INTRODUCTION TO Isaiah 60.
As, in the two preceding chapters, the hypocrisy and formality, the profaneness and immorality, that should abound in the latter day, and even among professors of religion, are prophesied of; so, in this, a very ample account is given of latter daylight and glory; of both the spiritual and personal reign of Christ, with the latter of which it concludes. The light and glory of the church, in the spiritual reign, are described, Isaiah 60:1 the numerous conversions of persons to it from all quarters, east and west particularly, are prophesied of, Isaiah 60:4, the great usefulness those should be of unto it, in enriching it, and building it up, and in glorifying it, is declared, Isaiah 60:9, as also the subjection of enemies to it; the favours it should receive from kings, and the fame and renown of it through all nations and ages, Isaiah 60:14, its riches, prosperity, peace, and safety, Isaiah 60:17 and the chapter is concluded with an account of the more perfect state of the church in the personal reign of Christ, when there will be a perfection of light and righteousness; and the number of God's elect will be complete, and they will be all together, Isaiah 60:19.
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.Arise, shine,.... The Targum adds, "O Jerusalem"; and so the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions; and no doubt but the church of God is here addressed: and by what follows it seems to be the Jewish church, as distinct from the Gentiles, since they are said to come to it, the Jews, now converted, and brought into a church state; and who are called upon to arise out of their low dejected state and condition, in which they have long lain, and "shine": or to "awake", as some (p) render it, out of that sleep and lethargy they have been so long in, and to shine forth in the exercise of grace and discharge of duty: or to be "enlightened" (q); with the light of Christ and of the Gospel, now come unto them; and to diffuse this light to others, to hold it forth in profession and conversation; see Matthew 5:16.
for thy light is come: the Targum,
"for the time of thy redemption is come;''
meaning from the Babylonish captivity, which that paraphrase refers to: but this is not intended here, but the spiritual prosperity and happiness of the Jews in the latter day, at the time of their conversion; and the sense is, either that Christ, the Light of the world, was come unto them in a spiritual way; or that the glorious light of the Gospel of Christ was come unto them, and shone upon them; or the time was come that the blindness that had been so long upon them should be taken oft, and the veil be taken away they had been so long covered with, and they be turned to the Lord, the fulness of the Gentiles now being about to be brought in; see Romans 11:25,
and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee; or the glorious Lord; he, whose glory is to be seen, as the glory of the only begotten, who is the brightness of his Father's glory, the sun of righteousness; who shall now, rise upon these, and, leave a glory upon them that shall be visible.
(p) "expergiscere", Grotius. (q) "illuminare", Pagninus, Montanus Piscator.
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.For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people,.... Like that which covered the land of Egypt, when there was light in Goshen: and this may be meant either of the darkness of ignorance, idolatry, superstition, false doctrine, and false worship, that should cover the far greater part of the nations of the world, before this light and glory should break out, as it does at this day; some parts of it being covered with Pagan darkness, others with Mahometan darkness, and others with Papal darkness; and a very small spot it is where the light of the Gospel is, and that clear, but among a very few; for the most part it is not clear nor dark, it is not day nor night; and this is the evening time, in which, ere long, it shall be light; see Zechariah 14:6 or else this may design the distress that the antichristian states will be in, when this light shall break forth; the kingdom of the beast will be full of darkness, distress, and confusion, Revelation 16:10,
but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee: as on the tabernacle of old, Leviticus 9:23 to which the allusion is, Isaiah 4:5 this shows that the light and glory of the Lord, in the preceding verse, design the Lord himself, and his gracious purpose, and the display of his glory in the Gospel now preached; and that it will be visible in the church, and taken notice of by others, and induce them, and even great personages, to come unto it, as follows: or "he shall be seen", or "appear", in "his glory upon thee"; so Ben Melech renders it, supposing that "in", is wanting; and so the sense is, that Christ shall appear in the glory of his person and of his offices, and especially his kingly office; and in the glory of his grace and righteousness, in the ministration of his word among his people. The Jews (r) apply this to the first coming of Christ, which belongs to his spiritual reign.
(r) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 99. 1.
