Isaiah 60:1-6, 11

Isaiah 60:1-6, 11
Epiphany – A Women’s Lectionary


Arise,A shine;B for your lightC has come,D
    and the gloryE of the LordF has risenG upon you.

Notes on verse 1

A “arise” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
B “shine” = or. This is to light, shine, set on fire – to be luminous in a literal or figurative sense.
C “light” = or. Related to “shine” in v1. From or (see note B above). This is light, sun, sunshine, dawn, or daylight. Figuratively, it can refer to light from instruction, light of a face (that is to say one that is cheerful or finds favor). It can refer to prosperity or salvation; a light that guides, a light eternal from Zion.
D “come” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
E “glory” = kabod. From kabad (to be heavy, weighty, burdensome). This is weighty. Figuratively, glorious, abundant, riches, honor, splendor – a reference to one’s reputation or character. This word is often used to describe God and God’s presence.
F “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
G “risen” = zarach. 18x in OT. This is to rise, shine, or dawn. It can also be used to describe symptoms of leprosy.

ForH darknessI shall coverJ the earth,K
    and thick darknessL the peoples;M
but the Lord will ariseN upon you,
    and his glory will appearO over you.

Notes on verse 2

H {untranslated} = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
I “darkness” = choshek. From chashak (to be or become dark). This is literal darkness is contrast to light. Figuratively, it can be obscurity, sorrow, misery, blindness, wickedness, destruction, death. It can also be hiding places. Additionally, it can mean judgment, mourning, ignorance, evil, or sin.
J “cover” = kasah. This is to cover, conceal, overwhelm. It is to cover as clothes do or to hide a secret.
K “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
L “thick darkness” = araphel. 15x in OT. From araph (to droop, drip, drop). This is a cloud or deep darkness. It is gloom or gloomy as the sky being lowered.
M “peoples” = leom. Root may refer to gathering. This is people, a community, or a nation.
N “arise” = zarach. Same as “risen” in v1. See note G above.
O “appear” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.

NationsP shall comeQ to your light,
    and kingsR to the brightnessS of your dawn.T

Notes on verse 3

P “nations” = goy. From the same root as gevah (the back, person, or body); related to gev (among); related to gaah (to rise up). This is nation or people. Often used to refer to Gentiles or foreign nations. It can also be used figuratively for a group of animals. This is where the Yiddish “goy” comes from.
Q “come” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
R “kings” = melek. From malak (to be or become king or queen, to rise to the throne, to be crowned; by implication, to take counsel). This is king or royal.
S “brightness” = nogah. 19x in OT. From nagah (to shine – root may mean to glitter). This is light, radiance, being bright, sunshine.
T “dawn” = zerach. Related to “risen” in v1. 1x in OT. From zarach (see note G above). This is rising or shining – as when the light rises at the dawn.

4 Lift upU your eyesV and lookW around;X
    they allY gather together,Z they come to you;

Notes on verse 4a

U “lift up” = nasa. This is to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively. So it could be to carry, take, or arise. It could also be bring forth, advance, accept.
V “eyes” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
W “look” = raah. Same as “appear” in v2. See note O above.
X “around” = sabib. From sabab (turning around, going around; to surround, cast, walk, fetch; to revolve or border in a literal or figurative sense). This is a circuit or a circle. It could refer to an environment, one’s neighbors, or a circular path round about.
Y “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
Z “gather together” = qabats. This is to collect, assemble, heap, grasp, or gather.

your sonsAA shall come from far away,BB
    and your daughtersCC shall be carried on their nurses’DD arms.EE

Notes on verse 4b

AA “sons” = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
BB “far away” = rachoq. From rachaq (to widen, become distant, cast, or remove in a literal or figurative sense). This is distant or far, whether of space or of time.
CC “daughters” = bat. Related to “sons” in v4. From ben (see note AA above). This is daughter in a literal or figurative sense.
DD “nurses’” = aman. This is to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful. It is to put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid. This is where the word “amen” comes from.
EE “arms” = tsad. Root may mean to sidle. This is a side or an arm. It can also be used to mean beside or, figuratively, an adversary.

Then you shall seeFF and be radiant;GG
    your heartHH shall thrillII and rejoice,JJ

Notes on verse 5a

FF “see” = raah. Same as “appear” in v2. See note O above.
GG “be radiant” = nahar. 6x in OT. This is to flow, sparkle, be cheerful, assemble.
HH “heart” = lebab. May be related to labab (to encourage; properly, to be encased as with fat; used in a good sense, this means to transport someone with love; used in a bad sense, it can mean to dull one’s senses). This is the heart, courage, one’s inner self, the mind, or the will. Heart is only used in a figurative sense in the Old and New Testaments.
II “thrill” = pachad. To dread, be afraid, thrill, be in awe. This is properly feeling startled from a sudden sound or alarm and so, more generally, to be afraid.
JJ “rejoice” = rachab. This is to grow wide or enlarge in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean extend, relieve, rejoice, or speak boldly. This is the verb that Rahab comes from. 

because the abundanceKK of the seaLL shall be broughtMM to you,
    the wealthNN of the nations shall come to you.

