Isaiah 11
Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

CHAPTER 11:1–12:6


CHAPTER 11:1–9

1          AND there shall come forth a rod out of the 1stem of Jesse,

And a 2Branch 3shall 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;

3     4And shall make him of 5quick understanding in the fear of the LORD:

And he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes,

Neither 6reprove after the hearing of his ears:

4     But with righteousness shall he judge the poor,

And 78reprove with equity for the meek of 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.

6     The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,

And the 9leopard 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 10straw 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 11cockatrice’ 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.


On Isa 11:1. גֶּזַע occurs again only 40:24; Job 14:8. The root גָּזַע is not found. The meaning is that of גָּדַע (10:33). caedere “to cut down.” In the three places that it occurs גזע is “the hewn, cut up stem that still sticks in the ground.” Hence גזע ישׁי and not גזע דָּוִד.—חֹטֶר again only Prov. 14:3, meaning: “rod, pliant twig.”—נֵצֶר, 14:19; 60:21; Dan. 11:7 (from נָצַר unused root, splendere, nitere), “a hardy, fresh young branch.”—משׁרשׁיו, though the accents are against it, must be connected with נצר. For what does it mean that the shoot right from the root on shall bear fruit? Is something unnatural and impossible said of this shoot? Or was not Christ a Tree when He bore fruit? The thought is rather that from the extinct trunk and shoot a sprout shall proceed that shall give evidence of adequate vital power, and grow up to be a fruit-bearing tree. Hence it is quite unjustifiable to impose upon the verb יפרה the meaning of יִפְרַח (HITZIG, UMBREIT).

On Isa 11:3. It is natural to regard הריהו as antithesis of the objective communication of the Spirit spoken of, Isa 11:2. For first, הֵרִיחַ means “smell anything with pleasure” (Lev. 26:31; Amos 5:21). But if ביראת י׳ should be the object of הריחו, then it ceases to be predicate, and then the sentence is without predicate; or if it is construed as predicate, then the emphatic use of בְּ after verbs of sensation cannot be appealed to, because then בְּ no longer depends on the notion of smelling, but on a modification of the notion of being (happens in the fear of Jehovah, is directed to the fear of Jehovah), which must be supplied to accommodate the subject to the predicate. Second: What means the one sided emphasis of smelling? If smelling may be construed in the wider sense as inhaling and exhaling air through the nose, so that it coincides with breathing, that would suit. I construe it in this wider sense as do others (CLERICUS, HENDEWERK, EWALD, MEIER). [See Comment of J. A. ALEXANDER, added, p. 162, top.] Then הריח is to be construed as direct causative Hiphil, in the sense of “to make רוּחַ,” as one says ‎‎‎‎‎‎חֶאְְזִין “to make ears” = to “hear,” הִלְשִׁין “to make a tongue,” züngeln, “to blaspheme.” רוּמַ then = “breath, life’s breath,” Gen. 6:17; 7:15, 22, etc. But still much depends on whether bodily or spiritual breath is meant. The context decides for the latter. For our הריחו ביראת י׳ stands in evident antithesis to רוח יראת י׳, Isa 11:2. The latter designates the objective communication of the Spirit, the former the subjective reception.—לְ secundum, comp. לְצֶדֶק 32:1: לָבֶטַח, etc.הוכיח with לְ like 2:4.

On Isa 11:4. מִישׁוֹר comp. 40:4; 42:16.

On Isa 11:5. GESENIUS makes the remark here that the repetition of אֵזוֹר (instead of using once חגור) can give no surprise in Isaiah, because he often uses the same word in parallel clauses: 14:4; 15:1, 8; 16:7; 17:12, 13; 19:7; 31:8; 32:17; 42:19; 44:3; 54:13; 55:4, 13; 59:10. But in saying this GESENIUS, as DRECHSLER remarks, forgot that he denies Isaiah’s authorship of chaps. 40–66

On Isa 11:6. זְאֵב is found in Isaiah only here and 65:25, that resembles this.—כֶּבֶשׂ is “the lamb;” comp. 1:11; 5:17. נָמֵר = “the striped” is “the panther” (Jer. 5:6; 13:23). Isaiah has it only here.—נהג with בְּ like 1 Chr. 13:7; comp. on נֹגֵשׂ בּוֹ 9:3.

