Isaiah 26

CHAPTER XXVI

This chapter, like the foregoing, is a song of praise, in

which thanksgivings for temporal and spiritual mercies are

beautifully mingled, though the latter still predominate. Even

the sublime and evangelical doctrine of the resurrection seems

here to be hinted at, and made to typify the deliverance of

the people of God from a state of the lowest misery; the

captivity, the general dispersion, or both. This hymn too,

like the preceding, is beautifully diversified by the frequent

change of speakers. It opens with a chorus of the Church,

celebrating the protection vouchsafed by God to his people;

and the happiness of the righteous, whom he guards, contrasted

with the misery of the wicked, whom he punishes, 1-7.

To this succeeds their own pious resolution of obeying,

trusting, and delighting in God, 8.

Here the prophet breaks in, in his own person, eagerly catching

the last words of the chorus, which were perfectly in unison

with the feelings of his own soul, and which he beautifully

repeats, as one musical instrument reverberates the sound of

another on the same key with it. He makes likewise a suitable

response to what had been said on the judgments of God, and

observes their different effects on the good and the bad;

improving the one, and hardening the other, 9-11.

After this, a chorus of Jews express their gratitude to God

for past deliverances, make confession of their sins, and

supplicate his power, which they had been long expecting,

12-18.

To this God makes a gracious reply, promising deliverance that

should be as life from the dead, 19.

And the prophet, (apparently alluding to the command of Moses

to the Israelites, when the destroying angel was to go through

the land of Egypt,) concludes with exhorting his people to

patience and resignation, till God sends the deliverance he

has promised, 20, 21.

NOTES ON CHAP. XXVI

Verse 1. We have a strong city] In opposition to the city of the

enemy, which God hath destroyed, Isa 25:2.

See Clarke on Isa 25:2.

Salvation-for walls and bulwarks] chomoth vachel, walls

and redoubts, or the walls and the ditch. chel properly

signifies the ditch or trench without the wall; see Kimchi. The

same rabbin says, This song refers to the time of salvation, i.e.,

the days of the Messiah.

Verse 2. The righteous nation] The converted Gentiles shall have

the gates opened-a full entrance into all the glories and

privileges of the Gospel; being fellow heirs with the converted

Jews. The Jewish peculiarity is destroyed, for the middle wall of

partition is broken down.

The truth] The Gospel itself-as the fulfilment of all the

ancient types, shadows, and ceremonies; and therefore termed the

truth, in opposition to all those shadowy rites and ceremonies.

"The law was given by Moses; but grace and TRUTH came by Jesus

Christ;" Joh 1:17, and See Clarke on Joh 1:17.

Verse 3. In perfect peace] shalom, shalom, "peace,

peace," i.e., peace upon peace-all kinds of prosperity-happiness

in this world and in the world to come.

Because he trusteth in thee-"Because they have trusted in thee"]

So the Chaldee, betacho. The Syriac and Vulgate

read batachnu, "we have trusted." Schroeder, Gram.

Heb. p. 360, explains the present reading batuach,

impersonally, confisum est.

Verse 4. In the Lord JEHOVAH-"In JEHOVAH"] In JAH JEHOVAH, Heb.;

but see Houbigant, and See Clarke on Isa 12:2.

Everlasting strength] tsur olamim, "the rock of

ages;" or, according to Rab. Maimon,-the eternal Fountain, Source,

or Spring. Does not this refer to the lasting streams from the

rock in the desert? And that rock was Christ. ge han hoped in the

Lord fro the everlastinge worldis.-Old MS. BIBLE.

Verse 8. Have we waited for thee-"We have placed our confidence

in thy name"] The Septuagint, Syriac, and Chaldee read

kavinu, without the pronoun annexed.

Verse 9. Have I desired thee] Forty-one MSS. of Dr. Kennicott's

and many of De Rossi's, (nine ancient,) and five editions read

ivvithicha. It is proper to note this; because the second

yod being omitted in the text, the Vulgate and many others

have rendered it in the third person.

When thy judgments, &c.] It would be better to read, When thy

judgments were in the earth, the inhabitants of the world have

learned ( lamedu) righteousness. Men seldom seek God in

prosperity; they are apt to rest in an earthly portion: but God

in mercy embitters this by adversity; then there is a general cry

after himself as our chief, solid, and only permanent good.

