One by one we will truly become echad (one).
Chapter 27 continues the theme of the impending judgement of the nations, in particular the three world powers of Isaiah’s day, Assyria, Babylon and Egypt. In the midst of God’s judgement against Israel’s enemies, He turns to the subject of Israel herself. His precious vineyard, Israel is not treated with the same severity as her enemies in regard to her moral decay. Rather, she is disciplined as a beloved child. Thus, the song of the vineyard, which mirrors that of Isaiah 5, is the story of Israel’s physical and spiritual redemption. The present text has historical, geographical and cultural context that must not be overlooked, however, it is also rich with figurative prophecy alluding to yet future events. Therefore, as in all cases, we do not limit ourselves to the false choices proposed by so many theologians, both Jewish and Christian, rather, we accept the mystery that is held in balance between the plain meaning and the figurative meaning. Once again, the remez (hint), drash (comparative), and the sod (mystery) while important and relevant, must submit to the p’shat (plain) meaning of the text. This is just one of the ways that God has given us to avoid error in interpretation. As always, we of course rely on the Ruach Ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) as He reveals the teaching of the Rabbi Yeshua our King Messiah.
Isa 27:1 Bayom In the day ha-hu the (he) one, HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) will punish leve’yatan (serpent, sea creature, entwined, self-joining one) the nachash (Serpent, dragon) bariach (fleeing, fugitive) with a severe chereb sword, great and strong, even leve’yatan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay ha-taniyn the dragon that’s in bayam the sea (body of water).
“At that time the Lord shall punish with his great, mighty, and strong sword the king, who has magnified himself as Pharaoh the first, and the king who has exalted himself as Senna cherib the second; and he shall slay the king that is strong as the dragon that is in the sea.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE/BCE)
Once again, “the Day” is a reference to that future day, and or time period, when historically, Israel sees the fulfilment of the defeat of her enemies, and to the yet future day, and or time period, at the end of days, when HaShem will bring about Israel’s physical and spiritual redemption through His Son our King Messiah Yeshua. The sense is not so much one of chronology as it is of convergence. Therefore, “the Day” is a day of convergence, be it in 24 hours or in days plural made echad (one).
The “Serpent/Snake/Monster” is used throughout Scripture as a symbol of the enemy Satan (Accuser) and his dark forces (Genesis 3 etc.). In the Tanakh it is seen as a created animal (Job 26:13, Psalm 58:4 etc.) and figuratively as the kings and armies sent against Israel (Jeremiah 8:17; 46:22; Psalm 140:3).
Given the context of this passage, we are wise to consider the correlation between the three serpents referred to in verse 1 and the three predominant kingdoms alluded to in verses12 and 13.
There are obvious comparisons to be made between the present text and the book of Revelation. The greatest of serpents is of course Satan (Genesis 3), who is the enemy of all who believe, both Jew and Gentile. In the latter days he will suffer the fullness of his ultimate defeat, begun within time and space at the cross of our Messiah and purposed outside of time and space from before the creation (Rev. 20:2-3, 10).
The “severe chereb (sword)” is a sword of judgement (Gen. 3:24; Ex. 5:3; 1 Sam. 15:8; Rev. 19:15).
Isa 27:2 Bayom In the day ha-hu the (he) one, kerem vineyard chemed delightful (desirable, pleasant) answer her.
“At that time the congregation of Israel, which is like a vineyard planted in a goodly land, shall sing concerning that vineyard” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE/BCE)
In the day when God destroys the serpents, a song will be sung of His vineyard (Israel). A song, a parable, a prophecy.
Israel is referred to as a vineyard in numerous Scriptures throughout the Bible (Isaiah 5:1; Son. 8:11; John 15:1; Luke 13:6).
These words draw the reader’s attention and remind the reader of the former song of Hashem’s vineyard in which Israel is judged and found wanting (Isaiah 5). In the present text however, the song, while alluding to Israel’s fallen nature, also tells of the redemption of Israel.
Israel (ethnic, religious) is in no way a figure for the Church. It is ludicrous, historically inaccurate, prophetically untenable, anti-Semitic and intellectually dishonest to say such a thing.
Isa 27:3 Ani I HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) notzrah am guarding it with fidelity, I will water it every moment: lest any visit harm upon it, night and day I will guard it with fidelity.