On Isa 11:7. אריה 35:9.—תֶּבֶן again only 65:25.

On Isa 11:8. שׁעשׁע Pilpel from שׁעע delimre, mulcere, comp. the pass. 66:12.—חֻר 42:22פתן only here in Isaiah.—מְאוּרָת is ἅπ. λεγ. מָאוֹר is “light,” i.e., “an illuminating body” (Gen. 1:16); מְאוּרָה would then be a “light opening,” and we might understand under that term both the entrance of the cave and the sparkling eye of the animal gleaming like a precious stone (so the TARG. ABEN EZRA, KIMCHI, etc.). But the parallelism with חֻר prompts the conjecture, that originally מְעוּרָה, which otherwise never occurs, = מְעָרָה “cave,” stood in the text (GESENIUS). What is correct is hard to make out.—הָדָה doubtless kindred to יָדָה, immittere is ἅπ. λεγ.—The צִפְעוֹנִי (59:5) is likely identical with צֶפַע (14:29). The root צָפַע means halare, sibilare. Doubtless a very poisonous serpent is meant, perhaps the basilisk, which is said to have been called sibilus. Comp. GESENIUS, Thes. p. 1182.

On Isa 11:9. That the beasts are subject of ירעו (comp. 65:25) the context puts beyond doubt.—יָם is here manifestly the sea-bed, the bottom of the sea; (comp. Ps. 104:6). The prefix לְ before יָם is explained by the causative sense in which Piel is used here, as it is often.—כִּסָּה means “covering,” make covering, like הִצִּיל “provide rescue,” הוֹכִיחַ “provide justice,” הֶאֱרִיךְ “make length,” etc., and is accordingly, like the verbs named, construed with the dative. So, too, is כִּסָּה עַל “to make a cover, to spread as a cover over something” (Num. 16:33; Job 36:32; Hab. 2:14, where our text is reproduced.—[J. A. ALEXANDER on verse 3. “And his sense of smelling (i.e., his power of perception, with a seeming reference to the pleasure it affords him) shall be exercised in (or upon) the fear of Jehovah (as an attribute of others”). The only sense of הריחו confirmed by usage is to smell. This, as a figure, comprehends discernment or discrimination between false and true religion, and the act of taking pleasure as the sense does in a grateful odor. In ‎‎‎‎ביראת י׳ the בְּ is a connective which the verb הריח commonly takes after it, and adds no more to the meaning of the phrase than the English prepositions when we speak of smelling to or of a thing, instead of simply smelling it.”

Ibid. On Isa 11:9. “They shall not hurt nor destroy,” etc. The absence of the copulative shows that this is not so much a direct continuation of the previous description as a summary explanation of it. The true construction, therefore, is indefinite, and the verbs do not agree with the nouns (animals) of Isa 11:8.”]


1. The destruction of the proud, towering forest, which, meaning primarily Assyria, comprehends also the world-powers generally, is followed by a contrasted picture in the renewed flourishing of the house of David and of his kingdom. That house of David will be reduced to a stunted and inconsiderable root-stock, when the world-power shall be at the summit of its prosperity. But from this root-stock, that is regarded as dead, a sprout shall still go forth (Isa 11:1). On it the Spirit of the Lord shall rest in the fulness of His manifold powers (Isa 11:2). This sprout will take delight in the fear of Jehovah; He will practise justice not after the deceptive sight of the eyes (Isa 11:3); on the contrary He will so do it that the poor and humble shall be helped, but the wicked not merely outwardly, but also inwardly subdued (Isa 11:4). For He shall stand firm in righteousnesss and truth (Isa 11:5). Thus His kingdom shall be one of peace in such a degree that even the impersonal creatures shall be filled with this spirit of peace (Isa 11:6, 7), 8. For even the wildest beasts shall be no more wild, and no longer do harm on Jehovah’s holy mountain. The whole shall be full of the liveliest and deepest knowledge of Jehovah, like the bottom of the sea is covered with water (Isa 11:9).

