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Isaiah: Chapter 26

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26On that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

We have a strong city; he sets up victory like walls and bulwarks. 2 Open the gates, so that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. 3 Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace— in peace because they trust in you. 4 Trust in the LORD forever, for in the LORD GOD b Heb it you have an everlasting rock. 5 For he has brought low the inhabitants of the height; the lofty city he lays low. He lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust. 6 The foot tramples it, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.


The way of the righteous is level; O Just One, you make smooth the path of the righteous. 8 In the path of your judgments, O LORD, we wait for you; your name and your renown are the soul's desire. 9 My soul yearns for you in the night, my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. 10 If favor is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness they deal perversely and do not see the majesty of the LORD. 11 O LORD, your hand is lifted up, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed. Let the fire for your adversaries consume them. 12 O LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for indeed, all that we have done, you have done for us. 13 O LORD our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but we acknowledge your name alone. 14 The dead do not live; shades do not rise— because you have punished and destroyed them, and wiped out all memory of them. 15 But you have increased the nation, O LORD, you have increased the nation; you are glorified; you have enlarged all the borders of the land.


O LORD, in distress they sought you, they poured out a prayer a Meaning of Heb uncertain when your chastening was on them. 17 Like a woman with child, who writhes and cries out in her pangs when she is near her time, so were we because of you, O LORD; 18 we were with child, we writhed, but we gave birth only to wind. We have won no victories on earth, and no one is born to inhabit the world. 19 Your dead shall live, their corpses b Heb in Yah, the Lord shall rise. O dwellers in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a radiant dew, and the earth will give birth to those long dead. c Meaning of Heb uncertain


Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the wrath is past. 21 For the LORD comes out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no longer cover its slain.


d Heb it

a Meaning of Heb uncertain

b Heb in Yah, the Lord

a Meaning of Heb uncertain

Text Commentary view alone

26.1–6 : A psalm in praise of Zion

(cf. Ps 48; 76; 84; 87; 122 ) in contrast to the alien city now destroyed ( 24.10–13; 25.2 ), which will be trampled by the poor and needy. Open the gates, an element of proces‐sional psalms, e.g., 24.7–10; 100.4; 118.19–20 .

26.7–27.1 : An apocalyptic psalm

with attached commentary. The psalm is in the form of a lament introduced by expressions of confidence in God the Just One and God's approval of the righteous.

12–15 :

The lament proper, on account of foreign domination, with a brief glance at the national history.

14 :

The dead do not live, a common theme in the psalms; only the living can praise God (Ps 6.5; 30.9; 49.10–20 ); see 39.18–19 .

15 :

Cf. 9.3 .

19 :

Your dead shall live, the response to v. 14 , expressing an intuition of a meaningful survival of death; cf. Ezek 37.1–14; Dan 12.2 .

20–21 :

An injunction to take cover in view of the coming judgment; the devout must wait a little longer for salvation, cf. 2.10,19,21 .

27.1 :

The coming judgment is restated in mythic terms. Leviathan, a monstrous sea creature representing chaos, is described with the same two epithets in the Ugaritic poems; see Job 3.8; 41.4; Ps 74.13–14 . The dragon (Heb “tannin”), either a distinct embodiment of chaos or another term for Leviathan.

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