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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Isaiah 60

 

 

Verse 1

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

An ode of congratulation to Zion on her restoration, at the Lord's second advent, to her true position as the mother Church, from which the Gospel is to be diffused to the whole Gentile world. The first promulgation of the Gospel among the Gentiles, beginning at Jerusalem, is an earnest of this. The language is too glorious to apply to anything that as yet has happened.

Arise - from the dust in which thou hast been sitting as a mourning female captive (Isaiah 3:26; Isaiah 52:1-2). The Chaldaic, Septuagint, Vulgate, and Arabic, all insert 'Jerusalem,' showing that they applied the prophecy to her.

Shine - impart to others the spiritual light now given thee (Isaiah 60:3). Margin and Gesenius translate, after the Vulgate, Septuagint, Chaldaic, and Arabic (Hebrew, 'owriy (Hebrew #215)), 'Be enlightened;' be resplendent with prosperity: imperative for the future indicative (as the Hebrew idiom, when it joins two imperatives, understands the latter of the two as a future, resulting from the former), 'thou shalt be enlightened' (Isaiah 58:8; Isaiah 58:10; Ephesians 5:8; Ephesians 5:14). The Syriac supports the English version.

Glory of the Lord - not merely the Shechinah, or cloud of glory, such as rested above the ark in the old dispensation, but the glory of the Lord in person (Jeremiah 3:16-17).

Is risen upon thee - as the sun, (Malachi 4:2; Luke 1:78, margin.)


Verse 2

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

Darkness shall cover the earth - the rest of the earth: in contrast with 'thy light, and the glory of the Lord risen upon thee' (Isaiah 60:1). The earth will be afterward enlightened through Israel (Isaiah 9:2).

But ... his glory shall be seen upon thee - conspicuously: so the Hebrew, yeeraa'eh (Hebrew #7200).


Verse 3

And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

And the Gentiles shall come to thy light - (Isaiah 2:3; Isaiah 11:10; Isaiah 43:6; Isaiah 49:22; Isaiah 66:12.)

Kings - (Isaiah 49:7; Isaiah 49:23; Isaiah 52:15).

And kings to the brightness of thy rising - thy sun-rising (Hebrew, zarcheek (Hebrew #2225)); i:e., to the brightness that riseth upon thee.


Verse 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 nursed at thy side.

Lift up thine eyes round about. Jerusalem is addressed as a female with eyes cast down from grief.

All they gather themselves together, they come to thee. The Gentile peoples come together to bring back the dispersed Hebrews, restore their city, and worship Yahweh with offerings.

Thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at (thy) side - rather, 'upon [ `al (Hebrew #5921)] thy side.' It is the custom in the East to carry the children astride on the hip, with the arms around the body (Isaiah 66:12).


Verse 5

Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.

Then thou shalt see (Isaiah 60:4) - namely, the bringing back of thy sons.

And flow together (Hebrew, naharte) - literally, to flow as a river. Thou shalt" - i:e., thy children shall flow together from all lands (cf. Isaiah 66:12). Or else, 'overflow with joy' (Lowth); or else, in the Chaldaic sense, akin to the Hebrew root, nuwr (Hebrew #5135), 'be bright (with joy)' (Gesenius). (Job 3:4; Psalms 34:5.) So the Chaldaic, Syriac, and Arabic; but the Vulgate, 'afflues.'

And thine heart shall fear (Hebrew, phachad) - or, beat with the agitation of solemn joy at the marvelous sight (Horsley). Jeremiah 33:9, "they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness, and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it."

And be enlarged - swell with delight. Grief, on the contrary, contracts the heart.

Because the abundance of the sea shall be converted (i:e., turned) unto thee. The wealth of the lands beyond the sea, as in Solomon's time, the type of the coming reign of the Prince of Peace, instead of being turned to purposes of sin and idolatry, shall be turned to minister to the Lord and His people.

The forces - rather, the riches.


Verse 6

The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries 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.

The multitude of camels - laden with merchandise; the camel is 'the ship of the desert' (cf. Isaiah 30:6).

Shall cover thee - so many of them shall there be.

Dromedaries. They have one bunch on the back, whereas the camel has two: distinguished for swiftness (Jeremiah 2:23).

