New English Translation
An Ideal King Establishes a Kingdom of Peace
11 A shoot will grow out of Jesse’s[a] root stock,
a bud will sprout[b] from his roots.
2 The Lord’s Spirit will rest on him[c]—
a Spirit that gives extraordinary wisdom,[d]
a Spirit that provides the ability to execute plans,[e]
a Spirit that produces absolute loyalty to the Lord.[f]
3 He will take delight in obeying the Lord.[g]
He will not judge by mere appearances,[h]
or make decisions on the basis of hearsay.[i]
4 He will treat the poor fairly,[j]
and make right decisions[k] for the downtrodden of the earth.[l]
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,[m]
and order the wicked to be executed.[n]
5 Justice will be like a belt around his waist,
integrity will be like a belt around his hips.[o]
6 A wolf will reside[p] with a lamb,
and a leopard will lie down with a young goat;
an ox and a young lion will graze together,[q]
as a small child leads them along.
7 A cow and a bear will graze together,
their young will lie down together.[r]
A lion, like an ox, will eat straw.
8 A baby[s] will play
over the hole of a snake;[t]
over the nest[u] of a serpent
an infant[v] will put his hand.[w]
9 They will no longer injure or destroy
on my entire royal mountain.[x]
For there will be universal submission to the Lord’s sovereignty,
just as the waters completely cover the sea.[y]
Israel is Reclaimed and Reunited
10 At that time[z] a root from Jesse[aa] will stand like a signal flag for the nations. Nations will look to him for guidance,[ab] and his residence will be majestic. 11 At that time[ac] the Lord[ad] will again lift his hand[ae] to reclaim[af] the remnant of his people[ag] from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros,[ah] Cush,[ai] Elam, Shinar,[aj] Hamath, and the seacoasts.[ak]
12 He will lift a signal flag for the nations;
he will gather Israel’s dispersed people[al]
and assemble Judah’s scattered people
from the four corners of the earth.
13 Ephraim’s jealousy will end,[am]
and Judah’s hostility[an] will be eliminated.
Ephraim will no longer be jealous of Judah,
and Judah will no longer be hostile toward Ephraim.
14 They will swoop down[ao] on the Philistine hills to the west;[ap]
together they will loot the people of the east.
They will take over Edom and Moab,[aq]
and the Ammonites will be their subjects.
15 The Lord will divide[ar] the gulf[as] of the Egyptian Sea;[at]
he will wave his hand over the Euphrates River[au] and send a strong wind;[av]
he will turn it into seven dried-up streams,[aw]
and enable them to walk across in their sandals.
16 There will be a highway leading out of Assyria
for the remnant of his people,[ax]
just as there was for Israel,
when[ay] they went up from the land of Egypt.
12 At that time[az] you will say:
“I praise you, O Lord,
for even though you were angry with me,
your anger subsided, and you consoled me.
2 Look, God is my deliverer![ba]
I will trust in him[bb] and not fear.
For the Lord gives me strength and protects me;[bc]
he has become my deliverer.”[bd]
3 Joyfully you will draw water
from the springs of deliverance.[be]
4 At that time[bf] you will say:
“Praise the Lord!
Ask him for help![bg]
Publicize his mighty acts among the nations.
Make it known that he is unique.[bh]
5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done magnificent things;
let this be known[bi] throughout the earth.
6 Cry out and shout for joy, O citizens of Zion,
for the Holy One of Israel[bj] acts mightily[bk] among you!”
- Isaiah 11:1 sn The text mentions David’s father Jesse, instead of the great king himself. Perhaps this is done for rhetorical reasons to suggest that a new David, not just another disappointing Davidic descendant, will arise. Other prophets call the coming ideal Davidic king “David” or picture him as the second coming of David, as it were. See Jer 30:9; Ezek 34:23-24; 37:24-25; Hos 3:5; Mic 5:2 (as well as the note there).
- Isaiah 11:1 tc The Hebrew text has יִפְרֶה (yifreh, “will bear fruit,” from פָּרָה, parah), but the ancient versions, as well as the parallelism suggest that יִפְרַח (yifrakh, “will sprout”, from פָּרַח, parakh) is the better reading here. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:276, n. 2.
- Isaiah 11:2 sn Like David (1 Sam 16:13), this king will be energized by the Lord’s Spirit.
