Isaiah 11:1 MEANING

Isaiah 11:1
Verses 1-9. - A RENEWED PROPHECY OF MESSIAH AND OF HIS KINGDOM. This chapter is closely connected with the preceding. With the final destruction of Assyria, which, being cut down, sends out no shoot (Isaiah 10:33, 34), is contrasted the recuperative energy of Israel, 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 (vers. 2-5). An elaborate description of Messiah's kingdom follows (vers. 6-10) - an expansion of the briefer one in Isaiah 2:3, 4. Verse 1. - 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 foil of life (comp. 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 Isaiah 4:2, where the word used, though different, is synonymous).

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 there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,.... By which is meant, not Hezekiah, as R. Moses (o) the priest, and others, since he was now born, and must be at least ten or twelve years of age; but the Messiah, as both the text and context show, and as is owned by many Jewish writers (p), ancient and modern: and he is called a "rod", either because of his unpromising appearance, arising "out of the stem of Jesse"; from him, in the line of David, when that family was like a tree cut down, and its stump only left in the ground, which was the case when Jesus was born of it: Jesse's family was at first but a mean and obscure one; it became very illustrious in David's time, and in some following reigns; from the Babylonish captivity, till the time of Christ, it was very low; and at the birth of Christ was low indeed, his supposed father being a carpenter, and his real mother Mary a poor virgin, dwelling at Nazareth; and it seemed very unlikely, under these circumstances, that he should be the King Messiah, and be so great as was foretold he should; and have that power, authority, and wisdom he had; and do such mighty works as he did; and especially be the author of eternal salvation; and bring forth such fruits, and be the cause of such blessings of grace, as he was: or else because of his kingly power and majesty, the rod or branch being put for a sceptre, and so a symbol of that; to which the Targum agrees, paraphrasing the words thus,

"and a King shall come forth from the sons of Jesse:''

and the sense is, that though Jesse's or David's family should be brought so very low as to be as the stem or stump of a tree, without a body, branches, leaves, and fruit; yet from thence should arise a mighty King, even the King Messiah, who is spoken of by so many august names and titles, Isaiah 9:6 and this is observed for the comfort of the people of Israel, when distressed by the Assyrians, as in the preceding chapter Isaiah 10:1; when those high ones, comparable to the loftiest cedars in Lebanon, and to the tallest trees in the forest, should be hewn down, a rod should come out of Jesse's stem, which should rise higher, and spread more than ever they did:

and a branch shall grow out of his roots; the roots of Jesse, out of his family, compared to the stump of a tree; meaning either his ancestors, as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Boaz, and Obed; or his posterity, as David, Joseph, and Mary; and so the Targum,

"and the Messiah shall be anointed (or exalted) from his children's children.''

The branch is a well known name of the Messiah; See Gill on Isaiah 4:2 the word Netzer, here used, is the name of the city of Nazareth (q); which perhaps was so called, from the trees, plants, and grass, which grew here; and so our Lord's dwelling here fulfilled a prophecy, that he should be called a Nazarene; or an inhabitant of Netzer, Matthew 2:23. The Jews (r) speak of one Ben Netzer, who they say was a robber, took cities, and reigned over them, and became the head of robbers; and make (s) him to be the little horn in Daniel 7:8 and wickedly and maliciously say (t) he was Jesus; and yet, under all this wickedness, they tacitly own that Jesus of Nazareth is the Netzer this prophecy speaks of; the design of which is to show the meanness of Christ's descent as man, and that he should be as a root out of a dry ground, Isaiah 53:2 or rather as a rod and branch out of a dry root.

(o) Apud Aben Ezra in loc. (p) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 85. fol. 75. 1. Midrash Tillim in Psal. lxxii. 1. Apud Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 112. 2. Abarbinel, Mashmia Jeshua, fol. 8. 4. Aben Ezra, Jarchi, & Kimchi, in loc. Nachman. Disputat. cum Fratre Paulo, p. 53. (q) David de Pomis Lexic. p. 141. (r) T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 51. 2. & Gloss. in ib. (s) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 76. fol. 67. 2.((t) Abarbinel in Daniel 7.8. fol. 44. 1.

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