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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Isaiah 26

 

 

Verses 1-10

5. THE JUDGMENT AS REALIZATION OF THE IDEA OF JUSTICE

Isaiah 26:1-10

1 In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah;

We have a strong city:

Salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.

2 Open ye the gates,

That the righteous nation which keepeth the [FN1]truth may enter in.

3 [FN2]Thou wilt keep him [FN3]in perfect peace whose [FN4]mind is stayed on thee;

Because he trusteth in thee.

4 Trust ye in the Lord for ever;

For in the Lord Jehovah Isaiah 5 everlasting strength.

5 For he bringeth down them that dwell on high;

The lofty city, he layeth it low;

He layeth it low, even to the ground;

He bringeth it even to the dust.

6 The foot shall tread it down,

Even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy.

7 The way of the just is uprightness;

[FN6]Thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.

8 Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for thee;

The desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.

9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night;

Yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early;

For when thy judgments are in the earth,

The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

10 Let favor be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness;

In the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly,

And will not behold the majesty of the Lord.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

Isaiah 26:1. Hophal הוּשַׁר only here. According to the punctuation עז ought to be connected with לנו. But most interpreters take עִיר עז together after Proverbs 18:19. I believe, however, that the Masoretes indicate the correct sense, and the one which corresponds to the context. We must not forget that the inhabitants of the “land” of Judah speak thus. עִיר stands consequently in opposition to ארץ. The redeemed of the Lord do not all dwell in the city. They dwell also in the country round about. But the city is their עֹז, their strong defence, and place of refuge. It is therefore as if they said: We dwell indeed in the country, but yet we are not without protection; for we have a city into which we can hasten and find shelter. Comp. Psalm 28:8; Psalm 84:6; Isaiah 12:2; Isaiah 45:24; Isaiah 49:5; Isaiah 2:9; Isaiah 3:1; Isaiah 62:8. Observe the structure of the second sentence of this verse. The sentence consists of three members, each member has two words; for even עז־לנו is rendered by Maqqeph one word. The first two words begin each with ע; the second two with ישׁ; the third two with ח.

Isaiah 26:4. That בְּ before יהָּ is not the Song of Solomon -called Beth essentiae was already perceived by Drechsler. בְּ serves here not as a mere periphrasis of the predicate ( Psalm 68:5); but it marks the idea צוּר, which is by no means coincident with Jehovah (since it can be sought out of Jehovah), as one which believers find in Jehovah (comp. Psalm 31:3; Psalm 89:27; Psalm 94:22; Psalm 95:1 et saepe). ערי ער comp. Isaiah 65:18. The plural עולָמִים besides here Isaiah 45:17; Isaiah 51:9.

Isaiah 26:6. רָמַס (comp. on Isaiah 1:12; Isaiah 28:3), עָנִי (comp. on Isaiah 3:14 sq.), דַּל (comp. on Isaiah 25:4) are all expressions characteristic of Isaiah.

Isaiah 26:8. אַף is an antithetic “yea.” Not only does the righteous man wish himself to do right, but he desires also to see the righteousness of God. The word belongs especially to poetry. It is remarkable that it is found in Isaiah in such specifically poetic sections in which בַּל also occurs. אֹרַח is acc. loci. נפשׁי and רוחי, Isaiah 26:9 a, are acc. instrum. שָׁחַר, Piel שִׁחַר, is a word current chiefly in the book of Job, in the Psalm and Proverbs. To משׁפטך a verb is to be supplied (say, יָבֹאוּ as Kimchi and Rashi propose). The perfect לָֽמְדוּ does not appear to me to be used in its paradigmatic force to express a matter of experience that has frequently happened (Delitzsch), for the Prophet complains of a want in this respect,—but the perfect is intended to mark this learning as a certain, infallible effect of the desired judgments.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. Here, too, the Prophet relates a hymn which he hears coming from the holy mountain, and out of the holy city. Its leading thought corresponds to the declaration 2 Peter 3:13 regarding the new earth in which righteousness dwells. This thought is here carried out in all directions. The redeemed, who sing the hymn, begin with telling that they dwell in a strong city well provided with walls ( Isaiah 26:1). But the gates of the city shall be open only to a righteous people that keepeth truth ( Isaiah 26:2), as the salvation also which this city affords, the peace which is through faith, rests on the foundation of the faithfulness of God, who will just as surely never disappoint faith ( Isaiah 26:3-4) as He has humbled the proud, unbelieving worldly power, and bowed it under the feet of the once despised believers ( Isaiah 26:5-6). The righteous people, who dwell in the city, walk in righteous ways ( Isaiah 26:7). But they long exceedingly to see the righteousness of God reveal itself free and unrestricted in all directions. Therefore they wait for the Lord in the way of His judgments ( Isaiah 26:8). Only when the earth is visited by these judgments, do men learn righteousness ( Isaiah 26:9). The wicked Prayer of Manasseh, when favored, does not learn righteousness: he pursues his sinful course even in the land of virtue, and never comes to know the majesty of God ( Isaiah 26:10).

2. In that day——enter in.

Isaiah 26:1-2. By the expression in that day, what follows is marked as contemporaneous and homogeneous with Isaiah 25:9-12. (Comp. “in that day,” Isaiah 26:9). There the redeemed praise the person of their God. They rejoice that they have this Lord for their God. Here they extol the righteousness of their God and of His kingdom. The expression land of Judah is plainly employed to form an antithesis to Moab, Isaiah 25:10 sqq. For not Zion or Jerusalem, but only Judah can stand contrasted with Moab, whether this name denotes country or people, or, as is most probable (comp. Isaiah 26:12), denotes both. At the same time it is self-evident that they who dwell in the land of Judah, are the same as those who according to Isaiah 24:23; Isaiah 25:6-10, are to be found on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, i.e., not merely the people of Judah in the ethnographical sense, but all those who according to Isaiah 25:6 sqq, are called and entitled to partake of the great feast on Mount Zion, i.e., the entire ’Ισραὴλ πνευματικός. The hymn itself begins with a brief description of the city of God. ישׁועה ישׁית וגו׳. Very many interpreters understand that the Prophet here affirms that the city has no walls, but has instead of walls ישׁועה. Appeal is made to Isaiah 60:18 and to Zechariah 2:9 [E. V, Isaiah 2:5]. Comp. Psalm 125:2. But it is said, Revelation 21:12, of the city of God, that it had “a wall great and high, and had twelve gates,” etc. There would therefore exist a contradiction between the Apocalypse and the places that have been quoted from the Old Testament. But this contradiction disappears when we understand Isaiah 60:18 to mean: thou shalt give names to thy walls and gates, and designate thy walls by the name “Salvation,” and thy gates by the name “Praise,” (as e.g. the walls of Babylon had names: Imgur-Bel and Nivitti-bel. See Comment. on Jeremiah 51:58). The passage Zechariah 2:8 sq. is no more to be taken literally than Psalm 125:2. But the Jerusalem, Revelation 21, 22, is a quite definite locality, not merely ideal, but real, though spiritual, (pneumatisch-real). Therefore this latter Jerusalem has walls, while Jerusalem, as the spiritual mother that includes all nations ( Galatians 4:26; Zechariah 2:8 sq.), has no material, outward, visible walls. But in our place where the Prophet, as has been shown, distinguishes the land of Judah and the city belonging to it, we have first of all to think of that city spoken of in Revelation 21, 22. This Jerusalem has a real wall. If this wall, according to Isaiah 60:18, bears the name Salvation, this can be the case only because it actually affords safety, deliverance. And therefore I take ישׁועה, as placed first, in apposition to חמות וחל, or as the accusative predicate, although Delitzsch rejects this construction. [The mode of construing this sentence proposed by our author I cannot assent to. He renders “God places walls and bulwark, for salvation or safety.” This rendering is not so well recommended as that given in the E. V, and the thought thus expressed is incomparably less grand and exalted. This bald, prosaic translation is sought out in order to avoid a contradiction with the Apocalypse which speaks of the New Jerusalem as girt with a wall. But the Apocalypse is pre-eminently a symbolical book; and by taking its imagery in the literal sense, it could be easily shown not only to contradict statements of the Old Testament, but to be self-contradictory. E. G. According to Revelation 21:2 there is no temple in the New Jerusalem; but Ezekiel describes at large a temple that will be in it, and according to Revelation 3:12 the believer will abide perpetually in the temple of the city of God. Is there then a contradiction here? No. But when in symbolical language it is said that there will be a temple in the New Jerusalem, the meaning is that what will answer to the idea of a temple will be found there. God’s servants will dwell in His presence and continually worship Him. Symbolically a temple can be spoken of. But a material temple will be wanting in the holy city. So it can be said to have a sun which will never go down; and again, no sun will be seen there. Song of Solomon, too, the most perfect protection can be symbolized under the figure of a wall great and high; but the essential meaning of this statement (not a contradiction of it), is given when it is declared “Salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwark.” The divine help is a better defence of the city than artificial fortifications. Verse 2 shows that the whole righteous nation will dwell within the strong city whose walls and bulwark are Salvation. The city is thus set forth as the abode of more than a portion of the inhabitants of the land of Judah. “The nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of it,” Revelation 21:24. The church, too, can exult in a strong city which she has even now, Psalm 46:4-5.—D. M.]. The words walls and bulwark are used together as here, Lamentations 2:8, (comp. 2 Samuel 20:15). חל is the pomoerium, the outer circumvallation before the chief wall. Comp. Comment. on Lamentations 2:8 and Jeremiah 51:58.

3. Open ye—everlasting strength.

[This hallowed designation of the Lord, “Rock of Ages,” is found as marginal rendering of what in the text of the E. V. is translated “everlasting strength.” The rendering of the margin is literal and accurate. The expression “Rock of Ages” is found in the Bible in this place only.”—D. M.]

