The Ideal Davidic King*
1But a shoot shall sprout from the stump* of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.a
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
A spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
3and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
4But he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide fairly for the land’s afflicted.c
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.d
5Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.e
6* Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.f
7The cow and the bear shall graze,
together their young shall lie down;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.g
8The baby shall play by the viper’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
9They shall not harm or destroy on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.
10On that day,
The root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the peoples—
Him the nations will seek out;
his dwelling shall be glorious.h
11On that day,
The Lord shall again take it in hand
to reclaim the remnant of his people
that is left from Assyria and Egypt,
Pathros, Ethiopia, and Elam,
Shinar, Hamath, and the isles of the sea.i
12He shall raise a signal to the nationsj
and gather the outcasts of Israel;
The dispersed of Judah he shall assemble
from the four corners of the earth.
13The envy of Ephraim shall pass away,
and those hostile to Judah shall be cut off;
Ephraim shall not envy Judah,
and Judah shall not be hostile to Ephraim;
14But they shall swoop down on the foothills
of the Philistines to the west,
together they shall plunder the people of the east;*
Edom and Moab shall be their possessions,
and the Ammonites their subjects.
15The LORD shall dry up the tongue* of the Sea of Egypt,
and wave his hand over the Euphrates with his fierce wind,
And divide it into seven streamlets,
so that it can be crossed in sandals.k
16There shall be a highway for the remnant of his people
that is left from Assyria,
As there was for Israel
when it came up from the land of Egypt.l
* [11:1–16] Isaiah 11 contains a prophecy of the rise of a new Davidic king who will embody the ancient ideal of Davidic kingship (vv. 1–9), an elaboration of that prophecy in a further description of that king’s rule (v. 10), and a prophecy of God’s deliverance of the chosen people from exile and cessation of enmities (vv. 11–16).
* [11:1] Shoot…stump: the imagery suggests the bankruptcy of the monarchy as embodied in the historical kings, along with the need for a new beginning, to spring from the very origin from which David and his dynasty arose. Jesse: David’s father (cf. 1 Sm 16:1–13).
* [11:6–9] This picture of the idyllic harmony of paradise is a dramatic symbol of universal peace and justice under the rule of the new Davidic king. The peace and harmony even among carnivores and their natural prey in this description suggest a paradisiac aspect of the reign of the new king.
* [11:10–16] This passage, with its reference to God’s people in widely scattered lands, is probably from a much later period. God will restore them to their own land. The reconciliation of Ephraim (i.e., the Northern Kingdom) and Judah reverses what Isaiah saw as a disastrous event of the past (cf. 7:17). God’s action is likened to a new exodus, analogous to the time God first acquired Israel in bringing them out of the land of Egypt. Pathros: upper Egypt. Elam: east of Babylonia. Shinar: Babylonia. Hamath: on the Orontes River in Syria. Isles: or coastlands, in the Mediterranean.
* [11:15] Tongue: perhaps to be identified with the Gulf of Suez.