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.And the Gentiles shall come to thy light,.... To the Gospel, preached in the midst of her; and to Christ, who is her light and into her church state, and partake of the prosperity and happiness of it. The Targum is,
"and nations shall walk in thy light;''
and so in Revelation 21:24, where it is interpreted of the nations of them that are saved, truly regenerated and converted persons:
and kings to the brightness of thy rising; Christ, the sun of righteousness, will rise upon her; and this being the morning of the latter day glory, the church will rise as a bright morning star; and such be the evidence and lustre of Gospel truths and ordinances, that kings shall he enlightened by them, and come and join themselves unto her, and walk with her in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. Some of this high rank and dignity have been called, and but a few; but in those times the instances will be many, even all kings shall serve and worship the Lord, Psalm 72:11.
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, and see,.... The Gentiles and kings coming to Christ and his church; the vast number of converts flocking from all parts of the world to join themselves to the church of Christ, and to behold the wonderful work of God among the Jews now converted. The Targum is,
"lift up thine eyes O Jerusalem, round about, and see all the children of the people of thy captivity:''
all they gather themselves, and come to thee: this seems to have respect not to the Gentiles, as before; but to the Jews themselves, who are scattered up and down in the world; but now, being in a wonderful manner converted, shall gather together in a body, and go up to Jerusalem, where a Christian church of them will be formed, and to which they will join themselves; or this may respect the kings, Isaiah 60:2,
thy sons shall come from far; such as are of the seed of Abraham, children of the Jews, and now born again, and so Zion's sons; these shall come from the furthest parts of the earth, where they are, and incorporate themselves with their brethren:
and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side; by the ministers of the word, and with the sincere milk of it, and the breasts of Gospel ordinances; see 1 Thessalonians 2:7. The Targum is, "shall be carried at their sides" (s): and the Septuagint and Arabic versions, on their shoulders; and so refers to the manner of their being brought, and not to their bringing up; see Isaiah 49:22, but the former sense is best. Ben Melech interprets it of their being nursed up at the side of great personages, kings and queens, according to Isaiah 49:23. The word "thy" is not in the original; and it may be as well: rendered "at their side", as is supplied by some (t).
(s) "Ad latus portabuntur", Vitringa. (t) "ad latus illorum", Gataker.
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, and flow together,.... That is, when thou seest thy sons and daughters flocking to thee from all parts, there will be a flow of joy in thee, like the stream of a river; or thine heart will beat and flutter within thee, through surprise and joy, when thou seest such a numerous company gathered unto thee. Some render it, "then thou shall fear", as Aben Ezra (u), or be surprised at the sight; and others the next clause, "thou shall be enlightened" (w); that is, shall see, being enlightened, and shall increase in light and knowledge more and more; or "shine" (x), in great splendour and glory:
and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; shall fear the Lord and his goodness, and be enlarged with love to him, his truths and ordinances, and his people; and particularly shall be enlarged to receive in the most cordial manner those that flock unto her:
because the abundance of the Sea shall be converted unto thee: by which some understand the riches of the sea, that which is got out of it, or got upon it, in trading by it, this shall be converted to the use of the church and people of God; but rather an abundance of seafaring men is here meant, who shall be converted at this time, in which the grace of God will the more appear, as they are generally a very wicked and profligate set of men; or the inhabitants of the islands of the sea, such as Great Britain and others; or the sea may intend the several nations of the world, as waters do many people, nations, and kindreds, Revelation 17:15 and so it may denote a large abundance of converted persons everywhere, and more especially in the western parts of the world, in the European parts; since it is very common in Scripture to describe the western part of the world by the sea, the Mediterranean sea lying west of Judea.
The forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee; or their armies, every army of them; the soldiery will be converted, as well as the seafaring men, who are for the most part also exceeding wicked; not only kings will become real Christians, but their armies will be so too, their generals, officers, and common soldiers; and when this is once the case, woe to the whore of Rome! these will hate her, and burn her flesh with fire; these are the seven angels that shall come out of the temple, the church of God, to whom they have joined themselves, with the vials of God's wrath, and shall pour them upon the antichristian states; see Revelation 15:7.
(u) "Tum timebis", Vitringa. (w) "iiluminaberis", Vatablus. (x) "Splendebis", Munster, Montanus, Calvin; "et lucebis", Cocceius, So Ben Melech interprets the word.
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 multitudes of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah,.... That is, multitudes of people riding on these creatures from the parts mentioned, which, abounded with them, should come and cover or fill Jerusalem, and the places about it. Midian was a son of Abraham by Keturah, and a son of Midian, Genesis 25:4 these and their posterity inhabit Arabia; and so this is a prophecy of the conversion of the Arabians that dwell in Arabia Felix, Petraea, and Deserts; and so the Targum,
"a multitude of Arabians shall cover thee round about.''