2. And there shall come—his roots.

Isa 11:1. Without a hint as to the time when, the Prophet announced that a revirescence of David’s house shall be the correlative of destruction of the world-power that was compared to the forest of Lebanon. He says stock of Jesse, not stock of David, for he would intimate that David’s stock will be reduced to its rank previous to David, when it was only the stock of the obscure citizen of Bethlehem. This explanation seems to me more correct than the other that understands that by this term is intimated that the Messiah shall be the second David, for He is such not alongside of, but after and out of the first David. The Messiah is in fact the Son of David (2 Sam. 7). If this stock, dead and mutilated, only exists as a stump, (but we know when and how that happened,) then shall a slender twig emerge from His roots, thus out of that part concealed under ground and still fresh, a hardy shoot that shall not perish, but bear fruit, and therefore (as included in the statement) develop to a new tree.

He is called “branch” 4:2; Jer. 23:5; 33:15; Zech. 3:8; 6:12. At the beginning of 53. (Isa 11:2) is found a representation of the Messiah closely resembling our verse: “and He raised Himself before Him like the tender plant and like the root out of dry ground.” Ezek. too, (17:22–24) speaks of the shoot of the cedar (יוֹנֵק) that the Lord will plant on the high mountain of Israel (Isa. 2) to show how He is able “to bring down the high tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make flourish the dry tree.”

3. And the spirit—fear of the Lord

Isa 11:2. The Prophet immediately forsakes the figurative language. He speaks of the sprout as of a person. For on Him shall settle down (7:2, 19; Num. 11:25; 2 Kings 2:15) the spirit of Jehovah. This is a generic designation. For in what follows a threefold species of this genus is named, each of which is represented in two modifications. The candlestick of the sanctuary has rightly been regarded as symbol of the spirit of Jehovah. The stem corresponds to what we have called the genus, the six branches to what we have called the species (Exod. 25:31 sqq.; 37:17 sqq.). The first species comprehends (חכמה and בינה) “wisdom and understanding.” It is not easy to determine wherein consists the difference between these. In not a few passages they are placed opposite to one another in the parallelism of the clauses: Prov. 2:2 sqq.; 4:5, 7; 9:10; Job 28:12, 20, 28; 2 Chr. 2:12, etc. In all these passages is observed, first of all, a formal distinction, a certain distinction of rank. “Wisdom” is the great all-comprehending chief name of all right knowledge. As the notion wisdom rises to personality, in fact to the dignity of divine personality (Prov. 8:32 sqq.) the word becomes almost a proper name. “Understanding” (בינה with דַּעַת ,תְּבוּנָה, etc.) takes up a subordinate position. It signifies always only an element, although a very essential one of “wisdom” (comp. Prov. 8:14). Many find in חכמה the fundamental meaning of firmitas solida, of πυκνότης, though the word is rather allied to בֵּךְplaatum, and thus, as in sapientia, σοφίαsapor” “taste” (comp. טעם) is the fundamental notion. In any case חכמה “wisdom” has more a positive meaning, whereas בינה “understanding” (comp. בֵּין and the meaning of the root words in the dialects) carries more the negative notion of διάκρισις, the art of distinguishing between true and false, good and bad.—עצה and גבורה “counsel” and “might” (36:5) are easily distinguished as proofs of practical wisdom in forming and executing good counsel. A third pair is (דַּעַת, stat. const. and(יִרְאַת יי) “knowledge and fear of the LORD:” for the first two pairs comprise those effects of the spirit that relate to the earthly life. The third pair appear to reach out beyond this earthly life. It names a knowledge and a fear whose object is Jehovah Himself. If the fear of God is named last here, whereas according to Prov. 1:7; 9:10; Ps. 111:10 it is the beginning of all wisdom, that has its reason herein, that what is the deepest foundation may at the same time be designated as the loftiest height, like the great mountains form the inmost nucleus and the highest summits of the earth’s body. The entire enumeration progresses therefore from the bottom upwards. Moreover the view of the seven spirits of God, that is found Rev. 1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6, rests on our text. On the anointing of the Messiah with the Spirit of God, comp. 42:1; 61:1; Matth. 12:18; Luke 4:18; Jno. 3:34.