Verse 16. Lord, in trouble have they visited thee-"O JEHOVAH, in

affliction we have sought thee"] So the Septuagint and two MSS.

have pekadnucha, in the first person plural. And so perhaps

it should be tsaknu, in the first person; but how the

Septuagint read this word is not clear; and this last member of

the verse is extremely obscure.

For lamo, "on them," the Septuagint read lanu,

"on us," in the first person likewise; a frequent mistake;

See Clarke on Isa 10:29.

Verse 18. We have-brought forth wind] The learned Professor

Michaelis explains this image in the following manner: "Rariorem

morbum describi, empneumatosin, aut ventosam molam, dictum; quo

quae laborant diu et sibi et peritis medicis gravidae

videntur,tandemque post omnes verae graviditatis molestias et

labored ventum ex utero emittunt: quem morbum passim describunt

medici." Syntagma Comment., vol. ii., p. 165. The empneumatosis,

or windy inflation of the womb, is a disorder to which females are

liable. Some have had this in such wise, for a long time together,

that they have appeared to themselves, and even to very skilful

medical men, to be pregnant; and after having endured much pain,

and even the throes of apparent childbearing, they have been eased

and restored to health by the emission of a great quantity of wind

from the uterus. This disorder is well known to medical men." The

Syriac translator seems to have understood it in this manner:

Enixi sumus, ut illae quae ventos pariunt. "We have brought forth

as they who bring forth wind."

In the earth-"In the land"] bearets; so a MS., the

Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate.

Verse 19. My dead body-"My deceased"] All the ancient Versions

render it in the plural; they read niblothai, my dead

bodies. The Syriac and Chaldee read niblotheyhem,

their dead bodies. No MS. yet found confirms this reading.

The dew of herbs-"The dew of the dawn"] Lucis, according to the

Vulgate; so also the Syriac and Chaldee.

The deliverance of the people of God from a state of the lowest

depression is explained by images plainly taken from the

resurrection of the dead. In the same manner the Prophet Ezekiel

represents the restoration of the Jewish nation from a state of

utter dissolution by the restoring of the dry bones to life,

exhibited to him in a vision, Eze 37:1-14, which is directly thus

applied and explained, Eze 37:11-13. And this deliverance is

expressed with a manifest opposition to what is here said above,

Isa 26:14, of the great lords and tyrants, under whom they had

groaned:-

"They are dead, they shall not live;

They are deceased tyrants, they shall not rise:"

that they should be destroyed utterly, and should never be

restored to their former power and glory. It appears from hence,

that the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead was at that time

a popular and common doctrine; for an image which is assumed in

order to express or represent any thing in the way of allegory or

metaphor, whether poetical or prophetical, must be an image

commonly known and understood; otherwise it will not answer the

purpose for which it is assumed.-L.

Kimchi refers these words to the days of the Messiah, and says,

"Then many of the saints shall rise from the dead." And quotes

Da 12:2. Do not these words speak of the

resurrection of our blessed Lord; and of that resurrection of

the bodies of men, which shall be the consequence of his body

being raised from the dead?

Thy dead men shall live,-with my dead body shall they arise.]

This seems very express.

Verse 20. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers] An

exhortation to patience and resignation under oppression, with a

confident expectation of deliverance by the power of God

manifestly to be exerted in the destruction of the oppressor. It

seems to be an allusion to the command of Moses to the Israelites,

when the destroying angel was to go through the land of Egypt,

"not to go out at the door of their houses until the morning;"

Ex 12:22. And before the passage of the Red Sea: "Fear ye not,

stand still, and see the salvation of JEHOVAH. JEHOVAH shall fight

for you, and ye shall hold your peace," Ex 14:13, 14.

Verse 21. The earth also shall disclose her blood] Crimes of

cruelty and oppression, which have passed away from the eyes of

men, God will bring into judgment, and exact punishment for them.

O what a reckoning will the kingdoms of the earth have with God,

for the torrents of blood which they have shed for the

gratification of the lust of power and ambition! Who shall live

when he doeth this?

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