Isaiah 60


The glorious prospect displayed in this chapter seems to have

elevated the prophet even above his usual majesty. The subject

is the very flourishing condition of the Church of Jesus Christ

at that period of the Gospel dispensation when both Jews and

Gentiles shall become one fold under one Shepherd. The imagery

employed is of the most consolatory and magnificent

description. This blessed state of the world shall follow a

time of gross darkness, 1, 2.

The universal diffusion of vital godliness beautifully set

forth by a great variety of images, 3-14.

The everlasting duration and spotless purity of this kingdom of

Christ, 15-21.

A time appointed in the counsels of Jehovah for the

commencement of this happy period; and when this time arrives,

the particulars of the prophecy shall have a speedy

accomplishment, 22.

The subject of this chapter is the great increase and

flourishing state of the Church of God by the conversion and

accession of the heathen nations to it, which is set forth in such

ample and exalted terms, as plainly show that the full completion

of this prophecy is reserved for future times. This subject is

displayed in the most splendid colours under a great variety of

images highly poetical, designed to give a general idea of the

glories of that perfect state of the Church of God which we are

taught to expect in the latter times; when the fulness of the

Gentiles shall come in, and the Jews shall be converted and

gathered from their dispersions, and the kingdoms of this world

shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.

Of the use in prophecy of general or common poetical images, in

setting forth the greatness and importance of a future event

universally, without descending to particulars, or too minutely

explaining circumstances, I have already pretty largely treated in

the twentieth prelection on the Hebrew poetry; and have more than

once observed in these notes that such images are not always to he

applied particularly to persons and things, and were never

intended to be minutely explained. I shall add here the opinion of

a very learned and judicious person upon this subject: "It is, I

think, a mark of right understanding in the language of prophecy,

and in the design of prophecy too, to keep to what appears the

design and meaning of the prophecy in general, and what the whole

of it laid together points out to us, and not to suffer a warm

imagination to mislead us from the real intention of the spirit of

prophecy, by following uncertain applications of the parts of it."

Lowman on the Revelation, note on Re 19:21.-L. To this testimony

I must add my own. This is one of the most glorious chapters in

the whole of the Old Testament. The splendour, glory, and

excellence of the Church of Christ are here pointed out in

language which the Spirit of God alone is capable of using. But

when shall this state of blessedness take place? Lord, thou only



Verse 1. Arise] Call upon God through Christ, for his salvation;


Shine] ori, be illuminated: for till thou arise and call

upon God, thou wilt never receive true light.

For thy light is come] ki ba orech, for thy light

cometh. The Messiah is at the door; who, while he is a light to

lighten the Gentiles, will be the glory-the effulgence, of his

people Israel.

Verse 2. Darkness shall cover the earth] This is the state of

the Gentile people.

Verse 3. And the Gentiles shall come] This has been in some sort

already fulfilled. The Gentiles have received the light of the

Gospel from the land of Judea, and the Gentile kings have embraced

that Gospel; so that many nations of the earth are full of the

doctrine of Christ.

Verse 4. Shall be nursed at thy side-"Shall be carried at the

side."] For teamanah, shall be nursed, the Septuagint and

Chaldee read tinnasenah, shall be carried. A MS. has

al catheph tinnasenah, "shall be carried on the

shoulder;" instead of al tsad teamanah, "shall be

nursed on the side." Another MS. has both catheph and

tsad. Another MS. has it thus: tinnasenah :

teamanah, with a line drawn over the first word. Sir John Chardin

says that it is the general custom in the east to carry their

children astride upon the hip with the arm round their body. His

MS. note on this place is as follows:-Coutume en Orient de porter

les enfans sur le coste a; califourchon sur la hanche: cette facon

est generale aux Indes; les enfans se tiennent comme cela, et la

personne qui les porte les embrasse et serre par le corps;

parceque sont (ni) emmaillottes, ni en robes qui les embrassent.

"In the east it is the custom to carry the children on the haunch,

with the legs astride. This is the general custom in India. The

children support themselves in this way, and the arm of the nurse

goes round the body and presses the child close to the side; and

this they can easily do, as the children are not swathed, nor

encumbered with clothes." Non brachiis occidentalium more, sed

humeris, divaricatis tibiis, impositos circumferunt. "They carry

them about, not in their arms after the manner of the western

nations, but on their shoulders; the children being placed

astride." Cotovic. Iter. Syr. cap. xiv. This last quotation seems

to favour the reading al catheph, on the shoulder, as the

Septuagint likewise do: but upon the whole I think that

al tsad tinnasenah is the true reading, which the

Chaldee favours; and I have accordingly followed it. See

Isa 66:12.-L. This mode of carrying children is as common in

India as carrying them in the arms is in Europe.

