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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 60

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-22


The Rising of the heavenly Sun of life upon Jerusalem, and the new personal and natural life conditioned thereby

Isaiah 60:0

The Prophet has returned from speaking of the present to treat of the last things. He sees a new Sun, the principle of new life, rise upon Jerusalem. Although this future, too, is depicted in colors belonging to the present time, yet we perceive from the matters which he specifies, that his discourse relates to the distant future. And, although the Prophet does not distinguish the times, we see that the fulfilment will take place gradually. We observe in respect to the influence of the Sun, which, according to Isaiah 60:1-2, is to rise upon Jerusalem, and advance from a glory which is more of a natural character to one which is more supernatural and heavenly. The chapter, however, does not divide itself into two, but into three sections, of which the first (Isaiah 60:1-9) has for its subject the gathering of all nations to the sun that rises upon Jerusalem; the second (Isaiah 60:10-17 a), the restoration of Jerusalem to outward glory; the third (Isaiah 60:17-22Isaiah 60:17-22Isaiah 60:17-22), this new life in its relation to God, and in its moral and spiritual manifestation. [We do not like such a division of this grand prophetic picture. Its parts cannot well be thus separated.—D. M.].


          1Arise, 1shine; for thy light is come;

And the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

2     For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,

And gross darkness the people:
And the Lord shall arise upon thee,
And his glory shall be seen upon thee.

3     And the Gentiles shall come to thy light,

And kings to the brightness of thy rising.

4     Lift up thine eyes round about, and see:

All they gather themselves together, they come to thee:
Thy sons shall come from far,
And thy daughters shall be 2nursed at thy side.

5     5 Then thou shalt see, and 3flow together,

And thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged;
Because the 4abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee;

The 5forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.

6      The multitude of camels shall cover thee,

The 6dromedaries of Midian and Ephah;

All they from Sheba shall come:
They shall bring gold and incense;
And they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord.

7     All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee,

The rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee:
They shall come up with acceptance on mine altar,
And I will glorify the house of my glory.

8     Who are these that fly as a cloud,

And as the doves to their7 windows?

9     Surely the isles shall wait for me,

And the ships of Tarshish first,
To bring thy sons from far,
Their silver and their gold with them,
Unto the name of the Lord thy God,
And to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.


Isaiah 60:1, Delitzsch justly bids us mark that קומי אורי are Trochees, and כי־בא אורך are lambuses. Observe the change of vowels. All the Hebrew vowels are found in these five words in correspondence with the fulness of thoughts which these few words contain. How admirably is the language adapted to the subject! Does not this betoken that master of speech, Isaiah? [“What power of creative might lies in these two Trochees, Kumi, ori, which are, as it were, prolonged till what they say is done; and what a power of consolation lies in the two Lambuses ki-ba orech, which, as it were, stamp upon the action of Zion the seal of the divine action, and fit to the ἅρσις (raising up) its θἐσις (foundation)! Delitzsch.—D. M.].

Isaiah 60:3. זֶרַח, ortus, is ἅπ. λεγ. as an appellative. As a proper name it is of frequent occurrence.

Isaiah 60:4. תֵּאָמַֽנָה. Observe that the nun has no dagesh forte. (Comp. Naegelsbach’s Gr. §§ 5, 6).

Isaiah 60:7. [“The verbal form יְשָֽׁרְתוּנֶךְ which is repeated in Isaiah 60:10, has an abbreviated suffix without the tone, as Isaiah 47:10.” Delitzsch].

Isaiah 60:9. פֵאֲרָךְ, with a rarer suffix form for פֵאֲרֵךְ. See a like form in Isaiah 54:6.


1. The Prophet sees in the distant future the restoration of Jerusalem, and its exaltation to unparalleled, supermundane and everlasting glory. But he sees bonded together every thing that is in the future to produce this glory, from the first weak beginnings till the consummation in the heavenly Jerusalem. He sees at first night prevailing over the whole earth. But where Jerusalem is, he beholds a growing brightness as at the rising of the sun. He calls to Jerusalem to receive the glory which Jehovah is about to impart to her, and to let that glory unfold itself (Isaiah 60:1-2). Then he sees how this light emanating from Jerusalem attracts the Gentiles and their kings (Isaiah 60:3). He sees further how together with the heathen (and we may say, even in the heathen), Jerusalem’s own children try to reach the mother city, and are aided in this effort by the heathen (Isaiah 60:4). With joy Jerusalem beholds these multitudes stream to her, and rejoices the more, that they come not with empty hands, but bring with them the choicest products of land and sea (Isaiah 60:5). Troops of camels will carry the gold and incense of the East (Isaiah 60:6); the flocks of the eastern nomadic lands will be acceptable as offerings on the altar of Jehovah (Isaiah 60:7). On the other hand, ships come from the distant West, laden with the precious things of lands beyond the seas, and are with their sails like to bright clouds, or doves on the wing (Isaiah 60:9). It is obvious that here again the Prophet draws the picture of the future with the colors of the present.