4. For he bringeth——the needy.

Isaiah 26:5-6. A pledge that the Lord will be the everlasting refuge of His people is seen by the Prophet in this, that the Lord has already humbled, cast down the worldly power. He expresses this partly in words which he repeats from Isaiah 25:12. Those who dwell on high ( Isaiah 33:5; Isaiah 33:16), the lofty city (comp11:11, 17; Isaiah 12:4; Isaiah 30:13), He has brought low [instead of the first verb being in the present tense, as in the E. V, it should be in the perfect]. The following imperfects (futures) express the permanent condition of humiliation in consequence of the overthrow. The Prophet depicts the endless duration of the humiliation by the repetition of the verb expressing it (Anadiplosis). The different forms of the pronominal suffix attached to the verb are an agreeable variation. The feet of those who had before been trodden in the dust by the violent foot of the worldly power now pass without danger over the city of the world which has been laid by God in the dust.

5. The way—majesty of the Lord.

Isaiah 26:7-10. In Isaiah 26:3-6 the Prophet, in connection with אמנים had discussed the idea of the reciprocal fides implied in the life of the redeemed in communion with their God and in the city of God. In the following verses he discusses the idea of צדיק, so that the words righteous nation that keepeth faith, Isaiah 26:2, appear as the theme on which the Prophet here enlarges. The people of God must before all be themselves righteous. They are such when their path is מֵישָׁרִים, which is here the subject, and means rectitudo, sinceritas. It forms the ground which serves the righteous as substratum of His walk, as the pathway of life. But the glory is due to God. For He it is who so levels (properly rolls, the Prophet had here in view Proverbs 4:26; Proverbs 5:6; Proverbs 5:21) the path (מענל only here in Isaiah) of the righteous that it becomes יָשָׁר. The structure of the sentence forms a prolepsis similar to Isaiah 26:1. But in order that the idea of righteousness may attain its full realization in the world, it is necessary that the divine righteousness also should unfold itself freely and unconfined. The unrighteousness which reigns in the world must be judged, the holy nature of God must become manifest in its full splendor. And this manifestation of the holiness and righteousness of God forms an object of the most intense desire of the believers of the Old Testament. This desire finds expression in many Psalm, and the Prophet here again adopts quite the tone of the Psalm. We wait for thee in the way of thy judgments, means: We expect to see Thee march through the world as a righteous judge (comp. Isaiah 40:14; Proverbs 2:8; Proverbs 17:23). This manifestation of justice is hoped for by the righteous, not for their own sake, but for the sake of the honor of God. Their desire, therefore, is to the name and remembrance (comp. Exodus 3:15 and Psalm 135:13) of the Lord,i.e., that the Lord may so manifest Himself that men may be put in a position to call Him by the right name, and to spread and propagate the right knowledge of Him. But even for the sake of the world, i.e. of unrighteous men themselves, the Prophet most fervently longs for the full manifestation of the divine righteousness, which he here conceives of not exactly as that which destroys the ungodly, but rather as that which punishes them for their own profit ( Isaiah 26:9). After having hitherto used the plural, the Prophet passes over into the singular, I desire, I seek. This can be explained only on the supposition that he here gives expression to a wish in which he personally was intensely interested. Was he not himself the object and perpetual witness of human injustice? He whom the question: How can God tolerate such injustice? and the wish that an end may soon be put to it, does not suffer to rest even in the night, is the Prophet himself rather than those who, dwelling already in the glorified city of God, have behind them the chief stages of the judgment of the world (24; Isaiah 25:10 sqq.). We cannot ascribe this longing to carnal vindictiveness. In what follows the Prophet gives reasons for his desire in such a way as to show clearly to what an extent he transfers the actual necessities of the present time to that ideal future which he depicts. We have here another example of the Prophet’s manner of representing the future with the materials which the present time supplies. The Prophet longs for the judgments of God, because he hopes that in proportion as the earth is visited by them, men will learn righteousness. We recognize here the teacher and preacher, who deeply laments that words produce but little impression, that facts which make themselves profoundly felt are necessary to bring men to the knowledge and practice of righteousness. In Isaiah 26:10 the Prophet declares that if judgments do not take place, if the wicked has favor shown him he does not learn righteousness (יֻחַן Hoph of חָנַן, only here in Isaiah; it occurs, Proverbs 21:10. The conditional sentence is without the hypothetical particle, as is often the case). The wicked is not improved when favor is shown to him, but proceeds even when surrounded by the righteous (נְכֹחוֹת30:10; comp. Isaiah 57:2; Isaiah 59:14) to act perversely (עִוֵּל, Piel in the causative sense, besides only Psalm 71:4), and will never perceive the nature of God in all its glory and majesty (גֵאוּת a word characteristic of Isaiah’s writings, Isaiah 9:17; Isaiah 12:5; Isaiah 28:3; it occurs besides only Psalm 17:10; Psalm 89:10; Psalm 93:1). We must indeed acquit the Prophet of a low carnal desire of revenge, but I am decidedly of opinion that the passage, nevertheless, breathes the legal spirit of the Old Testament (comp. Matthew 3:7; Luke 3:7), and is not born of the Spirit whose children we are to be. [A corrective to this last observation is furnished in the Exposition, which well sets forth the motives which inspired the Prophet to desire God’s judgments on the earth. Without them men will not learn righteousness. God’s goodness is despised or made the occasion of licentiousness, if there is no clear demonstration by terrible things in righteousness, that verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth. If John the Baptist’s words ( Matthew 3:7 and Luke 3:7) are, like those of Isaiah, pronounced inconsistent with the Spirit of the New Testament, what shall be said of the words of our Saviour, Matthew 23:33, and elsewhere? The desire that evil-doers should be punished, and that there should be a manifestation of the retributive justice of God, is not at variance with the Spirit of the Gospel, or that love of our enemies which Christ enjoined and exemplified, comp. Revelation 6:10; Revelation 15:4; Revelation 19:1-2; 1 Corinthians 16:22; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, etc.—D. M.].

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. Isaiah 24:2. “When general judgments take place, no distinction is observed between man and wife, master and servant, mistress and maid, learned and unlearned, noble and plebeian, clergy and laity; therefore let no one rely on any external prerogative or superiority, but let every one without distinction repent and forsake sin.”—Cramer. Though this is right, yet we must, on the other hand, remember that the Lord declares in reference to the same great event, “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left” ( Matthew 24:10 sq.). There is no contradiction in these two statements. Both are true: outward relations will make no difference; there shall be no respect of persons. But the state of the heart will make a difference. According to the inward character there will, in the case of those whose external position in the world is perfectly alike, be some who enter life, others whose doom is death.

2. Isaiah 24:5 sq. “The earth is burdened with sins, and is therefore deprived of every blessing. The earth must suffer for our guilt, when we have as it were spoilt it, and it must be subject to vanity for our sakes ( Romans 8:20). What wonder is it that it should show itself ungrateful toward us?”—Cramer.

3. Isaiah 24:13 sq. “Observe the small number of this remnant; here and there one who shall escape the common calamity (as Noah and his family, when the old world was drowned), who when all faces gather blackness, can lift up their head with joy. Luke 21:26-28.” Henry.—D. M.].

4. Isaiah 24:17-20. Our earth is a volcanic body. Mighty volcanic forces were active at its formation. That these are still in commotion in the interior of the earth is proved by the many active volcanoes scattered over the whole earth, and by the perpetual volcanic convulsions which we call earthquakes. These have hitherto been confined to particular localities. But who can guarantee that a concentration and simultaneous eruption of those volcanic forces, that Isaiah, a universal earthquake, shall not hereafter occur? The Lord makes express mention of earthquakes among the signs which shall precede His second coming ( Matthew 24:7; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11). And in 2 Peter 3:5 sqq. the future destruction of the earth by fire is set over against the destruction of the old world by water. Isaiah in our place announces a catastrophe whose characteristic features will be that, 1) there will be no escape from it; 2) destructive forces will assail from above and below; 3) the earth will be rent asunder; 4) it will reel and totter; 5) it will suffer so heavy a fall that it will not rise again ( Isaiah 24:20 b). Is there not here a prophecy of the destruction of the earth by volcanic forces? And how suddenly can they break loose! The ministers of the word have every reason to compare this extreme exposedness of our earth to fire, and the possibility of its unexpectedly sudden collapse with the above-cited warnings of the word of God, and to attach thereto the admonition which is added in 2 Peter 3:11.

5. Isaiah 24:21. The earth is a part of our planetary system. It is not what it appears to the optical perception to be, a central body around which worlds of a different nature revolve, but it, together with many similar bodies, revolves round a common centre. The earth according to that view of the account of the creation in Genesis 1, which appears to me the true one, has arisen with all the bodies of our Solar system out of one primary matter, originally united, common to them all. If our Solar System is a well-ordered, complete organism, it must rest on the basis of a not merely formal, but also material unity; i.e., the separate bodies must move, not only according to a principle of order which governs all, but they must also as to their substance be essentially like. And as they arose simultaneously, so must they perish simultaneously. It is inconceivable that our earth alone should disappear from the organism of the Solar System, or pass over to a higher material condition. Its absence, or ceasing to exist in its previous form and substance, would necessarily draw after it the ruin of the whole system. Hence the Scripture speaks every where of a passing away and renovation of the heaven and the earth ( Psalm 102:26; Isaiah 51:6; Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22; Matthew 5:18; Matthew 24:29; Matthew 24:35; 2 Peter 3:7; 2 Peter 3:10; 2 Peter 3:13; Hebrews 12:26; Revelation 20:11; Revelation 21:1). The heaven that shall pass away with a great noise, whose powers shall be shaken, whose stars shall fall, is the planetary heaven. The same lot will happen to the companions of our earth, to the other planets, and to the centre, the sun, and to all other co-ordinate and subordinate stellar bodies, which will befall the earth itself. This is the substance of the view which serves as a basis for our place. But personal beings are not thereby by any means excluded from the צבא מרום. The parallel expression מלכי האדמה, and the use in other places of the related expression צבא השׁמים lead us rather to suppose personal beings to be included. But I believe that a distinction must be made here. As the heavenly bodies which will pass away simultaneously with the earth, can only be those which arose together with it, and which stand in organic connection with it, so also the angelic powers, which are judged simultaneously with us men, can be only those which stand in connection with the heavenly bodies of our Solar System, i.e., with the earthly material world. There are heavenly bodies of glorious pneumatic substance. If personal beings stand in connection with them, they must also be pure, glorious, resplendent beings. These will not be judged. They are the holy angels, who come with the Lord ( Matthew 25:31). But it is quite conceivable that all the bodies of our Solar System are till the judgment like our earth suffered to be the theatre of the spirits of darkness.

