What is Isaiah 11:6-9?
This is a messianic prophecy about Jesus, the Lord and Messiah. But the passage you mention talks more about his kingdom, whether here on earth or in heaven. It may be both. But let’s take a look at the whole passage.
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:1–9, ESV)
The first verse tells us that the Messiah is coming. The Messiah will come from the root of Jesse, beginning with the line of David. God promises David in the Davidic covenant that he will prosper his family line and that a son of David will always sit on the throne of Israel (2 Samuel 7).
Jesus comes from the line of David, born in the city of Bethlehem to two Bethlehemites in the line of David (Joseph and Mary). Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy in Isaiah 11. He comes from the line of Jesse and David.
And he sits on the throne of David forever over God’s people Israel. So this is a messianic prophecy about Jesus and his reign forever. Further, Isaiah 11:2 tells us that he will rule with the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon him. Isaiah gives seven descriptions of the Holy Spirit, the number of perfection in the Bible.
Isaiah 11:3 tells us that Jesus will rule and judge, not by his own ability but by the ability of the Holy Spirit and God. He will delight in the fear of the Lord because it is worship and reverence for his name as he rules.
Isaiah 11:4 describes his reign as ruling with righteousness and equity (justice). He will roll with wisdom and will judge properly because of the insight of God in him. His judgments will be pure, impartial. Everyone will receive exactly what they deserve. But he will also judge with mercy.
His lips and the breath of his mouth refer to his decrees, the things he speaks as king. They will be righteous decrees that will make the wicked wish for the days that we live in now. No longer will the wicked be able to get ahead with unjust means.
He will act and walk (live) in righteousness and faithfulness to God’s people (Isaiah 11:5). He will demonstrate the one thing the kings of Israel could never get right. One may be good at this part or another at this part, but only Jesus will be the king that the Israelites wanted from the beginning.
The passage from Isaiah 11:6-9 speaks of the innocence that Jesus restores through his rule. His kingdom will be one that returns to the pre–Fall of Man time. It will be the Paradise of the Garden of Eden once again.
The violence and retribution that sin has brought into the world will once again be removed. We often hear of the lion lying with the lamb, but the Bible says that the wolf will lie with the lamb. Usually the wolf is the hunter and the Lamb is its prey. But no longer (Isaiah 11:6).
Isaiah continues with prey and predator images for animals. Each one represents the reversal in the kingdom of Jesus from the kingdoms of today. More than anything, the little human child leading all of these animals shows that they are all living in complete peace.
Isaiah 11:7 continues the imagery of prey and predator alike. Even the young of these predators and their prey will live in harmony together. And the lion, a carnivore in our age, will eat straw and no longer long to chew up his prey.
Isaiah 11:8 introduces the human child who will be able to be around snakes, poisonous ones, then no longer harm human beings. This is a reversal of what the serpent did in the Garden of Eden, where it led humanity astray.
The knowledge of God will fill the entire Earth and it will act accordingly. Creation responds to the knowledge of God. God will finally have the peace and harmony between all of his creatures. Everything that sin stole, it will be reversed.
As I said earlier, Isaiah 11:9 spells out the imagery we have seen throughout the chapter so far. There is no destruction or harm that comes to anyone in the kingdom of Jesus. Whether this refers to his earthly millennial reign or what it will be like in heaven, anyone who knows Jesus will be able to find out for themselves.