And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse,.... The Messiah, so called, either with respect to his human nature, who was to spring from Jesse; so the Targum,
"and there shall be at that time a son of the sons of Jesse;'
who, when incarnate, was like a root under ground, hidden to men, as to the glory of his person, and the fulness of his grace, and was mean, abject, and contemptible in their view; or rather with respect to his divine nature, just as he is called "the root and offspring of David", Revelation 5:5 the former as God, the latter as man; and so the phrase may denote his eternity, being before Jesse, or any other man or creature whatever; and his being the Creator and preserver of all, of Jesse, and of all others; and, as Mediator, he is the root from whom Jesse, and all the elect of God, are; they have their being in him; they are rooted and grounded in him; and are bore by him as the branches by the root; and they have their life and nourishment, their fruitfulness, holiness, and perseverance therein from him. This is understood of the Messiah, by ancient and modern JewsF5Zohar in Exod. fol. 71. 1. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 98. fol. 85. 3. Midrash in Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 97. 2. Baal Hatturim in Numb. 26. 10. :
which shall stand for an ensign of the people; in the ministration of the Gospel, for the gathering of the people of God to him, to enlist in his service, and fight under his banner, where they may be sure of victory; an ensign set up, a banner displayed, is for the gathering of soldiers together; it is a sign of preparation for war, and an encouragement to it; and is sometimes done when victory is obtained, see Isaiah 5:26 and is a direction where soldiers should stand, when they should march, and who they should follow, as well as it serves to distinguish one company from another; and of all this use is the preaching of Christ and his Gospel:
to it shall the Gentiles seek; that is, to Christ, signified by the root of Jesse, and set up for an ensign of the people; being sought out by him in redemption and calling, and being sensible of their need of him, and that there is something valuable in him, having had a manifestation of him to them; and therefore seek to him, not out of curiosity, nor with worldly views, nor in the last, but in the first place, and chiefly; not hypocritically, but sincerely, and with their whole hearts; not carelessly, but diligently and constantly; not partially, but for everything they want; principally for the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, for eternal glory and happiness, and for a justifying righteousness, as the title to it: or to him shall they "betake themselves"F6דרש "non significat quaerre, sed tendere, aut se confere", Bootius, Animadv. l. 1. c. 5. sect. 6. , see Deuteronomy 12:5 as to an ensign, standard bearer, captain-general, leader and commander of the people; or as to a stronghold, for protection from enemies; or as to a city of refuge, to secure from avenging justice and wrath to come; and, under a sense of danger and ruin, to one that is able to save; and for help to one that is mighty; or him "shall" they "consult"F7"Ad eum consulent", Junius. ; or seek to him for advice and counsel, see Isaiah 8:19 who is a most proper person to be consulted on all occasions, he being the wonderful Counsellor, Isaiah 9:6. This is a prophecy of the calling of the Gentiles, and which had its accomplishment, in part, in the first times of the Gospel, and will be completely fulfilled in the last days:
and his rest shall be glorious; either that which Christ gives to those that seek unto him, and which is both a spiritual rest here, from the burden and guilt of sin, and the tyrannical power of it; from the bondage, curse, and condemnation of the law; from a sense of divine wrath; and a rest in afflictions, though not from them; and an eternal rest hereafter, a "rest in glory"F8So Ben Melech observes that ב is wanting, and the sense is בכבוד, "in", or, "with glory". ; as the words may be rendered here; it will be a glorious one, the bodies of the saints at death rest in the grave, and their souls in the arms of Jesus; and after the resurrection, body and soul will rest together from sin and Satan, from unbelief, doubts, and fears, and from all enemies; or else this rest is what Christ himself enjoys. Some understand it of his death, which, though ignominious in itself, yet glorious in its consequences; a glorious display of the condescension and love of Christ was made in it; and glorious things have been effected by it: others, of his grave, which was an honourable man's; his grave was made with the rich; though perhaps better of his rest in glory; when he had done his work, and sat down at the right hand of God, he was crowned with glory and honour; or rather it may design his church, which is his rest, Psalms 132:13 which is glorious, with his righteousness, grace, and presence, and being put in order by him, as an army with banners; and especially it will be, when all the glorious things spoken of it shall be fulfilled.