven-fold spirit rests upon this man, He will be “of quick understanding.” The word quick is not in the Hebrew, but is included in the meaning of the word for understanding; also included is the idea of anticipation and enjoyment. In other words, this man will take joy in His position before YHWH, God the Father.
Contrary to the normal human being, Jesus will not judge according to what He sees and hears. He will judge according to the truth of what is in a person’s heart. Things aren’t always what they appear to be; what you see or hear can be deceiving or misunderstood.
1Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
This truth is also one of the main thrusts in the “sermon on the mount.” Jesus taught that it is what is in the heart that condemns you.
Matthew 5:22&28 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment….But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Matthew 15:18-20 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
Is. 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.
This verse continues the thought of Jesus’ judgments. I was reminded that Isaiah was very poetic, which in Hebrew included repetition. In this verse we get a repeat of judge and reprove. These two words involve governing, making decisions, justification or conviction, chastening and correction. The point being made is that when Jesus judges or reproves, it will be applied in righteousness and equity (without partiality) to the poor (as well as the rich) and to the meek (as well as the proud).
Because of Isaiah’s poetic style, I also believe that the last two phrases of this verse go together (smite & slay, earth & wicked, mouth & lips). The word for earth includes the idea of nations. I think the import is that Jesus will rule with a firm hand, and the wicked will not be allowed to prosper in His kingdom.
The last part of the verse is speaking of Jesus’ words as a weapon, and that is exactly how His word is described in several verses in scripture.
Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Revelation 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
Revelation 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Is. 11:5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
Righteousness & faithfulness; loins & reins.
Again emphasis is made that Jesus will rule in righteousness and faithfulness, with morality and stability. When I looked up the word loins in Eerdman’s Dictionary, it stated that girding the loins became an idiom for “dressing for action or readiness.”
Job 38:3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness….
1Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ….
Is. 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.
Is. 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.
Is. 11:8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
These verses definitely speak of a future time on planet earth. The pairings given here definitely go against natural instincts as now understood. When Jesus takes His throne, it will usher in a time of restoration of the animal kingdom to what was intended when God created the earth and gave man dominion over it.
Is. 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.
This verse is explaining the miracle of the previous verses. The knowledge of the Lord will extend to the animal kingdom, and that knowledge will include the understanding that no creature is to harm or kill another of God’s creation. God will ensure that all, both men and animals, understand this principle. It reminds me of a verse in Romans.
Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
Is. 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.
root = ensign – I believe this is a reference to Jesus and should therefore read, “to Him shall the Gentiles seek”
Again, emphasis is given that Jesus will be a descendant of Jesse, the father of King David. An ensign is a banner or flag. A banner or flag is often used as a rallying point and, according to Webster, is a symbol of power. I think the point is that the people of planet earth will want to know and have fellowship with Jesus, the King. The word for seek includes “diligence, seek specifically to worship.” Not only the Jews, but also the Gentiles will want to worship Him. His rest (includes repose, abode) will be glorious (splendor, copiousness). I think this has to be referencing Jerusalem, the place where Jesus will dwell as King on planet earth; and it will be abundant in glory and splendor.
Is. 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.
Is. 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.
Although Israel became a nation in 1948 and the Jews have been returning to it ever since that time, there will evidently still be many scattered throughout the world when Christ first establishes His kingdom on earth. The first time the remnant returned to Israel was after the Babylonian captivity, and it was comprised primarily of Judah, the southern kingdom. The second time will result in a regathering of the whole of Israel, not just in part. Point is made that the Lord will personally bring His people home from all parts of the globe. This wording disqualifies the return from Babylon as fulfilling this prophecy. The reference is to a second worldwide regathering—the first beginning in 1948 and the second when He establishes His kingdom at His return to planet earth as King.
It’s interesting to note that in recent years Israel has been receiving the return of its people from all over the world—Russia, Ethiopia (Cush), United States, Canada, and many more. Just in the last few years a group from India made headlines making aliyah to Israel; they claimed to be descendants of Manasseh, one of the so-called lost tribes.
Is. 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.
Isaiah continues in his poetic style. There are indications in scripture of the envy and jealousy of Ephraim (the northern kingdom) toward Judah (the southern kingdom). I think the fact that God chose Jerusalem and that the temple was located there was the primary focus of that jealousy. That’s the whole reason that Jereboam set up golden calves at Bethel and Dan for the people to worship, appointed his own priests, and established festivals to correspond with those in Judah (1Kings 12)—to keep them from going to Jerusalem. When Jesus is on the throne, no longer will the two kingdoms be at odds with one another; they will become one under the Messiah.
Ezekiel 37:16-17 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.
Ezekiel 37:21-22 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all….
Is. 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.
Is. 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.
As one nation, Israel, they will take possession of their enemies—the Philistines, Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites. The Lord will facilitate the armies of Israel by intervening in some miraculous way at the Red Sea. “With His mighty wind” (I believe this references His word.) He will strike “the river” in a manner that will reduce it into seven streams that men will be able to walk across.
I decided to check a few commentaries and learned that most agree that “the river” is a reference to the Euphrates River, which would be the major impediment to the return of the people from the area of Assyria, which ties in perfectly with the next verse.
Is. 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.
Just as God provided for their deliverance from the land of Egypt, so too will He provide for their future deliverance and facilitate the spoiling of their enemies.