Isaiah 60:5
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.
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(5) Then thou shalt see.—A various reading adopted by many commentators gives thou shalt Jear.

Thine heart shall fear . . .—Literally, shall throb, as with an awe-stricken joy at the marvellous prosperity, but that throb of awe is followed by the expansion of ecstatic joy.

The abundance of the sea—i.e., the riches of the Western isles, with which the new Jerusalem was to be filled, as Tyre and Zidon had been of old. (Ezekiel 27:1-25).

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!Then shalt thou see - Lowth renders this, 'Then shalt thou fear and overflow with joy;' and supposes that it refers to the agitation and anxiety of mind attending the scene, and to the joy consequent on the numerous conversions. His authority for this change is, that forty manuscripts (two of them ancient) have תיראי, 'thou shalt fear,' instead of תראי tı̂re'ı̂y, 'thou shalt see.' But though the change is of a single letter, there is not sufficient authority to make it, nor does the sense require it. The Vulgate, Septuagint, Chaldee, Syiac, Arabic, and Castellio, all render it in accordance with the present reading of the Hebrew text. The idea is, that Jerusalem would look with deep interest on the great multitude that would be converted to her, and that the effect would be to cause the heart to overflow with joy.

And flow together - This translation, it is believed, by no means conveys the true sense of the passage. Indeed, it is difficult to make sense of the translation. It is true that the Hebrew word נהר nâhar, means "to flow, to flow together"; whence the word נהר nâhâr, 'river.' But it may be used in the sense of flowing, or overflowing with joy; or it may seem to shine, to be bright, the same as נוּר nûr (Gesenius); and thence to be cheered, to rejoice, as when the countenance is bright and cheerful (compare Job 3:4). Taylor (Hebrew Concordance) renders it, 'And be enlightened, or have the light flow upon thee.' The true idea is, doubtless, that of rejoicing; denoting the happiness which will always exist in the church when many are seen to come and give themselves to God.

And thine heart shall fear - The heart shall be ruffled, agitated, deeply excited by the view of the numbers that are converted, and by the evidence thus furnished of the divine favor and presence. The effect of numerous simultaneous conversions in a revival of religion, is always to produce awe and reverence. There is a conviction that God is near, and that this is his work; and a deep veneration produced by the demonstrations of his power which does not exist in other circumstances. This effect is described also by Jeremiah, Jeremiah 33:9 : 'And they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I shall procure unto her' (Jerusalem).

And be enlarged - Shall be swelled or filled with joy.

Because the abundance of the sea - Margin, 'Noise of the sea shall be turned unto thee.' Lowth and Noyes render it, 'The riches of the sea.' So the Septuagint, Πλοῦτος θαλάσσης Ploutos thalassēs. The Chaldee renders it, 'There shall be transferred to thee the wealth of the west' (מערבא עיתר ‛ôtar ma‛arebâ'). The Hebrew word המון hămôn properly denotes a noise or sound; as of rain, of the raging of the ocean, or of a multitude of people. Then it denotes a multitude or crowd of people itself Isaiah 13:4; Isaiah 33:3; Daniel 10:6; a host or army Judges 4:7; Daniel 11:11-13; a multitude of waters Jeremiah 10:13; Jeremiah 51:16. It then denotes a multitude of possessions; a vast amount of wealth Psalm 37:16; Ecclesiastes 5:9. Here it may refer either to the multitude of the people that dwelt on the islands of the sea, or to their wealth that would be brought and devoted to Zion. As various kinds of property are immediately specified, it seems most natural to refer it to that; and then the idea is, that the wealth possessed by lands beyond the sea, or surrounded by the sea, would be devoted to the church of God. It will be remembered, that nearly all the wealth that was imported by Solomon and others to Judea came from beyond sea, and that it was natural to speak of such places as abounding in riches. The idea is, that the wealth of all those distant lands would be consecrated to the church - an idea denoting its great prosperity and glory when all lands should come under the influence of the truth.

Shall be converted - Hebrew, 'Shall be turned.' Instead of being employed in idolatry and sin; in purposes of pleasure and mere magnificence, it shall be turned to a different purpose.

The forces of the Gentiles - Margin, 'wealth.' The margin has undoubtedly the correct interpretation. The word used here (חיל chayil, construct חיל chēyil), usually, indeed, denotes strength, might, valor; an army, forces, host; but it also means riches, wealth Genesis 24:29; Deuteronomy 8:17-18; Ruth 4:11; Job 20:15. The Septuagint renders the passage, 'The riches of the sea, and of the nations, and of the people will come over to thee.' The sense is, that the wealth of the pagan world would be consecrated to the service of the church. To some extent, this has been the case, No small part of the great wealth of the Roman empire was I devoted to the service of the Christian church; and the wealth of what was then Pagan Europe, and of what was then Pagan and unknown America, has been, to a considerable extent, devoted to the Redeemer. The time will come when the wealth of India, of China, of Africa, and of the entire world, shall be devoted to the service of God, in a manner far more decided than has yet occurred in the most favored Christian lands.

5. see—(Isa 60:4), namely, the bringing back of thy sons.

flow together—rather, "overflow with joy" [Lowth]; or, from a different Hebrew root, "be bright with joy" [Gesenius] (Job 3:4).

fear—rather, beat with the agitation of solemn joy at the marvellous sight [Horsley] (Jer 33:9).

be enlarged—swell with delight. Grief, on the contrary, contracts the heart.

abundance of … sea—the wealth of the lands beyond the sea, as in Solomon's time, the type of the coming reign of the Prince of peace.

converted—rather, "be turned," instead of being turned to purposes of sin and idolatry.

forces—rather, "riches."

