Exegetical and Hermeneutical Commentary of Isaiah 60:5 – Bible Commentary

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.

5. and flow together]See ch. Isaiah 2:2. But the right translation is that of RV and be lightened (cf. Psalm 34:5). The two verbs are identical in form but belong to distinct roots.

thine heart shall fear ]Lit., shall throbobviously from joy, as in Jer 33:9. These are perhaps the only two instances where the word is so used. Usually it means to tremble from fear.

and be enlarged ] Psalm 119:32.

the abundance of the sea ]“Abundance” is lit. “tumult”; it often means “crowd” (see ch. Isaiah 5:13 F., Isaiah 13:4, Isaiah 33:3), but in late usage it acquires the sense of “wealth” (Ecc 5:9; Psalm 37:16). The wealth of the sea is not the produce of the sea, but seaborne wealth, the wealth of maritime nations.

shall be converted unto thee ] shall be turned to thee (VR). The stream of commerce shall be diverted from its old channels and flow to Zion.

the forces of the Gentiles ] the riches of nations. see Hag 2:7 (RV “the desirable things of all nations”).

Source: The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Then shalt thou see – Lowth renders this, Then shalt thou fear and overflow with joy; and supposes that it refers to the agitation and anxiety of mind attending the scene, and to the joy consequent on the numerous conversions. His authority from him for this change is, that forty manuscripts (two of them ancient) have thou shalt fear, instead of tre’y, thou shalt see. But though the change is of a single letter, there is not sufficient authority to make it, nor does the sense require it. The Vulgate, Septuagint, Chaldee, Syiac, Arabic, and Castellio, all render it in accordance with the present reading of the Hebrew text. The idea is, that Jerusalem would look with deep interest on the great multitude that would be converted to her, and that the effect would be to cause the heart to overflow with joy.

And flow together – This translation, it is believed, by no means conveys the true sense of the passage. Indeed, it is difficult to make sense of the translation. It is true that the Hebrew word nahar, means to flow, to flow together; whence the word nahar, river. But it may be used in the sense of flowing, or overflowing with joy; or it may seem to shine, to be bright, the same as nur (Gesenius); and then to be cheered, to rejoice, as when the countenance is bright and cheerful (compare Job 3:4). Taylor (Hebrew Concordance) renders it, And be enlightened, or have the light flow upon thee. The true idea is, doubtless, that of rejoicing; denoting the happiness which will always exist in the church when many are seen to come and give themselves to God.

And thine heart shall fear – The heart shall be ruffled, agitated, deeply excited by the view of the numbers that are converted, and by the evidence thus furnished of the divine favor and presence. The effect of numerous simultaneous conversions in a revival of religion, is always to produce awe and reverence. There is a conviction that God is near, and that this is his work; and a deep veneration produced by the demonstrations of his power which does not exist in other circumstances. This effect is described also by Jeremiah, Jer 33:9 : And they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I shall procure unto her (Jerusalem).

And be enlarged – Shall be swelled or filled with joy.

Because the abundance of the sea – Margin, Noise of the sea shall be turned unto thee. Lowth and Noyes render it, The riches of the sea. So the Septuagint, Pluto thalasses. The Chaldee renders it, There shall be transferred to thee the wealth of the west ( otar maareba’). The Hebrew word hamon properly denotes a noise or sound; as of rain, of the raging of the ocean, or of a multitude of people. Then it denotes a multitude or crowd of people itself Isaiah 13:4; Isaiah 33:3; Dan 10:6; a host or army Jdg 4:7; Dan 11:11-13; a multitude of waters Jer 10:13; Jer 51:16. It then denotes a multitude of possessions; a vast amount of wealth Psalm 37:16; Ecc 5:9. Here it may refer either to the multitude of the people that dwelt on the islands of the sea, or to their wealth that would be brought and devoted to Zion. As various kinds of property are immediately specified, it seems most natural to refer it to that; and then the idea is, that the wealth possessed by lands beyond the sea, or surrounded by the sea, would be devoted to the church of God. It will be remembered, that nearly all the wealth that was imported by Solomon and others to Judea came from beyond the sea, and that it was natural to speak of such places as abounding in riches. The idea is, that the wealth of all those distant lands would be consecrated to the church – an idea denoting its great prosperity and glory when all lands should come under the influence of the truth.

Shall be converted – Hebrew, Shall be turned. Instead of being employed in idolatry and without; in purposes of pleasure and mere magnificence, it shall be turned to a different purpose.

