Isaiah 11:3

Hebrew Bible

1 A shoot will grow out of Jesse’s root stock, a bud will sprout from his roots. 2 The Lord’s Spirit will rest on him—a Spirit that gives extraordinary wisdom, a Spirit that provides the ability to execute plans, a Spirit that produces absolute loyalty to the Lord. 3 His smelling is in the fear of the Lord7. He will not judge by mere appearances or make decisions on the basis of hearsay.

LXX Isaiah 11:3


1 And a rod shall come out of the root of Iessai, and a blossom shall come up out of his root. 2 And the spirit of God shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and godliness. 3 The spirit of the fear of God will fill him. He shall not judge on the basis of repute or convict on the basis of report,

 Notes and References

"... Isaiah 11:3 has been interpreted in different ways, reflecting the ambiguity of the word ַוהֲִריחוֹ (smell, spirit). Scholarly treatments have especially dealt with the lexical ambiguity, particularly with regard to whether ַוהֲִריחוֹ should be understood in relation to the meaning of ‘spirit’ or ‘scent.’ This paper follows Ian D. Ritchie in suggesting that the translation choice reflects cultural attitudes towards the sense of smell. In his paper, “The Nose Knows: Bodily Knowing in Isaiah 11:3,” Ritchie contrasts the interpretation of the Septuagint with that of the Babylonian Talmud. In the Septuagint the phrase, ַוהֲִריחוֹבְִּיְראַתְיהָוה is translated as “The spirit of the fear of God will fill him,” while in the Babylonian Talmud (henceforth: Bavli), Rava suggests that the verse means that the messiah will judge by smelling (b. Sanhedrin 93b). Ritchie contends that these divergent interpretations reflect different cultural contexts. The Bavli came together in the third through sixth centuries ce, in Sasanian Babylonia, while the Septuagint originated in the third through second centuries bce in Ptolemaic Egypt. The Bavli’s interpretation should be understood within a context where the sense of smell was treated as reliable, whereas the Septuagint reflects one where it was often considered suspect ..."

Wolkenfeld, Meira "Cultural Attitudes towards Scent in the Interpretation of Isaiah 11:3" in Strauch Schick, Shana, and Yaakov Elman (eds.) Land and Spirituality in Rabbinic Literature: A Memorial Volume for Yaakov Elman (p. 239–259) Brill, 2022

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