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A song inciting to confidence in God, for his judgments, and for his favour to his people. An exhortation to wait on God.
Before Christ 715.
THIS chapter contains the second doxology, and is truly poetical. It is twofold: We have first, after the preface, Isa 26:1 the song of the true believers, which consists of different parts. The first sets forth a confessional and fiducial celebration of the benefit conferred upon the church: the second addresses, in a congratulatory manner, these confessors of the truth, who had not fallen away in the time of distress, Isaiah 26:2. The third explains the faith and hope of the children of GOD, Isaiah 26:3. The fourth exhorts the brethren of a weaker mind, from the deliverance now granted to the church, to arm themselves with the same confidence against all fears and temptations, Isaiah 26:4-6. The fifth, turning the discourse to God, delivers a confession concerning the divine judgments, their causes and effects, and the disposition of the holy and the wicked towards them, Isaiah 26:7-19. In which confession the pious first acknowledge, in general, the equity of the ways of God toward the righteous in those judgments which he executes upon the church, Isaiah 26:7. Secondly, they set forth their own disposition respecting those judgments, Isaiah 26:8-9. Thirdly, the disposition of the wicked, Isaiah 26:10-11. Fourthly, they particularly set forth the lively faith, hope, and confidence which they had maintained in the time of affliction, Isaiah 26:12-19. The epilogue, or the prophet's conclusion of this song, making its second part, is simple, and of an historical style, corroborating the hope and faith of the church, and conceived in the manner of an answer to the above confession, Isaiah 26:20-21. The whole structure of the song, as well with respect to argument as composition, is very similar to the cxviiith Psalm. Vitringa.
Isaiah 26:1. In that day— That is, at the time of the deliverance which the church had gained by the divine aid, which time is that of Simon the Ethnarch and John Hyrcanus, if we take the prophesy literally; if mystically, the times of the deliverance of the Christian church from its great afflictions, which we shall consider at large when we come to our commentary on the Revelation. The land of Judah, literally and mystically, is the land of the confessors of the true religion. It is certain that this song can only have its true and full completion in its reference to the Gospel. The latter part of this verse contains the confessional praise for the blessing of deliverance and salvation, which the chorus may be supposed to sing: as much as to say, "Though in our distressed and almost desperate estate, no walls and bulwarks, no human defence remained to us; yet Jehovah was present, who is infinitely more powerful, and a far better defence, than any of these. In him we had a strong city: his salvation was to us, and will ever be, a wall and a bulwark." Such we may suppose to have been the language of believers at the period of history referred to; see 2Ma 13:15-17 and such will be the voice and confession of the saints at the last period of the deliverance of the church.
Isaiah 26:2. Open ye the gates— We have here another chorus, congratulating those who have been found faithful in affliction, and proclaiming that they should have communion not only with the earthly Jerusalem, and the earthly temple, but also with the spiritual and heavenly city and temple; and the scene is so formed as if the chorus here introduced saw these confessors, delivered from prison and distress, returning in great companies to their own country, hastening to Jerusalem and the temple, there to present their grateful praises to God; and upon the sight of them, they call out to the governors of the city and temple to admit these children of the Most High into the holy city.
That the righteous nation, &c.— And let the righteous nation enter; Isa 26:3 constant in the truth, stayed in mind; thou shalt preserve them in perpetual peace, because they have trusted in thee. Lowth. See Isa 26:12 and chap. Isaiah 32:17-18.
Isaiah 26:4-6. Trust ye in the Lord— The fourth chorus, in these verses, contains an exhortation directed to others to place their confidence in God, upon the knowledge and observation of the present illustrious deliverance vouchsafed. The fifth and sixth verses should be rendered in the perfect tense, He hath brought down, &c. The foot hath trodden down. See chap. Isaiah 25:2; Isaiah 25:12.
Isaiah 26:7. The way, &c.— Or, The way [chalked out] to the just is perfectly right. Thou, most upright, dost mark out the path of the just. Here begins the confession, which is extended to the 19th verse. In this verse the believers acknowledge the equity and justice of the ways of God in general toward his people. The meaning of the prophet is, that the state and condition of the life of the just, with all its circumstances and events, is so circumscribed and defined by the divine providence, that it is exactly accommodated to all the reasons of wisdom, justice, and goodness; and, though it may seem otherwise to the carnal eye, yet nothing occurs in the oeconomy of the divine providence towards them, which can reasonably be found fault with. See Vitringa's Observationes Sacrae, lib. 3: cap. 15.