Notes on verse 5b

KK “abundance” = hamon. From hamah (to growl, cry out, be moved, murmur, hum, mourn, rage, clamor). This is a sound, noise, roar, rumbling, wealth, crowd, disquietude.
LL “sea” = yam. Root may mean to roar. This is the sea, often referring to the Mediterranean. It comes from the root in the sense of the roar of crashing surf. This word is sometimes used for rivers or other sources of water. It can mean to the west or to the south.
MM “brought” = haphak. This is to turn, overturn, change, return, turn over, pervert.
NN “wealth” = chayil. From chul (to be firm, strong, prosperous; to endure). This is strength, wealth, ability, activity. It can refer to soldier or a company of soldiers as well as goods. It is a force of people, means, or goods. It can speak of valor, virtue, or strength.

6 A multitudeOO of camelsPP shall cover you,
    the young camelsQQ of MidianRR and Ephah;SS
    all those from ShebaTT shall come.

Notes on verse 6a

OO “multitude” = shiphah. 6x in OT. From shepha (abundance). This is multitude or abundance.
PP “camels” = gamal. From gamal (how one deals with someone whether positively or negatively – so to reward, requite; to wean or the work that goes into something ripening). This is a camel as an animal of labor or one that bears burdens. The English word “camel” is from a Semitic source, perhaps Hebrew or others.
QQ “young camels” = beker. 1x in OT. Related to bikrah (dromedary, female camel); from bakar (to bear fruit, be firstborn, firstling, that which opens the womb, give the birthright to). This is a male camel, a dromedary.
RR “Midian” = Midyan. From the same as madon (strife, contention, brawling); from din (to judge, defend, dispute, govern, strive). This is Midian or a Midianite. It means strife or place of judgment.
SS “Ephah” = Ephah. 5x in OT. From uph (uph); {from teuphah (gloom or darkness)} OR from the same as ephah (darkness, something that is covered over); {from uph (to fly, flee, shine, be weary, be faint)}. This is Ephah, a personal name and region. It means “gloom,” “dark one,” “darkness,” or “covering.” See
TT “Sheba” = Sheba. From Ethiopic (man) OR from Hebrew saba (to imbibe) OR from shaba (to capture (like a captive) OR from sheba (seven – the number of perfection/sacred fullness); {from shaba (to swear, curse, vow, make a covenant; properly, to be complete; this is to seven oneself – as in affirming something so strongly it is as though it were said seven times)}. This is Sheba or Sabean. It is somewhere in Africa or southwest Arabia as well as a personal name. It may mean “man,” “drunk,” “captive,” “splinter,” “seven,” or “oath.” See

They shall bringUU goldVV and frankincense,WW
    and shall proclaimXX the praiseYY of the Lord.

Notes on verse 6b

UU “bring” = nasa. Same as “lift up” in v4. See note U above.
VV “gold” = zahab. Root may mean to shimmer. This is gold or something that has the color of gold like oil. It can also refer to a clear sky – to good weather.
WW “frankincense” = lebonah. From laban (white); from laben (to be or make white, to make bricks). This is frankincense – it may be because it is white itself or because its smoke is.
XX “proclaim” = basar. This is being a messenger, to publish, carry, or preach. Properly, this is being fresh, rosy or cheerful as one bearing news.
YY “praise” = tehillah. From halal (to praise, be boastful). This is praise or a song of praise. It is to offer God a hymn, to boast in God. This shares a root with “hallelujah.”

11 Your gatesZZ shall alwaysAAA be open;BBB

Notes on verse 11a

ZZ “gates” = shaar. May be related to sha’ar (to calculate or reckon; may come from a root that means to open up or split). This is a gate, door, or other opening like a port.
AAA “always” = tamid. May come from a word that means to stretch. This word means an indefinite period of time. So, it could be regular or daily. It could also be constantly, continually, always, or perpetually.
BBB “be open” = patach. This is to open wide in a literal or figurative sense. So, it is open, draw out, let something go free, break forth. It can also mean to plow, engrave, or carve.

    dayCCC and nightDDD they shall not be shut,EEE
so that nations shall bringFFF you their wealth,
    with their kings led in procession.GGG

Notes on verse 11b

CCC “day” = yomam. From yom (day, age, daily, each, today). Root may mean to be hot. So, this is day as the hours that are hot. This can be daytime in a literal or figurative sense.
DDD “night” = layil. Properly, this refers to light twisting away. It is used for night or midnight. Figuratively, this can mean adversity.
EEE “be shut” = sagar. This is to shut up, imprison, lock, hand over, or figuratively surrender.
FFF “bring” = bo. Same as “come” in v1. See note D above.
GGG “led in procession” = nahag. This is to drive as in driving flocks, but also driving in animal or vehicle like a chariot. It can mean to carry away, lead, drive away, proceed, or guide. It can also relate to behavior and what one is accustomed to.

Image credit: “Journey of the Magi” by James Tissot, circa 1894.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply