Isaiah 60:18
Violence shall no more be heard in your land, wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Violence shall no more . . .—Following the thought of the previous verse, we see in the words a picture of freedom from internal misgovernment rather than from external invasion.

Thou shalt call thy walls Salvation . . . The idea, almost the very phrase, has met us before in Isaiah 26:1. They probably found a starting-point in the Eastern practice of giving to the walls of a city names that implied a consecration. Thus the walls of Babylon were named Imgur Bel and Nimetti Belkit (Records of the Past, v. 124, 125).

Isaiah

WALLS AND GATES

Isaiah 60:18
.

The prophet reaches the height of eloquence in his magnificent picture of the restored Jerusalem, ‘the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.’ To him the city stands for the embodiment of the nation, and his vision of the future is moulded by his knowledge of the past. Israel and Jerusalem were to him the embodiments of the divine idea of God’s dwelling with men, and of a society founded on the presence of God in its midst. We are not forcing meanings on his words which they will not bear, when we see in the society of men redeemed by Christ the perfect embodiment of his vision. Nor is the prophet of the New Testament doing so when he casts his vision of the future which is to follow Resurrection and Judgment into a like form, and shows us the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven.

The end of the world’s history is to be, not a garden but a city, a visible community, bound together because God dwells in it, and yet not having lost the blessed characteristics of the Garden from which man set out on his long and devious march.

The Christian form of the prophet’s vision is the Christian Society, and in that society, each individual member possesses his own portion of the common blessings, so that the great words of this text have a personal as well as a general application. We shall best bring out their rich contents by simply taking them as they stand, and considering what is promised by the two eloquent metaphors, which liken salvation to the walls and praise to the gates of the City of God.

I. Salvation is to be the city’s wall.

Another prophet foretold that the returning exiles would dwell in a Jerusalem that had no walls, ‘for I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about’; and Isaiah sang, ‘We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.’ There is no need for material defences for the community or the individual whom God defends. Would that the Church had lived up to the height of that great thought! Would that we each believed it true in regard to our own lives! There are three ways in which this promise may be viewed. We may think of ‘salvation’ as meaning God’s purpose to save. And then the comfort and sense of security will be derived from the thought that what He intends He performs, and that nothing can traverse that purpose except our own rebellions self-will. They whom God designs to keep are kept; they whom God wills to save are saved, unless they oppose His will, which opposition is in itself to be lost, and leads to ultimate and irreparable loss.

We may think of salvation as an actually begun work. Then the comfort and sense of security will be derived from that great work by which salvation has begun to be ours. The work of Christ keeps us from all danger, and no foes can make a breach in that wall, nor reach those who stand safe behind its strong towers.

We may think of salvation as a personal experience, and then the comfort and sense of security will be derived from that blessed consciousness of possessing in some measure at least the spirit, not of bondage, but of a son. The consciousness of having ‘salvation’ is our best defence against spiritual foes and our best shield against temporal calamities.

It is good for us to live by faith, to be thrown back on our unseen protector, to feel with the psalmist, ‘Thou, Lord, makest me to dwell in safety, though alone,’ and to see the wall great and high that is drawn round our defenceless tent pitched on the sands of the flat desert.

II. Praise is to be the city’s gate.

As to the Church, this prophecy anticipates the Apostle’s teaching that the whole divine work of Redemption, from its fore-ordination before the foundation of the world, to its application to each sinful soul, is ‘to the end that we should be unto the praise of His glory’ or, as he elsewhere expands and enriches the expression, ‘to the praise of the glory of His grace.’

We are ‘secretaries of His praise.’ A gate is that by which the safe inhabitants go out into the region beyond, and the outgoings of the active life of every Christian should be such as to make manifest the blessings that he enjoys within the shelter of the city’s walls. Only if our hidden life is blessed with a begun salvation will our outward life be vocal with the music of praise. The gate will be praise if, and only if, the wall is salvation.