A dromedary is a lesser camel, and swifter than the others; and both are very frequent in these countries, and used in travelling. Strabo (y) calls the Arabian Scenites feeders of camels.
All they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; Sheba was another of the posterity of Abraham by Keturah, Genesis 25:3 and lived near the others; the queen of this country came to hear the wisdom of Solomon; but the people of it in the latter, day will come to a greater than he; even to Christ and to his church, and bring their gold and incense, as the wise men did to Christ, and shall honour the Lord with their substance; see Psalm 72:10,
and they shall show forth the praises of the Lord; who has called them by his grace out of Mahometan darkness, into the marvellous light of the Gospel. These were the things the Sabaeans abounded with. Strabo (z) says, that frankincense, myrrh, and cinnamon, grew with them; and that they have such an abundance of spices, that they use the branches of cinnamon, cassia, and other things, for fuel; and that some of them are so rich through merchandise, that they have very sumptuous houses, and much furniture of gold and silver, as vessels, beds, tripods, cups with covers; and even that their gates, and walls, and roofs, are adorned with ivory, gold and silver, and precious stones. And so Pliny (a) observes: that the Sabaeans are very rich in fruitful and odoriferous woods, and in mines of gold, and other things; see Ezekiel 27:22. Vitringa understands both these clauses of the camels bringing gold and incense, and praising the Lord in their way, or being the occasion of it.
(y) Geograph. l. 16. p. 528. Ed. Casaub. (z) Geograph. I. 16. p. 535. (a) Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 28.
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 shall be gathered unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee,.... Nebaioth and Kedar were the sons of Ishmael, Genesis 25:13, Ishmael's twelve sons, of which Nebaioth was the eldest, inhabited all the country from Euphrates to the Red sea, calling it the Nabatene country, as Josephus (b) says; these design the Turks and Saracens, who shall now be converted. The Targum is,
"all the sheep of the Arabians shall be gathered unto thee;''
that is, these shall come with their sheep and rams, not to be offered up in sacrifice, for such sacrifices will not be used; but these, being the produce of the countries of these people, are mentioned to show, that being affected with the grace of God towards them, and influenced by it, will bring the best and chief of their substance to serve the interest of Christ, and glorify him with it:
they shall come up with acceptance on my altar; both they and their sacrifices and offerings will become acceptable to God through Christ, who is that altar that sanctifies every gift:
and I will glorify the house of my glory: with this large number of converts, and with the gifts and offerings they bring with them; the church is meant, which is the house of God, where he dwells and manifests his glory, the glory of himself, of his grace, and of his Gospel; see Jeremiah 30:19.
(b) Antiqu. I. 1. c. 12. sect 4.
Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?Who are these that fly as a cloud,.... Referring to the vast number of converts before mentioned, who are compared to a "cloud" for the number of them, covering Judea as the clouds do the heavens; and for their elevation and situation, being raised from an earthly to a heavenly state; called with a high calling, and made partakers of an heavenly one; and for their being filled with the grace of God, as clouds with water; and for their unanimity, their coming together in a body, making as it were one cloud, and that openly and publicly, professing Christ, and joining themselves to his church, in the face of the world; and so the Targum,
"who are these that come publicly as the swift clouds?''
and chiefly are they compared to a cloud for their swiftness in motion to Christ and his church; sinners; sensible of danger from the avenging justice of God, from his law, and from his wrath and displeasure, and eternal death, and being apprized of salvation and safety in Christ, make haste and flee to him as swiftly as a cloud driven by the winds;
and as the doves to their windows; or "dove houses", or "lockers and holes" (c); through which they enter, and to which they bend their course with great swiftness, when pursued by birds of prey, or through an eager desire after their young: converted persons may be compared to doves for their being a clean and cleanly creature; for their being amiable and lovely, chaste and loving; harmless and inoffensive, meek and humble, weak and timorous; mournful and disconsolate when they have lost their mate; and what dove houses are to these, Christ and his church are to converted persons, whither they flee for rest and shelter, and where they have both: the ordinances of Christ may be particularly meant by these holes or windows that doves make unto; by which, especially baptism, they enter into the church, and by means of which light is let into them, and through which Christ shows himself to them, Sol 2:9, what engages them to flee hither is their love to Christ, in order to have communion with him, and food for their faith; and when he causes them to come, or draws them by his grace, nothing can hinder; not the reproaches of the world, nor the temptations of Satan; nor objections from their own unworthiness. These words are said by the church, by way of admiration wondering at their numbers and swiftness in coming to her; see Isaiah 49:21. The Targum is
"the, captivity of Israel, who are gathered together, and come to their own land, as doves that return to their dove houses.''
