Isaiah 60:17
For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make your officers peace, and your exactors righteousness.
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(17) For brass I will bring gold . . . The material wealth of the days of Solomon (1Kings 10:21-27) furnishes another element in the picture of the ideal city, but with this striking difference: that there the “officers” and “exactors” of the king had been instruments of oppression (1Kings 12:4), while now they were to be the very embodiment of righteousness, and, in the widest sense, of “peace,” and, therefore, of prosperity.

60:15-22 We must look for the full accomplishment in times and things, exceeding those of the Old Testament church. The nations and their kings shall lay themselves out for the good of the church. Such a salvation, such a redemption, shall be wrought out for thee, as discovers itself to be the work of the Lord. Every thing shall be changed for the better. In thy land shall no more be heard threats of those that do violence, nor complaints of those that suffer violence. Thy walls shall be means of safety, thy gates shall be written upon with praises to God. In the close of this chapter are images and expressions used in the description of the New Jerusalem, Re 21:23; 22:5. Nothing can answer to this but some future glorious state of the church on earth, or the state of the church triumphant in heaven. Those that make God their only light, shall have him their all-sufficient light. And the happiness shall know no change or alloy. No people on earth are all righteous; but there are no mixtures in heaven. They shall be wholly righteous. The spirits of just men shall there be made perfect. The glory of the church shall be to the honour of God. When it shall be finished, it will appear a work of wonder. It may seem too difficult to be brought about, but the God of almighty power has undertaken it. It may seem to be delayed and put off; but the Lord will hasten it in the time appointed by his wisdom, though not in the time prescribed by our folly. Let this hope cheer us under all difficulties, and stir us up to all diligence, that we may have an abundant entrance into this everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.For brass I will bring gold - This commences the description of the happy times when the Gentiles should be led to embrace the true religion, and when the wealth of the world would be consecrated to the service of the true God. The idea is, that all things would be changed for the better. The golden age should come; and a change from the calamities to which reference had been made by the prophet, would take place as great as if, in all purposes of life, gold should be used where brass is commonly used; and silver where iron is commonly used; and brass where wood is used; and iron where stones are used. Calvin supposes, not improbably, that allusion is here made to the temple, and that, in describing the future glory of the church, the prophet says that the change would be as glorious as if, in all places where brass and iron and wood and stone had been used, gold and silver and brass and iron should be respectively used in their places. The Chaldee renders this, 'Instead of the brass which they took away from thee, O Jerusalem, I will bring gold; and instead of the iron I will bring silver; and instead of the wood, brass; and instead of the stones, iron.' Jarchi, Kimchi, and Grotius, accord with this interpretation. But it is probably designed as a poetical description of the glory of the future age, and of the great changes which would take place in human society under the influence of the gospel. No one can doubt that the gospel produces these changes; and that the changes of society caused by the gospel are as beautiful and striking as though gold and silver should be substituted for brass and iron, and brass and iron for wood and stone. Such changes shall yet take place everywhere on the earth; and the world shall ye be beautified, enriched, and adorned by the prevalence of the true religion.

I will also make thy officers peace - Thy officers shall be appointed to promote peace and shall secure it. The sense is, that wars would be ended, and that universal concord and harmony would prevail in the church under the guidance of those appointed to administer to its affairs (compare Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 9:6). The word 'officers,' here denotes those who should be appointed to superintend the affairs of the church (from פקד pâqad), to visit, review, superintend, oversee), and refers here to all who should be appointed to rule in the church. The word itself may be applicable either to civil magistrates or to the ministers of religion. The Septuagint renders it, Ἄρχοντα Archontas - 'Rulers,' and they translate the passage, 'I will give thy rulers in peace' ἐν εἰρήνη en eirēnē).

And thine exactors - They who should exact, or collect tribute or taxes. The word from which the noun used here is derived (נגשׂ nâgas'), means "to urge, impel, drive" - hence the noun 'taskmaster' - ἐργοδιώκτης ergodiōktēs (Exodus 3:7; Job 3:18); then to urge a debtor, to exact a debt; then to rule or have dominion; to appoint and exact taxes, etc. Here it refers to magistrates, and it means that they would be mild and equal in their exactions.

Righteousness - They shall not lay unequal or oppressive burdens; they shall not oppress in the collection of taxes. The idea is, that righteousness would prevail in every department of the church and the state.