4. And shall make—his reins.

Isa 11:3-5. On הריחו see Text and Gram. He has not only received the spirit from without; He receives it also within Him, so that He continually breathes in this spiritual air of life—this alone and no other. He has received (objectively) the spirit in absolute fulness. There appears to me to lie in these words, too, an allusion to Gen. 2:7. There it is said that God breathed in men His spirit as the principle of life. But this principle of life performs its functions no matter in what element the man may find himself. Even in the godless it is constantly active. Yet how unsatisfying, how mournful is that breathing of the spirit in a sphere infected by sin. The Messiah lives wholly in “the fear of God.” He therefore breathes in an atmosphere homogeneous to Him. He therefore brings into use for mankind the right breathing by bringing them back into the pure element of spirit. He is the second Adam.

As king, the Messiah must display the divinity of His disposition pre-eminently in the perfectly adequate administration of justice. He will therefore never let His judgment depend on outward appearance, never on that which pleases the outward sense, but He will only suffer that to pass for right that is right. He will not, therefore, look on the person, but help the poor and lowly to their rights (comp. 1:26 sqq.; 3:13 sqq.). But the unjust He will punish. This is the meaning of Isa 11:4b. For the earth (אֶרֶץ) that He smites with the rod of His mouth, (Rev. 1:16) and that is put parallel with רָשָׁע “the wicked” can only be regarded as the territory of the world that is hostile to God. “The wicked” רָשָׁע is by the CHALDEE, and since that by many expositors, construed not only as a collective = רשׁעים, but at the same time, (or even exclusively e.g.DELITZSCH) in the sense of 2 Thess. 2:8, as designation of an eschatological person, in whom enmity against God shall reach its climax. The staff of His mouth is the word that goes forth out of His mouth, and the breath of His lips is the same. For His word is in fact what His lips (spiritually) breathe out. Thus He proves Himself to be the one that can destroy in the same way as He created. By His word were things made; by His word they pass away. Comp. Ps. 104:29. In this righteousness, however, consists His proper strength, and the guaranty for the eternal continuance of His kingdom. The powers of the world must pass away on account of unrighteousness (Prov. 14:34).

The girdle is the symbol of vigorous, unimpeded development of strength, because the ancients could run, wrestle, and work only when the girdle confined their wide garments (comp. Job 12:18; 38:3; 40:2; Jer. 1:17; Eph. 6:14; 1 Pet. 1:13). Let the loins be girt with righteousness and truth, and the girded man stands strong and firm in righteousness and truth. He is strong by both. Therefore He does not further His cause by unrighteousness and lies, but by the contrary.

5. The wolf also——the sea.

Isa 11:6-9. The Prophet’s vision penetrates to the remotest time: he comprises the near and far in one look. The Assyria of the present, with its destruction in the near future, the Messiah in the inception of His appearance, and the latest fruits of His work of peace—all this he sees at once in a grand picture before him. When the Redeemer, as Prince of Peace (9:5) shall have done away with all violence, and put justice on the throne, then will peace be in the earth, and that, not only among men, but also among beasts. The Prophet, it is true, does not explain how the beasts are to be made accessible to this peaceful disposition. But it seems to me certain that only stupendous changes in nature, violent revolutions, world-ruin and resurrection, thus the slaying of the old Adam, and the regeneration of nature can bring forth these effects, (Rev. 20 sq.). “Behold I make all things new,” (Rev. 21:5) says He, that sits upon the throne. But we see from passages like 35; 43:18 sqq., that Isaiah himself had a presentiment of this grand, and all-comprehending world-renewal. I do not mean by this to defend a literal fulfilment of the word which the church fathers rejected as Judaizing, but only themselves to fall into the opposite extreme of spiritualizing and allegorizing. (Jerome appeals to Eph. 1:3). The point is to find the happy medium. That, however, is not found by saying that Isaiah meant what he said in a real sense, only he deceived himself, but by recognizing that Isaiah, as organ of the Spirit of God, beheld stupendous, spirit-corporeal reality, but paints this reality with human, earthly, even national and temporal colors. In short there will be “a new creation,” (2 Cor. 5:17) and this new creation will be at the same time a restitution of that oldest creation, that original one of Paradise, but on a higher plane. But how in the picture of the Prophet, to draw the boundary between absolute and relative reality, i.e., whether to exclude only single traits as not literal, or whether to divest the whole of its local and temporal construction, is difficult to say. Yet I decide for the latter. For all the traits of the picture painted by Isaiah bear the stamp of the existing earthly corporality. But in this sphere the prophecy cannot be realized. We must suppose a new basis of spiritual, glorified corporality made for this fulfilment. On this basis then the Prophet’s word will, mutatis mutandis, certainly be fulfilled.

