Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
Isaiah 26:1-21. Song of praise of Israel after being restored to their own land.
As the overthrow of the apostate faction is described in the twenty-fifth chapter, so the peace of the faithful is here described under the image of a well-fortified city.
strong city — Jerusalem, strong in Jehovah‘s protection: type of the new Jerusalem (Psalm 48:1-3), contrasted with the overthrow of the ungodly foe (Isaiah 26:4-7, Isaiah 26:12-14; Revelation 22:2, Revelation 22:10-12, etc.).
salvation walls — (Isaiah 60:18; Jeremiah 3:23; Zechariah 2:5). Maurer translates, “Jehovah makes His help serve as walls” (Isaiah 33:20, Isaiah 33:21, etc.).
bulwarks — the trench with the antemural earthworks exterior to the wall.
Address of the returning people to the gates of Jerusalem (type of the heavenly city, Hebrews 12:22); (Psalm 24:7, Psalm 24:9; Psalm 118:19). Antitypically (Revelation 22:14; Revelation 21:25, Revelation 21:27).
righteous nation — that had not apostatized during the captivity. Horsley translates, “The nation of the Just One,” namely, the Jews.
stayed — (Psalm 112:7, Psalm 112:8). Jesus can create “perfect peace” within thy mind, though storms of trial rage without (Isaiah 57:19; Mark 4:39); as a city kept securely by a strong garrison within, though besieged without (so Philemon 4:7). “Keep,” literally, “guard as with a garrison.” Horsley translates, (God‘s) workmanship (the Hebrew does not probably mean “mind,” but “a thing formed,” Ephesians 2:10), so constantly “supported”; or else “formed and supported (by Thee) Thou shalt preserve (it, namely, the righteous nation) in perpetual peace.”
Lord Jehovah — Hebrew, Jah, Jehovah. The union of the two names expresses in the highest degree God‘s unchanging love and power (compare Psalm 68:4). This passage, and Isaiah 12:2; Exodus 6:3; Psalm 83:18, are the four in which the English Version retains the Jehovah of the original. Maurer translates, “For JAH (the eternal unchangeable One, Exodus 3:14) is Jehovah, the rock of ages” (compare Isaiah 45:17; Deuteronomy 32:15; 1 Samuel 2:2).
lofty city — Babylon; representative of the stronghold of the foes of God‘s people in all ages (Isaiah 25:2, Isaiah 25:12; Isaiah 13:14).
poor — (Isaiah 25:4), the once afflicted Jewish captives. “Foot shall tread,” is figurative for exulting in the fall of God‘s enemies (Revelation 18:20).
uprightness — rather, “is direct,” that is, is directed by God to a prosperous issue, however many be their afflictions in the meantime (as in the case of the Jewish exiles); the context requires this sense (Psalm 34:19; Proverbs 3:6; Proverbs 11:5), [Maurer]: thus “way” means God‘s dealings with the righteous (Psalm 37:23).
most upright — (Deuteronomy 32:4).
dost weigh — (1 Samuel 2:3; Proverbs 5:21). Rather, “thou dost make plain and level” [Maurer], removing all obstacles (Isaiah 40:3, Isaiah 40:4).
way of thy judgments — We have waited for Thy proceeding to punish the enemy (Isaiah 26:9, Isaiah 26:10) [Maurer]. Horsley translates Isaiah 26:7, Isaiah 26:8, “The path of the Just One is perfectly even; an even road Thou wilt level for the Just One, even the path of Thy laws, O Jehovah. We have expected Thee.”
name remembrance — the manifested character of God by which He would be remembered (Isaiah 64:5; Exodus 3:15).
soul I — literally, “I my soul,” in apposition; the faithful Jews here speak individually. The overthrow of the foe and the restoration of the Jews are to follow upon prayer on the part of the latter and of all God‘s people (Isaiah 62:1-4, Isaiah 62:6, Isaiah 62:7; Psalm 102:13-17).
in the night — (Psalm 63:6; Song of Solomon 3:1).
world learn righteousness — the remnant left after judgments (Psalm 58:10, Psalm 58:11; Zechariah 14:16).
uprightness — rather, as in Isaiah 26:7, “prosperity,” answering to “favor” in the parallelism, and in antithesis to “judgments in the earth” (Isaiah 26:9); where prosperity attends the wicked as well as the just, “he will not learn righteousness,” therefore judgments must be sent that he may “learn” it [Maurer].
lifted up — to punish the foes of God‘s people. They who will not see shall be made to “see” to their cost (Isaiah 5:12).
their envy at the people — that is, “Thy people.” Lowth translates, “They shall see with confusion Thy zeal for Thy people.”