2. Arise, shine—come unto’ thee.

Isaiah 60:1-5. The image before the mind of the Prophet is a sunrise scene. Far and wide night still reigns, but grandly above all other heights of the earth towers mount Zion, which here, in accordance with Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1, appears as “established in the top of the mountains, and exalted above the hills.” And the Prophet beholds this highest mountain of the earth irradiated by the rising sun. Its summit glitters as if covered with celestial light. From this the Prophet knows that the dawn of the day of salvation for Jerusalem has arrived. He calls therefore to her encouragingly, קוּמי [“In Ephesians 5:14 this first verse is combined in a paraphrastic form with Isaiah 51:17; Isaiah 52:1; Isaiah 52:2Isaiah 52:2,” Kay]. Jerusalem has now to lift up her head, because her redemption is nigh (comp. Luke 21:28); she is to raise herself from the depression and prostration in which her situation has hitherto kept her. Jerusalem shall become light, shall shine (אוֹרִי, the verb אוֹר in Isaiah only here, Isaiah 60:19; Isaiah 27:11). But she is not to shine in her own light, but to let herself be enlightened by the higher light which rises on her. But this light is called “thy light,” because Jerusalem and this light are adapted the one to the other. What sort of a light it is which shall rise upon Jerusalem, is told us in Isaiah 60:1 b. It is the glory of Jehovah. This light shall rise as an everlasting sun upon Jerusalem (comp. Isaiah 60:20; זָרַח is vox solennis of the rising of the sun, and occurs in Isaiah besides here only Isaiah 60:2 and 58:20). In Isaiah 60:2 the explanation is given why the sunrise referred to in Isaiah 60:1 b is a matter of such great importance, and why Jerusalem is so pressingly summoned to yield herself to the influence of this rising sun [Rather to shed forth the light which she has received from it. D. M.]. Jerusalem has herein the highest honor conferred on her that the Sun first rises upon her, that she is that point in the East from which the light is to spread over the countries shrouded in darkness. [“The Sun of suns is Jahve (Psalms 84:12), the God who comes, Isaiah 59:20.... When this Sun rises on Zion she becomes altogether light, but not for herself alone, but for all mankind.” Delitzsch. D. M.]. עֲרָפֶל is found only here in Isaiah. We see from Isaiah 60:3 that the nations still in darkness are not inaccessible to the light. They have a longing for the light, [This is not said], and a susceptibility of receiving it. Nations and princes come to the heavenly light. The brightness of thy rising is the brightness of that which rises upon Jerusalem, according to Isaiah 60:2, the brightness of Jehovah. [But Zion made light in the Lord is represented as herself shining as a light in the world. Her rising can be described as the brightness of the sun when he goeth forth in his might, Judges 5:31; 2 Samuel 23:4. To regard “the brightness of thy rising,” as meaning “the brightness of that which rises upon thee,” is surely forced and unnatural, albeit the best interpreters acquiesce in this explanation. But the church, as irradiated by the divine glory, and reflecting it, has a light and brightness which is called her own, and which she sheds upon the world.—D. M.]. Not only the nations and princes of the heathen world hasten to Jerusalem. Along with them are other visitants, who are no foreigners in Jerusalem, but are children of the house. The scattered members of the Israelitish kingdom, conducted and attended with all honors by the Gentiles, will return to the holy home (comp. Isaiah 11:11 sqq.; Isaiah 25:6 sqq.; Isaiah 26:2 sq.; Isaiah 27:13; Jeremiah 3:18, see commentary on this place). [“Those who confine these prophecies to the Babylonish exile understand this as describing the agency of heathen states and sovereigns in the restoration. But in this, as in the parallel passages [Isaiah 43:5-7; Isaiah 49:18-23], there is, by a strange coincidence, no word or phrase implying restoration or return, but the image evidently is that of enlargement and accession; the children thus brought to Zion being not those whom she had lost, but such as she had never before known, as is evident from Isaiah 49:21. The event predicted is therefore neither the former restoration of the Jews, nor their future restoration.” Alexander. D. M.]. The words ver, 4a, are repeated from Isaiah 49:18. The gathering together (נקבצו) refers not only to separate individuals but according to places such as Isaiah 11:12; Hosea 2:2, [E. V. Hosea 1:11] it refers especially to the reunion of Judah with Israel. Of the sons we are simply told that they come from a great distance, but the daughters are carefully carried. על־צד is not=on the side, i. e., on the one arm or on the one shoulder (Isaiah 49:22), but upon the hip; for it is still the custom in the Orient to carry the children astride on the hip. Such care as is bestowed on children, will be shown to the female members of the people (comp. Isaiah 66:12). אָמַן is here as Isaiah 49:23 after the place in Numbers 11:12, used to denote the nursing and tending of a child. But Jerusalem shall not only see her children come, she shall have the joy of seeing them come with full hands, furnished with all the magnificence and glory of the world. In Isaiah 60:5 the words וְנָהרְתְּ to לְבָבֵךְ are to be taken as a sentence denoting a circumstance, put as a parenthesis, which expresses the emotion with which Jerusalem will see what has been depicted. The sentence setting forth the object בי יהפך וגו׳ is, accordingly, dependent on תִּרְאִי, which, therefore, cannot possibly come from יָרֵא [But it is better, with the E.V., to take בי as causal.—D. M.]. The verb נָהַר is not here that נָהַר which means “to stream” (Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 31:12; Jeremiah 51:44), and which comes from נָהָר, a river. But it is a different word, related to נוּר, נֵר occurring as a verb besides only Psalms 34:6, but forming the stem of the substantives נְהָרָה (Job 3:4) and מִנְהָרָה (Judges 6:2). The signification is to “shine,” “to brighten up” (for joy). Joy makes the face shine, but the heart tremble (פָחַד in this sense besides only Jeremiah 33:9). [Henderson renders this clause well: Thy heart shall throb and dilate. The idea of enlargement or expansion of the heart through joy is Semitic; but, as Delitzsch points out, we have the opposite idea in angor, angustia.—D. M.]. The joy is called forth by Jerusalem seeing how the treasures of the sea (הָמוֹן as Psalms 37:16; Jeremiah 3:23 in the sense of swarm and abundance of the most manifold products, comp. also Isaiah 60:14), and the wealth of the nations come to her. [The abundance of the sea denotes all precious things which the islands and maritime countries possess.” Delitzsch. D. M.]. עַל stands after יהפך in the sense of אֶל (comp. on Isaiah 10:3).

