Isaiah 60:1
Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen on you.
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(1) Arise, shine . . .—The description of the redeemed Zion—i.e., the new Jerusalem—seen in the prophet’s vision as under the forms of the old. She has been prostrate, as in the darkness of Sheol (as in Isaiah 51:23; Isaiah 57:9). The word comes that bids her rise to a new life, radiant with the glory of the Lord. In Ephesians 5:14 we have, perhaps, an echo, though not a quotation, of the prophet’s words.



Isaiah 60:1 - Isaiah 60:3

The personation of Israel as a woman runs through the whole of this second portion of Isaiah’s prophecy. We see her thrown on the earth a mourning mother, a shackled captive. We hear her summoned once and again to awake, to arise, to shake herself from the dust, to loose the bands of her neck. These summonses are prophecies of the impending Messianic deliverance. The same circle of truths, in a somewhat different aspect, is presented in the verses before us. The prophet sees the earth wrapped in a funeral pall of darkness, and a beam of more than natural light falling on one prostrate form. The old story is repeated, Zion stands in the light, while Egypt cowers in gloom. The light which shines upon her is ‘the Glory of the Lord,’ the ancient brightness that dwelt between the cherubim within the veil in the secret place of the Most High, and is now come out into the open world to envelop the desolate captive. Thus touched by the light she becomes light, and in her turn is bidden to shine. There is a very remarkable correspondence reiterated in my text between the illuminating God and the illuminated Zion. The word for shine is connected with the word for light, and might fairly be rendered ‘lighten,’ or ‘be light.’ Twice the phrase ‘thy light’ is employed; once to mean the light which is thine because it shines on thee; once to mean the light which is thine because it shines from thee. The other word, three times repeated, for rising, is the technical word which expresses the sunrise, and it is applied both to the flashing glory that falls upon Zion and to the light that gleams from her. Touched by the sun, she becomes a sun, and blazes in her heaven in a splendour that draws men’s hearts. So, then, if that be the fair analysis of the words before us, they present to us some thoughts bearing on the Missionary work of the Church, and I gather them all up in three-the fact, the ringing summons, and the confident promise.

I. Now, as to the fact.

Beneath the poetry of my text there lie very definite conceptions of a very solemn and grave character, and these conceptions are the foundation of the ringing summons that follows, and which reposes upon a double basis-viz. ‘for thy light is come,’ and ‘for darkness covers the earth.’ There is a double element in the representation. We have a darkened earth, and a sunlit and a sunlike church; and unless we hold these two convictions-both of them-in firm grasp, and that not merely as convictions that influence our understanding, but as ever present forces acting on our emotions, our consciences, our wills, we shall not do the work which God has set us to do in the world. I need not dwell long on the former of these, or speak of that funeral pall that wraps the whole earth. Only remember that it is no darkness that came from His hand who forms the light and creates darkness, but is like the smoke that lies over our great cities-the work of many an earth-born fire, whose half-consumed foulness hides the sun from us. If we take the sulphureous and smoky pall that wraps the earth, and analyse its contents, they are these: the darkness of ignorance, the darkness of sorrow, the darkness of sin. Of ignorance; for throughout the wide regions that lie beneath that covering spread over all nations is there any certitude about God, about man, about morals, about responsibilities, about eternity? Peradventures, guesses, dreams, precious fragments of truth, twisted in with the worst of lies, noble aspirations side by side with bestial representations-these are the things on which our brethren repose, or try to repose. We do not forget that light which lighteneth every man that cometh into the world.

We do not forget, of course, that everywhere there are feelings after Him, and everywhere there are gleams and glimpses of a vanishing light, else life were impossible; but oh, dear brethren, let us not forget either that the people sit in darkness of ignorance, which is the saddest darkness that can afflict men.

And it is a darkness of sorrow, for all the ills that flesh is heir to press, unalleviated and unsustained by any known helper in the heavens, upon millions of our fellows. They stand, as the great German poet describes himself as standing, in one of the most pathetic of his lyrics, before the marble image of the fair goddess, who has pity on her face and beauty raying from her limbs, but she has no arms. So tears fall undried. The light-hearted savage is a fiction. What a heavy gloom lies upon his past and his present, which darkens into an impenetrable mist that wraps and hides the future!

