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The Peaceful Kingdom


A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,

and a branch shall grow out of his roots.


The spirit of the L ord shall rest on him,

the spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the spirit of counsel and might,

the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the L ord.


His delight shall be in the fear of the L ord.


He shall not judge by what his eyes see,

or decide by what his ears hear;


but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,

and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;

he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,

and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.


Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,

and faithfulness the belt around his loins.



The wolf shall live with the lamb,

the leopard shall lie down with the kid,

the calf and the lion and the fatling 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 asp,

and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.


They will not hurt or destroy

on all my holy mountain;

for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the L ord

as the waters cover the sea.


Return of the Remnant of Israel and Judah

10 On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

11 On that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that is left of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Ethiopia, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.


He will raise a signal for the nations,

and will assemble the outcasts of Israel,

and gather the dispersed of Judah

from the four corners of the earth.


The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart,

the hostility of Judah shall be cut off;

Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah,

and Judah shall not be hostile towards Ephraim.


But they shall swoop down on the backs of the Philistines in the west,

together they shall plunder the people of the east.

They shall put forth their hand against Edom and Moab,

and the Ammonites shall obey them.


And the L ord will utterly destroy

the tongue of the sea of Egypt;

and will wave his hand over the River

with his scorching wind;

and will split it into seven channels,

and make a way to cross on foot;


so there shall be a highway from Assyria

for the remnant that is left of his people,

as there was for Israel

when they came up from the land of Egypt.


10. And it shall be in that day the root of Jesse. He again returns to the person of Christ, and repeats the same comparison which he had introduced at the beginning of the chapter, that of a root or a branch springing from a decayed trunk, of which no trace appeared; and he foretells that the Gentiles, who formerly abhorred the Jews, will henceforth bow before their King with lowly homage. This might be thought to be altogether incredible, and unquestionably the promise was ridiculed for many centuries, because such a gathering together was to be expected rather when the kingdom remained and flourished than when it had been cut down. But it was necessary that it should be cut down, so that it might afterwards sprout again, and that the glory and power of God might shine in it more brighter than in its flourishing condition. Who would have seen with the eyes of men that the branch would rise to such a height as to be seen by all nations, and to direct the eyes of all men towards it?

Which shall stand for an ensign of the peoples. He compares it to a banner stretched aloft; and we know that this was fulfilled by the preaching of the gospel, and indeed was more illustrious than if Christ had soared above the clouds. To the same purpose is what he says,

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up. (John 3:14; Numbers 21:9.)

Shall be sought by the Gentiles. Christ is said to be sought, when men flee to him for the purpose of asking salvation, as to seek God means, in every part of Scripture, to cast all our hopes upon him. Accordingly, the Greek translators have rendered it ἐλπιοῦσι, they shall hope, looking rather at the meaning than at the word.

And his rest shall be glory. These words are commonly explained as referring to the burial of Christ, and that by a figure of speech in which a part is taken for the whole; for afterwards they apply it also to his death; and indeed the burial of Christ was nothing else than an appendage to his death. They think that the meaning is this, “The death of Christ, which was disgraceful in the eyes of the world, will be glorious and splendid.” But when I take a closer view of the whole, by rest the Prophet means in this passage the Church; as it is also said,

This is my everlasting rest; here will I dwell.
(Psalm 132:14.)

He bestows an honorable appellation on the assembly of the godly, because he chooses to have a continual habitation among them. Accordingly, the Church having been at that time exposed to reproaches and disgrace, he promises that it will be again raised to a more prosperous condition, and will recover its ancient glory. Here, therefore, we have a remarkable proof that God is pleased to dwell continually in his Church, though this may not always be seen by men.

11. And it shall be in that day, the Lord will again set his hand. The prediction about the future glory of the Church having been incredible, he explains the method of restoring it, namely, that God will display the power of his hand, as if for performing a memorable and uncommon exploit. Now, to confirm the hope of the elect people, he recalls to their minds the remembrance of a past deliverance, that they may not doubt that God is as able to deliver them now as their fathers found him to be in Egypt. (Exodus 12:51.) Such is the import of the word שנית, (shenith,) that is, the second time, or again; as if he had said, “Now also will God be the deliverer of his Church.”

