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Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at

Isaiah Chapter 60

Isaiah 60:1

isa 60:1

It is still night. The inward and outward condition of the church is night; and if it is night followed by a morning, it is so only for those who "against hope believe in hope." The reality which strikes the senses is the night of sin, of punishment, of suffering, and of mourning - a long night of nearly seventy years. In this night, the prophet, according to the command of God, has bee prophesying of the coming light. In his inward penetration of the substance of his own preaching, he has come close to the time when faith is to be turned to sight. And now in the strength of God, who has made him the mouthpiece of His own creative fiat, he exclaims to the church, Isa 60:1 : "Arise, grow light; for thy light cometh, and the glory of Jehovah riseth upon thee." The appeal so addressed to Zion-Jerusalem, which is regarded (as in Isa 49:18; Isa 50:1; Isa 52:1-2; Isa 54:1) as a woman, and indeed as the mother of Israel. Here, however, it is regarded as the church redeemed from banishment, and settled once more in the holy city and the holy land, the church of salvation, which is now about to become the church of glory. Zion lies prostrate on the ground, smitten down by the judgment of God, brought down to the ground by inward prostration, and partly overcome by the sleep of self-security. She now hears the cry, "Arise" (qūmı̄). This is not a mere admonition, but a word of power which puts new life into her limbs, so that she is able to rise from the ground, on which she has lain, as it were, under the ban. The night, which has brought her to the ground mourning, and faint, and intoxicated with sleep, is now at an end. The mighty word qūmı̄, "arise," is supplemented by a second word: 'ōrı̄. What creative force there is in these two trochees, qūmı̄ 'ōrı̄, which hold on, as it were, till what they express is accomplished; and what force of consolation in the two iambi, ki-bhâ 'ōrēkh, which affix, as it were, to the acts of Zion the seal of the divine act, and add to the ἄρσις (or elevation) its θέσις (or foundation)! Zion is to become light; it is to, because it can. But it cannot of itself, for in itself it has no light, because it has so absolutely given itself up to sin; but there is a light which will communicate itself to her, viz., the light which radiates from the holy nature of God Himself. And this light is salvation, because the Holy One loves Zion: it is also glory, because it not only dispels the darkness, but sets itself, all glorious as it is, in the place of the darkness. Zârach is the word commonly applied to the rising of the sun (Mal 4:2). The sun of suns is Jehovah (Psa 84:12), the God who is coming (Isa 59:20).

Isaiah 60:2

isa 60:2

It is now all darkness over mankind; but Zion is the east, in which this sun of suns will rise. Isa 60:2 "For, behold, the darkness covereth the earth, and deep darkness the nations; and Jehovah riseth over thee, and His glory becomes visible over thee." The night which settles upon the world of nations is not to be understood as meaning a night of ignorance and enmity against God. This prophecy no doubt stands in progressive connection with the previous one; but, according to Isa 59:19, the manifestation of judgment, through which Zion is redeemed, brings even the heathen from west to east, i.e., those who survive the judgment, to the fear of Jehovah. The idea is rather the following: After the judgments of God have passed, darkness in its greatest depth still covers the earth, and a night of clouds the nations. It is still night as on the first day, but a night which is to give place to light. Where, then, will the sun rise, by which this darkness is to be lighted up? The answer is, "Over Zion, the redeemed church of Israel." But whilst darkness still covers the nations, it is getting light in the Holy Land, for a sun is rising over Zion, viz., Jehovah in His unveiled glory. The consequence of this is, that Zion itself becomes thoroughly light, and that not for itself only, but for all mankind. When Jehovah has transformed Zion into the likeness of His own glory, Zion transforms all nations into the likeness of her own. Isa 60:3 "And nations walk to thy light, and kings to the shining of thy rays." Zion exerts such an attractive force, that nations move towards her light (ל הלך as in לביתו ni sa הלך and other similar expressions), and kings to the splendour of her rays, to share in them for themselves, and enjoy them with her. All earthly might and majesty station themselves in the light of the divine glory, which is reflected by the church.

