A Renewed Prophecy of the Messiah and His Kingdom
This chapter is closely connected with the preceding. With the final
(Isaiah 10:33, 34), is contrasted the recuperative energy
which, though equally leveled with the ground (Isaiah 9:18, 19), shall
spring afresh into life, and “renew its youth.” The recovery is
connected —or rather identified with the coming of Messiah, whose
character is beautifully portrayed (vs. 2-5). An elaborate description
of Messiah’s kingdom follows (vs. 6-10) — an expansion of the briefer
one in Isaiah 2:3-4.
1 “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch
a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” There shall come forth a rod out of the
stem of Jesse. The blasted and ruined "stem" or stock of Jesse, cut down, and for
ages hidden from sight, shall suddenly put forth a sprout - a young green sapling,
tender vet vigorous, weak seemingly, yet full of life (compare Job 14:7-9,
"There is hope of a tree, if it he cut down, that it will sprout again, and that
the tender branch thereof will not crease. Though the root thereof wax old in the
earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; yet through the scent of water it will
bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant"). "The stem of Jesse" must mean the
house of David, for there is but one Jesse (Ishai) in Scripture - David's father.
A Branch shall grow out of his roots. That which is at first a sapling gains strength
and grows into a "branch" (see ch. 4:2, where the word used, though different, is
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;” The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him (compare
Lord required, and received abundantly, the sanctifying and enlightening
influences of the Holy Spirit. These influences were not in Him transient or
occasional, as in too many men, who more or less "resist the Spirit," but
permanent and enduring. They "rested upon" Him; from first to last never
quitted, and never will quit, Him. The spirit of wisdom and understanding.
The influences of the Holy Spirit are manifold, affecting the entire complex nature
of man (see I Corinthians 12:8-11). Here, three pairs of graces are set forth as
specially manifested in the Messiah through the power of the Spirit:
(1) "Wisdom and understanding," or intellectual and moral apprehension
(εὐσυνεσία – eusunesia - godliness) the ability to perceive moral and abstract truth;
(2) "counsel and might," or the power at once to scheme and originate,
and also to carry out thought into act;
(3) "The knowledge and the fear of the Lord," or acquaintance with the true will
of God, combined with the determination to carry out that will to the full
qualities existed in the greatest perfection in our blessed Lord.
CHRIST’S POSSESSION OF UNDERSTANDING. By “understanding”
seems to he meant moral intelligence — the power of appreciating the
moral character, and judging aright the moral conduct of others. Our Lord
possessed this quality in the most eminent degree, never misjudging the
character or conduct of any one. His unerring insight gave Him an absolute
fitness to be the final Judge of men, but was far beyond what is needed by
any earthly ruler or king.
CHRIST’S POSSESSION OF THE SPIRIT OF COUNSEL. Here, no
doubt, is a quality of which a temporal ruler has need; but it was not as a
temporal ruler, or for the most part in temporal matters, that our Lord’s
counsel was given. The maxims of His lips were not maxims of worldly
policy, but such as these: “Seek ye first the
righteousness;” “Take no thought for the morrow;” “Sell all that thou hast,
and give to the poor,” and the like. He counseled men for their spiritual
rather than for their worldly good, with a view to a spiritual and not a
CHRIST’S POSSESSION OF MIGHT. “Might,” or ability to execute
His designs, is, again, a quality of high value to an earthly ruler; and had
our Lord used His might for earthly ends, He might easily have been all,
and more than all, that the Jews expected. But He ever restrained Himself
from any exhibition of physical strength, or power of organization, or even
of persuasive eloquence, exhibiting His might only for spiritual ends, in
miracles of mercy, whereby He sought to win men’s souls to Himself, or
once and again in miracles of power, shown forth as evidences of His
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:” And shall make Him of quick understanding.