3. The multitude of camels—glorified thee.

Isaiah 60:6-9. [A multitude of camels, without the definite article]. In these verses the Prophet describes how the treasures of the East (Isaiah 60:6-7) and of the West (Isaiah 60:8-9) are brought to Jerusalem. The eastern trading nations are indicated by a multitude of camels (שִׁפְעָה, comp. שֶׁפַעDeu 33:19, in Isaiah only here) and young animals [בּכרי not dromedaries, which are not for carrying burdens, but for riding.—D. M.], from Midian and Ephah, which bring from Sheba gold and incense, (comp. on Isaiah 43:23), the most valuable wares. Midian was a son of Abraham by Keturah, and the father of Ephah, Genesis 25:2; Genesis 25:4, comp. Genesis 37:28; Genesis 37:36; Judges 7:0 :שְׁבָא is Arabia felix (comp. 1 Kings 10:2; Jeremiah 6:20; Job 6:19; only here in Isaiah). These merchants at other times sought gain; now they have a nobler aim. They wish to honor Jehovah; they bring Him presents. This they declare in songs of praise (both בִּשַׂר and תְּהִלָּה are used by Isaiah only in chapters 40–66). The eastern pastoral tribes join the eastern trading tribes. Respecting Kedar comp. on Isaiah 21:16 sqq.; Isaiah 42:11. Kedar was the second, Nebaioth the eldest son of Ishmael, Genesis 25:13. It is disputed whether Nebaioth is the progenitor of the Nabataei, i. e., of the northern or north western Arabs (for Nabataea is the whole country between the Euphrates and the Red Sea). Comp. Delitzsch on this place, and Herzog, R.-Encycl., 1, p. 598, 2d Ed. שֵׁרֵת is a word which is often used of the ministry rendered by the priests to Jehovah (Numbers 18:2; Deu 17:12; 1 Samuel 2:11; 1 Samuel 3:1 et saepe). The flocks of Kedar and the rams of Nebaioth will therefore as עוֹלוֹת ascend the altar of Jehovah. [עַל־רָצוֹן is translated in E. V., and by Dr. Naegelsbach, with acceptance. But it signifies rather with pleasure, delight or good will, and is to be distinguished from the expression elsewhere used לְרָצוֹן which means to (the divine) acceptance, or with acceptance. So Vitringa, Hitzig, Henderson, Delitzsch. On this representation of the victims offering themselves willingly Lowth remarks: “This gives a very elegant and poetical turn to the image. It was a general notion, that prevailed with sacrificers among the heathen, that the victim’s being brought without reluctance to the altar was a good omen; and the contrary a bad one.”—D. M.]. The great number and excellence of these offerings will conduce to the honor of the temple of the Lord. In Isaiah 60:8-9 the West appears upon the scene. They that like a cloud, or as doves to their enclosure skim over the sea, are ships with expanded sails. The sails spread out resemble a cloud, the velocity is compared with the swift flight of the dove (comp. Hosea 11:11. Bochart, Hieroz. 2. p. 540 sqq.). The feminine ending in תעופינה is caused by the feminine אְָנִיּוֹת. אֲרֻבָּה is opus reticulatum, net, interwoven work. The answer to the question, who are these, etc., is left to the reader. Every one perceives that it is ships that come from the west. But why those ships hasten with such speed to the holy land is explained in Isaiah 60:9. They are directed by inhabitants of the אִיִּים, which here as often (see the List), represent the islands and maritime countries of the west. These people hope in Jehovah. Among those ships the foremost (בָּרִאשֹׁנָה comp. Numbers 10:14; 1 Kings 20:17; 1 Chronicles 11:6) are the ships of Tarshish (comp. Isaiah 2:16; Isaiah 23:1, Isaiah 23:14). These, which are the largest, and come from the greatest distance, shall also be the first to bring Jerusalem’s sons with their silver and gold to the place where the Lord makes known His name, i. e., reveals His nature, and is therefore honored as the Holy One of Israel (see the List). Jerusalem’s glorification is also thereby intended. [The picture drawn in this section perplexes those who understand it of the literal restoration of the Jews, and of the future glory of the earthly Jerusalem. Hess, Baumgarten and others argue from Isaiah 60:7 for the restoration of animal sacrifices. But Delitzsch justly rejects this notion as utterly contrary to the Christian system. Animal sacrifice has been abolished by the Servant of Jehovah offering Himself once for all. The blood of the Crucified One has swept away the partition wall of particularism and of ceremonial shadows. But if the victims and the altar here spoken of are not to be taken literally, why should we look for a material temple or construe literally the other traits in the picture? The whole description represents not the material Jerusalem, but the Church of God under images, which, to be consistently interpreted, cannot be taken in a gross, literal sense. “We, Christians, are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God,” etc., Hebrews 12:22.—D. M.].


[1]Or, be enlightened; for thy light cometh.

[2]a carried on the hip.

[3]brighten up.

[4]Or, noise of the sea shall be turned toward thee.

[5]Or, wealth.

[6]young camels.


2. The Restoration of Jerusalem to Outward Glory

Isaiah 60:10-17 a

10          And the 8sons of strangers shall build up thy walls,

And their kings shall minister unto thee:
For in my wrath I smote thee,
But in my favor have I had mercy on thee.

11     Therefore thy gates shall be open continually;

They shall not be shut day nor night;
That men may bring unto thee the 9forces of the Gentiles,

And10 that their kings may be brought.

12     For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish;

Yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.

13     The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee,

The 11fir tree, the 12pine tree, and the 13box together,

To beautify the place of my sanctuary;
And I will make the place of my feet glorious.

14     The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee;

And all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet;
And they shall call thee, The city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

15     Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated,

So that no man went through thee,

I will make thee an eternal excellency,
A joy of many generations.

16     Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles,

And shalt suck the breast of kings:
And thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour,

And thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.

17a     For brass I will bring gold,

And for iron I will bring silver,
And for wood brass,
And for stones iron.


1. In what follows the Prophet depicts the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and the commencement of a new glorious life in it. The foreign nations that destroyed the walls of the old Jerusalem, shall build the walls of the new (Isaiah 60:10). And its gates shall stand open day and night, for they are needed no more to keep off the enemy, but only to let in foes, if any there should be, as prisoners with their spoils (Isaiah 60:11). Should there be any nations who are not attracted by the light (Isaiah 60:3), but repelled by it, they will go to destruction (Isaiah 60:12). Jerusalem will then inwardly also be magnificently adorned, as it becomes the sanctuary of Jehovah (Isaiah 60:13). Then they whose fathers formerly oppressed Jerusalem, or who themselves had despised it, must humbly do it homage, and regard it as the city of God (Isaiah 60:14). Then will Jerusalem be no more forsaken, hated, and shunned; but it will shine in everlasting glory as the joy of all coming generations (Isaiah 60:15). All nations must bring their best and most precious things as tribute, as a sign that the God of Israel alone is the Almighty God who can help (Isaiah 60:16). And as a measure to estimate the future glory of Jerusalem, the Prophet further tells us that gold and silver will come in the place of brass and iron, and brass and iron in the place of wood and stone (Isaiah 60:17 a).

