Isaiah: Chapters 11 & 12 | The Wolfe Notes

Welcome, Family! We're spending 2024 with the prophet Isaiah. While we claim no expertise, we're excited to sit with you as we both learn at the feet of Jesus. Each month, we offer a calendar that outlines daily exercises (adapted from Jenn Wilkin's Women of the Word Bible study process) to progress through Isaiah. Download February's calendar to begin with us and witness what we uncovered in our weekly "Wolfe Note" postings.

A sparrow sings on a tree trunk with green background. Text overlay quotes Isaiah 12:2


  1. Different Versions Noting and clarifying differences between EXB & EHV.
  2. Annotation My thoughts, connections, clarifications, and questions.
  3. Research on Jesus' need for the Holy Spirit.
  4. Summary An approximately twenty word overview of the chapter.
  5. Memorize Why I chose to memorize Isaiah 12:2.
  6. Cross References Of Isaiah 12:2.
  7. Respond Based on reflections on God's character and my own.

Different Versions

I read Chapters 11 and 12 in the Expanded Bible (EXB) and the Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV). The EXB is more of a thought-for-thought translation that offers word-for-word perspectives and the EHV is a thought-for-thought translation.

Major differences I noticed (*My thoughts alone are in italics and designated with an asterisk.):
  • "The nations will come together around [the new king of the family of Jesse]." EXB vs. "The peoples will seek the Root of Jesse." EHV. Isaiah 11:10. *The EXB makes it sound like a response and the EHV like a quest. In Hebrew, it can be taken either way although most often is interpreted as a quest.
  • "Judah will have no more enemies" EXB vs. "those who persecute Judah will be cut off." EHV. Isaiah 11:13. *EXB makes it sound like everyone will just get along and the EHV like punishment will be issued. Other versions: Judah's enemies will be destroyed; They [Israel and Judah] will not be rivals anymore. The Hebrew word is karath meaning to cut off, or cut down. *The overall meaning seems to be that Judah and Israel will get along.
  • "The Lord, the Lord" EXB vs. "Yah, the Lord" EHV. Isaiah 12:2. Other versions say the Lord God; the Lord Jehovah; Yah - Yahweh Himself;  Jehovah, even Jehovah; Jah Jehovah. In Hebrew it is Yhvh or the proper name of the God of Israel. The Content Authority says both Jehovah and Yahweh are translations of YHWH. "Jehovah is often used by English-speaking Christians, while Yahweh is more commonly used by Jews and scholars of the Hebrew language". The article goes on to explain that Jehovah is often defined as "the existing one", or the self-existing one" and is powerful and just. While Yahweh means "I am who I am", is thought of as compassionate, merciful, and unchanging. Both often reference God in the Old Testament. *It appears to be a matter of preference. The name you choose signifies different meanings and you might attach more to one than another. Regardless, each title references the One True God.


Notes on my process*Denotes my thoughts alone. ! Denotes a connection. Researched quick answers are in italics. *Indicates a topic with more extensive notes under the research heading.
  1. Messianic Prophecy (11:1-4)
    1. Jesus will come from the house of Jesse.
    2. God's spirit will lead and instruct Him.
      1. Contrast with Isaiah 10:13 KJV: "For [the king of Assyria] saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man:" *Unlike the king of Assyria, Jesus will not act in His own strength, but in the strength of the Lord through the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
      2. Why would Jesus need to be taught? Wouldn't He know it? *R
    3. He will do God's will JOYfully and will judge fairly without deception.
      1. God does not see as man sees. Man looks at what is on the outside, but God judges the heart. (I Samuel 16:7)
  2. A Time of Peace (11:5-11)
    1. Peace will reign between animals and animals, animals and humans, and humans and humans.
      1. ? Is the belt of goodness and fairness connected at all to the belt of truth?
      2. ! Here reversing the curse in Genesis 3:15 KJV: And I will put enmity between thee [the serpent] and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
    2. All nations will gather around Him.
    3. He will collect His people from all the earth.
      1. ? Does this connect to the second coming?
  3. A Time of Cooperation (11:12-16)
    1. Israel and Judah will work together against their enemies.
      1. ! We are strangers in a strange land. (Exodus 2:22 & Hebrews 11:13)
      2. ! The fight is not between man, but between heaven and hell. (Ephesians 6:12)
    2. And the Lord will make a way for them to leave the land of their enemy.
      1. ? What is the significance of God making their escape through water? Is it connected to baptism?
      2. ? Is there historical evidence that the Euphrates split into seven rivers?
      3. ? Is there symbolism behind the Israelites being able to walk over the water with sandals on?
  4. A Song of Praise (Chapter 12)
    1. And then, they will sing praises of salvation with JOY.
      1. Is the water from the wellspring indication that they will never thirst again?
    2. They will sing loudly about the great things He has done.