Isaiah 60:4

isa 60:4

Zion is now exhorted, as in Isa 49:18, to lift up her eyes, and turn them in all directions; for she is the object sought by an approaching multitude. "Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: they all crowd together, they come to thee: thy sons come from afar, and thy daughters are carried hither upon arms." The multitude that are crowding together and coming near are the diaspora of her sons and daughters that have been scattered far away (Isa 11:12), and whom the heathen that are now drawing near to her bring with them, conducting them and carrying them, so that they cling "to the side" (Isa 66:12) of those who are carrying them upon their arms and shoulders (Isa 49:22). תּאמנה is softened from תאמנּה, the pausal form for אתמנה (compare the softening in Rut 1:13), from אמן, to keep, fasten, support; whence אמן, אמנת, a foster-father, a nurse who has a child in safe keeping.

Isaiah 60:5

isa 60:5

When this takes place, Zion will be seized with the greatest delight, mingled with some trembling. "Then wilt thou see and shine, and thine heart will tremble and expand; for the abundance of the sea will be turned to thee, the wealth of the nations cometh to thee." It is a disputed question whether the proper reading is תּראי, תּראי, or תּיראי - all three point to יר) - or תּראי, from ראה. The last is favoured by the lxx, Targ., Syr., Jerome, Saad., and all the earlier Jewish commentators except AE, and is also the Masoretic reading; for the Masora finalis (f. 1, col. 6) observes that this רתאי is the only instance of such a form from ראה (differing therefore from תיראי in Zep 3:15, where we also find the readings תיראי and תראי); and there is a note in the margin of the Masora, חטף לית, to the effect that this תראי is the only one with chateph, i.e., Sheva. Moreover, תּראי (thou shalt see) is the more natural reading, according to Isa 66:14 and Zac 10:7; more especially as ירא is not a suitable word to use (like pâchad and râgaz in Jer 33:9) in the sense of trembling for joy (compare, on the contrary, ירע, Isa 15:4, and רהה in Isa 44:8). The true rendering therefore is, "Then wilt thou see and shine," i.e., when thou seest this thou wilt thine, thy face will light up with joy; nâhar as in Psa 34:6. Luther render it, "Then wilt thou see thy desire, and break out," viz., into shouting; Jerome, on the contrary, has, "Thou wilt overflow, i.e., thou wilt be inundated with waters coming suddenly like rivers."

The impression produced by this revolution is so overpowering, that Zion's heart trembles; yet at the same time it is so elevating, that the straitened heart expands (ורחב, a figure quite unknown to the classical languages, although they have angor and angustia; the lxx renders it καὶ ἐκστήση, after the reading ורהב in Chayug, and Isaac Nathan in his Concordance, entitled נתיב מיר): for hămōn yâm, i.e., everything of value that is possessed by islands and coast lands (hâmōm, groaning, a groaning multitude, more especially of possessions, Psa 37:16, etc.), is brought to her; and chēl gōyim, the property, i.e., (looking at the plural of the predicate which follows; cf., Hag 2:7) the riches (gold, silver, etc., Zac 14:14) of the heathen, are brought into her, that she may dispose of them to the glory of her God.

Isaiah 60:6

isa 60:6

The nations engaged in commerce, and those possessing cattle, vie with one another in enriching the church. "A swarm of camels will cover thee, the foals of Midian and Ephah: they come all together from Saba; they bring gold and incense, and they joyfully make known the praises of Jehovah. All the flocks, of Kedar gather together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth will serve thee: they will come up with acceptance upon mine altar, and I will adorn the house of my adorning." The trading nations bring their wares to the church. The tribe of Midian, which sprang from Abraham and Keturah (Gen 25:2), and of which Ephah (Targ. Hōlâd, the Hutheilites?) formed one of the several branches (Gen 25:4), had its seat on the eastern coast of the Elanitic Gulf, which is still indicated by the town of Madyan, situated, according to the geographers of Arabia, five days' journey to the south of Aila. These come in such long and numerous caravans, that all the country round Jerusalem swarms with camels. שׁפעת as in Job 22:11; and בּכרי (parallel to גּמלּים) from בּכר = Arabic bakr or bikr, a young male camel, or generally a camel's foal (up to the age of not more than nine years; see Lane's Lexicon, i. 240). All of these, both Midianites and Ephaeans, come out of Sheba, which Strabo (xvi. 4, 10) describes as "the highly blessed land of the Sabaeans, in which myrrh, frankincense, and cinnamon grow." There, viz., in Yemen,

