Isaiah 60 The Voice (VOICE)
Once again the scene shifts. The exile is receding in the past and the remnant of Israel—those who survived God’s judgment and Babylon’s cruelty—are working hard to rebuild their lives and communities. But life back in Jerusalem under Persian rule is not faring as well as they hoped. So once again a prophetic voice breaks the silence to address a discouraged population. Most people are facing terrific difficulties. Despite what their prophets have spoken, Jerusalem is a mere shadow of the great city their parents and grandparents knew. People doubt whether God is really alive, or really all that powerful, or really even cares. But the faithful know that God is powerful and does care; they are determined to convince their countrymen that He has their well-being in mind. He can make this people and this place great again, if they just trust and follow Him. Soon the whole world will be caught up in this brand new thing God is doing.
This section of Isaiah is written to a singular female as if she is the mother of the Jews. But this woman isn’t just any woman—she is Jerusalem. Cities are often described as female because they are like mothers supporting a brood of children (the population). This capital city of God’s special favor, of God’s presence, is filled with His people of the promise and is poised to become something new and glorious.
60 Arise, shine, for your light has broken through!
The Eternal One’s brilliance has dawned upon you.
2 See truly; look carefully—darkness blankets the earth;
people all over are cloaked in darkness.
But God will rise and shine on you;
the Eternal’s bright glory will shine on you, a light for all to see.
3 Nations north and south, peoples east and west, will be drawn to your light,
will find purpose and direction by your light.
In the radiance of your rising, you will enlighten the leaders of nations.
4 Don’t be shy; don’t be doubtful; lift up your eyes and look around.
They have gathered all around you, eager to come and be close to you.
And your children will come back to this land:
your sons from the farthest places of wandering,
and your daughters gently carried home.
5 And when you see it, your face will glow;
your heart will race and be filled with joy;
For great ships will arrive with gifts from across the sea,
and the wealth of nations will make their way to you.
6 Herd after herd of camels will cover the land,
caravans arriving daily from south and southwest: Midian, Ephah,
Even Sheba with gifts of gold and frankincense.
They will announce for all the world to hear, “The Eternal be praised!”
7 Kedar’s flocks will be gathered for you;
Nebaioth’s rams will be available for sacrifices.
Eternal One: When they are offered on My altar, I will accept them.
I will make My glorious house even more glorious.
8 Who are these sailing to our ports like clouds through the sky,
like doves winging their way home to their window sills?
9 Breezy coastlands will wait expectantly for Me; the ships of Tarshish arrive first
to bring your children back from distant lands
Carrying in their holds the silver and gold—
to honor the name of the Eternal your God,
The Holy One of Israel who has made you beautiful.
10 People will come from different countries and different cultures
to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls and make her strong again.
Their kings will help you however you need.
Eternal One: I punished you because I was furious with you,
reduced you to little on account of your persistent wrongdoing;
But I will restore you, reclaim you, and rebuild you because I cannot help but love you.
11 Now your gates will stay open to a constant stream of gifts;
all day and night they will not be shut
As the wealth of nations is brought to you
with their kings leading the processions.
12 Any nations that abstain, any peoples who decline from serving you
will simply disappear;
they will be destroyed.
13 Eternal One: Meanwhile, the most beautiful materials will arrive from Lebanon—
cypress, box, and pine—to rebuild and decorate the place where I promised to be,
My house where I will rest in glory among you.
14 And all the children of those who had bullied you, attacked and abused you,
all those who hated you will come crawling on their knees and bowing at your feet.
And they will address you as “city of God, place of the Eternal,
the Holy One of Israel’s Zion, sweet heaven on earth.”
15 Eternal One: Although you have suffered abandonment, hatred, and hopeless despair,
and no one dared to pass through,
I will make you a place of lofty beauty for all time,
filled and overflowing with joy from generation to generation.
16 You will be enriched by the world and its kings,
and you will know for certain that I am the Eternal,
Your Liberator, your Redeemer, the Strong One of Jacob.
17 I will bring you gold instead of bronze, silver instead of iron,
bronze instead of wood, iron instead of stone.
Your government will be founded and grounded;
I will make peace your governor, and righteousness your ruler.
18 You’ll never hear again, “Help! Call the guards!”
Violence, destruction, and ruin will be things of the past in Jerusalem.
You will name the city walls Salvation, and the city gates Praise.
19 You won’t need the sun to brighten the day
or the moon and lamps to give you light.
This Hebrew title “Messiah” is based on a verb rightly translated “to anoint.” Kings and priests are “messiah-ed” during this period. But prophets like Isaiah and those who stand in the tradition of the great Hebrew prophets are also anointed. Living and working in Jerusalem in these days is much different than in earlier times. Wracked by the ages and ruined by overt destruction and covert neglect, the citizens of the holy city face disillusionment and disappointment. The people who come back after exile in Babylon do not return to a gloriously restored city and temple, but to a difficult land and contentious neighbors. The prophet is inspired by the spirit of God to restore hope, to help, and to comfort. As a spiritual guide he is compelled to convince people that God remains with them and that He still desires what is good, right, and true for and within them. Centuries later, in a synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus will pick up the scroll of Isaiah and read these inspiring words. He will say in no uncertain terms that the Scriptures are being fulfilled right then and there in their hearing (Luke 4:16-21). The year of jubilee will have arrived.
The Eternal One will be all the light you ever need.
Your God will provide your glory, brilliance for all time.
20 Your sun will never set;
your moon will never be eclipsed in shadow,
For you’ll bask in the Eternal’s light and silver splendor forever.
Never again will you suffer the dark night of despair and gloom of mourning.