2. And the sons of strangers . . . and for stones iron (Isaiah 60:10-17 a). [The expression rendered in the E. V. Sons of strangers, is literally translated, Sons of strangeness or of a foreign country, i. e., foreigners, aliens.—D. M.]. In this section, too, the Prophet still paints with the colors of the present. Foreigners shall build Jerusalem’s walls. Perhaps there is here a reminiscence of the time when Israel in Egypt had to erect buildings for Pharaoh (Exodus 1:11). In the second part of Isaiah 60:10 the Prophet thinks of the terrible days when Jerusalem’s walls were destroyed by foreigners. This was done not only by Nebuchadnezzar, but at least partially by others also (comp. 2 Kings 14:13 sq.; 1 Kings 14:26). Great as was the wrath which destroyed Jerusalem’s walls by the hands of foreigners, so great will be the favor which causes foreigners to rebuild them stronger and more beautiful than ever. A further contrast to the former evil times will be this, that it will be no longer necessary to shut the gates of Jerusalem, for there is no longer an enemy to fear; and there is no more night, which favors the works of darkness (Isaiah 60:19-20, and Revelation 21:25). On the contrary, the only concern now will be to admit the spoil taken from enemies, and their princes that are led captive. That נהוגים is here to be taken in this sense is evident from a comparison of such places as 1 Samuel 30:2; 1 Samuel 30:20; Isaiah 20:4. [Delitzsch explains נהוגים as applied to these kings, that they are “led as captives by the church, irresistibly bound by her, i. e., inwardly subdued (comp. Isaiah 44:14, with Psalms 149:8), and suffer themselves, as prisoners of the church and of her God, to be led into the holy city in solemn procession of honor.”—D. M.] Isaiah 60:12, חָרַנ, properly to dry up, stands regularly of cities and countries, but is also transferred to nations (Isaiah 37:18; Jeremiah 50:21; Jeremiah 50:27). [They who consider the literal Jerusalem to be the subject of this prophecy, and not the church of God, may ask themselves if utter destruction will really be the punishment of every nation and kingdom that will not serve the Jews. But it is not they that are born after the flesh that are heirs of these promises, but they who are Christ’s, and so the true seed of Abraham, the Israel of God. (Galatians 3:28-29; Galatians 4:26-31) The Gentile Christians are not doomed to bondage. In Christ’s church there is one flock and one Shepherd.—D. M.] Is the building of the temple spoken of in Isaiah 60:13? The answer to this question will decide the point whether the trees mentioned in Isaiah 60:13 are to serve for the building of the sanctuary, or for ornament to the holy city. But in Isaiah 60:13 there is no mention of the temple, but only of the place of the sanctuary. [But this expression implies a sanctuary.—D. M.] Further, we learn from Isaiah 66:1-3 that the new Jerusalem will have neither temple, nor the service that was performed in the temple (comp. Revelation 21:23). [But vide contra, Isaiah 60:7; Isaiah 2:3.—D. M.] Thirdly, it must appear strange that there is no mention of the cedars of Lebanon, which formed the chief material in the building of the old temple. [But the sherbin tree is a species of cedar growing on Lebanon.—D. M.] The trees here named are cited from Isaiah 41:19, and, as there, are here mentioned only as representatives of magnificent vegetation. Hitzig’s remark, too, is of weight, that according to Isaiah 60:17, wood will be excluded as building material. I therefore hold with Hitzig, Ewald, Knobel, Delitzsch, that Isaiah 60:13 is to be understood of the glorious ornamental living trees that will grace Jerusalem. The glory of Lebanon, which expression occurs besides only Isaiah 35:2, is probably of the same import as “the choice and best of Lebanon” (Ezekiel 31:16). Luxuriant vegetation, glorious trees will beautify the place where the Lord, though He has no temple of stone there, has still the place of His gracious presence, and where His feet rest (elsewhere called הֲדֹם רַגְלָיו, as which the earth, 66, or the sanctuary with the ark of the covenant, 1 Chronicles 28:7; Psalms 90:5, et saepe, is designated). [So, not withstanding the Lord’s declaration to the contrary, Jerusalem, artificially embellished, will still be the place where men ought to worship, though it shall have no material temple (John 4:20-24). In the dogmatical and ethical remarks on Isaiah 66:19 sqq., our author truly says that Isaiah teaches that “instead of the local place of worship of the old covenant, the whole earth will be the temple of the Lord.” We might quote Isaiah as teaching that there will be a temple and sacrifices, too, in the glorious Jerusalem of the future. See the mention of the going up of all nations to the house of the Lord in Isaiah 2:2; Isaiah 2:3Isaiah 2:3; see, too, in verse 7 of this chapter the mention of countless sacrifices ascending the altar of God. If, notwithstanding these statements, we are justified in holding, as Dr. Naegelsbach does, that there will in the Holy City of God be no external temple and no animal sacrifices, we may go further, and seek a spiritual sense for the description of the future outward glory of Jerusalem contained in this chapter. How natural it is to put Zion and Jerusalem for the church of God, whose centre Jerusalem was of old, is seen from the use of Rome for the Church of Rome, whose centre is in that city! We are never to forget that the Prophet paints the future with the colors of the present, and we should avoid playing fast and loose with symbolical language.—D. M.] אֲכַבֵּד at the end of Isaiah 60:13, designedly corresponds to its initial word כְבוֹד. As the picture mainly sets forth the contrasts between what once was and what shall be, we are told in verse 14 that the descendants of former oppressors and mockers will come submissively to do homage to Jerusalem. (שְׁחוֹחַ is infin. nominascens, and is to be taken as accus. modalis, or adverbialis (comp. Ewald, § 279, Isaiah 1:2, Isaiah 1:6). [“The עַל before כַּפוֹת is not simply equivalent to at, but expresses downward motion, and may be translated down to. The act described is the oriental prostration as a sign of the deepest reverence.—Alexander. Comp. Revelation 3:9.—D. M.] When these worshippers at the same time call Jerusalem the City of Jehovah, Zion of the Holy One of Israel, they make thereby a confession of faith. They declare thereby that they hold the religious faith of Israel as the true one, They acknowledge, first, that the God of Israel justly bears the name יהוה; that He is, therefore, the true God; and, secondly, that Jerusalem justly calls herself the City of Jehovah, i. e., the place where God reveals Himself and is worshipped. In “צִיּוֹן ק׳ י׳ the appellative signification of ציון (צִיּוּן, cippus, monumentum) comes to view. [? ] Jerusalem stands as the great, glorious monument which proclaims to the world the Godhead of Jehovah. A further contrast (Isaiah 60:15) refers to the relation of Jehovah as husband of Jerusalem. [But Jerusalem is not depicted in Isaiah 60:15 as a wife forsaken and hated and avoided by God.—D. M.]. The Prophet in spirit sees Jerusalem so forsaken and desolate that she, as a deserted city, is trodden by no one, but avoided by all. אֵין עֹבֵר. Comp. Isaiah 33:8; Isaiah 34:10; Jeremiah 9:9; Jeremiah 9:11; Ezekiel 33:28 et saepe. [Whereas thou hast been, etc., is literally “Instead of thy being,” etc.,—D. M.]. As the opposite of this, Jerusalem shall be an eternal glory (גָּאוֹן, in the objective sense, as Isaiah 2:10; Isaiah 2:19Isaiah 2:19; Isaiah 2:21Isaiah 2:21; Isaiah 4:2; Isaiah 13:19; Isaiah 23:9 et saepe), and joy of all coming generations (comp. Isaiah 24:11; Psalms 48:3). The relation of child and servant is before the mind of the Prophet in Isaiah 60:16. Israel has in the present been obliged to be the illtreated, plundered servant. Foreign conquerors and tyrants have impoverished it, have sucked it out to the very blood. In opposition to this, the promise is now made that foreign kings must regard Jerusalem as a new born, carefully nursed, beloved child. This child will now suck their breasts. This is the explanation of the apparent incongruity of Jerusalem sucking the breasts of men, and not of women. [The language used forces us to interpret the whole prophecy allegorically.—D. M.] There lies at the same time this in the image, that the kings themselves will not be illtreated slaves, but affectionate caretakers (Isaiah 49:23), He who causes this wonderful change is Jehovah, whom Israel will thereby know as Saviour and Redeemer by reason of His love, and as the mighty One of Jacob by reason of His power. The second part of verse 16 is almost a literal repetition from Isaiah 49:26. In Isaiah 60:17 a the Prophet has evidently before him what(1 Kings 10:18-29) is related of Solomon. Mark especially verses 21 and 27 of the passage referred to, where it is said that silver was then nothing accounted of, that Solomon made it as stones. For brass, etc., i. e., instead of brass, etc. [“The city will be massive, built entirely of metal, so that neither the elements nor enemies can destroy it. That the Prophet does not mean to be understood literally is apparent from the allegorical progress of the Prophecy.”—Delitzsch.—D. M.]