17. Poetically, with figurative allusion to the furniture of the temple; all things in that happy age to come shall be changed for the better.

exactors—namely, of tribute.

righteousness—All rulers in restored Jerusalem shall not only be peaceable and righteous, but shall be, as it were, "peace" and "righteousness" itself in their administration.

For brass I will bring gold: here is the effect of the former promise, Thy poverty shall be turned to riches, all things shall be altered for the best; an allusion to the days of Solomon, when gold was as brass: thus, on the contrary, when they change for the worse in the state, it useth to be expressed by the like metaphors, Isaiah 21 Isa 22 Isa 23.

I will also make thy officers peace, i.e. loving, meek, and peaceable; the abstract put for the concrete, as is usual, whether you understand it of under officers, they shall be officers of peace, or of governors, thou shalt have a peaceable government, as it was made good to them under Ezra, Nehemiah, Zorobabel, and such like.

And thine exactors righteousness; most righteous, as before peace for peaceable. The church is not freed from taxes and payments, that is given by Christ and Peter unto Caesar, but it shall be without oppression and grinding; no more than is necessary, and not exacted rigorously. Though all these were made good in their return out of Babylon, yet doth it more properly relate to the meliorating of the church under the gospel, wherein instead of carnal ceremonies, she had spiritual ordinances, which is the scope of the apostle, Hebrews 9, and larger measures of the Holy Spirit, and should have such officers as would speak peace to the consciences, by discovering the complete and perfect righteousness of him who fulfilled all righteousness. For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron,.... By "wood and stones" may be meant the Old Testament dispensation; by the "brass and iron" the present Gospel dispensation; and by "silver and gold" the latter day glory; by "silver" the spiritual reign of Christ in his church; and by "gold" his personal reign in the New Jerusalem; which is said to be all of pure gold, and even the very street of it, Revelation 21:18, now, as far as brass and iron exceed wood and stones, so far the Gospel dispensation exceeds the legal one; the one being the shadow, the other the substance; the one having carnal ordinances, which are done away; the other spiritual ones, which remain; and as far as silver and gold exceed brass and iron, so far the glory of the latter day will exceed the present state of things, in clear light, in spiritual grace and strength, in purity of doctrine and worship, in holiness of life, and in love, peace, and unity; and as far as gold exceeds silver, so far, and much more, will the personal reign of Christ, which will be perfectly glorious, exceed the spiritual one. There may be an allusion to the times of Solomon, a type of Christ, 1 Kings 10:27. This, by some Jewish writers (f), is applied to the times of the Messiah they yet expect. The Targum is,

"for the brass which they spoiled thee of, O Jerusalem, I will bring gold, &c.''

I will also make thine officers peace; civil magistrates shall be men of peaceable dispositions, who shall promote peace and unity in kingdoms, states, cities, towns, and neighbourhoods; they shall be properly justices of peace; they will answer to their office, and the title of it. Church officers or ministers of the word shall publish the Gospel of peace in the clearest manner; and the peace of God shall rule in the hearts of all the saints; there will be abundance of temporal and of spiritual peace, promoted by each of the officers of church and state; see Psalm 72:7,

and thine exactors righteousness; even tax gatherers, who used to be the worst of people for injustice and oppression, these shall do nothing but what is right and just; nor will there be any reason to complain of them. The Septuagint render it "bishops" or "overseers" (g), pastors of churches, who shall be truly ministers of righteousness; preach up the doctrine of justification by Christ's righteousness; and instruct persons to live soberly, righteously, and godly.

(f) Caphtor Uperah, fol. 57. 2.((g)

For 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 {r} peace, and thy exactors righteousness.

(r) Your governors will love you, and seek your wealth and prosperity.

17. For brass … gold &c.] Cf. ch. Isaiah 9:10; 1 Kings 10:21; 1 Kings 10:27, and the opposite experience, 1 Kings 14:26 f.

I will also make, &c.] Render: and I will appoint Peace as thy government, and Righteousness as thy ruler. The word for officers is an abstract noun (like “management” or “magistracy”) used in a concrete sense; exactors is a plural of majesty, precisely as in ch. Isaiah 3:12. Its use here is an oxymoron; it denotes a tyrannous, arbitrary ruler (see on ch. Isaiah 53:7), the idea conveyed being that the tyranny of the present shall be replaced by the genial rule of Righteousness. In other words, Peace and Righteousness (personified qualities, as ch. Isaiah 59:14) shall be the governing powers in the new Jerusalem. The other rendering, “I will make thy governors peaceful” &c. (so virtually the LXX.) is grammatically possible, but yields a sense feeble and unsatisfying.

