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Isaiah 11:1, 10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. 10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal pole for the peoples, to him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
Edward D. Andrews writes,
Paul tells us in Romans 15:12, “And again Isaiah says, ‘There shall come the root of Jesse, And he who arises to rule over the Gentiles, In him shall the Gentiles hope.” Jesus was “a shoot from the stump of Jesse” by way of fleshly descent. He was the offspring of Jesse through Jesse’s son David. (Matthew 1:1-6; Luke 3:23-32) However, by all authority, having been given to Jesus in heaven and on earth as king impacts Jesus’ connection with his forefathers. (Matt. 28:18) God raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (Eph 1:20-21) God has highly exalted Jesus and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that in the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth. (Phil. 2:9-10) Jesus was given the power and authority to give mankind eternal life, which would then make Jesus their “Eternal Father.” (Isaiah 9:6) This, then, would also make him “the root” of his ancestors, as well as Jesse.
Albert Barnes writes,
And there shall come forth a shoot. In the previous chapter, the prophet had represented the Assyrian monarch and his army under the image of a dense and flourishing forest with all its glory and grandeur. In opposition to this, he describes the illustrious personage who is the subject of this chapter under the image of a slender twig or shoot sprouting up from the root of a decayed and fallen tree. There is a most striking and beautiful contrast between the Assyrians, therefore, and the person who is the subject of this chapter. The one was at first magnificent—like a vast spreading forest—yet should soon fall and decay; the other was the little sprout of a decayed tree, which should yet rise, expand, and flourish.
A rod (חֹטֶרּ hhōtĕr). This word occurs in but one other place; Prov. 14:3: ‘In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride.’ Here it means, evidently, a branch, a twig, a shoot, such as starts up from the roots of a decayed tree and is synonymous with the word rendered branch (צֶמַח tzēmăhh) in Isaiah 4:2.
From the stump. (מִגֶּזַע). This word occurs but three times in the Old Testament; see Job 14:8; where it is rendered stock:
Though the root thereof wax old in the earth,
And the stock thereof die in the ground;
and in Isaiah 40:24: Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. It is beautifully applied to an ancient family that is fallen into decay, yet where there may be a descendant that shall rise and flourish; as a tree may fall and decay, but still there may be vitality in the root, and it shall send up a tender germ or sprout.
Of Jesse. The father of David. It means that he who is here spoken of should be of the family of Jesse or David. Though Jesse had died, and though the ancient family of David would fall into decay, yet an illustrious descendant would arise from that family. The beauty of this description is apparent if we bear in recollection that when the Messiah was born, the ancient and much-honored family of David had fallen into decay; that the mother of Jesus, though appertaining to that family, was poor, obscure, and unknown; and that, to all appearance, the glory of the family had departed. Yet from that, as from a long-decayed root in the ground, he should spring who would restore the family to more than its ancient glory and shed additional luster on the honored name of Jesse.
And a branch (נֵצֶר nētzĕr). A twig, branch, or shoot; a slip, scion, or young sucker of a tree selected for transplanting must be watched with peculiar care. The word occurs but four times; Isa. 60:21: ‘They shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting;’ Isa. 14:19: ‘But thou art cast out of thy grave as an abominable branch;’ Dan. 11:7. The word rendered branch in Jer. 23:5; 33:15, is a different word in the original (צֶמַח tzēmăhh), though meaning substantially the same thing. The word branch is also used by our translators in rendering several other Hebrew words; see Taylor’s Concordance. Here the word is synonymous with that which is rendered rod in the previous part of the verse—a shoot, or twig, from the root of a decayed tree.
From the roots. As a shoot starts up from the roots of a decayed tree. The LXX. renders this, ‘And a flower (ἄνθος) shall arise from the root.’ The Chaldee, ‘And a king shall proceed from the sons of Jesse, and the Messiah from his sons’ sons shall arise,’ showing conclusively that the ancient Jews referred this to the Messiah.
That this verse, and the subsequent parts of the chapter, refer to the Messiah, may be argued from the following considerations:—(1.) The fact that it is expressly applied to him in the New Testament. Thus Paul, in Rom. 15:12, quotes the tenth verse of this chapter as expressly applicable to the times of the Messiah. (2.) The Chaldee Paraphrase shows that this was the sense that the ancient Jews put upon the passage. That paraphrase is of authority, only to show that this was the sense that appeared to be true by the ancient interpreters. (3.) The description in the chapter does not apply to any other personage than the Messiah. Grotius supposes that the passage refers to Hezekiah, though, ‘in a more sublime sense,’ to the Messiah. Others have referred it to Zerubbabel. But none of the things here related apply to either, except the fact that they had a descent from the family of Jesse, for neither of those families had fallen into the decay which the prophet here describes. (4.) The peace, prosperity, harmony and order, referred to in the subsequent portions of the chapter are not descriptive of any portion of the reign of Hezekiah. (5.) The terms and descriptions here accord with other portions of the Scriptures as applicable to the Messiah. Thus Jeremiah (23:5; 33:15) describes the Messiah under the similitude of a branch, a germ, or shoot—using, indeed, a different Hebrew word, but retaining the same idea and image; comp. Zech. 3:8. It accords also with the description by Isaiah of the same personage in Isaiah 4:2. (6.) I may add that nearly all commentators have referred this to the Messiah, and, perhaps, it would not be possible to find greater unanimity regarding the interpretation of any passage of Scripture than on this.
