Isaiah 26

1 In that day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city. God appoints salvation for walls and bulwarks. 2 Open the gates, that the righteous nation may enter: the one which keeps faith. 3 You will keep whoever’s mind is steadfast in perfect peace, because he trusts in you. 4 Trust in the LORD forever; for in the LORD, the LORD, is an everlasting Rock. 5 For he has brought down those who dwell on high, the lofty city. He lays it low. He lays it low even to the ground. He brings 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. You who are upright make the path of the righteous level. 8 Yes, in the way of your judgements, the LORD, have we waited for you. Your name and your renown are the desire of our soul. 9 With my soul have I desired you in the night. Yes, with my spirit within me will I seek you earnestly; for when your judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. 10 Let favor be shown to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness. In the land of uprightness he will deal wrongfully, and will not see the LORD’s majesty. 11 The LORD, your hand is lifted up, yet they don’t see; but they will see your zeal for the people, and be disappointed. Yes, fire will consume your adversaries. 12 The LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for you have also done all our work for us. 13 The LORD our God, other lords besides you have had dominion over us, but by you only will we make mention of your name. 14 The dead shall not live. The departed spirits shall not rise. Therefore you have visited and destroyed them, and caused all memory of them to perish. 15 You have increased the nation, O LORD. You have increased the nation! You are glorified! You have enlarged all the borders of the land. 16 LORD, in trouble they have visited you. They poured out a prayer when your chastening was on them. 17 Like as a woman with child, who draws near the time of her delivery, is in pain and cries out in her pangs; so we have been before you, LORD. 18 We have been with child. We have been in pain. We gave birth, it seems, only to wind. We have not worked any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. 19 Your dead shall live. My dead bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in the dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth will cast out the departed spirits. 20 Come, my people, enter into your rooms, and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourself for a little moment, until the indignation is past. 21 For, behold, the LORD comes out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity. The earth also will disclose her blood, and will no longer cover her slain.

(Previous Chapter)    •    (Next Chapter)

Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-4

“That day,” seems to mean when the New Testament Babylon shall be levelled with the ground. The unchangeable promise and covenant of the Lord are the walls of the church of God. The gates of this city shall be open. Let sinners then be encouraged to join to the Lord. Thou wilt keep him in peace; in perfect peace, inward peace, outward peace, peace with God, peace of conscience, peace at all times, in all events. Trust in the Lord for that peace, that portion, which will be for ever. Whatever we trust to the world for, it will last only for a moment; but those who trust in God shall not only find in him, but shall receive from him, strength that will carry them to that blessedness which is for ever. Let us then acknowledge him in all our ways, and rely on him in all trials.

Verses 5-11

The way of the just is evenness, a steady course of obedience and holy conversation. And it is their happiness that God makes their way plain and easy. It is our duty, and will be our comfort, to wait for God, to keep up holy desires toward him in the darkest and most discouraging times. Our troubles must never turn us from God; and in the darkest, longest night of affliction, with our souls must we desire him; and this we must wait and pray to him for. We make nothing of our religion, whatever our profession may be, if we do not make heart-work of it. Though we come ever so early, we shall find God ready to receive us. The intention of afflictions is to teach righteousness: blessed is the man whom the Lord thus teaches. But sinners walk contrary to him. They will go on in their evil ways, because they will not consider what a God he is whose laws they persist in despising. Scorners and the secure will shortly feel, what now they will not believe, that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. They will not see the evil of sin; but they shall see. Oh that they would abandon their sins, and turn to the Lord, that he may have mercy upon them.

Verses 12-19

Every creature, every business, any way serviceable to our comfort, God makes to be so; he makes that work for us which seemed to make against us. They had been slaves of sin and Satan; but by the Divine grace they were taught to look to be set free from all former masters. The cause opposed to God and his kingdom will sink at last. See our need of afflictions. Before, prayer came drop by drop; now they pour it out, it comes now like water from a fountain. Afflictions bring us to secret prayer. Consider Christ as the Speaker addressing his church. His resurrection from the dead was an earnest of all the deliverance foretold. The power of his grace, like the dew or rain, which causes the herbs that seem dead to revive, would raise his church from the lowest state. But we may refer to the resurrection of the dead, especially of those united to Christ.

Verses 20-21

When dangers threaten, it is good to retire and lie hid; when we commend ourselves to God to hide us, he will hide us either under heaven or in heaven. Thus we shall be safe and happy in the midst of tribulations. It is but for a short time, as it were for a little moment; when over, it will seem as nothing. God’s place is the mercy-seat; there he delights to be: when he punishes, he comes out of his place, for he has no pleasure in the death of sinners. But there is hardly any truth more frequently repeated in Scripture, than God’s determined purpose to punish the workers of iniquity. Let us keep close to the Lord, and separate from the world; and let us seek comfort in secret prayer. A day of vengeance is coming on the world, and before it comes we are to expect tribulation and suffering. But because the Christian looks for these things, shall he be restless and dismayed? No, let him repose himself in his God. Abiding in him, the believer is safe. And let us wait patiently the fulfilling of God’s promises.

Back to Top