Summary: In these verses we see both king and kingdom and the people who make up the kingdom.
Isaiah 11:11-16 The Gatherer
4/22/01e D. Marion Clark
We come to the last of our three sections in chapter 11. In verses 1-5 we considered the person of the Branch of Jesse, i.e. the Messiah who will reign over his kingdom. He is to be a king of wisdom, power, and righteousness. In verses 6-10 we viewed his kingdom. It is to be a kingdom of peace and holiness. In verses 11-16 we the both king and kingdom and the people who make up the kingdom.
In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.
In that day is the “eschatological” day. Eschatology is the study of the end times. This is end times prophetic vision of what the kingdom will be like under the Messiah.
The Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people. What is the first time that he reached out his hand? It is the exodus from Egypt. The exodus is the significant event for the Jews. It is the event of redemption (deliverance from Egypt) and of becoming the kingdom of God (Mt. Sinai covenant). Israel is given the hope of another redemptive event on the same magnitude.
We’ve already seen what that event entails. The Messiah will establish a new everlasting kingdom that transforms nature itself so that there is perfect peace and complete holiness in the land. The question now is Who gets in?
Verse 10 speaks of peoples and nations. Verse 11 begins to develop that idea. The Lord will reclaim the remnant of his people who have been scattered throughout the world. Through the conquests of Assyria and then Babylon, the people of the kingdoms are dispersed. Through forced transport and then migration, the Jewish people become a people of the earth. In this day, they will be brought back to new kingdom. The nations to which they are scattered represent the dominant powers and symbolize the four corners of the earth. They are in all the four different directions around Israel.
12 He will raise a banner for the nations
and gather the exiles of Israel;
he will assemble the scattered people of Judah
from the four quarters of the earth.
Verse 12 repeats the though of verses 10 and 11. The Messiah is to be a rallying banner for the Gentiles (the nations) and the Jews (exiles of Israel, scattered people of Judah.)
Verse 13 presents the peace and unity that will exist.
13 Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish,
and Judah’s enemies will be cut off;
Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah,
nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.
Ephraim is a synonym for the northern kingdom of Israel. The two nations will no longer be at enmity because they will be a united kingdom.
This has all been good so far. Isaiah presents a peaceful kingdom. The next verse, however, presents warfare, not in the kingdom but by the kingdom.
14 They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west;
together they will plunder the people to the east.
They will lay hands on Edom and Moab,
and the Ammonites will be subject to them.
Philistia, Edom, Moab, and Ammon represent the enemies of the kingdom. Isaiah’s vision is not of a reconstituted Israel which then becomes an oppressive conquering empire of its own. He is not saying, Move over Assyria and Babylon. Here comes the next bully on the block. It is a reminder, though that the kingdom, until the time of consummation, is a militant kingdom. It is not a kingdom that simply wards off attackers. It battles evil and enters evil territory to bring people who live there into its kingdom sanctuary.
Verse 15 presents the activity of the Lord to save his people and fight their enemies.
15 The LORD will dry up
the gulf of the Egyptian sea;
with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand
over the Euphrates River.
He will break it up into seven streams
so that men can cross over in sandals.
reference to Red Sea (Egypt) and Euphrates (Assyria and Babylon).
Concludes with reference to a highway for the people to return.
16 There will be a highway for the remnant of his people
that is left from Assyria,
as there was for Israel
when they came up from Egypt.
The exodus will be smooth, easy, and for many.
Some say, “See, it is happening. The nation of Israel has been reborn. Jews from nations all over the world are returning. It has successfully beaten back its enemies. This is the preparation for the great spiritual return of the Jewish people to the Lord when they follow the Messiah.