(c) "ad columbaria sua", Montanus, Vitringa; "in suis forulis", Castalio Gataker.
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;.... The Targum is,
"for my Word.''
The Messiah, and his coming. The isles of Great Britain may more especially be intended, who, as they waited for his Gospel, and readily received it, and embraced it, as soon as it was brought to them, which was very early; so there are many here now waiting for the spiritual coming of Christ, and the glory of his churches in the latter day, and perhaps more than in any other part of the world besides:
and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them; this is to be understood of the Jews converted in distant parts of the world, who shall be brought in transport ships to the churches of Christ, particularly in Judea; and the ships of Tarshish shall be used in that service principally, they shall be the chief that shall be employed. Most of the Jewish commentators, as Jarchi, Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, think there is a want of the particle of similitude "as", and that it should be rendered, "and the ships of Tarshish, as at first"; and then the sense is, they shall be made use of now to bring, the converted Jews with their substance from foreign parts, as they had been in Solomon's time, for bringing gold and silver, and other things to him, from distant places, 2 Chronicles 9:21 but by Tarshish here is not meant Tartessus in Spain, as Vitringa; nor Tarsus in Cilicia; but the sea itself; which is so called; and so the Targum renders it, "the ships of the sea"; and Jarchi observes that this is the name of the sea; and what ships can be better understood than ours of Great Britain, so famous for shipping, and which claims the sovereignty of the seas? these may be principally employed in bringing great numbers of converts from different places to the church of God; and as Israel, when they came out of Egypt, came forth with silver and gold; and when they came out of Babylon, they were furnished with gold and silver, and everything convenient for their journey, and for the rebuilding of their city and temple, Psalm 105:37 so when they are gathered from their present dispersion, and are called and converted, they shall come with their tribes to the church of Christ, and honour the Lord with their substance, and promote the interest of religion by it, as it follows:
unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel; that is, their persons shall be brought unto him, and their riches also; they shall give up themselves, and all they have, to the Lord, and devote themselves and their substance to his glory, and the good of his interest; even to him whose name was detestable to them, but now precious; and whom they will own with the church to be the Lord their God, their Redeemer and Sanctifier:
because he hath glorified thee; the church; caused such a glory to arise upon her, and upon that a defence; so that it will continue, and be so visible and manifest as to draw persons from all parts, though the most distant, to come unto her, and join themselves with her.
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.And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls,.... The sons of the people; or Gentiles, as the Targum; who were strangers from the covenants of promise, and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel; strangers to God and Christ, and the Spirit of Christ, and to the Gospel, and all that is good; yet the sons of these, being in great numbers converted everywhere, will be useful in building up the church of God, in strengthening, protecting, and defending it; these are the same with those afar off, that shall come and build in the temple of the Lord, Zechariah 6:15, such there have been among the Gentiles in all ages, more or less, since the times of the apostles, who have been instruments of the edification of the church, and of the defence of its doctrines and ordinances; and more there will be in the latter day:
and their kings shall minister unto thee; that is, the kings of the Gentiles, as Constantine, and some other truly Christian kings and emperors, have done, though their numbers have been very small as yet; but, when this prophecy is fulfilled, it will be a general case; kings everywhere will be nursing fathers, and queens nursing mothers to the church, will serve the interest of it, and promote it to the uttermost of their power; see Isaiah 49:23,
for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee; for the Jews' rejection of the Messiah, for their contempt of his Gospel, and persecution of his apostles and ministers, wrath came upon them to the uttermost, upon their city, temple, and nation, to the destruction of them, and which is still upon them; and though blindness is happened unto them, and they are shut up in unbelief, yet there is a time when the Lord will have mercy on them, call and convert them, and return their captivity; see Romans 11:25.
