Isaiah 60 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Isaiah 60)

Verse 1

[1] Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

Arise — A word of encouragement accommodated to the Jewish, or Hebrew style, wherein, as by lying down, is described a servile and calamitous condition, chap. 47:1, so by rising, and standing up, a recovery out of it, into a free, and prosperous one, as may be seen frequently; Rouze up, intimating her deliverance to be at hand. Here under a type, of Jerusalem's restoration, is displayed the flourishing state of the Gentile - church, under the Messiah.

Thy light — Thy flourishing and prosperous state.

Verse 2

[2] 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.

The darkness — All kinds of errors.

The Lord — Christ.

Shall be seen — Shall be conspicuous; as the Lord's arising, to the darkness covering the earth, so the glory being seen, answers to that gross darkness.

Verse 3

[3] And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

The Gentiles — A plain prophecy of the calling of the Gentiles.

Verse 5

[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.

See — With delight the multitudes of thy children running to thee.

Flow — They shall flock together to behold such an amazing sight.

Fear — Or stand amazed.

Enlarged — Both with joy, and love.

The abundance — The islands of the sea, the nations, shall turn to thee in religion, and affection.

The forces — Or wealth.

Verse 6

[6] 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.

The multitude — The treasure, that is brought upon camels. By these, and such like figurative expressions in several verses of this chapter is implied the coming in of all nations to Christ, and therefore they are brought in as presenting the chief commodities of their respective countries.

Dromedaries — A smaller sort of camel.

Ephah — The Midianites, and Ephahites dwelt beyond Arabia.

Sheba — A country in Arabia Felix, whose queen it was, that came to visit Solomon, and her bringing gifts might be a type of this, Solomon being a type of Christ.

Gold — The principal commodities with which this country abounded, by which we are to understand whatever is precious.

Verse 7

[7] 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.

Kedar — Arabia Petrea.

Acceptance — They shall not now, as heretofore, be rejected.

The house — The temple, or my house: God shall become glorious by the multitude of sacrifices, that shall be offered, and accepted here. This is a type of how glorious his New Testament worship shall be.

Verse 8

[8] Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?

A cloud — These metaphors import the number as well as speed, of those that should be begotten by the apostles doctrine.

Verse 9

[9] 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.

Ships — To convey them to me.

Tarshish — Those that traffick by sea. In naming this he implies all that had commerce with other nations.

From far — From the remotest parts.

Glorified — He will make thee honourable in the eyes of the world, especially in setting up the ministry of the gospel in the midst of thee.

Verse 10

[10] 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.

Minister — Shall administer all necessaries to thee.

I had mercy — As I afflicted thee in my anger, so out of my compassion I will abundantly bless thee.

Verse 11

[11] 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.

Therefore — For that purpose; by reason of the conflux of people, that shall be continually flocking thither.

Verse 12

[12] For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.

Serve — That will not submit to Christ's scepter.

Verse 13

[13] 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.

The glory — The box, the fir, the pine, and the cedar, on account whereof Lebanon was so famous; kings and great ones, the glory of the world, and also persons of a lower rank, shall be the materials, and members of Christ's church.

To beautify — This is the reason and end why the glory of Lebanon is to be brought hither; by these trees understand the beauty, and nobility of the church.

Sanctuary — The temple wherein was the sanctuary.

The place of my feet — The ark, so called, because, supposing God after the manner of men, to sit between the wings of the cherubim, his feet would rest upon the ark. All this is made good in the gospel-church.

Verse 14

[14] 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.

The sons — Either their posterity, or themselves, for it is the manner of the Hebrews so to speak.

Bending — Humbling themselves, as penitents.

Call thee — They shall acknowledge her to be so.

Verse 15

[15] 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.

Forsaken — Both of God and of her inhabitants.

No man went — Thy streets were left desolate.

Verse 16

[16] 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.

Shalt suck — That the church shall draw, or receive the wealth of nations, and the riches, and power of kings, and whatever is most excellent, and that it shall come freely, and affectionately, as milk flows from the breast of the mother.

Verse 17

[17] 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.

For brass — An allusion to the days of Solomon, when gold was as brass.

Peace — Loving, meek, and peaceable.

Righteousness — Most righteous. Such even thy tax-gatherers shall be.

Verse 18

[18] 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.

Salvation — They shall be safe, and able to defend thee; thou shalt be as safe, as salvation itself can make thee.

Thy gates — Within and upon thy gates and walls, thou shalt sing praises. All this will be fulfilled during the thousand years wherein Christ shall reign upon earth.

Verse 19

[19] 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.

The sun — These shall not be esteemed in comparison of the spiritual light of the church; but here laid down for the churches comfort as the former was for her safety, so that God will not only be a shield, but a sun.

The Lord — Christ shall scatter all darkness and ignorance, and this light shall not wax, and wane, and suffer eclipses, and settings, as the sun and moon do, but shall be constant, without shadow of change.

The glory — Always ministering matter of glorying in him.

Verse 21

[21] 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.

The branch — Thy people being of my planting, the work of my hands.

Verse 22

[22] A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time.

In time — In due time, the time that I have appointed.