A Commentary, Critical, Practical, and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments, by Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset and David Brown  at sacred-texts.com
isa 11:1(Isa. 11:1-16)
rod--When the proud "boughs" of "Lebanon" (Isa 10:33-34, the Assyrians) are lopped, and the vast "forests cut down" amidst all this rage, a seemingly humble rod shall come out of Jesse (Messiah), who shall retrieve the injuries done by the Assyrian "rod" to Israel (Isa 10:5-6, Isa 10:18-19).
stem--literally, "the stump" of a tree cut close by the roots: happily expressing the depressed state of the royal house of David, owing to the hostile storm (Isa 10:18-19), when Messiah should arise from it, to raise it to more than its pristine glory. Luk 2:7 proves this (Isa 53:2; compare Job 14:7-8; see on Isa 8:6).
Branch--Scion. He is nevertheless also the "root" (Isa 11:10; Rev 5:5; Rev 22:16. "Root and offspring" combines both, Zac 3:8; Zac 6:12).
isa 11:2Spirit of the Lord--JEHOVAH. The Spirit by which the prophets spake: for Messiah was to be a Prophet (Isa 61:1; Deu 18:15, Deu 18:18). Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are specified, to imply that the perfection of them was to be in Him. Compare "the seven Spirits" (Rev 1:4), that is, the Holy Ghost in His perfect fulness: seven being the sacred number. The prophets had only a portion out of the "fulness" in the Son of God (Joh 1:16; Joh 3:34; Col 1:19).
rest--permanently; not merely come upon Him (Num 11:25-26).
wisdom-- (Co1 1:30; Eph 1:17; Col 2:3).
understanding--coupled with "wisdom," being its fruit. Discernment and discrimination (Mat 22:18; Joh 2:25).
counsel . . . might--the faculty of forming counsels, and that of executing them (Isa 28:29). Counsellor (Isa 9:6).
knowledge--of the deep things of God (Mat 11:27). The knowledge of Him gives us true knowledge (Eph 1:17).
fear of the Lord--reverential, obedient fear. The first step towards true "knowledge" (Job 28:28; Psa 111:10).
isa 11:3make him of quick understanding--literally, "quick-scented in the fear of Jehovah"; endowed with a singular sagacity in discerning the genuine principle of religious fear of God, when it lies dormant in the yet unawakened sinner (Mat 12:20; Acts 10:1-48; Act 16:14) [HORSLEY]. But MAURER, "He shall delight in the fear of God." The Hebrew means "to delight in the odors" of anything (Exo 30:38; Amo 5:21); "smell," that is, "delight in."
after . . . sight--according to mere external appearances (Joh 7:24; Joh 8:15; Jam 2:1; Sa1 16:7). Herein Messiah is represented a just Judge and Ruler (Deu 1:16-17).
reprove--"decide," as the parallelism shows.
after . . . ears--by mere plausible hearsays, but by the true merits of each case (Joh 6:64; Rev 2:23).
isa 11:4judge--see that impartial justice is done them. "Judge" may mean here "rule," as in Psa 67:4.
reprove--or, "argue"; "decide." But LOWTH, "work conviction in."
earth--Compare with Mat 5:5, and Rev 11:15.
earth--its ungodly inhabitants, answering to "the wicked" in the parallel, and in antithesis to the "poor" and "meek," namely, in spirit, the humble pious (Mat 5:3). It is at the same time implied that "the earth" will be extraordinarily wicked when He shall come to judge and reign. His reign shall therefore be ushered in with judgments on the apostates (Psa 2:9-12; Luk 18:8; Rev 2:27).
rod of . . . mouth--condemning sentences which proceed from His mouth against the wicked (Rev 1:16; Rev 2:16; Rev 19:15, Rev 19:21).
breath of . . . lips--his judicial decisions (Isa 30:28; Job 15:30; Rev 19:20; Rev 20:9-12). He as the Word of God (Rev 19:13-15) comes to strike that blow which shall decide His claim to the kingdom, previously usurped by Satan, and "the beast" to whom Satan delegates his power. It will be a day of judgment to the Gentile dispensation, as the first coming was to the Jews. Compare a type of the "rod" (Num 17:2-10).