(Note: Seba (סבא, Isa 43:3; Isa 45:14) is Meroe generally, or (according to Strabo and Steph. Byz.) more especially a port in northern Ethiopia; Sheba (שׁבא), the principal tribe of southern Arabia, more especially its capital Marib (Mariaba), which, according to an Arabian legend, contained the palace of Bilkis, the שׁבא מלכּת (see Exc. iv. in Krger's Feldzug von Aelius Gallus, 1862). It is true that the following passage of Strabo (xvi. 14, 21) is apparently at variance with the opinion that the seat of the Sabaeans was in southern Arabia. "First of all," he says, "above Syria, Arabia Felix is inhabited by the Nabataeans and Sabaeans, who frequently marched through the former before it belonged to the Romans." But as, according to every other account given by Strabo, the Sabaeans had their home in Arabia Felix, and the Nabataeans at the northern extremity of the Red Sea, in Arabia Petraea, all that this passage can imply is, that at that part of Arabia which stretches towards the Syrian boundary, the expeditions of the Sabaeans came upon the Nabataeans.))

where spices, jewels, and gold abound, they have purchased gold and frankincense, and these valuable gifts they now bring to Jerusalem, not as unwilling tribute, but with the joyful proclamation of the glorious deeds and attributes of Jehovah, the God of Israel.

And not only do the trading nations come, but the nomad tribes also: viz., Kedar, the Kedarenes, with their bows (Isa 21:17), who lived in the desert, between Babylonia and Syria, in חצרים (Isa 42:11), i.e., fixed settlements; and Nebaitoh, also in Ishmaelitish tribe (according to the incontrovertible account of Gen 25:13), a nomad tribe, which was still of no note even in the time of the kings of Israel, but which rose into a highly cultivated nation in the centuries just before Christ, and had a kingdom extending from the Elanitic Gulf to the land on the east of the Jordan, and across Belka as far as Hauran; for the monuments reach from Egypt to Babylonia, though Arabia Petraea is the place where they chiefly abound.

(Note: Quatremre rejects the identity of the Nabataeans and the Ishmaelitish Nebaioth; but it has been justly defended by Winer, Kless, Knobel, and Krehl (Religion der vorisl. Araber, p. 51).)

The Kedarenes drive their collected flocks to Jerusalem, and the rams (אילי, arietes, not principes) of the Nabataeans, being brought by them, are at the service of the church (ישׁרתוּנך a verbal form with a toneless contracted suffix, as in Isa 47:10), and ascend על־רצון, according to good pleasure = acceptably (with the על used to form adverbs, Ewald, 217, i; cf., lerâtsōn in Isa 66:7), the altar of Jehovah (âlâh with the local object in the accusative, as in Gen 49:4; Num 13:17). The meaning is, that Jehovah will graciously accept the sacrifices which the church offers from the gifts of the Nabataeans (and Kedarenes) upon His altar. It would be quite wrong to follow Antistes Hess and Baumgarten, and draw the conclusion from such prophecies as these, that animal sacrifices will be revived again. The sacrifice of animals has been abolished once for all by the self-sacrifice of the "Servant of Jehovah;" and by the spiritual revolution which Christianity, i.e., the Messianic religion, as produced, so far as the consciousness of modern times is concerned, even in Israel itself, it is once for all condemned (see Holdheim's Schrift ber das Ceremonial-gesetz im Messiasreich, 1845). The prophet, indeed, cannot describe even what belongs to the New Testament in any other than Old Testament colours, because he is still within the Old Testament limits. But from the standpoint of the New Testament fulfilment, that which was merely educational and preparatory, and of which there will be no revival, is naturally transformed into the truly essential purpose at which the former aimed; so that all that was real in the prophecy remains unaffected and pure, after the dedication of what was merely the unessential medium employed to depict it. The very same Paul who preaches Christ as the end of the law, predicts the conversion of Israel as the topstone of the gracious counsels of God as they unfold themselves in the history of salvation, and describes the restoration of Israel as "the riches of the Gentiles;" and the very same John who wrote the Gospel was also the apocalyptist, by whom the distinction between Israel and the Gentiles was seen in vision as still maintained even in the New Jerusalem. It must therefore be possible (though we cannot form any clear idea of the manner in which it will be carried out), that the Israel of the future may have a very prominent position in the perfect church, and be, as it were, the central leader of its worship, though without the restoration of the party-wall of particularism and ceremonial shadows, which the blood of the crucified One has entirely washed away. The house of God in Jerusalem, as the prophet has already stated in Isa 56:7, will be a house of prayer (bēth tephillâh) for all nations. Here Jehovah calls the house built in His honour, and filled with His gracious presence, "the house of my glory." He will make its inward glory like the outward, by adorning it with the gifts presented by the converted Gentile world.

