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ISAIAH 60

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
A Glorified Zion The Gentiles Bless Zion Jerusalem's Glorious Restoration The Future Glory of Jerusalem The Splendor of Jerusalem
60:1-3
(1-3)
60:1-3
(1-3)
60:1-3
(1-3)
60:1-3
(1-3)
60:1-11
(1-11)
60:4-9
(4-9)
60:4-7
(4-7)
60:4-16
(4-16)
60:4-5
(4-5)
 
      60:6-7
(6-7)
 
  60:8-9
(8-9)
  60:8-9
(8-9)
 
60:10-14
(10-14)
60:10-12
(10-12)
  60:10-12
(10-12)
 
        60:12
(12)
  60:13-14
(13-14)
  60:13-14
(13-14)
60:13-18
(13-18)
60:15-22
(15-22)
60:15-16
(15-16)
  60:15-16
(15-16)
 
  60:17-18
(17-18)
60:17-22
(17-22)
60:17-18
(17-18)
 
  God the Glory of His People      
  60:19-22
(19-22)
  60:19-22
(19-22)
60:19-22
(19-22)

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Third paragraph, etc.

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. There is a radical change in the mood between Isaiah 59 and Isaiah 60-62.

 

B. Isaiah 60-62 form a unit that deals with the glorious future of God's people as depicted in the restoration of Jerusalem.

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: ISAIAH 60:1-3
1"Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
2For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you.
3Nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.

60:1 "Arise, shine" Two Qal imperatives implore the covenant people to be what they were called to be for themselves and for the world.

Light is a recurrent metaphor in this chapter to describe:

  1. God's presence, Isa. 60:1,2,9-20; Rev. 21:23; 22:5
  2. spiritual holiness, Isa. 60:1,3,5,21; 62:1
  3. a recurring metaphor in Isaiah (cf. Isa. 9:2; 58:8; 59:9)

▣ "your light has come" The subject of Isa. 60:1-22 is "Zion" (cf. Isa. 60:14), which symbolizes the people of God.

The common verb "come" (BDB 97, KB 112) is used several times in this chapter.

  1. has come ‒ Qal perfect, Isa. 60:1
  2. come ‒ Qal perfect, Isa. 60:4
  3. will come ‒ Qal imperfect, Isa. 60:4
  4. will come ‒ Qal imperfect, Isa. 60:5
  5. will come ‒ Qal imperfect, Isa. 60:6
  6. will bring ‒ Hiphil infinitive construct, Isa. 60:6
  7. bring ‒ same as #6, Isa. 60:11
  8. will come ‒ Qal imperfect, Isa. 60:13
  9. will bring ‒ Hiphil imperfect, twice, Isa. 60:17
  10. same as #9
  11. will set ‒ Qal imperfect, Isa. 60:20

Remember the time element is not in the Hebrew verb but in its use in context.

▣ "the glory of the Lord" This is parallel to "light" in line 1. It is used in other places in Isaiah connected to light/lights (cf. Isa. 24:23; 58:8) and agricultural abundance (cf. Isa. 35:2; see Special Topic: Glory (OT kabod).

The Hebrew term for "glory" (BDB 458), because of its association with the Shekinah cloud of glory (cf. Exod. 13:21-22; 14:19,20,24; 19:16-18; 20:21), symbolized YHWH's personal presence with the Israelites during the Exodus. Fire and lightning were associated with the coming of YHWH to Mt. Sinai (cf. Exodus 19-20), so brightness became an aspect of "glory."

60:2 This has some allusion to the physical darkness of Gen. 1:1-2 or Exod. 10:21-23 or even Isa. 9:2, and the spiritual darkness caused by sin. YHWH will not allow the darkness of the Fall (cf. Genesis 3), which covers all humans, to remain. His light of revelation and salvation will rise (Qal imperfect, BDB 280, KB 281).

Special Topic: The Fall

60:3 "Nations will come to your light" It is obvious that God's original purpose for Israel was to bring the world to Himself (cf. Isa. 61:6,11b; 62:2,11; Gen. 12:3; Exod. 19:5-6).