fire of enemies — that is, the fire to which Thine enemies are doomed (Isaiah 9:18).
peace — God‘s favor, including all blessings, temporal and spiritual, opposed to their previous trials (Psalm 138:8).
other lords — temporal; heathen kings (2 Chronicles 12:8; 2 Chronicles 28:5, 2 Chronicles 28:6), Nebuchadnezzar, etc. Spiritual also, idols and lusts (Romans 6:16-18).
by thee only — It is due to Thee alone, that we again worship Thee as our Lord [Maurer]. “(We are) Thine only, we will celebrate Thy name” [Horsley]. The sanctifying effect of affliction (Psalm 71:16; Psalm 119:67, Psalm 119:71).
They — The “other lords” or tyrants (Isaiah 26:13).
shall not live — namely, again.
deceased — Hebrew, “Rephaim”; powerless, in the land of shades (Isaiah 14:9, Isaiah 14:10).
therefore — that is, inasmuch as. Compare “therefore” (Genesis 18:5; Genesis 19:8).
hast — prophetical preterite (Isaiah 9:3).
hast removed far ends of earth — rather, “Thou hast extended far all the borders of the land” [Vitringa].
visited — sought.
poured out — (Psalm 62:8), as a vessel emptying out all its contents.
prayer — literally, “a whispered prayer,” Margin, “a secret sighing” to God for help (compare Jeremiah 13:17; Deuteronomy 8:16).
An image of anguish accompanied with expectation, to be followed by joy that will cause the anguish utterly to be forgotten. Zion, looking for deliverance, seemingly in vain, but really about to be gloriously saved (Micah 4:9, Micah 4:10-13; Micah 5:1-3; John 16:21, John 16:22).
brought forth wind — Michaelis explains this of the disease empneumatosis. Rather, “wind” is a figure for that which proves an abortive effort. The “we” is in antithesis to “Thy,” “my” (Isaiah 26:19), what we vainly attempt, God will accomplish.
not wrought deliverance in earth — literally, “the land (Judea) is not made security,” that is, is not become a place of security from our enemies.
neither world fallen — The “world” at large, is in antithesis to “the earth,” that is, Judea. The world at enmity with the city of God has not been subdued. But Maurer explains “fallen,” according to Arabic idiom, of the birth of a child, which is said to fall when being born; “inhabitants of the world (Israel, Isaiah 24:4; not the world in general) are not yet born”; that is, the country as yet lies desolate, and is not yet populated.
In antithesis to Isaiah 26:14, “They (Israel‘s foes) shall not live”; “Thy (Jehovah‘s) dead men (the Jews) shall live,” that is, primarily, be restored, spiritually (Isaiah 54:1-3), civilly and nationally (Isaiah 26:15); whereas Thy foes shall not; ultimately, and in the fullest scope of the prophecy, restored to life literally (Ezekiel 37:1-14; Daniel 12:2).
together with my dead body — rather, “my dead body,” or “bodies” (the Jewish nation personified, which had been spiritually and civilly dead; or the nation, as a parent, speaking of the bodies of her children individually, see on Isaiah 26:9, “I,” “My”): Jehovah‘s “dead” and “my dead” are one and the same [Horsley]. However, as Jesus is the antitype to Israel (Matthew 2:15), English Version gives a true sense, and one ultimately contemplated in the prophecy: Christ‘s dead body being raised again is the source of Jehovah‘s people (all, and especially believers, the spiritual Israelites) also being raised (1 Corinthians 15:20-22).
Awake — (Ephesians 5:14), spiritually.
in dust — prostate and dead, spiritually and nationally; also literally (Isaiah 25:12; Isaiah 47:1).
dew — which falls copiously in the East and supplies somewhat the lack of rain (Hosea 14:5).
cast out dead — that is, shall bring them forth to life again.
chambers — When God is about to take vengeance on the ungodly, the saints shall be shut in by Him in a place of safety, as Noah and his family were in the days of the flood (Genesis 7:16), and as Israel was commanded not to go out of doors on the night of the slaying of the Egyptian first-born (Exodus 12:22, Exodus 12:23; Psalm 31:20; Psalm 83:3). The saints are calmly and confidently to await the issue (Exodus 14:13, Exodus 14:14).
(Micah 1:3; Judges 1:14).
disclose blood — (Genesis 4:10, Genesis 4:11; Job 16:18; Ezekiel 24:7, Ezekiel 24:8). All the innocent blood shed, and all other wrongs done, so long seemingly with impunity, shall then be avenged (Revelation 16:6).
on the Whole Bible". "http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/view.cgi?book=isa&chapter=26&verse=19". 1871.
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