Of Midian - east of the Elanitic branch of the Red Sea, and stretching northward along mount Seir. Associated with the Ishmaelites in traffic (Genesis 37:25; Genesis 37:28).

And Ephah - part of Midian, east of the Dead Sea. Midian abounded in camels (Judges 6:5).

All they from Sheba - in Arabia Felix, famed for frankincense and gold (Psalms 72:15; Jeremiah 6:20), which they traded in (Isaiah 45:14; Job 6:19; Ezekiel 27:22).


Verse 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.

All the flocks of Kedar (Isaiah 21:16; Song of Solomon 1:5) - in the south of Arabia Deserta, or north of Arabia Petraea; they traded in flocks (Ezekiel 27:21).

The rams of Nebaioth - son of Ishmael, as was Kedar. Father of the Nabatheans in Arabia Petraea.

Shall minister unto thee - by coming up as an acceptable sacrifice.

They shall come up with acceptance - i:e., acceptably. The rams offering themselves voluntarily (Psalms 68:30; Romans 12:1; 1 Peter 2:5), without waiting for any other priest, answer to believers strong in faith and lamb-like meekness, and in the white fleece-like robe of sanctity (Vitringa).

House of my glory - the temple at my second advent (Ezekiel 41:1-26; Haggai 2:7; Haggai 2:9; Malachi 3:1).


Verse 8

Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?

Who (are) these (that) fly as a cloud ... ? The prophet, seeing in vision new hosts approaching quickly like a cloud of doves, asks who they are.


Verse 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.

Surely the isles shall wait for me - (note, Isaiah 42:4.)

And the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far - the ships of Tartessus, (note, Isaiah 2:16; Isaiah 23:1 -

i.e., vessels that trade to the most distant regions) will be among the foremost to bring back the scattered Israelites (Isaiah 66:20).

Their silver and their gold with them - the nations among whom the Jews have been scattered shall help them with their money in returning (Isaiah 60:5-7; Isaiah 60:11; Isaiah 60:16), as was the case at the return from Babylon (Ezra 1:1-11; Ezra 4:1-24 : cf. Psalms 68:30-31): an earnest of the future and fuller accomplishment of the prophecy.

Unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One - rather, because of the name-because of the Holy One (cf. Isaiah 55:5) (Lowth).


Verse 10

And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee.

Kings shall minister unto thee - (Isaiah 60:7, above; note, Isaiah 49:23).

For in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee - (Isaiah 54:7-8; Isaiah 57:17.)


Verse 11

Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.

Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night - (Revelation 21:25.) The gates are ever open to receive new offerings and converts (Isaiah 26:2). So in the case of the spiritual Israel now (1 Corinthians 16:9; Acts 14:27; Revelation 3:8). In time of peace the gates of a city are open: so, under the Prince of Peace, there shall be no need of barring gates against invaders.

That (men) may bring unto thee the forces (the riches) of the Gentiles; and (that) their kings (may be) brought - as willing captives to the trust; or, if not willingly, be brought by judgments to submit to Israel (Isaiah 60:12; Isaiah 60:14). Gesenius explains it ( naahag (Hebrew #5090) n


Verse 12

For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.

For the nation ... that will not serve thee shall perish. The reason which will lead Gentile kings and people to submit themselves: fear of the God in Israel (Zechariah 14:17).


Verse 13

The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.

The glory of Lebanon - i:e., the trees which adorned Lebanon; emblem of men eminent in natural gifts, devoting all that is in them to the God of Israel (Hosea 14:5-6).

The fir tree, the pine ... the box - or, 'the cypress ... ilex, or holm ... cedar' (cf. note, Isaiah 41:19).

To beautify the place of my sanctuary - Jerusalem (Jeremiah 3:17).

I will make the place of my feet glorious - no longer the ark (Jeremiah 3:16), "the footstool" of Yahweh (Psalms 99:5; Psalms 132:7; 1 Chronicles 28:2); but 'the place of His throne, the place of the soles of His feet, where He will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever,' in the new temple (Ezekiel 43:7).


Verse 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.

The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee - their fathers who "afflicted" Israel having been cut off by divine judgments (Isaiah 14:1-2; Isaiah 49:23).