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,.... This is expressive both of the peaceable state of the church, that she shall be in no danger, nor fear of enemies; there being none to hurt and destroy in all the holy mountain; and therefore under no concern to keep her gates shut; see Ezekiel 38:11 and of the vast concourse of people to it continually; converts from all parts shall be always coming in, and the gates of the church will stand open always to receive them; they will be welcome, come as many as will; there will be no objection to them, no hinderance of them; ministers and people will gladly embrace them; see Isaiah 26:2 and likewise of the capacity of the church to receive them; for though they will be continually coming in great numbers, yet still there will be room; the gates will not be shut upon them, as unable to receive more; place will be given for them to dwell in; her tents will be enlarged; the curtains of her habitation stretched out; her cords lengthened, and stakes strengthened; so that though she breaks forth on the right hand, and on the left, there will be room for them all, Isaiah 54:2,
they shall not be shut day nor night; this clause is referred to in Revelation 21:25 but there differently expressed,
and the gates of it shall not be shut at all day, for there shall be no night there; the reason of which difference is, because the New Jerusalem state, or personal reign of Christ, will be a perfect state, and no night at all in it; but the spiritual reign of Christ, to which this prophecy relates, will be an imperfect one, though glorious; and therefore mention is made both of day and night:
that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles; the whole strength of them, their armies; See Gill on Isaiah 60:5. The Targum paraphrases it, the substance of the people, their wealth and riches:
and that their kings may be brought; or "led" (d), either in state, as kings on horseback sometimes are, or rather as captives in chains; see Isaiah 20:4, so the Targum renders it, "bound"; being conquered by mighty grace, and led in chains of love to Christ, and to his church, and become obedient. Kimchi has this note,
"they shall come before the King Messiah, as servants before their masters.''
(d) "ducti", Vatablus, Calvin; "ducantur", Tigurine version; "ductos", Cocceius.
For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish,.... That will not serve the Lord Christ, and worship him with his church and people; that will not be obedient to the laws and ordinances of his house; but appoint another head over them, the pope of Rome; and make other laws, and set up other ordinances, rejecting the authority of Christ, the rule of his word, and the order of his churches:
yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted; even all the antichristian states, when the vials of God's wrath will be poured out upon them; see Zechariah 14:17.
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 shall come unto thee,.... Which are the trees that grew upon it, especially the cedars, for which it was famous, as well as the other trees after mentioned. Now, as these were brought into Solomon's temple, and used in the building of that, 1 Kings 6:9, so such shall come of themselves, willingly and cheerfully, being drawn with the cords of love, into the church of Christ, comparable to the tall and strong cedars of Lebanon, and other trees, being eminent for their gifts and graces, and strong in the exercise of them; the more feeble among them being as the house of David, and that as the Angel of the Lord; and being durable, constant, and immovable in the work of the Lord; pillars in his house that shall never go out; ever green and flourishing; never wither in their profession, and always fruitful in every good word and work; of a good smell in the exercise of grace; of savoury conversations, and of a good report in the world; see Psalm 107:12,
the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together; which may denote persons of different ranks and sizes, both as to worldly and spiritual affairs; and yet will all agree to come together to the church, and will unite in the service and worship of God in it, and be a real glory to it; see Isaiah 41:19,
to beautify the place of my sanctuary; the church, so called in allusion to the tabernacle and temple; and thus the Targum here,
"the place of the house of my sanctuary;''
where the holy God dwells; and which is sanctified by him, and where he is sanctified, and worshipped in a holy and spiritual manner; and which will be beautified in the latter day, when the saints that will come into the church will put on by faith more manifestly the beautiful garments of Christ's righteousness; and be more visibly adorned with the graces of his Spirit, which will shine like so many brilliant diamonds and sparkling gems; and will appear in the beauties of a holy conversation; walk in brotherly love with each other, and unite in sentiments of doctrine, and in acts of Gospel worship; and when the Gospel shall be purely and powerfully preached; the ordinances administered as they were in the times of Christ and his apostles; and Gospel discipline in all its branches restored:
and I will make the place of my feet glorious; alluding to the ark under the mercy seat, over which were the cherubim, and between which Jehovah dwelt, hence called his footstool, 1 Chronicles 28:2, denoting that the church is the place where the Lord grants his presence through Christ, the antitype of the mercy seat and ark; and which is the seat of his rest and residence; where he takes his walks, and where his footsteps of rich grace are seen; where his lower parts, his feet, his works, and acts of grace, are beheld; where he favours with communion with himself; where his power and glory are observed, and his beauty is upon his people; where they see the King in his beauty, and all which will be more manifestly enjoyed in the latter day, and make his church very glorious indeed.
