Isaiah 60:12
For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; yes, those nations shall be utterly wasted.
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60:9-14 God will be very gracious. We must begin with his promise, thence all mercies take rise. Many shall be brought into the church, even from far countries. Christ is always ready to receive all who come to him; and the gate of mercy is always open, night and day. All that are about the church shall be made serviceable to it. But those who will not be subject to Christ's golden sceptre, to his word and Spirit, who will not be kept in by the laws and rules of his family, shall be broken in pieces by his iron rod. The peculiar advantages of every nation, and of every description of men, shall join to beautify the church of Christ. We must suppose this to be accomplished in the beauties of holiness, and the graces and comforts of the Spirit, with which gospel ordinances are adorned and enriched. Blessed be his name, the gates of Zion are ever open to returning sinners.For the nation and kingdom - Perhaps this is given as a reason for What is said in the previous verse - that kings and their subjects should come to Zion and embrace the true religion, because if it were not done they would perish. This is certainly one reason why sinners hasten to embrace the Saviour; and when this truth becomes deeply impressed on a community, it is one of the means of a revival of religion. An apprehension of danger; a certain anticipation of ruin if the gospel is not embraced; a conviction that 'there is salvation in no other,' is often a means of leading people to seek the Saviour.

That will not serve thee - That will not become the servant of the church of God: that is, that will not promote its interests, obey its laws, and maintain the true religion.

Shall perish - This is applied particularly here to a 'nation' and a 'kingdom.' The idea is, that no nation can flourish that does not obey the law of God, or where the worship of the true God is not maintained. History is full of affecting illustrations of this. The ancient republics and kingdoms fell because they had not the true religion. The kingdoms of Babylon, Assyria, Macedonia, and Egypt; the Roman empire, and all the ancient monarchies and republics, soon fell to ruin because they had not the salutary restraints of the true religion, and lacked the protection of the true God. France east off the government of God in the Revolution, and was drenched in blood. It is a maxim of universal truth, that the nation which does not admit the influence of the laws and the government of God must be destroyed. No empire is strong enough to wage successful war with the great Yahweh; and sooner or later, notwithstanding all that human policy can do, corruption, sensuality, luxury, pride, and far-spreading vice, will expose a nation to his displeasure, and bring down the heavy arm of his vengeance.

There is no truth of more vital interest to this nation (America) than this; no declaration in any ancient writing expressive of the course of events in this world, that hangs with note portentous interest over this republic, than that 'the nation that will not serve god shall perish.' As a nation, we have nothing else to depend on but our pubic virtue, our intelligence, our respect for the laws of heaven. Our defense is not to be in standing armies - but in God, as our living and everwatchful protector and friend. Our hope is not in a vast navy, in strong ramparts, in frowning battlements, but in the favor of the Most High. No martial array, no strong fortresses, no line-of-battle-ships, can save a nation that has cast off the government of God, and that is distinguished for the violation of treaties and for oppression, bribery, and corruption. The nation that violates the Sabbath; that tramples on the rights of unoffending men and women; that disregards the most solemn compacts; and that voluntarily opens upon itself the floodgates of infidelity and vice, must expect to meet with the displeasure of the Almighty. And it is as true of an individual as it is of a nation. Of any human or angelic being; of any association or combination of human beings or angels that does not obey God, it is true that they shall be utterly destroyed.

12. For—the reason which will lead Gentile kings and people to submit themselves; fear of the God in Israel (Zec 14:17). That will not serve thee; do offices of kindness; so is the word used, Isaiah 19:23; or rather, that will not submit to Christ’s sceptre.

Shall perish; shall be no more sui juris, but subdued to thee; and as refusing subjection to Christ, shall perish everlastingly; as they all perished in the deluge that were not in the ark: they that should be saved were added to the church, Acts 2:47 Revelation 21:24.

Utterly wasted, Heb. wasting be wasted, viz. by the sword: accordingly we read of many victories in Josephus that the Jews obtained, and in the Book of the Maccabees, as a fulfilling of this prophecy; but this doth principally relate to the spiritual Jerusalem, and this seems to anticipate an objection, If the gates stand continually open, we shall be in danger of enemies. Not so, saith he, for they shall either serve thee or perish. 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.

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

(m) He shows that God has given all power and authority here in earth for the use of his Church, and that they who will not serve and profit the same will be destroyed.

12. Comp. Zechariah 14:17-18. The verse is objected to by Duhm and Cheyne on account of its prosaic character and unrhythmical structure, and also because it violates the strophic arrangement which these writers find in the chapter. It certainly seems to intrude awkwardly between Isaiah 60:11 and Isaiah 60:13.

shall be utterly wasted] The verb applies strictly to the lands rather than to the peoples (see the notes on ch. Isaiah 37:18).Verse 12. - The nation... that will not serve thee shall perish. God's curse shall be upon them; they shall wither and decay for lack of the Divine favour and of the graces which God dispenses to mankind through his Church (comp. Zechariah 14:17-19). The nations engaged in commerce, and those possessing cattle, vie with one another in enriching the church. "A swarm of camels will cover thee, the foals of Midian and Ephah: they come all together from Saba; they bring gold and incense, and they joyfully make known the praises of Jehovah. All the flocks, of Kedar gather together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth will serve thee: they will come up with acceptance upon mine altar, and I will adorn the house of my adorning." The trading nations bring their wares to the church. The tribe of Midian, which sprang from Abraham and Keturah (Genesis 25:2), and of which Ephah (Targ. Hōlâd, the Hutheilites?) formed one of the several branches (Genesis 25:4), had its seat on the eastern coast of the Elanitic Gulf, which is still indicated by the town of Madyan, situated, according to the geographers of Arabia, five days' journey to the south of Aila. These come in such long and numerous caravans, that all the country round Jerusalem swarms with camels. שׁפעת as in Job 22:11; and בּכרי (parallel to גּמלּים) from בּכר equals Arabic bakr or bikr, a young male camel, or generally a camel's foal (up to the age of not more than nine years; see Lane's Lexicon, i. 240). All of these, both Midianites and Ephaeans, come out of Sheba, which Strabo (xvi. 4, 10) describes as "the highly blessed land of the Sabaeans, in which myrrh, frankincense, and cinnamon grow." There, viz., in Yemen,

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

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

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

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

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

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