Isaiah 26:8-9. Yea, in the way of thy judgments— How excellently does this passage correspond to the preceding, according to the interpretation we have given! The holy confessors, persuaded of the equity and justice of the ways of God, here declare with what disposition of mind they receive the trial with which God thought proper in his wisdom to exercise them. The heavy afflictions under which they groaned were so far from extinguishing their hope and love, that on the contrary they greatly excited and promoted these laudable affections; for, bring thoroughly persuaded that the ways of God are right, and that God will not suffer those whom he loves to be tempted above what they are able to bear, by waiting for judgment from a God the just judge of the world, they testify that they have united themselves to him, by a studious exercise of their souls. See Psalms 16:7. 1 Peter 4:17. The change of person, in the 9th verse, is very common in our prophet.
Isaiah 26:10-11. Let favour be shewed, &c.— This passage corresponds with the former in such a manner as to illustrate it. The chorus had shewn the necessity of the divine judgments, and the disposition of the righteous towards them. They continue their discourse, and say, that the wicked, when God, out of his long-suffering mercy, spares them, turn even this into a motive for greater insolence, and rage so much the more fiercely against the pious, as if they were secure from the divine vengeance. Such men will not learn righteousness, but will deal perversely, even in the land of uprightness, or rectitudes: [that is to say, in Canaan, where God had his prophets and teachers who taught what was true and right. See chap. Isaiah 30:10.] and will not observe the majesty of Jehovah; that is, when he first begins to avenge his people, they will not acknowledge that he is their avenger, and that he exerts his glory and power for their salvation. The chorus then go on to say, Isaiah 26:11. That though they will not acknowledge the divine hand, they shall at length be compelled with shame to do so, in consequence of God's various and repeated judgments upon the enemies of his people. Vitringa renders the 11th verse, Lord, thy hand is lifted up; they do not see: But they shall see, and be ashamed: The zeal [thou hast] for thy people, yea fire, shall devour thine enemies. See chap. Isaiah 9:7.
Isaiah 26:13-14. O Lord our God— The holy confessors, having in the preceding verse expressed their hope that God would perfect all his good works for them, proceed to unfold that hope; after having already obtained their deliverance in part with the overthrow and destruction of their enemies. They say, that other lords besides Jehovah had obtained power and dominion over them,—which literally signifies the Babylonians, Persians, &c.; mystically, the spiritual enemies of the church; but now delivered from this servitude, they add, that they will remember the name of God, or make mention of it by God only. The meaning whereof is, that, owing their delivery solely to God, and not to the intervention of any temporal power, they would give thanks to him alone for the benefit, and acknowledge their salvation as due to him only. Bishop Lowth reads it. Thee only, and thy name, henceforth will we celebrate. See Psalms 71:16. The 14th verse should be rendered, The dead shall not revive, the deceased shall not rise; and the meaning is, that the enemies of the church were so totally destroyed, that they should not be able to rise any more to hurt or persecute the people of God. See Vitringa.
Isaiah 26:15. Thou hast increased the nation— Vitringa renders the last clause of this verse, Thou hast far enlarged all the boundaries of the land. The meaning is, that God had treated his people so kindly, as to increase, adorn, and amplify them with various benefits of his grace and benediction, thus conciliating great glory to his own name; and had extended the boundaries of the land of Judaea much more than under the most flourishing kings. There requires nothing more to shew the completion of this part of the prophesy than the following words of Josephus: "Now at this time [the time of Alexander Jannaeus] the Jews were in possession of the following cities, which had belonged to the Syrians, Idumaeans, and Phoenicians. At the sea-side, Strato's Tower, Apollonia, Joppa, Jamnia, Ashdod, Gaza, Anthedon, Raphia, and Rhinocolura: In the middle of the country, near to Idumea, Adora and Marissa; near the country of Samaria, Mount Carmel and Mount Tabor, Scythopolis and Gadara; of the country of Gaulonitis, Seleucia and Gabala; in the country of Moab, Heshbon and Medaba, Lemba and Oronas, Gelithon, Zara, the valley of the Cilices, and Pella; which last they utterly destroyed, because its inhabitants could not bear to change their religious rites for those peculiar to the Jews. The Jews also possessed others of the principal cities of Syria, which had been destroyed." Antiq. lib. 13: cap. 15 sect. 4. See Obad. Isaiah 26:18, &c. and Zechariah 9:1; Zechariah 9:17.