And the darkness is a darkness of sin as well as of sorrow and of ignorance. On that point I need not dwell. We all believe that all have ‘sinned and come short of the glory of God,’ and we all believe that idolatry, as we see it, and as it is wrought out, is an ally of impurity and of sin. The process is this: men make gods in their own image, and the gods make devils of the men. ‘They that make them are like unto them, so is every one that trusteth in them.’ We need no other principle than that to account for the degradation of heathenism and for the obscenities and foul transgression within the very courts of the temple.

Now, dear friends, that I may not dwell too long upon the A B C of our belief, let me urge you in one sentence to be on your guard against present-day tendencies which weaken the force of this solemn, tragical conviction as to the realities of heathendom. The new science of comparative religion has done much for us. I am not saying one word against this pursuit, or the conclusions which are drawn from it. But I pray you to remember that the underlying truths buried beneath the system that any men hold as their religion are one thing, and the practical working of that system, as we see it in daily life, is altogether another. The actual character of heathenism is not to be learned from the sacred books of all nations and the precious gleams of wisdom and feeling after the Divine which we recognise in man. As a simple matter of fact, all over the world the religion of heathen nations is a mass of obscenity, intertwined so closely with nobler thoughts that the two seem to be inseparable. Unalleviated sorrows, hideous foulnesses, a gross ignorance covering all the most important realities for men-these are the facts with which we have to grapple. Do not let us forget them.

And on the other side, remember the contrasted picture here of the sunlit and sunny church. The incarnation of Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of my text. ‘We behold His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.’ If you and I are Christians, we are bound to believe in Him as the exclusive source of certainty. We hear from Him no peradventure, but His word is, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you,’ and on that word we rest all our knowledge of God, of duty, of man, and of the future. Instead of fears, doubt, perhapses, we have a living Christ and His rock-word. And in Him is all joy, and in Him is the cleansing from all sin. And this threefold radiance, into which the one pure light may be analysed, falls upon us. It falls all over the world as well; but they into whose hearts it has come, they whose faces are turned to it, they receive it in a sense in which the unreceptive and unresponsive darkness of the world does not. The light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness will have none of it, and so it is darkness yet. The light shineth upon us, and if by His mercy we have opened our hearts to it, then, according to the profound teaching of this context, we are not only a sun-lighted but a sunlike Church, and to us the commandment comes, ‘Arise, shine, for thy light is come,’ and has turned thy poor darkness into a sun too.

If we have the light we shall be light. That is but putting in a picturesque form the very central truth of Christianity. The last word of the gospel is transformation. We become like Him if we live near Him, and the end for which the Master became like unto us in His incarnation and passion was that we might become like to Him by the reception of His very own life unto our souls. Light makes many a surface on which it falls flash, but in the optics of earth it is the rays which are not absorbed that are reflected; but in this loftier region the illumination is not superficial but inward, and it is the light which is swallowed up within us that then comes forth from us. Christ will dwell in our hearts, and we shall be like some poor little diamond-shaped pane of glass in a cottage window which, when the sun smites it, is visible over miles of the plain. If that sun falls upon us, its image will be mirrored in our hearts and flashing in our lives. The clouds that lie over the sunset, though in themselves they be but poor, grey, and moist vapour, when smitten by its beneficent radiance, become not unworthy ministers and attendants upon its glory. So, my brethren, it may be with us, for Christ comes to be our light, Because He is in us and with us we are changed into His likeness, and the names that are most appropriate to Him He shares with us. Is He the ‘Son’?-we are sons. Is He ‘the Light of the world’? His own lips tell us, ‘Ye are the light of the world.’ Is He the Christ? The Psalm says: ‘Touch not my Christs, and do My prophets no harm.’ Critics have quarrelled over these last chapters of the Book of Isaiah, as to whom the servant of the Lord is; whether he is the personal or collective Israel, whether he is Christ or His Church. Let us take the lesson that He and we are so united that His office that made the union possible, wherein He was sacrificed on the Cross for us all-belongs by derivation to His servants, and that He, the Sun of Righteousness, moves in the heavens circled by many another sun.