6. Isaiah 24:21-23, It seems to me that the Prophet has here sketched the chief matters pertaining to eschatology. For the passing away of heaven and earth, the binding of Satan ( Revelation 20:1-3), the loosing of Satan again ( Revelation 20:7), and finally the reign of God alone, which will make sun and moon unnecessary ( Revelation 21:23)—are not these the boundary-stones of the chief epochs of the history of the end of the world?

7. [“The Lord of hosts makes this feast. The provision is very rich, and every thing is of the best. It is a feast, which supposes abundance and variety; it is a continual feast to believers: it is their fault if it be not. It is a feast of fat things and full of marrow; so relishing, so nourishing are the comforts of the Gospel to all those that feast upon them and digest them. The returning prodigal was entertained with the fatted calf; and David has that pleasure in communion with God, with which his soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness. It is a feast of wines on the lees; the strongest-bodied wines, that have been long kept upon the lees, and then are well refined from them, so that they are clear and fine. There is that in the Gospel which, like fine wine, soberly used, makes glad the heart, and raises the spirits, and is fit for those that are of a heavy heart, being under convictions of sin, and mourning for it, that they may drink and forget their misery (for that is the proper use of wine; it is a cordial for those that need it, Proverbs 31:6-7) may be of good cheer, knowing that their sins are forgiven, and may be vigorous in their spiritual work and warfare, as a strong man refreshed with wine.” Henry.—D. M.]

8. Isaiah 25:9. “In the Old Testament the vail and covering were before men’s eyes, partly because they waited for the light that was to appear, partly because they sat in darkness and in the shadow of death ( Luke 1:79). The fulfilment of this prediction has in Christ already begun, and will at last be perfectly fulfilled in the Church triumphant where all ignorance and sorrow shall be dispelled ( 1 Corinthians 13:12).” Cramer.

9. Isaiah 25:8. “God here represents Himself as a mother, who presses to her bosom her sorrowful Song of Solomon, comforts him and wipes away his tears ( Isaiah 66:13). The righteous are to believe and appropriate this promise, that every one may learn to speak with Paul in the time of trial: the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us, Romans 8:18.” Cramer.

10. Isaiah 25:10. “This is now the hope and consolation of the church that the hand of the Lord rests on this mountain, that Isaiah, that He will be gracious, and let His power, help and grace be there seen and felt. But the unbelieving Moabites, i.e., the Jews, with all others who will not receive the gospel, shall be threshed to pieces as straw in the mire; these the Lord’s hand will not rescue, as it helps those who wait on Him, but it shall press them down so that they will never rise, according to the saying, Mark 16:16.” Veit Dietrich.

11. Isaiah 25 Three thoughts contained in this chapter we should hold fast: 1) When we see the world triumph over every thing which belongs to the Lord and His kingdom, when our hearts are anxious about the preservation in the world of the Church of Christ, which is sore oppressed, let this word of the Prophet comfort our hearts. The world-city which contains all that is of the world, sinks into the dust, and the church of Christ goes from her chains and bands into the state of freedom and glory. We have often seen that it is the Lord’s way to let every thing come to maturity. When it is once ripe, He comes suddenly with His sentence. Let us comfort ourselves therewith, for thus will it happen with the world and its dominion over the faithful followers of Christ. When it is ripe, suddenly it will come to an end2) No one who has a heart for the welfare of the nations can see without the deepest pain how all hearts are now seduced and befooled, and all eyes closed and covered. The simplest truths are no longer acknowledged, but the more perverse, brutal and mean views and doctrines are, the more greedily are they laid hold of. We cannot avert this. But our comfort is that even this seduction of the nations will reach its climax. Then men will come to themselves. The vail and covering will fall off, and the Gospel will shine with new light before the nations. Therewith let us comfort ourselves3) Till this happens, the church is sorrowful. But she shall be full of joy. The promise is given to her that she shall be fully satisfied with the good things of the house of the Lord. A life is promised to her which neither death nor any pain can affect, as she has rest from all enemies. The word of the Lord shall be fulfilled in her: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. The Church that has such a promise may wait in patient quietness for its accomplishment, and praise the Lord in affliction, till it pleases Him to glorify her before all nations.” Weber, The Prophet Isaiah. 1875.

12. Isaiah 26:1. “The Christian church is a city of God. God has built it, and He is the right Master-builder. It is strong: 1) on account of the Builder; 2) on account of the foundation and corner-stone, which is Christ; 3) on account of the bond wherewith the living stones are bound together, which is the unity of the faith.” Cramer. [The security and happiness of true believers, both on earth and in heaven, is represented in Scripture under the image of their dwelling in a city in which they can bid defiance to all their enemies. We dwell in such a city even now, Psalm 46:4-5. We look for such a city, Hebrews 11:10; Hebrews 11:16; Revelation 21—D. M.]

13. [These words may be taken as a description of the people whom God owns, who are fit to be accounted members of the church of the living God on earth, and who will not be excluded from the celestial city. Instead of complaining that only the righteous and the faithful will be admitted into the heavenly city, it should rather give us joy to think that there will be no sin there, that none but the just and true will there be found. This has been a delightful subject of reflection to God’s saints. The last words written by Henry Martyn were: “Oh! when shall time give place to eternity? When shall appear that new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness? There, there shall in no wise enter in any thing that defileth; none of that wickedness which has made men worse than wild beasts—none of their corruptions which add to the miseries of mortality shall be seen or heard of any more.”—D. M.]

14. Isaiah 26:4. “The fourth privilege of the church is trust in God the Rock of Ages, i.e., in Christ, who not only here, but also Matthew 16; 1 Corinthians 10; 1 Peter 2, is called a rock in a peculiar manner, because no other foundation of salvation and of the church can be laid except this rock, which is here called the rock of ages on account of the eternity of His being, merit and office. Hence a refutation can be drawn of the papistical fable which makes Peter and his successors, the Roman Pontiffs, to be the rock on which the church is built.” Foerster. [“Whatever we trust to the world for, it will be but for a moment. All we expect from it is confined within the limits of time; but what we trust in God for will last as long as we shall last. For in the Lord Jehovah, Jah, Jehovah, in Him who was, and Isaiah, and is to come, there is a rock of ages, a firm and lasting foundation for faith and hope to build upon; and the house built on that rock will stand in a storm.” Henry.”—D. M.]

15. Isaiah 26:5. “It is very common with the prophets, when they prophesy of the kingdom of Christ to make reference to the proud and to the needy, and to represent the latter as exalted and the former as brought low. This truth is directed properly against the self-righteous. For Christ and His righteousness will not endure spiritual pride and presumption; but the souls that are poor, that hunger and thirst for grace, that know their need, these Christ graciously receives.” Cramer.

16. Isaiah 26:6. “It vexes the proud all the more that they will be overcome by those who are poor and of no consequence. For example, Goliath was annoyed that a boy should come against him with a staff ( 1 Samuel 13:43) Cramer.

17. Isaiah 26:8-10. That the justice of God must absolutely manifest itself that the majesty of the Lord may be seen, and that the wicked may learn righteousness, must even from a new Testament view-point be admitted. But the New Testament disputes the existence of any one who is righteous when confronted by the law, and who is not deserving of punishment. [But that there is none righteous, no not one, is taught most emphatically in the Old Testament also.—D. M.]. But it (the New Testament) while it shuts up all, Jews and Gentiles, without exception, under sin ( Galatians 3:22; Romans 3:9; Romans 11:32), sets forth a scheme of mediation, which, while it renders full satisfaction to justice, at the same time offers to all the possibility of deliverance. This mediation is through the Cross of Christ. It is only when this mediation has not been accepted that punitive justice has free course. It should not surprise us that even the Evangelist of the Old Covenant, who wrote chap53, did not possess perfect knowledge of this mediation. Let us remember John the Baptist ( Matthew 3:7; Matthew 11:11) and the disciples of the Lord ( Luke 9:54). [Let us not forget that Isaiah was a true Prophet, and spoke as he was moved by the Spirit of God. The Apostle Paul did not find fault with the most terrible denunciations of judgment contained in the Old Testament, or affect a superiority over the men who uttered them. On the contrary, he quotes them as words which could not be suffered to fall, but which must be fulfilled in all their dreadful import. See e.g. Romans 11:9-10.—D. M.].

18. Isaiah 26:12. “It is a characteristic of true, sincere Christians, that they give God the glory and not themselves, and freely confess that they have nothing of themselves, but everything from God ( 1 Corinthians 4:7; Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 12:2).” Cramer.