And praise is the gate by which we should go out into the world, even when the world into which we go is dark and the ways rough and hard. If we have the warm glow of a realised salvation in our hearts, sorrows that are but for a moment will not silence the voice of praise, though they may cast it into a minor key. The praise that rises from a sad heart is yet more melodious in God’s ear than that which carols when all things go well. The bird that sings in a darkened cage makes music to its owner. ‘Songs in the night’ have a singular pathos and thrill the listeners. When we ‘take the cup of salvation’ and call on the name of the Lord, we shall offer to Him the sacrifices of thanksgiving, though He may recall some of the precious gifts that He gave. For He never takes away the wall of salvation which He has built around us, and as long as that wall stands, its gates will be praise. Submission, recognition of His will, and even ‘silence because Thou didst it,’ are praise to His ear.Isaiah 60:18. Violence shall no more be heard, &c. — Neither the threats and triumphs of those that do violence, nor the outcries and complaints of those that suffer it, shall be heard again, but every man shall peaceably enjoy his own. Wasting nor destruction — Of persons or possessions, anywhere within thy borders — Thou shalt be secure from violence and injustice at home, and from invasion and war from abroad. But thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, &c. — They shall be safe and able to defend thee; thou shalt be as safe as salvation itself can make thee. And the protection and security, which God by his providence shall afford thee, shall be to thee continual matter of praise and thanksgiving. This verse, and what follows to the end of the chapter, seems to relate chiefly to that peaceable and happy state which the church shall enjoy in the latter days.60:15-22 We must look for the full accomplishment in times and things, exceeding those of the Old Testament church. The nations and their kings shall lay themselves out for the good of the church. Such a salvation, such a redemption, shall be wrought out for thee, as discovers itself to be the work of the Lord. Every thing shall be changed for the better. In thy land shall no more be heard threats of those that do violence, nor complaints of those that suffer violence. Thy walls shall be means of safety, thy gates shall be written upon with praises to God. In the close of this chapter are images and expressions used in the description of the New Jerusalem, Re 21:23; 22:5. Nothing can answer to this but some future glorious state of the church on earth, or the state of the church triumphant in heaven. Those that make God their only light, shall have him their all-sufficient light. And the happiness shall know no change or alloy. No people on earth are all righteous; but there are no mixtures in heaven. They shall be wholly righteous. The spirits of just men shall there be made perfect. The glory of the church shall be to the honour of God. When it shall be finished, it will appear a work of wonder. It may seem too difficult to be brought about, but the God of almighty power has undertaken it. It may seem to be delayed and put off; but the Lord will hasten it in the time appointed by his wisdom, though not in the time prescribed by our folly. Let this hope cheer us under all difficulties, and stir us up to all diligence, that we may have an abundant entrance into this everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.Violence shall no more be heard in thy land - This is a most beautiful description of the peace and prosperity which would prevail in the times of the Messiah. If the gospel, in its purity, should prevail on earth, there would be no more scenes of violence and war. The battle-shout would be heard no more; the cry of violence, the clangor of arms would resound no more. The pure gospel of the Redeemer has never originated one war; never produced one scene of bloodshed; never once prompted to violence and strife. There has been no war in any age or in any land which the principles of the gospel, if acted on by both the contending nations, would not have prevented; there have been no scenes of bloodshed which would not have been avoided if that had been suffered to control the hearts of people. And no one who believes the Bible to be a revelation from God, can doubt that the time will come when the mad passions of kings and nations shall be subdued, and when wars shall cease to be known except in the melancholy and disgraceful records of past events (compare the notes at Isaiah 2:4).

Wasting - The waste of life and property; the burning of cities, towns, and villages; and the desolution which spreads over farms and plantations on the march of a victorious enemy.

Nor destruction - Hebrew, שׁבר sheber - 'Breaking.' The breaking or treading down caused by the march of a triumphant army.

In thy borders - Within thy bounds or limits. Thy whole country shall be peace and prosperity; that is, wherever the gospel shall spread there shall be security and peace.

But thou shalt call thy walls Salvation - Thou shalt live securely within thy walls, and shalt speak of them as furnishing protection or salvation. The time will come when the church shall have no reason to apprehend danger from abroad, and when all shall be peace within.

And thy gates Praise - Because, says Grotius, those who are appointed to watch at their gates shall announce the approach of no enemy, but shall, with the highest security, celebrate the praises of God. Praise would be celebrated in all the places of public concourse, and perfect protection would be ascribed to all her walls; that is, in the church there would be entire security, and everywhere the praises of God would be celebrated.

18. (Isa 2:4). 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 (Isa 26:1, 2).

gates—once the scene of "destruction" when victorious foes burst through them (Ne 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 (2Ch 31:2; Ps 9:14; 24:7; 100:4). "Judah," the favored tribe, means "praise."

That this and what follows must necessarily be understood of the church triumphant (though there only it will be complete) I see no necessity, neither will obtrude my judgment, but leave it to the judicious, as being more proper in a comment: none to offer violence to this quiet state thou shalt attain to, either within thee, to oppress by injustice, rapine, or fraud, or without thee by hostile invasions; and this the prophet mentions as the effect of good officers in the former verse.