So, dear friends, these two convictions of these two facts, the dark earth, the sunlit, sunlike church, lie at the basis of all our missionary work. If once we begin to doubt about them, if once we begin to think that men have got a good deal of light already, and can do very well without much more, or if we at all are hesitant about our possession of the light, and the certitudes and the joys that are in it, then good-bye to our missionary zeal. We shall soon begin to ask the question, ‘To what purpose is this waste?’-though the lips that first asked it, by the bye, did not much recommend it-and shall consider that money and resources and precious lives are too precious to be thrown away thus. But if we rightly appreciate the force of these twin principles, then we shall be ready to listen to the ringing summons.

II. We have here, in the second place, based upon these two facts, the summons to the Church. ‘Shine, for thy light is come.’ If we have light, we are light. If we are light, we shall shine; but the shining is not altogether spontaneous and effortless. Stars do not need to be bidden to shine nor candles either; but we need the exhortation, because there are many things that dim the brilliance of our light and interfere with its streaming forth. True, the property of light is to shine, but we can rob the inward light of its beams. The silent witness of a Christian life transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ is, perhaps, the best contribution that any of us can make to the spread of His kingdom. It is with us as it is with the great lights in the heavens. ‘There is no speech nor language; their voice is not heart,’ yet, ‘their line has gone through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.’ So we may quietly ray out the light in us and witness the transforming power of our Master by the transparent purity of our lives. But the command suggests likewise effort, and that effort must be in the direction of the specific vocal proclamation of His name.

I take both these methods of fulfilling the command into my view, in the further remarks that I make, and I put that which I have to say upon this into three sentences: if we are light, we shall be able to shine; if we are light, we are bound to shine; if we are light, we shall wish to shine. We shall be able to shine. And man can manifest what he is unless he is a coward. Any man can talk about the things that are interesting to him if only they are interesting to him. Any man that has Jesus Christ can say so; and perhaps the utterance of the simple personal conviction is the best method of proclaiming His name. All other things are surplusage. They are good when they come, they may be done without. Learning, eloquence, and the like of these, are the adornments of the lamp, but it does not matter whether the lamp be a gorgeous affair of gilt and crystal, or whether it be a poor piece of block tin; the main question is: are there wick and oil in it? The pitcher may be gold and silver, or costly china, or it may be a poor potsherd. Never mind. If there is water in it, it will be precious to a thirsty lip. And so, dear brethren, I press this upon you: every Christian man has the power, if he is a Christian, to proclaim his Master, and if he has the Light he will be able to show it. I pause for a moment to say that this suggests for us the condition of all faithful and effectual witness for Jesus Christ. Cultivate understanding and all other faculties as much as you like: but oh! you Christian ministers, as well as others in less official and public positions, remember this: the fitness to impart is to possess, and that being taken for granted, the main thing is secured. As long as the electric light is in contact with the battery, so long does it burn. Electricians have been trying during the past few years to make accumulators, things in which they can store the influence and put it away in a corner and use it so that the light need not be in connection with the battery; and they have not succeeded-at least it is only a very partial success. You and I cannot start accumulators. Let us remember that personal contact with Jesus is power, and only that personal contact is so. Arise, shine! but if thou hast gone out of the light, thou wilt shine no more.

But again, if we are light we are bound to shine. That is an obvious principle. The capacity to shine is the obligation to shine, for we are all knit together by such mystical cords in this strange brotherhood of humanity that every one of us holds his possession as trust property for the use and behoof of others, and in the present case that which we have received, and the price at which we have received it, give an edge to the keenness of the obligation, and add a new grip to the stringency of the command. It is because Christ has given Himself thus to us that the possession of Him binds us to the imitation of His example, and the impartation of Him to all our brethren. The obligation lies at our doors, and cannot be delegated or devolved.