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,.... The posterity of the Jews, who persecuted the first Christian churches, even those who say they are Jews and are not; these shall be convinced of the truth of the Christian religion, and be converted to it, and shall come and worship before the church, and in fellowship with it, and own it to be the true church of God; which is what is foretold shall be in the Philadelphian state, which is the same with the spiritual reign here described; see Revelation 3:9 or the children of the Roman Heathens, their remote descendants, who formerly greatly distressed the Christians; or rather the posterity of Rome Papal, many of whom shall be called out of her at the time of her destruction, and be humble suppliants to the church of Christ, and be subject to the doctrines, rules, and laws of it, whose ancestors cruelly persecuted it:
and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; a phrase expressive of great respect, veneration, and submission; see Isaiah 49:23,
and they shall call thee the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel; instead of calling them heretics, schismatics, and fanatics, as their fathers did, they shall own them to be the true church of Christ; a city of his building, and where he dwells; the object of his choice, delight, and love, as Zion was; a holy people made meet to be the habitation of the God of Israel; which are so many names for the church under the Gospel dispensation; see Hebrews 12:22.
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.Whereas thou hast been forsaken,.... Seemingly forsaken of God; thought to be so by herself, which was matter of complaint; and by her enemies, which to them was matter of joy; the Lord not appearing for her immediate relief, and for her deliverance out of the hands of her persecutors:
and hated: of all men, of wicked and profane sinners, and of carnal professors, and especially of the antichristian party:
so that no man went through thee; very few passengers in Zion's ways; few asked the way to her, or joined themselves in fellowship and worship with her. Jacob was small; the number of converts exceeding few:
I will make thee an eternal excellency; the saints are the excellent in the earth, in the esteem of God and Christ; they, are their jewels and peculiar treasure, having the excellent graces of the Spirit of God in them; and the excellent robe of Christ's righteousness on them; an excellent knowledge of divine and spiritual things; an excellent spirit of love and unity; and an excellent order and discipline maintained among them; as well as excellent truths preached, and ordinances administered to them; all which shall continue, being made clearly to appear to be their case:
the joy of many generations; of age and age (e); or, as the Targum,
"the house of joy of generation and generation;''
(e) "generationis et generationis", Vatablus, Pagninas, Montanus; "cujusque generationis", Vitringa.
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,.... Partake of their riches and wealth; so the Targum,
"and ye shall be satisfied with the substance of the people:''
or drink of the sincere milk of the word of the Gospel, which Gentiles have been favoured with for many ages; for this seems to have regard to Jewish converts, though not to them only, but as they, with the converted Gentiles, will make up one church state, and partake of the same privileges:
and shall suck the breast of kings; who shall now be converted in various places, come into the church, and be nursing fathers to it; help and assist the people of God with their riches to carry on divine worship in an honourable manner; and to protect and defend them with their power; see Psalm 72:9. The Targum is,
"in the spoil of kings ye shall delight yourselves;''
and it may also design the breasts of consolation, the ordinances of the Gospel, such as Christian kings will suck, and Jews and Gentiles shall do the same, Isaiah 66:11,
and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob; the Jews, being called, shall seek the Lord their God, the true Messiah, and shall look unto him by faith, whom they have pierced; shall know, own, and acknowledge him to be their Redeemer and Saviour; who must be fit and qualified for such an office and work, and equal to it, being the mighty One of Jacob, whom before they and their ancestors rejected and despised.
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, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron,.... By "wood and stones" may be meant the Old Testament dispensation; by the "brass and iron" the present Gospel dispensation; and by "silver and gold" the latter day glory; by "silver" the spiritual reign of Christ in his church; and by "gold" his personal reign in the New Jerusalem; which is said to be all of pure gold, and even the very street of it, Revelation 21:18, now, as far as brass and iron exceed wood and stones, so far the Gospel dispensation exceeds the legal one; the one being the shadow, the other the substance; the one having carnal ordinances, which are done away; the other spiritual ones, which remain; and as far as silver and gold exceed brass and iron, so far the glory of the latter day will exceed the present state of things, in clear light, in spiritual grace and strength, in purity of doctrine and worship, in holiness of life, and in love, peace, and unity; and as far as gold exceeds silver, so far, and much more, will the personal reign of Christ, which will be perfectly glorious, exceed the spiritual one. There may be an allusion to the times of Solomon, a type of Christ, 1 Kings 10:27. This, by some Jewish writers (f), is applied to the times of the Messiah they yet expect. The Targum is,
"for the brass which they spoiled thee of, O Jerusalem, I will bring gold, &c.''