“I, the Lord, keep the covenant of their fathers with them, that I may not destroy them; but at the time that they provoked me to anger, I gave them the cup of their punishment to drink; but their sins were the cause of their punishment; nevertheless, my Word shall protect them by day and by night.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE/BCE)
“Behold, the Keeper of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.” -Psalm 121:4 (TLV)
Mercy speaks of His undying devotion to His chosen people Israel (Delightful vineyard). He guards her perpetually and with absolute fidelity. It is HaShem Himself Who is guarding the vineyard, and not some subordinate ruler. It is He Who gives life, He Who also perpetually waters His people with Mayim Chayim living waters.
“I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.” -Hosea 14:5
Iben Ezra says that “I will water it every moment”, means that “The prophecy will not cease.” We know that prophecy is born of the D’var Word of God, and that “the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus” (Revelation 19:10). The Brit Chadashah (NT) speaks of the husbands role as one who washes his wife in the Word of God (Ephesians 5:25-27). In fact, Rav Shaul is making a drash of the present passage, setting husbands the task of emulating the greatest of Husbands, that is HaShem, the Husband of Israel.
“And HaShem shall guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and make fat your bones: and you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.” -Isaiah 58:10
Waters that never fail are eternal. Thus, when Hashem says He will water every moment He is alluding to the life giving water of the Word, Who is God with us, His Son our Messiah Yeshua.
‘Yeshua answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”’ -Yochanan (John) 4:13-14
Isa 27:4 Chemah eiyn li Fury is not in Me: who would set briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together.
HaShem does not deal in fury when it comes to His chosen, rather He acts in discipline for the sake of their redemption.
Perhaps the best commentary on this verse is the 2nd Century CE paraphrase Targum Yonatan:
“Behold, many mighty works are before me. Is it not so? If the house of Israel would set their face to do my law, I would send my anger and my fury among the nations, who are waging war against them, and I would destroy them, as the fire destroy the briers and the thorns together.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE/BCE)
However, it is also possible that the thorns referred to here are in fact disloyal dissenters within Israel, who, like the sons of Belial (Worthless), have been thorns in Israel from ancient times (Deut. 13:13; Judges 20:13; 1 Sam 25:17; 25:25; 30:22; 2 Sam 20:1).
“But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:” -2 Samuel 23:7
Isa 27:5 Or let him find strength be’mauzi in My refuge, shalom peace (wholeness) with Me; shalom peace (wholeness) will be accomplished with Me.
“Or” which is also translated “If” by some Jewish sages, means that mercy is being offered even to the dissenters within the vineyard (Israel). This is an offer to the wicked, an offer of redemption. HaShem promises to accomplish peace and wholeness in and with those wicked ones who will return to Him to find strength rather than trusting in their own strength and the worship of false gods. The peace that He offers is eternal, twice spoken, firmly established. But it is only found with HaShem.
“Fury is not in me, what I am going to say, I shall not say with fury. מי יתנני וגו׳ Who would give me—comp. נתתני thou hast given me (Judges 1:15)—the briers and thorns of the vineyard! I would go through them, etc.; that is, if they do not remove the wicked men of Israel, I will slay them all” - R. Moses Hakkohen
Isa 27:6 He will cause the roots of Yaakov (Jacob: follower) to blossom and shine: Yisrael (Overcome in God/Judge) will sprout forth, and fill the face of the teiveil world with fruit.
The Targum Yonatan understands “fruit” as applying to the “children’s children” of Israel, a way of denoting perpetual lineage and connection to the land of Israel (the vineyard).
“They shall be gathered from the midst of their captivity, and return to their country; there children shall be born to the house of Jacob; they of the house of Israel shall be fruitful, and they shall multiply; their children's children shall fill the face of the world.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE/BCE)
Iben Ezra, Yarchi, and Ben Melekh understand this text to be saying that in days "to come, he shall cause Jacob to take root": or, he "shall take root", a prophecy of the stability that yet awaits Israel (ethnic, religious).
We note that the follower Jacob will undergo a change that will cause him to blossom and shine, and, having become one who overcomes in God (Israel) the Judge, he will sprout forth and become a blessing to all nations. This is the story of Israel’s redemption in Messiah Yeshua. The Rav Shaul (Paul) reminds us that the blindness of Israel has meant riches for the Gentiles (Romans 11:12), but that Israel’s reconciliation to God through Yeshua will mean “life from the dead!” (Romans 11:15).