[9]Or, wealth

[10]and their kings as captices.





Isaiah 60:17-22

17b          I will also make 14thy officers peace,

And thine exactors righteousness.

18     Violence shall no more be heard in thy land,

Wasting nor destruction within thy borders;
But thou shalt call thy walls Salvation,
And thy gates Praise.

19     The sun shall be no more thy light by day;

Neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee:
But the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light,
And thy God thy glory.

20     Thy sun shall no more go down;

Neither shall thy moon withdraw itself:
For the Lord shall be thine everlasting light,
And the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

21     Thy people also shall be all righteous:

They shall inherit the land for ever,
The 15branch of my planting, the work of my hands,

That I may be glorified.

22     16A little one shall become a thousand,

And 17a small one a strong nation:

I the Lord will hasten it in his time.


Isaiah 60:19. Although the Masoretes separate לנגה by means of zakeph gadol from what follows, and thereby intimate that they wish לנגה to be taken in the sense: “as regards brightness,” this construction seems to me needlessly difficult.

Isaiah 60:21. The reading of the Keri מַטָּעַי is to be preferred to that of the Kethib מַטָּעוֹ or מַטָּעָו, which is probably a mistake of the copyist.

Isaiah 60:22. The feminine suffix is here to be taken in the neuter sense (comp. Isaiah 59:8; Isaiah 22:11; Isaiah 27:4).


1. In this section the Prophet takes a loftier flight. The higher life which he promises is above all without sin, i. e., holy. Righteousness, peace and salvation will, therefore, characterize the life of the community (Isaiah 60:17 b, Isaiah 60:18). But even the life of nature will receive a new, higher centre of life. For it will be no more the sun that sheds upon the earth light and heat, and thereby life, but God will Himself be the Sun that shines perpetually and unchangeably (Isaiah 60:19-20). And because the people, being born again of a divine seed, will sin no more, they will also never lose their country, but possess it to eternity (Isaiah 60:21). They will also partake of the theocratic blessing of a numerous posterity in the highest degree (Isaiah 60:22). In the two last verses [and all throughout the chapter, D. M.] we see again how the Prophet represents spiritual, heavenly things with earthly colors.

