Isaiah 26 Commentary

Final victory for the godly (26:1-27:1)

Having destroyed the city built by human hands (that is, humankind’s whole ungodly way of life; 25:2), God now builds his city. It is a city for the righteous, an eternal dwelling place for those who have experienced the perfect peace that comes through complete trust in God (26:1-3). Those who trust in him have stability and security, but those who trust in themselves are overthrown. God’s city stands for ever; the world’s city is smashed to the ground and trampled in the dust (4-6).

Godly people long to know God and his ways better, so that they can live righteously according to his directions. They desire this knowledge for others also, because only when people know God can they truly know what righteousness is (7-9). The ungodly do not know God and so cannot live uprightly (10- 11). The righteous know that God cares for them, and they respond with loyalty to him, even when they are oppressed by their enemies (12-13). In due course, however, the enemies are destroyed, but the righteous have peace. Their numbers increase, and God’s blessing spreads throughout the land (14-15).

The righteous then recall how they have cried to God in their distress, but have received no apparent answer. All their efforts and all their expectations have come to nothing. They feel the disappointment and frustration of a woman who suffers birth pains but produces no child. Many of the godly have died without seeing any victory (16-18). Their victory must therefore lie in the future, when their bodies will be triumphantly raised from death (19).

God’s people need not fear his wrath, for he will protect them when he carries out his work of judgment on a sinful world (20-21). By contrast his enemies, symbolized here by fierce monsters, will suffer his deadly punishment (27:1).

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