Isa 27:7 The striking ones, He struck: He struck those slaughterers, the murderer is murdered.
Given the opening verse and the fact that HaShem has just stated that He will not deal with Israel in fury as He has done with her enemies, we can conclude that the “striking ones” are the three enemies of Israel: Assyria, Babylon and Egypt. The same being figuratively slain as serpents in verse 1 and named in verses 12 and 13.
Isa 27:8 In measure, in stretching out, you will contend to remove: be’ruacho in His fierce spirit, breath, wind, in the day of the east wind.
Ben Melekh observes that the word “hagah” conveys the sense of “removing” in Prov. 25:4, 5. This is likened to the removing of bad fruit. Therefore, the understanding would be that the fierce east wind (enemy armies from the east) will be used by God as a sifting of the people of Israel, blowing bad fruit away and leaving the good fruit. Thus, God’s actions toward Israel are “measured”, they are actions of discipline rather than “fury” (27:4).
Isa 27:9 By this therefore will the iniquity of Yaakov (follower) ye’chupar be covered; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he makes all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten to pieces, the Asheirah (Ashterot star, Astarte fortune goddess) groves ve’chamaniym and images, altars, will not rise up.
The iniquity of Jacob will be covered when he turns away from idolatry and toward God. This is at the heart of Jewish belief, the concept of shuva, or, teshuvah (to turn back).
“The stones of the altar (singular)” probably refer specifically to the altar which Achaz made (2 Kings 16:10), which was an altar of heathen worship replicated in Israel after he saw a heathen altar in Damascus while seeking help from Tiglathpileser the king of Assyria instead of trusting God’s Word through the prophet.
Isa 27:10 Yet the defended city will be desolate, the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness: there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches of that place.
The “Defended city” is most likely to be that of one of Israel’s enemies because the following verse qualifies the people of that city as those upon whom God will have no mercy nor show favour toward: this cannot refer to Israel whom He has just said He has no fury against (v.4). The most likely candidate is Babylon, however, the capitals of Assyria and or Egypt could also be meant.
Isa 27:11 When the harvest there has withered, they will be broken off: the women come, and set them on fire: for this is a am tribe (people) without understanding: therefore He Who made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will show them no favour.
This is a description of the wicked who perpetually refuse God’s mercy and lack understanding as a result. Therefore, He will give them over to their own wishes and the terrible consequences of their own sin.
Isa 27:12 And it has come to pass ba’yom in the day, that (he) one, HaShem (YHVH: mercy) will thresh from the channel of the river unto the stream of Mitzrayim (Egypt: double distress), and you will be te’lukto picked up, gathered, cleaned la’achad achad one by one, benei children of Yisrael (Overcome in God/Judge).
“And it has come to pass” because the prophet has received the Word of God Who sees complete outside of time and space that which He has now spoken into time and space.
“The river” is a reference to the Euphrates (Symbolic of Babylon). “The stream of Egypt” is an allusion to the Nile river.
The subject of this verse is Israel (both individually and corporately). Having dealt with her enemies, God will now pick up, gather, clean and collect her, one by one, the Benei Yisrael (Children of Israel), who overcome in God. They are gathered “one by one” because all must receive the Messiah personally and all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:25). Thus, “la’achad achad” one by one we will truly become echad (one).
Isa 27:13 And it has come to pass ba’yom in the day, the (he) one, that the be’shofar gadol great shofar will be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Ashur (Assyria, a step), and the outcasts in the land of Mitzrayim (Egypt: double distress), and will worship HaShem (YHVH: mercy) be’har in the mount hakodesh, the holy, be’yerushalayim in (Jerusalem: downpour of peace).
This prophecy has in one sense been partially fulfilled with the return of Jews from Babylon and Egypt following the exiles that followed the pronouncement of Isaiah’s prophecy, and more recently over the past 200 years from the birth of modern Zionism up to the present day. However, Israel is still yet to have access to worship on the Holy Mount (Tziyon, Moriah, Har Beit). Today as I write this Jews are still banned from prayer on the Temple mount and rather than HaShem, the ancient feminine moon deity Allah is worshipped in a mosque that is an abomination and desecration of that same Holy Mount. Therefore, the full filling of this prophecy is yet future.
The Talmudists apply this text to the Olam Haba (World to come), and or the times of the Messiah, when the tribes of Israel return to the land (T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 110. 2. Midrash Kohelet. fol. 68. 3.)
