1sn The text mentions David’s father Jesse, instead of the great king himself. Perhaps this is done for rhetorical reasons to suggest that a new David, not just another disappointing Davidic descendant, will arise. Other prophets call the coming ideal Davidic king “David” or picture him as the second coming of David, as it were. See Jer 30:9; Ezek 34:23-24; 37:24-25; Hos 3:5; and Mic 5:2 (as well as the note there).

2tc The Hebrew text has יִפְרֶה (yifreh, “will bear fruit,” from פָּרָה, parah), but the ancient versions, as well as the parallelism suggest that יִפְרַח (yifrakh, “will sprout”, from פָּרַח, parakh) is the better reading here. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:276, n. 2.

3sn Like David (1 Sam 16:13), this king will be energized by the Lord’s spirit.

4tn Heb “a spirit of wisdom and understanding.” The synonyms are joined here to emphasize the degree of wisdom he will possess. His wisdom will enable him to make just legal decisions (v. 3). A very similar phrase occurs in Eph 1:17.

5tn Heb “a spirit of counsel [or “strategy”] and strength.” The construction is a hendiadys; the point is that he will have the strength/ability to execute the plans/strategies he devises. This ability will enable him to suppress oppressors and implement just policies (v. 4).

6tn Heb “a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.” “Knowledge” is used here in its covenantal sense and refers to a recognition of God’s authority and a willingness to submit to it. See Jer 22:16. “Fear” here refers to a healthy respect for God’s authority which produces obedience. Taken together the two terms emphasize the single quality of loyalty to the Lord. This loyalty guarantees that he will make just legal decisions and implement just policies (vv. 4-5).

7tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “and his smelling is in the fear of the Lord.” In Amos 5:21 the Hiphil of רוּחַ (ruakh, “smell”) carries the nuance of “smell with delight, get pleasure from.” There the Lord declares that he does not “smell with delight” (i.e., get pleasure from) Israel’s religious assemblies, which probably stand by metonymy for the incense offered during these festivals. In Isa 11:3 there is no sacrificial context to suggest such a use, but it is possible that “the fear of the Lord” is likened to incense. This coming king will get the same kind of delight from obeying (fearing) the Lord, as a deity does in the incense offered by worshipers. Some regard such an explanation as strained in this context, and prefer to omit this line from the text as a virtual dittograph of the preceding statement.

8tn Heb “by what appears to his eyes”; KJV “after the sight of his eyes”; NIV “by what he sees with his eyes.”

9tn Heb “by what is heard by his ears”; NRSV “by what his ears hear.”

10tn Heb “with justice” (so NAB) or “with righteousness” (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

11tn Heb “make decisions with rectitude”; cf. ASV, NRSV “and decide with equity.”

12tn Or “land” (NAB, NCV, CEV). It is uncertain if the passage is picturing universal dominion or focusing on the king’s rule over his covenant people. The reference to God’s “holy mountain” in v. 9 and the description of renewed Israelite conquests in v. 14 suggest the latter, though v. 10 seems to refer to a universal kingdom (see 2:2-4).

13tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “and he will strike the earth with the scepter of his mouth.” Some have suggested that in this context אֶרֶץ (’erets, “earth”) as an object of judgment seems too broad in scope. The parallelism is tighter if one emends the word to ץ(י)עָרִ (’arits, “potentate, tyrant”). The phrase “scepter of his mouth” refers to the royal (note “scepter”) decrees that he proclaims with his mouth. Because these decrees will have authority and power (see v. 2) behind them, they can be described as “striking” the tyrants down. Nevertheless, the MT reading may not need emending. Isaiah refers to the entire “earth” as the object of God’s judgment in several places without specifying the wicked as the object of the judgment (Isa 24:17-21; 26:9, 21; 28:22; cf. 13:11).

14tn Heb “and by the breath of his lips he will kill the wicked.” The “breath of his lips” refers to his speech, specifically in this context his official decrees that the wicked oppressors be eliminated from his realm. See the preceding note.

15tn Heb “Justice will be the belt [or “undergarment”] on his waist, integrity the belt [or “undergarment”] on his hips.” The point of the metaphor is uncertain. If a belt worn outside the robe is in view, then the point might be that justice/integrity will be readily visible or that these qualities will give support to his rule. If an undergarment is in view, then the idea might be that these characteristics support his rule or that they are basic to everything else.

16tn The verb גּוּר (gur) normally refers to living as a dependent, resident alien in another society.

17tc The Hebrew text reads, “and an ox, and a young lion, and a fatling together.” Since the preceding lines refer to two animals and include a verb, many emend וּמְרִיא (um’ri’, “and the fatling”) to an otherwise unattested verb יִמְרְאוּ (yimr’u, “they will graze”); cf. NAB, TEV, CEV. One of the Qumran copies of Isaiah confirms this suggestion (1QIsaa). The present translation assumes this change.

18tn Heb “and a cow and a bear will graze – together – they will lie down, their young.” This is a case of pivot pattern; יַחְדָּו (yakhddav, “together”) goes with both the preceding and following statements.

19tn Heb “one sucking,” i.e., still being nursed by his mother.

