Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Tree of Jesse

(Hebrew: ישי Yishay) refers to a passage in the biblical Book of Isaiah which metaphorically describes the descent of the Messiah and is accepted by Christians as pertaining to Jesus, and is often represented in art, particularly in that of the Medieval period, the earliest dating from the 11th century.
1 "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.

2 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.

3 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," (Isaiah 11:1-3 ESV)
  • And there shall come forth  (יצא yatsa')
  • a rod (חטר choter)
  • out of the stem (גזע geza`)
  • of Jesse, (ישי Yishay)
  • and a Branch (נצר netser)
  • shall grow (פרה parah)
  • out of his roots: (שרש sheresh)
  • And the spirit (רוח ruwach)
  • of the LORD (יהוה Yĕhovah)
  • shall rest (נוח nuwach)
  • upon him, the spirit (רוח ruwach)
  • of wisdom (חכמה chokmah)
  • and understanding, (בינה biynah)
  • the spirit (רוח ruwach)
  • of counsel (עצה `etsah)
  • and might, (גבורה gĕbuwrah)
  • the spirit (רוח ruwach)
  • of knowledge (דעת da`ath)
  • and of the fear (יראה yir'ah)
  • of the LORD;(יהוה Yĕhovah)
  • And shall make him of quick understanding (ריח ruwach)
  • in the fear (יראה yir'ah)
  • of the LORD: (יהוה Yĕhovah)
  • and he shall not judge (שפט shaphat)
  • after the sight (מראה mar'eh)
  • of his eyes, (עין `ayin)
  • neither reprove (יכח yakach)
  • after the hearing (משמע mishma`)
  • of his ears: (אזן 'ozen)
  • —English KJV
In the above passage, the Messiah is called a Shoot (or Rod), and a Branch. The words are to symbolize a small, frail outgrowth easily broken off. He emerges from the stem of Jesse at a time when the royal family was chopped down, almost to the ground. It would bud again. At the time of Christ's birth, the house of David was brought very low. So Jesus announced, early, that His kingdom was not of this world.

In the New Testament the lineage of Jesus is traced by two of the Gospel writers, Matthew and Luke. Luke describes the "generations of Christ" in Luke 3:23-38, beginning with:
23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,
But his family went back through Heli, and tracing backwards through his "earthly father," Joseph, all the way back to Adam.

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