To possess the remnant of his people. He confirms what he has said by another argument; for though it appeared as if God had disregarded his people, yet he will not allow himself to be deprived of his inheritance. We may sum it up by saying, that God will take care of the salvation of his Church, so as not to be robbed of his right. He expressly calls them a remnant, because this deliverance belonged only to a small seed. (Isaiah 1:9,10:22.) In short, he repeats what he formerly said, “Though God disperse and scatter his Church, yet it is impossible that he can ever cast it away altogether; for it is as dear to him as our inheritance is to any of us.”

Which shall be left from Assyria and from Egypt. He speaks not only of the Assyrians, who had led the people captive, but also of other nations among whom the Jews were scattered; for though the greater part of the people was carried to Babylon, some fled into Egypt, some into Ethiopia, and some into other countries. They were afraid lest they should endure the same bondage as had been endured by others. Some think that by Pathros is meant Parthia, which is highly probable; others think that it is Arabia the Rocky. Under the name Elam he includes the Medes, Zocdians, Bactrians, and other eastern nations. Shinar belongs to Chaldea. By Hamath they mean Cilicia, and the other countries which lie towards Mount Taurus. By the word islands the Jews mean all countries that lie beyond the sea; for to them Greece, and Italy, and Spain, were islands, because they were separated from them by the sea. 187187     “Not islands merely, but all distant regions are comprised in the meaning of this word איי, (iye.)” — Rosenmuller

We see that the Prophet speaks here not only of the deliverance which took place under Zerubbabel, (Ezra 2:2,) but that he looks beyond this; for at that time the Israelites were not brought back from Egypt, Ethiopia, and other countries. These words, therefore, cannot be understood to relate to the deliverance from Babylon, but must be viewed as referring to the kingdom of Christ, under whom this deliverance was obtained through the preaching of the gospel. Besides, it is proper to observe that this work belongs to God, and not to men; for he says, The Lord shall stretch out his arm; thus ascribing to his heavenly power this work, which could not have been accomplished by human ability.

It ought also to be observed, that from God’s past benefits we ought always to entertain good hopes for the future; so that whenever we call to remembrance the deliverances from Babylon and from Egypt, (Ezra 2:2; Exodus 12:51,) we may be convinced that God is equally able, and will equally assist us at the present day, that he may restore the Church to her ancient glory. What he did once and again, he is able to do a third time, and a fourth, and many times. When the Prophet calls those whom he rescues a remnant, let us learn that we ought not to desire a vast multitude, and let us be satisfied, though we be few, and let us not be terrified by the smallness of our numbers; for, provided that the righteousness of God abound, we have true and abundant ground of confidence.

12. And he will lift up an ensign to the nations. This verse contains nothing more than the explanation of the former verse. The language is metaphorical, and admits of two meanings; either that, by giving an ensign, he will terrify adversaries, so that they will not dare to prevent his people from returning, or that he will give an ensign to the wretched exiles not to hesitate to make preparations for their return. But even at the present day this doctrine is highly useful among us; for as an ensign is lifted up in the army, that the soldiers may assemble, and that every one may follow and may keep his proper place, so a banner is here held out to us, that we may assemble to it, namely, the gospel, which the Lord has lifted up among the Gentiles, by which Christ is preached to us. 188188     “Set up his standard on an eminence, the signal for the soldiery to assemble round their commander. Caesar terms it vexillum proponere, quod erat insigne, cum ad arma concurri oporteret. B. Gall. See Ammian, Hist., 27:10.” — Rosenmuller.

And will gather together the dispersions of Judah. Hence we ought to conclude, that we cannot be gathered by the Lord unless we assemble to this ensign, and be joined to him by faith; for there is no other way in which he acknowledges us to be his sheep, than when, after having been scattered, we are gathered together, and meet in the same assembly under this ensign; as he says,

My sheep hear my voice and follow me. (John 10:27.)

The word gather is repeated. He will gather together the outcasts of Israel, and will gather together the dispersions of Judah. He shows how efficacious God’s calling will be; for as soon as he shall give the slightest indication that such is his pleasure, he will restore the people. Dispersion is a collective noun, for it means the Jews scattered in all directions; and he appears to allude, as he often does elsewhere, to similar passages in the writings of Moses, in which the Lord promises that he will gather the people, though they were scattered to the farthest parts of the world, and to the four winds of heaven. (Deuteronomy 30:3, 4.) Now, this was done under the direction of Christ. Under the same leader we ought at the present day to expect the restoration of a wretched and scattered Church; for there is no hope of gathering the remnant but by the elect looking to this ensign. We ought frequently, therefore, to call to remembrance those promises, that by relying on them we may more and more strengthen our hearts.

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