Isaiah 60:8

isa 60:8

From the mainland, over which caravans and flocks are coming, the prophet now turns his eyes to the sea. "Who are these who fly hither as a cloud, and like the doves to their windows? Yea, the islands wait for me; and the ships of Tarshish come first, to bring thy children from far, their silver and gold with them, to the name of thy God, and to the holy One of Israel, because He hath ornamented thee." Upon the sea there appear first of all enigmatical shapes, driving along as swiftly as if they were light clouds flying before the wind (Isa 19:1; Isa 45:22), or like doves flying to their dovecots (celeres cavis se turribus abdunt, as Ovid says), i.e., to the round towers with their numerous pigeon-holes, which are provided for their shelter. The question is addressed to Zion, and the answer may easily be anticipated - namely, that this swarm of swiftly flying figures are hurrying to a house which they long to reach, as much as pigeons do to reach their pigeon-house. The kı̄ which follows is explanatory: this hurrying presents itself to thine eyes, because the isles wait for me. The reason for all this haste is to be found in the faith of those who are hurrying on. The Old Testament generally speaks of faith as hope (ל קוּה as in Isa 51:5; Isa 42:4); not that faith is the same as hope, but it is the support of hope, just as hope is the comfort of faith. In the Old Testament, when the true salvation existed only in promise, this epithet, for which there were many synonyms in the language, was the most appropriate one. The faith of the distant lands of the west is now beginning to work. The object of all this activity is expressed in the word להביא. The things thus flying along like clouds and doves are ships; with the Tartessus ships, which come from the farthest extremity of the European insular quarter of the globe, at their head (בּראשׁנה with munach instead of metheg, in the same sense as in Num 10:14; lxx ἐν πρώτοις; Jerome, in principio, in the foremost rank), i.e., acting as the leaders of the fleet which is sailing to Zion and bringing Zion's children from afar, and along with them the gold and silver of the owners of the vessels themselves, to the name (לשׁם, to the name, dative, not equivalent to למען; lxx διὰ, as in Isa 55:5) of thy God, whom they adore, and to the Holy One of Israel, because He hath ornamented thee, and thereby inspired them with reverence and love to thee (פארך for פארך, as in Isa 54:6, where it even stands out of pause).