And in that day. That future time when the reign of the Messiah shall be established. The prophet, having described the birth, and the personal characteristics of the great personage to whom he referred, together with the peaceful effects of his reign, proceeds to state the result of that reign in some other respects. The first is (ver. 10) that the Gentiles would be brought under his reign; the second (ver. 14), that it would be attended with the restoration of the scattered people of Judea; and the third (ver. 15, 16), that it would be followed by the destruction of the enemies of the people of God.
There shall be a root of Jesse. There shall be a sprout, shoot, or scion of the ancient and decayed family of Jesse; see Isaiah 10:1. Chaldee, ‘There shall be a son of the sons of Jesse.’ The word root here—שֹׁרֶשׁ—is evidently used in the sense of a root that is alive when the tree is dead; a root that sends up a shoot or sprout; and is thus applied to him who should proceed from the ancient and decayed family of Jesse; see Isaiah 53:2. Thus in Rev. 5:5, the Messiah is called ‘the root of David,’ and in Rev. 22:16, ‘the root and the offspring of David.’
Who shall stand. There is a reference here, doubtless, to the fact that military ensigns were sometimes raised on permanent mountains or towers, which, therefore, could be rallying points to an army or people. The idea is that the root of Jesse, that is, the Messiah, should be conspicuous and that the nations should flee to him and rally around him as a people do around a military standard. Thus the Savior says (John 12:32): ‘And I if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me.’
As a signal pole. For a standard, or a sign around which they shall rally. Signal pole: The Hebrew word (נֵס nes) seems to indicate a fixed pole placed on a high location. It is used both literally and figuratively. Therefore, it does not refer to a signal for transmitting communications, such as “a cloud of smoke” or “a column of smoke” (Jg 20:38, 40) or “a warning signal” of fire (Jer 6:1), as other Hebrew words are used in those cases. Instead, this pole seems to have served as a place where troops would come together again to continue fighting after a defeat or dispersion. – Isa 5:26; 13:2; 18:3; 30:17; 31:9; Jer 4:6, 21; 50:2; 51:12, 27.
For the peoples. That is, as the parallelism shows, of the Gentiles.
To him shall the nations inquire. The unbelieving world shall look to it for safety and deliverance. In the Scriptures, the world is spoken of as divided into Jews and Gentiles. All who are not Jews come under this appellation. This is a distinct prophecy that other nations than the Jews should be benefited from the work of the Messiah and constitute a part of his kingdom. This fact is often referred to by Isaiah, and constitutes a very material feature in his prophecies; Isaiah 42:1, 6; 49:22; 54:3; 60:3, 5, 11, 16; 61:6, 9; 62:2; 66:12, 19. The word seek here is used in the sense of seeking as a Deliverer or a Savior: they shall apply to him for instruction, guidance, and salvation; or they shall apply to him as a nation looks to its deliverer to protect it; comp. Isaiah 8:19; 2 Kings 1:3; Isa. 65:1.
And his resting place. The rest, peace, and quietness, which he shall give. This evidently includes all the rest or peace he shall impart to those seeking him. The word מְנוּחָה mĕnūhhâ sometimes denotes a resting-place, or a habitation (Num. 10:33; Micah 2:10; Ps. 132:8); but it also denotes a state of rest, quietness; Ruth 1:9; Jer. 45:3; Ps. 23:2; 95:11; Deut. 12:9; Isa. 28:12; 66:1. Here, it evidently means the latter. It may refer, (1.) To the peace which he gives to the conscience of the awakened and troubled sinner (Matt. 11:28–30); or (2.) to the prosperity and peace which his reign shall produce.
Shall be glorious. Heb. ‘Shall be glory.’ That is, shall be full of glory and honor. It shall be such as shall confer signal honor on his reign. The Chaldee understands this of his place of residence, his palace, or court. ‘And the place of his abode shall be in glory.’ The Vulgate renders it, ‘and his sepulcher shall be glorious.’
[‘By his rest, we are not to understand his grave—or his death—or his Sabbath—or the rest he gives his people—but his place of rest, his residence. There is no need to supply a preposition before glory, which is an abstract used for concrete—glory, for glorious. The church, Christ’s home, shall be glorious from his presence, and the accession of the Gentiles.’—(Alexander.) This is a beautiful rendering; moreover, it is consistent with the passage’s letter and spirit. Some include both ideas.]
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 Signal pole: The Hebrew word (נֵס nes) seems to indicate a fixed pole placed on a high location. It is used both literally and figuratively. Therefore, it does not refer to a signal for transmitting communications, such as “a cloud of smoke” or “a column of smoke” (Jg 20:38, 40) or “a warning signal” of fire (Jer 6:1), as other Hebrew words are used in those cases. Instead, this pole seems to have served as a place where troops would come together again to continue fighting after a defeat or dispersion. – Isa 5:26; 13:2; 18:3; 30:17; 31:9; Jer 4:6, 21; 50:2; 51:12, 27.
 LXX “And in that day there will be the root of Jesse and the one who rises up to rule nations; nations will put their hope in him, and his repose will be honor.” This is the reading we find in Rom 15:12.
 Albert Barnes, Notes on the Old Testament: Isaiah, vol. 1 (London: Blackie & Son, 1851), 221-222, 231–232.
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