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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Isaiah 11

 

 

Verse 1

Isaiah 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

Ver. 1. And there shall come forth a rod,] i.e., Christ shall be born; whom our prophet having called "the anointing" or Messiah, [Isaiah 10:27] maketh him and his kingdom henceforward the chief matter of his discourse, to the end of his book. Here he beginneth with his nativity, calling him a rod or twig, springing, not out of the stock of David, but out of the stump of Jesse, a mean man, and that then, when the royal family was sunk so low as from David the king to Joseph the carpenter. Well might Chrysostom say that the foundation of our philosophy was humility. And another, (a) that at Bethlehem brake forth that well of salvation which, in the type, once David so thirsted after. [2 Samuel 23:15]

And a Branch.] Or, The Nazarene born at Nazareth, saith Junius, which signifieth "a branch"; for so it was generally deemed; and our Saviour styleth himself Jesus of Nazareth; [Acts 22:8] and on his cross they wrote Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, wherein that prodigy, saith A. Lapide, seemeth to have fallen out concerning which the poet inquireth -

Dic quibus in terris inscripti nomine Regis

Nascantur flores. ”

Tell who is noted in the earth by the name of a King, Let him in flowers. For Nazareth he interpreteth a flower, or something flowery; and for shall grow, others render shall bud, or bear fruit.

{a} Scultet.


Verse 2

Isaiah 11:2 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

Ver. 2. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.] After such a description of Christ’s person, {as Isaiah 11:1} follows here a declaration of his kingdom, which is set forth to be - first, Spiritual; [Isaiah 11:2] secondly, Just; [Isaiah 11:3-5] thirdly, Peaceable; [Isaiah 11:6-9] fourthly, Ample, as made up of Gentiles and Jews. {Isaiah 11:11, &c.}

Shall rest upon him.] His humanity shall be filled topfull with the gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, to be as it were an everlasting treasure and cistern full of them for the use of the Church. [John 1:16; John 3:34 Acts 2:33] And this was typified by the Holy Ghost descending in the likeness of a dove, at the time of his baptism, and resting upon him. [Matthew 3:16 John 1:32-33] (a)

The spirit of wisdom and understanding.] These six princely virtues (for the schoolmen, misled by the Vulgate translation, falsely found their septiformem gratiam Spiritus Sancti) were eminently and transcendently in Christ; they should be also found in some measure in all rulers. [Deuteronomy 1:16 Exodus 18:25 1 Kings 3:12 Leviticus 19:35-37]


Verse 3

Isaiah 11:3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:

Ver. 3. And shall make him of quick understanding.] Heb., It shall make him scent or smell - sc., by a singular sagacity and sharpness of judgment in smelling out a hypocrite, as Simon Peter did Simon Magus, who had deceived Philip, even unto baptism; but Peter soon found him out: how much more will Christ? His sharp nose easily discerneth and is offended with the stinking breath of the hypocrite’s rotten lungs, though his words be never so scented and perfumed with shows of holiness. So for the innocence of the godly, when "being defamed they pray" as Paul, apologise and cannot be heard, as the primitive Christians; Christ will "bring forth their righteousness as the light, and their judgment as the noonday." [Psalms 37:6]

And he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes.] He cannot be deceived, as knowing all hearts, and as having all things naked and dissected before his eyes. [Hebrews 4:13 Matthew 9:12 John 2:24] Others judge by relation of others, and secundum allegata et probata - not so Jesus Christ; but he shall always proceed upon his own knowledge, and so pass a most righteous sentence. Oecolampadius thinks the prophet here alludeth to Solomon’s sentence passed on the two harlots. [1 Kings 3:16-28]


Verse 4

Isaiah 11:4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the 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.

Ver. 4. But with righteousness judge the poor,] i.e., The poor in spirit, those meek ones of the earth. So the Anabaptists of Germany called themselves, and said that now the promise must be fulfilled, "The meek shall inherit the earth"; whenas they by blood, rapine, cruel wars, seized on the possessions of others. And have we not now (a) among us many loaves of the same leaven, brats of the same breed, bloody in their positions and dispositions - the fifth monarchy men they call themselves. Christ Jesus (as he hath lately to his great praise, so still) preserve and bless us out of their bloody fingers, and from their prodigious principles and practices. He hath promised it here, and much more: thou shalt "give thy judgment to the king" (Christ), "and he shall deliver the poor" [Psalms 72:2] - viz., from all foes and persecutors.