Isaiah 26:16-18. Lord, in trouble have they visited thee— O JEHOVAH, in affliction have we sought thee. Lowth. The 18th verse may be read, We had conceived; we were in pain; we brought forth as it were wind: As to deliverance, it was not yet perfected in the land, neither had the inhabitants of the world fallen. While the pious believers revolve in their minds the benefits of the present times, they recollect those preceding, in which they had long groaned under various tribulations, from which they could not deliver themselves with all their endeavours: they confess, therefore, that during all that period in which they were compelled to look to and depend upon other Lords, namely, the Egyptians and Syrians, besides God only, they could not emerge. Their prayers were without effect; their expectations were disappointed; and, being seized with pangs, like labouring women, before this time of deliverance for which they trusted solely in God, they had brought forth wind; they had produced nothing; they had done nothing which could at all conduce to their deliverance and salvation. See Vitringa, and Joseph. Antiq. lib. 12: cap. 3.
Isaiah 26:19. Thy dead men shall live, &c.— Thy dead shall live; my deceased, they shall rise: awake, &c.—But the earth shall cast forth, as an abortion, the deceased tyrants. Lowth. The present period, which closes this confession, is excellent; wherein the pious declare, in the beginning of the deliverance which had happened to them, their certain hopes of perfect deliverance. The argument is manifestly their confession concerning the resurrection of the dead, whom they call thy dead; and the sentence is divided into two parts, an apostrophe being intermixed. In their confession the pious set forth their hope of the present and future state of things, in opposition to the state of the preceding period: which hope, as they declare in free and elegant words, so do they mutually congratulate each other upon it. The words are so conceived, that at the first appearance they seem to treat only of the resurrection of the dead, properly so called; and yet, according to their primary sense, they describe a mystical, metaphorical, or parabolical resurrection. The gradations in the prophet's discourse should be observed; "Thy dead, says he, O God, shall live, or revive; as many as have died in thy communion, and particularly in thy cause, (the confessors and martyrs of the true religion in all times,) shall not perish, though they may seem to do so, but shall revive and live; first, in this land, where the justice of the cause for which they died, their eminent holiness and usefulness, shall be brought forth into light, shall be praised and celebrated with the most honourable remembrance of their names, in the restored, purified, and glorious state of the church; and then, at the end of time, when that first resurrection of their good names shall receive its full completion, they shall live and revive, with a full justification of their name and cause." See Luke 17:33; Luke 20:38. The chorus adds a second gradation, my deceased: In the first sense is understood the church, afflicted, distressed, as it was in the times of the Maccabees; in the mystical sense, the Christian church, oppressed with the most grievous persecutions, so that the hope of its restitution might seem almost desperate; but on this we shall enlarge when we come to the Revelation. It is added thirdly, They shall arise: To rise, is more than to revive. In the Rev 11:11 the two witnesses, being revived, stood upon their feet: It was so under the Maccabees; the state not only revived, but rose. It re-flourished, and emerged more beautiful than it had hitherto appeared; see on Isaiah 26:15. The prophet subjoins an apostrophe, Awake, and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; which is to be understood as connected with the former part of the verse, and is an extatic rapture, such as our prophet abounds with, wherein the pious confessors express the fulness and assurance of their hope concerning their future deliverance. See Ephesians 5:14. In the second member of the sentence the prophet adds, Thy dew is as the dew of herbs; that is to say, the divine dew (the efficacious word of the divine command and blessing, or the life-giving Spirit of God) is like the dew which brings forth by his secret power the herbs out of the earth, or makes those which appear to be dead to revive; and thus the earth, moistened, as it were, and made fruitful by the dew of the divine blessing, should cast forth the dead, shut up within its bowels; nay, that very earth which used to absorb and swallow up men, should now, in its turn, at the time of the resurrection, as it were bring forth and produce men; for the idea in the last clause is taken from the delivery of women; (see Isaiah 26:17.) and is illustrated by Acts 2:24. The connection of the whole passage will plainly appear from the following sketch of it: "Thy dead, O Lord, shall live, shall rise; nay, even my deceased, who, as it seemed, were in a state perfectly desperate; they shall awake and sing, who dwell in the dust; BECAUSE thy dew is as the dew of herbs. The word and power of thy Spirit is a vivifying power, drawing forth from the bowels of the earth: and that earth, like a mother, bringing forth the dead committed to her for a certain time." This prophesy, in the first place, refers, as we have observed, to the resurrection of the state under the Maccabees; and secondarily, to the resurrection of the Christian church from a state of great oppression; but the expressions in it are too strong to leave us in a moment's doubt, that the prophet's ideas and conceptions were taken from that resurrection whereof all men shall partake, especially from the final resurrection of the saints, which is the secondary but most important sense of all. See Vitringa.
