Isaiah 26:20
Come, my people, enter you into your chambers, and shut your doors about you: hide yourself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be over.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers.—The vision of the judgments and the glory of the future leads the prophet to his work as a preacher of repentance in the present. His people also need the preparation of silent and solitary prayer (Matthew 6:6; Psalm 27:5; Psalm 31:21). As men seek the innermost recesses of their homes while the thunderstorm sweeps over the city, so should they seek God in that solitude till the great tempest of His indignation has passed by.

Isaiah 26:20-21. Come, my people, &c. — These two verses are supposed not to belong to the song which takes up the preceding part of the chapter, but to be an address of the prophet to the people of God on the contents of it. Having foretold their wonderful deliverance, and the utter destruction of their enemies, lest they should suppose that these predictions would immediately begin to be fulfilled, and thereby should meet with a disappointment, which might shake their faith respecting the future fulfilment of them, he here warns them that they must first expect storms, and exhorts them to prepare for them, and patiently to wait God’s time for the accomplishment of his promises. Enter thou into thy chambers, &c. — Withdraw thyself from the company and conversation of the people of the world, lest, partaking with them in their sins, thou shouldst also partake of their plagues; and shut thy doors about thee — Separate and seclude thyself, as far as may be, from men and things, and give thyself up to meditation on these awful dispensations of divine justice and mercy, and to prayer. Having entered into thy closet, and shut thy door, pour out thy supplications and intercessions before thy Father, who seeth in secret. Hide thyself, as it were — In this time of danger and calamity, when the judgments of God are so awfully abroad in the earth, put thyself under the protection of his providence and grace, by faith and prayer. He alludes to the common practice of men, who, when there are storms or dangers abroad, betake themselves to their houses or chambers for safety: or, it may be, to the history, Exodus 9:19-20; or, to the command of Moses to the Israelites, (Exodus 12:22,) not to go out of the doors of their houses: while the destroying angel was going through the land of Egypt; or, to the like charge given to Rahab, as the condition of her preservation, Joshua 2. For a little moment — Whereby he intimates, that all their afflictions, how long and tedious soever they might seem, were but short and momentary in comparison of that happiness which was reserved for them; until the indignation be overpast — The dreadful effects of God’s anger, mentioned in the next verse. For the Lord cometh out of his place — Cometh down from heaven, which, in Scripture, he is frequently said to do, when he undertakes any great and glorious work, either of delivering his people or destroying their enemies. The expression is borrowed from the manner of princes, who come out of their palaces either to sit in judgment, or to fight against their enemies, both which things God is here represented as doing. To punish the inhabitants of the earth — All the enemies of God and of his people; for their iniquity — For all their sins, and especially for oppressing and persecuting his church. The earth also shall disclose her blood — The innocent blood which hath been shed upon the earth shall be brought to light, and shall be severely revenged upon the murderers. 26:20,21 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.Come, my people - This is an epilogue (Rosenmuller), in which the choir addresses the people, and entreats them to be tranquil during that convulsion by which their oppressors would be punished, and the way made for their deliverance. The image is taken from seeking a shelter when a storm rages, until its fury is spent. The address is to the captive Jews in Babylon. The tempest that would rage would be the wars and commotions by which Babylon was to be overthrown. While that storm raged, they were exhorted to be calm and serene.

Enter thou into thy chambers - Into places of retirement, where the storm of indignation on your enemies shall not reach or affect you.

Hide thyself as it were ... - Do not mingle in the scenes of battle, lest you should partake of the general calamity.

For a little moment - Implying that the war would not rage long. Babylon was taken in a single night (see the notes at Isaiah 13; 14), and the call here is for the people of God to be calm while this battle should rage in which the city should be taken.

Until the indignation ... - Not, as Lowth supposes, the indignation of God against his people, but the storm of his indignation against their enemies the Babylonians. That would be soon 'overpast,' the city would be taken, the storms of war would cease to rage, and then they would be delivered, and might safely return to their own land.

