O radix Jesse


O Root of Jesse,
who standest as the ensign of the people,
before whom kings shall not open their lips;
to whom the Gentiles shall pray:
come and deliver us, tarry now no more.

A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
     Is 11.1

On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.
     Is 11.10

Build up, build up the highway, clear it of stones, lift up an ensign over the peoples.
     Is 62.10b

So he shall startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.
     Is 52.15

The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.
     Rm 15.12

Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
     Zc 6.12–13

Jesse was David’s father. Both the Matthean and Lucan genealogies set forth Our Lord as being (adoptively, anyway) of the lineage of David, and David himself is often seen as a type of Christ. The shoot growing from the stock or root or stump of Jesse is part of the prophetic notion that a remnant of the nation of Israel would be saved after exile and destruction, and would return to Jerusalem and reestablish the covenant people; Our Lord was readily identified as this scion.

The Matthean and Lucan genealogies are traditionally sung after Matins of Christmas and the Epiphany, respectively.