Isaiah 26:20-21. Come, my people— These verses contain the conclusion wherewith the prophet, speaking in the name of God, seals and confirms the hope of the pious—delivered in the preceding verses. He exhorts them to hide themselves, and patiently to await, amid the exercises of piety and devotion, for a short time, the completion of their promised deliverance, during the rage of a terrible persecution permitted by God, for the proving and purifying of his church; assured that God would most certainly repress and severely punish the fury of their enemies, the blood of the martyrs and confessors of the truth, which the earth might seem to have covered, being disclosed and avenged; while on the other hand, he would perfect the deliverance of his people, and increase his blessings of every kind upon them. The metaphor is taken from the raging of a mighty storm; during the continuance whereof, men fly into their houses, and shut their doors to secure themselves from its devastation.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, The work of heaven is everlasting praise, and true believers delight to begin the service upon earth. We have here the song which, in the latter day, shall be sung in the land of Judah, the church of the firstborn.
1. God hath prepared for his faithful people a city, his church; a strong city, which needs no human defences, when God himself is in the midst of her; and his salvation her walls and bulwarks. Note; They dwell in safety who have fled to Jesus, the city of refuge, and live by faith in him the Son of God who loved them, and gave himself for them.
2. He commands the gates to be opened for the admission of the righteous nation, that keepeth the word of his truth. All that in Jesus Christ the way, the truth, and the life, draw near to God, are now accepted as righteous, welcome to partake of the ordinances of his church below, and, continuing to cleave to him, shall have hereafter an entrance ministered to them abundantly, into the everlasting kingdom of our God and Saviour above.
3. The prophet exults in the security of those who thus receive and trust God's promises. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; peace with God, peace of conscience, peace under every provocation, peace in every trial, peace that passeth all understanding, shall the soul enjoy, which is content to trust its all in the hands of Jesus. Lord, increase our faith! increase our peace!
4. He exhorts to exercise faith at all times in the Saviour, and under all difficulties to trust in his meritorious sacrifice for pardon and acceptance, in his grace for strength, in his promises for every future blessing; and he will never disappoint our hopes, for in the Lord Jah Jehovah is everlasting strength, or the rock of ages; he is able to save to the uttermost; while fixed on him, we shall be immoveable, since the rock of ages is our foundation. Note; Had we a heart to trust God more firmly, we should certainly find cause to praise him more frequently and joyfully.
2nd, We have,
1. The humiliation of the proud, and the destruction of the lofty city, Babylon, now trod upon by those who before were oppressed by her; or of spiritual Babylon, on which the poor persecuted saints of the Most High shall trample, when it is utterly laid waste before the Lord in the latter day.
2. The regard that God shews his people. The way of the just is uprightness, a strait path of uniform and steady obedience: or, as it may be read, the way of the Lord to the just is evennesses, agreeable to his own perfections of wisdom, goodness, truth, and equity; so that they have ever cause to address him as thou most upright, whose ways of providence and grace are perfectly pure, and transcendantly excellent; thou dost weigh, or mark out, or make even, the path of the just, dost consider and approve it as good, or, removing every obstacle, enable him to walk in the paths of holiness.
