Meredith G. Kline, “Death, Leviathan, and Martyrs: Isaiah 24:1-27:1” in A Tribute to Gleason Archer, ed. by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. and Ronald R. Youngblood.  Chicago: Moody Press, 1986, pp. 229-249.

A series of Isaianic oracles concerning the nations (chaps. 13-23) culminates in a section popularly known as the Isaiah apocalypse [1] (chaps. 24-21). From 21:2 on, the focus of this section is on Israel, its fall and fullness. [2] (More than is generally recognized, Paul tapped this vein for his discussion of Israel in Romans 9-11.) In Isaiah 24:1-21:1 there is a broader, universal perspective. [3] The present essay will concentrate on this first part of the “apocalypse,” treating it as a distinct composition and attempting to show how the subject of death, or better, the Lord’s conquest of death, permeates and structures its contents. Some contribution may thereby be made to the higher critical debate, at least as to the unity of the material. But my primary interest is in opening up exegetically Isaiah’s pastoral theology of death and resurrection and judgment. And in the process, I also want to explore the extraordinary influence exercised by 24:1-21:1 on subsequent biblical revelation, particularly on certain major eschatological passages in the New Testament.


Three passages celebrating Yahweh’s victory over death occupy the key positions in the structure of Isaiah 24:1-21:1. [4] They frame the composition with introduction (24:1-3) and conclusion (26:19-27:1) and form its central apex (25:6-8). Each, by means of its own distinctive image, graphically depicts a dramatic reversal that overtakes the realm of death.


I shall start with Isaiah 25:6-8, the centerpiece of the composition, [5] and its picture of the eschatological banquet. To appreciate the point of this imagery it is necessary to recall the reputation of the grave as the great devourer. Sheol opens wide its spacious maw and swallows down victims insatiably. [6] But at the banquet for all peoples “in that day” (cf. v. 9) a remarkable reversal will take place. The Lord will become the devourer [7] and death, the famed and fearful swallower, will itself be swallowed up (v. 8). [8]

Perhaps the banquet scenario in 25:6-8 was prompted by the desire to exploit the identity of death as the swallower. [9] However, the divinely hosted banquet is a standard feature in visions of the life to come in biblical and extrabiblical literature. Moreover, the victory banquet is a regular element in the epic pattern of the conflict of the hero-deity and the monstrous power of disorder and death, which is in evidence elsewhere in the passage. In any case it was the communion meal of the elders of Israel on the mountain of God after the Exodus-triumph over the dragon (Ex. 24:9-11) [10] that provided the specific typological model for Isaiah 25:6-8. For “on this mountain,” the location assigned to the banquet in 25:6-7, refers back to the 24:23 scene of the Glory epiphany before the elders on Mount Zion, and that in turn clearly recalls the banquet scene at Sinai (cf. Ex. 24:10-11).

The image of death as the swallower, alluded to in Isa. 25:6-8, leads naturally to the further image of death as a cover. Thus in the Numbers 16 narrative the earth opens its mouth and swallows the rebels (v. 32) and then closes over them and covers them (v. 33; cf. Ps. 106:17). The covering, concealing aspect of the grave is prominent in the concluding treatment of the victory over death in Isaiah 26:21, but it is probable that here in 25:7 there is also a reference to the grave, the swallower, as a cover over all peoples. In parallel with God’s swallowing of death (v.8) we read of His swallowing “the face of the wrapping that enfolds [11] all peoples, the woven thing woven over all the nations” (v. 7). This woven covering is most likely a shroud. [12] But this is apparently a figure for the grave, the universal shroud that covers all humanity in their common lot of death. [13] It could then be that the explanation of the “face” [14] of the shroud is to be found in the common expression “the face of the earth,” inasmuch as it is this face, or surface, of the earth that constitutes the covering shroud over Sheol’s occupants. [15] The two instances of Yahweh’s swallowing (bl’) would then together encompass as their twin objects death (v.8) and Hades (v. 7).

Quoting Isaiah’s forecast of the swallowing of death (25:8), Paul identifies this banquet of everlasting victory with the believers’ ultimate putting on of the glory of incorruption and immortality (1 Cor. 15:54). [16] And the apostle John portrays this death of death in his account of the resurrection (the “second resurrection” in the first/second death/resurrection scheme of Rev. 20-21) [17] as a casting of death and Hades (or the “first death” in that same scheme) into “the second death,” the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14; cf. 21:4).


