Isaiah 60:7
All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together to you, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you: they shall come up with acceptance on my altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.
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(7) Kedar.—The nomad tribes (Isaiah 21:17) come as well as the trading ones. Nebaioth, mentioned with Kedar, in Genesis 25:13, among the descendants of Ishmael, expanded iii the centuries preceding the Christian era, into the kingdom of the Nabathœan Arabs, spreading from the Ælanitic Gulf to the Haurân. The two names together include what were known to the Roman geographers as Arabia Felix and Arabia Petræa. The primary thought is that the Temple of the new Jerusalem will be supplied with its sacrifices from the inexhaustible flocks of these regions.

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!All the flocks of Kedar - On the word 'Kedar,' see the notes at Isaiah 21:16. The Kedarenians were a wandering tribe that frequently changed their residence, though it is probable they usually dwelt in the south part of Arabia Deserta, or the north of Arabia Petraea. They are mentioned as dwelling in beautiful tents Sol 1:5 : 'I am black, but comely as the tents of Kedar,' see Psalm 120:5; compare Isaiah 21:16-17; Isaiah 42:11. The language here also means that that which constituted their principal wealth would come and enrich Jerusalem, or the church of God.

The rams of Nebaioth - Nebaioth was also a son of Ishmael Genesis 25:13; 1 Chronicles 1:29, and was the father of the Nabatheans. They were a people of Arabia Petraea, and lived principally by plunder, trade, and the keeping of flocks. The country of Nabathea extended, it is supposed, from the Euphrates to the Red Sea, and embraced Petra, the capital of Arabia Deserts, and also Medaba. It is not possible, however, to fix the exact boundaries of the various tribes of Arabians. The general idea is, that their most valuable possessions would be devoted to God.

Shall minister unto thee - That is, by coming up as an acceptable sacrifice on the altar.

They shall come up with acceptance on mine altar - It is by no means necessary to understand this literally. The Jews were accustomed to express their ideas of worship by sacrifices, and the prophet naturally employed that language. The sense is, that the conversion of the wandering tribes of Arabia would be as certain and as signal as if the numerous flocks of Kedar and Nebaioth should be devoted to Yahweh in sacrifice. All that was valuable there would be employed in his service; the people would come with their most precious offerings and consecrate them to God. It is evident that this remains to be fulfilled. Paul, indeed, preached in Arabia Galatians 1:17; and, doubtless, there were some conversions to Christianity there. But, as a people, they never have been converted to the true God; and in all ages they have been the victims of either idolatry or superstition. The time will come, however, when Arabia, so interesting as settled by the descendants of Abraham; so interesting in the bold, active, and energetic character of its tribes; so interesting as using a language that is one of the most refined and far-spoken of the earth; and so interesting as being, in some parts at least, among the most fertile and beautiful of the earth, shall be converted to God. Probably the most balmy, pure, and pleasant climate of the world is the southern part of Arabia Felix - the country of Yemen; and when the Arabs shall bring their energy of character to the service of the true God, and the gospel shall be preached in their language to all their tribes, no one can predict the effect which this shall have on the entire conversion of the world.

And I will glorify - I will honor my glorious house, that is, the temple. Lowth, 'And my beauteous house I will yet beautify.' The idea is, that he would adorn the temple by bringing the distant nations, with their most valuable possessions, to worship there. That is, the true religion would yet appear glorious when the nation should acknowledge it and submit to its requirements.

7. Kedar—(Isa 21:16; So 1:5), in the south of Arabia-Deserta, or north of Arabia-Petræa; they traded in flocks (Eze 27:21).

Nebaioth—son of Ishmael, as was Kedar. Father of the Nabatheans in Arabia-Petræa.

minister—by coming up as an acceptable sacrifice.

come up with acceptance—that is, acceptably. The rams offering themselves voluntarily (Ps 68:30; Ro 12:1; 1Pe 2:5), without waiting for any other priest, answer to believers strong in faith and lamb-like meekness; and in the white fleece-like robe of sanctity [Vitringa].

house of my glory—the temple (Eze 41:1-26; Hag 2:7, 9; Mal 3:1).

All the flocks of Kedar; the people whereof descended from Ishmael, and lived in Arabia Petrea, who were principally shepherds. The rams; q.d. nay, the chief of the flock, viz. for sacrifice; this Nebaioth being put for the people thereof, and sprang from Ishmael also, Genesis 25:13; rich as the other were in flocks, and inhabiting the same country. As the Sabeans offered the proper commodities of their country, as gold and spice; so these of theirs, viz. cattle, showing that each country, and so each person, should bring that wherewith they did most excel.

Of Nebaioth: this shows that Abraham’s children according to the flesh should also be brought in to the gospel: compare Malachi 1:11.

They shall come up with acceptance; being offered, they shall not now, as heretofore, be rejected; and hereby they shall be distinguished from the profane oblations of the Gentiles, i.e. in the name of Christ, who is the true and only gospel Altar. The house of my glory, i.e. the temple, or my house; glory being put here by a metonymy of the adjunct for God himself, who is glorious. God shall become glorious by the multitude of sacrifices that shall be offered and accepted here, Psalm 29:9. And it is a type how glorious his New Testament spiritual worship shall be; this altar pointing at Christ, out of whom nothing is accepted, and that his church should be glorious, being built of living stones, 1 Peter 2:5. 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.