It is to the literal Jerusalem and Mount Zion that Israel will return, in a day when all of Israel will be redeemed through Yeshua the King Messiah. It is to the transcendent Jerusalem and Mount Zion that Israel will return, to that city that ascends in the latter days as recorded in the Revelation of Yeshua to Yochanan (Rev. 21).
“But you have come to Mount Zion—to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, a joyous gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are written in a scroll in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous ones made perfect, and to Yeshua, the Mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks of something better than the blood of Abel.” -Hebrews 12:22-24 (TLV)
Therefore, it is Israel (ethnic religious) as an entire redeemed remnant, who will come in Messiah to the Holy Mountain at the end of days and worship HaShem in the city of the downpour of Peace (Jerusalem). A firmly established perpetual peace (v.5). There to dwell in the city that has no Temple, because God Himself and the Lamb (Yeshua) are it’s Temple and its light.
“I saw no temple in her, for its Temple is Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot and the Lamb.” -Revelation 21:22 (TLV)
© 2018 Yaakov Brown
“Trust ye in the Word of the Lord for ever and ever: thus ye shall be saved by the Word, who is the fear of the Lord, the mighty One to eternity.” -Targum Yonatan (approx.. 2nd Century CE)
Isaiah 26 is a song of the redeemed people of ethnic-religious Israel. Who, at the time of their individual and national redemption at the end of the age “In the Day”, will reflect on the Lord’s love and protection over them and rejoice; soberly acknowledging that though other lords “adoniym”, have ruled them in their disobedience, a remnant has always sought the one true God of Israel HaShem (YHVH), her King of Mercy. Thus, having received her own Messiah Yeshua, in “The Day” (Last Day: time period) she will rejoice and sing of God’s goodness and judgement against His enemies.
NB: This chapter is not, as some foolishly assert, a song of or about, the Church.
It is worth noting that the Holy Personal Name of God YHVH, which denotes mercy, is used 12 times in this portion of scripture. A portion that details a song of the redeemed 12 tribes of Israel. A people whom God calls, “Ami” (My people).
Isa 26:1 Bayom In the day, that (he) one, singing the song, this one, be’eretz in the land of Yehudah (Judah: Praise): A city of strength to us; yeshuah salvation appointed as a wall and fortress.
“At that time they shall sing a new song in the land of the house of Judah: ‘We have a strong city, salvation and mercy shall be established upon her walls.’” -Targum Yonatan (approx.. 2nd Century CE)
“Praise HaShem (YHVH). Sing unto HaShem (YHVH) a new song, and praise Him in the congregation of Chasidiym faithful ones.” -Tehillim/Psalms 149:1
“The city of Jerusalem, which was always our strength from time immemorial, the Savior shall place salvation for its walls and its bulwark.” -Rashi
“A city of strength” refers to Jerusalem, both earthly and new (now and not yet) [Revelation 21:2].
NB: A bulwark is a smaller wall of defence that precedes the main city walls.
Iben Ezra notes that this city is Jerusalem, and that Jerusalem is strength to “us”, that is, to Israel (religious, ethnic, empirical). He further states that “God will appoint salvation.”
Jerusalem, the meaning of which is “Flood/downpour of Peace”, is our present strength and our future hope. It is our present strength because in Messiah Yeshua we receive the flood of Peace that comes with the seal of His redemptive sacrifice and resurrection. This peace is imparted to us through the Spirit of the Father and the Son, the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). Jerusalem is also our future hope because we are currently bound to time and space. We look to the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2), something the writers of the Targum also looked toward. That Jerusalem is prepared for us outside of time and space and will descend at the coming of the Messiah. God has appointed our salvation (yeshuah) in Himself. His name is Yeshua, and He is the King Messiah of Israel.
Isa 26:2 Open His gates, ve’yavo and enter in goy a nation tzadik righteous shomeir keeping, guarding, awaiting emuniym faithfulness, trusts, trusting.
A city is usually referred to in the feminine, therefore, the opening phrase “Open His gates” is likely a referance to the Lord because the nearest subject is the walls which are also feminine. Thus, it seems that it is the New Jerusalem that is alluded to here, the city whose gates belong to HaShem. This is why the masculine is used.