19. Isaiah 26:16. The old theologians have many comforting and edifying thoughts connected with this place: “A magnet has the power to raise and attract to itself iron. Our heart is heavy as iron. But the hand of God is as a magnet. When that hand visits us with affliction, it lifts us up, and draws us to itself.” “Distress teaches us to pray, and prayer again dispels all distress. One wedge displaces the other.” “Ex gravibus curis impellimur ad pia vota.” “Ex monte myrrhae procedimus ad collem thuris ( Song of Solomon 9:6). In amaritudine crucis exsurgit odor devotae precationis ( Psalm 86:6 sq.).” “Ubi nulla crux et tentatio, ibi nulla vera oratio. Oratio sine mails est tanquam avis sine alis. Optimus orandi magister necessitas. Τὰ παθήματα μαθήματα. Quae nocent, docent. Ubi tentatio, ibi oratio. Mala, quae hic nos premunt, ad Deum ire compellunt. Qui nescit orare, ingrediatur mare.” “When the string is most tightly drawn, it sounds best. Cross and temptation are the right prayer-bell. They are the press by which God crushes out the juice of prayer.” Cramer and Foerster.

20. Isaiah 26:20. As God, when the deluge was about to burst, bade Noah go into his ark as into his chamber, and Himself shut the door on him ( Genesis 7:6); so does the Lord still act when a storm is approaching; He brings His own into a chamber where they can be safe, either for their temporal preservation and protection against every might ( Psalm 91:1), or, on the other hand, to give them repose by a peaceful and happy death.” “His anger endureth but a moment; in his favor is life ( Psalm 30:6).” Cramer.

21. [“Great and mighty princes [nations] if they oppose the people of God, are in God’s account, as dragons and serpents, and plagues of mankind; and the Lord will punish them in due time. They are too big for men to deal with, and call to an account; and therefore the great God will take the doing of it into His own hands.” Henry.—D. M.].

22. Isaiah 27:2-5. “It seems to the world that God has no concern for His church and Christians, else, we imagine, they would be better off. But certain it Isaiah, that it is not the angels but God Himself that will be watcher over this vineyard, and will send it gracious rain.” Veit Dietrich. [“The church is a vineyard of red wine, yielding the best and choicest grapes, intimating the reformation of the church, that it now brings forth good fruit unto God, whereas before it brought forth fruit to itself, or brought forth wild grapes, Isaiah 5:4.” “God takes care (1) of the safety of this vineyard; I the Lord do keep it. He speaks this, as glorying in it, that He Isaiah, and has undertaken to be, the keeper of Israel; those that bring forth fruit to God are, and shall be always, under His protection. (2) God takes care of the fruitfulness of this vineyard: I will water it every moment; and yet it shall not be over watered. We need the constant and continual waterings of the divine grace; for if that be at any time withdrawn, we wither and come to nothing.” Henry. D. M.].

23. Isaiah 27:4. “Est aurea promissio, qua praecedentem confirmat. Indignatio non est mihi, fury is not in me. Quomodo enim is nobis irasci potest, qui pro nobis est mortuus? Quanquam igitur appareat, eum irasci, non tamen est verum, quod irascatur. Sic Paulo immittitur angelus Satanae, sed non est ira, nam ipse Christus dicit: sufficit tibi gratia mea. Sic pater filium delinquentem castigat, sed non est ira, quanquam appareat ira esse. Custodia igitur vineae aliquando cogit Deum immittere speciem irae, ne pereat luxurie, sed non est ira. Est insignis textus, which we should inscribe on all tribulations: Non est indignatio mihi, non possum irasci. Quod autem videtur irasci est custodia vineae, ne pereas et fias securus. Luther. “In order to understand fully the doctrine of the wrath of God we must have a clear perception of the antithesis: the long-suffering of God, and the wrath of God, wrath and mercy.” Lange.

24. Isaiah 27:7-9. “Christ judges His church, i.e., He punishes and afflicts it, but He does this in measure. The sorrow and cross is meted out, and is not, as it appears to us, without measure and infinite. It is so measured that redemption must certainly follow. But why does God let His Christians so suffer? Why does He not lay the cross on the wicked? God answers this question and speaks: the sin of Jacob will thereby cease. That is: God restrains sin by the cross, and subdues the old Adam.” Veit Dietrich.

25. [“The application of this verse to a future restoration of the Jews can neither be established nor disproved. In itself considered, it appears to contain nothing which may not be naturally applied to events long past.” J. A. Alexander.—“This prediction was completely and entirely fulfilled by the return of the Jews to their own country under the decree of Cyrus.” Barnes.—D. M.].

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Isaiah 24:4-6. Fast-day sermon. Warning against dechristianization of the life of the people1) Wherein such dechristianization consists: a, transgression of the commandments that are in force; b, alteration of the commandments which are essential articles of the everlasting covenant, as e.g. removing of all state institutions from the basis of religion2) Its consequences: a, Desecration of the land (subjectively, by the spread of a profane, godless sentiment; objectively, by the secularization of relations hitherto held sacred); b, the curse consumes the land, Isaiah 24:4.

2. On Isaiah 25:1-5. The Lord, the refuge of the needy1) He has the power to help. This we perceive a, from His nature (Lord, God, Wonderful); b, from His deeds ( Isaiah 25:1 b, Isaiah 25:2). 2) He gives His strength even to the feeble, ( Isaiah 25:4). 3) These are thereby victorious, ( Isaiah 25:5).

3. On Isaiah 25:6-9. Easter Sermon, by T. Schaeffer (Manch. Gab. u. ein Geist III. p269):—“The glorious Easter-blessing of the Risen One: 1) Wherein it consists? 2) who receive it? 3) what are its effects? Christmas Sermon, by Romberg [ibid. 1869, p78): Our text represents to us Christmas joy under the image of a festive board. Let us consider, 1) the host; 2) the guests; 3) the gifts.”

4. On Isaiah 26:1-4. Concerning the church1) She is a strong city in which salvation is to be found2) The condition of having a portion in her is faith3) The blessing which she is instrumental in procuring is peace.

5. Isaiah 26:19-21. The comfort of the Christian for the present and future1) For the present the Christian is to betake himself to his quiet chamber, where he is alone with his Lord and by Him made cheerful and secure2) For the future he has the certain hope, a, that the Lord will judge the wicked, b, raise the believer to everlasting life.

6. Isaiah 27:2-9. How the Lord deals with His vineyard, the church1) Fury is not in Him towards it; 2) He protects and purifies it; 3) He gives it strength, peace and growth; 4) He chastens it in measure; 5) He makes the chastisement itself serve to purge it from sins.

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Heb. truths.

FN#2 - As firm formation wilt thou preserve peace, peace, for upon thee it is confided.

FN#3 - Heb. peace, peace.

FN#4 - Or, thought, or, imagination.

FN#5 - Heb. the rock of ages.

FN#6 - Thou wilt level right the path of the just.


Verses 11-21

6. THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD AND THE CONCLUDING ACTS OF THE JUDGMENT OF THE WORLD

Isaiah 26:11-21

11 Lord, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see;

But [FN7]they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy [FN8]at the people;

Yea, [FN9]the fire of thine enemies shall devour them.

12 Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us:

For thou also hast wrought all our works [FN10]in us.

13 O Lord our God!

Other lords beside thee have had dominion over us:

But by thee only will we make mention of thy name.

14 They are dead, they shall not live;

They are [FN11]deceased, they shall not rise:

Therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them,

And made all their memory to perish.

15 Thou hast increased the nation, O Lord,

Thou hast increased the nation; thou art glorified:

[FN12]Thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth.

16 Lord, in trouble have they visited thee;

They poured out a [FN13]prayer when thy chastening was upon them.

17 Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery,

Is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs;

So have we been [FN14]in thy sight, O Lord.

18 We have been with child, we have been in pain,

We have as it were brought forth wind;

We have not wrought any deliverance in the earth;

Neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.

19 Thy dead men shall live: [FN15]Together with my dead body shall they arise.

Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust:

For thy dew is as the dew of [FN16]herbs,

And the earth shall cast out the dead.

20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers,

And shut thy doors about thee:

Hide thyself as it were for a little moment,

Until the indignation be overpast.

21 For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place

To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity:

The earth also shall disclose her [FN17]blood,

And shall no more cover her slain.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

Isaiah 26:12. It is not inconceivable that תִּשְׁפֹט stood here originally, and was changed through ignorance into תשׁפת. In that case שׁפּט would include ideally the transitive notion of awarding, allotting by judicial sentence; and on this ideal transitive notion שׁלום לנו would depend. We are struck by the rare word שׁפּת, while שׁפט is suggested by the context. [The correction of the text suggested is unnecessary.—D. M.].

Isaiah 26:13. לְבַד stands here adverbially as Ecclesiastes 7:29. The normal form of expression would be בְּךָ לְבַדּךָ ( Psalm 51:6; Proverbs 5:17).

Isaiah 26:15. יסף is properly “to add.” But the word is not rarely employed in the sense of “to increase,” it being left to the reader to think either of that to which something is added, or of the addition which is made. Niphal נכבד is found besides here Isaiah 3:5; Isaiah 23:8-9; Isaiah 43:4; Isaiah 49:5. Piel רִחַק Isaiah 6:12; Isaiah 29:13.

Isaiah 26:16. צָקוּן (on this form which is found besides only Deuteronomy 8:3; Deuteronomy 8:16, comp. Olshausen Gr., § 226, p449), is = effundunt (besides here Job 28:2; Job 29:6; Job 41:14; Psalm 41:9). Analogous is the Latin preces fundere (Virg. Aen. 6, 55) and יִשׁפֹּךְ שִׂיחוֹ Psalm 102:1.—מוסרך למו corresponds to בַּצַּר in the first half of the verse, and is best taken as a circumstantial clause with a verb to be supplied (comp. Ewald, § 341 a, p823). לָמוֹ as לָאָרֶץ Isaiah 26:9. Comp. Isaiah 53:8.—כְּמוֹ is here, as afterwards, Isaiah 26:18 a, conjunction (comp. Isaiah 41:25; Genesis 19:15), and signifies not only in Isaiah 26:17, but also in Isaiah 26:18, if we examine thoroughly the construction, tanquam, like as (כַּ‍ֽאֲשֶר). In Isaiah 26:17 this is quite evident, for the construction is simple: As a woman with child is in pain, so were we far from Thee. [Or rather, so we were from Thy presence, i.e., our evil condition proceeded from Thee.—D. M.].