Wasting nor destruction within thy borders; no havoc made among thy people.

Thou shalt call thy walls Salvation; they shall be safe, and able to defend thee; thou shalt bc as safe as salvation itself can make thee. When a thing is said in Scripture to be called so, it often signifies as much as to be so, Isaiah 26:1 47:1 65:7, and it intimates as much as that God will be salvation to his church: when they shall be without gates and walls, he will be their safety, and the matter of their praise; see Isaiah 26:1; and God’s care of his church is the matter of that exhortation to praise him, Psalm 147.

And thy gates Praise; a double metonymy, viz. of the effect, as salvation will cause praise; and of the adjunct, as it is worthy of praise; so that within or upon thy gates and walls thou shalt sing praises. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land,.... It shall be no more committed; no instances of it will be heard of, or any complaints concerning it; neither public nor private oppression: antichristian persecution will now be at an end; those that destroyed the earth with violence and oppression shall be no more; "there will be none to hurt in all the holy mountain", Isaiah 11:9,

wasting nor destruction within thy borders; no more wars, nor rumours of wars; no more blood shed; no more depopulation of cities, nor destruction of the lives of men; the whore of Rome will have drank up her full cup; and the vials of wrath being poured out upon the antichristian states, there will be a profound peace, and the greatest prosperity everywhere; especially in all those places where the churches of Christ will be, who will no more be exposed to the cruelty of their enemies:

but thou shall call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise; or, "call Salvation thy walls, and Praise thy gates" (h); having no need of any other walls but the salvation of God, temporal and spiritual; nor of any other gates but the praise that will be in the hearts and mouths of the saints, on account of it; though temporal salvation may be included, which will be for walls and bulwarks to the church: yet spiritual and eternal salvation is chiefly meant, which flows from the invariable love of God; is founded upon his unalterable purpose; secured in the act of electing grace; established in the covenant; and completely wrought out by Christ, who has vanquished every enemy, procured every blessing; and whose almighty power, as well as his divine Father's, is and will be concerned for the safety of his people; who will now be in great numbers in the gates of Zion; praising the Lord for electing, redeeming, calling, pardoning, and justifying grace; and for the privileges of the house of the Lord they are admitted to; and for the communion they have with him there; see Isaiah 26:1. The Targum is,

"and they shall proclaim salvation on thy walls, and on thy gates there shall be they that praise.''

(h) "vocabis salutem muros tuos, et portas tuas laudem", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version.

Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt {s} call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.

(s) Meaning not an earthly happiness, but spiritual, which is fulfilled in Christ's kingdom.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. wasting nor destruction] ch. Isaiah 59:7, Isaiah 51:19.

thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, &c.] This rendering is decidedly preferable to that of most recent commentators: “thou shalt call Salvation thy walls, &c.” Moreover the rule in such cases (although Isaiah 60:17 furnishes an exception) is that “the nearer obj. is usually def. and the more remote indef.” (Davidson, Syntax, § 76). See also on ch. Isaiah 26:1.Verse 18. - Violence shall no more be heard in thy land (comp. Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 11:6-9; Isaiah 35:9). The entire cessation of war and violence is one of the most characteristic features of the "last times," when swords shall be beaten into ploughshares, and spears into pruning-hooks. "The Prince of Peace" shall ultimately establish peace. It is not surprising that men of earnest religious feeling should have thought, at various times, that they saw the actual commencement of the reign of peace upon earth, so distinctly promised, so earnestly longed for, so necessary for the happiness of mankind. But to a calm and dispassionate observer the nineteenth century seems scarcely more advanced upon the road which leads to this desirable end than the first. Thou shall call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. The true wall of the city will be the "salvation" of which God assures it, and the true gates will be the "praise," or renown, which it has among the nations of the earth (comp. Isaiah 26:1). The first turn (Isaiah 60:1-3) described the glorification of Zion through the rising of the glory of Jehovah; the second (Isaiah 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 (Isaiah 56:6-7), and foreign kings place themselves at the service of Zion (Isaiah 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 Isaiah 60:10, הכּיתיך points to the more remote past; רחמתּיך to the nearer past, stretching forward into the present (cf., Isaiah 54:8). On pittēăch, patescere, hiscere, see Isaiah 48:8, where it is applied to the ear, as in Sol 7:13 to a bud. The first clause of Isaiah 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 Revelation 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., Nahum 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 Isaiah 20:4; 1 Samuel 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 Isaiah 45:14 with Psalm 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. Isaiah 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 Isaiah 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.
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