Of all the prophets, with the possible exceptions of Micah and Jonah, it is Isaiah who saw the universal implications of

  1. monotheism (see Special Topic: Monotheism)
  2. OT Patriarchal promises (see Special Topic: Covenant Promises to the Patriarchs)
  3. Israel's evangelistic purpose

Note Isa. 2:3; 45:14,22-25; 49:23. This is surely the precursor of John 3:16 (cf Gen. 12:3; Exod. 19:5); 4:42; 1 Tim. 2:4; Titus 2:11; 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 John 2:1; 4:14. The NT, following the teachings of Jesus, universalized the OT promises to Israel (cf. Gen. 12:3; Exod. 19:5), to the whole world (cf. Matt. 28:18-20; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8).

Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: ISAIAH 60:4-9
4"Lift up your eyes round about and see;
They all gather together, they come to you.
Your sons will come from afar,
And your daughters will be carried in the arms.
5Then you will see and be radiant,
And your heart will thrill and rejoice;
Because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you,
The wealth of the nations will come to you.
6A multitude of camels will cover you,
The young camels of Midian and Ephah;
All those from Sheba will come;
They will bring gold and frankincense,
And will bear good news of the praises of the Lord.
7All the flocks of Kedar will be gathered together to you,
The rams of Nebaioth will minister to you;
They will go up with acceptance on My altar,
And I shall glorify My glorious house.
8Who are these who fly like a cloud
And like the doves to their lattices?
9Surely the coastlands will wait for Me;
And the ships of Tarshish will come first,
To bring your sons from afar,
Their silver and their gold with them,
For the name of the Lord your God,
And for the Holy One of Israel because He has glorified you.

60:4 "Lift up. . .see" These are two Qal imperatives (cf. Isa. 49:18; John 4:35). Imperatives often begin a new strophe.

▣ "Your sons will come from afar" In chapters 60-62, there are two major eschatological signs that deal with traveling.

  1. the people of God will return to their ancestral home, symbolized by the city of Jerusalem
  2. the nations, instead of taking the Jews prisoner and deporting them, will flow into the people of God with gifts and praise

60:5 As a result of God's repentant people "seeing" (Qal imperfect, BDB 906, KB 1157), notice the stated consequences of seeing the light of God (cf. Isa. 60:1,4,19,20).

  1. be radiant ‒ Qal perfect with waw, BDB 626, KB 676
  2. thrill (lit. tremble) ‒ Qal perfect with waw, BDB 808, KB 922
  3. rejoice ‒ Qal perfect with waw, BDB 931, KB 1210; see note below

The reasons for this hope and joy are God's gracious acts.

  1. the abundance of the seas will be turned to you (i.e., the wealth of the seafaring peoples)
  2. the wealth of the nations will come to you (cf. Isa. 60:6-7,11; 61:6)

These parallel lines of poetry describe the gratitude of the nations for Israel's

  1. revealing of YHWH
  2. bringing the reality of YHWH's presence to earth
  3. opening a way for their inclusion to God's covenant family (cf. Isa. 56:7)
60:5b
NASB, NRSV, Peshitta   "rejoice"
NKJV, TEV   "with joy"
NJB   "dilate"
REB   "with gladness"
JPSOA   "thrill"

The MT has two parallel Qal perfect verbs.

  1. BDB 808, KB 922, "in awe"
  2. BDB 931, KB 931, "to be wide" or "large"

The second one is a Hebrew idiom. It referred to the excitement of a calf released from a pen into a wide, green pasture. The joy can be expressed by a similar Hebrew root (BDB 923), but the UBS Text Project, p. 153, gives the MT a "C" rating (considerable doubt). However, the meaning of the line of poetry is the same.

60:6 "will bear good news of the praises of the Lord" The verb (Piel imperfect, BDB 142, KB 163) refers to the grace of God to Israel and to all nations (cf. Isa. 40:9-10; 41:27; 42:10-13; 52:7). Isn't it shocking to hear of the pagan nations praising the God of Israel? This is the obvious theological goal of monotheism (see Special Topic: Monotheism). There is one God and all humans are created in His image and likeness (cf. Gen. 1:26-27) for fellowship (implication of Gen. 3:8; Lev. 26:12). The promise of Gen. 3:15 to all humans and the hope of covenant blessings to the families of the earth in Gen. 12:3 have come to fruition.