Isaiah 26:18. The particle of comparison has the signification “quasi, as if.”

Isaiah 26:20. Instead of דְּלָתֶיךָ the K’eri reads דְּלָתֶךָ, undoubtedly because a chamber has only one דֶּלֶת, and not דְּלָֽתְךָ) דלָתַיִם, moreover, is not derived from דֶלֶת, but from a form דָּלָה which does not elsewhere occur). But both the assonance with חדרֹיך and the anomalous nature of the form דְּלָ‍ֽתְךָ speak in favor of חֲבִי ּדְּלָתֶיךָ is a singular form. It can be derived only from חָבָה, which is not met with elsewhere: חָבָא is the form in use (in Isaiah 42:22; Isaiah 49:2). The appearance of the radical Yod is also strange (חֲבִי instead of חֲבֵה). If this חבי is to be regarded as a feminine form, this too would be singular; for all the parallel verbal and nominal forms are masculine. The expression כמעט־רגע is found only here and in Ezra 9:8. Comp. Isaiah 54:7.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. A new wonderful scene of the great eschatological drama presents itself to the view of the Prophet: the resurrection of the dead! He introduces this revelation with three brief sentences addressed to Jehovah, each of them beginning with the name Jehovah. In the first sentence he expresses the thought that men do not perceive the hand of the Lord already lifted up for judgment. But they shall one day perceive it when God’s zeal will display itself. But then they will be confounded, and fire will consume the adversaries ( Isaiah 26:11). On the other hand, the Prophet expresses the assurance that the judgment of God will promote the peace of the godly, as their works are wrought by God Himself ( Isaiah 26:12). The Prophet in the third place introduces us into that sphere to which he means to direct especially our attention in what follows. For even this sphere stands in the closest relation to the manifestation of God indicated in Isaiah 26:11-12. He characterizes this region, first in general, as one whose inhabitants in a certain sense are not under the dominion of God, but are in the power of another lord. [Other lords, it should be said. And the verb is in the past tense.—D. M.]. An abnormal condition! The persons here meant cannot praise God; for this can be done only when a man is united to God, when he is in Him ( Isaiah 26:13). It is at once apparent from Isaiah 26:14 that the Prophet means the dead. According to the prevailing opinion the dead cannot live again. God Himself has destroyed and blotted out forever their remembrance ( Isaiah 26:14). This realm of death goes on increasing; its borders are ever further removed ( Isaiah 26:15). Yet the longing for deliverance is by no means extinct even in the dead: they seek the Lord, and their whispered prayer ascends to God from their place of trial ( Isaiah 26:16). Yea, the world of the dead even make exertions to restore themselves to life, which efforts can be compared with the pangs of a woman in travail ( Isaiah 26:17). But the result is useless: only wind is brought forth ( Isaiah 26:18). Yet their hope is not disappointed. But only the dead who are the Lord’s will rise to life. These are summoned to awake and rejoice. As a dew of luminous substances will it be, when the earth brings to the light the inhabitants of the world of shades ( Isaiah 26:19). But the earth will restore not merely the bodies of the godly. She will bring to the light all the evil, especially all the blood-guiltiness which is buried in her bosom. This will be a terrible element of wrath and judgment. While this takes place, those who have risen from the dead are to conceal themselves. After a moment the wrath will be past, and then salvation and peace will reign forever ( Isaiah 26:20-21). [It is a strange and unique imagination of Dr. Naegelsbach, that the Prophet gives us in Isaiah 26:13, the language of the dwellers in Sheol; as it is most manifest that the speakers in Isaiah 26:12, continue in what follows their speech addressed to Jehovah. See how verse 13 begins like the two preceding verses with the name Jehovah. There is nothing to indicate the assumed change of speakers, or to make us suppose that the occupants of an inframundane region, an infernal limbus, suddenly and without a pause, take up the address to the Almighty, abruptly dropped by the ecclesia militans. The perfect tense, too, in Isaiah 26:13, may not be arbitrarily treated as the present, to accommodate the language to the author’s theory. This earth, and not Sheol, is unquestionably the theatre of what is described in Isaiah 26:15-18. The prayer spoken of in Isaiah 26:16 comes not from the shades of the departed, but from the inhabitants of this world when God’s judgments are in the earth (comp. Isaiah 26:9). It is a purely gratuitous assumption, involving, too, an anti-scriptural error, that a place of trial under the earth is the scene of the vain endeavors so graphically depicted in Isaiah 26:18-19. I append Dr. J. A. Alexander’s brief analysis of Isaiah 26:12-21. “The Church abjures the service of all other sovereigns, and vows perpetual devotion to Him by whom it has been delivered and restored ( Isaiah 26:12-15). Her utter incapacity to save herself is then contrasted with God’s power to restore His people to new life, with a joyful anticipation of which the song concludes ( Isaiah 26:16-19). The additional sentences contain a beautiful and tender intimation of the trials which must be endured before these glorious events take place, with a solemn assurance that Jehovah is about to visit both His people and their enemies with chastisements ( Isaiah 26:20-21).”—D. M.].

2. Lord——thy name.

Isaiah 26:11-13. The Prophet perceives the approach of great things, but men perceive nothing of them. He complains of this to the Lord.Thy hand is lifted up, says Hebrews, and they see it not. [The adverb “when” is unnecessarily supplied in the E. V. It is better to render literally “Thy hand is lifted up; they will not see” or “(but) they do not see it.”—D. M.]. The uplifted hand is ready, and able to smite. The expression יָד רָמָה is found in the Pentateuch in more senses than one. May it not signify here the menacing high hand? According to Scripture great signs on earth and in heaven will precede the coming of the Lord ( Matthew 24:3; Matthew 24:8; Matthew 24:29), but the wicked will not give heed to these signs ( Matthew 24:37-39). They will not be willing to see the hand of God in them. But they will be forced to their confusion (ויבשׁו is a parenthetical clause marking a circumstance) to recognize the hand of God in the signs from the correspondence between them and the decisive facts following on them, when they shall have perceived the zeal, i.e., the strict, judging, and avenging righteousness of God (comp. Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 11:13; Isaiah 38:32; Isaiah 63:15) attesting itself on the people (comp. in regard to the construction, Psalm 69:10). [The expression קנאת עם made dependent in the E. V. on יּבשׁו, and understood of the envy of the heathen toward the people of God, is rightly made dependent by our author on יחזו, and is also rightly understood of the zeal of the Lord of hosts ( Isaiah 9:6 : Isaiah 37:32), but this zeal of the Lord is not directed against a people who are none of His, as Dr. Naegelsbach thinks, but is the zeal of the Lordfor His own people.—D. M.]. The fire of this zeal will consume those men who could see, but would not see; will devour thy adversaries (צריך, prefixed apposition to the suffix in תאכלם). From the wicked, who to their dismay are surprised by the judgment of God, the Prophet turns to the pious who wait for the day of judgment as the day of their redemption ( Luke 21:28). These express the confident assurance that the Lord will assign, prepare them peace on that great day. שָׁפַת, ponere, statuere, is found in Isaiah only here, comp. 2 Kings 4:38; Ezekiel 24:3; Psalm 22:16. The righteous justly expect from the judgment the peace of God. For how could the righteous Judge award them aught else, seeing that He Himself has wrought their works? Instead of the second לָנו we should perhaps rather expect בָּנוּ; but the Prophet, who delights in significant accords in sound, chose undoubtedly to make a second לנו correspond to the first, in order to indicate thereby that the fruit of the judgment must correspond to the fruit of the life. The third sentence begins with יהוה אלהינו. The address is thus more forcible, and forms an antithesis to the subject and predicate of the sentence. Is it not a contradiction which cannot be maintained, when it must be said: Thou art indeed our God, but others rule over us? [But the perfect tense should not be treated as a present.—D. M.]. To understand אדנים of the worldly powers alone, which is the common view, seems to me quite too restricted, and not to correspond to the context. I translate בְּךָin thee” [“By thee,” i.e., by thy power or help, is the common rendering.—D. M.]. The aim of Isaiah 26:13 is that of a general introduction into the region which is afterwards to be particularly spoken of. [“As to the lords who are mentioned in the first clause, there are two opinions. One Isaiah, that they are the Chaldees or Babylonians, under whom the Jews had been in bondage. This is now the current explanation. The other Isaiah, that they are the false gods or idols whom the Jews had served before the exile. Against the former and in favor of the latter supposition it may be suggested, first, that the Babylonian bondage did not hinder the Jews from mentioning Jehovah’s name or praising Him; secondly, that the whole verse looks like a confession of their own fault and a promise of amendment, rather than a reminiscence of their sufferings; and thirdly, that there seems to be an obvious comparison between the worship of Jehovah as our, with some other worship and some other deity.….. An additional argument in favor of the reference of the verse to spiritual rulers, is its exact correspondence with the singular fact in Jewish history, that since the Babylonish exile they have never even been suspected of idolatry.” Alexander.—D. M.].