isa 11:5righteousness . . . girdle-- (Rev 1:13; Rev 19:11). The antitypical High Priest (Exo 28:4). The girdle secures firmly the rest of the garments (Pe1 1:13). So "truth" gives firm consistency to the whole character (Eph 5:14). In Isa 59:17, "righteousness" is His breastplate.
isa 11:6wolf . . . lamb--Each animal is coupled with that one which is its natural prey. A fit state of things under the "Prince of Peace" (Isa 65:25; Eze 34:25; Hos 2:18). These may be figures for men of corresponding animal-like characters (Eze 22:27; Eze 38:13; Jer 5:6; Jer 13:23; Mat 7:15; Luk 10:3). Still a literal change in the relations of animals to man and each other, restoring the state in Eden, is a more likely interpretation. Compare Gen 2:19-20, with Psa 8:6-8, which describes the restoration to man, in the person of "the Son of man," of the lost dominion over the animal kingdom of which he had been designed to be the merciful vicegerent under God, for the good of his animal subjects (Rom 8:19-22).
isa 11:7feed--namely, "together"; taken from the second clause.
straw--no longer flesh and blood.
isa 11:8play--literally, "delight" himself in sport.
cockatrice--a fabulous serpent supposed to be hatched from the egg of a cock. The Hebrew means a kind of adder, more venomous than the asp; BOCHART supposes the basilisk to be meant, which was thought to poison even with its breath.
isa 11:9my holy mountain--Zion, that is, Jerusalem. The seat of government and of Messiah's throne is put for the whole earth (Jer 3:17).
sea--As the waters find their way into every cavern of its depths, so Christianity shall pervade every recess of the earth (Hab 2:14). As Isa 11:1-5 describe the personal qualities of Messiah, and Isa 11:6-9 the regenerating effects of His coming on creation, so Isa 11:10-16 the results of it in the restoration of His people, the Jews, and the conversion through them of the Gentiles.
isa 11:10root--rather, "shoot from the root" (compare Note, see on Isa 11:1; Isa 53:2; Rev 5:5; Rev 22:16).
stand--permanently and prominently, as a banner lifted up to be the rallying point of an army or people (Isa 5:26; Joh 12:32).
the people--peoples, answering to "the Gentiles" in the parallel member.
to it . . . seek--diligently (Job 8:5). They shall give in their allegiance to the Divine King (Isa 2:2; Isa 60:5; Zac 2:11). HORSLEY translates, "Of Him shall the Gentiles inquire"; namely, in a religious sense, resort as to an oracle for consultation in difficulties" (Zac 14:16). Compare Rom 15:12, which quotes this passage, "In Him shall the Gentiles trust."
rest--resting-place (Isa 60:13; Psa 132:8, Psa 132:14; Eze 43:7). The sanctuary in the temple of Jerusalem was "the resting-place of the ark and of Jehovah." So the glorious Church which is to be is described under the image of an oracle to which all nations shall resort, and which shall be filled with the visible glory of God.
isa 11:11set . . . hand--take in hand the work. Therefore the coming restoration of the Jews is to be distinct from that after the Babylonish captivity, and yet to resemble it. The first restoration was literal, therefore so shall the second be; the latter, however, it is implied here, shall be much more universal than the former (Isa 43:5-7; Isa 49:12, Isa 49:17-18; Eze 37:21; Hos 3:5; Amo 9:14-15; Mic 4:6-7; Zep 3:19-20; Zac 10:10; Jer 23:8). As to the "remnant" destined by God to survive the judgments on the nation, compare Jer 46:28.
Pathros--one of the three divisions of Egypt, Upper Egypt.
Cush--either Ethiopia, south of Egypt, now Abyssinia, or the southern parts of Arabia, along the Red Sea.
Elam--Persia, especially the southern part of it now called Susiana.