The forces of the Gentiles – Margin, wealth. The margin has undoubtedly the correct interpretation. The word used here ( chayil, build cheyil), usually, indeed, denotes strength, might, value; an army, forces, host; but it also means riches, wealth Genesis 24:29; Deu 8:17-18; Rth 4:11; Job 20:15. The Septuagint renders the passage, The riches of the sea, and of the nations, and of the people will come over to thee. The sense is, that the wealth of the pagan world would be consecrated to the service of the church. To some extent, this has been the case, No small part of the great wealth of the Roman empire was I devoted to the service of the Christian church; and the wealth of what was then Pagan Europe, and of what was then Pagan and unknown America, has been, to a considerable extent, devoted to the Redeemer. The time will come when the wealth of India, of China, of Africa, and of the entire world, shall be devoted to the service of God, in a manner far more decided than has yet occurred in the most favored Christian lands.

Source: Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

Isaiah 60:5-8

Then thou shalt see

The glory of the millennial Church

Wealth, Commerce and Agriculture are three great interests and powers on earth in a trinity of forces which have in all ages enlarged mankind.

Each one of the three will have its representatives in that vast multitude who are to ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward. (J.R. Macduff, D.D.)

The Enlargement of the Church

We are likewise told how the Church shall be affected with this increase of her numbers and enlargement of her borders.

1. She will be in a transport of joy upon this account (Isaiah 60:5).

two. There will be a mixture of fear with this joy. Thine heart shall fear, as though it were a thing unlawful to join with the Gentiles, etc.

3. She shall be enlarged with Love, so as to leave room for all the Gentile converts.

Four. She shall be struck with surprise and wonder, saying, Who are these that fly? etc. (E. Erskine.)

Source: Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

see each other 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 33:9has the same natural and elegant sentiment: –

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

A praise and an honor 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 you, 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


TIME Carm. ii. 19. l. 5. – L.

Source: Adam Clarke’s Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Then shalt thou see, viz. with a great deal of delight, the multitudes of thy children running to thee.

Flow together; as when one river meeting with another and joining waters, run sweetly together, as one and the same river: this notes the abundance of their united joys and delights; or they shall flock together to behold such an amazing sight.

Thine heart shall fear; as standing amazed to see such crowds come in to the Lord Christ; See Poole”Isaiah 44:1“See Poole”Isaiah 44:2“, &c.; as it were surprised with it, as those Bc 2 7or overwhelmed with the joyful sight, as Jacob was with the tidings of Joseph, Genesis 45:26and those of the circumcision that were with Act 10:45; such a mixture of fear and joy you have expressed Jer 33:9; the sense is much the same with Isaiah 49:18.

Be enlarged, both with joy and love; joy within at the coming in of the Gentiles, and this outwardly expressed in the enlargedness of love and charity towards them. Fear doth properly contract the heart, therefore this expression intimates it to be a fear mixed with such an affection as will dilate it.

The abundance of the sea; either the islands of the sea, viz. the nations, as before, a metonymy of the subject, shall turn to thee, in religion or affection; they that formerly so much hated thee (they that live by the sea-coasts being usually noted for the worst of men) shall now love thee: or the wealth and traffic of those that trade by sea, the riches of the merchant; and so possibly the prophet may allude to Psa 72:10for Tarshish is sometimes taken for the sea, as hath been before shown: see on 1Ki 10:22.

Shall be converted unto thee; thy traders shall not so much convert their riches to their own use as to thine.

The forces; or, wealth; thou shalt not have only the wealth, but the strength of the nations, to stand by thee, which hath also an eye, as in the type, to that readiness and willingness that would be in the nations to help them out of Babylon.

Source: English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

5. see (Isa60:4), namely, the bringing back of thy sons.

flow togetherrather,”overflow with joy” ;or, from a different Hebrew root, “be bright with joy“ (Job3:4).

fearrather, beat with the agitation of solemn joy at the marvelous sight (Jer33:9).

be enlargedswell with delight. Grief, on the contrary, contracts the heart.

abundance of . . . seathewealth of the lands beyond the sea, as in Solomon’stime, the type of the coming reign of the Prince of peace.

convertedrather, “beturned,” instead of being turned to purposes of sin andidolatry.


Source: Jamieson, Fausset and Brown’s Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Then thou shalt see, and flow together,…. That is, when thou seest thy sons and daughters flocking to thee from all parts, there will be a flow of joy in thee, like the stream of a river; or thin…

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