Isaiah 60:10

isa 60:10

The first turn (Isa 60:1-3) described the glorification of Zion through the rising of the glory of Jehovah; the second (Isa 60:4-9) her glorification through the recovery of her scattered children, and the gifts of the Gentiles who bring them home; and now the third depicts her glorification through the service of the nations, especially of her former persecutors, and generally through the service of all that is great and glorious in the world of nature and the world of men. Not only do the converted heathen offer their possessions to the church on Zion, but they offer up themselves and their kings to pay her homage and render service to her. "And sons of strangers build thy walls, and their kings serve thee: for in my wrath I have smitten thee, and in my favour I have had mercy upon thee. And thy gates remain open continually day and night, they shall not be shut, to bring in to thee the possessions of the nations and their kings in triumph. For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve thee will perish, and the nations be certainly laid waste." The walls of Zion (חמתיך doubly defective) rise up from their ruins through the willing co-operation of converted foreigners (Isa 56:6-7), and foreign kings place themselves at the service of Zion (Isa 49:23); the help rendered by the edicts of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes Longimanus being only a prelude to events stretching on to the end of time, though indeed, in the view of the prophet himself, the period immediately succeeding the captivity really would be the end of time. Of the two perfects in Isa 60:10, הכּיתיך points to the more remote past; רחמתּיך to the nearer past, stretching forward into the present (cf., Isa 54:8). On pittēăch, patescere, hiscere, see Isa 48:8, where it is applied to the ear, as in Sol 7:13 to a bud. The first clause of Isa 60:11 closes with ולילה; tiphchah divides more strongly than tebir, which is subordinate to it. At the same time, "day and night" may be connected with "shall not be shut," as in Rev 21:25-26. The gates of Zion may always be left open, for there is no more fear of a hostile attack; and they must be left open ad importandum, that men may bring in the possession of the heathen through them (a thing which goes on uninterruptedly), נהוּגים וּמלכיהם. The last words are rendered by Knobel, "and their kings are leaders (of the procession);" but nâhūg would be a strange substantive, having nothing to support it but the obscure יקוּש from יקושׁ, for אחוּז in Sol 3:8 does not mean a support, but amplexus (Ewald, 149, d). The rendering "and their kings escorted," i.e., attended by an escort, commends itself more than this; but in the passage quoted in support of this use of nâhag, viz., Nah 2:8, it is used as a synonym of hâgâh, signifying gemere. It is better to follow the lxx and Jerome, and render it, "and their kings brought," viz., according to Isa 20:4; Sa1 30:2, as prisoners (Targ. zeqı̄qı̄n, i.e., beziqqı̄m, in fetters) - brought, however, not by their several nations who are tired of their government and deliver them up (as Hitzig supposes), but by the church, by which they have been irresistibly bound in fetters, i.e., inwardly conquered (compare Isa 45:14 with Psa 149:8), and thus suffer themselves to be brought in a triumphal procession to the holy city as the captives of the church and her God. Isa 60:12 is connected with this nehūgı̄m; for the state of every nation and kingdom is henceforth to be determined by its subjection to the church of the God of sacred history (עבד, δουλεύειν, in distinction from shērēth, διακονεῖν, θεραπεύειν), and by its entrance into this church - the very same thought which Zechariah carries out in Isa 14:16. Instead of כי־הגוי, כי is more properly pointed according to certain MSS with munach (without makkeph); the article before haggōyim is remonstrative, and the inf. intens. chârōbh makes the thing threatened unquestionable.

Isaiah 60:13

isa 60:13

From the thought that everything great in the world of man is to be made to serve the Holy One and His church, the prophet passes to what is great in the world of nature. "The glory of Lebanon will come to thee, cypresses, plane-trees and Sherbin-trees all together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and to make the place of my feet glorious." The splendid cedars, which are the glory of Lebanon, and in fact the finest trees of all kinds, will be brought to Zion, not as trunks felled to be used as building materials, but dug up with their roots, to ornament the holy place of the temple (Jer 17:12), and also to this end, that Jehovah may glorify the "holy place of His feet," i.e., the place where He, who towers above the heaven of all heavens, has as it were to place His feet. The temple is frequently called His footstool (hadōm raglâiv), with especial reference to the ark of the covenant (Psa 99:5; Psa 132:7; Lam 2:1; Ch1 28:2) as being the central point of the earthly presence of God (cf., Isa 66:1). The trees, that is to say, which tower in regal glory above all the rest of the vegetable world, are to adorn the environs of the temple, so that avenues of cedars and plane-trees lead into it; a proof that there is no more fear of any further falling away to idolatry. On the names of the trees, see Isa 41:19. Three kinds are mentioned here; we found seven there. The words יחדו ותשׁור תדהר ברושׁ are repeated verbatim from Isa 41:19.