I will also make thine officers peace; civil magistrates shall be men of peaceable dispositions, who shall promote peace and unity in kingdoms, states, cities, towns, and neighbourhoods; they shall be properly justices of peace; they will answer to their office, and the title of it. Church officers or ministers of the word shall publish the Gospel of peace in the clearest manner; and the peace of God shall rule in the hearts of all the saints; there will be abundance of temporal and of spiritual peace, promoted by each of the officers of church and state; see Psalm 72:7,
and thine exactors righteousness; even tax gatherers, who used to be the worst of people for injustice and oppression, these shall do nothing but what is right and just; nor will there be any reason to complain of them. The Septuagint render it "bishops" or "overseers" (g), pastors of churches, who shall be truly ministers of righteousness; preach up the doctrine of justification by Christ's righteousness; and instruct persons to live soberly, righteously, and godly.
(f) Caphtor Uperah, fol. 57. 2.((g)
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,.... 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.
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,.... Here begins the account of the sinless, pure, and perfect state of the church in the personal reign of Christ, even the New Jerusalem church state, as appears from the use of these very words, in the description of that state, Revelation 21:23 where it is read, "and the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof"; and in like manner the Targum renders these words,
"and ye shall have no need any more of the light of the sun by day, nor even of the light of the moon by night;''
and so both Aben Ezra and Jarchi interpret it,
"ye shall have no need of the light of the sun;''
and the former adds, because of the light of the Shechinah; and which seems to be the meaning of the next clause:
neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee; that is, because of the exceeding brightness, splendour, and lustre of the divine majesty of Christ, who will appear personally among his people, neither sun nor moon will be able to give any light: as the light of a candle is made useless and unnecessary by the light of the sun, so the light of the sun and moon will be made useless and unnecessary by the vastly superior light and glory of Christ; see Isaiah 24:23, though the sun and moon may be understood here mystically, not of civil magistrates, who are sometimes signified by these luminaries; and who also will be no more used when this dispensation or personal reign of Christ shall take place; see Isaiah 13:10, but rather of the Gospel and Gospel ordinances, which the church will no more stand in need of to enlighten, teach, and instruct them, refresh and comfort them, having the immediate presence of Christ with them, as follows:
but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light; that is, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, as it is interpreted in the above cited place in the Revelation; who, as he is the author of the light of nature, and of the light of grace, so of the light of glory in this state, and to all eternity; then will the saints in this light behold the face of God, which is not to be seen now; they shall see Christ in all his glory, in the glory of his Father, and of his holy angels; all the glorious forms, the angels of heaven, and all the saints, those spirits of just then made perfect, that shall come with Christ, and be clothed with glorious bodies; even the New Jerusalem descending from heaven, having the glory of God upon her; likewise all the doctrines of grace, now not so clearly understood; and all the mysteries of Providence, which will be laid open, and made manifest; and this clear light will continue for ever; there will be no more night, but one everlasting day:
and thy God thy glory; it is the saints' glory that God is their God; and it will be their glory in this state to have the God-man Jesus Christ personally with them; the tabernacle of God will be among them; God himself shall be with them, and be their God; and his glory shall lighten them, Revelation 21:3.
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,.... This is a different sun from the former; this is the church's sun, and no other than the sun of righteousness, Christ Jesus; who has his risings and settings now, at least, in the apprehensions of his people; he sometimes withdraws himself, and is gone; and then returns again: but so it will not be in this state: the saints shall be for ever with him, and he shall be for ever with them; who will always behold his glory, and be enlightened by him; see 1 Thessalonians 4:16,
neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; or, "shall not be gathered" (i), under a cloud; or "fail" (k), as the Septuagint version; or, "suffer a defect", as the Arabic version; as the moon does when in the wane, or is eclipsed. This may refer to this then present state of the church, which shall not fail; and to the blessings and comforts of it from Christ the sun, which will not cease, the enjoyment of them be ever interrupted. The Targum is,
"thy kingdom shall cease no more, and thy glory shall not be removed;''
and so Maimonides (l) interprets it of the kingdom of the Messiah, that shall endure for ever:
for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light; this is repeated for the confirmation of it:
and the days of thy mourning shall be ended (m); or, "completed"; shall be fully up, and so at an end: or, "shall be recompensed" (n); with an everlasting day of joy and pleasure; there will now be no more sin to distress the saints; no more temptations of Satan to annoy them; no more afflictions either of body or mind to trouble them; no more pain, or crying, or death; and so no more mourning; sorrow and sighing will flee away; all tears will be wiped from their eyes; and everlasting joy be upon their heads; see Revelation 21:4.