2. I will also make—gates Praise.

Isaiah 60:17 b, Isaiah 60:18. The Prophet, who had hitherto depicted chiefly the external glory of the future Jerusalem, now describes more its inward state. The might of sin will be broken. Its reign comes to an end. Peace and righteousness have dominion. We have to inquire whether we have to take שׁלום and צדקה as the object or as the predicate. But more is contained in the declaration that peace and righteousness will bear rule than in the statement that the rulers will be peaceable and just people. For the latter might be substantially true, and yet much dissension and injustice be in the land. But when peace and righteousness are not only in the rulers but are themselves the rulers (Gesenius, Umbreit, Stier, Delitzsch, etc.), then everything that could disturb peace and impede justice, is excluded. We shall have to take the term peace in its most extensive and highest sense, as comprehending the harmony of man with God, with himself, and with his fellow creatures. Under righteousness we shall have to understand that complete righteousness which consists in the conformity of human willing and doing with the divine will. Righteousness and peace are related as cause and effect. For only when our willing is conformable to the divine, can the right harmony with God prevail in us and around us. We can recall here Psalms 85:11, where for restored Israel the hope is expressed that צדק ושׁלום will kiss each other in their land. Peace and righteousness are here poetically personified, which is a form of expression not rare in Isaiah (comp. Isaiah 22:18; Isaiah 32:16 sq.; Isaiah 45:8; Isaiah 59:14). [“פְּקֻדָּה properly means office, magistracy, government, here put for those who exercise it, like nobility, ministry and other terms in English. נגשׁים, which has commonly a bad sense, is here used for magistrates or rulers in general, for the purpose of suggesting that instead of tyrants or exactors they should now be under equitable government.” Alexander. D. M.]. Where righteousness and peace rule, nothing more will be heard of violence and wild devastation (שׁד ושׁבר as Isaiah 59:7; Isaiah 51:19). On the latter part of Isaiah 60:18 comp. the remarks on Isaiah 26:1, which place is related to the one before us. [“The walls of the city of God will be impregnable—Salvation itself. Her gates (unlike those, which ‘lamented and mourned’ Isaiah 3:26) shall be filled with jubilant anthems; shall be mere Praise.” Kay in the Bible Commentary. D. M.].

3. The sun shall be—in his time.

Isaiah 60:19-22. Now we see clearly the meaning of that call, “Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” The Lord shall he not only the Sun of the life of the spirit; He shall also be the Sun of the life of nature. The light of His divine δόξα will immediately shine through it. As moon and stars grow pale before the rising sun, so will the earthly sun grow pale (comp. Isaiah 24:23 with Commentary and the places of like purport Isaiah 4:5; Isaiah 30:26) before the original Fountain of all light, with whom is no variableness (James 1:17), when He rises as the sun. We need now the lights of heaven (Genesis 1:14 sqq.), because the eternal Light is still hidden from us. We live here in faith, not in sight. The Apostle John employs this trait in the picture which he draws of the New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:23; Revelation 21:25; Revelation 22:5. נֹגַהּ, Isaiah 60:19, corresponds to the preceding אור יומם. In Isaiah 13:10; Joel 2:10; 4:15נגה is also used Of the brightness by night. Although there will be still a distinction in the times of the day, there will be no more darkness. As sun and moon will be no more the lights, but the Lord, the Prophet can also say to Jerusalem, Thy sun will set no more, thy moon will not wane (אָסַף of the drawing in, the withdrawal of the rays of light, whereby the waning and temporary disappearance of the moon are caused, comp, Isaiah 16:10; Joel 2:10; 4:15). When this alternation of light and darkness in the life of nature is past, history will consist no more of days of joy and days of mourning, The days of mourning are entirely past (שָׁלֵמ as 1 Kings 7:51; ימי אבל comp. Genesis 27:41; Deuteronomy 34:8). The mourning days of Israel consisted in this, that the people as a punishment for their sins were given into the hands of their enemies, and had their land taken from them. But when the people, through the unrestricted influence on their life of the new sun that has risen upon them, have become entirely holy and righteous, such judgments will never more be spoken of. They will possess their land for ever, like a garden of God, which contains no weeds to be rooted up, but only holy plants. [Some interpreters take ארץ in the sense of earth. Isaiah 49:8 favors this wider sense of ארץ. Here as in Isaiah 11:0:1נֵצֶר denotes a shoot rather than a branch. Observe, too, that מַטַּעַי is in the plural (Keri)—my plantings=“my creative acts of grace” (Delitzsch). D. M.]. The work of my hands is an expression occurring Isaiah 19:25, where it is applied to the people of Assyria, when they shall be hereafter converted. Israel will therefore, as Assyria, be a people whose life is wrought by God, and will therefore conduce to the praise of God (Isaiah 61:3). [“The dependence of God’s people on Himself for the origin and sustentation of their spiritual life is forcibly expressed by the figure of a plant which He has planted, and by that of a work which He has wrought. Ephesians 2:10.” Alexander. D. M.]. Then too will that benedictio vere theocratica of a numerous progeny guaranteeing everlasting continuance be realized in the richest measure. The least one (the adjective with the article in the sense of the superlative), i. e., the one that is physically most insignificant, the weakest shall become a thousand, and the smallest one (the same in sense as קטןa strong people (comp. Micah 4:7). We see in Isaiah 60:21-22, how the Prophet again paints the future with the colors of the present. In this Old Testament shell we can discern the New Testament kernel of the κληρονομία αἰώνιος (Hebrews 9:15), and of the ζωὴαἰώνιος (John 3:15; John 3:36 et saepe). The Prophet has foretold in this chapter great, wonderful, incredible things. [The Lord, therefore, at the close, solemnly guarantees their fulfilment. The last words form the seal of the prophecy. “His time” is=“its time,” not the time of the Lord. “Its time” is the time which the Lord has appointed, and which is known only to Him. When that time has arrived, He will hastily accomplish what has been foretold (Isaiah 46:11; Isaiah 43:13; Isaiah 9:6).–D. M.].


[14]peace thy magistracy, and righteousness thy rulers

[15]The least

[16]The least

[17]The smallest


1. [Barnes in his Notes quotes Pope’s Messiah in which “some of the ideas in this chapter, descriptive of the glorious times of the Gospel, have been beautifully versified.” Cowper in the last book of The Task delightfully expatiates on the same “fair theme.” Justly does he exclaim regarding this prophetic picture:

“O scenes surpassing fable, and yet true,
Scenes of accomplished bliss! which who can see,
Though but in distant prospect, and not feel
His soul refresh’d with foretaste of the joy?”—D. M.]

