Isaiah 11:2
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
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(2) And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him . . .—The words throw us at once back upon the memories of the past, and forwards upon the hopes of the future. It was the “spirit of the Lord” that had made men true heroes and judges in the days of old (Judges 11:29; Judges 13:25). It was in the “spirit of the Lord” descending on Jesus of Nazareth and abiding on Him (John 1:33) that men were taught to see the token that He was the Christ of God. And in this case the spirit was to give more than the heroic daring which had characterised Jephthah and Samson. The future King was to be as a David and Solomon in one, pre-eminent, chiefly, as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:7), in the wisdom and counsel which had been the glory of the latter. “Wisdom,” in its highest form, as implying the comprehension of the secret things of God; “understanding,” as the sagacity which discerned the right thing to do and the right word to say (Hebrews 5:14) in all human relationships; these formed the first link in the chain of supernatural gifts. With these there was to be the “spirit of counsel and might,” the clear purpose and strength which fits a king for the right exercise of sovereignty; and lastly, as at once the crown and source of all, the “spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord,” the reverence and faith which is “the beginning of all wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7). The copious use of the vocabulary of the Book of Proverbs is interesting as showing the part which that book played in the prophet’s education. (See Introduction.)

Isaiah 11:2. And the Spirit of the Lord — The Holy Ghost, by which he was anointed, (Acts 10:38,) and by whose power his human nature was formed in the womb of the virgin, (Luke 1:35,) shall rest upon him — Shall not only come upon him at certain times, as it came upon the prophets, but shall have its constant and settled abode in him; the spirit of wisdom and understanding — It is not needful exactly to distinguish these two gifts; it is sufficient that they are necessary qualifications for a governor and a teacher, and it is evident they signify perfect knowledge of all things necessary for his own and people’s good, and a sound judgment to distinguish between things that differ; the spirit of counsel and might — Of prudence, to give good counsel; and of might and courage, to execute it; the spirit of knowledge — Of the perfect knowledge of the whole will and counsel of God, as also of all secret things, yea, of the hearts of men; fear of the Lord — A fear of reverence, a care to please him, and aversion to offend him.

11:1-9 The Messiah is called a Rod, and a Branch. The words signify a small, tender product; a shoot, such as is easily broken off. He comes forth out of the stem of Jesse; when the royal family was cut down and almost levelled with the ground, it would sprout again. The house of David was brought very low at the time of Christ's birth. The Messiah thus gave early notice that his kingdom was not of this world. But the Holy Spirit, in all his gifts and graces, shall rest and abide upon him; he shall have the fulness of the Godhead dwelling in him, Col 1:19; 2:9. Many consider that seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are here mentioned. And the doctrine of the influences of the Holy Spirit is here clearly taught. The Messiah would be just and righteous in all his government. His threatening shall be executed by the working of his Spirit according to his word. There shall be great peace and quiet under his government. The gospel changes the nature, and makes those who trampled on the meek of the earth, meek like them, and kind to them. But it shall be more fully shown in the latter days. Also Christ, the great Shepherd, shall take care of his flock, that the nature of troubles, and of death itself, shall be so changed, that they shall not do any real hurt. God's people shall be delivered, not only from evil, but from the fear of it. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? The better we know the God of love, the more shall we be changed into the same likeness, and the better disposed to all who have any likeness to him. This knowledge shall extend as the sea, so far shall it spread. And this blessed power there have been witnesses in every age of Christianity, though its most glorious time, here foretold, is not yet arrived. Meanwhile let us aim that our example and endeavours may help to promote the honour of Christ and his kingdom of peace.And the Spirit of the Lord - The Spirit of Yahweh. Chaldee, 'And there shall rest upon him the spirit of prophecy from before Yahweh.' In the previous verse, the prophet had announced his origin and his birth. In this, he proceeds to describe his extraordinary endowments, as eminently holy, pure, and wise. There can be no doubt that reference is here had to the Holy Spirit, the third person of the sacred Trinity, as descending upon him in the fullness of his influences, and producing in him perfect wisdom, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord. The Spirit of Yahweh shall rest upon him - a Spirit producing wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, etc. All these are lit the Scriptures traced to the agency of the Holy Spirit; see 1 Corinthians 12:8-11. The meaning here is, that the Messiah should be endowed with these eminent prophetic gifts and qualifications for his ministry by the agency of the Holy Spirit. It was by that Spirit that the prophets had been inspired (see 2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16); and as the Messiah was to be a prophet Deuteronomy 18:15, Deuteronomy 18:18, there was a fitness that he should be endowed in the same manner. If it be asked how one, who was divine in his own nature, could be thus endowed by the aid of the Spirit, the answer is, that he was also to be a man descended from the honored line of David, and that as a man he might be furnished for his work by the agency of the Holy Spirit. His human nature was kept pure; his mind was made eminently wise; his heart always retained the fear and love of God, and there is no absurdity in supposing that these extraordinary endowments were to be traced to God. That he was thus under the influence of the Holy Spirit, is abundantly taught in the New Testament. Thus, in Matthew 3:16, the Holy Spirit is represented as descending on him at his baptism, In John 3:34, it is said, 'For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God, for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him;' compare Colossians 1:19.