Anticipating the master theme of Isaiah 24-26, the opening verses (24:1-3) foretell the Lord’s mighty overthrow of death. The theme is expressed in terms that suggest that here at the beginning death is already being thought of as the greedy, gluttonous devourer, filled with generations on generations of mankind. In 25:8 the great reversal is a matter of the swallowing of the swallower. Here it takes the form of the upending and emptying out of what had been a filled container. [18]

“See, Yahweh pours out the netherworld and empties it out; He turns it upside down and scatters out its occupants” (v. 1). The verb bqq, “empty out,” onomatopoetically imitates the gurgling sound of water plopping out of a bottle. It is here reinforced by the similar sounding blq: boqeq . . . uboleqa. [10] The use of ‘eres for the netherworld is now well recognized. [20] In the present general context note, for example, “the realm (‘eres) of the shades” (26:19). [21] The “face,” paneha, combined here with the verb ‘wh, “bend low,” [22] to express “turn upside down” apparently refers to the ground as surface of the grave, [23] which is compared to the top of a vessel bent over or upturned to pour out its contents.

According to the customary view of 24:1-3, it introduces the theme of the desolating of the earth, which is then traced further in the rest of chapter 24. But as interpreted above, this opening passage depicts the ultimate repair of the situation lamented in the immediately following verses and hence serves as an introduction not to chapter 24 alone but to the entirety of Isaiah 24-26. The interpretation of this passage as an opening statement of the main overall theme of the resurrection victory is corroborated by its closing formula: “For Yahweh has spoken this word” (v. 3). Such an assurance of the certainty of fulfillment is better accounted for if what has just been foretold is not merely the desolation of the earth but the astounding prospect of the termination of the sway of death. Moreover, the one other place within Isaiah 24-26 where essentially this same formula of divine utterance appears is at the close of the climactic assertion of the resurrection in 25:6-8.

The resurrection-judgment, according to 24:1-3, is universal. This is suggested by the paired listing of the representatives of opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum of mankind (v. 2). [24] Subsequently the theme of the termination of death becomes more specifically occupied with the resurrection of the people of God. Thus in 25:6-8 and 26:19 and following, this theme finds expression within the genre of hymnic praise, the saints celebrating the resurrection as God’s saving triumph that delivers them from the Satanic hosts. Not merely excluded from that salvation, the wicked are viewed along with death as the enemy from whom God rescues His own. But before the focus is narrowed down to the meaning of the resurrection for the redeemed, 24:1-3 presents the broader picture of a general resurrection, an emptying out of all the contents of the death-vessel without distinction. [25] All that death has swallowed down will be cast out at the resurrection. So death’s historical role comes to an end: The first death undergoes the second death.


The covering aspect of Sheol, the natural concomitant of its identity as the devourer, is once again present in the final picture of the resurrection-victory over death in 26:19 and following. Previously the face of the earth (or netherworld) was viewed as the cover of a vessel (24:1) or as an enveloping shroud-cover (25:7), but here it is a veil-like covering that conceals the dead (26:21b). The blood of the slain sinks into the earth. The dead disappear into Sheol, concealed behind earth’s covering of soil and stone. Death is the “hidden” place (Job 40:13). Resurrection is then an uncovering, an unveiling, a revealing of the concealed. “The earth shall disclose her blood and no more cover her slain” (Isa. 26:21b).

It is clear from the context that the slain in view are the martyrs, as typical of all the faithful. For the passage opens with the declaration that the dead who belong to the Lord shall arise in joy (v. 19), and it continues with a special encouragement to God’s people in contemplation of their experience of death (v. 20). [26] Moreover, immediately connected with this revealing of the blood of the slain is the assurance of the divine advent to punish their wicked oppressors (v. 21a).

In this connection I want to point out the Isaianic roots of a misunderstood Pauline concept in Romans 8. To do so it will first be necessary to discuss the relationship of the context of Isaiah 26:19 to the context of 24:4. With its announcement of the uncovering of the earth and the resurrection-manifestation of the saints, the former passage answers redemptively to what the latter says about the earth in mourning over the curse of death and especially over the polluting stain of innocent blood. One indication that this mourning does have to do with death is the contrastive correspondence between the situation mourned in the context of 24:4 and the celebration of the conquest of death in chapter 25, especially verses 6-8. A comparison shows sorrow replaced by joy, sighs by songs of praise, the languishing of earth’s fruit by a lavish feast of fat things full of marrow and flavorful wine, well refined. In Isaiah 24 the curse that is grieved over is one that “devours the earth,” decimating its population (v. 6). This is the motif of death as the never-sated devourer, which 25:6-8 takes up in its answering prophecy of the devouring of the devourer.

In the context of 24:4, what makes the earth groan is that it is obliged to become the grave, to cover over the human dead. But the relationship of that passage to 25:6-8, which has a redemptive focus on God’s people, argues for a special (even if not exclusive) concern with the death of the righteous in the former. Pointing in the same direction is the explanation given in 24:5 for the entrance of death and the resultant mourning of the earth: “The earth is profaned (hanepa) under its inhabitants.” In view of the use of hnp elsewhere for polluting the ground by spilling innocent blood on it, [27] it appears that the sin against God’s covenant by reason of which the earth suffers defilement and mourns is hostility vented on the covenant faithful, resulting in their martyrdom.

When the profaned, mourning earth of the 24:4 section is understood in this way, it becomes apparent that 26:19 and the verses that follow, like 25:6-8, answers directly to the earlier passage, proclaiming the resurrection-conquest of death as the resolution of earth’s grievance. [28] Earth’s accursed role as concealing the grave of the not-yet-vindicated people of God comes to an end when the martyrs are revealed and arise and the cry of their blood is heard and honored in heaven.

Until that deliverance from death’s curse, the earth bemoans its role as netherworld. Isaiah 24:4 pictures the realm of nature as joining together with man in sighs over death. This brings to mind at once the similar thought in Romans 8. Paul says that creation groans together with those who have the firstfruits of the Spirit (w. 19-23). Even the more precise image of the groaning of birth-travail (Rom. 8:22) reflects the Isaiah 24-26 context. For in 26:16-18 God’s people, struggling in the warfare against the enemy until God grants them the resurrection deliverance (v. 19), are likened to a woman crying out in birth pangs. [29] Moreover, just as the groaning of travail in 26:17-18 is followed by the resurrection-revealing of God’s people (vv. 19-21), so in Romans 8 creation’s groaning in birth pangs (v. 22) is in expectation of the resurrection of the children of God mentioned in the next verse (v. 23). Indeed, quite an extensive correspondence can be traced between these Pauline and Isaianic passages. Other features of 26:19-27:1 to be dealt with below are reflected in the latter part of Romans 8, such as the justification of believers in the face of Satanic accusation and the persuasion of God’s presence and love in the experience of death. It is also remarkable that just as Isaiah moves from these themes into the question of Israel, its fall and fullness, in chapter 27, so does Paul in Romans 9-11 and (as we have observed) in such a way that his line of thought and imagery show dependence on Isaiah 27.

From this mutually illuminative relationship of Isaiah 24-26 and Romans 8 one perceives that the “bondage of corruption” over which, says Paul, the creation groans (Rom. 8:21) is the earth’s being subjected to the fate of covering the blood of the innocent and concealing the corpses of the saints. [30] The term for corruption, phthora, is the one that describes physical death in the resurrection context of 1 Corinthians 15, [31] another passage with clear connections with Isaiah 24-26. [32] And in Romans 8, as we have seen, what the earth looks forward to in hope as its deliverance from this corruption is precisely the resurrection of the righteous. As the repeated references to their resurrection in verses 19, 21, and 23 indicate, that event is not merely the occasion of the earth’s deliverance but is itself the liberation from the corruption over which the earth groans. [33] By reason of the swallowing up of death in resurrection-victory, “the reproach of God’s people” — the vanity of corruption from which until now the earth groans to be released — “is removed from all the earth” (Isa. 25:8).

This discussion should not be closed without attention being drawn to another connection between Isaiah and Paul. Specifically, it again concerns Isaiah 24-26 and Romans. There is a general persuasion abroad that Genesis 3 is without influence on theological developments in the rest of the Old Testament. [34] And when Genesis 3 is thus regarded as an isolated, unfruitful phenomenon, Paul’s federal-covenantal reconstruction in Romans 5 is left without a supportive canonical linkage. But Isaiah at least (not to assess other suggested connections) can be adduced as a bridge between Moses and Paul in this matter. What the prophet says in the context of 24:4 must be recognized as a significant source for the covenantal theology of death in Romans 5:12 and the verses that follow. Isaiah deals there with death as a curse. Like Paul, Isaiah teaches that death entered the world through the entrance of sin — indeed, through the sin of breaking “the ancient covenant” in Eden and that death so passed unto all men, devouring the earth’s population, generation after generation (24:5-6; cf. v.20).


Associated with death in Isaiah 24-26 as allied enemies of the saints are Satan and, more conspicuously, his human accomplices. And the final proclamation of the resurrection in 26:21 depicts it not only as a redemption of believers from the prison of death (v. 21d) but as a vindication of the martyrs against these Satanic persecutors: “The earth shall disclose her blood” (v. 21c). The cry of the martyrs’ blood will be heard. At the resurrection they will have their day in court. [35] For the Lord will come forth “to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity” (v. 21ab). Vindication of the Lord’s people will not stop short of taking vengeance on their primeval adversary, the serpent-devil (27:1). What is said in 26:21-27:1 about the coming vindication of the saints is a concluding summation; the theme of the enemies and their subjugation is under development throughout chapters 24-26. This material shall be examined, dealing in turn with Satan and his demonic hosts and then with the evil world-power.