- Isaiah 11:2 tn Heb “a spirit of wisdom and understanding.” The synonyms are joined here to emphasize the degree of wisdom he will possess. His wisdom will enable him to make just legal decisions (v. 3). A very similar phrase occurs in Eph 1:17.
- Isaiah 11:2 tn Heb “a spirit of counsel [or “strategy”] and strength.” The construction is a hendiadys; the point is that he will have the strength/ability to execute the plans/strategies he devises. This ability will enable him to suppress oppressors and implement just policies (v. 4).
- Isaiah 11:2 tn Heb “a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.” “Knowledge” is used here in its covenantal sense and refers to a recognition of God’s authority and a willingness to submit to it. See Jer 22:16. “Fear” here refers to a healthy respect for God’s authority which produces obedience. Taken together the two terms emphasize the single quality of loyalty to the Lord. This loyalty guarantees that he will make just legal decisions and implement just policies (vv. 4-5).
- Isaiah 11:3 tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “and his smelling is in the fear of the Lord.” In Amos 5:21 the Hiphil of רוּחַ (ruakh, “smell”) carries the nuance of “smell with delight, get pleasure from.” There the Lord declares that he does not “smell with delight” (i.e., get pleasure from) Israel’s religious assemblies, which probably stand by metonymy for the incense offered during these festivals. In Isa 11:3 there is no sacrificial context to suggest such a use, but it is possible that “the fear of the Lord” is likened to incense. This coming king will get the same kind of delight from obeying (fearing) the Lord, as a deity does in the incense offered by worshipers. Some regard such an explanation as strained in this context, and prefer to omit this line from the text as a virtual dittograph of the preceding statement.
- Isaiah 11:3 tn Heb “by what appears to his eyes”; KJV “after the sight of his eyes”; NIV “by what he sees with his eyes.”
- Isaiah 11:3 tn Heb “by what is heard by his ears”; NRSV “by what his ears hear.”
- Isaiah 11:4 tn Heb “with justice” (so NAB) or “with righteousness” (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV).
- Isaiah 11:4 tn Heb “make decisions with rectitude”; cf. ASV, NRSV “and decide with equity.”
- Isaiah 11:4 tn Or “land” (NAB, NCV, CEV). It is uncertain if the passage is picturing universal dominion or focusing on the king’s rule over his covenant people. The reference to God’s “holy mountain” in v. 9 and the description of renewed Israelite conquests in v. 14 suggest the latter, though v. 10 seems to refer to a universal kingdom (see 2:2-4).
- Isaiah 11:4 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “and he will strike the earth with the scepter of his mouth.” Some have suggested that in this context אֶרֶץ (ʾerets, “earth”) as an object of judgment seems too broad in scope. The parallelism is tighter if one emends the word to ץ(י)עָרִ (ʿarits, “potentate, tyrant”). The phrase “scepter of his mouth” refers to the royal (note “scepter”) decrees that he proclaims with his mouth. Because these decrees will have authority and power (see v. 2) behind them, they can be described as “striking” the tyrants down. Nevertheless, the MT reading may not need emending. Isaiah refers to the entire “earth” as the object of God’s judgment in several places without specifying the wicked as the object of the judgment (Isa 24:17-21; 26:9, 21; 28:22; cf. 13:11).
- Isaiah 11:4 tn Heb “and by the breath of his lips he will kill the wicked.” The “breath of his lips” refers to his speech, specifically in this context his official decrees that the wicked oppressors be eliminated from his realm. See the preceding note.
- Isaiah 11:5 tn Heb “Justice will be the belt [or “undergarment”] on his waist, integrity the belt [or “undergarment”] on his hips.” The point of the metaphor is uncertain. If a belt worn outside the robe is in view, then the point might be that justice/integrity will be readily visible or that these qualities will give support to his rule. If an undergarment is in view, then the idea might be that these characteristics support his rule or that they are basic to everything else.
- Isaiah 11:6 tn The verb גּוּר (gur) normally refers to living as a dependent, resident foreigner in another society.
- Isaiah 11:6 tc The Hebrew text reads, “and an ox, and a young lion, and a fatling together.” Since the preceding lines refer to two animals and include a verb, many emend וּמְרִיא (umeriʾ, “and the fatling”) to an otherwise unattested verb יִמְרְאוּ (yimreʾu, “they will graze”); cf. NAB, TEV, CEV. One of the Qumran copies of Isaiah confirms this suggestion (1QIsaa). The present translation assumes this change.