The Zion of the Holy One of Israel - the royal court of the Holy One. Maurer translates, 'Zion, the sanctuary (Holy place) of Israel, (Isaiah 57:15; Psalms 46:4).


Verse 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.

Forsaken - (Psalms 78:60-61).

So that no man went through thee - thy land was so desolate that no traveler or caravan passed through thee: true only of Israel, not true of the Church (Lamentations 1:4).

An eternal excellency - an everlasting glory; i:e., one forever honoured.


Verse 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.

Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles - Thou shalt draw to thyself and enjoy all that is valuable of the possessions of the Gentiles, etc. (Isaiah 49:23; Isaiah 61:6; Isaiah 66:11-12).

And thou shalt know - (by the favours bestowed on thee, and through thee on the Gentiles), that I the Lord am thy Saviour.


Verse 17

For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.

For brass I will bring gold - Poetically, with figurative allusion to the furniture of the temple; all things in that happy age to come shall be changed for the better.

I will also make ... thine exactors - namely, of tribute.

Righteousness. All rulers in restored Jerusalem shall not only be peaceable and righteous, but shall be, as it were, "peace" and "righteousness" itself in their administration.


Verse 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.

Violence shall no more be heard in thy land - (Isaiah 2:4)

But thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise - not only shall thy walls keep thee safe from foes, but "Salvation" shall serve as thy walls, converting thy foes into friends, and so ensuring thee perfect safety (Isaiah 26:1-2).

Gates - once the scene of "destruction," when victorious foes burst through them (Nehemiah 1:3); henceforth to be not only the scene of praises, but "Praise" itself; the "gates," as the place of public concourse, were the scene of thanksgivings (2 Chronicles 31:2; Psalms 9:14; Psalms 24:7; Psalms 100:4). "Judah," the favoured tribe, means praise.


Verse 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.

The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee - The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee - the sun and moon, the brightest objects by day and night, shall be eclipsed by the surpassing glory of God manifesting Himself to thee (Isaiah 30:26; Zechariah 2:5; Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:5).


Verse 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.

Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself - There shall be no national and spiritual obscuration again, as formerly (Joel 2:10; Amos 8:9).

The days of thy mourning shall be ended - (Isaiah 25:8; Revelation 21:4.)


Verse 21

Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.

Thy people also shall be all righteous - (Isaiah 4:3; Isaiah 52:1; Revelation 21:27.)

They shall inherit the land forever - (Isaiah 49:8; Isaiah 54:3; Isaiah 65:9; Psalms 37:11; Psalms 37:22; Matthew 5:5.)

The branch of my planting - (Isaiah 61:3; Psalms 92:13; Matthew 15:13.)

The work of my hands - the converted Israelites (Isaiah 29:23; Isaiah 45:11).

That I may be glorified - the final end of all God's gracious dealings (Isaiah 49:3; Isaiah 61:3).


Verse 22

A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time.

A little one shall become a thousand - even one, and that the smallest in number and rank, shall be multiplied a thousandfold in both respects (Micah 5:2; Matthew 13:31-32.)

I the Lord will hasten it in his time - not our time: we might wish to hasten it, but it will come in the due time, as in the case of Jesus' first coming (Galatians 4:4); so in that of the restoration of Israel and the conversion of the world (Isaiah 66:8; Habakkuk 2:3; Acts 1:7; Hebrews 10:37).

Remarks: It is impossible to understand this chapter, with its glowing and magnificent promises, as having been fulfilled in the first advent of Christ, and the establishment of the Christian Church, the spiritual Israel of God. Nothing yet has taken place to realize the terms of this prophecy, even in the present Church, much less in the literal Israel. Now, it is plain from the contrast which is herein drawn between "Zion" and "the Gentiles," that it is the literal Jerusalem, the representative of all Israel, which is meant. Zion, which is now abased, is hereafter to "arise." She who is now in darkness is to he illuminated with "light" especially designed for her, even 'the glory of the Lord rising upon her.' As yet only an election has been and is being gathered from among the Gentiles. But when Jerusalem shall assume her rightful place as Mother-Church of Christendom, 'the Gentiles shall come to her light, and kings to the brightness of her sunrising.'

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 60:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/isaiah-60.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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