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