Study

a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

60. Glory of Zion

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. 2For, 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. 3And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. 4Lift 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. 5Then 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. 6The 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. 7All 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. 8Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? 9Surely 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. 10And 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. 11Therefore 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. 12For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. 13The 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. 14The 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. 15Whereas 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. 16Thou 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. 17For 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. 18Violence 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. 19The 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. 20Thy 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. 21Thy 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. 22A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time.

1. Arise, be bright. He now shows what is the efficacy of that word of which he formerly 150150     “Au chapitre precedent.” “In the preceding chapter.” spoke; for he raises up a prostrate and afflicted Church, and restores her to her brightness; and, because he represents the person of God, he now declares his authority. For this reason he employs the form of command, that the word spoken might be more efficacious; as if, in the exercise of absolute power, he put the Church in possession of that happier condition which he had promised. The amount of what is said is, that believers may know that he does not scatter his words in the air, but speaks with effect.

He bids her “arise,” because he formerly told her to “lie down;” and these two words stand in contrast with each other. Of Babylon he formerly said, “Come down, sit in the dust.” (Isaiah 47:1) Of the Jews themselves he said, “My people shall sit in the dust.” On the other hand, he says, “Arise, arise, put on the garments of thy beauty.” (Isaiah 52:1) Thus, by what may be called the stretching out of his hand, he lifts up the Church again, that she who had formerly been prostrated, and covered all over with filth and pollution, may regain her seat of honor.

For thy brightness is come. That the darkness of afflictions may not overwhelm the Jews with despair, he says that the light which had been hidden would soon afterwards arise, alluding to the alternation of day and night. As if he had said, “The Lord, having compassion upon thee, will rescue thee out of this darkness in which thou liest; thou hast been sufficiently punished; it is time that thy condition should begin to be improved.” By the word brightness, therefore, he metaphorically denotes salvation and prosperity, as by “darkness” he formerly denoted a calamitous state of the Church.

The glory of Jehovah. He mentions at the same that this light will arise from no other quarter than from God’s smiling countenance, when he shall be pleased to display his grace; for everything goes well when the Lord shines upon us by his light; and, when he turns away from us, nothing that can befall us is more wretched and unhappy.

2. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth. He now exhibits in a stronger light, by means of comparison, that grace which he formerly mentioned; that we may form some idea how much God loves his elect, and how extraordinary is the privilege which he bestows upon them. The amount of what he says is, that, while we are weighed down by innumerable afflictions, and while the whole world, as it were, sinks under them, God will take care of his people., in order to enrich them with various benefits. He shows, therefore, that the light of grace and favor, which he mentioned, will not be indiscriminately enjoyed by all, but will be peculiar to the people of God.

We have said that the word “brightness” denotes a prosperous condition of the Church; but let us not judge of this condition from outward appearance; for the Prophet rises higher, and I have no doubt that his discourse relates to spiritual light and brightness. Otherwise that mode of expression which he afterwards employs, “The Gentiles shall walk to thy brightness,” (verse 3) would not be appropriate. Besides, this is clearly demonstrated by the connection between this chapter and the preceding; for he says that this covenant is continued in the word and Spirit. Finally, from the contrast it may easily be inferred that the happiness promised to the Church is different from that which consists in meat and drink, or tranquillity and peace, and other conveniences; and indeed never afterwards was there any period in which the darkness of afflictions overwhelmed all the Gentiles, while the Jews enjoyed peace and prosperity. Since, therefore, the condition of the Church is separated from the whole world, that benefit which Isaiah puts into the possession of the Church is spiritual, and the brightness which he promises is spiritual; and consequently, these things relate to the spiritual kingdom of Christ, when the light of the Gospel shone in every part of the world, and foreign nations were enlightened by it. To this also relates what follows, —

The Lord will arise upon thee; for although he shows that the favor of God will be visible by manifest tokens and effects, yet he does not leave out that which is of the greatest importance, that believers will truly feel that he is their Father, so as to expect salvation from him. Hence infer that we are overwhelmed by darkness till God shine upon us with the testimony of adoption by free grace. I speak of all mankind; for Isaiah informs us that this life-giving light proceeds from God alone, in order to declare that it is a special gift of God.

Secondly, it ought to be observed that the Church alone, that is, the elect of God, are partakers of this brightness. Hence it follows, that it is not a common or natural gift, but a gift by which the Lord relieves us from an ordinary defect of human nature. Thus also we perceive that there is no light or brightness but in the Church; for the rest of men, though they think that they enjoy light and brightness, are overwhelmed by darkness, from which they cannot be extricated in any other way than by the light of the Gospel.

And his glory shall be seen upon thee. He adds the word “glory,” because, after having embraced us by his favor, the Lord continues more and more to increase his acts of kindness toward us.


VIEWNAME is study