3. The people of God profess their attendance on him, and desires after him. In the way of to judgments, thy word, and ordinances, or thy chastisements which we have endured, we have waited for thee, patiently expecting to see thy salvation: the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee; in the midst of our heaviest afflictions, to thee our affections go forth; we think upon thee, and derive support from the remembrance of thy grace, power, love, and faithfulness. With my soul ardently have I desired thee in the night, literally waking when others slept, or under the darkest dispensations of Providence; yea, with my spirit within me, will I seek thee early, not forgetting him in prosperity; but when the day returned, with the dawn meeting him with prayer and praise: for when thy judgments are in the earth, (those that shall be laid upon the sinners, and the followers of Antichrist) the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness, the justice of God in his judgments on others, and his afflictions on themselves; and, profiting under them, will bring forth the peaceable fruits of righteousness, in penitence, faith, patience, love and obedience. Note; (1.) They who wait for God in his ways shall assuredly meet him to their comfort. (2.) If our affections be not warm towards God, we need be jealous lest there be a rival in our hearts. (3.) The earlier in life we begin to seek God, the pleasanter shall we find his ways. (4.) Under our own corrections we must humble our souls, and from his visitations on others take warning; then, however heavy the stroke, the issue will be to us righteousness and peace.
4. The impenitence of the wicked is observed as the prelude to their ruin. Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness; providential mercies are no more effectual to lead him to repentance, than judgments to drive him: in the land of uprightness, where the most plentiful knowledge of gospel-truth is diffused, and the power of gospel-grace most eminently displayed, will he deal unjustly, persist in his iniquities, in opposition to every warning of God's word and ministers, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord, acknowledge his power, providence, and goodness: nor worship, serve, and obey him, as in duty bound. Lord, when thy hand is lifted up, or thy high hand, they will not see that hand in their mercies, or in the judgments visible in the earth, and hanging over their own heads, obstinately hardened, and wilfully shutting their eyes against conviction. Note; (1.) To dwell in a land of uprightness is an inestimable mercy; and there to dwell in sin and darkness, where light and grace plentifully abound, will be aggravated guilt. (2.) Forgetfulness of God, and inattention to his word and works, are the ruin of men's souls. (3.) They who will not see are justly given up to judicial blindness.
5. Their destruction is near and sure. The judgments which they would not fear, they must feel. They shall see the prosperity of God's people, and be ashamed for their envy: the zeal thou hast for thy people, the Lord's regard for them, and his care to vindicate their wrongs, yea, fire shall devour thine enemies, the fire of present judgments, or the unquenchable fire which shall torment their bodies and souls in hell. Let the enemies of God's people hear and tremble!
3rdly. We have,
1. The church's dependance on God, ascribing to his grace alone all the good which was found in her. Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us, whatever enemy seeks to trouble our repose; for thou also hast wrought all our works in us, or for us; whatever good is in our souls, thou, Lord, art alone the author of it; whatever good we are the instruments of communicating to others, thy grace is alone to be acknowledged; whatever blessings or comforts we receive, from thy hand alone they come.
2. The humbling confession and gracious purpose of God's people. O Lord our God, whose we are, and whom we ought and desire to serve, with shame we acknowledge other lords besides thee have had dominion over us; either this is the confession of the Jews, bewailing their captivity and idolatries, or of the church, oppressed by the persecuting powers of Antichrist; or, more generally, of every believer who laments the bondage of corruption, and earnestly longs for a deliverance from it, every vile affection being a tyrant; or of the penitent burdened under the guilt of sin, and more or less led captive by Satan. But now recovered by grace, we shall be enabled to say, by thee only, by thy grace supported, and by thy power delivered, will we make mention of thy name, cleave alone to thee as our God and guide, and ascribe to thee the praise of all our salvation.
3. They triumph over their oppressors. They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise; either the Babylonish monarchs, whose kingdom never rose from its ruins, or the enemies of the church in general, whether Pagan, Papal, or Mahomedan, who will be finally destroyed, and no more oppress the people of God, therefore, or because, thou hast visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish, consigned them to eternal shame in the place of torment.