2. On Isaiah 60:1. “Surge! Illuminare! sunt imperativi evangelici, quibus includitur atque promittitur auxilium divinum praesens ad obsequendum.” Seb. Schmid. “He whose dicere is facere speaks these words, He who with the word ταλιθὰ κοῦμι and Νεανίσκε, σοὶλέγω, ἐγέρθητι (Mark 5:41; Luke 7:14), raised up the dead girl, the deceased young man.” Leigh.

3. “The gracious light of Jehovah, which radiates gloriously in the manifestation of the Redeemer, fills, too, with the light of God the people among whom it shines. What once happened only to Moses upon the mount, when his face shone with heavenly splendor from his converse with the Lord, will now he imparted to the entire sanctified race.” Axenfeld.

4. On Isaiah 60:1 sqq. The fulfilment of this prophecy takes place by successive stages. In the first place, it is manifest that the city of God here spoken of cannot be the earthly Jerusalem, which was doomed to destruction. But the prophecy has for its, object the ἅνω ‘Ιερουσαλὴμ, the Free, which is the mother of us all (Galatians 4:26), which is elsewhere called the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22), or the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2). The Lord and living centre of this heavenly Jerusalem appeared, indeed, in the earthly city, and made it the point whence the light emanated to enlighten the Gentiles. For in Jerusalem the Lord had to die (Luke 13:33) and to rise again; and from Jerusalem the preaching of repentance and forgiveness of pins in His name must begin (Luke 24:47). But after the destruction of the earthly Jerusalem, and during the time of the Gentiles, when the holy place is trodden down (Revelation 11:2), there is no other Jerusalem on earth than the church of the Lord, a poor and only provisional form of His kingdom, which, for the period between the first and second act of the judgment of the world (Matthew 24:29), i. e. between the destruction of Jerusalem, and the second coming of the Lord to effect the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4 sqq.), has for its task in conflict with opposing forces, the calling, gathering and enlightening of the elect from all nations. But when the Lord shall have come again in visible glory, and shall have accomplished the first resurrection and the second act of the judgment of the world, then will those who are called hereto reign with Him a thousand years. During this time there will, according to Revelation 20:9, be a holy city on earth which is called “the beloved city.” .... But when the third act of the judgment of the world, the second resurrection, and the general judgment shall be completed (Revelation 20:11-15), then will the earth, with the heavenly bodies comprised in the system of which it forms a part, have become new (Revelation 21:1), Then will the holy city, the new Jerusalem (ibid Isaiah 60:2), the prototype, descend upon the earth, and then will our prophecy obtain its complete fulfilment (Revelation 21:10 sqq.).—[If the church of the Lord is now, as our author holds, the only Jerusalem on earth; if it can now truly be said to stand for the Jerusalem of prophecy, it may pari ratione, as a “glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing,” represent Jerusalem in the future more glorious condition in which it is to appear according to prophecy. The church of the Lord as the heavenly Jerusalem will never be superseded by a material city. We Christians are come unto Mount Zion and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22). There is just as much reason to hold that there must now, in order to the fulfilment of prophecy, be a literal Jerusalem, the centre of attraction to God’s chosen people, as that there must be such a city in any future period. Our author in the foregoing remarks disparages unduly the present dispensation. The church of the Lord is now more than a poor and provisional form of His kingdom. See 2 Corinthians 3:0; Luke 7:28; Luke 10:23-24.—D. M.]

5. On Isaiah 60:10-16. Poor and unpretending as is the appearance of the church, like that of her Master when He was in the form of a Servant, yet is she constantly herein displaying her majesty that kings and nations must, when it is needful, serve her, whether willingly or reluctantly. The Roman emperors, after having for three centuries endeavored by every means to extirpate the church, must at last submit to her. But when people would not let the church advance, when they would injure her, or deprive her of her necessary freedom and independence, and make her serviceable to worldly aims, then they have inflicted the greatest harm on themselves. This is seen in the example of the Oriental church [and not in her alone] which, after she was made a dead state church, could no longer resist the onset of Islam. This is seen in modern times in many a State, in which unnatural fetters are laid upon the church, whereby her credit, reputation and efficiency are undermined to the great detriment of the people and of the State.

6. On Isaiah 60:12. “The Roman pontiffs abuse this oracle of the Prophet to establish their tyranny over monarchs. In particular, it is recorded of Pius 4, that at the time of his election he caused a coin to be struck, on one side of which was his own image adorned with a triple crown, and on the other, these words of the Prophet were inscribed.” Foerster. [“The idea of Isaiah 60:12 is, that no nation can flourish and long continue that does not obey the law of God, or where the true religion does not prevail, and the worship of the true God is not maintained. History is full of affecting illustrations of this. The ancient republics and kingdoms fell because they had not the true religion. The kingdoms of Babylon, Assyria, Macedonia and Egypt; the Roman empire, and all the ancient monarchies and republics, soon fell to ruin because they had not the salutary restraints of the true religion, and because they lacked the protection of the true God. France cast off the government of God in the first Revolution, and was drenched in blood. It is a maxim of universal truth that the nation, which does not admit the influence of the laws and the government of God, must be destroyed. No empire is strong enough to wage successful war with the great Jehovah; and sooner or later, notwithstanding all that human policy can do, corruption, sensuality, luxury, pride and far spreading vice will expose a nation to the displeasure of God, and bring down the heavy arm of His vengeance.” Barnes. D. M.].

7. On the whole chapter. “We have, as the church of believers, the first fruits of this prophecy. But only in the holy people that has its centre in the new Jerusalem of the end [rather that forms the church of the future], shall we behold God’s work, His manifestation and its effect: on the nations in all its fulness. Let us rejoice over the first fruits, and regard them as a pledge of the complete fulfilment of the word of the Prophet.’ Weber.