60:7 "Nabaioth" This refers to Arabian tribes, as the parallel phrase, "the flocks of Kedar," does. This tribe is mentioned in Gen. 25:13. They are called the Nabateans by the Greeks and Romans.

60:8 "Who are these who fly like a cloud

And like the doves to their lattices"

This refers to sails of ships on the horizon coming to the restored and renewed Jerusalem (cf. Isa. 60:9).

60:9 "Surely the coastlands will wait for Me" The "coastlands" (or "islands") is used in this section of Isaiah as a metaphor for all Gentiles.

The verb "wait" (Piel imperfect, BDB 875, KB 1082) is often used of trusting in YHWH (cf. Isa. 8:17; 25:9; 26:8; 33:2). Notice how it is used of YHWH in Isa. 30:18!

▣ "the ships of Tarshish" Tarshish could refer to

  1. Southern Spain
  2. Sardinia
  3. a proverbial use of the ends of the earth

Special Topic: Tarshish

Notice the covenant names for Deity (also notice Isa. 60:14,16).

  1. YHWH (God as Savior and Redeemer)
  2. Elohim (God as creator and provider)
  3. Holy One of Israel (covenant God)

Special Topic: Names for Deity, C. and D.

Special Topic: The Holy One

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: ISAIAH 60:10-14
10"Foreigners will build up your walls,
And their kings will minister to you;
For in My wrath I struck you,
And in My favor I have had compassion on you.
11Your gates will be open continually;
They will not be closed day or night,
So that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations,
With their kings led in procession.
12For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you will perish,
And the nations will be utterly ruined.
13The glory of Lebanon will come to you,
The juniper, the box tree and the cypress together,
To beautify the place of My sanctuary;
And I shall make the place of My feet glorious.
14The sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you,
And all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet;
And they will call you the city of the Lord,
The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

60:10 "For in My wrath I struck you,

And in My favor I have had compassion on you"

Here, we see the two major actions of YHWH in the Bible: His grace (long term, cf. Ps. 103:10-14) and His wrath (short term, cf. Isa. 57:16; Ps. 103:9). His judgment is parental in nature and meant to cause His creation to return to Him (cf. Romans 1-3; Heb. 12:1-13).

Special Topic: The Fatherhood of God

60:11 "Your gates will be open continually" This phrase is used to show

  1. security is assured
  2. availability is certain (cf. Rev. 21:25)

60:12 "the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you will perish" This warning is similar to God's covenant with Abraham in Gen. 12:3 (cf. Gen. 27:29).

60:13 This verse speaks of the construction of a new Holy Place (i.e., temple) with the beautiful lumber from Lebanon.

▣ "the place of My sanctuary;

And I shall make the place of My feet glorious"

The Ark of the Covenant and the Holy of Holies symbolize God's presence on earth. The Jews conceived of the space between the wings of the Cherubim as the footstool of God (cf. Ps. 99:5; 132:7); His throne was in heaven.

Special Topic: The Ark of the Covenant

60:14 "Zion" The term "Zion" (BDB 851) is synonymous with the City of Jerusalem. The Temple was built on Mt. Moriah, but the city was seldom referred to by this term (cf. Isa. 62:1).

Special Topic: Zion

Special Topic: The Two "Cities" in Isaiah

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: ISAIAH 60:15-22
15"Whereas you have been forsaken and hated
With no one passing through,
I will make you an everlasting pride,
A joy from generation to generation.
16You will also suck the milk of nations
And suck the breast of kings;
Then you will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior
And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
17Instead of bronze I will bring gold,
And instead of iron I will bring silver,
And instead of wood, bronze,
And instead of stones, iron.
And I will make peace your administrators
And righteousness your overseers.
18Violence will not be heard again in your land,
Nor devastation or destruction within your borders;
But you will call your walls salvation, and your gates praise.
19No longer will you have the sun for light by day,
Nor for brightness will the moon give you light;
But you will have the Lord for an everlasting light,
And your God for your glory.
20Your sun will no longer set,
Nor will your moon wane;
For you will have the Lord for an everlasting light,
And the days of your mourning will be over.
21Then all your people will be righteous;
They will possess the land forever,
The branch of My planting,
The work of My hands,
That I may be glorified.
22The smallest one will become a clan,
And the least one a mighty nation.
I, the Lord, will hasten it in its time."