- Isaiah 11:7 tn Heb “and a cow and a bear will graze—together—they will lie down, their young.” This is a case of pivot pattern; יַחְדָּו (yakhdav, “together”) goes with both the preceding and following statements.
- Isaiah 11:8 tn Heb “one sucking,” i.e., still being nursed by his mother.
- Isaiah 11:8 tn Or perhaps, “cobra” (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV, NCV); KJV, ASV, NRSV “asp.”
- Isaiah 11:8 tc The Hebrew text has the otherwise unattested מְאוּרַת (meʾurat, “place of light”), i.e., opening of a hole. Some prefer to emend to מְעָרַת (meʿarat, “cave, den”).
- Isaiah 11:8 tn Heb “one who is weaned” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV).
- Isaiah 11:8 sn The transformation of the animal kingdom depicted here typifies what will occur in human society under the just rule of the ideal king (see vv. 3-5). The categories “predator-prey” (i.e., oppressor-oppressed) will no longer exist.
- Isaiah 11:9 tn Heb “in all my holy mountain.” In the most basic sense the Lord’s “holy mountain” is the mountain from which he rules over his kingdom (see Ezek 28:14, 16). More specifically it probably refers to Mount Zion/Jerusalem or to the entire land of Israel (see Pss 2:6; 15:1; 43:3; Isa 56:7; 57:13; Ezek 20:40; Ob 16; Zeph 3:11). If the Lord’s universal kingdom is in view in this context (see the note on “earth” at v. 4), then the phrase would probably be metonymic here, standing for God’s worldwide dominion (see the next line).
- Isaiah 11:9 tn Heb “for the earth will be full of knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” The translation assumes that a universal kingdom is depicted here, but אֶרֶץ (ʾerets) could be translated “land” (see the note at v. 4). “Knowledge of the Lord” refers here to a recognition of the Lord’s sovereignty which results in a willingness to submit to his authority. See the note at v. 2.
- Isaiah 11:10 tn Or “in that day” (KJV). The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2.
- Isaiah 11:10 sn See the note at v. 1.
- Isaiah 11:10 tn Heb “a root from Jesse, which stands for a signal flag of the nations, of him nations will inquire” [or “seek”].
- Isaiah 11:11 tn Or “in that day” (KJV). The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2.
- Isaiah 11:11 tn The Hebrew term translated “Lord” here is אֲדֹנָי (ʾadonay).
- Isaiah 11:11 tc The Hebrew text reads, “the Lord will again, a second time, his hand.” The auxiliary verb יוֹסִיף (yosif), which literally means “add,” needs a main verb to complete it. Consequently many emend שֵׁנִית (shenit, “a second time”) to an infinitive. Some propose the form שַׁנֹּת (shannot, a Piel infinitive construct from שָׁנָה, shanah) and relate it semantically to an Arabic cognate meaning “to be high.” If the Hebrew text is retained a verb must be supplied. “Second time” would allude back to the events of the Exodus (see vv. 15-16).
- Isaiah 11:11 tn Or “acquire”; KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV “recover.”
- Isaiah 11:11 tn Heb “the remnant of his people who remain.”
- Isaiah 11:11 sn Perhaps a reference to Upper (i.e., southern) Egypt (so NIV, NLT; NCV “South Egypt”).
- Isaiah 11:11 tn Or “Ethiopia” (NAB, NRSV, NLT).
- Isaiah 11:11 tn Or “Babylonia” (NIV, NCV, TEV, NLT).
- Isaiah 11:11 tn Or perhaps, “the islands of the sea.”
- Isaiah 11:12 tn Or “the banished of Israel,” i.e., the exiles.
- Isaiah 11:13 tn Heb “turn aside”; KJV, NASB, NRSV “depart.”
- Isaiah 11:13 tn Heb “hostile ones of Judah.” Elsewhere when the substantival participle of צָרָר (tsarar) takes a pronominal suffix or appears in a construct relationship, the following genitive is objective. (For a list of texts see BDB 865 s.v. III צָרַר) In this case the phrase “hostile ones of Judah” means “those who are hostile toward Judah,” i.e., Judah’s enemies. However, the parallel couplet that follows suggests that Judah’s hostility toward Ephraim is in view. In this case “hostile ones of Judah” means “hostile ones from Judah.” The translation above assumes the latter, giving the immediate context priority over general usage.