Isaiah 60:14

isa 60:14

The prophecy now returns to the world of man. "The children also of thy tormentors come bending unto thee, and all thy despisers stretch themselves at the soles of thy feet, and call thee 'City of Jehovah, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.'" The persecutors of the church both in work and word are now no more (Isa 26:14), and their children fell themselves disarmed. They are seized with shame and repentance, when they see the church which was formerly tormented and despised so highly exalted. They come shechōăch (an inf. noun of the form טחון, Lam 5:13; used here as an accusative of more precise definition, just as nouns of this kind are frequently connected directly with the verb הלך, Ewald, 279, c), literally a bow or stoop, equivalent to bowing or stooping (the opposite to rōmâh in Mic 2:3), and stretch themselves "at the soles of thy feet," i.e., clinging to thee as imploringly and obsequiously as if they would lay themselves down under thy very feet, and were not worthy to lie anywhere but there (as in Isa 49:23); and whereas formerly they called thee by nicknames, they now give thee the honourable name of "City of Jehovah, Zion of the Holy One of Israel," not "Sanctuary of Israel," as Meier supposes, since qedōsh Israel is always a name of Jehovah in the book of Isaiah. It is a genitive construction like Bethlehem of Judah, Gibeah of Saul, and others.

Isaiah 60:15

isa 60:15

The fourth turn (Isa 60:15-18) describes the glorification of Zion through the growth and stability of its community both without and within. A glorious change takes place in the church, not only in itself, but also in the judgment of the nations. "Whereas thou wast forsaken, and hated, and no one walked through thee, I make thee now into eternal splendour, a rapture from generation to generation. And thou suckest the milk of nations, and the breast of kings thou wilt suck, and learn that I Jehovah am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob." Of the two ideas of a church (the mother of Israel) and a city (Metropolis) involved in the term Zion, the former prevails in Isa 60:15, the latter in Isa 60:16. For although עזוּבה and שׂנוּאה are equally applicable to a city and a church (Isa 54:6, Isa 54:11), the expression "no one walked through thee" applies only to the desolate city as she lay in ruins (see Isa 34:10). The fusion of the two ideas in Isa 60:15 is similar to Isa 49:21. Jerusalem will now become thoroughly a splendour, and in fact an eternal splendour, a rapture of successive generations so long as the history of this world continues. The nations and their kings give up their own vital energy to the church, just as a mother or nurse gives the milk of her breasts to a child; and the church has thereby rich food for a prosperous growth, and a constant supply of fresh material for grateful joy. We cannot for a moment think of enriching by means of conquest, as Hitzig does; the sucking is that of a child, not of a vampyre. We should expect melâkhōth (Isa 49:23) instead of melâkhı̄m (kings); but by שׁד (as in Isa 56:11 for שׁדי) the natural character of what is promised is intentionally spiritualized. The figure proves itself to be only a figure, and requires an ideal interpretation. The church sees in all this the gracious superintendence of her God; she learns from experience that Jehovah is her Saviour, that He is her Redeemer, He the Mighty One of Jacob, who has conquered for her, and now causes her to triumph (אני כּי with munach yethib, as in Isa 49:26, which passage is repeated almost verbatim here, and Isa 61:8).