21 All the people will be right with God,
and they’ll stay in the land they possess forever.
Eternal One: I will plant them there like a sturdy sapling with My own hands.
I will tend them and take pride in their growing.
22 Just watch, they will develop robustly;
from so small a beginning, they will multiply and become a mighty nation.
I, the Eternal One, will make it happen soon.
The Voice (VOICE)
The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society
All rights reserved.
Isaiah 60 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Ingathering of the Dispersed
60 Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
2 For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.
3 Nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
4 Lift up your eyes and look around;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far away,
and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms.
5 Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
6 A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.
7 All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you,
the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you;
they shall be acceptable on my altar,
and I will glorify my glorious house.
8 Who are these that fly like a cloud,
and like doves to their windows?
9 For the coastlands shall wait for me,
the ships of Tarshish first,
to bring your children from far away,
their silver and gold with them,
for the name of the Lord your God,
and for the Holy One of Israel,
because he has glorified you.
10 Foreigners shall build up your walls,
and their kings shall minister to you;
for in my wrath I struck you down,
but in my favor I have had mercy on you.
11 Your gates shall always be open;
day and night they shall not be shut,
so that nations shall bring you their wealth,
with their kings led in procession.
12 For the nation and kingdom
that will not serve you shall perish;
those nations shall be utterly laid waste.
13 The glory of Lebanon shall come to you,
the cypress, the plane, and the pine,
to beautify the place of my sanctuary;
and I will glorify where my feet rest.
14 The descendants of those who oppressed you
shall come bending low to you,
and all who despised you
shall bow down at your feet;
they shall call you the City of the Lord,
the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
15 Whereas you have been forsaken and hated,
with no one passing through,
I will make you majestic forever,
a joy from age to age.
16 You shall suck the milk of nations,
you shall suck the breasts of kings;
and you shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior
and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
17 Instead of bronze I will bring gold,
instead of iron I will bring silver;
instead of wood, bronze,
instead of stones, iron.
I will appoint Peace as your overseer
and Righteousness as your taskmaster.
18 Violence shall no more be heard in your land,
devastation or destruction within your borders;
you shall call your walls Salvation,
and your gates Praise.
God the Glory of Zion
19 The sun shall no longer be
your light by day,
nor for brightness shall the moon
give light to you by night;
but the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.
20 Your sun shall no more go down,
or your moon withdraw itself;
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your days of mourning shall be ended.
21 Your people shall all be righteous;
they shall possess the land forever.
They are the shoot that I planted, the work of my hands,
so that I might be glorified.
22 The least of them shall become a clan,
and the smallest one a mighty nation;
I am the Lord;
in its time I will accomplish it quickly.
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Isaiah 60 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
A New Day for Jerusalem
60 Jerusalem, stand up! Shine!
Your new day is dawning.
The glory of the Lord
shines brightly on you.
2 The earth and its people
are covered with darkness,
but the glory of the Lord
is shining upon you.
3 Nations and kings
will come to the light
of your dawning day.
Crowds Are Coming to Jerusalem
The Lord said:
4 Open your eyes! Look around!
Crowds are coming.
Your sons are on their way
from distant lands;
your daughters are being carried
like little children.
5 When you see this,
your faces will glow;
your hearts will pound
and swell with pride.
Treasures from across the sea
and the wealth of nations
will be brought to you.
6 Your country will be covered
of young camels
from Midian and Ephah.
The people of Sheba
will bring gold and spices
in praise of me, the Lord.
7 Every sheep of Kedar
will come to you;
rams from Nebaioth
will be yours as well.
I will accept them as offerings
and bring honor to my temple.
8 What is that sailing by
or like doves flying home?
9 On those distant islands
your people are waiting
for me, the Lord.
Seagoing ships lead the way
to bring them home
with their silver and gold.
I, the holy Lord God of Israel,
to honor your people,
so they will honor me.
Jerusalem Will Be Rebuilt
The Lord said:
10 Jerusalem, your city walls
will be rebuilt by foreigners;
their rulers will become
I punished you in my anger;
now I will be kind
and treat you with mercy.
11 Your gates will be open
day and night
to let the rulers of nations
lead their people to you
with all their treasures.
12 Any nation or kingdom
that refuses to serve you
will be wiped out.
13 Wood from Lebanon’s best trees
will be brought to you—
the pines, the firs,
and the cypress trees.
It will be used in my temple
to make beautiful
where I rest my feet.
14 The descendants of enemies
who hated and mistreated you
will kneel at your feet.
They will say, “You are Zion,
the city of the Lord,
the holy God of Israel.”
15 You were hated and deserted,
rejected by everyone.
But I will make you beautiful,
a city to be proud of
for all time to come.
16 You will drain the wealth
of kings and foreign nations.
You will know that I,
the mighty Lord God of Israel,
have saved and rescued you.
17 I will bring bronze and iron
in place of wood and stone;
in place of bronze and iron,
I will bring gold and silver.
I will appoint peace and justice
as your rulers and leaders.
18 Violence, destruction, and ruin
will never again
be heard of
within your borders.
“Victory” will be the name
you give to your walls;
“Praise” will be the name
you give to your gates.
19 You won’t need the light
of the sun or the moon.
I, the Lord your God,
will be your eternal light
and bring you honor.
20 Your sun will never set
or your moon go down.
I, the Lord, will be
your everlasting light,
and your days of sorrow
will come to an end.
21 Your people will live right
and always own the land;
they are the trees I planted
to bring praise to me.
22 Even the smallest family
will be a powerful nation.
I am the Lord,
and when the time comes,
I will quickly do all this.