EmbiggenedBy Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
Isaiah tells Jerusalem to arise, for their light has come. Darkness will cover the Earth, but they alone will have light. The other nations will follow their light to G-d. Isaiah says to look around and see the crowds who have gathered – either referring to the people of other nations from the previous verse or to the exiles, who have returned. Jerusalem will be startled by the abundance of goodness she will have, and be enlarged by it.
Caravans will come to Jerusalem, carrying wealth and precious goods, as well as praise of G-d. The sheep and rams will be sacrifices to G-d, which He will accept and which will inspire the nations to serve Him.
The Jews will return from exile swiftly, like a cloud carried by the wind and doves returning to the coop. Ships will return the Jews to their land, along with silver and gold. (This may mean the wealth that was pillaged during the siege, or that the nations will send wealth as gifts to the Temple.) The people from other lands will help build up the city and kings will serve the nation because G-d had punished the nation for their sins, and now He has had mercy on them.
Because there will be peace, the gates of Jerusalem will be open 24 hours a day and wealth will pour in. Nations will follow the Jews’ example and serve G-d or they will cease to be. The best trees of Lebanon will be used in the Temple, as they were in the time of Solomon and the descendants of the Jews’ oppressors in exile will recognize the holiness of Jerusalem and its connection to the Jewish people. Instead of being despised by the nations of the world, Israel will be admired. Israel will enjoy the wealth of nations and know that this came from G-d.
Instead of copper and iron, the Jews will enjoy gold and silver. (This means that they will be rewarded many times more than the amount they were punished.) The rulers of the land will be guided by peace and righteousness. Violence and oppression will be a thing of the past. They won’t need the sun and moon for light because G-d will be their everlasting light. (This is a metaphor; light represents Torah.) The people, all of whom will be righteous, will inherit the land forever and the smallest of families will be extremely prolific. It is G-d who says this and He will make it happen.