Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
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).
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
2. darkness … earth—the rest of the earth: in contrast with "light … upon thee" (Isa 60:1). The earth will be afterwards enlightened through Israel (Isa 9:2).
be seen—conspicuously: so the Hebrew.
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
3. (Isa 2:3; 11:10; 43:6; 49:22; 66:12).
kings—(Isa 49:7, 23; 52:15).
thy rising—rather, "thy sun-rising," that is, "to the brightness that riseth upon thee."
Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.
4. Lift up … eyes—Jerusalem is addressed as a female with eyes cast down from grief.
all they … they—The Gentile peoples come together to bring back the dispersed Hebrews, restore their city, and worship Jehovah with offerings.
nursed at thy side—rather "carried at thy side." It is the custom in the East to carry the children astride on the hip, with the arms around the body (Isa 66:12).
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.
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.
The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD.
6. camels—laden with merchandise; the camel is "the ship of the desert" (compare Isa 30:6).
cover thee—so many of them shall there be.
dromedaries—They have one hunch on the back, whereas the camel has two: distinguished for swiftness (Jer 2:23).
Midian—east of the Elanitic branch of the Red Sea, and stretching northward along Mount Seir. Associated with the Ishmaelites in traffic (Ge 37:25, 28).
Ephah—part of Midian, east of the Dead Sea. It abounded in camels (Jud 6:5).
Sheba—in Arabia-Felix, famed for frankincense and gold (Ps 72:15; Jer 6:20), which they traded in (Isa 45:14; Job 6:19; Eze 27:22).
All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.
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).
Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?
8. The prophet, seeing in vision new hosts approaching quickly like a cloud of doves, asks who they are.
Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.
9. (see on Isa 42:4).
Tarshish first—The ships of Tartessus (see on Isa 2:16; Isa 23:1, that is, vessels that trade to the most distant regions) will be among the foremost to bring back the scattered Israelites (Isa 66:20).
their silver—The nations among whom the Jews have been scattered shall help them with their money in returning (Isa 60:5-7, 11, 16), as was the case at the return from Babylon (Ezr 1:4; compare Ps 68:30, 31).
unto the name … to the Holy One—rather, because of the name—because of the Holy One (compare Isa 55:5) [Lowth].
And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee.
10. kings … minister unto thee—(See on Isa 60:7; Isa 49:23).
in my wrath I smote thee—(Isa 54:7, 8; 57:17).
Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.
11. (Re 21:25). The gates are ever open to receive new offerings and converts (Isa 26:2; Ac 14:27; Re 3:8). In time of peace the gates of a city are open: so, under the Prince of peace, there shall be no need of barring gates against invaders.
be brought—as willing captives to the truth; or, if not willingly, be bought by judgments to submit to Israel (Isa 60:12, 14). Gesenius explains it, "may come escorted by a retinue."
For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.
12. For—the reason which will lead Gentile kings and people to submit themselves; fear of the God in Israel (Zec 14:17).
The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.
13. glory—that is, the trees which adorned Lebanon; emblem of men eminent in natural gifts, devoting all that is in them to the God of Israel (Ho 14:5, 6).
fir … pine … box—rather, "the cypress … ilex … cedar."
place of my sanctuary—Jerusalem (Jer 3:17).
place of my feet—no longer the ark (Jer 3:16), "the footstool" of Jehovah (Ps 99:5; 132:7; 1Ch 28:2); but "the place of His throne, the place of the soles of His feet, where He will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever," in the new temple (Eze 43:7).
The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
14. The sons—Their fathers who "afflicted" Israel having been cut off by divine judgments (Isa 14:1, 2; 49:23).
The Zion of the Holy One—The royal court of the Holy One. Maurer translates, "Zion, the sanctuary (holy place) of Israel" (Isa 57:15; Ps 46:4).
Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.
15. forsaken—(Ps 78:60, 61).
no man went through thee—Thy land was so desolate that no traveller, or caravan, passed through thee; true only of Israel, not true of the Church (La 1:4).
excellency—glory, that is, for ever honored.
Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.
16. suck—Thou shalt draw to thyself and enjoy all that is valuable of the possessions of the Gentiles, &c. (Isa 49:23; 61:6; 66:11, 12).
know—by the favors bestowed on thee, and through thee on the Gentiles.
For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.
17. Poetically, with figurative allusion to the furniture of the temple; all things in that happy age to come shall be changed for the better.
exactors—namely, of tribute.
righteousness—All rulers in restored Jerusalem shall not only be peaceable and righteous, but shall be, as it were, "peace" and "righteousness" itself in their administration.
Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.
18. (Isa 2:4). Not only shall thy walls keep thee safe from foes, but "Salvation" shall serve as thy walls, converting thy foes into friends, and so ensuring thee perfect safety (Isa 26:1, 2).
gates—once the scene of "destruction" when victorious foes burst through them (Ne 1:3); henceforth to be not only the scene of praises, but "Praise" itself; the "gates," as the place of public concourse, were the scene of thanksgivings (2Ch 31:2; Ps 9:14; 24:7; 100:4). "Judah," the favored tribe, means "praise."
The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.
19. The sun and moon, the brightest objects by day and night, shall be eclipsed by the surpassing glory of God manifesting Himself to thee (Isa 30:26; Zec 2:5; Re 21:23; 22:5).
Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.
20. There shall be no national and spiritual obscuration again as formerly (Joe 2:10; Am 8:9).
mourning … ended—(Isa 25:8; Re 21:4).
Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.
21. all righteous—(Isa 4:3; 52:1; Re 21:27).
inherit … land—(Isa 49:8; 54:3; 65:9; Ps 37:11, 22; Mt 5:5).
branch of my planting—(Isa 61:3; Ps 92:13; Mt 15:13).
work of my hands—the converted Israelites (Isa 29:23; 45:11).
that I may be glorified—the final end of all God's gracious dealings (Isa 49:3; 61:3).
A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time.
22. little one—Even one, and that the smallest in number and rank, shall be multiplied a thousandfold in both respects (Mic 5:2; Mt 13:31, 32).
his time—not our time; we might wish to hasten it, but it will come in due time, as in the case of Jesus' first coming (Ga 4:4); so in that of the restoration of Israel and the conversion of the world (Isa 66:8; Hab 2:3; Ac 1:7; Heb 10:37).