*Thoughts that are mine alone are marked with an asterisk and italicized.
Why would Jesus need guidance from the Spirit to fear the Lord? As part of the trinity, wouldn't this be innate for Him?

Cross References

  • About Anointings
    • I Samuel 16:13 EHV: So Samuel took the horn with the oil in it, and poured the special oil on Jesse's youngest son in front of his brothers. The Spirit of the Lord came on David with great power from that day on. Then Samuel went back home to Ramah.
    • Matthew 3:16 EXB: As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water. Then heaven [the sky/heavens] opened, and he [Jesus] saw God's Spirit coming down [descending and lighting/settling] on him like a dove [either in the form of a dove, or in bird-like descent].
    • Isaiah 61:1 EHV The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me [Jesus] to tell good news to the poor and to comfort those who are sad. He sent me to tell the captives and the prisoners that they have been set free.
    • Deuteronomy 34:9 EHV Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him, so the people of Israel listened to him and did just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
    • 2 Peter 1:21 EXB No prophecy ever came from what a person wanted to say [human will/intention], but people led [carried; moved] by the Holy Spirit spoke words from God. [True prophecy originates with God, not with the prophet.]
  • About the Spirit
    • John 16:13 EHV: But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own, but whatever he hears he will speak. He will also declare to you what is to come.
    • Ephesians 1:17 EHV: I keep praying that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, will give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in knowing Christ fully.
    • John 14:17 EHV: He is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see him or know him. You know him because he stays with you and will be in you.
    • John 15:26 EHV: "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father - the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father - he will testify about me
  • Ellicott bids us to remember:
    • Judges 11:29 KJV: Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon.
    • Judges 13:25 KJV: And the Spirit of the LORD began to move [Samson] at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol. 
  • Pulpit and Barnes agree that the Holy Spirit resting on Jesus was a requirement because of His human nature.
    • Unlike many men, though, who "resist the spirit", in Jesus' case the spirit was permanent and enduring. It rested on Him.
    • Gill adds, the spirit qualified Him for office from the womb, it rested on Him, and He was anointed by it.
  • Jamieson-Faussett-Brown and Keil and Delitzsch note that there are seven gifts specified, meaning perfection was to rest in Him. Also explained at Learn Religions.
    • The seven gifts are: wisdom & understanding for intellectual life; counsel & might for practical life; knowledge & fear of Jehovah for relationship with God; and *discernment for righteous judgment (as described in verse 3&4: "he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears but with righteousness shall he judge") Other commentators list piety, but I think discernment makes more sense.
    • Compare with the seven spirits in Revelation 1:4, the seven lamps in Revelation 4:5, the Lamb with seven horns and seven eyes which are the seven spirits of God in Revelation 5:6.
    • The prophets only had a portion of the fullness found in the Son of God:
      • John 1:16 EHV: For out of [Jesus Christ's] fullness we have all received grace upon grace.
      • John 3:34-35 EXB: [For] The One [Jesus Christ] whom God sent speaks the words of God, because God gives him the Spirit fully [without measure/limit]. The Father loves the Son and has given him power over everything [authority over all; all things into his hands].
      • Colossians 1:19 KJV: For it please d the Father that in him [Christ] should all fulness dwell;
*Conclusions: Each part of the trinity serves a specific purpose. The Spirit's purpose is directing. Jesus' humanity required the Spirit's direction to align with God's will. Asking why Jesus needs the Spirit, is akin to asking why Jesus needs God. C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity pp 175-176, explains the Trinity this way: "If you think of the Father as something 'out there', in front of you, and of the Son as someone standing at your side, helping you to pray, trying to turn you into another son, then you have to think of the third Person as something inside you, or behind you." This description aids me in visualizing and processing the roles of the three.


