Structure in Isaiah 60

Isaiah 60 forms a distinct unit, with a generally chiastic structure:

A. Light has come and the glory of Yahweh, vv 1-3

B. Caravans of kings will be treasures to Zion, vv 4-9 (including gold and silver, vv 6, 9)

C.Foreigners build walls and gates open, v 10-11a

D.Kings will serve you, vv 11b-14

E. From forsaken to pride and joy, v 15

D’. Zion nursed by kings, v 16

B’. Treasures for base materials, v 17 (including gold and silver)

C’. Walls of salvation and gates of praise, v 18

A’. Yahweh is light and glory of Zion, vv 19-22

A few observations on the structure:

The first two verses each use the name Yahweh, and several of the sections end with a declaration of Yahweh’s character. B ends with a reference to Yahweh’s name and His character as the “Holy One of Israel” (v. 9). D refers to Zion as the city of Yahweh, and again uses the title “Holy One of Israel.” At the end of verse 16 (D’), Yahweh declares that He is Yahweh, Savior, Redeemer, Mighty One of Israel. The final section includes three uses of the name, including a reference to Yahweh in the last line of the chapter. The name Yahweh (used 9x total) thus plays a structure role in the passage.

The A and A’ highlight the fact that the light of Israel is in fact Yahweh Himself. “Your light has come” says verse 1, but the passage ends with a corresponding emphasis on light, but now explicitly Yahweh who is Zion’s “everlasting light” (v. 19). It is Yahweh’s light; it has become Israel’s light. Israel is His, and He is Israel’s.

The links between the treasures of kings and the building of the walls indicates that the promise is that Zion will be rebuilt with precious stones. Isaiah has already promised this (54:11-17), but chapter 60 tells us the source of materials that build up the crystal city: It is a city of precious metals and gemstones because Gentile kings bring their treasures into the city.

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