- Isaiah 11:14 tn Heb “fly.” Ephraim/Judah are compared to a bird of prey.
- Isaiah 11:14 tn Heb “on the shoulder of Philistia toward the sea.” This refers to the slopes of the hill country west of Judah. See HALOT 506 s.v. כָּתֵף.
- Isaiah 11:14 tn Heb “Edom and Moab [will be the place of] the outstretching of their hand,” i.e., included in their area of jurisdiction (see HALOT 648 s.v. ח(וֹ)מִשְׁלֹ).
- Isaiah 11:15 tn The verb is usually understood as “put under the ban, destroy,” or emended to חָרָב (kharav, “dry up”). However, HALOT 354 s.v. II חרם proposes a homonymic root meaning “divide.”
- Isaiah 11:15 tn Heb “tongue” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV).
- Isaiah 11:15 sn That is, the Red Sea.
- Isaiah 11:15 tn Heb “the river”; capitalized in some English versions (e.g., ASV, NASB, NRSV) as a reference to the Euphrates River.
- Isaiah 11:15 tn Heb “with the [?] of his wind” [or “breath”]. The Hebrew term עַיָם (ʿayam) occurs only here. Some attempt to relate the word to an Arabic root and translate, “scorching [or “hot”] wind.” This interpretation fits especially well if one reads “dry up” in the previous line. Others prefer to emend the form to עֹצֶם (ʿotsem, “strong”). See HALOT 817 s.v. עֲצַם.
- Isaiah 11:15 tn Heb “seven streams.” The Hebrew term נַחַל (nakhal, “stream”) refers to a wadi, or seasonal stream, which runs during the rainy season, but is otherwise dry. The context (see v. 15b) here favors the translation, “dried-up streams.” The number seven suggests totality and completeness. Here it indicates that God’s provision for escape will be thorough and more than capable of accommodating the returning exiles.
- Isaiah 11:16 tn Heb “and there will be a highway for the remnant of his people who remain, from Assyria.”
- Isaiah 11:16 tn Heb “in the day” (so KJV).
- Isaiah 12:1 tn Or “in that day” (KJV).
- Isaiah 12:2 tn Or “salvation” (KJV, NIV, NRSV).
- Isaiah 12:2 tn The words “in him” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
- Isaiah 12:2 tc The Hebrew text has, “for my strength and protection [is] the Lord, the Lord (Heb “Yah, Yahweh).” The word יְהוָה (yehvah) is probably dittographic or explanatory here (note that the short form of the name [יָהּ, yah] precedes, and that the graphically similar וַיְהִי [vayehi] follows). Exod 15:2, the passage from which the words of v. 2b are taken, has only יָהּ. The word זִמְרָת (zimrat) is traditionally understood as meaning “song,” in which case one might translate, “for the Lord gives me strength and joy” (i.e., a reason to sing); note that in v. 5 the verb זָמַר (zamar, “sing”) appears. Many recent commentators, however, have argued that the noun is here instead a homonym, meaning “protection” or “strength.” See HALOT 274 s.v. III *זמר.
- Isaiah 12:2 tn Or “salvation” (so many English versions, e.g., KJV, NIV, NRSV, NLT); NAB “my savior.”
- Isaiah 12:3 tn Or “salvation” (so many English versions, e.g., KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); CEV “victory.” sn Water is here a metaphor for renewed life; the springs symbolize the restoration of God’s favor.
- Isaiah 12:4 tn Or “in that day” (KJV).
- Isaiah 12:4 tn Heb “call in his name,” i.e., “invoke his name.”
- Isaiah 12:4 tn Heb “bring to remembrance that his name is exalted.” The Lord’s “name” stands here for his character and reputation.
- Isaiah 12:5 tc The translation follows the marginal reading (Qere), which is a Hophal participle from יָדַע (yadaʿ), understood here in a gerundive sense.
- Isaiah 12:6 sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4.
- Isaiah 12:6 tn Or “is great” (TEV). However, the context emphasizes his mighty acts of deliverance (cf. NCV), not some general or vague character quality.