The Prince of Peace will come and reign. Your response will be praise for the great things He has done.


I chose to memorize Isaiah 12:2.
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

I need this reminder: Do not fear! Look to the rock who saves you. Stand in strength; sing with JOY!

Cross References

*Thoughts that are mine alone are marked with an asterisk and italicized.

To Isaiah 12:2

Behold, God is my salvation....

*Look at what I've experienced, I know He is my salvation.

  • Parting the sea to save the Israelites from enslavement. (Exodus 14)
  • Opening Hannah's womb to save her from depression. (1 Samuel 1)
  • How He moves in my life, answering prayer (Matthew 7:11), guiding me (Psalm 121:5-8), holding me close (Psalm 73:23).
  • Cleave to it, for when we forget our harvest will come to nothing. We will know grief and desperate sorrow. (Isaiah 17:10)
...I will trust and not be afraid; 

*When I am afraid, I will choose to trust in You and let the trust drive the fear away.

    • There is no fear in love, but complete love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who continues to be afraid has not been brought to the goal in love. I John 4:18 EHV
    • Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be overwhelmed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 EHV
    • When I am afraid, I will trust [have confidence in] you. I praise God for his word. I trust God, so I am not afraid. What can human beings [flesh] do to me? Psalm 56:3-4 EXB ( "You are my Hiding Place" performed by Selah)
    ...for the Lord JEHOVAH... 

    *Remember who He is.

    • Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength: Isaiah 26:4 KJV
    • That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth. Psalm 83:18 KJV my strength and my song;

    *As my voice joins the voices of Moses, of Hannah, of David, of Mary, and of all the saints.

    • Moses: "The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him." Exodus 15:2 KJV
    • And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. I Samuel 2:1 KJV
    • David: "The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation:" Psalm 118:14 KJV
    • And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my savior. Luke 1:46-47
    • For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Psalm 149:4-5 KJV
    ...he also is become my salvation.

    *Though many do not see it now, they will see it then.

    • But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end...Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. Isaiah 45:17, 22-24 KJV
    • That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11 KJV
    Conclusions: "How great is our God, sing with me. How great is our God, and all will see how great, how great is our God!" ("How Great Is Our God" Performed by Chris Tomlin)



    1. God has the perfect solution to every problem. I certainly do not. I don't even really know what I am doing half the time and live most of my life "faithing it" until I make it. Which I must continue to do. I must continue handing my problems to God and trust that He is working everything to good.
    2. God works for our restoration, our unity. I struggle to be a complete, singular person. To find unity with God, myself, and others, I must obey what God says, even when it doesn't make sense to me. I must rally around people who seek to do the same.
    3. God reveals His character in His actions. So do I. To build a foundation of faith, I must remember what God has done and look for what He is doing. To point others to Jesus, I must consider what my words, thoughts, and actions reveal about my relationship with Jesus. Am I singing God's praises? In spirit and truth?

    In Closing

    God, You are so good! You long for us and You work tirelessly to hold us together, to bring us back to you. Thank you! Open my eyes to Your work in my life. Fill my mouth, mind, and heart with words that overflow with the JOY and wonder of You: The Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light in the Darkness. My strength. My song. My God!

    Learning with You,

    Are you ready for chapters 13 & 14?

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