Monday, October 20, 2014

Isaiah 11, Part 3: The Signal

Isaiah 11, Part 3: The Signal

The LORD will make "the root of Jesse", the divinely Righteous Judge of the world, to stand as a signal.

Isaiah 11:10 (ESV) In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.

The first instance of "signal" is found in the Book of Numbers:

Numbers 21:8-9 (ESV) The LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live." So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

"Pole" is the same word as "signal".

David composed a psalm which referred to a banner, using the same word as "signal":

Psalm 60:4 (ESV) You have set up a banner for those who fear you, that they may flee to it from the bow.

Isaiah used the same word earlier in reference to the Syrian and Assyrian armies:

Isaiah 5:26 (ESV) He will raise a signal for nations far away, and whistle for them from the ends of the earth; and behold, quickly, speedily they come!

All instances of "signal" refer to the raising of something high, attracting the attention of many, communicating an important message of urgency.

Isaiah describes the LORD's Righteous Judge as being a signal for the people of many nations, calling them to himself as a Source of help and rest.

Isaiah refers to two different groups of people: people closely associated together ("peoples"), and people who are outsiders or foreigners ("nations").

The Righteous Judge will be lifted up as the highest representative of a specific group of people, most likely those associated with the tribe of Jesse. The Judge will be recognized as belonging to the people of Israel. However, even foreign nations will be drawn to the Judge, seeking something regarded as worthy of pursuit: glorious rest.

A reference that uses "rest" with all three meanings of consolation, matrimony, and an abode is found in the Book of Ruth, where Naomi prays for her widowed daughters-in-law:

Ruth 1:9 (ESV) "The LORD grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!" Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.

"Rest" implied the security and peace of a loving, capable husband who could provide the women an abundant life.

What do you think?

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