First Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10
The Ideal King
What is your vision of the ideal ruler?
1 A shoot will come out of the stock of Jesse,
and a branch out of his roots will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of YHWH will rest on him:
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of YHWH.
3 His delight will be in the fear of YHWH.
He will not judge by the sight of his eyes,
neither decide by the hearing of his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the humble of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
and with the breath of his lips he will kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his waist.
6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
and the leopard will lie down with the young goat;
The calf, the young lion, and the fattened calf together;
and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow and the bear will graze.
Their young ones will lie down together.
The lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child will play near a cobra's hole,
and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den.
9 They will not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of YHWH,
as the waters cover the sea.
10 It will happen in that day that the nations will seek the root of Jesse,
who stands as a banner of the peoples;
and his resting place will be glorious.
World English Bible
In the sixth century B.C., Isaiah was a court prophet for four kings in Judea. About that time, the northern kingdom of Israel had fallen to the Assyrians. So, the king, his court, and the entire population of Judea feared the military advance of the hated conquerors.
Words of hope were needed in an atmosphere of desperation. These passages relate Isaiah's encouragement. There would be better times. Under the rule of a great king. A Messiah!
What would this new king be like? He would be borne in the line of David. [11:1] He would possess God's very Spirit and its gifts. [11:2] He would judge as God judged, with fairness and impartiality. [11:3] He would be faithful to the Law and right before God's eyes. [11:4] Under his rule, the Kingdom would be present. God, humanity, and nature would live in a time of peace, Shalom. [11:5-8] Strife and war would end. And the reputation of the Jewish God would extend to the ends of the earth. [11:9] People would seek his rule.
The prophet did paint the ideal Jewish king. The righteous ruler who would bring a true peace to the world. Because he possessed the wisdom and power of God's Spirit.
For Christians, Isaiah described Jesus of Nazareth.
How do the traits Isaiah described apply to Jesus?