Lectionary Year B
January 6, 2003
Isaiah 60:1-6

Hermeneutical Bridge


The light and God's glory seem to be the major features of this passage. The desire of the hearers of this prophecy and the expected response of all other peoples share in the major concerns of this message. The arrival of the outsiders, including the return of "dispersed Israelites (see xlix22)," McKenzie (Anchor Bible), and the gifts they bring provoke praise of the Lord. That element is important as a climactic idea.


1 Rise up and shine forth for the light of your brilliance has come. The glory of the Most High has appeared upon you. 2 Yet, make no mistake, darkness still covers the earth and heavy darkness the people, while upon you will the Lord arise and his glory will appear upon you. 3 Nations shall come to your light and monarchs to the brightness of your shining. 4 Lift up your eyes and look around and see all the assembled. Your sons shall come from afar and your daughters shall be carried unto the heights. 5 Then you shall see and become radiant and your heart shall tremble and expand and shall inundate you the abundance of the sea and the wealth of the nations shall come unto you. 6 A multitude of camels shall come upon you young camels of Midian and Ephah and all from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense and shall proclaim the Lord with gladdening good news.


The images of light and darkness play a major role in this passage. People, especially this time of year, experience more darkness than they like. It's winter. It's the end of one year and the beginning of a new one unknown, even threatening to some, somber for some, uncertainties and even adversaries flood the imaginations of many at such times as these. Into this trying time, comes a biblical prophet proclaiming that the light of the Lord has shined on them and they are to see it and become radiant enough to shine it out. This message might challenge people greatly. Surely, the climactic good news at the end of the pericope can provide hope for the situations of those who experience this text's sermon.

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