Verse 5. Then thou shalt see-"Then shalt thou fear"] For

tirai, thou shalt see, as ours and much the greater number of

the translators, ancient and modern, render it, forty MSS. (ten

ancient) of Kennicott's, and twenty-eight of De Rossi's, with one

ancient of my own, and the old edition of 1488, have tirai,

thou shalt fear: the true reading, confirmed by the perfect

parallelism of the sentences: the heart ruffled and dilated in the

second line answering to the fear and joy expressed in the first.

The Prophet Jeremiah, Jer 33:9, has the same natural and elegant


"And this city shall become to me a name of joy;

A praise and an honour for all the nations of the earth;

Which shall hear all the good that I do unto them:

And they shall fear, and they shall tremble, at all the


And at all the prosperity that I procure unto her."

And David:-

"I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

Ps 139:14.

His tibi me rebus quaedam divina voluptas

Percipit atque horror.

LUCRET. iii. 28.

Recenti mens trepidat metu,

Plenoque Bacchi pectore turbidum


HOR. Carm. ii. 19. l. 5.-L.

Verse 6. The praises of the Lord-"And the praise of JEHOVAH."]

Thirty-three MSS. and three editions have uthehillath, in

the singular number; and so read the ancient versions, and one of

my own MSS.

Verse 7. The rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee] Vitringa

on the place understands their ministering, and ascending or going

up on the altar, as offering themselves voluntarily: ipsi se, non

expectato sacerdote alto, gloriae et sanctificationi divini

nominis ultro ac libenter oblaturi. "They, waiting for no priest,

go and freely offer themselves to the glory and sanctification of

the sacred name." This gives a very elegant and poetical turn to

the image. It was a general notion that prevailed with sacrificers

among the heathen, that the victim's being brought without

reluctance to the altar was a good omen; and the contrary a bad

one. Sabinos petit aliquanto tristior; quod sacrificanti hostia

aufugerat. Sueton. Titus, cap. x. Accessit dirum omen, profugus

altaribus tauris. "It was an omen of dreadful portent when the

victim fled away from the altar." Tacit. Hist. iii. 56.-L.

Verse 8. And as the doves to their windows-"And like doves upon

the wing?"] Instead of el, to, forty-two MSS. of Kennicott's,

and one of mine, have al, upon. For arubboteyhem,

their windows, read ebrotheyhem, their wings, transposing

a letter.-Houbigant. The Septuagint render it συννεοσσοις,

"with their young;" they read ephrocheyhem, nearer to the

latter than to the present reading.-L.

Verse 9. The ships of Tarshish first-"The ships of Tarshish

among the first"] For barishonah twenty-five MSS. and the

Syriac read kebarishonah, "as at the first." The ships

of Tarshish AS at the first; that is, as they brought gold and

silver in the days of Solomon.

Verse 13. And I will make the place of my feet glorious-"And

that I may glorify the place whereon I rest my feet"] The temple

of Jerusalem was called the house of God, and the place of his

rest or residence. The visible symbolical appearance of God,

called by the Jews the schechinah, was in the most holy place,

between the wings of the cherubim, above the ark. This is

considered as the throne of God, presiding as King over the Jewish

state; and as a footstool is a necessary appendage to a throne,

(See Clarke on Isa 52:2,) the ark is considered as the

footstool of God, and is so called, Ps 99:6; 1Ch 28:2.

The glory of Lebanon] That is, the cedar.

Verse 19. Neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto

thee-"Nor by night shall the brightness of the moon enlighten

thee"] This line, as it stands in the present text, seems to be

defective. The Septuagint and Chaldee both express the night,

which is almost necessary to answer to day in the preceding line,

as well as to perfect the sense here. I therefore think that we

ought, upon the authority of the Septuagint and Chaldee, to read

either velailah, and by night, instead of ulenogah,

and for brightness; or ulenogah ballailah, adding the

word ballailah, by night.-L.

Verse 21. Of my planting] mattai; so, with the Keri,

read forty-four MSS. (seven ancient) and six editions; with which

agree the Syriac, Chaldee, and Vulgate.

Verse 22. I the Lord will hasten it in his time] There is a time

set for the fulfilment of this prophecy: that time must come

before it begins to take place; but when it does begin, the whole

will be performed in a short space. It is not, therefore, the time

determined for the event that shall be hastened, but all the

circumstances of the event; all the parts of the prediction shall

be speedily completed. I the Lorde in hys tyme sodeynly schal doun

thys.-Old MS. Bible. And because it is the LORD, therefore it will

be done: for although it be difficult, he is almighty.

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