(i) "non colligetur", Montanus, Vitringa; "vel recolligetur", Vatablus; "occultabitur", Munster, Tigurine version. (k) , Sept. "deficiet", Pagninus. (l) Moreh Nevochim, par. 2. c. 29. p. 263. (m) "completi erunt", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "completisunt", Vitringa. (n) "Compensabuntur", Tigurine version.
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,.... That is, the church's people, or the members of the church; otherwise the Lord's people, who are truly so, always were, and ever will be, all righteous; but so have not always been the members of the churches; when Israel was the church of God, they were not all righteous; there was only a remnant among them, according to the election of grace, that were so; nor in the first Christian churches were they all such, there was a Judas among Christ's disciples; Ananias and Sapphira in the church at Jerusalem; and many in the church of Corinth, very disorderly and irregular; and so in all others; and in all ages since there are foolish virgins among the wise, tares among the wheat, and chaff among the corn on the floor; yea, even in the spiritual reign of Christ they will not be all truly gracious; some that will have only a form of godliness, and who, at the close of it, will be the greater number, and will form the lukewarm Laodicean state; but in the personal reign of Christ all the members of the church will be righteous, through the righteousness of Christ imputed to them: it will be a congregation of righteous persons, and not one sinner shall stand in it; yea, they shall be inherently righteous, perfectly holy, and free from sin; none shall enter into this state that defiles; every pot and vessel in Jerusalem shall be holiness to the Lord, Psalm 1:5. The Jews (o) have a saying, that the son of David comes not but in an age in which men will be all righteous, or all wicked; in an age in which they will be all righteous, according to Isaiah 60:21, but this designs not his first, but his second coming:
they shall inherit the land for ever; not the land of Canaan only; though perhaps that may be the spot on which Christ will descend, and where he will reside; where he was treated with contempt and crucified, here he will reign, and reign gloriously; and the rather, since, when he comes with all his saints, his feet will stand upon the mount of Olives, Zechariah 14:4 but the new earth is meant, which John saw, and Peter says the saints expect, according to promise, in which righteousness men perfectly righteous shall dwell, and none but they, Revelation 21:1 as also it may include a better country, the land afar off, the heavenly glory, which will be the inheritance of the saints to all eternity:
the branch of my planting; in Christ by election grace; in the likeness of his death and resurrection by redemption grace; and as branches in him, the Vine, by effectual calling grace; and in his church, through the ministry of the word; all which will appear true and real; and that they are plants of the Lord's planting, by their being in this church state, even in the paradise of God, near to the tree of life, the fruit of which they will always partake of:
the work of my hands; the workmanship of God, curiously wrought by him; the effect of his mighty power; wholly his own work and not another's; and entirely owing to his great love, abundant mercy, and rich grace; as will be evident in this state; this being the day of the Lord unto which it is performed, and become perfect; and there will be no more doubts of that matter:
that I may be glorified; as he will be then in all them that believe; and by these characters which they bear, and are to be ascribed to his power, grace, and righteousness; Christ, and he alone, will be exalted; he will reign before his ancients gloriously, until he delivers up the kingdom; and then God, Father, Son, and Spirit, will be all in all.
(o) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 1.
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,.... A small family, a little handful of people in all ages, scattered up and down in the world, of no esteem and account in it, being all gathered together, that ever were in the world, will appear to be thousands and millions, and such a number as no man can number, Revelation 7:9.
and a small one a strong nation; a company of weak persons, persecuted by their enemies, and unable to resist them, as in the present state: now there will be a nation of them strong and mighty; the feeble among them shall be as David, and the house of David as God, as the Angel of the Lord, Zechariah 12:8,
I the Lord will hasten it in his time: as there was a fixed appointed time for Christ's first coming, so there is for his second coming, when this state and dispensation of things will commence; and when that time comes, it will be deferred no longer; as soon as ever it is up, the Lord will hasten the accomplishment of what he has promised, and who is able also to perform; see 1 Timothy 6:15.