The young lion (כפיר Isa 5:29) will lie quietly between the calf and the fattened ox, hitherto his favorite food; and a small boy will suffice to keep this entire, extraordinary, mixed up herd. Cow and bear graze, and their young rest by one another, while the old male-lion will devour chopped straw. Poisonous serpents will change their nature; the sucking child will play at the hole (vid. Text. and Gram.) of the adder. The holy mountain of Jehovah (comp. on 2:2 sqq.), will not indeed physically comprise the earth, but it will rule the earth, and so far the Prophet can say, there shall no more harm be done, nor destruction devised on the holy mountain. The whole earth, in fact, is only the slope of the mount of God. But the reason why there is no more harm, is that the whole earth (notice how in the second clause “earth” is substituted for “holy mountain”) will be full of the knowledge of the LORD. No doubt the Prophet means here, not merely a dead knowing, which even the devils have (Jas. 2:17); he means a living, experimental, practical knowledge of God, as is possible also to the impersonal creature. Therefore the whole earth, not merely man, shall know God living, and thus on the holy mountain shall no harm or destruction be devised. By the glorious picture of that knowledge filling the earth like the water the bottom of the sea, the Prophet signifies that he conceives of all creatures as filled with this living knowledge of God.




[3]bear fruit.

[4]And his breathing will be done in the fear of the LORD.

[5]Heb. scent, or smell.

[6]administer judgment.

[7]Or, argue.




[11]Or, adders.

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.

CHAPTER 11:10–16

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 12glorious.

11     And it shall come to pass in that day,

That the LORD shall set his hand again the second time

To 13recover 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.

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 14 15corners of the earth.

13     The envy also 16of 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 17of the Philistines toward the west;

They shall spoil 18them of the east together:

19They shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab;

20And the children of Ammon 21shall obey them.

15     And the LORD 22shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea;

And 23with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river,

And shall smite it 24in the seven streams,

And make men go over 25dry-shod.

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.


On Isa 11:10. דרשׁ אֵל comp. on 8:19, but it has more emphasis than there.

On Isa 11:11. הוסיף יד is only found here. Many would connect יָדוֹ with what follows as accus. instr. But the position conflicts with that. Others supply לשְׁלֹחַ; but that is not something that may be left to be understood. It is better with DRECHSLER to take הוסיף יד as an expression equivalent to נָתַן יָד (Exod. 7:4): manum addere corresponding to manum dare. If the latter means “to lay the hand on one,” then our expression means “repeatedly to lay hands on one.”

On Isa 11:12. נדחים and נפוצות, by this simple means the Prophet expresses the thought that the promised gathering shall extend to both sexes, men and women. ארבע כנפות is only found here in Isaiah. The words are taken from Deut. 22:12, and are found beside Ezek. 7:2.

On Isa 11:14 כָּתֵף .ועפו בכתף וגו׳ is without doubt here used in a double sense. Every shoulder-shaped elevation is called כתף. Thus we find כתף יס־כנרף Num. 34:11; כתף היבוסי Joshua 15:8; 18:16; כ׳ הר־יערים ibid. Isa 11:10. כ׳ יריחו 18:12; כ׳ לוזה 18:13. So, too, Josh. 15:11 speaks of a כֶּתֶף עֶקְרוֹן. Therefore the shoulder-like watershed of the coast of Philistia toward the sea may be called כתף. But from the verb עפו it is seen that the Prophet has in mind at the same time the figure of a bird of prey that flies on a man’s shoulder in order to belabor his head. But is כָּתֵף st. const. or absolutus. DELITZSCH is of the opinion that, on account of the following פ in פלשׁתים, the stat. absol. is used in the sense of stat. constructus. It were possible that the Masorets might have punctuated in this way for the reason assigned, yet this kind of punctuation ought to occur oftener. But DELITZSCH can only appeal to the accent not being drawn backwards in חָצֵֽב בּוֹ 5:2, and הצֵֽב בּו 10:15, where no st. constructus exists. I agree, therefore, with DRECHSLER who takes פלשׁתים to be in apposition with כתף: “they fly on to the shoulder, the (so named) Philistine land;” יָמָּֽה, however, refers to the whole, and is contrasted, not with an eastern כתף (כ׳ ידיחו Josh. 18:12), but with בני קדם.—יבזו comp. 10:2.—מִשְׁלֹוחַ .משׂלוח יד. occurs again only Esth. 9:19, 22 in the sense of missio (donorum). On the other hand מִשְׁלַח יָד occurs five times in Deut. (12:7; 15:10; 23:21; 28:8, 20) in the sense of “something coming under the hand,” which is said of food, business, etc. Here it is what the master, the conqueror, the oppressor lays his hand on in order to hold it down; Ps.32:4; 38:3; 55:21; 106:26, 42; 138:7, etc. In this the abstract stands for the concrete as in משׁמעת, which means audientia (audience) both in the sense of confidential hearing, as a title of honor (1 Sam. 22:14; 2 Sam. 23:23) and in the sense of obedientia (= obedientes, subditi).