The righteous nation mentioned is none other than redeemed ethnic-religious Israel (redeemed through Yeshua the Messiah). She is pictured here as the nation who guards, keeps, awaits, and carries the emuniym, eternal trust and faithfulness of God. This trust is in the One Who both birthed her and is born of her, that is Yeshua the Messiah.
While the more common usage of shomeir is “Guard, keep” etc. Rashi alludes to its use in other parts of Scripture in the sense of “awaiting”:
“Shomeir-waiting. Compare Gen 37:11, ‘And his father awaited (shomeir) the matter.’ Similarly Deut. 7:12, ‘And the Lord, your God, shall await (shomeir) the covenant for you.” -Rashi
The Rabbeinu Bahya on Shemot (Exodus) 19:6:2 explains that the phrase “goy kadosh” (Holy nation) is possessive and can be rendered as “Nation belonging to the Holy One”. It further states that a similar construction is used in Isaiah 26:2, “goy tzadek” (Nation belonging to the Righteous One). It explains that these constructions are in reference to ethnic-religious Israel’s role in the Olam Haba (world to come), whereas the construction “mamlechet kohaniym” (Kingdom of Priests [Exodus 19:6:2]) represents Israel’s role in the Olam Hazeh (present world).
Iben Ezra, says that “The gates of that city should only be opened for righteous people”. We know that no one is truly righteous but God, and that it is only through God the Son that we can be made righteous. Therefore, those who are made righteous through Messiah, both Jew and Gentile, will enter this city; which is the New Jerusalem.
Isa 26:3 Yitzer forming, purposing samukh rest titzor to watch over him in shalom, shalom peace, peace (wholeness, wholeness, immutable peace, peace firmly established, eternal peace), because in Him he batuach firmly places trust, feels secure, safe, without care.
“In a perfect heart they shall preserve peace: peace shall be wrought for them, because they have trusted in thy Word.” -Targum Yonatan (approx. 2nd Century CE)
Notice that it is God Who forms and purposes rest, and that God’s rest watches over the believer in immutable (perfect and perpetual) peace as a result of the believer responding to God’s love with a continual act of temporal trust (batuach). Temporal meaning, this world is temporal. Thus, we trust in Him daily until we enter the Olam Haba (world to come).
The word "perfect" is not in the Hebrew text, rather the text says, "shalom, shalom (peace, peace)". This doubling of the word shalom denotes the fact that peace has been firmly established for those who trust (betach) in HaShem. This peace is immutable and corresponds to the eternal trust/faith (emunah) received by those who act in perpetual temporal trust (betach) as a response to God’s redemptive offer of eternal life through His Son Yeshua.
Isa 26:4 Bitchu His trust, Ba’YHVH is in HaShem (Mercy) adeiy-ad beyond perpetuity (for ever and ever); for beYH in Yah (YHVH: Mercy) HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), tzur is rock, cliff face, olamiym everlasting, worlds perpetual.
“Trust ye in the Word of the Lord for ever and ever: thus ye shall be saved by the Word, who is the fear of the Lord, the mighty One to eternity.” -Targum Yonatan (approx.. 2nd Century CE)
Note that the Targum Yonatan ( an ancient non-messianic paraphrase) alludes to the fact that the Word of the Lord is the One Who saves. Compare Yochanan (John) chapter 1.
The fact that the Holy personal name of God is used three times in this verse is significant given that it is a verse which explains the kind of temporal trust action that leads to eternal security in God.
We read that HaShem is like a “rock, cliff face”, which is a metaphor for immovable strength. and he has been the Rock of His people ethnic-religious Israel in olam hazeh this world, and in ha-olam haba the world to come. The Talmud explains that “He that trusts in HaShem has a refuge in this world, and in the world to come.” [Talmud. Bab. Menachot. Fol. 29. 2.]
Isa 26:5 For He has brought down them that 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.
Here, the proud and lofty city is alluded to in contrast to the city of God where the righteous will dwell. The lofty city is a figure for the seat of Satan’s temporal power on earth, that is Babylon. In a wider sense it refers to any city that rejects God and His people. Rashi compares the lofty city with Tyre and Rome, a city which later Jewish commentators see as a subsequent manifestation of Babylon. Iben Ezra says that “Them that dwell on high, etc. This refers to the heathens.” And adds that “He will continually lay it low.”
