Isaiah – Chapter 11

Now THIS is a Messianic Prophecy!

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

In this chapter, Isaiah tells us about the Moshiach (Messiah), who will be descended from King David. What does Isaiah reveal? He will be wise, understanding and pious. He will be driven to do the will of G-d and will have exceptional powers of perception. He will judge fairly, not taking advantage of the poor as had been done by the leaders of Isaiah’s generation. He will destroy evil with his mere words.

The righteous will surround the Moshiach. The strong will dwell in peace with the weak, rather than oppressing them. They are symbolized by the wolf and the lamb living together; there are those who take this literally rather than allegorically. There are many such metaphors in this chapter: the cow and the bear, the lion eating straw, children not fearing snakes, etc. The land will be as full of Torah knowledge as the sea is full of water.

When the Moshiach is established, the nations will turn to him for guidance. They will honor him and live in peace with Israel. Then, G-d will stretch out His hand to gather the exiles from Assyria, Egypt, Ethiopia and elsewhere. G-d will gather the scattered Jews from “the four corners of the Earth.” The two Jewish nations, Israel and Judah, will be reconciled and reunited. (Israel is referred to as Ephraim, referring to the Tribe of their first king, Yaravam. According to Rashi, this verse also refers to the Moshiach ben David, from the Tribe of Judah, and the Moshiach ben Yosef, as Ephraim was a son of Joseph. Further explanation of the concept of two Messiahs is beyond the scope of this synopsis.) Together, the two Jewish nations will defeat their enemies.

G-d will dry up rivers and seas, beating them into streams with paths in between, to serve as highways for all the Jews returning from exile, like the Red Sea when the Jews left Egypt.

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