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.
From the local and temporary national deliverance the prophet passes by the law of suggestion in an easy transition to the end of all prophecy—the everlasting deliverance under Messiah's reign, not merely His first coming, but chiefly His second coming. The language and illustrations are still drawn from the temporary national subject, with which he began, but the glories described pertain to Messiah's reign. Hezekiah cannot, as some think, be the subject; for he was already come, whereas the "stem of Jesse" was yet future ("shall come") (compare Mic 4:11, &c.; 5:1, 2; Jer 23:5, 6; 33:15, 16; Ro 15:12).
1. rod—When the proud "boughs" of "Lebanon" (Isa 10:33, 34, the Assyrians) are lopped, and the vast "forests cut down" amidst all this rage, a seemingly humble rod shall come out of Jesse (Messiah), who shall retrieve the injuries done by the Assyrian "rod" to Israel (Isa 10:5, 6, 18, 19).
stem—literally, "the stump" of a tree cut close by the roots: happily expressing the depressed state of the royal house of David, owing to the hostile storm (Isa 10:18, 19), when Messiah should arise from it, to raise it to more than its pristine glory. Lu 2:7 proves this (Isa 53:2; compare Job 14:7, 8; see on Isa 8:6).
Branch—Scion. He is nevertheless also the "root" (Isa 11:10; Re 5:5; 22:16. "Root and offspring" combines both, Zec 3:8; 6:12).