If we have light, we shall wish to shine. What shall we say about the Christian people who never really had such a wish? God forbid that I should say they have no light; but this I will say, it burns very dimly. Dear brethren, there is no better test of the depth and the purity of our personal attachment to, and possession of, our Master than the impulse that will spring from them to communicate Him to others. ‘Necessity is laid upon me, yea, woe is me if I preach not.’ That should be the word of every one of us, and it will be so in the measure in which we ourselves have thoroughly laid hold of Jesus Christ. ‘This is a day of good tidings, and we cannot hold our peace,’ said the handful of lepers in the camp. ‘If we are silent some mischief will come to us.’ ‘Thy word, when I shut it up in my bones and said, I will speak no more in Thy name, was like a fire, and was weary of forbearing and could not stay.’ Brother, do you know anything of the divine necessity to share your blessing with the men around you? Did you ever feel what it was to carry a burden of the Lord that drove you to speech, and left you no rest until you had done what it impelled you to do? If not, I beseech you to ask yourselves whether you cannot get nearer to the sun than away out there on the very edge of its system, receiving so few of its beams, and these so impotent that they can scarcely do more than melt the surface of the thick-ribbed ice that warps your spirit. If we are light we shall be enabled, we shall be bound, we shall wish, to shine. Christian men and women, is this true of you?

III. Lastly, notice here the confident promise.

‘The Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.’ If we have the light we shall be light; if we are light we shall shine, and if we shine we shall attract. Certainly men and women with the light of Christ in them will draw others to them, just as many an eye that cannot look undazzled upon the sun can look upon it mirrored upon some polished surface. A painter will fling upon his canvas a scene that you and I, with our purblind eyes, have looked at hundreds of times, and seen no beauty; but when we gaze on the picture, then we know how fair it is. There is an attractive power in the light of Christ shining from the face of a man. Of course, we have to moderate our expectations. We have to remember that whilst it is true that some men will come to the light, it is also true that some men ‘love the darkness, and will not come to the light because their deeds are evil’; and we have to remember that we have no right to anticipate rapid results. ‘An inheritance may be begotten hastily at the beginning, but the end thereof shall not be blessed,’ said the wise man; and the history of the Christian Church in many of its missionary operations is a sad commentary upon the saying. We must remember that we cannot estimate how long the preparation for a change, which will be developed swiftly, may be. The sun on autumn mornings shines upon the fog; and the people below, because there is a fog, do not know that it is shining; but it is doing its work on the upper layer all the while, and at length eats its way through the fleecy obstruction, which then swiftly disappears. That must be a very, very long day of which the morning twilight has been nineteen hundred years. Therefore, although the vision tarries, we may fall back with unswerving confidence on these words of my text-’The Gentiles shall come to the brightness of thy rising.’

But after all this has been said, are you satisfied with the rate of progress, are you satisfied with the swiftness of the fulfilment of such hopes? Whose fault is it that the rate of progress is what it is? Yours and mine and our predecessors’. There is such a thing as ‘hasting the day of the Lord,’ and there is such a thing as protracting the time of waiting. Dear brethren, the secret of our slow growth at home and abroad lies in my text. Fulfil the conditions and you will get the result; but if you are not shining by a light which is Christ’s light, who promised that it would have attraction or draw men to it? A great deal of the work of the Christian Church-but do not let us hide ourselves in the generality of that word-a great deal of our work is artificial light, brewed out of retorts, and smelling sulphureous; and a great deal more of it is the phosphorescence that glimmers above decay. If the Christian Church has ceased in any measure, or in any of its members, to be able to attract by the exhibition of its light, let the Christian Church sit down and bethink itself of the sort of light it gives, and perhaps it will find a reason for its failure. It is Christ, the holy Christ, the loving Christ, the Christ in us making us wise and gentle, it is the Christ manifested by word and by work, who will draw the nations to Him.