Included in the final portrayal of the resurrection triumph over death is the judgment of Leviathan (Isa. 27:1). [36] This serpentine symbol in the Bible often signalizes the demonic dimension of a situation. Sometimes the dragon is a figure for Satan himself, as in Revelation 12:9, 20:2, and here in Isaiah 27:1. [37] Inasmuch as the devil is the one who has the power of death (Heb. 2:14), [38] it is understandable that he and death should be found together here in common undertaking and common judgment. The same combination is found in Revelation 20:10-14.

There is indeed a curious overlap in the attributes and activities of death and the devil in biblical representations of them. They even share the same name, or epithet: Belial. [39] Like death, the devil is depicted as the swallower, if not through the Belial designation then at least in Revelation 12:4, where the dragon is seen ready to devour the messianic child, and in 1 Peter 5:8, where the Adversary is compared to a lion on the prowl, [40] seeking to devour believers. Similarly, Satan’s human agents are portrayed as Sheol-like swallowers of the godly. The description of these enemies in Psalm 73:9 with gaping mouth reaching from heaven to earth reflects strikingly the description of Mot in the Ugaritic mythology. [41] And like the devil they are more specifically compared to lions eager to devour the righteous. [42] Death, on its side, shares with the Satan-Adversary in his identity as the enemy. Paul in his discussion of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 characterizes death as “the last enemy” (v. 26), and possibly there is some (or even considerable) precedent in the Psalms for designating death as the foe. [43] Quite natural then is the conjunction of death and “the devil in Isaiah 24:1-27:1. In particular, the aptness of Isaiah’s concluding word on the judgment of Leviathan (27:1), appended to his final account of the resurrection-victory over death, can be appreciated.

The disclosure concerning Leviathan in 27:1 is adumbrated in 24:21-22. It is indicated there that the saints’ warfare is on two levels. For behind the hostility displayed by earthly oppressors is a hidden, demonic enemy on high: “In that day Yahweh will punish the host of the height on high and the kings on the ground below” (v. 21). On high an army of evil beings is associated with the devil in his cause (cf. Rev. 12:7-9). God’s judicial intervention [44] against them will come “after many days” (v. 22b), at the final cosmic catastrophe (v. 20) and the revelation of the Parousia-Glory (v. 23). [45] This judgment of the demonic host on high is the same as the judgment of Leviathan announced in 27:1. [46]

Something of the nature of the judgment on Leviathan referred to in 27:1 may be discerned from the equivalent disclosure in Revelation 20:10a. There the devil’s doom takes the form of the lake of fire, the second death. That realm is one of forever-continuing torment (v. 10b), and accordingly, the fate of Satan and others relegated to it is not absolute erasure from existence. The second death is existence on the other side of an impassable gulf from the cosmos proper. To be cast into the lake of fire is to cease to figure or function in heaven and earth as the consummated kingdom of God. Satan slain, or banished to the second death, no longer participates in the creation proper. He no longer functions as the power of death or otherwise affects the glorified saints. [47] Such existence, cut off from rapport with God’s realm of life, is a death-existence.

Implicit in the nature of the resurrection of God’s people as a judgment-victory over the devil (27:1), the one who has the power of death, is the justification aspect of the vindication of the godly. For inseparable from Satan’s identity as possessor of the power of death is his role as “the accuser of our brethren . . . who accuses them before God day and night.” [48] It is through his tempting to sin and then prosecuting for sin (the ultimate duplicity) that he has come to wield the power of death. Therefore God’s resurrection-conquest of Satan as possessor of the power of death is at the same time a triumph over him as the accuser of the brethren. And in the judicial ordeal before God’s throne, to defeat the accuser in his quest for a verdict of condemnation is to seal the verdict of justification in behalf of the accused. [49]

The conclusion that the resurrection-victory of God’s people involves their justification is also arrived at if the resurrection as a victory over death is considered. For death entered the world through sin, in condemnation for the breaking of the primeval covenant. Hence deliverance from death through resurrection in Christ is a reversal of condemnation. It publicly registers the verdict of justification secured by the merits of Christ. This verdict answers to the prayer of the blood of the martyrs that is disclosed at the resurrection (26:21), inasmuch as that blood has been pleading not only to be avenged through the judgment of the enemy but to be recognized as righteous blood, righteous through the advocacy of the blood of the Lamb (cf. Heb. 12:24; Rev. 12:11a). Agreeably, in the vision of the intermediate state in Revelation 6:9-11, the martyrs awaiting the final avenging of their blood on the earth-dwellers already receive a foretaste of that judgment by being acknowledged as justified through the bestowal of white robes, emblematic of their righteousness (cf. Rev. 19:8).