Speaking of Babylon in the previous chapter Isaiah says, “And the high place of your fortress walls He brought down to strike the soil, ground, land until it turned to dust.” In both cases “dust” is a metaphor for death and destruction.
Isa 26:6 The foot shall tread it down; the feet of the poor, and the steps of the lowly.
Kimchi explains that these are the poor of Israel. Therefore, this follows the theme of the previous chapter and Israel ruling over those who had oppressed her.
“He will bring it so low, that it will be trodden not by the foot of the noble but by that of the poor.” – Iben Ezra
Yarchi interprets the “feet of the poor” as referring to the feet of the King Messiah, according to Zechariah:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your King comes to you: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon a donkey, and upon a colt the foal of a donkey.” -Zechariah 9:9
Isa 26:7 Orakh A path la’tzadik to the righteous: meiyoshariym upright ones, a straight magal track, entrenchment tzadik a righteous tepaleis balance, justice, ponderance, weighing.
“The paths of the righteous are right: thou wilt establish the works of the ways of the just.” -Targum Yonatan (approx.. 2nd Century CE)
“They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.” -Jeremiah 31:9
Once again the prophet refers to righteous redeemed Israel (ethnic, religious, empirical). When compared to the words of Jeremiah we see that the Lord entrenches the paths of the righteous in living waters that flow toward the goal He has set for them. In Him the path of the righteous leads to a merciful judgement that weighs love on the scales of justice and finds in favour of the redeemed. His path is clear and straight, there is no wavering in it.
Isa 26:8 Indeed, in the path of Your judgments, justice HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), kiveynucha we hope expectantly, waiting; for Your name, for Your remembering, ta’avat is the desire, longing of our nafesh entire being (Soul).
“He shows His Word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.” -Tehillim/Psalms 147:19
We note that the individual (Yaakov: follower) who seeks redemption is shown the Word (D’var: Yeshua) of the Lord, and that the corporate body born of the follower (Yaakov) and named for her salvation, that is Israel (Yisra-overcome El-in God/the Judge), is guided by His ordinance and right judgements.
Many misunderstand the Hebrew word “nefesh” (soul). While it can refer to that which is eternal in every created living being, it also encompasses the mechanisms and material elements of the body and its functioning within this world. Therefore, it is better to translate nafesh as “entire being”, meaning, from conception unto eternity.
Note that it is in the path of God’s ordered guidelines and His manifest justice that the faithful place their hope, and not in the temporal and flawed justice and rules of humanity. Not only does the servant of God hope in His justice and instruction, the servant also waits patiently and expectantly for the fullness of God’s justice. Waiting expectantly for the Holy Name of Mercy YHVH and remembering His attributes. This is the unquenchable desire and longing of the entire being of the faithful servant of HaShem.
Isa 26:9 Nafshi My entire self (Soul) iviytiycha desires, sighs, wants, longs for You balaylah in the night; indeed, ruachi my spirit, breath within me ashacharecha diligently, earnestly seeks for you early, because when Your judgments, justice are laaretz in the land/earth, tzedek righteousness Lamdu is learned by he who dwells in the teiveil world.
While the Hebrew words “nefesh” and “ruach” are associated with all living creatures, the convergence of the two is unique within the human being and is referred to in Hebrew as “neshamah” (breath, spirit, panting of flesh, soul and spirit as one). The divisions of soul and spirit in the present text should not lead us to conclude a disunity within the soul as a complete entity. The purpose of the distinction is to reveal the unique and intimate nature of humanity in relationship to the Creator God. Animals and plant life do not share the neshamah of humanity, rather they are created to be cared for by humanity as an expression of humanity’s likeness to the Creator Who is the singular uncreated relational being.
“My soul longs for You at night” is both literal and figurative. Israel, both as individuals and as a redeemed nation long for God at night time. In addition, the night can refer to a state of captivity and distress (Yarchi). Therefore, we can read “My soul longs for You when I am in captivity”.
“My spirit within me earnestly seeks for You early” is again both literal and figurative. Literal in the sense of morning prayer (Sacharit) and figurative in the sense of rejoicing in freedom from captivity, symbolized by the breaking of dawn and the morning light. Thus, with all of his being both soul and spirit the faithful servant of HaShem seeks Him “evening and morning” according to the pattern of creation (Compare Genesis 1).