And he shall smite the earth,] i.e., Earthly minded men, who are "of the earth, speak of the earth, and the earth heareth them." [John 3:31] As the earth is cold and dry, so are they. As the earth is heavy, and beareth downward, so do they. As the earth keepeth down hot exhalations that naturally would ascend, so is it with such. And lastly, as the earth standeth still in the midst of heaven, and taketh no notice of the whole circumference that is carried around it, so are earthly men stupid and insensible, &c. Howbeit "by the rod of his mouth," that is, by the preaching of the gospel, Christ doth again secretly "smite the earth," that is, the consciences of carnal people, glued to the earth, making them sound heavily as a shawm. (b)

And with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.] The devil and his deputies, Antichrist especially, [2 Thessalonians 2:8] and that with little ado, even with a blast of his lips only; as with his bare word he laid on their backs those soldiers that came to apprehend him.


Verse 5

Isaiah 11:5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

Ver. 5. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins.] Symbolum Regis hoc est, saith Scultetus. Kings and princes have their scita in scutis, their mottoes on their shields; so hath our king here, viz., "Righteousness and faithfulness"; and this is so manifest as if written on his girdle, (a) or belt, see Revelation 19:16; where, for like cause, Christ’s high titles are written "on his vesture, and on his thigh." Others by this expression understand Christ’s alacrity and promptitude to vindicate his elect, and to punish the wicked, according to his promise, Vaticinatur de Christi solertia in obeundis regni Dei negotiis, ac tribuit illi cincturam, seu industriam spiritualem pro qualilate obeundae dispensationis. (b) Let us also, Christ-like, "gird up the loins of our minds; be sober, and hope perfectly." [1 Peter 1:13] Gird ourselves, and serve him, [Luke 17:8] readily, nimbly, handsomely, and hardily. A loose, discinct, and diffluent (fluid) mind is unfit for God’s service.


Verse 6

Isaiah 11:6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

Ver. 6. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb.] Not worrying as he was wont, but made tame and tractable. Lo, such a blessed change is wrought in all true converts, as is to be seen in Paul, that wolf of the tribe of Benjamin, prophesied of by Jacob, [Genesis 49:27] as some hold. And the like may be said of Petrus Paulus Vergerius, once the Pope’s nuncio, but afterwards a great preacher of the gospel. Hugh Latimer, once as obstinate a Papist as any was in England - they are his own words - but converted by blessed Bilney, as he called him usually, he became a zealous promoter of the truth according to godliness, confessor general to all Protestants troubled in mind, and the treasury into which restored ill-gotten goods were cast, to be bestowed on the poor according to his discretion, (a)

And the leopard shall lie down with the kid.] As they did at the creation, and afterward in Noah’s ark; all bloodiness and rapine laid aside. Those that love not one another out of a pure heart fervently, but are filled with envy, malice, debate, deceit, malignity, are none of Christ’s subjects, nor fellow-citizens with the saints.

And a little child shall lead them.] That is, the child Jesus, say some interpreters, by the conduct of his Holy Spirit; or the apostles and other godly ministers, who were counted but as little children to the Pharisees and philosophers, called the grandees and "princes of this world." [1 Corinthians 2:8] But they do best that understand it of such a tractableness and teachableness in Christians, that they can be content to learn of any one, though never so mean, that can better inform them. (b) See this in Apollos. [Acts 18:26] Augustine, as himself witnesseth thus in one of his epistles, En adsum senex a iuvene coepiscopo, episcopus tot annorum a collega nondum anniculo paratus sum discere, I am here an old man, ready to learn from a young man, my coadjutor in the ministry; and so old a bishop, from one who hath scarce been a year in the service. Hippocrates adviseth men not to slack or disdain to learn even of those who are counted idiots. (c)


