“The Wealth of Nations Shall Come to You”: Light, Tribute, and Implacement in Isaiah 60

in Vetus Testamentum
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I draw on spatial theory, and particularly Edward Casey’s concept of “implacement,” to investigate the rhetoric of Isaiah 60. Implacement means being concretely placed. I argue that Isaiah 60 uses the motifs of light and tribute to “implace” Jerusalem for its audience. It uses these motifs to acknowledge Jerusalem’s degraded state in the early fifth century and to imagine the means by which the city’s restoration will occur. Drawing on Wells’ work on inner-Isaianic allusion and Strawn’s argument that Isa 60 incorporates and subverts Persian iconography, I argue that, in Isa 60, the motif of light implaces Jerusalem by marking it out as the cosmic center and by drawing the nations to the city. The motif of tribute, meanwhile, actually transfers the implacedness of the nations to Jerusalem. The rhetoric of the text encourages its audience to re-imagine the Jerusalem of their experience in its restored and glorified future state.

“The Wealth of Nations Shall Come to You”: Light, Tribute, and Implacement in Isaiah 60

in Vetus Testamentum




Blenkinsopp pp. 207-209.


Blenkinsopp pp. 38-39 60-62; J. Goldingay A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Isaiah 56-66 (icc; New York 2014) pp. 2 21-26; see Stromberg p. 11n for a survey of literature.


Stromberg pp. 12-13 159; Stromberg adduces Isa 58:7-8 and 59:9 as examples.


E.g. P. Smith pp. 26-38; Blenkinsopp pp. 208-209.


O. Steck“Der Grundtext in Jesaja 60 und sein Aufbau”ZThK 83 (1986) pp. 261-296 finds multiple layers in the composition of Isa 60 but views it along with Isa 61 as a product of the early 5th century. J. Vermeylen Du prophète Isaïe à l’Apocalyptique: Isaïe I-XXXV miroir d’un demi-millénaire d’expérience religieuse en Israël (Etudes bibliques; Paris 1977-1978) pp. 475-477 503-514 sees at least five compositional layers in Isa 60 corresponding to various redactional layers in ti spanning the mid-fifth through second centuries. For critiques of these positions see especially Goldingay pp. 3-9.


Lipschits 2009pp. 5-9.


Casey p. 23.


For my use of this term see L. Bitzer“The Rhetorical Situation”Philosophy & Rhetoric 1 (1968) pp. 1-14.


Wells pp. 203 208-209 211-212. In Isa 49 foreigners are perceived as destroyers (v. 17) and as tyrannical oppressors (vv. 24-26) who must be punished and humiliated before they will acknowledge Yhwh’s reign. In Isa 60 the motif of subjugation is present (v. 14) but it is subordinated to the role of foreigners in rebuilding Zion and bringing tribute to it. G. Stansell “The Nations’ Journey to Zion: Pilgrimage and Tribute as Metaphor in the Book of Isaiah” in A. J. Everson and H. C. P. Kim (ed.) The Desert Will Bloom: Poetic Visions in Isaiah (Atlanta 2009) pp. 233-255 (239) disagrees with Wells on the lack of nationalistic overtones in Isa 60.


Wells pp. 203-204.


Wells p. 202.


Stansell pp. 241-242; see also Clements p. 454 and Goldingay p. 250.


Wells p. 216.


See Briant pp. 172-173 for a list.


Briant pp. 174-178.


Briant pp. 247-248.


Strawn pp. 101-115. Strawn p. 90 notes that while the reliefs themselves probably postdate Isa 60 and thus could not have been a direct influence these motifs of light and of willing tribute are found elsewhere in Persian iconography.


Strawn pp. 102-103. Deut 33:2 is the other. Strawn notes Hos 6:3 and Hab 3:4 10-11 as other places in the Hebrew Bible where Yhwh is associated with the dawn. I. De Hulster Iconographic Exegesis and Third Isaiah (fat 36; Tübingen 2009) p. 226 argues that the solar imagery in Isa 60:1-7 represents the incorporation of Yhwh into Persian imperial iconography. He does not consider however the role of the nations bringing tribute to Jerusalem which radically subverts Persian ideology.


Strawn pp. 104 107-108.


Strawn pp. 115-117.


Lipschits 2006pp. 30-35.


Lipschits 2006pp. 35-38; L. Grabbe “Was Jerusalem a Persian Fortress?” in G. Knoppers and L. Grabbe (eds.) Exile and Restoration Revisited: Essays on the Babylonian and Persian Periods in Memory of Peter R. Ackroyd (Library of Second Temple Studies 73; New York 2009) pp. 128-137 (135).


Hanson pp. 71-77.


Strawn p. 115; cf. Hanson pp. 62-63.


Goldingay p. 246 cites an earlier version of my paper including this quotation.

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