3. They are dead——ends of the earth.

Isaiah 26:14-15. The Prophet proceeds now directly to the thought which he intends afterwards, Isaiah 26:19, to bring to light: the resurrection of the dead. But that the light of this wonderful divine revelation may shine more conspicuously he presents, as a foil to it, the opinion which had not been hitherto disputed, and which was supposed to be indisputable, viz., that the dead do not come to life again. [But what indication is given that the Prophet in the 14 th verse means to relate an opinion said to prevail universally in regard to the impossibility of a resurrection of the dead? Why not rather understand this verse as a declaration that the other lords just spoken of should not merely cease to exist, but even to be remembered? The language used is applicable to the deities of an effete mythology once worshipped by Israel, as well as to the Babylonian and previous oppressors of Israel. In regard to the opinion which “hitherto has passed and even now passes in the whole world as incontrovertible truth, that there is no redemption from the bands of death,” does not Hosea, an earlier Prophet than Isaiah, announce that death and Sheol should be deprived of their prey? Hosea 13:14. Isaiah himself, too, does not here for the first time make mention of the vanquishing of death. See Isaiah 25:8; comp. Job 19:25-27.—D. M.]. For this very reason (לָכֵן=with reference to this, in so far. Comp. on Jeremiah 5:2; Isaiah 27:9) hast thou visited and destroyed them and made their memory to perish. Most interpreters understand verse15 of the fall and resuscitation of the people of Israel. [And rightly do they so understand it. Few readers will assent to Dr. Naegelsbach’s singular opinion that the land that is enlarged is the region of the dead. In the E. V. the last clause of verse15 is rendered “thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth.” But the words “it” and “unto” are not in the original text, and the pluperfect is not warranted. Omitting these additions and discarding the pluperfect, we have the rendering, “thou hast removed the ends of the land,” i.e., extended the boundaries of the country. Thus we are told that extension of territory had been granted along with increase of population.—D. M.].

3. LORD in trouble——world fallen.

Isaiah 26:16-18. But even in the realm of the dead the longing for life and the hope of regaining it are not extinguished. Even the dead in their distress seek the Lord, the fountain of all hope. [“Visit is here used in the unusual but natural sense of seeking God in supplication.”—Alexander]. The prayer of the dead in a low whisper (לחש) ascends from their place of trial to the Lord. [If we take our theology from the book of Isaiah, there is no “place of trial” for the godly after this life. The righteous man when he dies enters into peace, Isaiah 57:2. I need hardly state here that a purgatory, according to Roman Catholic doctrine, is not intended for unbelievers.—D. M.]. Verse17 obviously supposes that a deliverance from Sheol is possible, and that the hope of this deliverance is not extinct in its occupants. This hope produces rather, according to the view of the Prophet, in the dwellers of Hades, a struggle and endeavor after liberation from prison which can be compared with the pains of child-bearing. But this impulse of hope remains unsatisfied so long as it is a merely natural one. I take מִפָּנֶיךָ not in the causal but in the local signification=far from (comp. Isaiah 14:19; Isaiah 22:3; Judges 9:21). Far from Jehovah, without vital union with Him, a dead man cannot raise himself to new life. [I prefer taking מִפָּנֶיךָ in the causal signification. The text runs—“So have we been” (הָיִנוּ), not “we are.”—D. M.]. All convulsive efforts of the dead which aim at a new life are ineffectual. They are like bringing forth wind, the issue of an apparent pregnancy in consequence of the disease called empneumatosis (Gesenius, Delizsch). The מֵתִים must learn by experience that without Jehovah they cannot bless (comp. on יְשוּעָה Isaiah 26:1) the land of their habitation, i.e., here, the earth (comp. afterwards תֵבֵל), because, however convulsive their pangs may be, through them no inhabitants of the world ( Psalm 33:8; Isaiah 18:3; Isaiah 26:9; Nahum 1:5; Lamentations 4:12) will drop,i.e., no births to a new life will take place. נפל is used here and Isaiah 26:19 of the partus. Comp. the Greek πίπτειν, the Latin cadere, the German werfen (Ges.Thes. p897). [This meaning of נפל is in my opinion more than doubtful. But what are we to think of the Shades in Hades striving to give birth to themselves, fruitlessly laboring to get back into the world, and this, not so much for the purpose of releasing themselves from their gloomy abode, as with a view to bless the world with new inhabitants, and to work deliverance or safety for it? Generous Shades! So self-forgetful amid their sufferings in Hades! The judicious reader may be left to make his own comments on this strange notion.—D. M.].

5. Thy dead—the dead.

[“This verse is in the strongest contrast with the one before it. To the ineffectual efforts of the people to save themselves, he now opposes their actual deliverance by God.”—Alexander.]. The suffix of the first person in נבלתי corresponds to the suffix of the second person in נבלה .מתיך ( Isaiah 26:25) is never used in the plural. It is a collective word (comp. Leviticus 11:8; Leviticus 11:11 sqq.; Jeremiah 7:33; Jeremiah 16:4 et saepe). We have to refer the suffix of the first person to the Prophet who here speaks in the name of the church. It is he who after the disconsolate words of the Shades [?] speaks as the interpreter of Jehovah here (and afterwards Isaiah 26:20-21) words of consolation, and in the spirit of prophecy utters the triumphant call to awake, which will one day be pronounced by a mightier voice that it may be fulfilled. שכני עפר only here, comp. Isaiah 18:3. The words כי טר וגו׳ graphically depict the thought expressed in what goes before. On the morning of the resurrection a wonderful dew will cover the earth. It is no more the earthly dew, it is a heavenly, a divine dew (therefore טַלֶּךָ). If even now the earthly dew, when the rays of the sun mirror themselves in it, sparkles like pearls, how resplendent will be the drops of that heavenly dew, every one of which will be a glorified luminous body, a body of the resurrection! The plural אורת is found only here; for אֹרוֹת, 2 Kings 4:39 is a quite different word [?]. אוֹריִם also occurs only once; Psalm 136:7. The singular אוֹרָה is found Psalm 139:12; Esther 8:16. That the signification “lights” suits the connection cannot be doubted. For the new resurrection life is a life in the light ( John 1:4; John 8:12), and the δόξα of which our body, as σύμμορφον with the body of Christ, will partake ( Philippians 3:21) is in its nature light ( Matthew 17:2). But whence come these forms of light which as heavenly dew-drops will on the morning of the resurrection shine on the surface of the earth? They have arisen, i. e., they come out of the earth in which they hitherto as רפאיּם, as gloomy shades have dwelt. At the almighty word of the Lord the earth was forced to give up (cast out, Isaiah 26:18) these רפאים that had been hitherto regarded as a spoil that could not be snatched from it ( Isaiah 26:14).

6. Come my people——her slain.

Isaiah 26:20-21. If we receive the simple natural impression made by the Prophet’s representation, we must say that we are transported by these two verses into the time after the resurrection. [?] For what people can be addressed except that which according to Isaiah 26:19 has been awakened to new life? And why must this people after it had in Hades pined so long in suspense and anxiety, [?] conceal itself again after it had hardly come forth to the light? And why is it set forth as a characteristic mark of the time during which the people shall remain hidden, that in that time the earth shall disclose all the shed blood it had absorbed, and all corpses of the slain which it had concealed and kept? Is that not a clear reference to the time of the last judgment which brings everything to light and finishes everything? These are questions the answer to which was not known by the Prophet himself. It is the Apocalypse of the New Testament that first solves for us this riddle. It distinguishes a first and a second resurrection. And it makes the setting loose of Satan with the last assault on the city of God follow the first resurrection, after which there ensues the second general resurrection with the great universal judgment (Rev. xx.). [According to this exposition they who partake of the first resurrection were gloomy shades in misery till the earth cast them forth; and after having been raised from the dead they must hide themselves. But the dead in Christ were never shades in misery, and when they are raised, they shall be at once caught up to meet the Lord in the air and to be ever with Him. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. The ingenuity displayed by our author in illustrating this passage of Isaiah from the Apocalypse is very striking.—D. M.]. What those chambers are into which the people should go (חֶדֶרּ only here in Isaiah) the Prophet does not explain. But when according to Revelation 20:9 the παρεμβολὴ τῶν ἁγίων and the πόλις ἠγαπημένη is surrounded by enemies, I cannot doubt that the saints are enjoined during the short tribulation of the city to withdraw, and give themselves to solitary prayer in quiet expectation. At the same time this does not, I think, exclude the application of the counsel here given by the Prophet to all cases related to that final and highest storm of indignation as typical and preparatory events. Isaiah 26:21זַעַםa storm, storm of wrath, is a word which occurs not rarely in Isaiah 10:5; Isaiah 10:25; Isaiah 13:5; Isaiah 30:27. The storm is comparatively short, but in its intensity surpasses all others. For it comprehends according to Revelation 20:9-15 nothing less than the overthrow of Satan, and the general judgment. Verse 21 answers to this exactly. If Jehovah rises from His place in order to visit the guilt of the inhabitants of the earth (ישׁב הא׳‍‍ collectively) on them, and if the earth then discloses all hidden blood-guiltiness, this plainly enough indicates that that storm of wrath involves a work of judgment. The words “for, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place,” are taken literally from Micah 1:3 comp. Matthew 25:31; Revelation 20:11. As counterpart to the blessed fruits, which the earth according to Isaiah 26:19 will bring forth, and at the same time as proof of the all-comprehensive character of the judgment, the slain and the blood that has been shed are specified as what the earth will on that day cause to come to light. The earth opened its mouth to receive the blood of Abel who was the first person slain ( Genesis 4:11). And since that time it has taken in all the blood that has been shed, and all the dead bodies of the slain; and preserves them faithfully for the day of judgment, when they shall come forth as incontrovertible witnesses against the guilty. In the book of the Revelation, too, it is expressly declared that the sea, and death, and Hades will disclose all their dead ( Revelation 20:13).

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. Isaiah 24:2. “When general judgments take place, no distinction is observed between man and wife, master and servant, mistress and maid, learned and unlearned, noble and plebeian, clergy and laity; therefore let no one rely on any external prerogative or superiority, but let every one without distinction repent and forsake sin.”—Cramer. Though this is right, yet we must, on the other hand, remember that the Lord declares in reference to the same great event, “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left” ( Matthew 24:10 sq.). There is no contradiction in these two statements. Both are true: outward relations will make no difference; there shall be no respect of persons. But the state of the heart will make a difference. According to the inward character there will, in the case of those whose external position in the world is perfectly alike, be some who enter life, others whose doom is death.

