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Chapter 26

Judah’s Praise and Prayer for Deliverance.[a] On that day this song shall be sung in the land of Judah:

“A strong city[b] have we;
    he sets up victory as our walls and ramparts.(A)
Open up the gates
    that a righteous nation may enter,
    one that keeps faith.(B)
With firm purpose you maintain peace;
    in peace, because of our trust in you.”(C)
Trust in the Lord forever!
    For the Lord is an eternal Rock.(D)
He humbles those who dwell on high,
    the lofty city he brings down,
Brings it down to the ground,
    levels it to the dust.(E)
The feet of the needy trample on it—
    the feet of the poor.
The way of the just is smooth;
    the path of the just you make level.(F)
The course of your judgments, Lord, we await;
    your name and your memory are the desire of our souls.
My soul yearns for you at night,
    yes, my spirit within me seeks you at dawn;
When your judgment comes upon the earth,
    the world’s inhabitants learn justice.(G)
10 The wicked, when spared, do not learn justice;
    in an upright land they act perversely,
    and do not see the majesty of the Lord.(H)
11 Lord, your hand is raised high,
    but they do not perceive it;
Let them be put to shame when they see your zeal for your people:
    let the fire prepared for your enemies consume them.(I)
12 Lord, you will decree peace for us,
    for you have accomplished all we have done.(J)
13 Lord, our God, lords other than you have ruled us;
    only because of you can we call upon your name.
14 Dead they are, they cannot live,
    shades that cannot rise;
Indeed, you have punished and destroyed them,
    and wiped out all memory of them.
15 You have increased the nation, Lord,
    you have increased the nation, have added to your glory,
    you have extended far all the boundaries of the land.(K)
16 Lord, oppressed by your punishment,
    we cried out in anguish under your discipline.(L)
17 As a woman about to give birth
    writhes and cries out in pain,
    so were we before you, Lord.(M)
18 We conceived and writhed in pain,
    giving birth only to wind;
Salvation we have not achieved for the earth,
    no inhabitants for the world were born.(N)
19 [c]But your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise!
    Awake and sing, you who lie in the dust!
For your dew is a dew of light,
    and you cause the land of shades to give birth.(O)

The Lord’s Response[d]

20 Go, my people, enter your chambers,
    and close the doors behind you;
Hide yourselves for a brief moment,
    until the wrath is past.(P)
21 See, the Lord goes forth from his place,
    to punish the wickedness of the earth’s inhabitants;
The earth will reveal the blood shed upon it,
    and no longer conceal the slain.(Q)


  1. 26:1–19 This text is a mixture of praise for the salvation that will take place, a confession of Judah’s inability to achieve deliverance on its own, and earnest prayer that God may quickly bring about the longed-for salvation.
  2. 26:1 Strong city: Jerusalem, the antithesis of the “city of chaos” (24:10); see note on 24:1–27:13.
  3. 26:19 This verse refers not to resurrection of the dead, but to the restoration of the people; cf. Ez 37. The population of Judah was radically reduced by the slaughter and deportations that the historical disasters of the late eighth and seventh centuries B.C. brought upon the country. In this context, a major concern for the future was for an increase in the population, a rebirth of the nation’s life.
  4. 26:20–21 The time of wrath for Judah would soon be over, and the just punishment of its enemies would begin (cf. Hb 2:1–3).

A Song of Praise

26 In that day(A) this song will be sung(B) in the land of Judah:

We have a strong city;(C)
    God makes salvation
    its walls(D) and ramparts.(E)
Open the gates(F)
    that the righteous(G) nation may enter,
    the nation that keeps faith.
You will keep in perfect peace(H)
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust(I) in you.
Trust(J) in the Lord forever,(K)
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock(L) eternal.
He humbles those who dwell on high,
    he lays the lofty city low;
he levels it to the ground(M)
    and casts it down to the dust.(N)
Feet trample(O) it down—
    the feet of the oppressed,(P)
    the footsteps of the poor.(Q)

The path of the righteous is level;(R)
    you, the Upright One,(S) make the way of the righteous smooth.(T)
Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,[a](U)
    we wait(V) for you;
your name(W) and renown
    are the desire of our hearts.
My soul yearns for you in the night;(X)
    in the morning my spirit longs(Y) for you.
When your judgments(Z) come upon the earth,
    the people of the world learn righteousness.(AA)
10 But when grace is shown to the wicked,(AB)
    they do not learn righteousness;
even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil(AC)
    and do not regard(AD) the majesty of the Lord.
11 Lord, your hand is lifted high,(AE)
    but they do not see(AF) it.
Let them see your zeal(AG) for your people and be put to shame;(AH)
    let the fire(AI) reserved for your enemies consume them.

12 Lord, you establish peace(AJ) for us;
    all that we have accomplished you have done(AK) for us.
13 Lord our God, other lords(AL) besides you have ruled over us,
    but your name(AM) alone do we honor.(AN)
14 They are now dead,(AO) they live no more;
    their spirits(AP) do not rise.
You punished them and brought them to ruin;(AQ)
    you wiped out all memory of them.(AR)
15 You have enlarged the nation, Lord;
    you have enlarged the nation.(AS)
You have gained glory for yourself;
    you have extended all the borders(AT) of the land.

16 Lord, they came to you in their distress;(AU)
    when you disciplined(AV) them,
    they could barely whisper(AW) a prayer.[b]
17 As a pregnant woman about to give birth(AX)
    writhes and cries out in her pain,
    so were we in your presence, Lord.
18 We were with child, we writhed in labor,
    but we gave birth(AY) to wind.
We have not brought salvation(AZ) to the earth,
    and the people of the world have not come to life.(BA)

19 But your dead(BB) will live, Lord;
    their bodies will rise—
let those who dwell in the dust(BC)
    wake up and shout for joy—
your dew(BD) is like the dew of the morning;
    the earth will give birth to her dead.(BE)

20 Go, my people, enter your rooms
    and shut the doors(BF) behind you;
hide(BG) yourselves for a little while
    until his wrath(BH) has passed by.(BI)
21 See, the Lord is coming(BJ) out of his dwelling(BK)
    to punish(BL) the people of the earth for their sins.
The earth will disclose the blood(BM) shed on it;
    the earth will conceal its slain no longer.


  1. Isaiah 26:8 Or judgments
  2. Isaiah 26:16 The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.