This rendering of the original, though defended by Dr. Kay, is quite without
support from any other passage where the same word is used. Modern writers
almost all translate, either "the breath of His nostrils shall be in the fear of the Lord"
(Herder, Ewald, Meier, Cheyne), or "a sweet savor shall He find in the fear of
the Lord" (Gesenius, Delitzsch, Rosenmüller, Knobel). He shall not judge after
the sight of His eyes. "God seeth the heart." Our Lord "knew men's thoughts"
(Matthew 9:4, etc.), and therefore did not need to "judge according to the
appearance" (John 7:24). Thus His judgments WERE ALWAYS RIGHTEOUS!
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.”
With righteousness shall He judge the poor (compare ch.32:1, "A king shall
reign in righteousness"). It would be characteristic of the Messiah's rule that
the poor should be cared for, that oppression should cease, and judgment be no
more perverted in favor of the rich. There is an intended contrast between the
10:1-2). Christian countries still, for the most part, follow their Lord's example in
this particular, if in no other, having judges that are incorruptible, and tribunals
that are free from any leaning against the poor. (Of course there are exceptions
else how can one explain the murder of children through abortion, and preference
given to criminals over law abiding citizens? CY – 2020) Reprove; or, plead
(as in Job 16:21). The meek of the earth; rather, the humble, or afflicted. Low
condition, not meekness of spirit, is what the word used expresses. (If individuals
of the day would only have patience and wait on God, there would have been more
righteous outcomes rather than men trying to take the law into their own hands.
“Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:19 – CY – 2020)
He shall smite the earth. A slight alteration of the text produces the meaning,
He shall smite the terrible one (compare ch. 29:20), which improves the parallelism
of the clauses. But there is no need of any alteration, parallelism in Isaiah being
often incomplete. The Messiah at His coming will "smite the earth" generally
earth, but a sword"), and will also especially chastise "the wicked." The rod
of His mouth... the breath of His lips. "The Word of God is quick, and powerful,
and sharper than any two-edged 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" (Hebrews 4:12). The sayings of Christ pierce
the conscience and penetrate the soul as no other words that ever came from
a human mouth. In the last day words from His mouth will consign to
everlasting life or to everlasting destruction.
5 “And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the
girdle of His reins.” Righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, etc.;
i.e. "righteousness shall be ever with Him, ever ready for active use, ever
(as it were) bracing Him for action." Assuredly, He was "righteous in all
His ways, and holy in all His works" (Psalm 145:17). Faithfulness
(compare Ephesians 6:14, "Having your loins girt about with truth").
vs. 6-9 - Messiah's kingdom, when fully realized, shall be one
of perfect peace. "They shall neither hurt nor destroy in all His holy mountain."
Primarily, no doubt, the passage is figurative, and points to harmony among men,
who, in Messiah's kingdom, shall no longer prey one upon another (see especially
v. 9). But, from the highest spiritual standpoint, the figure itself becomes a reality,
and it is seen that, if in the "new heavens and new earth" there is an animal
creation, it will be fitting that there harmony should equally prevail among
the inferior creation. Human sin may not have introduced rapine and violence
among the beasts - at least, geologists tell us that animals preyed one upon another
long before the earth was the habitation of man - but still man's influence may
prevail to eradicate the beasts' natural impulses and educate them to something
higher. Already domestication produces an accord and harmony that is in a
certain sense against nature. May not this be carried further in the course
of ages, and Isaiah's picture have a literal fulfillment? Jerome's scorn of the
notion as a poetic dream has about it something harsh and untender. Will not
God realize all, and more than all, of love and happiness that poets' dreams
can reach to?
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.” The wolf... the leopard... the young lion... the bear are
the only ferocious animals of
alligator, and the jaguar are unknown. That the Palestinian bear was
Amos 5:19. A little child shall lead them. Man's superiority over the brute
creation shall continue, and even be augmented. The most powerful beasts
shall submit to the control of a child.
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.” The lion shall eat straw (compare
ch. 65:25). There is nothing impossible in this. Cats are fond of some kinds of
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.” The sucking child shall play
on the hole of the asp; rather, by the hole - near it. The "asp" is probably
the Coluber Naje of Egypt, whose bite is very deadly. The cockatrice den.