Isaiah 60:17

isa 60:17

The outward and inward beauty of the new Jerusalem is now depicted by the materials of her structure, and the powers which prevail within her. "For copper I bring gold, and for iron I bring silver, and for wood copper, and for stones iron, and make peace thy magistracy, and righteousness thy bailiffs. Injustice is no more seen in thy land, wasting and destruction in thy borders; and thou callest salvation thy walls, and renown thy gates." Wood and stone are not used at all in the building of the new Jerusalem. Just as in the time of Solomon silver was counted as nothing (Kg1 10:21) and had only the value of stones (Kg1 10:27), so here Jehovah gives her gold instead of copper, silver instead of iron; whilst copper and iron are so despised with this superabundance of the precious metals, that they take the place of such building materials as wood and stones. Thus the city will be a massive one, and not even all of stone, but entirely built of metal, and indestructible not only by the elements, but by all kinds of foes. The allegorical continuation of the prophecy shows very clearly that the prophet does not mean his words to be taken literally. The lxx, Saad., and others, are wrong in adopting the rendering, "I make thy magistracy peace," etc.; since shâlōm and tsedâqâh are not accusatives of either the predicate or the object, but such personifications as we are accustomed to in Isaiah (vid., Isa 32:16-17; Isa 59:14; cf., Isa 45:8). Jehovah makes peace its pequddâh, i.e., its "overseership" (like gebhūrâh, heroship, in Isa 3:25, and ‛ezrâh, helpership, in Isa 31:2), or magistracy; and righteousness its bailiffs. The plural נגשׂיך is no disproof of the personification; the meaning is, that tsedâqâh (righteousness) is to Jerusalem what the whole body of civil officers together are: that is to say, righteousness is a substitute for the police force in every form. Under such magistracy and such police, nothing is ever heard within the land, of which Jerusalem is the capital, of either châmâs, i.e., a rude and unjust attack of the stronger upon the weaker, or of shōd, i.e., conquest and devastation, and shebher, i.e., dashing to pieces, or breaking in two. It has walls (Isa 60:10); but in truth "salvation," the salvation of its God, is regarded as its impregnable fortifications. It has gates (Isa 60:11) but tehillâh, the renown that commands respect, with which Jehovah has invested it, is really better than any gate, whether for ornament or protection.

Isaiah 60:19

isa 60:19

The fifth turn celebrates the glorifying of Jerusalem, through the shining of Jehovah as its everlasting light and through the form of its ever-growing membership, which is so well-pleasing to God. The prophecy returns to the thought with which it set out, and by which the whole is regulated, viz., that Jerusalem will be light. This leading thought is now unfolded in the most majestic manner, and opened up in all its eschatological depth. "The sun will be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness will the moon shine upon thee: Jehovah will be to thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun will no more go down, and thy moon will not be withdrawn; for Jehovah will be to thee an everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning will be fulfilled." Although, in the prophet's view, the Jerusalem of the period of glory in this world and the Jerusalem of the eternal glory beyond flow into one another; the meaning of this prophecy is not that the sun and moon will no longer exist. Even of the Jerusalem which is not to be built by Israel with the help of converted heathen, but which comes down from heaven to earth, the seer in Rev 21:23 merely says, that the city needs neither the shining of the sun nor of the moon (as the Targum renders the passage before us, "thou wilt not need the shining of the sun by day"), for the glory of God lightens it, and the Lamb is the light thereof, i.e., God Himself is instead of a sun to her, and the Lamb instead of a moon. Consequently we do not agree with Stier, who infers from this passage that "there is a final new creation approaching, when there will be no more turning round into the shadow (Jam 1:17), when the whole planetary system, including the earth, will be changed, and when the earth itself will become a sun, yea, will become even more than that, in the direct and primary light which streams down upon it from God Himself." We rather agree with Hofmann, that "there will still be both sun and moon, but the Holy Place will be illuminated without interruption by the manifestation of the presence of God, which outshines all besides." The prophet has here found the most complete expression, for that which has already been hinted at in such prophecies in Isa 4:5; Isa 30:26; Isa 24:23. As the city receives its light neither from the sun nor from the moon, this implies, what Rev 21:25 distinctly affirms, that there will be no more night there. The prophet intentionally avoids a לילה לאור parallel to יומם לאור. We must not render the second clause in Isa 60:19, "and it will not become light to thee with the shining of the moon," for האיר never means to get light; nor "and as for the shining of the moon, it does not give the light," as Hitzig and Knobel propose, for וּלנגהּ is used alone, and not היּרח וּלנגהּ as the antithesis to יומם לאור, in the sense of "to light up the night" (compare נגהּ as applied to the shining of the moon in Isa 13:10, and נגהּ to the glittering of the stars in Joe 2:10), and even the use of הלילה is avoided. The true rendering is either, "and for lighting, the moon will not shine upon thee" (Stier, Hahn, etc.); or, what is more in accordance with the accentuation, which would have given ולנגה tifchah and not tsakeph gadol, if it had been intended to indicate the object, "and as for the lighting" (ל as in Isa 32:1). The glory of Jehovah, which soars above Jerusalem, and has come down into her, is henceforth her sun and her moon - a sun that never sets, a moon יאסף לא which is not taken in towards morning, like a lamp that has been hung out at night (compare נאסף, Isa 16:10, withdrawn, disappeared). The triumph of light over darkness, which is the object of the world's history, is concentrated in the new Jerusalem. How this is to be understood, is explained in the closing clause of Isa 60:20. The sum of the days of mourning allotted to the church is complete. The darkness of the corruption of sin and state of punishment is overcome, and the church is nothing but holy blessed joy without change or disturbance; for it walks no longer in sidereal light, but in the eternally unchangeable light of Jehovah, which with its peaceful gentleness and perfect purity illumines within as well as without. The seer of the Apocalypse also mentions the Lamb. The Lamb is also known to our prophet; for the "Servant of Jehovah" is the Lamb. But the light of transfiguration, in which he sees this exalted Lamb, is not great enough to admit of its being combined with the light of the Divine Nature itself.