So, men and brethren, do you keep near your Master and live close by His side till you are drenched and saturated with His glory, and all your cold vapours turned into visible divinity and manifested Jesus. Keep near to Him. As long as a bit of scrap-iron touches a magnet, it is a magnet: as soon as the contact is broken it ceases to attract. If you live in the full sunshine of Christ and have Him, not merely playing upon the surface of your mind, but sinking deep down into it and transforming your whole being, then some men will, as they look at you, be filled with strange longings, and will say: ‘Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.’ So may you and I live, like the morning star, which, from its serene altitudes, touched into radiance by the sun unseen from the darkened plains, prophesies its rising to a sleeping world, and is content to be lost in the lustre of that unsetting Light!Isaiah 60:1. Arise, &c. — The prophet here addresses the church of God, which he supposes to be sitting sorrowful, and exhorts her to awake and arise from a state of darkness and mourning, and enter into a state of light and happiness, “now that her salvation, so long desired and hoped for, is at hand, and the divine glory is about to rise upon her, and illuminate the nations and people who had hitherto sat in thick darkness.” See Vitringa. The reader will observe the exhortation is accommodated to the Jewish or Hebrew style, wherein, as by lying down is signified a servile and calamitous condition, (Isaiah 47:1,) so, by rising, and standing up, a recovery out of it into a free and prosperous state, as may be seen frequently. Shine — Discover thyself, as a luminary breaking forth from a dark night. Show thy native beauty: suffer thyself to be so strongly irradiated by the glory of the Lord, that thou mayest not only be enlightened, but mayest be able to enlighten others. For thy light is come — Thy flourishing and prosperous condition, an allusion to people’s rising, when after a dark night the light breaks forth upon them. And the glory of the Lord — Glorious light, grace, and salvation from the Lord; or a bright display of the glory, that is, of the glorious attributes of the Lord; or, the Lord of glory, Christ, is about to make himself glorious, in some wonderful work, for thy salvation. Is risen upon thee — Like as when the sun, arising, spreads his light everywhere, leaving no place dark. Thus shall the church of God be fully illuminated in the latter days, and thus shall she shine for the perfect illumination of all flesh: see Isaiah 11:9; and Zechariah 14:7. In his description of this perfect state of the Christian Church, this evangelical prophet is here peculiarly eloquent, displaying it “in the most splendid colours, and under a great variety of images, highly poetical, designed to give a general idea of its glories, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in, and the Jews shall be converted and gathered from their dispersions, and the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God, and of his Christ.” — Bishop Lowth.60:1-8 As far as we have the knowledge of God in us, and the favour of God towards us, our light is come. And if God's glory is seen upon us to our honour, we ought, not only with our lips, but in our lives, to return its praise. We meet with nothing in the history of the Jews which can be deemed a fulfilment of the prophecy in this chapter; we must conclude it relates principally to future events. It predicts the purity and enlargement of the church. The conversion of souls is here described. They fly to Christ, to the church, to the word and ordinances, as doves to their own home; thither they fly for refuge and shelter, thither they fly for rest. What a pleasant sight to see poor souls hastening to Christ!Arise - This is evidently addressed to the church, or to Zion regarded as the seat of the church. It is represented as having been in a state of affliction and calamity (compare the notes at Isaiah 3:26; Isaiah 52:1-2). She is now called on to arise from the dust, and to impart to others the rich privileges which were conferred on her.

Shine - (אורי 'ôrı̂y). Lowth renders this, 'Be thou enlightened.' Margin, 'Be enlightened, for thy light cometh.' Noyes, 'Enjoy light.' Septuagint Φωτίζου φωτίζου Phōtizou phōtizou - 'Be enlightened; be enlightened, O Jerusalem.' Herder renders it, 'Be light.' Vitringa regards the expression as equivalent to this, 'pass into a state of light. That is, enjoy light thyself, and impart it freely to others, Gesenius renders it, 'Shine, be bright; that is, be surrounded and resplendent with light.' The idea probably is this, 'rise now from a state of obscurity and darkness. Enter into light; enter into times of prosperity.' It is not so much a command to impart light to others as it is to be encompassed with light and glory. It is the language of prophecy rather than of command; a call rather to participate in the light that was shining than to impart it to others. The Septuagint and the Chaldee here add the name 'Jerusalem,' and regard it as addressed directly to her.

Thy light is come - On the word 'light,' see the notes at Isaiah 58:8, Isaiah 58:10. The light here referred to is evidently that of the gospel; and when the prophet says that that light 'is come,' he throws himself into future times, and sees in vision the Messiah as having already come, and as pouring the light of salvation on a darkened church and world (compare the notes at Isaiah 9:2).

And the glory of the Lord - There is refer once here, doubtless, to the Shechinah or visible splendor which usuallv accompanied the manifestations of God to his people (see the notes at Isaiah 4:5). As Yahweh manifested himself in visible glory to the Israelites during their journey to the promised land, so he would manifest himself in the times of the Messiah as the glorious protector and guide of his people. The divine character and perfections would be manifested like the sun rising over a darkened world.