20. enter … chambers—When God is about to take vengeance on the ungodly, the saints shall be shut in by Him in a place of safety, as Noah and his family were in the days of the flood (Ge 7:16), and as Israel was commanded not to go out of doors on the night of the slaying of the Egyptian first-born (Ex 12:22, 23; Ps 31:20; 83:3). The saints are calmly and confidently to await the issue (Ex 14:13, 14). Having foretold the wonderful deliverance and great happiness of God’s people, and the utter destruction of their enemies, lest they should think they were now entering into the possession of this felicity, he adds what here follows, and intimates, that for the present they were to expect storms, and to prepare for them, and patiently to wait God’s time for the accomplishment of so great a mercy.

Enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee; withdraw thyself from the company and conversation of the wicked world, lest partaking with them in their sins thou dost also partake of their plagues; pour out thy prayers to God in thy closet, as this may be explained by comparing Matthew 6:6; put thyself under the protection of my providence and grace by faith and prayer. He alludes to the common practice of men, who when there are storms or dangers abroad, betake themselves into their own houses or chambers for safety; or, as some think, to that history, Exodus 9:19,20, or to that command of not going out of their houses, Exodus 12:22, or to the like charge given to Rahab, as the condition of her preservation, Joshua 2.

For a little moment; whereby he intimates that all their afflictions, how long and tedious soever they may seem, are but short and momentary, in comparison of that happiness which is reserved for them.

The indignation; the dreadful effects of God’s anger, those sore judgments of God mentioned in the following verse. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers,.... These words are either to be connected with the preceding verse Isaiah 26:19, and considered as a part of the song; and then the design of them is, to let the people of God know that there would be times of great trouble and distress, previous to that glorious one before mentioned; whether it is to be understood of a spiritual resurrection, the conversion of Jews and Gentiles in the latter day, which the judgments on antichrist will antecede, Revelation 19:2 or of the first resurrection, upon the coming of Christ, Daniel 12:1 and therefore should expect such a time of trouble, and concern themselves for shelter and security: or else, the song being finished, as is generally thought; in the last verse Isaiah 26:19, these words begin a new subject, and should a new chapter, in which it is foretold what punishment would be inflicted on a wicked world; and therefore, to comfort the Lord's people that should dwell among them, and to let them know what provision was made for their retreat and safety, and where they might be secure during the storm, these words are delivered out; in which the Lord addresses his people in a very kind and tender manner, claiming an interest in them, and expressing great affection for them, and concern for their welfare: "my people", whom I have loved with an everlasting love, chosen to be a special people above all people, made a covenant with them in my Son, and redeemed them by his blood, and called them by my Spirit and grace; "come", away from the wicked, be separate from them, have no fellowship with them; much the same with that in Revelation 18:4 and referring to the same time, "come out of her, my people", &c. or "come" to me, who have been the dwelling place of my people in all generations, a strong habitation, to which they may continually resort, Psalm 90:1 or "come" along with me, I will lead you to a place where you may be safe; as he did Noah and his family into the ark, to which there may be an allusion, Genesis 7:1,

enter thou into thy chambers; alluding to persons abroad in the fields, who, when they perceive a storm coming, make haste home, and get into their houses, and into the more retired and safer parts of them, till it is over; or to the Israelites, who kept within the doors, while the destroying angel passed through the land of Egypt; or to Rahab and her family being within her house, when Jericho was destroyed: these "chambers" may be taken literally for places of prayer and devotion; prayer being very proper to have recourse unto in times of trouble, and which as it should be performed by single persons privately, Matthew 6:6 which text is a comment on this; and perhaps respect may be had to the manner of the performance of it by societies, in times of great persecution; so it is the safety of God's people; and there is nothing better for them, in times of trouble, than to commit themselves to God in prayer, and to his divine protection: and it may be that God himself, and the perfections of his nature, are here meant by "chambers"; his name is a strong tower, whither the righteous run and are safe, Proverbs 18:10 and every perfection in him is as a chamber in this tower, where the saints betaking themselves may securely lodge, till the trouble is over; as the everlasting love of God, which changes not, and therefore the sons of Jacob are not consumed; the faithfulness of God, in his covenant and promises, which never fails; and his power, in which they are kept, as in a garrison, 1 Peter 1:5 and these chambers may not be unfitly applied to Christ and to his blood and righteousness, who is a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the storm, a strong hold for prisoners of hope; in whose person are rest, peace, and safety in the midst of trouble; whose righteousness secures from condemnation and wrath; and not good works, as the Targum, which it says will protect in a time of distress; but the righteousness of Christ will, as also his precious blood; which was typified by the blood of the passover lamb, sprinkled on the door posts of the Israelites, whereby they were preserved by the destroying angel; and was signified by the scarlet thread in Rahab's window, the token by which her house was known, and so all in it saved. The general design of the words is to exhort the people of God to a composed and tranquil state of mind; to calmness, quietness, and rest, while the judgments of God were upon the earth; to be still and easy, whatever hurly burleys there were in the world; to commit themselves to God, and look upon themselves safe and secure, under his providence and protection. Some of the ancients, by "chambers", understand the graves, and not amiss; especially if the words are to be considered in connection with the preceding, thus, since the dead saints will arise as sure as Christ is risen, and in like manner as he, and those that sleep in the dust of the earth will awake and sing, then do not be afraid of death and the grave; enter here, as into your bedchambers; where, being taken away from the evil to come, you will enter into peace, lie down and rest on your beds, in the utmost secrecy and safety, until the resurrection morn; while storms of divine wrath fall upon a wicked and ungodly world; see Isaiah 57:1,

