Verse

Isaiah 2:4

ESV He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
NIV He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
NASB And He will judge between the nations, And will mediate for many peoples; And they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning knives. Nation will not lift up a sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.
CSB He will settle disputes among the nations and provide arbitration for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plows and their spears into pruning knives. Nation will not take up the sword against nation, and they will never again train for war.
NLT The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.
KJV And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

What does Isaiah 2:4 mean?

This often-quoted verse is part of Isaiah's description of the far future (Isaiah 2:2), when the most unimaginable events will occur. The God of Israel will become the God of all peoples on earth, both Jew and Gentile. Everyone will come to Jerusalem to learn from the Lord how to follow His ways (Isaiah 2:3). In addition to being God over the world, the Lord will also rule as the leader of the world from Jerusalem. This will bring universal peace; there will be no need for weapons, and all military efforts will cease.

Isaiah describes God's rule in this verse. The Lord will judge disputes between peoples and nations and bring absolute peace to the world. The Hebrew word for "judge" is the Hebrew term sōpetim', from the root word shaphat. This was used in the book of Judges, referring to people meant to restore order to Israel. This expression is translated into English as "judge," but carries a much broader meaning. The original word includes concepts such as vindication, vengeance, defense, rescue, and advocacy. The Lord will judge between the nations in the context that He will bring order to the earth.

Sword and spears will be converted into plows and pruning hooks. War will end, and nobody will prepare to go to war against anyone else. Isaiah describes the Jewish and, later, the Christian version of utopian peace on earth, a time believers are convinced will come to pass. This points forward to the reign of Christ as king on earth, something Isaiah will describe in greater detail (Isaiah 11:1–10). Some Christian traditions understand this future era to be the millennium while others believe Isaiah is describing Christ's eternal reign over the new heavens and the new earth. In every Christian tradition this is the longed-for moment when life on earth will be as it should be under the rule of Christ and the grace of God.
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