Isaiah 11:13
The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.
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(13) The envy also of Ephraim shall depart . . .—The prophet’s vision of the future would not have been complete if national unity had not been included in it. He looked back on the history of the past, and saw almost from the first the deep line of cleavage between north and south, Israel and Judah. Century by century the chasm had grown deeper and wider; sub-sections of antagonism had increased its bitterness (Isaiah 9:21); but in the times of the Christ the sense of unity should be stronger than the old hostilities. The prophet’s hope connects itself with Hezekiah’s efforts after a restored unity (2Chronicles 30:1-12). The “envy” of Ephraim “is, as the parallelism shows, that of which Ephraim was the object. By a subtle turn of thought, however, the latter half of the verse represents Ephraim as not feeling envy or ill-will against Judah, i.e., he is neither object nor subject, and Judah, free from its own adversaries, is no longer an adversary to Ephraim.

Isaiah 11:13-14. The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, &c. — Ephraim here stands for the ten tribes and the prophet alludes to the great emulations and contentions which had subsisted between them and Judah: but his intention is to set forth the spiritual state of the Jews after their conversion to the faith of the gospel, which he predicts, 1st, “That all envy shall be extinguished among them, and a true brotherly love shall fill their souls; and, 2d, That, joined to the Gentiles, they shall strenuously defend the cause of Christ and his kingdom against the enemies and opposers of it.” Ephraim shall not envy Judah, &c. — Not only all outward hostilities shall cease, but also their inward animosities. But they shall fly upon the shoulders, &c. — This is a metaphor taken from birds and beasts of prey, which commonly fasten on the shoulders of cattle. They shall spoil them of the east together — They shall subdue them; which is to be understood of the spiritual victory which the Messiah should obtain by his apostles, ministers, and people, over all nations, in bringing them to the obedience of his gospel. For it is the manner of the prophets to speak of the spiritual things of the gospel under such figurative representations. Indeed, as a late writer observes, this fourteenth verse can be understood in no other than a spiritual and mystical sense, to signify that those who are called by the gospel, and converted to Christ, shall be full of zeal for his glory, and shall labour with all their might to reduce to the obedience of Christ all individuals and nations around them.11:10-16 When the gospel should be publicly preached, the Gentiles would seek Christ Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, and find rest of soul. When God's time is come for the deliverance of his people, mountains of opposition shall become plains before him. God can soon turn gloomy days into glorious ones. And while we expect the Lord to gather his ancient people, and bring them home to his church, also to bring in the fulness of the Gentiles, when all will be united in holy love, let us tread the highway of holiness he has made for his redeemed. Let us wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life, looking to him to prepare our way through death, that river which separates this world from the eternal world.The envy also - The word "envy" here, is used in the sense of "hatred," or the hatred which arose from the "ambition" of Ephraim, and from the "prosperity" of Judah. Ephraim here, is the name for the kingdom of Israel, or the ten tribes. The reasons of their envy and enmity toward Judah, all arising from their ambition, were the following:

(1) This tribe, in connection with those which were allied to it, constituted a very large and flourishing part of the Jewish nation. They were, therefore, envious of any other tribe that claimed any superiority, and particularly jealous of Judah.

(2) they occupied a central and commanding position in Judea, and naturally claimed the pre-eminence over the tribes on the north.

(3) they had been formerly highly favored by the abode of the ark and the tabernacle among them, and, on that account, claimed to be the natural "head" of the nation; Joshua 18:1, Joshua 18:8, Joshua 18:10; Judges 18:31; Judges 21:19; 1 Samuel 1:3, 1 Samuel 1:24.