It follows that what 26:14, 19 say about not participating or participating in this resurrection may be construed as legal pronouncements of condemnation and justification respectively. These two verdicts are formulated as a clearly matching contrastive pair. The wicked dead, true to their name “sons of Belial/Perdition,” will not rise again (v. 14). [50] But God’s dead, something of a contradiction in terms according to the argument of Jesus for bodily resurrection, [51] shall come to life (v. 19). [52] The promise of resurrection, [53] “your dead shall live” (v. 19a), is a verdict of justification. It is comparable to “the just shall live,” the justifying verdict pronounced on the righteous believer in Habakkuk 2:4. There too we find a contrasting verdict against the wicked. [54] The lo’-yasera in v. 4a (however the grammar as a whole is construed) must refer to God’s verdict of condemnation [55] on the proud sinner, a verdict to which “shall live” in v. 4b corresponds. And Paul, citing this passage in Galatians 3:11, confirms not only that “shall live” is a verdict but that it is indeed a verdict of justification. For he parallels this life obtained by the righteous through faith in Jesus Christ with the verdict of justification, which, he asserts, was not obtainable through the principle of works operative in the law. [56]


The ancient dragon directs his assault on the faithful through the earthly agency of the dragonlike beast (cf. Rev. 12:17-13:7). Inevitably, at the judgment, the beast shares the dragon’s doom in the lake of fire (cf. 20:10). The place prepared for the devil and his angels is the fitting fate of the seed of the serpent, for throughout history they have exhibited their father’s spirit of self-assertion in blasphemous defiance of God and murderous hatred of His people. [57] An antichrist propensity infects the apostate city of man from the days of Cain onwards, erupting virulently in the reign of the sons of the gods at the climax of prediluvian history (Gen. 6:1-4) and in the final manifestation of the beast in the man of sin.

This two-tiered structure of the Satanic enterprise has already been encountered within Isaiah 24-26. In 24:21 the kings of the ground below and the demonic hosts above are listed together as the joint objects of divine vengeance. [58] Elsewhere Isaiah suggests the bond of identity between these companies by applying to the earthly forces of evil the term marom, which in 24:21 distinguishes “the host of the height on high” (hammarom bammarom). Thus 24:4 notes that even the “height (merom) of the people of the earth” are among the death mourners. [59] And 26:5 prophesies judgment against “the ones who dwell in the height (marom),” further identified as “the lofty city.”

Under the present major heading of the vindication of the martyrs it is the enmity of Satan’s earthly agents against God’s people that calls for particular attention. Isaiah 25:10-12 contains a distinctive treatment of this enmity. Moab, inveterate foe of Israel, serves as representative of the hostile world. Disdainful of the presence of the Glory-hand of God on “this mountain” (v. 10), that is, Zion (cf. 24:23; 25:6), Moab extends [60] its grasping hands “in the midst of it” (v. 11a), to seize all it can from Israel. [61] The full extension of its clutching embrace is compared to a swimmer’s stretching forth his hands in a sweeping stroke (v. 11b). In this greedy grabbing by Moab a replication of the insatiable appetite of Sheol-death [62] is again met with. Moab’s rapacious lust is totally frustrated, however, as God brings down into the dust “his pride with the catch [63] of his hands” (v. 11c).

The enmity of the world-power is also mirrored in the prayers of the saints. Out of the midst of their struggle against the overwhelming might of the oppressor they raise their cry, seconding the call of the martyrs’ blood for divine retribution. Isaiah 26:8-9ab describes the constancy of the saints in such expectant prayer for God’s decisive acts of judgment, [64] indignant as they are at the obdurate obtuseness of the unrepentant, unrelenting wicked in the absence of such judgments (w. 9cd, 10). [65] Verses 7 and 11 articulate their actual petitions. [66]

Again in 26:17-18 the antagonism of the world-power is reflected in the confession by the godly of their helplessness to prevail in the battle against the foe. In childbirth, as it were, they manage to bring forth only wind (vv. 17-18ab). They acknowledge: “Victory we cannot achieve (na’aseh) on the earth; the inhabitants of the earth do not fall” (v. 18cd). [67]

But what God’s people cannot achieve for themselves He accomplishes for them: “Every achievement in our behalf (ma’asenu) you have accomplished for us” (26:12). The section on their powerlessness to overcome the enemy (26:16-18) leads at once into the closing prophecy of the resurrection as the Lord’s redemptive triumph, vindicating His people over against the world-power (26:19 ff.).