The "cockatrice" is another deadly serpent, perhaps the Daboia xanthina
(Tristram, 'Natural Hist. of the Bible').
Coluber Naje (bing.com. image)
Daboia xanthiana (bing.com. image)
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.”
My holy mountain. As the Jewish Church is always bound up with the
"holy hill of Zion," so the Messianic one receives the designation of
(Zechariah 8:3). What was physically true of the type is transferred to the antitype,
which is "a city set upon a hill" in a certain sense. The earth shall be full of
A fruitful knowledge, guiding and influencing conduct, seems to be intended
(see below, ch. 54:13, "All thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and
great shall be the peace of thy children"). As the waters cover the sea;
i.e. "as the ocean covers and fills the bed prepared for it."
THE JEWS AND GENTILES SHALL BE GATHERED TOGETHER
INTO MESSIAH'S KINGDOM (vs. 10-13)
It is characteristic of "the evangelical prophet" that he dwells earnestly an
The prophecies to Abraham had repeatedly declared that "in him," or "in his seed,"
and some of the psalmists had echoed the glad sound and spoken of God as
idea had taken little hold upon the chosen people generally; and was
practically new to them when Isaiah was inspired to preach it afresh.
To render it the more palatable, he unites with it the promise of a great gathering
of the dispersed Israelites from all quarters to the banner of Messiah, when it is
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.”
There shall he a root of Jesse. The "root" of this place is the same as the "rod"
and "branch" of v. 1. The "rod" springs up out of a "root," and is inseparably
connected with it. Which shall stand for an ensign of the people; rather,
of the peoples. The "rod" shall lift itself up, and become an ensign, seen from
afar, and attracting to itself the attention of "the peoples" or "nations" generally.
The Acts and Epistles show how speedily this prophecy was fulfilled. Greeks,
Romans, Galatians, Cappadoeians, Babylonians (I Peter 5:13), saw the ensign,
and sought to it. His rest shall be glorious; rather, His resting-place; i.e.
His Church, with which He abides forever (Matthew 28:20). The Shechinah
of His presence makes the Church "glorious" (literally, "a glory") throughout
all ages; but the glory will not fully appear till the time of the "new heavens
and new earth" (ch. 65:17; Revelation chapters 21 and 22.), when He will
dwell visibly with it.
God’s Mercy in Bringing the Gentiles into His Kingdom.
In the old world, when “all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth,”
God sent forth a fierce destruction, and swept away the entire human race,
excepting eight persons. After the Flood he promised, of His own free
grace, that He would never so destroy mankind again (Genesis 9:11-15).
But it was open to Him to have sent upon the world some other equally
severe visitation, and to have once more rid the earth of “a seed of
evildoers.” The general corruption of the Gentile world, when Christ
came, was excessive. It is scarcely possible that the corruption of the
antediluvians can have been greater. As a modern historian sums up his
account of heathendom at the coming of Christ, “Corruption had attained
its full tide at the commencement of the second century. Vices gnawed at
the marrow of nations, and, above all, of the Romans: their national
existence was more than menaced; the moral sickness had become a
physical one in its effects — a subtle poison penetrating into the vitals of
the state; and, as before in the sanguinary civil wars, so now the lords of
the world seemed minded to destroy themselves by their vices. Men were
denuded of all that was really good, and, surrounded on all sides by the
thick clouds of a blinded conscience, they caught with wild eagerness at the
grossest sensual enjoyments, in the wild tumult of which they plunged to
‘Jew and Gentile,’ vol. 2. pp. 284, 285,
Trans.). Or take
began his preaching: “As men did not like to retain God in their
knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things
which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication,
wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, deceit,
debate, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud,
boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without
understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable,
unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit
such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in
them that do them” (Romans 1:28-32). Yet, instead of destroying this
polluted race, God had compassion on them, and went out of his way to
HE LIFTED UP CHRIST TO THEM AS AN ENSIGN FROM AFAR.
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
Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.”
The Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover, etc. The first
recovery was from the servitude in
a dispersion of the Israelites through several distant lands, instead of a mere
transference of them from one land to another, as in Jacob's time (Genesis 46:1-29).
God, who brought
them out of
recover them from the various countries through which they will have been
dispersed, and restore them to their own land once more. The first fulfillment
of the prophecy was undoubtedly, the return from the Babylonian captivity.
A secondary fulfillment may have been the gathering of so many Jews from all
quarters into the Christian Church (Acts 2:9-41). It is possible that there may
be ultimately a further fulfillment in a final gathering
own land. From
distinct from the Jews, had been carried into
captives there at the time when Isaiah wrote. The transportation of Israelites to
the other places mentioned was subsequent to his day.
was a great migration of Jews into
44:1), and a steady influx for some generations under the early Ptolemies. There
was also a second large migration in the time of Onias. The Jewish element in
probably a portion of
which was the district about
Jews in the time of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 44:1, 15). From
be either the African or the Asiatic. It is slightly in favor of the African that we
hear in the Acts of an Ethiopian eunuch who was a Jew in the service of Candace,
Queen of the African
it was so remote. It adjoined, however, upon
that stream and the mountains, parallel with
and in Isaiah's time it was an important country, frequently at war with
Some regard it as meaning "the land of the two rivers." From Hamath.
(On this town, see note to ch. 10:9.) From the islands of the sea; i.e. the islands
and coasts of the
gradual spread of Jews over the Western world. Alliances were made with
became familiar with both
12 “And He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts
earth.” He shall set up an ensign for the nations (compare v. 10). Christ is the Ensign.
God sets it up
to draw the nations to His standard. The
is, "He shall gather together the outcasts and
dispersed of both
both male and female."
13 “The envy also of
Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of
be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy
The envy also of Ephraim shall depart. In the kingdom of the Prince of Peace
there shall no longer be quarrels or jealousies among the members. Old feuds
shall be put aside; the northern and southern tribes shall agree together, and
there shall be peace and harmony throughout the entire Church. Adversaries
"cut them off," that there be no open disturbance of the harmony.
THE UNITED CHURCH SHALL TRIUMPH OVER ITS ENEMIES.
PHYSICAL OBSTACLES TO ITS UNION GOD WILL REMOVE
the Edomites, the Arabs,
the enemies of the Church, and victory over them is promised (v. 14). A further
promise is made that physical difficulties shall not prevent the return of the Jewish
exiles from distant countries (vs. 15-16).
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
They shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines. It is not to be supposed
that actual war is intended. The subjects of the Prince of Peace will not
draw the sword. But the Church will for many centuries be confronted
by enemies, and must contend with them with legitimate weapons. It is
this warfare of which Isaiah now speaks. The united Church will be strong
enough to assail her enemies on all sides, and will "swoop" upon the border
country of the Philistines like a bird of prey. They shall spoil them of the east;
or, the Bent Kedem (children of the east). The phrase is commonly used in an ethnic
sense of the nomadic Arabs inhabiting the deserts east of
Moabite country, from whose raids
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 Lord shall utterly destroy; rather, shall lay under a curse (
ἀναθεματίσει – anthematisei). The tongue of the Egyptian sea. Either the
which keep the nations apart and prevent ready intercourse.
Both gulfs are thought to have extended anciently considerably further
inland than they do at present. With His mighty wind; rather, with the
might of His breath (in fortitudine spiritus sui, Vulgate). Shall He
shake His hand. A gesture of menace (compare ch.10:32). Over the river.
"The river" (han-nahar) is, as
seven streams; i.e. divide its waters among seven channels, so that it
may be readily forded, and cease to be a barrier. Dry-shod; literally,
in their shoes; i.e. without taking them off.
16 “And there shall be an highway for the remnant of His people,
which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was
that he came up out of the
This is the object in view - the free and unhindered passage of his people
from the various regions where they are scattered (v. 11) to their resting-place
"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.
Materials are reproduced by permission."
This material can be found at:
If this exposition is helpful, please share with others.