(4) when Saul was king, though he was of the tribe of Benjamin 1 Samuel 9:2, they submitted peaceably to his reign, because the Benjaminites were in alliance with them, and adjacent to them. But when Saul died, and the kingdom passed into the hands of David, of the tribe of Judah, their natural rival, thus exalting that powerful tribe, they became dissatisfied and restless. David kept the nation united; but on his death, they threw off the yoke of his successor, and became a separate kingdom. From this time, their animosities and strifes became an importer and painful part of the history of the Jewish nation, until the kingdom of Ephraim was removed. The language here is evidently figurative, and means, that in the time here referred to under the messiah, the causes of animosity, before existing, would cease; that contentions between those who are, by nature, brethren, and who ought to evince the spirit of brethren, would come to an end; and that those animosities and strike would be succeeded by a state of amity and peace. When the scattered Jews shall be regathered to God under the Messiah, all the contentions among them shall cease, and they shall be united under one king and prince. All the causes of contention which had so long existed, and which had produced such disastrous results, would come to an end. The strifes and contentions of these two kingdoms, once belonging to the same nation, and descended from the same ancestors - the painful and protracted "family broil" - was the object that most prominently attracted the attention, then, of the prophets of God. The most happy idea of future blessedness which was presented to the mind of the prophet, was that period when all this should cease, and when, under the Messiah, all should be harmony and love.

And the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off - That is, Judah shall be safe; the people of God shall be delivered from their enemies - referring to the future period under the Messiah, when the church should be universally prosperous.

Judah shall not vex Ephraim - Shall not oppress, disturb, or oppose. There shall be peace between them. The church prospers only when contentions and strifes cease; when Christians lay aside their animosities, and love as brethren, and are "united" in the great work of spreading the gospel around the world. That time will yet come. When that time comes, the kingdom of the Son of God will be established. "Until" that time, it will be in vain that the effort is made to bring the world to the knowledge of the truth; or if not wholly in vain, the efforts of Christians who seek the conversion of the world will be retarded, embarrassed, and greatly enfeebled. How devoutly, therefore, should every friend of the Redeemer pray, that all causes of strife may cease, and that his people may be united, as the heart of one man, in the effort to bring the whole world to the knowledge of the truth.

13. envy … of Ephraim … Judah—which began as early as the time (Jud 8:1; 12:1, &c.). Joshua had sprung from, and resided among the Ephraimites (Nu 13:9; Jos 19:50); the sanctuary was with them for a time (Jos 18:1). The jealousy increased subsequently (2Sa 2:8, &c.; 19:41; 20:2; 3:10); and even before David's time (1Sa 11:8; 15:4), they had appropriated to themselves the national name Israel. It ended in disruption (1Ki 11:26, &c.; 1Ki 12:1-33; compare 2Ki 14:9; Ps 78:56-71).

adversaries of Judah—rather, "the adversaries from Judah"; those of Judah hostile to the Ephraimites [Maurer]. The parallelism "the envy of Ephraim," namely, against Judah, requires this, as also what follows; namely, "Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim" (Eze 37:15, 17, 19).

Of Ephraim, i.e. of the ten tribes, frequently called by the name of Ephraim, as hath been already and frequently observed, between whom and Judah there were great emulations and contentions. Shall depart; of enemies they shall be made friends, and of wolves lambs, as was said before on Isaiah 11:6; they shall be united together in one church, under the Messiah, keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

The adversaries of Judah; not the body of Ephraim, for they are supposed to be reconciled, and they shall not be cut off, but live in love with Judah, as we see by the next clause; but those few of them which possibly may continue in their enmity against them, together with all the rest of their adversaries.

Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim; not only all outward hostilities shall cease, but also their inward animosities. The envy also of Ephraim shall depart,.... With which it envied Judah, on account of the kingdom of the house of David, and the temple being in that tribe; not that this is the thing intended, only alluded to; the meaning is, that whatever envy or jealousy subsisted in the Gentile against the Jew, or in the Jew against the Gentile, should be no more, when gathered into one Gospel church state; or whatever of this kind has appeared in one Christian church, or denomination among Christians, against another, shall cease, when the Gospel in its power and purity shall more generally take place, and the earth shall be filled with it:

and the adversaries of Judah, or of God's professing people,

shall be cut off; and be no more, as the Turks and Papists:

Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim; this is repeated for the confirmation of it; and the sense is, that all animosities, contentions, and discords, shall cease among the people of God, and there shall be entire peace and harmony among them. Jarchi interprets this of the two Messiahs, Messiah ben Joseph, and Messiah ben Judah, the Jews dream of.