Shinar--Babylonian Mesopotamia, the plain between the Euphrates and the Tigris: in it Babel was begun (Gen 10:10). In the Assyrian inscriptions RAWLINSON distinguishes three periods: (1) The Chaldean; from 2300 B.C. to 1500, in which falls Chedorlaomer (Gen. 14:1-17), called in the cuneiform characters Kudur of Hur, or Ur of the Chaldees, and described as the conqueror of Syria. The seat of the first Chaldean empire was in the south, towards the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates. (2) The Assyrian, down to 625 B.C. (3) The Babylonian, from 625 to 538 B.C., when Babylon was taken by the Persian Cyrus.
islands of . . . sea--the far western regions beyond the sea [JEROME].
isa 11:12In the first restoration Judah alone was restored, with perhaps some few of Israel (the ten tribes): in the future restoration both are expressly specified (Eze 37:16-19; Jer 3:18). To Israel are ascribed the "outcasts" (masculine); to Judah the "dispersed" (feminine), as the former have been longer and more utterly castaways (though not finally) than the latter (Joh 7:52). The masculine and feminine conjoined express the universality of the restoration.
from the four corners of the earth--Hebrew, "wings of the earth."
isa 11:13envy . . . of Ephraim . . . Judah--which began as early as the time (Jdg 8:1; Jdg 12:1, &c.). Joshua had sprung from, and resided among the Ephraimites (Num 13:9; Jos 19:50); the sanctuary was with them for a time (Jos 18:1). The jealousy increased subsequently (Sa2 2:8, &c.; Sa2 19:41; Sa2 20:2; Sa2 3:10); and even before David's time (Sa1 11:8; Sa1 15:4), they had appropriated to themselves the national name Israel. It ended in disruption (Kg1 11:26, &c.; 1Ki. 12:1-33; compare Kg2 14:9; Psa. 78:56-71).
adversaries of Judah--rather, "the adversaries from Judah"; those of Judah hostile to the Ephraimites [MAURER]. The parallelism "the envy of Ephraim," namely, against Judah, requires this, as also what follows; namely, "Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim" (Eze 37:15, Eze 37:17, Eze 37:19).
isa 11:14With united forces they shall subdue their foes (Amo 9:12).
fly--as a bird of prey (Hab 1:8).
upon the shoulders--This expresses an attack made unexpectedly on one from behind. The image is the more apt, as the Hebrew for "shoulders" in Num 34:11 is used also of a maritime coast ("side of the sea": Hebrew, "shoulder of the sea," Margin). They shall make a sudden victorious descent upon their borders southwest of Judea.
them of the east--Hebrew, "children of the East," the Arabs, who, always hostile, are not to be reduced under regular government, but are only to be despoiled (Jer 49:28-29).
lay . . . hand upon--take possession of (Dan 11:42).
Edom--south of Judah, from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea; "Moab"--east of Jordan and the Dead Sea.
Ammon--east of Judea, north of Moab, between the Arnon and Jabbok.
isa 11:15There shall be a second exodus, destined to eclipse even the former one from Egypt in its wonders. So the prophecies elsewhere (Psa 68:22; Exo 14:22; Zac 10:11). The same deliverance furnishes the imagery by which the return from Babylon is described (Isa 48:20-21).
destroy--literally, "devote," or "doom," that is, dry up; for what God dooms, perishes (Psa 106:9 Nah 1:4).
tongue--the Bubastic branch of the Nile [VITRINGA]; but as the Nile was not the obstruction to the exodus, it is rather the west tongue or HeroÃ¶polite fork of the Red Sea.
with . . . mighty wind--such as the "strong east wind" (Exo 14:21), by which God made a way for Israel through the Red Sea. The Hebrew for "mighty" means terrible. MAURER translates, "With the terror of His anger"; that is, His terrible anger.
in the seven streams--rather, "shall smite it (divide it by smiting) into seven (many) streams, so as to be easily crossed" [LOWTH]. So Cyrus divided the river Gyndes, which retarded his march against Babylon, into three hundred sixty streams, so that even a woman could cross it [HERODOTUS, 1.189]. "The river" is the Euphrates, the obstruction to Israel's return "from Assyria" (Isa 11:16), a type of all future impediments to the restoration of the Jews.
dry shod--Hebrew, "in shoes." Even in sandals they should be able to pass over the once mighty river without being wet (Rev 16:12).
isa 11:16highway--a highway clear of obstructions (Isa 19:23; Isa 35:8).
like as . . . Israel . . . Egypt-- (Isa 51:10-11; Isa 63:12-13).
Just as Miriam, after the deliverance of the Red Sea (Isa 11:16), celebrated it with an ode of praise (Exo. 15:1-19).