Then shalt thou see, viz. with a great deal of delight, the multitudes of thy children running to thee.

Flow together; as when one river meeting with another and joining waters, run sweetly together, as one and the same river: this notes the abundance of their united joys and delights; or they shall flock together to behold such an amazing sight.

Thine heart shall fear; as standing amazed to see such multitudes come in to the Lord Christ; See Poole "Isaiah 44:1", See Poole "Isaiah 44:2", &c.; as it were surprised with it, as those Ac 2 7, or overwhelmed with the joyful sight, as Jacob was with the tidings of Joseph, Genesis 45:26, and those of the circumcision that were with Acts 10:45: such a mixture of fear and joy you have expressed Jeremiah 33:9; the sense is much the same with Isaiah 49:18.

Be enlarged, both with joy and love; joy within at the coming in of the Gentiles, and this outwardly expressed in the enlargedness of love and charity towards them. Fear doth properly contract the heart, therefore this expression intimates it to be a fear mixed with such an affection as will dilate it.

The abundance of the sea; either the islands of the sea, viz. the nations, as before, a metonymy of the subject, shall turn to thee, in religion or affection; they that formerly so much hated thee (they that live by the sea-coasts being usually noted for the worst of men) shall now love thee: or the wealth and traffic of those that trade by sea, the riches of the merchant; and so possibly the prophet may allude to Psalm 72:10, for Tarshish is sometimes taken for the sea, as hath been before showed: see on 1 Kings 10:22.

Shall be converted unto thee; thy traders shall not so much convert their riches to their own use as to thine.

The forces; or, wealth; thou shalt not have only the wealth, but the strength of the nations, to stand by thee, which hath also an eye, as in the type, to that readiness and willingness that would be in the nations to help them out of Babylon.

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.

Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thy heart shall fear, {e} and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted to thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come to thee.

(e) For joy, as the heart is drawn in for sorrow.

5. and flow together] See ch. Isaiah 2:2. But the right translation is that of R.V. and be lightened (cf. Psalm 34:5). The two verbs are identical in form but belong to distinct roots.

thine heart shall fear] Lit., shall throb, obviously from joy, as in Jeremiah 33:9. These are perhaps the only two instances where the word is so used. Usually it means to tremble from fear.

and be enlarged] Psalm 119:32.

the abundance of the sea] “Abundance” is lit. “tumult”; it often means “multitude” (see ch. Isaiah 5:13 f., Isaiah 13:4, Isaiah 33:3), but in late usage it acquires the sense of “wealth” (Ecclesiastes 5:9; Psalm 37:16). The wealth of the sea is not the produce of the sea, but seaborne wealth, the wealth of maritime nations.

shall be converted unto thee] shall be turned to thee (R.V.). The stream of commerce shall be diverted from its old channels and flow to Zion.

the forces of the Gentiles] the riches of nations. Cf. Haggai 2:7 (R.V. “the desirable things of all nations”).

Verses 5-9. - The second stanza. Zion's wealth. Verse 5. - Thine heart shall fear; rather, shall throb; "beat with excitement." Because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee; i.e. the maritime commerce, which has hitherto enriched other nations, shall be turned thy way and be at thy disposal. The forces of the Gentiles; rather, the riches of the Gentiles - as in Isaiah 8:4; Isaiah 10:14; Isaiah 30:6; Isaiah 61:6. Details of the riches fellow in vers. 6-9. Isaiah 60:5When this takes place, Zion will be seized with the greatest delight, mingled with some trembling. "Then wilt thou see and shine, and thine heart will tremble and expand; for the abundance of the sea will be turned to thee, the wealth of the nations cometh to thee." It is a disputed question whether the proper reading is תּראי, תּראי, or תּיראי - all three point to יר) - or תּראי, from ראה. The last is favoured by the lxx, Targ., Syr., Jerome, Saad., and all the earlier Jewish commentators except AE, and is also the Masoretic reading; for the Masora finalis (f. 1, Colossians 6) observes that this רתאי is the only instance of such a form from ראה (differing therefore from תיראי in Zephaniah 3:15, where we also find the readings תיראי and תראי); and there is a note in the margin of the Masora, חטף לית, to the effect that this תראי is the only one with chateph, i.e., Sheva. Moreover, תּראי (thou shalt see) is the more natural reading, according to Isaiah 66:14 and Zechariah 10:7; more especially as ירא is not a suitable word to use (like pâchad and râgaz in Jeremiah 33:9) in the sense of trembling for joy (compare, on the contrary, ירע, Isaiah 15:4, and רהה in Isaiah 44:8). The true rendering therefore is, "Then wilt thou see and shine," i.e., when thou seest this thou wilt thine, thy face will light up with joy; nâhar as in Psalm 34:6. Luther render it, "Then wilt thou see thy desire, and break out," viz., into shouting; Jerome, on the contrary, has, "Thou wilt overflow, i.e., thou wilt be inundated with waters coming suddenly like rivers."

The impression produced by this revolution is so overpowering, that Zion's heart trembles; yet at the same time it is so elevating, that the straitened heart expands (ורחב, a figure quite unknown to the classical languages, although they have angor and angustia; the lxx renders it καὶ ἐκστήση, after the reading ורהב in Chayug, and Isaac Nathan in his Concordance, entitled נתיב מיר): for hămōn yâm, i.e., everything of value that is possessed by islands and coast lands (hâmōm, groaning, a groaning multitude, more especially of possessions, Psalm 37:16, etc.), is brought to her; and chēl gōyim, the property, i.e., (looking at the plural of the predicate which follows; cf., Haggai 2:7) the riches (gold, silver, etc., Zechariah 14:14) of the heathen, are brought into her, that she may dispose of them to the glory of her God.

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