Verse 7

Isaiah 11:7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

Ver. 7. And the cow and the bear shall feed.] An allegorical description of greatest confidence and innocence, saith Junius. Bears are angry and vindictive creatures; so are the best by nature, [Titus 3:3] till tamed and domesticated by God’s distinguishing grace. As for those semiperfectae vertutis homines, as an ancient calls them, temporaries and hypocrites, who do only the outward works of duty, without the inward principle, it may be said of them, as the civil law doth of those mixed beasts, elephants, camels, &c., Operam praestant, natura fera est, they do the work of tame beasts, yet have the nature of wild ones.

Their young ones shall lie down together.] Heb., Their children, i.e., say some, (a) children after parents shall do thus, and their children after them from age to age; not revolting any more to barbarism.

And the lion shall eat straw.] Not men and other sensitive creatures, as now. (b) This, say the Chiliasts after some Rabbis, shall be literally fulfilled in that golden age of Christ’s personal reign upon earth; a mere fancy, first vented by Papias, a man of some holiness, but ingenii pertenuis, of very little judgment, saith Eusebius.


Verse 8

Isaiah 11:8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.

Ver. 8. And the sucking child shall play upon the hole of the asp, &c.] There shall be no danger from calumniators and cruel crafties, asps and basilisks, (a) quorum in labris venenum sessitat [Psalms 140:4] These homines damnosissimi most damnable men shall have a new nature transfused into them; their malignities and mischievous qualities shall cease when once truly converted.


Verse 9

Isaiah 11:9 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.

Ver. 9. None shall hurt.] Here the foregoing allegory is fully explained. In God’s Holy Mountain-that is, in the Church - there shall be a holy, harmless, and a sweet harmony of hearts. The word among them shall be this, "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." [1 John 4:11] Some differences and jars there may occur among the best, as did between Paul and Barnabas, Jerome and Augustine, Luther and Zuinglius; but these last not long - at utmost but till they come to heaven; and the ground of such a distemper is, that we know but in part, and therefore love but in part. [1 Corinthians 13:9] Oh pray for that blessed sight, [Ephesians 1:17-18] and for a fuller comprehension of those several dimensions, [Ephesians 3:18] that the "earth may be full of the knowledge of the Lord."

As the waters cover the sea,] i.e., The bosom and bottom of it, that God’s word may dwell richly in us in all wisdom, and that the knowledge we have of it may be a transforming knowledge. [2 Corinthians 3:18] Two or three words of God’s mouth hid in the heart, and there mingled with faith, work such an evident and entire change in a man, saith Lactantius, (a) that you can hardly know him to be the same. Da mihi virum qui sit iracundus, maledicus, effraenatus, paucissimis Dei verbis tam placidum quam ovem reddam. Da cupidum, avarum, tenacem, &c. Give me a man that is angry., ill-spoken, unruly; with a few words of Almighty God, I will make him as meek as a lamb. Give me one that is covetous, an oppressive hold fast, a very Nabal, I will make him a Nadib; of a covetous churl a liberal person, of a viper a child, of a lecher a chaste man, &c. Lo, this is the fruit of the sound and saving knowledge of God and of his word, of ourselves and of our duties.


Verse 10

Isaiah 11:10 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 glorious.

Ver. 10. And in that day.] "In the day of Christ’s power, or kingdom, the people shall be willing." [Psalms 110:3] "The isles shall wait for God’s law." [Isaiah 42:8] Multitudes of nations shall come crowding in to his greatest glory, [Proverbs 14:2] and for the fulfilling of old Jacob’s prophecy. [Genesis 49:10]

There shall be a root of Jesse.] See on Isaiah 11:1.

Which shall stand for an ensign.] Or, Standard, whereto all the elect must assemble; and hereby is meant the preaching of the gospel.