The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of {h} Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not distress Ephraim.

(h) Here he describes the consent that will be in his Church and their victory against their enemies.

13. The parallelism seems to demand that the adversaries of Judah be explained as gen. of the subject (those in Judah that are adversaries to Ephraim). This is not very natural, but it is certainly better than to take envy of Ephraim as gen. of obj. (envy felt by Judah towards Ephraim).

shall not vex] shall not oppress. It is the verb of which “adversaries” is the participle. The ascription of “oppression” to Judah and “envy” to Ephraim is hardly consistent with the relative importance of the two states previous to 722. At the same time there seems to be here a clear allusion to ch. Isaiah 9:9-12; Isaiah 9:20.

13, 14. The healing of the breach between the Northern and Southern kingdoms, and their joint conquest of the neighbouring peoples.Verse 13. - The envy also of Ephraim shall depart. In the kingdom of the Prince of Peace there shall no longer be quarrels or jealousies among the members. Old feuds shall be put aside; the northern and southern tribes shall agree together, and there shall be peace and harmony throughout the entire Church. Adversaries of Judah. If any such remain among the Ephraimites, Divine vengeance shall "cut them off," that there be no open disturbance of the harmony. The fruit of righteousness is peace, which now reigns in humanity under the rule of the Prince of Peace, and even in the animal world, with nothing whatever to disturb it. "And the wolf dwells with the lamb, and the leopard lies down with the kid; and calf and lion and stalled ox together: a little boy drives them. And cow and bear go to the pasture; their young ones lie down together: and the lion eats shopped straw like the ox. And the suckling plays by the hole of the adder, and the weaned child stretches its hand to the pupil of the basilisk-viper. They will not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the land is filled with knowledge of Jehovah, like the waters covering the sea." The fathers, and such commentators as Luther, Calvin, and Vitringa, have taken all these figures from the animal world as symbolical. Modern rationalists, on the other hand, understand them literally, but regard the whole as a beautiful dream and wish. It is a prophecy, however, the realization of which is to be expected on this side of the boundary between time and eternity, and, as Paul has shown in Romans 8, is an integral link in the predestined course of the history of salvation (Hengstenberg, Umbreit, Hofmann, Drechsler). There now reign among irrational creatures, from the greatest to the least, - even among such as are invisible, - fierce conflicts and bloodthirstiness of the most savage kind. But when the Son of David enters upon the full possession of His royal inheritance, the peace of paradise will be renewed, and all that is true in the popular legends of the golden age be realized and confirmed. This is what the prophet depicts in such lovely colours. The wolf and lamb, those two hereditary foes, will be perfectly reconciled then. The leopard will let the teazing kid lie down beside it. The lion, between the calf and stalled ox, neither seizes upon its weaker neighbour, nor longs for the fatter one. Cow and bear graze together, whilst their young ones lie side beside in the pasture. The lion no longer thirsts for blood, but contents itself, like the ox, with chopped straw. The suckling pursues its sport (pilpel of שׁעע, mulcere) by the adder's hole, and the child just weaned stretches out its hand boldly and fearlessly to me'ūrath tziph‛ōni. It is evident from Jeremiah 8:17 that tziph‛ōni is the name of a species of snake. According to Aquila and the Vulgate, it is basiliskos, serpens regulus, possibly from tzaph, to pipe or hiss (Ges., Frst); for Isidorus, in his Origg. xii. 4, says, Sibilus idem est qui et regulus; sibilo enim occidit, antequam mordeat vel exurat. For the hapax leg. hâdâh, the meaning dirigere, tendere, is established by the Arabic; but there is all the more uncertainty about the meaning of the hap. leg. מאורה. According to the parallel חר, it seems to signify the hollow (Syr., Vulg., lxx, κοίτη): whether from אּוּר equals עוּר, from which comes מערה; or from אור, the light-hole (like מאור, which occurs in the Mishna, Ohaloth xiii. 1) or opening where a cavern opens to the light of day. It is probable, however, that me'ūrâh refers to something that exerts an attractive influence upon the child, either the "blending of colours" (Saad. renders tziph‛oni, errakas', the motley snake), or better still, the "pupil of the eye" (Targum), taking the word as a feminine of mâ'ōr, the light of the eye (b. Erubin 55b - the power of vision). The look of a snake, more especially of the basilisk (not merely the basilisk-lizard, but also the basilisk-viper), was supposed to have a paralyzing and bewitching influence; but now the snake will lose this pernicious power (Isaiah 65:25), and the basilisk become so tame and harmless, as to let children handle its sparkling eyes as if they were jewels. All this, as we should say with Luthardt and Hofmann (Schriftbeweis, ii. 2, 567), is only colouring which the hand of the prophet employs, for the purpose of painting the peace of that glorified state which surpasses all possibility of description; and it is unquestionably necessary to take the thought of the promise in a spiritual sense, without adhering literally to the medium employed in expressing it. But, on the other hand, we must guard against treating the description itself as merely a drapery thrown around the actual object; whereas it is rather the refraction of the object in the mind of the prophet himself, and therefore a manifestation of the true nature of that which he actually saw.