Shall rest upon him - That is, shall descend on him, and remain with him. It shall not merely come upon him, but shall attend him permanently; compare Numbers 11:25-26.

The spirit of wisdom - The spirit producing wisdom, or making him wise. Wisdom consists in the choice of the best means to secure the best ends. This attribute is often given to the Messiah in the New Testament, and was always evinced by him; compare 1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 1:17; Colossians 2:3 : 'In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.'

And understanding - The difference between the words here rendered wisdom and understanding is, that the former denotes wisdom properly; and the latter, that judgment resulting from wisdom, by which we distinguish things, or decide on their character.

The spirit of counsel - That by which be shall be qualified to "give" counsel or advice; the qualification of a public instructor and guide; see the note at Isaiah 9:6.

And might - Strength, vigor, energy; that strength of heart and purpose which will enable a man to meet difficulties, to encounter dangers, to be bold, open, and fearless in the discharge of his duties. It is not necessary to remark, that this characteristic was found in an eminent degree in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Of knowledge - That is, the knowledge of the attributes and plans of Yahweh; compare Matthew 11:27 : 'Neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son.' John 1:18 : 'No man hath seen God at I any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him;' 1 John 5:20.

And of the fear of the Lord - The fear of Yahweh is often used to denote piety in general, as consisting in a reverence for the divine commands, and a dread of offending him; "that is," a desire to please him, which is piety; compare Job 28:28; Psalm 19:9; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 3:13; Proverbs 15:33; Proverbs 19:23. That this characteristic was found eminently in the Lord Jesus, it is not necessary to attempt to prove.

2. Spirit of the Lord—Jehovah. The Spirit by which the prophets spake: for Messiah was to be a Prophet (Isa 61:1; De 18:15, 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" (Re 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; 3:34; Col 1:19).

rest—permanently; not merely come upon Him (Nu 11:25, 26).

wisdom—(1Co 1:30; Eph 1:17; Col 2:3).

understanding—coupled with "wisdom," being its fruit. Discernment and discrimination (Mt 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 (Mt 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; Ps 111:10).

The Spirit of the Lord; the Holy Ghost, wherewith he was anointed, Acts 10:38, and by whom his mother was overshadowed, Luke 1:35.

Shall rest upon him; not only come upon him at certain times, as he did upon the prophets now and then at his pleasure, but shall have its constant and settled abode in him; although the same phrase be sometimes used of other prophets in an inferior sense, as Numbers 11:17 2 Kings 2:15.

