Isaiah 60:1-6

Isaiah 60:1-6
Epiphany ABC


1  Arise,A shine;B for your lightC has come,
    and the gloryD of the LordE has risenF upon you.

Notes on verse 1

A “arise” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish. This is rising in a literal or figurative sense. Can mean rise against, rise after lying down, rise from sickness, rise from a condition, rise for action.
B “shine” = or. To be or become light, set on fire, shine. Can be literal or figurative.
C “light” = or. Related to “shine” in v1. From or (see note B above). This is dawn, daylight, sun, light. This is light in a literal or figurative sense. It can be cheerful (i.e. light of face), light of instruction, guiding light, prosperity, salvation.
D “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.
E “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.
F “risen” = zarach. 18x in OT. To rise, come forth, dawn, shine. This is shining in beams or rising like the sun. Also used to describe symptoms of leprosy.

2 ForG darknessH shall coverI the earth,
    and thick darknessJ the peoples;K
but the Lord will ariseL upon you,
    and his glory will appear over you.

Notes on verse 2

G [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!
H “darkness” = choshek. From chashak (to be or become dark). This is literal darkness as compared to light. Can also be used figuratively for hiding places, distress, blindness, dread, misery, obscurity, destruction, judgment, death, mourning, perplexity, ignorance, evil, and sin.
I “cover” = kasseh. Properly, to plump. By implication, covering over as clothing or to hide something. This can be to cover, clothe, flee and hide, overwhelm.
J “thick darkness” = araphel. 15x in OT – used 8x of darkness or thick clouds accompanying theophany/God’s presence, 5x as a metaphor for judgment, 1x for that which obscures a view, and 1x for the darkness of the sea. From araph (to drip, drop, droop). This is a cloud or deep darkness. Also used for gloom.
K “peoples” = leom. Root may mean to gather. This is community, people, nation.
L “arise” = zarach. Same as “risen” in v1.

3 NationsM shall come to your light,
    and kings to the brightnessN of your dawn.O
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’P arms.Q

Notes on verses 3-4

M “nations” = goy. From the same as gevah (the back, body, or person); related to gaah (to rise up). This is nation or people. It can also be someone’s name. Often used in the Old Testament to refer to Gentiles or foreign nations. By way of Yiddish, “goy” refers to any non-Jewish person.
N “brightness” = nogah. 19x in OT – 7x of God’s judgment, 5x of God’s presence/theophany, 4x in Ezekiel’s vision of the living creatures, and 3x referring to righteousness. From nagah (to shine, illumine; root means to glitter). This is to be bright, light, dawn, sunshine, or radiance.
O “dawn” = zerach. 1x in OT. Related to “risen” in v1. From zarach (see note F above). This is dawning, shining, rising of light.
P “nurses’” = aman. To believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, establish, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid. Basically, this word means building up or supporting so it can also be used for parenting or being a nurse to someone. This is where the word “amen” comes from.
Q “arms” = tsad. Root made mean to sidle off. This is side, arm, or hip. Can also be used to mean beside or figuratively for an adversary.

5 Then you shall see and be radiant;R
    your heartS shall thrillT and rejoice,U
because the abundanceV of the sea shall be broughtW to you,
    the wealthX of the nations shall come to you.

Notes on verse 5

R “radiant” = nahar. 6x in OT. This is to stream or flow together, to be lightened. As a stream flows, the light sparkles on it. Hence, this is that sheen, radiance, or sparkle. Can also figuratively refer to being cheerful. Another figurative, but more direct sense, is to assemble (to flow together to one place).
S “heart” = lebab. This refers to the heart as the organ at the center, though it is only used in a figurative sense in the Bible. Heart can refer to courage – as being faint, weak, or tender-hearted. It can also refer to the will, mind, or inner self.
T “thrill” = pachad. This is to dread, be afraid, come trembling. This is being startled suddenly and so refers to fear generally. Can also mean being in awe.
U “rejoice” = rachab. To grow large, extend, open wide. This is to broaden in a literal or figurative sense. As open wide, it means both rejoice and relieve. Can also mean speaking boldly.
V “abundance” = hamon. From hamah (to murmur, growl, roar, cry out, clamor, mourn, be moved; refers to making loud “hum” type sounds; it implies a ruckus or tumult; can be rage, war, moaning). This is sound, murmur, roar, crowd, horde, multitude, rumbling. Can be used figuratively for disquietude, wealth, abundance, or riches.
W “brought” = haphak. This is to turn about or turn over. It implies changing. Can also mean overturn, return, or convert. May also be used in a negative sense as perverting something good.
X “wealth” = chayil. From chul (to be firm or strong, to endure). This is properly a force whether of people or resources. So, it could be personal strength, efficacy, or wealth; virtue, valor, an army, etc.

6 A multitude of camels shall coverY you,
    the young camels of MidianZ and Ephah;AA
    all those from ShebaBB shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,CC
    and shall proclaimDD the praiseEE of the Lord.

Notes on verse 6

Y “cover” = kasseh. Same as “cover” in v2.
Z “Midian” = midyan. From the same as madon (strife, quarrel, brawling); from din (to judge, quarrel, strive, govern). This is Midian or Midianite. Midian was a son of Abraham and Keturah. This also refers to their descendants and homeland.
AA “Ephah” = ephah. 5x in OT. From teuphah (gloom, darkness) OR from eyphah (darkness, gloom, obscurity); from uph (fly, be faint, flee; to cover as with wings or to hide; implies the darkness of fainting). This is Ephah, the name of several Israelites and a Midianite. A son of Midian and his homeland.
BB “Sheba” = sheba. From Ethiopic (mean) OR from Hebrew saba (to imbibe) OR shaba (to take captive) OR shbb (to splinter) OR sheba (seven, oath). This is Sheba or Sabean. May be a place in Arabia or Africa. See
CC “frankincense” = lebonah. From laban (white); from laben (to be or become white, to purify, a brick). This is frankincense or other incense. May be so called because frankincense is white or because its smoke is.
DD “proclaim” = basar. This is bearing news as a messenger, to preach, bring, carry, publish. Properly, to be fresh and full. Used figuratively for being cheerful – to announce good news.
EE “praise” = tehillah. From halal (to be boastful, to praise). This is praise or a song of praise. Can also mean boasting about God or a deep place.

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

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