All the flocks of {g} Kedar shall be gathered together to thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to thee: they shall come up with acceptance on my {h} altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.

(g) That is the Arabians, that have great abundance of cattle.

(h) Because the altar was a figure of Christ, He 13:10, he shows that nothing can be acceptable to him, which is not offered to him by this altar, who was both the offering and the altar itself.

7. Kedar (see on ch. Isaiah 21:16) … Nebajoth] Cf. Genesis 25:13 &c. The identification of the latter tribe with the Nabatæans of the classical writers is disputed by some eminent authorities, but it is at least a significant circumstance that “Nabataei et Cedrei” are bracketed together by Pliny, as Nabaitai and Kidrai are associated in Assyrian inscriptions (Schrader, Cuneiform Inscriptions, on Genesis 25:13 f.). The Nabatæans were as powerful in the last three centuries b.c. as the Midianites appear to have been in the days of Moses and the Judges (see on ch. 34 Introd. Note).

shall minister unto thee] serve thee for sacrificial victims. The verb has a liturgical sense (see ch. Isaiah 56:6) and the somewhat peculiar expression is explained by the following clause.

I will glorify &c.] my beautiful house I will beautify (Isaiah 60:13). It is difficult to say whether these words imply that the Temple was already in existence.Verse 7. - Kedar... Nebaioth. Arab tribes, like the Midianites and Sabaeans. (With respect to Kedar, see the comment on Isaiah 21:15.) "Nebaioth" stands for the tribe called by the Greeks and Romans the "Nabataeans," and by the Assyrians the "Nabaiti," who were one of the most powerful in the peninsula. About B.C. 645 Nathan, their king, warred with Asshur-bani-pal (Smith's' Hist. of Asshur-bani-pal,' pp. 256-298). During the Maccabee period we find the Nabataeans in alliance with the Jews, and giving them some valuable assistance (1 Macc. 5:25 1 Macc. 9:35). The locality of the Nabataeans was northern Arabia, or the tract lying between the Elanitic Gulf and the Lower Euphrates. The wealth of the Nabataeans and the Kedarenes was in their flocks and herds; and this wealth, it is prophesied, they will place, at the disposal of Israel. Mine altar... the house of my glory. The renovated Zion contains a glorious temple, and the temple has in it an altar, to which the sheep and rams are brought - not, however, to be offered in sacrifice, but to be presented to God and become a part of the wealth of the Church. It is still night. The inward and outward condition of the church is night; and if it is night followed by a morning, it is so only for those who "against hope believe in hope." The reality which strikes the senses is the night of sin, of punishment, of suffering, and of mourning - a long night of nearly seventy years. In this night, the prophet, according to the command of God, has bee prophesying of the coming light. In his inward penetration of the substance of his own preaching, he has come close to the time when faith is to be turned to sight. And now in the strength of God, who has made him the mouthpiece of His own creative fiat, he exclaims to the church, Isaiah 60:1 : "Arise, grow light; for thy light cometh, and the glory of Jehovah riseth upon thee." The appeal so addressed to Zion-Jerusalem, which is regarded (as in Isaiah 49:18; Isaiah 50:1; Isaiah 52:1-2; Isaiah 54:1) as a woman, and indeed as the mother of Israel. Here, however, it is regarded as the church redeemed from banishment, and settled once more in the holy city and the holy land, the church of salvation, which is now about to become the church of glory. Zion lies prostrate on the ground, smitten down by the judgment of God, brought down to the ground by inward prostration, and partly overcome by the sleep of self-security. She now hears the cry, "Arise" (qūmı̄). This is not a mere admonition, but a word of power which puts new life into her limbs, so that she is able to rise from the ground, on which she has lain, as it were, under the ban. The night, which has brought her to the ground mourning, and faint, and intoxicated with sleep, is now at an end. The mighty word qūmı̄, "arise," is supplemented by a second word: 'ōrı̄. What creative force there is in these two trochees, qūmı̄ 'ōrı̄, which hold on, as it were, till what they express is accomplished; and what force of consolation in the two iambi, ki-bhâ 'ōrēkh, which affix, as it were, to the acts of Zion the seal of the divine act, and add to the ἄρσις (or elevation) its θέσις (or foundation)! Zion is to become light; it is to, because it can. But it cannot of itself, for in itself it has no light, because it has so absolutely given itself up to sin; but there is a light which will communicate itself to her, viz., the light which radiates from the holy nature of God Himself. And this light is salvation, because the Holy One loves Zion: it is also glory, because it not only dispels the darkness, but sets itself, all glorious as it is, in the place of the darkness. Zârach is the word commonly applied to the rising of the sun (Malachi 4:2). The sun of suns is Jehovah (Psalm 84:12), the God who is coming (Isaiah 59:20).
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