Isaiah 61:6
But you shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: you shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall you boast yourselves.
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(6) But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord . . .—This had been the original ideal of the nation’s life (Exodus 19:6), forfeited for a time through the sins of the people (Exodus 28:1), to be fulfilled at last in the citizens of the new Jerusalem. (Comp. 1Peter 2:9.) The thought implies, it may be noted, that as Israel has succeeded to the position of the sons of Aaron, so mankind at large is to occupy the position of Israel, as chosen and redeemed. Even the heathen Gentiles shall speak of the new Israel as “Ministers of our God.”

Ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles . . .—St. Paul seems to see a partial fulfilment of the promise in the collection made among the Gentiles for the Church at Jerusalem (Romans 15:27). On the other hand, the phrase that the conversion of the Jews shall be the riches of the Gentiles (Romans 11:12), affords an illustration of the varying aspects of prophetic imagery.

Isaiah 61:6-7. But ye shall be named the Priests, &c. — The whole body of you shall now be as near to God as the priests were formerly, and shall be a royal priesthood, 1 Peter 2:9. This is most certainly true of all the faithful under the gospel; hence they have also their spiritual sacrifices, Romans 12:1; Hebrews 13:15-16; 1 Peter 2:5. Ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles — Partake of their plenty; and in their glory shall ye boast — You shall be highly advanced by the addition of all that is glorious in them. The LXX. render it, εν τω πλουτω αυτων θαυμασθησεσθε, you shall be wonderful, or the objects of admiration, through their riches; that is, by the glory which they shall bring to you, namely, in riches, parts, learning, chap. 60:5, 11. For your shame ye shall have double — Honour; though you have been little accounted of among the Gentiles, yet now you shall be highly esteemed by them; you shall have double damages. See on chap. 40:2. They shall rejoice in their portion — Namely, of honour, which God will give them. It is a repetition of that which is asserted in the former clause. Therefore, or, rather, because, they shall possess the double — Because of the doubling of their portion; everlasting joy shall be unto them — Joy that shall continue long here, and shall be everlasting hereafter. The meaning of this prediction seems to be, that though the first Christians should have a large share of shame or ignominy thrown upon them, yet their descendants should, in return, receive a double share of honour and glory. This accordingly came to pass: Christianity, from being considered as the greatest infamy, and being loaded with the greatest shame, came into the highest repute when Constantine became emperor, and received the highest honours that could possibly be paid, and was, as it were, loaded with glory, riches, and honour.”61:4-9 Promises are here made to the Jews returned out of captivity, which extend to all those who, through grace, are delivered out of spiritual thraldom. An unholy soul is like a city that is broken down, and has no walls, like a house in ruins; but by the power of Christ's gospel and grace, it is fitted to be a habitation of God, through the Spirit. When, by the grace of God, we attain to holy indifference as to the affairs of this world; when, though our hands are employed about them, our hearts are not entangled with them, but preserved entire for God and his service, then the sons of the alien are our ploughmen and vine-dressers. Those whom He sets at liberty, he sets to work. His service is perfect freedom; it is the greatest honour. All believers are made, to our God, kings and priests; and always ought to conduct themselves as such. Those who have the Lord for their portion, have reason to say, that they have worthy portion, and to rejoice in it. In the fulness of heaven's joys we shall receive more than double for all our services and sufferings. God desires truth, and therefore hates all injustice. Nor will it justify any man's robbery to say, it was for burnt-offerings; and that robbery is most hateful which is under this pretence. Let the children of godly parents be such, that all may see the fruits of a good education; an answer to the prayers for them, in the fruit of God's blessing.But ye shall be named - The idea here literally is, 'There will be no need of your engaging in the business of agriculture. All that will be done by others; and you, as ministers of God, may engage wholly in the duties of religion. The world shall be tributary to you, and you shall enjoy the productions of all lands; and you may, therefore, devote yourselves exclusively to the service of Yahweh, as a kingdom of priests.' A similar promise occurs in Exodus 19:6 : 'And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.' The idea is, that there would be a degree of spiritual prosperity, as great as if they were permitted to enjoy all the productions of other climes; as if all menial and laborious service were performed by others; and as if they were to be entirely free from the necessity of toil, and were permitted to devote themselves exclusively to the services of religion.

Ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles - (See the notes at Isaiah 60:5-11).

And in their glory - In what constitutes their glory, or what they regard as valuable; that is, their wealth, their talents, and their power.

Shall you boast yourselves? - There has been considerable variety of interpretation in regard to the meaning of the word used here. Jerome renders it, Et in gloria earum superbietis. The Septuagint, 'In their wealth ye shall be admired' (θαυμασθήσεσθε thaumasthēsesthe). The Chaldee and Syriac render it, 'In their splendor ye shall glory.' The word used is ימר yâmar. It occurs nowhere else, it is believed, except in Jeremiah 2:11, twice, where it is tendered 'changed.' 'Hath a nation changed (ההימיר hahēymiyr) their gods, which are yet no gods? But my people have changed ( המיר hēmiyr) their glory for that which doth not profit.' In the passage before us, it is used in Hithpael, and means properly to exchange oneself with anyone. Here it means, 'In their splendor we shall take their places,' that is, we shall enjoy it in their stead. We shall avail ourselves of it as if we were to enter into their possessions, and as if it were our own. The sense is, it shall come to enrich and adorn the church. It shall cleavage places, and shall all belong to the penple of God - in accordance with that which has been so often said by Isaiah, that the wealth of the world would become tributary to the church.

6. But ye—as contrasted with the "strangers." Ye shall have no need to attend to your flocks and lands: strangers will do that for you; your exclusive business will be the service of Jehovah as His "priests" (Ex 19:6, which remains yet to be realized; compare as to the spiritual Israel, Isa 66:21; 1Pe 2:5, 9; Re 1:6; 5:10).

Ministers—(Eze 44:11).

eat … riches of … Gentiles—(Isa 60:5-11).

in their glory … boast yourselves—rather, "in their splendor ye shall be substituted in their stead"; ye shall substitute yourselves [Maurer].

But ye shall be named the Priests; for your part, ye emphatically shall be as priests; either,

1. For maintenance; as the priests of old were plentifully provided for without their labour, so shall you by the labour of strangers. Or,

2. For countenance; you shall be every where as greatly valued as the priests were wont to be; you shall be esteemed as princes; for so the word is often used, the word priest being applied not only to the sacred function, but to one that was of great note among the people, and was supplied with all necessaries from others, without any labour of his own. Thus David’s sons were called priests, or princes. Or rather,

3. For privilege; the whole body of them shall now be as peculiar and as near to God as the priests were formerly, and shall be a royal priesthood, 1 Peter 2:9. This is most certainly true of all the faithful under the gospel; hence they have also their spiritual sacrifices, Romans 12:1 Hebrews 13:15161 Peter 2:5.

Ye shall eat the richs of the Gentiles: it relates to the riches of the Gentiles, which did consist most in flocks and herds: or, what you eat shall be purchased by the riches of the Gentiles.

Shall ye boast yourselves; you shall exalt yourselves, or be renowned by others. The LXX. render it, you shall be wonderful, or to admiration; or grow high by the access of that glory which they shall bring unto you, viz. in riches, parts, learning, Isaiah 60:5,11. But ye shall be named the priests of the Lord,.... Or, "and ye shall be named", &c. which Jerom understands of the builders of cities, pastors of flocks, the ploughmen and vinedressers, the strangers and the sons of the alien, that these also should be called priests: but rather it designs the Jews, when they shall be called and converted, and when there will be no more the distinction of priests and common people, but they shall all be kings and priests unto God, a royal priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices to him, all ceremonial ones being at an end:

men shall call you the ministers of our God; Christian men shall call, own, and acknowledge you to be the servants of Christ, of Immanuel, God with us, having professed faith in him, and submitted to his ordinances:

ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles; converted Gentiles, who shall join themselves with Jewish converts in the same church state; who shall bring their wealth with them, and with it support the interest of Christ; see Isaiah 60:5, or this may be understood of their spiritual riches, the unsearchable riches of Christ revealed in the Gospel, which the Gentiles have long possessed, but now the Jews shall have a share with them:

and in their glory shall you boast yourselves; not in being the seed of Abraham, as formerly; in birth privileges, in carnal rites and ceremonies, such as circumcision and others; but in what is the glory of the Gentiles, Christ himself, who is their glory, and of whom they glory; as also his Gospel, and the ordinances of it, which are the glory of every nation possessed of them: or, "ye shall delight yourselves" (z); in the Lord; in communion and conversation with his people, and in the enjoyment of the privileges of his house with them: or, "ye shall lift up or exalt yourselves", or "be exalted" (a); to the same degree of honour and glory, being all kings and priests unto God.

(z) "oblectabitis", Tigurine, version. So the Targum. (a) "Summe efferetis vos", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Vitringa; "exaltabimini", Munster, Pagninus. So Ben Melech, and R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 89. 2.

But ye shall be named the {k} Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the {l} riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.

(k) This is accomplished in the time of Christ, by whom all the faithful are made priests and kings, 1Pe 2:9, Re 1:6,5:10.

(l) Read Isa 6:11:16.

6. the riches of the Gentiles] the wealth of nations, as ch. Isaiah 60:5; Isaiah 60:11.

in their glory shall you boast yourselves] So the chief Ancient Versions. Another rendering is to their glory shall ye succeed (R.V. marg.); the exact idea being that Israel and the heathen shall “exchange places,” the glory that now belongs to the latter being transferred to the former.Verse 6. - But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord. By the covenant made at Sinai, Israel was to be "a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation" (Exodus 19:6). Had they risen to the height of their calling when our Lord and his disciples offered them salvation before offering it to the Gentiles, they might have "been in the midst of the heathen who had entered into the congregation of Jehovah and become the people of God, what the Aaronites farmerly were in the midst of Israel itself" (Delitzsch). Will they ever now obtain this position? Ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles (comp. Isaiah 60:5-9 and 16). The Gentiles, when they came in, would freely offer to the Church of their substance. The life of this church, which is newly created, new-born, through judgment and grace, gradually expands from the most unassuming centre in ever widening circles until it has attained the broadest dimensions. "The smallest one will become thousands, and the meanest one a powerful nation." "The small and mean one," or, as the idea is a relative one, "the smallest and meanest one" (Ges. 119, 2), is either a childless one, or one blessed with very few children. At the same time, the reference is not exclusively to growth through the blessing of children, but also to growth through the extension of fellowship. We have a similar expression in Micah 4:7 (cf., Isaiah 5:1), where 'eleph is employed, just as it is here, in the sense of לאלף, "to thousands (or chiliads)."

The whole of the prophetic address is now sealed with this declaration: "I Jehovah, will hasten it in His time." The neuter נּה (as in Isaiah 43:13; Isaiah 46:11) refers to everything that has been predicted from Isaiah 60:1 downwards. Jehovah will fulfil it rapidly, when the point of time (καιρός) which He has fixed for it shall have arrived. As this point of time is known to Him only, the predicted glory will burst all at once with startling suddenness upon the eyes of those who have waited believingly for Him.

This chapter forms a connected and self-contained whole, as we may see very clearly from the address to Zion-Jerusalem, which is sustained throughout. If we compare together such passages as Isaiah 51:17-23 ("Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem"), Isaiah 52:1-2 ("Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion"), and chapter 54 ("Sing, O barren"), which are all closely related so far as their contents are concerned, we shall find that these addresses to Zion form an ascending series, chapter 60 being the summit to which they rise, and that the whole is a complete counterpart to the address to the daughter of Babylon in Isaiah 47:1-15.

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