Is risen upon thee - As the sun rises. The word used here (זרח zârach) is commonly applied to the rising of the sun Genesis 32:31; Exodus 22:2; 2 Samuel 23:4; Psalm 104:22. The comparison of the gospel to the sun rising upon a dark world is exceedingly beautiful, and often occurs in the Bible (compare Malachi 4:2; Luke 1:78, margin.)

Upon thee - Upon thee, in contradistinction from other nations and people. The gospel shed its first beams of glory on Jerusalem.


Isa 60:1-22. Israel's Glory after Her Affliction.

An ode of congratulation to Zion on her restoration at the Lord's second advent to her true position as the mother church from which the Gospel is to be diffused to the whole Gentile world; the first promulgation of the Gospel among the Gentiles, beginning at Jerusalem [Lu 24:47], is an earnest of this. The language is too glorious to apply to anything that as yet has happened.

1. Arise—from the dust in which thou hast been sitting as a mourning female captive (Isa 3:26; 52:1, 2).

shine—or, "be enlightened; for thy light cometh"; impart to others the spiritual light now given thee (Isa 60:3). The Margin and Gesenius translate, "Be enlightened"; be resplendent with posterity; imperative for the future indicative, "Thou shalt be enlightened" (Isa 58:8, 10; Eph 5:8, 14).

glory of the Lord—not merely the Shekinah, or cloud of glory, such as rested above the ark in the old dispensation, but the glory of the Lord in person (Jer 3:16, 17).

is risen—as the sun (Mal 4:2; Lu 1:78, Margin).The glory and blessings of the new church after a short affliction.

Arise; a word of encouragement accommodated to the Jewish or Hebrew style, wherein, as by lying down is described a servile and calamitous condition, Isaiah 47:1; so by rising, and standing up, a recovery out of it into a free and prosperous one, as may be seen frequently. Rouse up; intimating her deliverance to be at hand. And here under a type, or hieroglyphical description of Jerusalem’s restoration, is displayed the flourishing state of the Gentile church under the Messiah, and that in the greatness, for quality, and also the number of her proselytes; in the description whereof the evangelical prophet, whatever he doth in other parts of his prophecy, doth here most briskly sparkle forth in Divine eloquence. Shine; discover thyself as one breaking forth from a dark night; or, look out, as men do at sea, who use to look out sharp, to see what they can discover after a dark and stormy season; or, be enlightened with more knowledge; or, be thou filled with joy; a metaphorical metonymy of the efficient; as thou art about to change thy condition, change thy countenance; be cheerful in that light or salvation that is approaching. Thy light; either,

1. Thy flourishing and prosperous estate; an allusion to people’s rising, when after a dark night the light breaks forth. they begin to rise. Or,

2. The causer of thy light, the effect for the efficient, viz. thy God, or Christ, because the fountain of all happiness, as the sun and moon are called lights, because they give light, Genesis 1:16. Thus Christ is called the true Light, John 1:9; and compare John 8:12, with Ephesians 5:14, and you will find these words quoted to that purpose. The glory of the Lord, i.e. the greatest glory, as the cedars of God, the mountains of God, &c.: compare Revelation 21:11: or, the glorious Lord, or the Lord of glory, or Christ, who is the glory of the Father, is come unto thee; he is at hand to make himself glorious in some wonderful work for thy salvation, either in his doctrine, or miracles, or work of redemption, that his glory may rest upon thee, suitable to the psalmist’s prayer, Psalm 85:6,7,9. Is risen; like as when the sun spreads itself into every place, leaving none dark: thus it refers to the glorious gospel, called such a glorious light, 2 Corinthians 4:4.

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.

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

(a) The time of your prosperity and happiness: while speaking of Babylon, he commanded her to go down, Isa 47:1.

1. for thy light is come] Cf. ch. Isaiah 58:8; Isaiah 58:10, Isaiah 59:9. It is the light of the promised salvation, so long looked for in vain. The perfect tenses are used from the ideal standpoint of the future.