“When Your judgments, justice are laaretz in the land, tzedek righteousness is learned by he who dwells in the world.” In other words, “When the righteousness of God dwells in the hearts and lives of redeemed Israel in the land of Israel, the other nations witness it and learn to fear, honour and worship the God of Israel. The Hebrew teiveil refers to the inhabited parts of the earth.
Isa 26:10 Yuchan Though grace, unmerited favour is shown to the wicked, yet he refuses to learn righteousness; in the land of nechokhot straightness he acts wrongfully, and refuses to see the majesty of HaShem (YHVH: Mercy).
This verse while speaking specifically of the wicked who act shamefully against the land and people of Israel and her God, also applies to the wicked at large. God does not send wicked people to eternal punishment, rather, due to their own self worship and stubborn refusal of God’s love, they are left with no other destination. Therefore, although they are shown and offered grace they refuse it and spit on the goodness of God in order to promote themselves. God’s majesty is seen throughout creation, but they refuse to see it.
The Jewish commentator Yarchi interprets the “land of straightness” as Jerusalem, and the temple, and sees the wrongful acts as being perpetrated by Israel’s enemies, who spoil, plunder, and destroy the holy hill.
The Talmud (T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 6. 1.) interprets the wicked as being Esau, who is a figure for the Romans, the destroyers of Jerusalem and the land of Israel in the latter part of the first century CE/AD.
Isa 26:11 HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), Your hand is lifted up, and yet they don’t see: but they will be put to shame when they see Your zeal for the people; indeed, fire will devour, burn up, consume Your, enemies.
“O Lord, when thou shalt be revealed in thy power to do good to them that fear thee, there will be no light to the enemies of thy people: the wicked shall see it, and shall be confounded. The vengeance of thy people shall cover them; yea, fire shall consume thy enemies.” -Targum Yonatan (approx.. 2nd Century CE)
In the latter days fire will come from God’s prophets and consume His enemies:
“And if any man will hurt them, fire will proceed out of their mouth, and devour their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.” -Revelation 11:5
Notice that the enemies of God (the wicked) will be put to shame, when they see God’s zeal for His people Israel (ethnic, religious, empirical).
Isa 26:12 HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), You will establish shalom peace for us; for You have also made all our works (deeds) in us.
All that has, is, and will be done in Israel, has been purposed by the hand of God for His glory and her established peace.
In other words, “You have always done for us that which we did not know how to do.”
Isa 26:13 HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) Eloheinu our God (Judge), other adoniym lords besides You have had dominion over us; but by You only will we make mention of Your name.
In other words, “We won’t associate Your Name with inferior lords”.
The Targum interprets this to refer to the unfaithful Jewish governors who had ruled over Israel. It may also refer to the Assyrians and Babylonians, and can certainly represent any and all anti-Messianic lords and rulers who seek to oppress Israel. It probably does not refer to the worship of the baaliym (husbands, masters, false gods) or else the Hebrew would have been “baaliym” rather than “adoniym”. However, the reason for the choosing of “adoniym” may have been to use a title that encompassed both human and demonic rulers. In which case “baaliym” can be interpreted implicitly. This is less likely though, given the following verse which speaks of the lords being dead, something that is not appointed for demonic entities until the judgement and subsequent eternal punishment.
Isa 26:14 They are dead, they will not live; they are deceased, they will not rise: therefore You have visited and destroyed them, and made all remembrance of them to perish.
The fact that the lords of the previous verse are dead, will not live, and are deceased; they will not to rise, means that they are wicked human rulers who are destined for the second death of eternal punishment. Thus there will be no remembrance of them and they will perish in the lake of fire alluded to in the Revelation. Additionally, they no longer have power over Israel because she has been redeemed by HaShem and she will give Him glory alone forever.
Isa 26:15 You have added increase to the nation, HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), You have added increase to the nation; You are glorified; You have enlarged all the borders of the aretz land.
The “Nation” is Israel, who has previously been called “The righteous nation” (Isaiah 26:2). and the borders are of Israel’s aretz land. Once again the repetition denotes the fact that God has firmly established this outcome.
Isa 26:16 HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), in distress they have sought You; tzakun they poured out, melted into lachash whispering when Your discipline was upon them.
The whispering prayer is of the weak and penitent, the desperate and remorseful. Notice that the distress which Israel had suffered causes her to melt and be poured out, resulting in these whispered prayers of supplication.