2. Isaiah 24:5 sq. “The earth is burdened with sins, and is therefore deprived of every blessing. The earth must suffer for our guilt, when we have as it were spoilt it, and it must be subject to vanity for our sakes ( Romans 8:20). What wonder is it that it should show itself ungrateful toward us?”—Cramer.

3. Isaiah 24:13 sq. “Observe the small number of this remnant; here and there one who shall escape the common calamity (as Noah and his family, when the old world was drowned), who when all faces gather blackness, can lift up their head with joy. Luke 21:26-28.” Henry.—D. M.].

4. Isaiah 24:17-20. Our earth is a volcanic body. Mighty volcanic forces were active at its formation. That these are still in commotion in the interior of the earth is proved by the many active volcanoes scattered over the whole earth, and by the perpetual volcanic convulsions which we call earthquakes. These have hitherto been confined to particular localities. But who can guarantee that a concentration and simultaneous eruption of those volcanic forces, that Isaiah, a universal earthquake, shall not hereafter occur? The Lord makes express mention of earthquakes among the signs which shall precede His second coming ( Matthew 24:7; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11). And in 2 Peter 3:5 sqq. the future destruction of the earth by fire is set over against the destruction of the old world by water. Isaiah in our place announces a catastrophe whose characteristic features will be that, 1) there will be no escape from it; 2) destructive forces will assail from above and below; 3) the earth will be rent asunder; 4) it will reel and totter; 5) it will suffer so heavy a fall that it will not rise again ( Isaiah 24:20 b). Is there not here a prophecy of the destruction of the earth by volcanic forces? And how suddenly can they break loose! The ministers of the word have every reason to compare this extreme exposedness of our earth to fire, and the possibility of its unexpectedly sudden collapse with the above-cited warnings of the word of God, and to attach thereto the admonition which is added in 2 Peter 3:11.

5. Isaiah 24:21. The earth is a part of our planetary system. It is not what it appears to the optical perception to be, a central body around which worlds of a different nature revolve, but it, together with many similar bodies, revolves round a common centre. The earth according to that view of the account of the creation in Genesis 1, which appears to me the true one, has arisen with all the bodies of our Solar system out of one primary matter, originally united, common to them all. If our Solar System is a well-ordered, complete organism, it must rest on the basis of a not merely formal, but also material unity; i.e., the separate bodies must move, not only according to a principle of order which governs all, but they must also as to their substance be essentially like. And as they arose simultaneously, so must they perish simultaneously. It is inconceivable that our earth alone should disappear from the organism of the Solar System, or pass over to a higher material condition. Its absence, or ceasing to exist in its previous form and substance, would necessarily draw after it the ruin of the whole system. Hence the Scripture speaks every where of a passing away and renovation of the heaven and the earth ( Psalm 102:26; Isaiah 51:6; Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22; Matthew 5:18; Matthew 24:29; Matthew 24:35; 2 Peter 3:7; 2 Peter 3:10; 2 Peter 3:13; Hebrews 12:26; Revelation 20:11; Revelation 21:1). The heaven that shall pass away with a great noise, whose powers shall be shaken, whose stars shall fall, is the planetary heaven. The same lot will happen to the companions of our earth, to the other planets, and to the centre, the sun, and to all other co-ordinate and subordinate stellar bodies, which will befall the earth itself. This is the substance of the view which serves as a basis for our place. But personal beings are not thereby by any means excluded from the צבא מרום. The parallel expression מלכי האדמה, and the use in other places of the related expression צבא השׁמים lead us rather to suppose personal beings to be included. But I believe that a distinction must be made here. As the heavenly bodies which will pass away simultaneously with the earth, can only be those which arose together with it, and which stand in organic connection with it, so also the angelic powers, which are judged simultaneously with us men, can be only those which stand in connection with the heavenly bodies of our Solar System, i.e., with the earthly material world. There are heavenly bodies of glorious pneumatic substance. If personal beings stand in connection with them, they must also be pure, glorious, resplendent beings. These will not be judged. They are the holy angels, who come with the Lord ( Matthew 25:31). But it is quite conceivable that all the bodies of our Solar System are till the judgment like our earth suffered to be the theatre of the spirits of darkness.

6. Isaiah 24:21-23, It seems to me that the Prophet has here sketched the chief matters pertaining to eschatology. For the passing away of heaven and earth, the binding of Satan ( Revelation 20:1-3), the loosing of Satan again ( Revelation 20:7), and finally the reign of God alone, which will make sun and moon unnecessary ( Revelation 21:23)—are not these the boundary-stones of the chief epochs of the history of the end of the world?

7. [“The Lord of hosts makes this feast. The provision is very rich, and every thing is of the best. It is a feast, which supposes abundance and variety; it is a continual feast to believers: it is their fault if it be not. It is a feast of fat things and full of marrow; so relishing, so nourishing are the comforts of the Gospel to all those that feast upon them and digest them. The returning prodigal was entertained with the fatted calf; and David has that pleasure in communion with God, with which his soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness. It is a feast of wines on the lees; the strongest-bodied wines, that have been long kept upon the lees, and then are well refined from them, so that they are clear and fine. There is that in the Gospel which, like fine wine, soberly used, makes glad the heart, and raises the spirits, and is fit for those that are of a heavy heart, being under convictions of sin, and mourning for it, that they may drink and forget their misery (for that is the proper use of wine; it is a cordial for those that need it, Proverbs 31:6-7) may be of good cheer, knowing that their sins are forgiven, and may be vigorous in their spiritual work and warfare, as a strong man refreshed with wine.” Henry.—D. M.]

8. Isaiah 25:9. “In the Old Testament the vail and covering were before men’s eyes, partly because they waited for the light that was to appear, partly because they sat in darkness and in the shadow of death ( Luke 1:79). The fulfilment of this prediction has in Christ already begun, and will at last be perfectly fulfilled in the Church triumphant where all ignorance and sorrow shall be dispelled ( 1 Corinthians 13:12).” Cramer.

9. Isaiah 25:8. “God here represents Himself as a mother, who presses to her bosom her sorrowful Song of Solomon, comforts him and wipes away his tears ( Isaiah 66:13). The righteous are to believe and appropriate this promise, that every one may learn to speak with Paul in the time of trial: the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us, Romans 8:18.” Cramer.

10. Isaiah 25:10. “This is now the hope and consolation of the church that the hand of the Lord rests on this mountain, that Isaiah, that He will be gracious, and let His power, help and grace be there seen and felt. But the unbelieving Moabites, i.e., the Jews, with all others who will not receive the gospel, shall be threshed to pieces as straw in the mire; these the Lord’s hand will not rescue, as it helps those who wait on Him, but it shall press them down so that they will never rise, according to the saying, Mark 16:16.” Veit Dietrich.

11. Isaiah 25 Three thoughts contained in this chapter we should hold fast: 1) When we see the world triumph over every thing which belongs to the Lord and His kingdom, when our hearts are anxious about the preservation in the world of the Church of Christ, which is sore oppressed, let this word of the Prophet comfort our hearts. The world-city which contains all that is of the world, sinks into the dust, and the church of Christ goes from her chains and bands into the state of freedom and glory. We have often seen that it is the Lord’s way to let every thing come to maturity. When it is once ripe, He comes suddenly with His sentence. Let us comfort ourselves therewith, for thus will it happen with the world and its dominion over the faithful followers of Christ. When it is ripe, suddenly it will come to an end2) No one who has a heart for the welfare of the nations can see without the deepest pain how all hearts are now seduced and befooled, and all eyes closed and covered. The simplest truths are no longer acknowledged, but the more perverse, brutal and mean views and doctrines are, the more greedily are they laid hold of. We cannot avert this. But our comfort is that even this seduction of the nations will reach its climax. Then men will come to themselves. The vail and covering will fall off, and the Gospel will shine with new light before the nations. Therewith let us comfort ourselves3) Till this happens, the church is sorrowful. But she shall be full of joy. The promise is given to her that she shall be fully satisfied with the good things of the house of the Lord. A life is promised to her which neither death nor any pain can affect, as she has rest from all enemies. The word of the Lord shall be fulfilled in her: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. The Church that has such a promise may wait in patient quietness for its accomplishment, and praise the Lord in affliction, till it pleases Him to glorify her before all nations.” Weber, The Prophet Isaiah. 1875.

12. Isaiah 26:1. “The Christian church is a city of God. God has built it, and He is the right Master-builder. It is strong: 1) on account of the Builder; 2) on account of the foundation and corner-stone, which is Christ; 3) on account of the bond wherewith the living stones are bound together, which is the unity of the faith.” Cramer. [The security and happiness of true believers, both on earth and in heaven, is represented in Scripture under the image of their dwelling in a city in which they can bid defiance to all their enemies. We dwell in such a city even now, Psalm 46:4-5. We look for such a city, Hebrews 11:10; Hebrews 11:16; Revelation 21—D. M.]

13. [These words may be taken as a description of the people whom God owns, who are fit to be accounted members of the church of the living God on earth, and who will not be excluded from the celestial city. Instead of complaining that only the righteous and the faithful will be admitted into the heavenly city, it should rather give us joy to think that there will be no sin there, that none but the just and true will there be found. This has been a delightful subject of reflection to God’s saints. The last words written by Henry Martyn were: “Oh! when shall time give place to eternity? When shall appear that new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness? There, there shall in no wise enter in any thing that defileth; none of that wickedness which has made men worse than wild beasts—none of their corruptions which add to the miseries of mortality shall be seen or heard of any more.”—D. M.]

