Isaiah 11:5
And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) Righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins . . .—The image of clothing as the symbol of habit or character was already familiar (Psalm 109:18-19). The repetition of “girdle” has needlessly offended some fastidious critics, but the emphasis of iteration is quite after Isaiah’s manner (Isaiah 15:8; Isaiah 16:7; Isaiah 17:12-13). It perhaps implies an upper and a lower girdle as the symbol of complete equipment. In the “loins girt about with truth” of Ephesians 6:14, we may probably trace an allusive reference. The armour of the followers of Christ was to be like that of Christ Himself.

Isaiah 11:5. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins — It shall adorn him, and be the glory of his government, as a girdle was used for an ornament, Isaiah 3:24; and as an ensign of power, Job 12:18; and it shall constantly cleave to him in all his administrations, as a girdle cleaveth to a man’s loins. And faithfulness the girdle of his reins — The same thing in other words. Here then we have the basis and foundation of this kingdom, namely, the justice and fidelity of the king. These virtues shall be conspicuous in the whole administration of his government, and, at once, be the ornament and the support of it. “The sum is, that the kingdom of Christ should be a kingdom of the highest equity, and the king of it perfect: who, though judging his true subjects by the law of grace, by faithfully performing all the promises of the gospel, and every condition of the covenant to them, will yet not omit to punish the enemies of his church according to their deserts, and thus to satisfy the law of justice: so that he shall not be less venerable and awful for his justice in judgment, than amiable and desirable for his truth, fidelity, and constancy in performing his promises; which being things naturally united, are not, by any means, to be separated.” — Dodd.

11:1-9 The Messiah is called a Rod, and a Branch. The words signify a small, tender product; a shoot, such as is easily broken off. He comes forth out of the stem of Jesse; when the royal family was cut down and almost levelled with the ground, it would sprout again. The house of David was brought very low at the time of Christ's birth. The Messiah thus gave early notice that his kingdom was not of this world. But the Holy Spirit, in all his gifts and graces, shall rest and abide upon him; he shall have the fulness of the Godhead dwelling in him, Col 1:19; 2:9. Many consider that seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are here mentioned. And the doctrine of the influences of the Holy Spirit is here clearly taught. The Messiah would be just and righteous in all his government. His threatening shall be executed by the working of his Spirit according to his word. There shall be great peace and quiet under his government. The gospel changes the nature, and makes those who trampled on the meek of the earth, meek like them, and kind to them. But it shall be more fully shown in the latter days. Also Christ, the great Shepherd, shall take care of his flock, that the nature of troubles, and of death itself, shall be so changed, that they shall not do any real hurt. God's people shall be delivered, not only from evil, but from the fear of it. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? The better we know the God of love, the more shall we be changed into the same likeness, and the better disposed to all who have any likeness to him. This knowledge shall extend as the sea, so far shall it spread. And this blessed power there have been witnesses in every age of Christianity, though its most glorious time, here foretold, is not yet arrived. Meanwhile let us aim that our example and endeavours may help to promote the honour of Christ and his kingdom of peace.And righteousness shall be the gridle of his loins - The sense of this verse is plain. He will always exhibit himself as a just and faithful king. "The girdle of the loins" refers to the cincture, or band, with which the ancients girded themselves. A part of their dress consisted of an outward, loose, flowing robe. This robe it was necessary to gird up, or to confine close to the body in active labor, or in running; and the meaning of the figure used here is, probably, that the virtues of righteousness and justice would adhere to him as closely and inseparably as the garment does to the body to which it was bound. The figure of representing the virtues as clothing, or describing them as parts of dress with which we are invested, is common in the Scriptures:

I put on righteousness, and it clothes me;

My judgment was as a robe and a diadem.

5. righteousness … girdle—(Re 1:13; 19:11). The antitypical High Priest (Ex 28:4). The girdle secures firmly the rest of the garments (1Pe 1:13). So "truth" gives firm consistency to the whole character (Eph 5:14). In Isa 59:17, "righteousness" is His breastplate. Shall be the girdle of his loins; it shall adorn him, and be the glory of his government, as a girdle was used for ornament, Isaiah 3:24, and as an ensign of power, Job 12:18; and it shall constantly cleave to him, in all his administrations, as a girdle cleaveth to a man’s loins, which is the prophet’s similitude, Jeremiah 13:11.

The girdle of his reins; the same thing in other words.

And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins,.... He shall be adorned with it, strengthened by it, and ready at all times to perform it; he loved righteousness, and did acts of righteousness throughout the whole course of his life; and, by his active and passive obedience, wrought out an everlasting righteousness for his people; he is a King that reigns in righteousness, righteousness is the sceptre of his kingdom; all his administrations of government are righteous; just and true are all his ways:

and faithfulness the girdle of his reins; he was faithful to God, that appointed him as King and Head of the church; faithful as a Prophet, in declaring his mind and will; and is a faithful High Priest, as well as a merciful one. The Targum, interprets this of righteous and faithful men, thus,

"and the righteous shall be round about him, and they that work (the work) of faith shall draw nigh unto him;''

but it is said of a single person, of the Messiah only, to whom it properly belongs.

And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. “Righteousness” and “faithfulness” are the strength of the Messiah’s government (ch. Isaiah 9:7). The girdle is the symbol of resolute and vigorous action. Comp. the “girdle of truth” in Ephesians 6:14.

Verse 5. - 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 (comp. Ephesians 6:14, "Having your loins girt about with truth"). Isaiah 11:5This is the standard according to which He will judge when saving, and judge when punishing. "And judges the poor with righteousness, and passes sentence with equity for the humble in the land; and smites the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He slays the wicked. And righteousness is the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His hips." The main feature in Isaiah 11:4 is to be seen in the objective ideas. He will do justice to the dallim, the weak and helpless, by adopting an incorruptibly righteous course towards their oppressors, and decide with straightforwardness for the humble or meek of the land: ‛ânâv, like ‛ânı̄, from ‛ânâh, to bend, the latter denoting a person bowed down by misfortune, the former a person inwardly bowed down, i.e., from all self-conceit (hōcı̄ach l', as in Job 16:21). The poor and humble, or meek, are the peculiar objects of His royal care; just as it was really to them that the first beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount applied. But "the earth" and "the wicked" (the latter is not to be understood collectively, but, as in several passages in the Old Testament, viz., Psalm 68:22; Psalm 110:6; Habakkuk 3:13-14, as pointing forward prophetically to an eschatological person, in whom hostility towards Jehovah and His Anointed culminates most satanically) will experience the full force of His penal righteousness. The very word of His mouth is a rod which shatters in pieces (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 1:16); and the breath of His lips is sufficient to destroy, without standing in need of any further means (2 Thessalonians 2:8). As the girdle upon the hips (mothnaim, lxx την̀ ὀσφύν), and in front upon the loins (chălâzaim, lxx τὰς πλευράς), fastens the clothes together, so all the qualities and active powers of His person have for their band tzedâkâh, which follows the inviolable norm of the divine will, and hâ'emūnâh, which holds immovably to the course divinely appointed, according to promise (Isaiah 25:1). Special prominence is given by the article to 'emūnâh; He is the faithful and true witness (Revelation 1:5; Revelation 3:14). Consequently with Him there commences a new epoch, in which the Son of David and His righteousness acquire a world-subduing force, and find their home in a humanity that has sprung, like Himself, out of deep humiliation.
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