Isaiah 11:4 MEANING

Isaiah 11:4
(4) With righteousness shall he judge the poor . . .--The picture which Isaiah had drawn of the corrupt judges of his time gives point to the contrast (Isaiah 1:23; Isaiah 2:14-15; Isaiah 10:1-2). The poor whom they trampled on should be the special objects of the care of the true King (Matthew 11:5).

He shall smite the earth . . .--The "earth" stands here, if we accept the reading, for the rulers who are for the time supreme in it. A slight alteration of the Hebrew gives shall smite the tyrant, which forms a better parallelism with the "ungodly" of the next clause. The phrase "the sceptre of his mouth" is significant. The word which the Messiah-King speaks shall be as the sceptre which is the symbol of authority. So in Revelation 1:16, "a sharp two-edged sword" comes forth from the mouth of the Christ of St. John's vision. The latter clause, "with the breath of his lips shall he slay . . . ,"has a parallel in Hosea 6:5.

Verse 4. - With righteousness shall he judge the poor (comp. Isaiah 32:1, "A king shall reign in righteousness"). It would be characteristic of the Messiah's rule that the poor should be eared for, that oppression should cease, and judgment be no more perverted in favor of the rich. There is an intended contrast between the Messiah's rule in this respect, and that of the princes of Judah (Isaiah 1:23; Isaiah 3:15; Isaiah 10:1, 2). Christian countries still, for the most part, follow their Lord's example in this particular, if in no other, having judges that are incorruptible, and tribunals that are free from any leaning against the poor. Reprove; or, plead (as in Job 16:21). The meek of the earth; rather, the humble, or afflicted. Low condition, not meekness of spirit, is what the word used expresses. He shall smite the earth. A slight alteration of the text produces the meaning, be shall smite the terrible one (comp. Isaiah 29:20), which improves the parallelism of the clauses. But there is no need of any alteration, parallelism in Isaiah being often incomplete. The Messiah at his coming will "smite the earth" generally (see Malachi 4:6, and comp. Matthew 10:34, "I came not to send peace on the earth, but a sword"), and will also especially chastise "the wicked." The rod of his mouth... the breath of his lips. "The Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). The sayings of Christ pierce the conscience and penetrate the soul as no other words that ever came from a human mouth. In the last day words from his mouth will consign to everlasting life or to everlasting destruction.

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.But with righteousness shall he judge the poor,.... The poor sinner, that is sensible of his spiritual poverty, and comes and acknowledges his sins and transgressions, and prays for pardoning grace and mercy, and hungers and thirsts after righteousness; such Christ justifies with his own righteousness, acquits and discharges them from all sin and condemnation, as also protects and defends them against all their enemies and oppressors:

and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth; that is, shall take the part of the meek, the lowly, and the humble, who are under a sense of their sins and unworthiness, apply to him for grace, righteousness, pardon, and eternal life; and for their sakes reprove wicked men that would distress and crush them; and in a just and equitable manner, in a way of righteous retaliation, render tribulation to them that trouble them:

and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth: that is, either he shall smite the consciences of earthly and unregenerate men, by the ministration of his word, the rod of his strength, so that they shall be convinced of sin, and humbled for it, and be brought to repentance towards God, and faith in himself; or he shall smite the nations of the earth, the antichristian states, and destroy them, Revelation 19:15.

and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked; either by the words of his mouth, as before; see Hosea 6:5 so that they become dead men in their own apprehensions, have no hope of life and salvation by their own works, see themselves dead in law, and liable to eternal death and damnation; or this is to be understood of the destruction of the wicked at the last day, by a sentence of condemnation pronounced upon them by Christ; and particularly of antichrist, the wicked and lawless one, the man of sin and son of perdition, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of his coming, 2 Thessalonians 2:4 in which place the apostle seems to have respect to this; nor is the Targum foreign from the sense given, which is

"he shall smite the sinners of the earth with the word of his mouth, and with the speech of his lips he shall slay the wicked Armillus.''

Armillus seems to be a name hammered out of Romulus, and designs the Romish antichrist; for elsewhere the Jews expressly say, that Armillus is he whom the nations call antichrist (z); by whom they suppose that Messiah, the son of Joseph shall be slain, and afterwards he himself shall be slain by Messiah the son of David; or it is the same with a destroyer of the people, a name that well agrees with antichrist; see Revelation 11:18. This whole, verse is applied to the Messiah, both by ancient and modern Jews (a).

(z) Abkath Rocel, p. 52. Ed. Huls. Vid. Buxtorf. Lex. Talmud, p. 221, 222, 223, 224. (a) Shirhashirim. Rabba, fol. 22. 3. Midrash Ruth, fol. 33. 2. Pesikta apud Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 66. 4. Nachman. Disputat. cum Fratre Paulo, p, 41.

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