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Go to Bible: Isaiah 11
|Isa 11:1||- (top)|
“a spirit of knowledge.” Here in Isaiah 11:2 the Hebrew text does not close out this list of attributes with “and” a spirit of knowledge,” but leaves off the “and,” thus making this sentence the figure of speech “asyndeton” (see Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible). In normal grammar, when a list occurs, an “and” is placed in front of the last item in the list. Normal grammar is modified to good effect in the figures of speech “polysyndeton” and “asyndeton.” The figure polysyndeton places an “and” between each item in the list and by that literary device emphasizes each thing in the list. Thus, when Jesus says we must love God “with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength,” he is specifically emphasizing each point in the list.
In contrast to polysyndeton and normal grammar, the figure asyndeton does not have an “and” in the list, not even the standard “and” between the last two items of the list. This means that there is no emphasis on each specific thing in the list, but rather the reader is to go through the list and notice what is there, but move on to the conclusion, which is where the asyndeton is leading. Furthermore, the asyndeton lets us know that the list is not meant to be complete—there are other things that could have been on it. We see that with the asyndeton list of the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23—there are fruit that are not on the list (patience and humility are two examples). Here in Isaiah, God could not possibly give us all the things that the spirit of God would do for His Messiah, but He gives us good examples of what the spirit did do for the Messiah.(top)
|Isa 11:3||- (top)|
“righteousness.” In this context, “righteousness” is doing what is right to God and others. The Messiah will not play favorites; he will be just and equitable toward everyone. He will not favor the rich or powerful, but he will do what is right (for “righteousness” referring to “justice” in some contexts, see commentary on Matt. 5:6).
“he will judge the poor.” It is chapters such as Isaiah 11 that caused the Jews to believe that when the Messiah came he would conquer the earth and set up his kingdom. There is no hint of a 2000-year break between Isaiah 11:3 and Isaiah 11:4 (although one could argue the break is between verses 2 and 3), and certainly no hint that the Messiah would die for the sins of mankind. Instead, he would come and kill the wicked. The reader must get his understanding of the death of Christ from places such as Isaiah 53, although that was unclear to Jews before Christ. There are many Scriptures in the Old Testament that speak of the coming of Christ and God’s vengeance on the wicked as if they were going to happen at the same time (cp. Isa. 9:6-7; 11:1-9; 61:1-3; Micah 5:2; Zech. 9:9-10; Mal. 3:1-3; 4:1-3). Those many Scriptures, along with the fact that there are no clear Scriptures that portray the two comings of Christ, are the reason that at the time of Christ people did not think that Christ would die (cp. Matt. 16:21-22; Luke 18:31-34; 24:19-21, 44-46; John 12:34; 20:9). [For more on Scriptures that directly connect the coming of Christ with him conquering the earth, see commentary on Isa. 61:2].
“spirit from his lips.” The Messiah’s prophetic word will kill the wicked. The word “spirit,” ruach (#7307), can refer (by metonymy) to the message that is spoken by the spirit. The Book of Revelation shows Jesus with a sword coming from his mouth (Rev 1:16; 2:16; 19:15, 21), and 2 Thessalonians 2:8 says the Lord Jesus will kill the Lawless One (the Antichrist) by the spirit from his mouth.
While the Hebrew word ruach, “spirit,” can also mean “breath” (cp. ESV, KJV, NASB, NIV), we do not feel that is the best translation in this context due to the use in both the Old and New Testaments of “spirit” referring to a message or prophecy spoken by the power of the spirit. Also, it is not like Jesus breathes out and the wicked die. It is his prophecies, his powerful word, that kills them, just like Joshua’s prophecy stopped the sun (Josh. 10:12), or Jesus’ prophecy caused the death of a fig tree (Matt. 21:20). The HCSB gets the sense correct, although their translation is not literal: “He will kill the wicked with a command from his lips.” Jesus’ prophetic command is powerful and effective. It will do its work. [For more on “spirit” being used for a message spoken by the spirit, see commentaries on 1 Cor. 14:12 and Rev. 19:15].
“he will kill the wicked.” When the Messiah comes from heaven, fights the Battle of Armageddon, and conquers the earth, he will kill the wicked. There are a number of verses that express that fact in various ways (cp. Rev 19:19-21; Isa. 11:4; 63:1-6; Ps. 45:3-5; Matt. 25:41-46). The fact that there will be no wicked people on earth when the Messiah rules it as king is one of the reasons that the next life will be wonderful and called “Paradise.”
There are many Christians who believe that Jesus is always this “nice guy” who would never hurt anybody for any reason. That is not the testimony of Scripture. In his first coming, Christ lived a very sacrificial life so he could die for the sins of humankind, but in his second coming he will be the king and will take very seriously his responsibility to carry out God’s laws and keep the good people of society safe from criminals and predatory people. Even our current fallen world would be a much nicer place if there were no criminals, and the next life will be Paradise in part because there will not be any evil people there.
[For more on the kingdom of Christ on earth, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth. For more on why the future kingdom is called “Paradise,” see commentary on Luke 23:43].
|Isa 11:5||- (top)|
“The wolf will live with the lamb.” Isaiah 11:6-9 is shortened and restated in Isaiah 65:25.(top)
|Isa 11:7||- (top)|
|Isa 11:8||- (top)|
|Isa 11:9||- (top)|
|Isa 11:10||- (top)|
“Pathros.” This is most likely a designation for “Upper Egypt” which is southern Egypt. “Lower Egypt” was the Egypt that was close to the Mediterranean Sea. Thus, the NIV has “Upper Egypt” and the NLT has “southern Egypt,” to make the text clearer to English readers. If “Pathros” is southern Egypt, then “Egypt” in this list refers to northern Egypt, which was in fact the Egypt that people in and around Israel were more familiar with since not many people from the nations around Israel traveled deeply into southern Egypt.(top)
“assemble the outcasts of Israel.” When Jesus Christ comes from heaven and conquers the earth at the Battle of Armageddon, he will set up his kingdom on earth and reign 1000 years. He will raise the righteous dead of the Old Testament, Gospels, and Book of Revelation in the “Resurrection of the Righteous,” the first resurrection, and gather the people of Israel and Judah back to the land of Israel. Many verses describe this regathering of Israel and Judah to the land of Israel (see commentary on Jer. 32:37). [For more on the Resurrection of the Righteous and the Resurrection of the Unrighteousness, see commentary on Acts 24:15. For more on Christ’s future Millennial Kingdom, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth”].(top)
|Isa 11:13||- (top)|
|Isa 11:14||- (top)|
|Isa 11:15||- (top)|
|Isa 11:16||- (top)|