14. Isaiah 26:4. “The fourth privilege of the church is trust in God the Rock of Ages, i.e., in Christ, who not only here, but also Matthew 16; 1 Corinthians 10; 1 Peter 2, is called a rock in a peculiar manner, because no other foundation of salvation and of the church can be laid except this rock, which is here called the rock of ages on account of the eternity of His being, merit and office. Hence a refutation can be drawn of the papistical fable which makes Peter and his successors, the Roman Pontiffs, to be the rock on which the church is built.” Foerster. [“Whatever we trust to the world for, it will be but for a moment. All we expect from it is confined within the limits of time; but what we trust in God for will last as long as we shall last. For in the Lord Jehovah, Jah, Jehovah, in Him who was, and Isaiah, and is to come, there is a rock of ages, a firm and lasting foundation for faith and hope to build upon; and the house built on that rock will stand in a storm.” Henry.”—D. M.]

15. Isaiah 26:5. “It is very common with the prophets, when they prophesy of the kingdom of Christ to make reference to the proud and to the needy, and to represent the latter as exalted and the former as brought low. This truth is directed properly against the self-righteous. For Christ and His righteousness will not endure spiritual pride and presumption; but the souls that are poor, that hunger and thirst for grace, that know their need, these Christ graciously receives.” Cramer.

16. Isaiah 26:6. “It vexes the proud all the more that they will be overcome by those who are poor and of no consequence. For example, Goliath was annoyed that a boy should come against him with a staff ( 1 Samuel 13:43) Cramer.

17. Isaiah 26:8-10. That the justice of God must absolutely manifest itself that the majesty of the Lord may be seen, and that the wicked may learn righteousness, must even from a new Testament view-point be admitted. But the New Testament disputes the existence of any one who is righteous when confronted by the law, and who is not deserving of punishment. [But that there is none righteous, no not one, is taught most emphatically in the Old Testament also.—D. M.]. But it (the New Testament) while it shuts up all, Jews and Gentiles, without exception, under sin ( Galatians 3:22; Romans 3:9; Romans 11:32), sets forth a scheme of mediation, which, while it renders full satisfaction to justice, at the same time offers to all the possibility of deliverance. This mediation is through the Cross of Christ. It is only when this mediation has not been accepted that punitive justice has free course. It should not surprise us that even the Evangelist of the Old Covenant, who wrote chap53, did not possess perfect knowledge of this mediation. Let us remember John the Baptist ( Matthew 3:7; Matthew 11:11) and the disciples of the Lord ( Luke 9:54). [Let us not forget that Isaiah was a true Prophet, and spoke as he was moved by the Spirit of God. The Apostle Paul did not find fault with the most terrible denunciations of judgment contained in the Old Testament, or affect a superiority over the men who uttered them. On the contrary, he quotes them as words which could not be suffered to fall, but which must be fulfilled in all their dreadful import. See e.g. Romans 11:9-10.—D. M.].

18. Isaiah 26:12. “It is a characteristic of true, sincere Christians, that they give God the glory and not themselves, and freely confess that they have nothing of themselves, but everything from God ( 1 Corinthians 4:7; Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 12:2).” Cramer.

19. Isaiah 26:16. The old theologians have many comforting and edifying thoughts connected with this place: “A magnet has the power to raise and attract to itself iron. Our heart is heavy as iron. But the hand of God is as a magnet. When that hand visits us with affliction, it lifts us up, and draws us to itself.” “Distress teaches us to pray, and prayer again dispels all distress. One wedge displaces the other.” “Ex gravibus curis impellimur ad pia vota.” “Ex monte myrrhae procedimus ad collem thuris ( Song of Solomon 9:6). In amaritudine crucis exsurgit odor devotae precationis ( Psalm 86:6 sq.).” “Ubi nulla crux et tentatio, ibi nulla vera oratio. Oratio sine mails est tanquam avis sine alis. Optimus orandi magister necessitas. Τὰ παθήματα μαθήματα. Quae nocent, docent. Ubi tentatio, ibi oratio. Mala, quae hic nos premunt, ad Deum ire compellunt. Qui nescit orare, ingrediatur mare.” “When the string is most tightly drawn, it sounds best. Cross and temptation are the right prayer-bell. They are the press by which God crushes out the juice of prayer.” Cramer and Foerster.

20. Isaiah 26:20. As God, when the deluge was about to burst, bade Noah go into his ark as into his chamber, and Himself shut the door on him ( Genesis 7:6); so does the Lord still act when a storm is approaching; He brings His own into a chamber where they can be safe, either for their temporal preservation and protection against every might ( Psalm 91:1), or, on the other hand, to give them repose by a peaceful and happy death.” “His anger endureth but a moment; in his favor is life ( Psalm 30:6).” Cramer.

21. [“Great and mighty princes [nations] if they oppose the people of God, are in God’s account, as dragons and serpents, and plagues of mankind; and the Lord will punish them in due time. They are too big for men to deal with, and call to an account; and therefore the great God will take the doing of it into His own hands.” Henry.—D. M.].

22. Isaiah 27:2-5. “It seems to the world that God has no concern for His church and Christians, else, we imagine, they would be better off. But certain it Isaiah, that it is not the angels but God Himself that will be watcher over this vineyard, and will send it gracious rain.” Veit Dietrich. [“The church is a vineyard of red wine, yielding the best and choicest grapes, intimating the reformation of the church, that it now brings forth good fruit unto God, whereas before it brought forth fruit to itself, or brought forth wild grapes, Isaiah 5:4.” “God takes care (1) of the safety of this vineyard; I the Lord do keep it. He speaks this, as glorying in it, that He Isaiah, and has undertaken to be, the keeper of Israel; those that bring forth fruit to God are, and shall be always, under His protection. (2) God takes care of the fruitfulness of this vineyard: I will water it every moment; and yet it shall not be over watered. We need the constant and continual waterings of the divine grace; for if that be at any time withdrawn, we wither and come to nothing.” Henry. D. M.].

23. Isaiah 27:4. “Est aurea promissio, qua praecedentem confirmat. Indignatio non est mihi, fury is not in me. Quomodo enim is nobis irasci potest, qui pro nobis est mortuus? Quanquam igitur appareat, eum irasci, non tamen est verum, quod irascatur. Sic Paulo immittitur angelus Satanae, sed non est ira, nam ipse Christus dicit: sufficit tibi gratia mea. Sic pater filium delinquentem castigat, sed non est ira, quanquam appareat ira esse. Custodia igitur vineae aliquando cogit Deum immittere speciem irae, ne pereat luxurie, sed non est ira. Est insignis textus, which we should inscribe on all tribulations: Non est indignatio mihi, non possum irasci. Quod autem videtur irasci est custodia vineae, ne pereas et fias securus. Luther. “In order to understand fully the doctrine of the wrath of God we must have a clear perception of the antithesis: the long-suffering of God, and the wrath of God, wrath and mercy.” Lange.

24. Isaiah 27:7-9. “Christ judges His church, i.e., He punishes and afflicts it, but He does this in measure. The sorrow and cross is meted out, and is not, as it appears to us, without measure and infinite. It is so measured that redemption must certainly follow. But why does God let His Christians so suffer? Why does He not lay the cross on the wicked? God answers this question and speaks: the sin of Jacob will thereby cease. That is: God restrains sin by the cross, and subdues the old Adam.” Veit Dietrich.

25. [“The application of this verse to a future restoration of the Jews can neither be established nor disproved. In itself considered, it appears to contain nothing which may not be naturally applied to events long past.” J. A. Alexander.—“This prediction was completely and entirely fulfilled by the return of the Jews to their own country under the decree of Cyrus.” Barnes.—D. M.].

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Isaiah 24:4-6. Fast-day sermon. Warning against dechristianization of the life of the people1) Wherein such dechristianization consists: a, transgression of the commandments that are in force; b, alteration of the commandments which are essential articles of the everlasting covenant, as e.g. removing of all state institutions from the basis of religion2) Its consequences: a, Desecration of the land (subjectively, by the spread of a profane, godless sentiment; objectively, by the secularization of relations hitherto held sacred); b, the curse consumes the land, Isaiah 24:4.

2. On Isaiah 25:1-5. The Lord, the refuge of the needy1) He has the power to help. This we perceive a, from His nature (Lord, God, Wonderful); b, from His deeds ( Isaiah 25:1 b, Isaiah 25:2). 2) He gives His strength even to the feeble, ( Isaiah 25:4). 3) These are thereby victorious, ( Isaiah 25:5).

3. On Isaiah 25:6-9. Easter Sermon, by T. Schaeffer (Manch. Gab. u. ein Geist III. p269):—“The glorious Easter-blessing of the Risen One: 1) Wherein it consists? 2) who receive it? 3) what are its effects? Christmas Sermon, by Romberg [ibid. 1869, p78): Our text represents to us Christmas joy under the image of a festive board. Let us consider, 1) the host; 2) the guests; 3) the gifts.”

4. On Isaiah 26:1-4. Concerning the church1) She is a strong city in which salvation is to be found2) The condition of having a portion in her is faith3) The blessing which she is instrumental in procuring is peace.

5. Isaiah 26:19-21. The comfort of the Christian for the present and future1) For the present the Christian is to betake himself to his quiet chamber, where he is alone with his Lord and by Him made cheerful and secure2) For the future he has the certain hope, a, that the Lord will judge the wicked, b, raise the believer to everlasting life.

6. Isaiah 27:2-9. How the Lord deals with His vineyard, the church1) Fury is not in Him towards it; 2) He protects and purifies it; 3) He gives it strength, peace and growth; 4) He chastens it in measure; 5) He makes the chastisement itself serve to purge it from sins.

Footnotes:

FN#7 - they shall see to their shame thy zeal for the people.

FN#8 - Or, toward thy people.

FN#9 - fire shall devour them, thy enemies.

FN#10 - Or, for us.

FN#11 - Shades.

FN#12 - thou hast removed far all the borders of the land.

FN#13 - Heb. secret speech.

FN#14 - far from thy sight.

FN#15 - my dead body shall arise.

FN#16 - lights.

FN#17 - Heb. bloods.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Isaiah 26:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/isaiah-26.html. 1857-84.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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