and shut thy doors about thee; a phrase expressive of safety and secrecy, and may be applied to the several things above mentioned:

hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast; not the indignation of Satan, or of wicked persecutors against the saints, but the indignation of God; and that not upon his own people, or on the Jewish nation, but on a wicked world; not in hell, for that will be everlasting, and never over, and much less be only for a little moment; but as it will be in time, and fall upon all the nations of the world, and especially the Romish antichrist, and the antichristian states; and refers chiefly to the seven vials of God's wrath, which will be poured forth upon them; which, when they begin, will soon be over; see Isaiah 34:2 and so will be the burning of the world, the last instance of God's indignation on earth, it will soon be at an end; and, in the meanwhile, the saints will be with Christ in the air; and those troubles, in which the people will be involved before happy times come, will be very short; as indeed all their afflictions are but for a moment, a little moment; the temptation that will come upon all the earth, to try the inhabitants of it, will be but an hour; and the slaying of the witnesses, and their lying slain, will be but three days and a half; this time of trouble will be shortened for the elect's sake, Matthew 24:21 compare with this Psalm 57:1.

Come, my people, {x} enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation shall be past.

(x) He exhorts the faithful to be patient in their afflictions and to wait on God's work.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. enter … and shut thy doors about thee] Matthew 6:6. There is nothing, however, to suggest that the words here are a summons to secret prayer. until the indignation be overpast] Job 14:13; Daniel 11:36.

20, 21. The storm of judgment is about to burst on the world, but it will be of short duration; let the people seclude themselves in the privacy of their chambers and wait for a glorious salvation (cf. Zephaniah 2:3; Daniel 12:13).Verse 20. - Come, my people... into thy chambers. As when a storm comes, prudence counsels men to seek shelter (Exodus 9:19), so now the prophet advises his people to put themselves under cover during the coming tempest. His meaning, probably, is that they should retire into the privacy of communion with God, withdrawing from public affairs and the distractions of a worldly life. Shut thy doors about thee (comp. 2 Kings 4:33; Matthew 6:6). For a little moment (so in Isaiah 10:25; and again in Isaiah 54:7, 8). God's estimate of time, we must remember, is not as man's (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8). The tyrants who usurped the rule over Israel have now utterly disappeared. "Dead men live not again, shades do not rise again: so hast Thou visited and destroyed them, and caused all their memory to perish." The meaning is not that Jehovah had put them to death because there was no resurrection at all after death; for, as we shall see further on, the prophet was acquainted with such a resurrection. In mēthim (dead men) and rephâ'im (shades) he had directly in mind the oppressors of Israel, who had been thrust down into the region of the shades (like the king of Babylon in chapter 14), so that there was no possibility of their being raised up or setting themselves up again. The לכן is not argumentative (which would be very freezing in this highly lyrical connection), but introduces what must have occurred eo ipso when the other had taken place (it corresponds to the Greek ἄρα, and is used here in the same way as in Isaiah 61:7; Jeremiah 5:2; Jeremiah 2:33; Zechariah 11:7; Job 34:25; Job 42:3). They had fallen irrevocably into Sheol (Psalm 49:15), and consequently God had swept them away, so that not even their name was perpetuated.
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