On Isa 11:15. החרים וגו. There exists no necessity for reading החריב. For, as DELITZSCH remarks, החרים is only a strengthened גָעַר “to reproach,” Ps. 106:9; Nah. 1:4.—הניף ידו comp. on 10:32.—עֲיָם is ἅπ.λεγ. Expositors differ about it very much. To me it seems best with DELITZSCH to derive the word from חָמַם ,חוּם = עוּם (from which חוּם niger, “the burned black,” Gen. 30:32 sqq.).


The Prophet now declares the relation of the last, glorious return of Israel to the appearance of the Messiah. In Isa 11:10, he puts in front the fact that the heathen will inquire after the root of Jesse, and that in this respect the place where the Messiah rests shall partake of great glory. By this he intimates plainly that the heathen shall turn to the Messiah before Israel, and that therefore the promised return of Israel shall only be afterwards. Then he speaks of this return very fully. As underlying thought, he represents that, as the LORD after the Egyptian bondage would reject His people by a more extended captivity, so He would cause a second return out of this captivity. With this thought begins, and closes the section Isa 11:11–16. The remnant of the nation shall be gathered out of all lands (Isa 11:11, 12). The inward dissension between Ephraim, and Judah shall cease (Isa 11:13). They shall unitedly conquer, and subjugate their enemies of the past, both East and West (Isa 11:14). The Red sea shall be dried up, the Euphrates shall be divided into seven channels, so that both bodies of water that separated the holy land from the scenes of the first and second captivities may be easily crossed over, (Isa 11:15). Thus from the second captivity there shall be prepared as glorious a road for the remnant, as there was for the nation to return out of the first bondage. (16).

2. And in that day—glorious.

Isa 11:10. We must conceive of the subject matter of this description and of Isa 11:11–16 as falling between the sections Isa 11:1–5 and 6–9. For doubtless the human world must be first penetrated by the peace of God. Only after that can peace extend to the inferior creatures (comp. Gen. 1:26 sqq.). But the Prophet has here combined the beginning and the end, because he thought he could characterize the Messianic dominion most clearly, by its consequences. In a similar way Jeremiah (3 and 4), proceeds from the description of the (שׁוּכ) return in the past to the description of the return in the far future, in order finally to join on after that the summons to return in the present. The Prophet’s naming the Messiah Himself “root of Jesse” after calling him, Isa 11:1, “a shoot out of the root of Jesse,” has a double reason. The first seems to me to be the mere formal one, viz.: that for brevity’s sake the Prophet would avoid repeating נֵצֶר מִן “a shoot from.” But he could justly omit this because the Messiah formed the most prominent ingredient of the root of Jesse. He was in this root like He was in the loins of Abraham (Heb. 7:10). But for Him, the root of Jesse had been a common root as any other. We have here therefore, not only a formal-rhetorical synecdoche, but also one justified in its substance. For the expression is in any case a synecdoche (comp. the so frequent synecdochical use of the word “seed”). As root he could not be a standard of the heathen. He could be so only as a trunk or stem that has grown out of the root. In this sense he is called “root of David,” Rev. 5:5; but with omission of the synecdoche, he is called “root and offspring of David,” Rev. 22:16. Paul cites our passage Rom. 15:12 according to the LXX. The Messiah is a standard to the heathen so far as He will be an appearance that will be observable to all, and mightily draw the attention of all to Himself. On the subject matter comp. 2:2; 66:18 sqq.; Hag. 2:7; Zech. 2:15. The standard “stands” (comp. 3:13) for it is fastened to an upright pole (Num. 21:8, where the pole itself is called נֵס. Comp. Isa. 5:26). Bat it is not said who has planted the standard. It just stands there (comp. κεῖται, Luke 2:34). It sets itself by its own inward, divine power. שׁרשׁ “a root” stands first with emphasis. אליו “unto Him” resumes the subject. “Unto Him shall seek,” conveys the notion of longing desire. It is clear that by “nations” (גּוֹיִם) are meant the heathen. For though גּוֹי “nation,” in the singular, is used for Israel (comp. 1:4), it is never so in the plural.