1–3. The image in these strikingly beautiful verses is that of a city glittering in the first rays of the morning sun. Zion is no doubt addressed in the feminine gender, but the personification is much less complete than in ch. Isaiah 49:18 ff., Isaiah 51:17 ff., Isaiah 52:1 ff., Isaiah 54:1 ff. The name “Jerusalem” is inserted by the LXX., Targ. and Vulg., but the addition is unnecessary (cf. Isaiah 54:1).Verse 1. - Arise, shine. The subject of the address does not distinctly appear until ver. 14, where it is found to be "the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel." Zion has long been prostrate in the dust from the prophet's standpoint, and covered with thick darkness. Now she is bidden to "arise" and "shine forth as the day." For thy light is come. Zion cannot shine with her own light, for she has no light of her own, having preferred to "walk in darkness" (Isaiah 59:9). But she may reflect the radiance which streams from the Person of Jehovah, whose glory is risen upon her. "In thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9). The confession of personal sins is followed by that of the sinful state of society. "And right is forced back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth has fallen in the market-place, and honesty finds no admission. And truth became missing, and he who avoids evil is outlawed." In connection with mishpât and tsedâqâh here, we have not to think of the manifestation of divine judgment and justice which is prevented from being realized; but the people are here continuing the confession of their own moral depravity. Right has been forced back from the place which it ought to occupy (hissı̄g is the word applied in the law to the removal of boundaries), and righteousness has to look from afar off at the unjust habits of the people, without being able to interpose. And why are right and righteousness - that united pair so pleasing to God and beneficial to man - thrust out of the nation, and why do they stand without? Because there is no truth or uprightness in the nation. Truth wanders about, and stands no longer in the midst of the nation; but upon the open street, the broad market-place, where justice is administered, and where she ought above all to stand upright and be preserved upright, she has stumbled and fallen down (cf., Isaiah 3:8); and honesty (nekhōchâh), which goes straight forward, would gladly enter the limits of the forum, but she cannot: people and judges alike form a barrier which keeps her back. The consequence of this is indicated in Isaiah 59:15: truth in its manifold practical forms has become a missing thing; and whoever avoids the existing voice is mishtōlēl (part. hithpoel, not hithpoal), one who is obliged to let himself be plundered and stripped (Psalm 76:6), to be made a shōlâl (Micah 1:8), Arab. maslûb, with a passive turn given to the reflective meaning, as in התחפּשׂ, to cause one's self to be spied out equals to disguise one's self, and as in the so-called niphal tolerativum (Ewald, 133, b, 2).

The third strophe of the prophecy commences at Isaiah 59:15 or Isaiah 59:16. It begins with threatening, and closes with promises; for the true nature of God is love, and every manifestation of wrath is merely one phase in its development. In consideration of the fact that this corrupt state of things furnishes no prospect of self-improvement, Jehovah has already equipped Himself for judicial interposition. "And Jehovah saw it, and it was displeasing in His eyes, that there was no right. And He saw that there was not a man anywhere, and was astonished that there was nowhere an intercessor: then His arm brought Him help, and His righteousness became His stay. And He put on righteousness as a coat of mail, and the helmet of salvation upon His head; and put on garments of vengeance as armour, and clothed Himself in zeal as in a cloak. According to the deeds, accordingly He will repay: burning wrath to His adversaries, punishment to His foes; the islands He will repay with chastisement." The prophet's language has now toilsomely worked its way through the underwood of keen reproach, of dark descriptions of character, and of mournful confession which has brought up the apostasy of the great mass in all the blacker colours before his mind, from the fact that the confession proceeds from those who are ready for salvation. And now, having come to the description of the approaching judgment, out of whose furnace the church of the future is to spring, it rises again like a palm-tree that has been violently hurled to the ground, and shakes its head as if restored to itself in the transforming ether of the future. Jehovah saw, and it excited His displeasure ("it was evil in His eyes," an antiquated phrase from the Pentateuch, e.g., Genesis 38:10) to see that right (which He loves, Isaiah 61:8; Psalm 37:28) had vanished form the life of His nation. He saw that there was no man there, no man possessing either the disposition or the power to stem this corruption (אישׁ as in Jeremiah 5:1, cf., 1 Samuel 4:9; 1 Kings 2:2, and the old Jewish saying, "Where there is no man, I strive to be a man"). He was astonished (the sight of such total depravity exciting in Him the highest degree of compassion and displeasure) that there was no מפגּיע, i.e., no one to step in between God and the people, and by his intercession to press this disastrous condition of the people upon the attention of God (see Isaiah 53:12); no one to form a wall against the coming ruin, and cover the rent with his body; no one to appease the wrath, like Aaron (Numbers 17:12-13) or Phinehas (Numbers 25:7).

