The branch of the Lord
In spite of the severity of the warning in 2:6–4:1, Isaiah wanted to make it clear that the nation’s present pride will not defeat God’s ultimate plan to establish his glorious kingdom in the future.
This section itself (4:2–6) contains a note of judgment in v.4; but clearly the Day of the Lord, though basically judgmental, introduces also the salvation that is the sequel and consequence of God’s cleansing act.
THE OBSCURITY OF THE BRANCH OF THE LORD: WHO OR WHAT IS THE BRANCH OF THE LORD? (V. 2)
What are we to believe about the branch of the Lord?
Three questions need to be asked to decide which interpretation fits best in this context: (a) Are there earlier passages before the time of Isaiah that give a messianic meaning to the verb ṣemaḥ, “spring forth,” a word that is from the same root as the noun “branch?” (b) Does Isaiah or other later authors use this term (or related terms) to refer to the Messiah, thus providing a later biblical commentary on what the biblical authors thought “branch” means? And (c) does the messianic meaning “Branch of the LORD” or the agricultural meaning “fruit of the land” fit the context in Isaiah 4:2–6 better?
The word ṣemaḥ (“branch”) occurs in four verses (Jer 23:5; 33:15; Zech 3:8; 6:12) as a technical messianic designation.
A better solution is to conclude that the two clauses in 4:2 refer to two parallel acts of God that will transform Zion. God will (a) cause his messianic Branch to spring forth, and also (b) bring marvelous fertility to the produce of the field. This interpretation shows how God will reverse the situation in 2:6–4:1. He will (a) replace the proud leaders of his people and give them a new leader, the Branch of the Lord, and (b) replace the ruin, devastation, and shame of the destroyed land with lush crops that will have great fertility.
THE PEOPLE OF THE BRANCH OF THE LORD: WHAT WILL THE BRANCH OF THE LORD DO?
The divine presence demonstrates God’s acceptance and nearness to his holy people. The surprising difference is that God’s presence will not be limited to a temple building; it will be like a canopy over the whole of Zion (cf. 60:1–2; 62:2; Ezek 39:25–29), because all of Zion and its people will be holy