Isaiah 11

Righteous Reign of the Branch

What did Isaiah envision coming from the stump of Jesse?

This passage contains one of the most detailed descriptions of the Messiah. Isaiah envisioned a day when a shoot (a new king from the royal line of David) from the stump of Jesse (the royal line of David) would spring forth (11:1). The Spirit of the Lord would rest upon this shoot or branch endowing Him with the necessary virtues for godly leadership (11:2-5).

He will have wisdom (11:2), administrative abilities (11:3-4), and piety (11:5). His reign will be characterized by harmony and peace and the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord (11:6-9).

Isaiah also envisioned a day when the remnant of those exiled to foreign lands would be restored to their own land (11:10-16). An end to the strife between Judah and Israel will characterize this day (11:13). God will also prepare a highway for the return of the dispersed remnant in a type of “second Exodus” (11:16).

The immediate fulfillment of this promise was when, after the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, the Jews were permitted to leave Babylon. Its ultimate fulfillment will be when the Messiah regathers His people at the end of the age.

11:1 A shoot [that would become far greater than the original tree] will come up from the stump [reference to the Babylonian Captivity in 587 BC when it appeared the Davidic kingdom would become nothing] of Jesse [the house of David; Jesse was David’s father (points to humble beginnings); stump indicates it appeared the once mighty dynasty of David was finished]; from his roots [which are still alive] a Branch [used as a name for the Messiah (cf. Zec. 3:8; 6:12; Jer. 23:5; 33:15)] will bear fruit.

11:2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him [cf. Isa. 61:1-2; Lk. 4:18-19; Jn. 1:32-33] [note three pairs of divine qualities] the Spirit of [1] wisdom and of understanding [ability to assess facts and make sound judgments], the Spirit of [2] counsel [to actively stand beside and give encouragement (cf. Jn. 14:16); to stand by someone as an advocate or friend (cf. 1 Jn. 2:1)] and of power [ability to use authority effectively], the Spirit of [3] knowledge [of the ways of God] and of the fear of the LORD [awe and submission to the Lord]

11:3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears;

11:4 but with righteousness [capacity for doing the right thing in all circumstances] he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will [note deadly judgment on oppressors] strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips [God has the power to create and destroy through His words] he will slay the wicked.

11:5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

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