Commentary on the Lectionary: Isaiah 11:1-10
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Commentary on the Lectionary: Isaiah 11:1-10

This reading includes a favorite passage among those who hold that God cares about all that God has created. We read in verses 6-9 that at the end of the time “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb…” and all the creatures will coexist in peace. This vision reinforces Genesis 1:29-30, which shows that all a nonviolent, harmonious world is the biblical ideal. Not all people, and certainly not all nonhuman persons, can thrive on a plant-based diet today, but if we are to take the biblical witness seriously we should strive to live according to its highest ideals.
The first part of this passage discusses how the savior “shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist, and faithfulness the girdle of his loins.” (11:4-5) The power of the savior comes not from violence but from speaking and living with truth and righteousness. This is our call to active witness – to serve God by confronting the powers and principalities with our words and our deeds.
 Led by the savior, Isaiah foresaw a world of peace and harmony in which “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” (11:9). What is “the knowledge of the Lord”? I’ll reflect on that next essay. 

Go on to: The Knowledge of the Lord, part 1
Return to: Reflection on the Lectionary, Table of Contents 

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