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The translated word "glory" is found many times in the Book of Isaiah - King James Version.

Isaiah 61:6 states:

But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.

Isaiah 66:12 states:

For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream:

What does the word "glory" mean in general &, in particular, what does it mean in the specific context of the phrase "glory of the Gentiles" found in Isaiah 61:6 & 66:12?

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  • Please indicate from which translation you are quoting. Thanks. Nov 11 '16 at 10:51
  • @AbuMunirIbnIbrahim I believe it is the KJV, see first sentence.
    – user10231
    Nov 11 '16 at 12:05
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The masoretic text is, Isaiah 61:6

וְאַתֶּ֗ם כֹּהֲנֵ֤י יְהֹוָה֙ תִּקָּרֵ֔אוּ מְשָׁרְתֵ֣י אֱלֹהֵ֔ינוּ יֵאָמֵ֖ר לָכֶ֑ם חֵ֤יל גּוֹיִם֙ תֹּאכֵ֔לוּ וּבִכְבוֹדָ֖ם תִּתְיַמָּֽרוּ

and for Isaiah 66:12

כִּי־כֹ֣ה ׀ אָמַ֣ר יְהֹוָ֗ה הִנְנִ֣י נֹטֶֽה־אֵ֠לֶ֠יהָ כְּנָהָ֨ר שָׁל֜וֹם וּכְנַ֧חַל שׁוֹטֵ֛ף כְּב֥וֹד גּוֹיִ֖ם וִֽינַקְתֶּ֑ם עַל־צַד֙ תִּנָּשֵׂ֔אוּ וְעַל־בִּרְכַּ֖יִם תְּשׇׁעֳשָֽׁעוּ

So in both of these verses the word that your translation translates as "glory" is כבוד (vocalized like kavod in American English).

In Isaiah 61:6, kavod is in a compound word ובכבודם where the first letter, ו (vav) is the conjunction "and", the second letter, ב (beth) is the preposition "in", and the last letter, ם (mem) is the third person plural possessive, "their".

In Isaiah 66:12, kavod is not in compound form but is in adjacent form with the following word goyim, nations, that indicates which kavod. That is, the kavod of the nations.

kavod is a masculine gender noun used in the sense of

  1. honor
  2. respect
  3. dignity
  4. merit
  5. glory
  6. riches
  7. wealth

depending on the context. It has the same trigram root כבד as kaved, an adjective meaning heavy, weighty, grave, severe or a lot of something, and kibed, a verb meaning to honor or to respect. These words appear many times in the OT.

Note that the modern English translations sometimes use "riches", "honor" or "splendor" as well as "glory" in Isaiah 61:6. All of these are meanings that are conveyed by the word kavod in this verse. Since a translator is limited to a single-word translation, he needs to choose what appears to him to be the primary sense in context. The language of this chapter is poetic and figurative. No translation can nail it down. From the context of the previous verses that deals with rebuilding the ruins and the service of the nations, I think that kavod in this verse means the wealth for which the nations are respected.

Many of the modern English translations use "wealth" or "riches" for kavod in Isaiah 66:12. One, Young's Literal Translation, uses "honor". My feel for the verse is that kavod is used in the sense of "the respect of".

In any event, I would caution against deciding that you have understood the verse based on the English meaning of a single translation's word choice. In particular, I would advise against trying to read some theological concept or symbolic meaning into kavod in these two verses. The verses in manuscript do not support this.

On a side note, I noticed that some translations use "Gentiles" for "goyim" in both of these verses. I think that this is a mistake, as the intent, phrased in modern English, is not "non-Jews" but "the peoples of the world".

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  • Thank you for your answer. I looked up "goyim" on the internet. Are you stating "goyim" means "the nations". Wiki states: " In Exodus 19:6, the Jewish people are referred to as a goy kadosh, a "holy nation"" Nov 11 '16 at 19:37
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    The noun גוי in the OT means "nation", in the sense of what we would call an "ethnic group" associated with a territory, something like today's Navajo Nation. There were no nation states in OT times. Deut 32:28 refers to the Israelites as a "goy oved etsot", a nation without sense. Most usages in the OT mean the nations of the world that surrounded the Israelites. The use to indicate specifically non-Jewish peoples is post OT. The use indicating individual non-Jew dates from post second temple rabbinic Hebrew. The pejorative use dates to early medieval period. Rarely used in modern Hebrew. Nov 12 '16 at 16:30

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