20tn Or perhaps, “cobra” (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV, NCV); KJV, ASV, NRSV “asp.”

21tc The Hebrew text has the otherwise unattested מְאוּרַת (m’urat, “place of light”), i.e., opening of a hole. Some prefer to emend to מְעָרַת (m’arat, “cave, den”).

22tn Heb “one who is weaned” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV).

23sn The transformation of the animal kingdom depicted here typifies what will occur in human society under the just rule of the ideal king (see vv. 3-5). The categories “predator-prey” (i.e., oppressor-oppressed) will no longer exist.

24tn Heb “in all my holy mountain.” In the most basic sense the Lord’s “holy mountain” is the mountain from which he rules over his kingdom (see Ezek 28:14, 16). More specifically it probably refers to Mount Zion/Jerusalem or to the entire land of Israel (see Pss 2:6; 15:1; 43:3; Isa 56:7; 57:13; Ezek 20:40; Ob 16; Zeph 3:11). If the Lord’s universal kingdom is in view in this context (see the note on “earth” at v. 4), then the phrase would probably be metonymic here, standing for God’s worldwide dominion (see the next line).

25tn Heb “for the earth will be full of knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” The translation assumes that a universal kingdom is depicted here, but אֶרֶץ (’erets) could be translated “land” (see the note at v. 4). “Knowledge of the Lord” refers here to a recognition of the Lord’s sovereignty which results in a willingness to submit to his authority. See the note at v. 2.

26tn Or “in that day” (KJV). The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2.

27sn See the note at v. 1.

28tn Heb “ a root from Jesse, which stands for a signal flag of the nations, of him nations will inquire” [or “seek”].

29tn Or “in that day” (KJV). The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2.

30tn The Hebrew term translated “sovereign master” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonai).

31tc The Hebrew text reads, “the sovereign master will again, a second time, his hand.” The auxiliary verb יוֹסִיף (yosif), which literally means “add,” needs a main verb to complete it. Consequently many emend שֵׁנִית (shenit, “a second time”) to an infinitive. Some propose the form שַׁנֹּת (shannot, a Piel infinitive construct from שָׁנָה, shanah) and relate it semantically to an Arabic cognate meaning “to be high.” If the Hebrew text is retained a verb must be supplied. “Second time” would allude back to the events of the Exodus (see vv. 15-16).

32tn Or “acquire”; KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV “recover.”

33tn Heb “the remnant of his people who remain.”

34sn Perhaps a reference to Upper (i.e., southern) Egypt (so NIV, NLT; NCV “South Egypt”).

35tn Or “Ethiopia” (NAB, NRSV, NLT).

36tn Or “Babylonia” (NIV, NCV, TEV, NLT).

37tn Or perhaps, “the islands of the sea.”

38tn Or “the banished of Israel,” i.e., the exiles.

39tn Heb “turn aside”; KJV, NASB, NRSV “depart.”

40tn Heb “hostile ones of Judah.” Elsewhere when the substantival participle of צָרָר (tsarar) takes a pronominal suffix or appears in a construct relationship, the following genitive is objective. (For a list of texts see BDB 865 s.v. III צָרַר) In this case the phrase “hostile ones of Judah” means “those who are hostile toward Judah,” i.e., Judah’s enemies. However, the parallel couplet that follows suggests that Judah’s hostility toward Ephraim is in view. In this case “hostile ones of Judah” means “hostile ones from Judah.” The translation above assumes the latter, giving the immediate context priority over general usage.

41tn Heb “fly.” Ephraim/Judah are compared to a bird of prey.

42tn Heb “on the shoulder of Philistia toward the sea.” This refers to the slopes of the hill country west of Judah. See HALOT 506 s.v. כָּתֵף.

43tn Heb “Edom and Moab [will be the place of] the outstretching of their hand,” i.e., included in their area of jurisdiction (see HALOT 648 s.v. ח(וֹ)מִשְׁלֹ).

44tn The verb is usually understood as “put under the ban, destroy,” or emended to חָרָב (kharav, “dry up”). However, HALOT 354 s.v. II חרם proposes a homonymic root meaning “divide.”

45tn Heb “tongue” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV).

46sn That is, the Red Sea.

47tn Heb “the river”; capitalized in some English versions (e.g., ASV, NASB, NRSV) as a reference to the Euphrates River.

48tn Heb “with the [?] of his wind” [or “breath”]. The Hebrew term עַיָם (’ayam) occurs only here. Some attempt to relate the word to an Arabic root and translate, “scorching [or “hot”] wind.” This interpretation fits especially well if one reads “dry up” in the previous line. Others prefer to emend the form to עֹצֶם (’otsem, “strong”). See HALOT 817 s.v. עֲצַם.

49tn Heb “seven streams.” The Hebrew term נַחַל (nakhal, “stream”) refers to a wadi, or seasonal stream, which runs during the rainy season, but is otherwise dry. The context (see v. 15b) here favors the translation, “dried up streams.” The number seven suggests totality and completeness. Here it indicates that God’s provision for escape will be thorough and more than capable of accommodating the returning exiles.

50tn Heb “and there will be a highway for the remnant of his people who remain, from Assyria.”

51tn Heb “in the day” (so KJV).