But are the animals to be taken as the subject in Isaiah 11:9 also? The subject that most naturally suggests itself is undoubtedly the animals, of which a few that are alarming and destructive to men have been mentioned just before. And the fact that they really are thought of as the subject, is confirmed by Isaiah 65:25, where Isaiah 11:6-9 is repeated in a compendious form. The idea that ירעוּ requires men as the subject, is refuted by the common רעה חיּה (compare the parallel promise in Ezekiel 34:25, which rests upon Hosea 2:20). That the term yashchithu can be applied to animals, is evident from Jeremiah 2:30, and may be assumed as a matter of course. But if the animals are the subject, har kodshi (my holy mountain) is not Zion-Moriah, upon which wild beasts never made their home in historical times; but, as the generalizing col (all) clearly shows, the whole of the holy mountain-land of Israel: har kodshi has just this meaning in Isaiah 57:13 (cf., Psalm 78:54; Exodus 15:17). The fact that peace prevails in the animal world, and also peace between man and beast, is then attributed to the universal prevalence of the knowledge of God, in consequence of which that destructive hostility between the animal world and man, by which estrangement and apostasy from God were so often punished (2 Kings 17:25; Ezekiel 14:15, etc.: see also Isaiah 7:24), have entirely come to an end. The meaning of "the earth" is also determined by that of "all my holy mountain." The land of Israel, the dominion of the Son of David in the more restricted sense, will be from this time forward the paradisaical centre, as it were, of the whole earth - a prelude of its future state of perfect and universal glorification (Isaiah 6:3, "all the earth"). It has now become full of "the knowledge of Jehovah," i.e., of that experimental knowledge which consists in the fellowship of love (דעה, like לדה, is a secondary form of דעת, the more common infinitive or verbal noun from ידע: Ges. 133, 1), like the waters which cover the sea, i.e., bottom of the sea (compare Habakkuk 2:14, where lâda‛ath is a virtual accusative, full of that which is to be known). "Cover:" cissâh l' (like sâcac l', Psalm 91:4), signifies to afford a covering to another; the Lamed is frequently introduced with a participle (in Arabic regularly) as a sign of the object (Ewald, 292, e), and the omission of the article in the case of mecassim is a natural consequence of the inverted order of the words.

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