8. On the whole chapter. [“Surely the strain of this evangelic prophecy rises higher than any temporal deliverance. Therefore we must rise to some more spiritual sense of it, not excluding the former. And that which some call divers senses of the same Scripture, is, indeed, but divers parts of one full sense. This Prophecy is, out of question, a most rich description of the kingdom of Christ under the Gospel. And in this sense, this invitation to arise and shine is mainly addressed to the mystical Jerusalem (comp. Ephesians 5:14), yet not without some privilege to the literal Jerusalem beyond other people. They are first invited to arise and shine, because the sun arose first in their horizon. Christ came of the Jews, and came first to them. The Redeemer shall come to Zion, says our Prophet in the former chapter. But miserable Jerusalem knew not the day of her visitation, nor the things that concerned her peace, and therefore are they now hid from her eyes. She delighted to deceive herself with fancies of I know not what imaginary grandeur and outward glory, to which the promised Messiah should exalt her, and did, in that kind particularly, abuse this very prophecy; so doting upon a sense grossly literal, she forfeited the enjoyment of those spiritual blessings that are described.” Archbp. Leighton, who has two sermons (4 and 5) on Isaiah 40:1. D. M.].


1. On Isaiah 60:1-6. “In Christ’s appearing in our world there is a twofold call directed to us: 1) Arise; shine! 2) Lift up thine eyes to the Gentiles.” Fr. E. Bauer. “What a blessing the spread of the revealed word will bring to the heathen in respect to individuals, to families, to nations.” Taube. “Zion, the great mother of nations in the midst of her children. 1) With her abundant maternal joys; 2) with her weighty maternal cares; 3) with her holy maternal duties.” Gerok. “What should move us willingly and joyfully to obey the call addressed to the Christian church, ‘Arise; shine?’ 1) There are millions still in darkness; 2) that so blessed a light has arisen on us; 3) that God has promised that our efforts for those benighted millions shall not be in vain.” Walther of St. Louis. [It is through the church that God operates on a dark and sinful world. The church, in order to fulfil her calling to be a light to the Gentiles, must herself shine in the glory of the Lord. “We will go with you; for we have heard that God is with you” (Zechariah 8:23),—this will hereafter be the language of them that are without to the people of God. The efficiency of the church depends on her holiness and spiritual prosperity. God blesses us to make us a blessing (Genesis 12:2). See this thought set forth in the 67 Psalm.

“Heaven does with us as we with torches do;
Not light them for themselves.”


2. On Isaiah 60:1. [“What is the shining of the true church? Doth not a church then shine when church service is raised from a decent and primitive simplicity, and decorated with pompous ceremonies, with rich furniture and gaudy vestments? Is not the church then beautiful? Yes, indeed; but all the question is, whether this be the proper, genuine beauty or not; whether this be not strange fire, as the fire that Aaron’s sons used, which became vain, and was taken as strange fire. Methinks it cannot be better decided than to refer it to St. John, in his book of the Revelation. We find there the description of two several women, the one riding in state, arrayed in purple, decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearl, chap. 17; the other, chap, 12, in rich attire too, but of another kind, clothed with the sun, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. The other’s decorament was all earthly; this woman’s is all celestial. What need has she to borrow light and beauty from precious stones, who is clothed with the sun, and crowned with stars? She wears no sublunary ornaments, but which is more noble, she treads upon them; the moon is under her feet. Now, if you know (as you do all, without doubt) which of these two is the spouse of Christ, you can easily resolve the question. The truth is, those things seem to deck religion, but they undo it. Observe where they are most used, and we shall find little or no substance of devotion under them; as we see in that apostate church of Rome. This painting is dishonorable for Christ’s spouse, and, besides, it spoils her natural complexion. The superstitious use of torches and lights in the church by day is a kind of shining, but surely not that which is commanded here. No; it is an affront done both to the sun in the heaven and to the Sun of righteousness in the church.” Abp. Leighton.—D. M.]

3. On Isaiah 60:10-12. Since the kingdom of David was established on Mount Zion, and the Lord solemnly confirmed this choice (Psalms 2:6), there is always, yea, there will be to eternity a holy Zion, or Jerusalem, as centre of the kingdom of God. But the Lord leads His Zion by strange ways. It passes through sin and death to sanctification and life. Let us consider the term Zion according to its earthly history. We distinguish a double form. We see the Old Testament Zion fall on account of its sins. The Lord smites it in His wrath. But it rises not in a material, but in a spiritual form, as the Christian church which serves God in spirit and in truth (John 4:20 sqq.), and comprehends all nations. This Zion builds itself from the Gentiles. Strangers build its walls (Isaiah 60:10). The gates of these walls are not shut for all who are not circumcised in the flesh. But these gates are open day and night for all who are willing to receive the grace of God in Christ and to serve Him (Isaiah 60:11). The nations, who serve God in Christ, will be greatly blessed even in respect to earthly greatness and prosperity. For the spirit of Christianity will permeate with its quickening influence all natural factors. But where Christianity is not received, or where it is suffered to die out, there moral corruption and decay are the necessary result (Isaiah 60:12).

4. On Isaiah 60:10. “God’s love is not extinguished because His wrath burns. Has the fire of His anger produced its effect, then the Sun of His grace rises again; for, says the Lord, ‘I kill, and I make alive; I wound and I heal (Deuteronomy 32:39); in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favor have I had mercy on thee.’ ”—Thol.

5. On Isaiah 60:17-18; Isaiah 60:21. “Above the voice, which tells us what we ought to be and are not, there sounds another in every human heart which gives a ray of hope that our iniquities shall not separate us from our God, and that we shall one day be what we ought to be. This foreboding voice of longing expectation, which, although weak and confused, sounds through the generations of men, has found in the Old Covenant its fulfilment. There clear, unmistakable voices speak of the time when a fountain shall be opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness’ (Zechariah 13:1); of a time when it shall be said of the city of God on earth: ‘Thy people shall be all righteous, and shall inherit the earth forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands that I may be glorified.’ ”—Tholuck.

6. On Isaiah 60:18-22. It is a great comfort in the present time when darkness covers the earth and thick darkness the people, to know that it will not always remain so. We are now only in an intermediate state. A time of light will come when God alone will be Sun, and that 1) for the intellectual and spiritual life of men (Isaiah 60:18; Isaiah 60:21); 2) for the life of nature.

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Isaiah 60". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/isaiah-60.html. 1857-84.
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