Week Two: Wisdom – Isaiah: 11:1-3a and Proverbs: 9:10

Verse to memorize

“The beginning of wisdom is fear of the LORD” Prov. 9:10

Seven hundred and fifty years before the birth of Jesus, the Kingdom of Israel was in very poor shape. Ten of the 12 tribes of Israel had been conquered and deported by the Assyrians to NE Mesopotamia, leaving only the kingdom of Judah (and tiny Benjamin) as vassals of the Assyrian king. God sent a very great prophet to Judah, named Isaiah of Jerusalem, who warned the remaining Israelites to turn away from sin and obey God the Father (whom he called, “The Holy One of Israel”) and then God would help them. In this passage, God promises to send a future king (or messiah) and descendent of the great King David, son of Jesse of Bethlehem. This future messiah would have many gifts.

Passage 1

Isaiah Ch. 11:1-3a:
But a shoot shall sprout out from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD. (NAB)


1.) Isaiah wrote his prophecies in poetry. He compares the weak kings of his time to a stump of a live tree that has been cut down. Q: Is the tree stump dead?

No, it still has roots.

Have you ever seen a tree stump sprout leaves a couple of years later?

Well, in the family “tree” of the powerful and faithful King David who had ruled over 200 years earlier, all the kings who came after him got weaker and weaker and offended God through sin and ignoring the poor.

2.) In the “stump” metaphor of Jesse (father of David), what do you think the “shoot” stands for?

A new prince

3.) The new prince of Israel, what qualities or gifts will he have according to the promise of God through the mouth of His prophet Isaiah?

Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Strength (also called Fortitude), Knowledge and Fear of the Lord. (The Greek version of the Old Testament adds one more gift, Piety)

4.) This prophecy of Isaiah came true in a direct descendant of David 750 years later in Bethlehem. What was His name?

Jesus of Nazareth.

5.) The gifts promised for the new King: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord, what do Christians call them today?

The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

6) Which one is first?


Passage 2

Book of Proverbs 9:10

The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (NAB)


The Bible includes many different types of writing: law books, poetry, historical books, songs, prophetical books, letters, gospels, teaching stories (like Jonah, Judith and Esther) and wisdom books. The Book of Proverbs is a wisdom book, written for instruction by a teacher.

1) What is wisdom?

Wisdom is the kind of learning that comes from the experience of observing the order of God’s creation and drawing conclusions from it about how one should live one’s life. This includes the recognition that God is behind the creation. God has created with wisdom and order. The wise person will acknowledge God and follow God’s plan.

2) What is a proverb?

A short, wise saying your parents or grandparents might repeat to you, for example: “Waste not, want not”; or “A stitch in time saves nine.”

Can you think of another proverb?

3) The Book of Proverbs says, “Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” And Isaiah says Fear of the LORD is a gift of the Holy Spirit. How could fear be a gift of the Holy Spirit?

Fear of the Lord is not the kind of fear that scares us; it is a holy fear, a feeling of awe or reverence for the power and goodness of God.

How can this holy awe be the beginning of wisdom?

Once we have awe of God, we will see ourselves in right relation to God and His plan. Then we will want to go on seeking and finding more truths about ourselves, the world and God.


Courtesy of The Bible Project