Isaiah 60:21

isa 60:21

The next v. shows how deep was his consciousness of the close connection between darkness, wrath, and sin. "And thy people, they are all righteous; they possess the land for ever, a sprout of my plantations, a work of my hands for glorification." The church of the new Jerusalem consists of none but righteous ones, who have been cleansed from guilt, and keep themselves henceforth pure from sinning, and therefore possess the land of promise for ever, without having to fear repeated destruction and banishment: a "sprout" (nētser as in Isa 11:1; Isa 14:19; Arab. nadr, the green branch) "of my plantations" (מטּעי chethib, erroneously מטּעו or מטּעו), i.e., of my creative acts of grace (cf., Isa 5:7), a "work of my hands" (cf., Isa 19:25), "to glorify me," i.e., in which I possess that in which I glory (להתפּאר as in Isa 61:3).

Isaiah 60:22

isa 60:22

The life of this church, which is newly created, new-born, through judgment and grace, gradually expands from the most unassuming centre in ever widening circles until it has attained the broadest dimensions. "The smallest one will become thousands, and the meanest one a powerful nation." "The small and mean one," or, as the idea is a relative one, "the smallest and meanest one" (Ges. 119, 2), is either a childless one, or one blessed with very few children. At the same time, the reference is not exclusively to growth through the blessing of children, but also to growth through the extension of fellowship. We have a similar expression in Mic 4:7 (cf., Isa 5:1), where 'eleph is employed, just as it is here, in the sense of לאלף, "to thousands (or chiliads)."

The whole of the prophetic address is now sealed with this declaration: "I Jehovah, will hasten it in His time." The neuter נּה (as in Isa 43:13; Isa 46:11) refers to everything that has been predicted from Isa 60:1 downwards. Jehovah will fulfil it rapidly, when the point of time (καιρός) which He has fixed for it shall have arrived. As this point of time is known to Him only, the predicted glory will burst all at once with startling suddenness upon the eyes of those who have waited believingly for Him.

This chapter forms a connected and self-contained whole, as we may see very clearly from the address to Zion-Jerusalem, which is sustained throughout. If we compare together such passages as Isa 51:17-23 ("Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem"), Isa 52:1-2 ("Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion"), and chapter 54 ("Sing, O barren"), which are all closely related so far as their contents are concerned, we shall find that these addresses to Zion form an ascending series, chapter 60 being the summit to which they rise, and that the whole is a complete counterpart to the address to the daughter of Babylon in Isa 47:1-15.

Next: Isaiah Chapter 61