4. The great increase of the church is declared. Thou hast increased the nation, O Lord, thou hast increased the nation, either the Jewish nation by proselytes, or rather the Christian church, called the righteous nation, by numerous converts of Jews and Gentiles: and this is spoken as already done, because known of God in his infinite prescience. Thou art glorified in the salvation of thy people, and in the ruin of their enemies: thou hast removed it far unto all the ends of the earth, in a state of dispersion, from whence they are now delivered; or he had spread into every land the knowledge of his grace, and gathered a people for himself out of all nations.
5. Before their restoration, a state of great trouble is foreseen and lamented; either of the Jews groaning under their captivity, or the church, under the perilous times which precede the destruction of Antichrist. Lord, in trouble have they visited thee; this being the great use and benefit of afflictions, to bring us nearer to God, from whom prosperity is too apt to alienate our hearts: they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them; for this is the constant method of all God's people, in prayer and supplications to make their requests known unto him: nor are they, alas! in general ever so earnest and importunate, as when they see his chastisements bringing to remembrance their sins. Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs, which are the most acute and bitter, so have we been in thy sight, O Lord, in deep distress, and crying for deliverance: we have been with child, big with hopes; we have been in pain, travailing in prayers and tears, yet disappointed, and our hopes abortive, so long is our salvation delayed: we have brought forth wind, our prayers ineffectual and unanswered; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth, so as to regain our liberty, or, as Bishop Lowth reads it, Salvation is not wrought in the land, to deliver us from our enemies; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen, but continue to oppress the cause of godliness and truth. Note; (1.) God may, for wise ends, long suffer his own cause and people to be oppressed by wicked men. (2.) However long or severe our trials, we must continue to pray, and not faint. (3.) If we do so, we shall assuredly not be disappointed at the last. For,
6. Christ answers his people's prayers. Thy dead men shall live; spiritually, by the power of Jesus, the dead in sin shall be quickened, and in the latter day vast additions of living souls be made to the church; or it refers to the resurrection, when the dead in Christ shall rise first, and reign with him, together with my dead body shall they arise, as the bodies of many saints did, when Jesus himself arose, Mat 27:51-53 or as my dead body shall they arise, certainly, and as gloriously: awake, and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; awake at the gospel call, ye dead in sin; or awake from the dust of death, ye sleeping saints; arise to meet your Lord in the air, and join in songs of praise that never will have an end: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, thy spirit as effectual to quicken the souls and bodies of the spiritually and naturally dead, as the dew causes the herb to shoot that seemed dead in the ground, during the sleep of winter, and the earth shall cast out the dead; when, at the word of Jesus, they that are in their graves shall hear and live. Note; Whatever our afflictions here may be, if we have but a part in the resurrection of the just, we need not ask or wish for more.
4thly, We have the conclusion of the former song.
1. Christ calls his people to a place of safety, when he is about to execute his wrath on the wicked. Come my people, the endearing title of property and relation, and the assurance of safety; enter thou into thy chambers, where they may be safe; as Rahab when Jericho was taken, or the Israelites when the destroying angel passed through the land; and shut thy doors about thee, to be secure and private, to pour out the voice of prayer when danger threatens: hide thyself from the impending storm under the shadow of Almighty grace, as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast; the time will be momentary, for a short work will God make on the earth; his wrath, when it begins to consume the wicked, will quickly make an end of them.
2. He goes forth to execute his judgments. For behold, to the astonishment of the surprised world, the Lord cometh out of his place, in terrible majesty to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; be they never so great, never so numerous, their iniquity will receive a just recompence of reward: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain; the blood of saints and martyrs, from Abel to the last persecuted believer, shall then be brought to light; and, however secretly murders may have been committed, blood will cry for vengeance; or it may signify the immense carnage to be made in the battle of Armageddon, so that the earth shall not be able to drink up the blood. Revelation 14:20; Revelation 19:17-18. Note; The day is near when God will bring every secret thing into judgment. Let the guilty tremble.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Isaiah 26". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Easter