Israel did not receive the LORD when He came to His own (Jno. 1:11). It is the same thought that Paul expresses Rom. 10:20, in words taken from Isa. 65:1, 2 (according to LXX.). “I was found of them, that sought me not; I was manifest (נִדְרַשְׁתִּי) unto them that asked not after me.” Paul ascribes to partial blindness the exceeding remarkable fact, that after the appearance of the Messiah the heathen entered into the kingdom of God before Israel, (Rom. 11:25)—מנוחה “a rest,” the place of rest where moving herds or caravans settle down, (28:12; 32:18; 66:1, and Num. 10:33). The place where the Messiah sits down to rest is identical with the place where He reveals the fulness of His might and glory, it is His body, the church (Eph. 1:23). Still at the present time the church is a gentile church, and yet it is a glory (כָּבוֹדabstr. pro concr.), i.e., a realization of the idea of glory, (comp. Ps. 45:14) even though only a preliminary and relative glory.

3. And it shall come to pass——of the earth.

Isa 11:11, 12. The Prophet now turns to Israel. Israel must first be broken up, and its separate parts be scattered into all lands, if it is to accept Him that is promised to Israel for salvation. Only out of a state of banishment and dispersion, and only after the heathen have previously joined themselves to Him, does Israel know and lay hold on its Redeemer. But when it shall have known Him, then will the dispersion cease, then shall Israel be gathered and be brought back into its land. The first exile was the Egyptian. Wonderfully was Israel redeemed out of it. A second exile is in prospect. The Prophet assumes it. He has already announced it 6:11 sqq.; 10:5 sqq. What had already occurred at that time under Tiglath-Pileser (2 Kings 15:29) was as much only a faint beginning of the exile, as the return under Zerubbabel and Ezra, was only a faint beginning of the redemption. The Roman exile, which is but a part of the second exile, though the completion of it, must first have accomplished itself, before the second redemption can accomplish itself.

The LORD has acquired Israel (קְנוֹת), He let it cost Him something, He expended great care upon it, therefore the nation is His property (His סְגֻלָּה “peculiar treasure,” Exod. 19:5, etc.). קָנָה “purchased,” is found in this sense even in Exod. 15:16, the song of triumph of Moses, to which Isaiah seems here to allude.

The Prophet does not say בְּאשור, etc., “in Assyria,” but “from A,” etc., (vid.Exod. 10:5), for he would not so much intimate the locality where the banished are found, as rather designate a remnant, not yet quite exterminated by the nation in the midst of which they are found. He then names eight nations, Assyria in advance, for that is the world power that he sees immediately before him, and that represents all following powers, i.e., the world-power in general. Next he names Egypt, for this is not only to be the actual scene of future exile, but is also a prototype of such exile. Then follow two names that belong to Egypt, then three that belong to Assyria, finally a name belonging to a region more distant still.

Pathros (Egyptian Patherres, i.e., the southern Pather in distinction from other places sacred to Hathor, of this name, vid.EBER’S,Egypt. und die Bücher Mose’s, I. p. 115 sqq. On its relation to מִצְרַיִם comp. the remarks at Isa 19:1), is Upper-Egypt (Jer. 44:15); “Cush” (Ethiopia) is a name “that acquired an extension from the south of India to the interior of Africa” (PRESSEL). Elam (Elymais 21:2; 22:6) is southern Media; Shinar, southern Mesopotamia (Gen. 10:10); on Hamath comp. on 10:9; the islands of the sea are the western islands and coasts of the Mediterranean sea (24:15; 40:15; 41:1, 5, etc.). When it is said that the LORD will raise a standard to the nations, it is not meant that this signal shall concern the heathen nations, for Isa 11:10 spoke of the calling of the Gentiles; but in the direction of these various abodes of the nations, the sign shall be given to the Israelites.