Shall the Gentiles seek.] Ferventi studio, magno desiderio, non coacti; they shall fly thereto as the clouds, and as doves scour to their windows. [Isaiah 60:8]

And his rest.] That is, his Church, with whom he resteth and resideth. [Psalms 132:8] He "resteth also in his love to his people, and rejoiceth over them with singing." {Zephaniah 3:17; {See Trapp on "Zephaniah 3:17"}

Shall be glorious.] Heb., Glory; sc., per sanctitatem [Isaiah 4:5]


Verse 11

Isaiah 11:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover 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.

Ver. 11. The Lord shall set his hand again the second time.] Not to bring them back to the promised land, to Palestina, as once he did out of Egypt; that is but a rabbinical dream, not unlike that other - viz., that all Jews, in what country soever they are buried, do travel through certain underground passages till they come to their own country of Jewry. But with an outstretched hand he shall recover the remnant of his people that shall he left; so the poet,

Reliquias Danaum atque immitis Achillei.

He shall recover.] Or, Get, buy, purchase that poor dissected nation, out of all places of their dispersion, uniting their minds and subduing their enemies.


Verse 12

Isaiah 11:12 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 corners of the earth.

Ver. 12. And he shall set up an ensign.] (a) See on Isaiah 11:10.

The dispersed of Judah.] (b) See John 7:35, James 1:1. The word dispersed in the Hebrew is feminine, to show that no sort or sex shall be excluded. [Colossians 3:11]


Verse 13

Isaiah 11:13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.

Ver. 13. The envy also of Ephraim shall depart.] The fierce wrath or deadly feud that was between the ten revolted tribes of Judah, the like whereunto was between England and Scotland, and in England between the houses of York and Lancaster; in which last mentioned dissension were slain eighty princes of royal blood, and twice as many natives of England as were lost in the two conquests of France. (a) This emulation and hatred of Ephraim against Judah was to be abolished by Christ. (b) [Ezekiel 37:17] The disciples, being of various tribes, were all of one heart and of one soul. [Acts 4:32] Neither was there any controversy at all among them, as one ancient Greek copy addeth to that forecited text. (c)


Verse 14

Isaiah 11:14 But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.

Ver. 14. But they shall flee upon the shoulders.] A metaphor from conquerors who pursue their enemies, and fall upon the bones of them, as we say. The meaning is, the Gentiles shall be converted to the Christian faith by the Jews - viz., by the apostles and other preachers of the gospel. See Genesis 49:8. Thus Philip was found at Azotus, or Ashdod; [Acts 8:40] Peter at Joppa [Acts 10:5] At Gaza and Askelon were many flourishing churches in the times of Athanasius and Chrysostom, saith Adrichomius. Brittannorum inaccessa Romanis loca, Christo patuerunt. (a) Inaccessible places of the Britains to the Romans were made open by Christ.


Verse 15

Isaiah 11:15 And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make [men] go over dryshod.

Ver. 15. And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian Sea.] That is, by drying up, or driving away the waters, he shall open a way through the Red Sea, which representeth the form and fashion of a tongue. He alludeth to Exodus 14:22; for Christ being our Conduct, we do enter by baptism, as by the Red Sea, into the Church, and after this life present into the kingdom of heaven.

He shall shake his hand over the river.] The river Nile. The sense is, he shall remove all obstacles and impediments. This was fulfilled. [Acts 2:41]

With his mighty wind.] The Chaldee paraphraseth in eloquio prophetarum suorum, by the word of his prophets; quod apostolis non parum congruit, saith Oecolampadius, which very well agreeth to the apostles converting the elect, whom neither height nor depth could keep from "the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." [Romans 8:39] The Jews expect, but in vain, that all these things should be fulfilled unto them in the letter by their Messiah, as once they were by Moses at the Red Sea.

And make men go over dryshod.] Without boat or boot.


Verse 16

Isaiah 11:16 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.

Ver. 16. And there shall be an highway.] Agger, via strata, a causeway. [Isaiah 7:3]

In the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.] This signal deliverance was a clear type of our redemption by Christ. And this prophecy was fulfilled when thousands of the Egyptians were converted by Mark the evangelist and other preachers, as also when other nations forsook spiritual Egypt [Revelation 11:8] and embraced the truth.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 11:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-11.html. 1865-1868.

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Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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