One subtle device tying the resurrection announced in 26:19 to the preceding description of the saints’ battle with the world-power (v. 18) is the double use of the verb npl, “fall,” [68] to highlight the contrast being drawn. In verse 18d the godly lament their inability to make their enemies “fall” dead in battle. Then in verse 19 God is said to make His dew “fall” on the dead, bringing them to life.

Renderings of verse 19 as though it continued the figure of childbirth (v. 18ab) are unacceptable. The figure has meanwhile shifted in verse 18c to that of military salvation or victory. Moreover, npl is not attested elsewhere in biblical Hebrew for childbirth, whereas it is used for battle casualties (cf. Num. 14:29; Jer. 9:21). Also, consistently in this context “the inhabitants of the world” are the wicked foe (cf. esp. w. 9, 21).

Again, to interpret tpyl in verse 19b as “give birth,” with “earth” as subject, is to undo the parallelism between verses 19c and 19d and particularly to lose the obvious relationship, both sonant and semantic, between tappil and tal, “dew.” For the use of npl for the falling of dew on the ground see 2 Samuel 17:12. Therefore verse 19cd should read: “For the dew of dawn [69] is your [God’s] dew, and on the land [70] of the shades you make it fall.” [71] The “land of the shades” continues the focus of verse 19ab on “the dwellers in the dust,” the martyred saints called “your [God’s] dead.” Restored by God’s revivifying dew, they sing in the exultation of their vindication.

Most directly and emphatically the retribution-vindication aspect of the resurrection of the martyrs is expressed in 26:21. God’s decisive intervention will take the form of a descent from His heavenly Temple (v. 21a; cf. Mic. 1:3) for the purpose of exacting recompense (v. 21b), and that with immediate reference to the appeal of martyrs’ blood revealed (v. 21c) and the witness of God’s slain released from the grave (v. 21d).

Once and again in Isaiah 24-26 the city is used as a figure for the hostile world-power. Judgment is in store for this city (24:10-12; 25:2, 12; 26:5-6) and its kings (24:22; 26:5, 14). In the case of both the city (25:12; 26:5-6) and its proud citizenry (26:5), these prophecies of final retribution are couched in the imagery of the primeval curse on the serpent (Gen. 3:14- 15), the humbling in the dust and the trampling under foot. Isaiah thus anticipates the apostle John’s theme of the dragonlike beast sharing the dragon’s doom. He makes the same point more explicitly in his prophecy of the powers in the heavens and the kings on earth imprisoned together in the pit (24:21-22).

Perhaps the delineation of the judgment of the world-city is intended to conjure up the netherworld scene. The realm of the dead was conceptualized as a city with its entrance gates (cf. 24:12), [72] and various characteristic features of the netherworld appear in the picture of the devastated world-city in chapters 24-26. It is a joyless desolation (24:7-12), [73] an eternal [74] ruin (25:2), [75] laid low in the dust (25:12; 26:5-6). [76] On this interpretation the world-city is mocked with the irony of its downfall. It conspired with the prince of death to usurp the status of Zion, heavenly city of life, but it ends up as a necropolis, the netherworld city of the dead. [77]

From this land of no return the persecutors of the saints do not arise (26:14; cf. 24:20). [78] The contrast between their fate and the resurrection affirmed for the martyrs (26:19) underscores the vindicatory nature of the latter.

In sum, then, according to Isaiah 24-26 an army of enemies is associated with death in warfare against the saints, but divine vengeance will befall them all on the day of resurrection. A similar perspective informs Paul’s teaching on the resurrection: Death is “the last enemy” to be abolished by Christ in a process that involves His putting “all His enemies under His feet” (1 Cor. 15:25-26).


Even before death is ultimately abolished, it undergoes for the martyr-people an intermediate transformation. In the light of their coming resurrection-vindication, death assumes for them a different face. It becomes something that can be welcomed. The language of invitation becomes appropriate for it: “Come, my people, enter into your inner rooms and close your doors about you. Hide yourselves for a brief moment, until the wrath has passed by” (Isa. 26:20). The term heder, “inner room,” used for private rooms like the bedchamber, is combined with death in Proverbs 7:27: “the chambers of death.” [79] The house or room, particularly a sleeping chamber, is a natural image, elsewhere attested, for Sheol. [80] Certainly then the invitation of Isaiah 26:20, embedded as it is in a context of death and resurrection, is to be understood as welcoming God’s people into the inner room of death, as into a sanctuary.