The Spirit of wisdom and understanding; which hath these perfections in itself, and confers them upon him. It is neither easy, nor at all necessary, exactly to distinguish these two gifts; it is sufficient that they are necessary qualifications for a governor, and for a teacher, both which offices were to meet in the Messiah; and it is evident that they signify a practical and perfect knowledge of all things necessary for the discharge of his trust, and for his own and people’s good, and a sound judgment, to distinguish between things that differ.

Of counsel and might; of prudence, to give good counsel; and of might and courage, to execute it; which are two necessary qualifications of a ruler.

Of knowledge; of the perfect knowledge of the whole will and counsel of God, especially that which concerns the salvation of men, the prosecution whereof was his great work, as also of all secret and hidden things, yea, of the hearts of men, the knowledge whereof is ascribed to Christ. Matthew 9:4 Revelation 2:23.

Of the fear of the Lord; not a fear of diffidence or horror, but of reverence; a care to please him, and loathness to offend him, which well became the Messiah towards his God and Father.

And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,.... The rod and branch, the King Messiah, so qualifying him for his office, and the discharge of it. This shows that Christ's kingdom is of a spiritual nature, and administered in a spiritual manner, for which he was abundantly furnished by the "Spirit of the Lord" resting on him; by whom is meant the third Person in the Trinity, so called, not because created by him, for not any created spirit is meant, but because he proceeded from him; he is the one Jehovah with him, a divine Person, truly God, yet distinct both from the Father and the Son; so that here is a clear proof of the trinity of Persons. Christ was filled with the Spirit from the womb, and he descended and rested upon him at his baptism; he was anointed with him to be Prophet, Priest, and King, and received his gifts and graces from him without measure, which abide with him, and are designed in the following words:

the spirit of wisdom and understanding; which appeared in his disputation with the doctors; in his answers to the ensnaring questions of the Scribes and Pharisees; in the whole of his ministry; and in his conduct at his apprehension, trial, condemnation, and death; as also in the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding he imparted to his disciples, and does more or less to all his people:

the spirit of counsel and might; of "counsel", which fitted him to be the wonderful Counsellor, and qualified him to give suitable and proper advice to the sons of men; and of "might" or "power", to preach the Gospel with authority; do miracles in the confirmation of it; bear the sins of his people, and the punishment due to them; obtain eternal redemption for them; and engage with all their enemies and conquer them:

the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord; and so as man had the "knowledge" of God the Father; of his mind and will; of the Scriptures, and things contained therein; of the law and Gospel; all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge were hid in him, which he communicates to his saints; and "of the fear of the Lord", and so had a reverence of him, a strict regard to his will, and always did the things which pleased him; see Hebrews 5:7 this verse is also applied to the Messiah, both by ancient and modern Jews (u).

(u) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 93. 2. Zohar in Gen. fol. 68. 3. & in Numb. fol. 54. 4. & 92. 1. & in Deut. fol. 123. 3. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 2. fol. 2. 4. sect. 8. fol. 6. 3. Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 13. fol. 209. 3. Midrash Ruth, fol. 34. 4. Pirke Eliezer, c. 3. fol. 3. 2. Raziel, fol. 11. 1. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 156. 1. Baal Hatturim in Numbers 7.12. Yalkut Simeoni, par. 1. fol. 3. 1.

And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
2. His supernatural endowment through the spirit of Jehovah with the qualities of a perfect ruler. The “charismata” are grouped in three pairs; when we add the separate mention of the spirit of Jehovah at the head of the list we may perhaps find here the first suggestion of the “seven spirits” of God (Revelation 1:4). In reality, however, the three pairs unfold the different aspects of the “Spirit of Jehovah.” The first pair of virtues are intellectual, the second practical, and the third religious.

wisdom and understanding (or “discernment”) are the fundamental intellectual qualifications of a judge or ruler. Deuteronomy 1:13; 1 Kings 3:12.

counsel and might] “Counsel” is the faculty of adapting means to ends or of forming right resolutions; “might” the energy necessary to carry them through.

of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord] of the knowledge and fear of Jehovah. It seems necessary here to take “knowledge” as equivalent to “knowledge of Jehovah,” in spite of the rule that “not more than one construct can stand before the same genitive” (Davidson, Syntax, § 27. b). “Knowledge of Jehovah” is insight into His character and His moral claims on men, “fear of Jehovah” is the common O.T. expression for piety; both together make up the O.T. idea of religion.