Isa 26:17 Like a woman with child, that draws near to the time of her delivery, and is in pain and cries out in her pangs; so we have been before You, HaShem (YHVH: Mercy).
This is an analogy that denotes great expectation, hope and anticipation on the part of the nation of Israel.
Isa 26:18 We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not accomplished any yeshuot salvation in the aretz land/earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
Israel had thought herself pregnant with the hope of a redemption born of her own piety, only to find that her own piety was nothing but flatulence. What she thought to be her deliverance was nothing more than worthless air devoid of salvation. She was not able to obtain salvation in her own land, nor were those in the inhabited world able to obtain salvation. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
Salvation cannot be accomplished by human beings, it must be received. No effort on our part will bring about redemption, but God Himself will redeem (Just as the Passover Haggadah proclaims, “I have redeemed you: I Myself, and no other!”
Isa 26:19 Your dead will live; my dead body will arise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in the dust; for your tal dew (night mist) is oraot lights, talecha your night mist, vearetz and the land/earth will cast forth the dead.
This is one of the places in Scripture from which the Jewish belief in the resurrection is proved; a belief that predates Hellenistic thought by at least 400 years. This verse is also applied to the times of the Messiah, and to the resurrection in His days (Talmud. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 90. 2, & Cetubot, fol. 111. 1. Midrash Kohelet, fol. 62. 3. Targum in loc.).
“Your dead will live” is an allusion to the resurrection of the righteous and specifically to the resurrection of the righteous of Israel.
“My dead body will arise” is firstly a personal testimony of the prophet himself and secondly the prophetic testimony of the Messiah. The first person singular should not be interpreted to refer to multiple people.
“Awake and sing, you that dwell in the dust” is a metaphor for the resurrection of the dead. This is a poetic repetition like the couplets of the psalms which seeks to remind the reader that these matters are firmly established.
“for your tal dew (night mist) is oraot lights, talecha your night mist:” This is an allusion to the present glory of God in the convergence of the resurrection. The Shekhinah or k’vod HaShem, a mist or dew of lights that raise the dead. Water (dew) and light are pictured together here as the mechanisms for bringing forth the plant that grows from that which had perished. As Rav Shaul says:
“For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.” – 1 Corinthians 15:53
Isa 26:20 Come, ami My people, enter into your innermost chambers, and shut your doors: hide yourself for a little moment, until the za’am indignation, rage, has passed over.
HaShem now speaks gently to His beloved chosen people Israel (ethnic, religious, empirical), saying, “Ami” (My people). Israel is being asked to do as she did during the plague of the firstborn in Egypt, “enter into your innermost chambers, and shut your doors: hide yourself for a little moment, until the za’am indignation, rage, has passed over.”
The indignation and rage are that of HaShem against the wicked. Therefore, He once again hides Israel “in the cleft of the Rock” as it were. This concerns the latter days and a time when HaShem will once again shield Israel, this time as a redeemed nation through Yeshua the King Messiah. Hashem’s messenger (Angel) will once again pass over and see the blood of the Pesach Lamb (Yeshua) on the doorframes of the houses of Israel and she will be spared while her enemies and those who have hated HaShem will suffer His rage.
“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.” -Daniel 12:1(NIV)
Isa 26:21 For, behold, HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) comes forth out of His place to punish the inhabitants of ha-aretz the land/earth for their iniquity: ha-aretz the land/earth also shall reveal her blood, and will cover her slain no more.
"and the earth shall reveal the innocent blood that is shed on it, and shall no more cover her slain.” -Targum Yonatan (approx.. 2nd Century CE)
“For, behold, the Lord comes forth out of His place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.” -Micah 1:3
God, being omnipresent, is everywhere, however, the Hebrew text uses picture language to convey a sense of God’s immutable authority over all things, thus, He comes forth from the heavens, out of His dwelling place, His throne, and descends to the highest places of the earth, showing them to be figuratively, far beneath His heights. Thus, He justly punishes iniquity.
At the coming of God in power at the end of the age, the land will reveal all the innocent blood shed from the blood of Abel to the last of the martyrs, that is those who have died “Kadosh Hashem” sanctifying the Holy Name.
“And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” -Revelation 18:24
“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until You judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’ Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sister, were killed just as they had been.” -Revelation 6:9-11
How long, Sovereign Lord of Mercy?
© 2018 Yaakov Brown
Founder of the Beth Melekh International Messiah Following Jewish Community,