Quite clearly Isaiah is alluding to the enclosure of the Noahic family within the ark-house [81] for their passage through the waters of death. In the flood narrative Noah receives an invitation from God to enter [82] the virtual burial chamber (Gen. 7:1). There is a fastening of the door behind the occupants (Gen. 7:26). [83] The ark as burial room functions as a refuge until the time of wrath on the hostile world-power has passed. [84] Meanwhile the occupants of the ark anticipate their eventual resurrection-exit and the perfecting of their vindication.

According to Isaiah 26:20 death for the redeemed has been radically altered, from confining covering to covert. [85] This same view of the death of the righteous is expressed in 57:1-2. There it is seen as a gathering away from evil and an entering into peace and rest. [86] Sheol’s repute as an “eternal house” is refuted by the interim character and indeed relative brevity attributed to its continuance in 26:20. Implicit in the temporal limit of “a brief moment” is the hope of the resurrection, when all the enemies have been abolished and there is no longer need for the refuge provided by death. [87] Meanwhile death has lost its terror. The great enemy is obliged to serve the saints as a friend. Yahweh’s triumph over Mot has begun.

Subsequent biblical revelation concerning death reflects quite specifically the Isaianic disclosures, with the perception of death as a veritable blessing and the invitation to experience it as a temporary sanctuary until the resurrection-vindication.

In Daniel 12:13 the invitation, “Come my people,” of Isaiah 26:20 is made individually personal. Daniel is invited: “As for you, come!” [88] Under discussion in the context are the persecution of the covenant people and the ultimate resurrection of glory for “the wise.” The invitation is immediately preceded by a beatitude pronounced on those who wait in faith for the time of deliverance. That Daniel’s invitation does indeed contemplate his death becomes evident once the verse is properly punctuated. “Until the end you shall rest. [89] And then at the end of the days you will stand [or arise] in your allotted inheritance.” [90] In the first instance, as in the second, “the end” refers to a historical climax of collective eschatology, not to the individual end of Daniel. [91] It is rather the verb “rest” that refers to his death, in agreement with the earlier Isaianic assessment of the death of the godly. [92]

A series of passages in the book of Revelation presents again this distinctly Isaianic perspective on the death of the righteous: 2:10; 6:9-11; 14:13; 20:4-6. [93] In all these passages the godly are viewed as under persecution. The beast power, or even the devil himself, appears in the nearby contexts. But the saints are faithful unto death, and their martyr blood cries out for avenging. [94] Also, the intermediate state of death is perceived as a royal sabbatical resting until the historical strife is over. [95] This interval of waiting will be short. [96] And finally, the continuity of John, the New Testament seer, with Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet, is exhibited in their common portrayal of death as having been fundamentally changed for the redeemed of the Lord. In Revelation 20:4-6 this transformation is expressed by identifying the Christian’s death as “the first resurrection.” [97]