17, 18. The inner order and security of the commonwealth shall correspond to its material splendour,—a double contrast to its present (or past) condition.Verse 17. - For brass I will bring gold; rather, for copper. "Brass" was an alloy little known to the Oriental nations. The general idea is that the glorious age of Solomon would return (1 Kings 10:21, 27), and Zion be as resplendent and as wealthy as in his time. The material splendour is, no doubt, throughout the whole description, typical in the main of spiritual glories and excellences. I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness. "Peace" and "righteousness" are here personified; and the declaration is that they shall bear rule in the community whereof the prophet is speaking (comp, Isaiah 32:16, 17). The first turn (Isaiah 60:1-3) described the glorification of Zion through the rising of the glory of Jehovah; the second (Isaiah 60:4-9) her glorification through the recovery of her scattered children, and the gifts of the Gentiles who bring them home; and now the third depicts her glorification through the service of the nations, especially of her former persecutors, and generally through the service of all that is great and glorious in the world of nature and the world of men. Not only do the converted heathen offer their possessions to the church on Zion, but they offer up themselves and their kings to pay her homage and render service to her. "And sons of strangers build thy walls, and their kings serve thee: for in my wrath I have smitten thee, and in my favour I have had mercy upon thee. And thy gates remain open continually day and night, they shall not be shut, to bring in to thee the possessions of the nations and their kings in triumph. For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve thee will perish, and the nations be certainly laid waste." The walls of Zion (חמתיך doubly defective) rise up from their ruins through the willing co-operation of converted foreigners (Isaiah 56:6-7), and foreign kings place themselves at the service of Zion (Isaiah 49:23); the help rendered by the edicts of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes Longimanus being only a prelude to events stretching on to the end of time, though indeed, in the view of the prophet himself, the period immediately succeeding the captivity really would be the end of time. Of the two perfects in Isaiah 60:10, הכּיתיך points to the more remote past; רחמתּיך to the nearer past, stretching forward into the present (cf., Isaiah 54:8). On pittēăch, patescere, hiscere, see Isaiah 48:8, where it is applied to the ear, as in Sol 7:13 to a bud. The first clause of Isaiah 60:11 closes with ולילה; tiphchah divides more strongly than tebir, which is subordinate to it. At the same time, "day and night" may be connected with "shall not be shut," as in Revelation 21:25-26. The gates of Zion may always be left open, for there is no more fear of a hostile attack; and they must be left open ad importandum, that men may bring in the possession of the heathen through them (a thing which goes on uninterruptedly), נהוּגים וּמלכיהם. The last words are rendered by Knobel, "and their kings are leaders (of the procession);" but nâhūg would be a strange substantive, having nothing to support it but the obscure יקוּש from יקושׁ, for אחוּז in Sol 3:8 does not mean a support, but amplexus (Ewald, 149, d). The rendering "and their kings escorted," i.e., attended by an escort, commends itself more than this; but in the passage quoted in support of this use of nâhag, viz., Nahum 2:8, it is used as a synonym of hâgâh, signifying gemere. It is better to follow the lxx and Jerome, and render it, "and their kings brought," viz., according to Isaiah 20:4; 1 Samuel 30:2, as prisoners (Targ. zeqı̄qı̄n, i.e., beziqqı̄m, in fetters) - brought, however, not by their several nations who are tired of their government and deliver them up (as Hitzig supposes), but by the church, by which they have been irresistibly bound in fetters, i.e., inwardly conquered (compare Isaiah 45:14 with Psalm 149:8), and thus suffer themselves to be brought in a triumphal procession to the holy city as the captives of the church and her God. Isaiah 60:12 is connected with this nehūgı̄m; for the state of every nation and kingdom is henceforth to be determined by its subjection to the church of the God of sacred history (עבד, δουλεύειν, in distinction from shērēth, διακονεῖν, θεραπεύειν), and by its entrance into this church - the very same thought which Zechariah carries out in Isaiah 14:16. Instead of כי־הגוי, כי is more properly pointed according to certain MSS with munach (without makkeph); the article before haggōyim is remonstrative, and the inf. intens. chârōbh makes the thing threatened unquestionable.
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