What the fut. consec. affirms from ותּושׁע onwards, is not something to come, but something past, as distinguished form the coming events announced from Isaiah 59:18 onwards. Because the nation was so utterly and deeply corrupt, Jehovah had quipped Himself for judicial interposition. The equipment was already completed; only the taking of vengeance remained to be effected. Jehovah saw no man at His side who was either able or willing to help Him to His right in opposition to the prevailing abominations, or to support His cause. Then His own arm became His help, and His righteousness His support (cf., Isaiah 63:5); so that He did not desist from the judgment to which He felt Himself impelled, until He had procured the fullest satisfaction for the honour of His holiness (Isaiah 5:16). The armour which Jehovah puts on is now described. According to the scriptural view, Jehovah is never unclothed; but the free radiation of His own nature shapes itself into a garment of light. Light is the robe He wears (Psalm 104:2). When the prophet describes this garment of light as changed into a suit of armour, this must be understood in the same sense as when the apostle in Eph speaks of a Christian's panoply. Just as there the separate pieces of armour represent the manifold self-manifestations of the inward spiritual life so here the pieces of Jehovah's armour stand for the manifold self-manifestations of His holy nature, which consists of a mixture of wrath and love. He does not arm Himself from any outward armoury; but the armoury is His infinite wrath and His infinite love, and the might in which He manifests Himself in such and such a way to His creatures is His infinite will. He puts on righteousness as a coat of mail (שׁרין in half pause, as in 1 Kings 22:34 in full pause, for שׁריון, ō passing into the broader a, as is generally the case in יחפּץ, יחבשׁ; also in Genesis 43:14, שׁכלתי; Genesis 49:3, עז; Genesis 49:27, יטרף), so that His appearance on every side is righteousness; and on His head He sets the helmet of salvation: for the ultimate object for which He goes into the conflict is the redemption of the oppressed, salvation as the fruit of the victory gained by righteousness. And over the coat of mail He draws on clothes of vengeance as a tabard (lxx περιβόλαιον), and wraps Himself in zeal as in a war-cloak. The inexorable justice of God is compared to an impenetrable brazen coat of mail; His joyful salvation, to a helmet which glitters from afar; His vengeance, with its manifold inflictions of punishment, to the clothes worn above the coat of mail; and His wrathful zeal (קנאה from קנא), to be deep red) with the fiery-looking chlamys. No weapon is mentioned, neither the sword nor bow; for His own arm procures Him help, and this alone. But what will Jehovah do, when He has armed Himself thus with justice and salvation, vengeance and zeal? As Isaiah 59:18 affirms, He will carry out a severe and general retributive judgment. גּמוּל and גּמלה signify accomplishment of (on gâmal, see at Isaiah 3:9) a ῥῆμα μέσον; גּמלות, which may signify, according to the context, either manifestations of love or manifestations of wrath, and either retribution as looked at from the side of God, or forfeiture as regarded from the side of man, has the latter meaning here, viz., the works of men and the double-sided gemūl, i.e., repayment, and that in the infliction of punishment. כּעל, as if, as on account of, signifies, according to its Semitic use, in the measure (כּ) of that which is fitting (על); cf., Isaiah 63:7, uti par est propter. It is repeated with emphasis (like לכן in Isaiah 52:6); the second stands without rectum, as the correlate of the first. By the adversaries and enemies, we naturally understand, after what goes before, the rebellious Israelites. The prophet does not mention these, however, but "the islands," that is to say, the heathen world. He hides the special judgment upon Israel in the general judgment upon the nations. The very same fate falls upon Israel, the salt of the world which has lost its savour, as upon the whole of the ungodly world. The purified church will have its place in the midst of a world out of which the crying injustice has been swept away.

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