4. The envy also—land of Egypt.

Isa 11:13-16. It might be supposed that, having told of the gathering of the remnant, the Prophet would proceed at once to describe the return. But he does this only at Isa 11:15, 16. First, the idea of gathering and re-union brings up that of inward unity. He announces that the old enmity between Judah and Ephraim will cease, and that henceforth, both, strong from unity, shall conquer their outward foes. Are “the enemies of Judah” the Ephraimites (the Prophet would say, did the oppressors of Judah appear even among Ephraim, they would be exterminated) then the “envy of Ephraim,” is not the jealousy that Ephraim has, but that of which it is the object. But as the Prophet ascribes to Judah oppression in the second half, after referring to him in the first half as the one oppressed, so in the second half he ascribes envy to Ephraim, after having in the first part described him as the object of envy. There is therefore, an artistic crossing of notions. Israel, harmonious at last, shall at once be superior in strength to all its neighbors. It is very evident here, how the Prophet paints the remotest future with the colors of the present. Still in the period of the reign of peace (comp. too, 2:4) he makes Israel take vengeance on his enemies, and subdue them quite in the fashion that, in the Prophet’s time, would be the heart’s desire of a true Theocrat.

The “tongue of the Egyptian sea,” is the Arabian gulf or Reed-gulf, יַם־סוּף (Exod. 10:19, etc.). “Tongue” לָשׁוֹן of an arm of the sea, like Josh. 15:2, 5; 18:19. The Euphrates in the second return is to correspond to the Jordan which was so miraculously crossed in the journey out of Egypt (Josh.). The LORD shall wave His hand against it, as it were, adjuring it, and at the same time smite it with the breath of His mouth as with a glowing hot wind, that will dry it up, so that it will separate into seven shallow brooklets, which Israel may walk through in sandals. Thereby, a “fenced way,” (via munitaמְסִלָּה19:23; 40:3; 62:10, etc., comp. 7:3) will be prepared for the remnant of Israel out of the Assyrian exile, that will be as glorious as the מסלה on which Israel returned out of Egypt. As for “the remnant,” it must be understood with the same restriction explained 10:21 sqq.

[J. A. ALEXANDER, on Isa 11:13. A consideration of the history of the enmity of Ephraim against Judah, of the nature of the schism they wrought and maintained in Israel, “explains why the Prophet lays so much more stress upon the envy of Ephraim than upon the enmity of Judah, viz.: because the latter was only the indulgence of an unhallowed feeling, to which, in the other case was superadded open rebellion and apostacy from God. Hence, the first three members of the verse before us speak of Ephraim’s enmity to Judah, and only the fourth of Judah’s enmity to Ephraim; as if it occurred to the Prophet that, although it was Ephraim whose disposition needed chiefly to be changed, yet Judah also had a change to undergo, which is therefore intimated in the last clause, as a kind of after-thought. The envy of Ephraim against Judah shall depart—the enemies of Judah (in the kingdom of the ten tribes) shall be cut off—Ephraim shall no more envy Judah—yes, and Judah in its turn shall cease to vex Ephraim.

Ibid. On Isa 11:16. מסלה is a highway as explained by JUNIUS (agger) and HEND. (causey), an artificial road formed by casting up the earth, (from סָלַל to raise) and thus distinguished from a path worn by the feet (דֶּרֶךְ or נְתִיבָה)].


[12]Heb. glory.


[14]Heb. wings.



[17]viz., the Philistines, Seaward.

[18]Heb. the children of the east.

[19]Heb. Edom, and Moab shall be the laying on of their hand.

[20]Heb. The children of Ammon their obedience.

[21]their subjects.


[23]with the glowing puff of his breath.

[24]into seven brooklets.

[25]Heb. in shoes.

Lange, John Peter - Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bible Hub
Isaiah 10
Top of Page
Top of Page