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Isaiah 11: A Prophecy of Peace

From the remains of the Davidic dynasty, the Messiah would emerge. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary says of Isaiah 11:1, “The reduction of the Davidic dynasty to a mere stump is a true metaphor for its condition when Christ was born; for, though still in existence, it had been without royal power for nearly six hundred years. The reference to Jesse—who was, of course, never king—rather than to David, who was, may point to the total absence of royal dignity in the house of David when the Messiah would come; but there was still life in the house, for God’s purpose had not been set aside.”

Isaiah 11 verse 2

Isaiah 11 presents us with a Messiah who judges with righteousness (Isaiah 11:3–4) and eventually restores creation to its Edenic state:

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6–9)

Watch Isaiah 11:1–9 come to life in this Bible animation:

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary explains the breadth and source of this peace:

As a result of the taming of nature, normally “red in tooth and claw,” Mount Zion, the holy mountain of God (Isaiah 11:9), will know a far-reaching peace and security that reminds us of other such promises in Isaiah 4:5–6. The breadth of the Messiah’s reign means, however, that the peace and security of Jerusalem will be a microcosm of a much wider blessing. Whatever the meaning of ʾereṣ (“earth”) in verse 4, it almost certainly refers to the whole world in verse 9 (cf. Romans 8:19–22) because of the references to the sea here and to the nations in verse 10.

The conjunction “for” (kî, verse 9) is theologically important because it states the cause of this peace. The restoration of human beings to God implied in “the knowledge of God” reverses the alienation introduced by the fall, so making possible the restoration of their environment to its unfallen condition.

Isaiah 11 predicts a time when the world will be totally immersed in the knowledge of God. As the waters cover the sea, so shall the knowledge of God cover the earth. This all encompassing, inescapable knowledge of God will bring a complete and lasting peace.

For a complete, scholarly commentary on the Book of Isaiah, check out the Expositor’s Bible Commentary

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Written by
Ryan Nelson

Ryan Nelson is a writer for OverviewBible, where he uses Logos to explore the characters, groups, places, and books of the Bible. He has served in a variety of volunteer ministry positions, primarily through Young Life.

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Written by Ryan Nelson