60:15-22 This passage is very similar to Rev. 21:1-27, which describes "New Jerusalem." There have been two major opinions on the relationship of the OT promises to the NT:

  1. They are meant to be taken literally and Jerusalem will be rebuilt with its central sacrificial temple, i.e., dispensational premillennialism.
  2. These passages are symbolic of the church and their significance is caught up in the NT as the new people of God, i.e., a millennialism.

The same ambiguity can be seen in Isa. 61:6, where Israel is referred to as "Priests of the Lord" (cf. Exod. 19:6 "a Knowledge of Priests"). But these same terms are used in 1 Pet. 2:5,9 and Rev. 1:6 to describe the church. Israel's purpose has always been to bring the world to God (cf. Isa. 62:2,11). However, they failed and God has chosen the church to fulfill this task.

Special Topic: Why Do OT Covenant Promises Seem So Different from NT Covenant Promises?

Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan

60:15 "you have been forsaken and hated" This phrase is a Hebrew idiom relating to marriage. We can see this in the terms to describe "Leah" in Gen. 29:21ff. This same idiom of marriage is continued in Isa. 62:4-5 and in the NT as the church in Eph. 5:22-33. "Hate" is a Hebrew idiom of comparison.

60:17 This is possibly an allusion to 1 Kgs. 14:26-27 relating to the stripping of precious metals from the Temple to pay a tribute to Egypt.

▣ "And I will make peace your administrators

And righteousness your overseers"

This may reflect the Messianic government mentioned in chapters 7-14.

60:18 This prophecy is surely not applicable to Israel's subsequent history! This seems to show the absence of social violence and problems in the Messianic Age.

▣ "salvation" See Special Topic: Salvation (OT term)

60:19-20 John uses this imagery in Rev. 21:23; 22:5. YHWH's presence is the true light (cf. Isa. 2:5; 9:2; 60:1-2)!

60:20 "your mourning will be over" A new day has/will dawn, cf. Isa. 35:10; 65:19; Rev. 21:4.

60:21 "all your people will be righteous" God's blessings will come only when the people repent (see Special Topic: Repentance (OT). He, Himself, will provide a new heart and a new mind (cf. Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:22-38).

This type of promise is the source of the theological debate over sovereignty and free will. Can fallen mankind do anything toward their own salvation or is everything (i.e., faith, repentance) a gift from God (cf. Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Tim. 2:25). Other texts point toward a preaching that draws humans to repent (i.e., free will response to a Divine offer, cf. Matt. 3:8; Luke 3:8; John 1:12; Acts 2:38; etc.). somehow both are biblical! This is the western problem with eastern paradox!

▣ "They will possess the land forever" This may be an allusion to Gen. 17:8. The word "forever" is the interpretive problem.

Special Topic: Forever ('olam)

▣ "The branch of My planting" This same metaphor is used in Isa. 61:3. It seems to reflect Psalm 1, but is also seen in Isa. 11:1. The OT uses many agricultural metaphors.

Special Topic: Jesus the Nazarene

60:22 "clan" This term can mean "thousands." See Special Topic: Thousand (eleph)

▣ "I, the Lord, will hasten it in its time" History is in God's hands (cf. Isa. 45:23; 61:11).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. Why is this chapter replete with metaphors that describe "brightness" or "light"?

2. Will there be a literal restoration of the Jews or does this refer to the Messianic Age?

3. Why would the Gentiles flow into Jerusalem?

4. What is the connection between Isa. 60:15-22 and the book of Revelation?

 

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