Verse 2. - The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him (comp, Matthew 3:16; Luke 2:40; Luke 4:1, 14, 18; John 3:34, etc.). The human nature of our Lord required, and received abundantly, the sanctifying and enlightening influences of the Holy Spirit. These influences were not in him transient or occasional, as in too many men, who more or less "resist the Spirit," but permanent and enduring. They "rested upon" him; from first to last never quitted, and never will quit, him. The spirit of wisdom and understanding. The influences of the Holy Spirit are manifold, affecting the entire complex nature of man (see 1 Corinthians 12:8-11). Here, three pairs of graces are set forth as specially manifested in the Messiah through the power of the Spirit:

(1) "Wisdom and understanding," or intellectual and moral apprehension (εὐσυνεσία) the ability to perceive moral and abstract truth;

(2) "counsel and might," or the power at once to scheme and originate, and also to carry out thought into act;

(3) "The knowledge and the fear of the Lord," or acquaintance with the true will of God, combined with the determination to carry out that will to the full (John 4:34; Luke 22:42; Hebrews 10:7). It is needless to say that all these qualities existed in the greatest perfection in our blessed Lord. Isaiah 11:2Jehovah acknowledges Him, and consecrates and equips Him for His great work with the seven spirits."And the Spirit of Jehovah descends upon Him, spirit of wisdom and understanding, spirit of counsel and might, spirit of knowledge and fear of Jehovah." "The Spirit of Jehovah" (ruach Yehovah) is the Divine Spirit, as the communicative vehicle of the whole creative fulness of divine powers. Then follow the six spirits, comprehended by the ruach Yehovah in three pairs, of which the first relates to the intellectual life, the second to the practical life, and the third to the direct relation to God. For chocmâh (wisdom) is the power of discerning the nature of things through the appearance, and bı̄nâh (understanding) the power of discerning the differences of things in their appearance; the former is σοφία, the latter διάκρισις or σύνεσις. "Counsel" (etzâh) is the gift of forming right conclusions, and "might" (gebūrâh) the ability to carry them out with energy. "The knowledge of Jehovah" (da‛ath Yehovah) is knowledge founded upon the fellowship of love; and "the fear of Jehovah" (yir'ath Yehovâh), fear absorbed in reverence. There are seven spirits, which are enumerated in order from the highest downwards; since the spirit of the fear of Jehovah is the basis of the whole (Proverbs 1:7; Job 28:28; Psalm 111:10), and the Spirit of Jehovah is the heart of all. It corresponds to the shaft of the seven-lighted candlestick, and the three pair of arms that proceeded from it. In these seven forms the Holy Spirit descended upon the second David for a permanent possession, as is affirmed in the perf. consec. ונהה (with the tone upon the ultimate, on account of the following guttural, to prevent its being pronounced unintelligibly;

(Note: This moving forward of the tone to the last syllable is also found before Ayin in Genesis 26:10, and very commonly with kūmâh, and verbs of a similar kind; also before Elohim and Jehovah, to be read Adonai, and before the half-guttural resh, Psalm 43:1; Psalm 119:154, but nowhere on any other ground than the orthophonic rather than euphonic one mentioned above; compare also וסרה in Isaiah 11:13, with וסרוּ (with ה following) in Exodus 8:7.)

nuach like καταβαίνειν καὶ μένειν, John 1:32-33). The seven torches before the throne of God (Revelation 4:5, cf., Isaiah 1:4) burn and give light in His soul. The seven spirits are His seven eyes (Revelation 5:6).

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