1. The form-critical assessment expressed by this label is disputed, other genres (including cantata) being proposed.
2. At the close, however, the focus seems to widen (d. 27:13).
3. Isa. 24:1-27:1 and 27:2-13 are alike in their eschatological extension to the final divine advent.
4. The customary chapter partitioning (except for the separation of 27:1 from chap. 26) appropriately marks the main divisions.
5. Within chap. 25 itself this passage stands in the center between two confessional sections (w. 1-5; 9-12).
6. Isa. 5:14 speaks of Sheol making wide its throat (or enlarging its appetite) and opening its mouth without limit to engulf the multitudes descending therein. In the Ugaritic texts Mot, the god of death, is similarly described (UT 67, i 6-7). Cf. also Ex. 15:12; Num. 16:30,32,34; 26:10; Deut. 11:6; Ps. 106:17; Prov. 1:12; Hab. 2:5.
7. It is particularly as the consuming theophanic fire that God is the devourer (cf. e.g. Ex. 24:17; Deut. 4:24; 9:3; Ps. 21:9 [MT 10]; Isa. 29:6; 30:27, 30).
8. Announcements of God’s judgments on His enemies frequently involve such radical reversals. The evil that they have purposed or perpetrated boomerangs against them.
9. Variations on this image recur as a kind of leitmotiv of the haunting presence of death throughout this composition.
10. Use of the dragon-conflict pattern for the Exodus history in poetic portions of the Bible is well known.
11. Cf. the use of lwt in 1 Sam. 21:9 (MT 10); 1 Kings 19:13.
12. Some take it as a mourning veil, others as the net by which death ensnares its victims, a widely attested image.
13. Cf. Hab. 2:5; Josh. 23:14.
14. The “face” of the shroud in Isa. 25:7 might also allude to the face-portraits on mummy cases and on coffins with anthropoid lids.
15. To be judged to eat dust forever was for the serpent to be cursed with death. But Yahweh’s swallowing of the earth-cover of death and the grave is a banquet of resurrection life forever, a devouring-death of death. Anticipating this eschatological banquet is the sacramental supper of the Lord, in which a feasting on Christ’s death celebrates His victory of life.
16. Cf. also 2 Tim. 1:10.
17. Cf. Meredith G. Kline, “The First Resurrection,” WTJ 37 (1975): 366-75.
18. Jer. 51:34 combines the imagery of Isa. 24:1-3; 25:6-8 in one picture of destruction in terms of devouring, monster-like swallowing, filling the maw, and emptying a vessel.
19. Nominal derivatives of these two verbs appear as synonyms in Nah. 2:10 (MT 11), a passage descriptive of the judgment of Nineveh, which has just been likened to a pool draining away (v. 8 [MT 9]). Also the emptying process in both passages is equated with a plundering (bzz) of the plunderer (Isa. 24:3; Nah. 2:9 [MT 10]). Cf. Jer. 48:11-12.
20. The word ‘eres does not thereby denote two entirely distinct entities. It is rather that the earth as the receptacle and covering of the dead becomes functionally the grave or netherworld as one aspect of its total historical identity.
21. A parallel phrase in 26:19 is “the dwellers (sokene) of the dust,” an equivalent of “its [the netherworld’s] inhabitants (yosebeha)” in 24:1.
22. Cf. Ps. 38:6 (MT 7).
23. On the possible resumption of this concept of the face of the earth in 25:7 see above. The Sumerian myth Inannas Descent to the Netherworld (117, 123) refers to an entrance gate Ganzir, called the “face” of the netherworld. The familiar imagery of the gates of death is found in Isa. 38:10. Cf. Ps. 9:13-14 (MT 14-15); Matt. 16:18; Rev. 1:18.
24. Similarly in Rev. 20:12 “the great and the small” indicates the totality of the dead who are delivered up by death and Hades and the sea to stand before the judgment throne (cf. also 19:18). The appearance of the sea with death and Hades in 20:13 is one of numerous instances of the conceptualization of death as the waters of the deep. This identification of the netherworld with the waters of the sea perhaps contributed to Isaiah’s imaging of death as a bottle or skin whose liquid contents are to be poured out. Conceivably Rev. 20:12-13 reflects such an understanding of Isa. 24:1-3. Cf. B. F. Batto, “The Reed Sea: Requiescat in Pace,” JBL 102 (1983): 27-35; “Red Sea or Reed Sea?” BAR 10/4(1984): 57-63.
25. Nevertheless the resurrection experience means different things for the godly and the wicked, as appears in the perspective of 25:6-8; 26:19ff. In the language of Rev. 20, what is the second resurrection for those written in the book of life is the second death for those who are not.
26. On this see further below.
27. See Num. 35:33; Ps. 106:38.
28. The use of nebela, “corpse,” in 26:19 echoes nabela, “it [the earth] withers (or dies),” in 24:4. The verb nabel contributes to the alliterative quality of 24:4, but its choice there was probably also prompted by the preceding imagery of the emptied pitcher (cf. nebel, “skin bottle”) and the following motif of the silenced music (cf. nebel, a musical instrument).
29. A similar combination of ideas and imagery is found in Hos. 13:13-14.
30. Whatever wider reality might be suggested by “the whole creation” (Rom. 8:22), the critical element in the idea is the earth’s character as grave of the saints. If one is not persuaded that the earth’s groaning in Rom. 8:21 is specifically due to its entombment of the martyr-righteous, preferring still to see this verse as a reflection on Gen. 3:17 (i.e., as a general curse affecting all mankind), then it must at least be recognized that that curse consists particularly in the reversal of the earth’s original subservient relationship to mankind whereby man now is overpowered by the earth and ultimately reduced to the condition of “dust unto dust” (Gen. 3:19).
31. See w. 42, 50.
32. Note particularly the quotation of Isa. 25:8 in 1 Cor. 15:54. Verse 55 continues with a quotation from Hos. 13:14, which falls within a section of Hosea’s prophecy where extensive interdependence with Isa. 26-27 has been noted. See n. 29 above and J. Day, “A Case of Inner Scriptural Interpretation: The Dependence of Isaiah 26:13 -27:11 on Hosea 13:4-14:10 (Eng. 9) and Its Relevance to Some Theories of the Redaction of the ‘Isaiah Apocalypse,’ ” ITS 31 (1980): 309-19.
33. In Rom. 8:19 the “revealing (apokalypsis) of the sons of God” for which creation waits is customarily identified as the manifestation of the saints with Christ in glory; cf., e.g., Col. 3:4. But discovery of the relation of Rom. 8 to Isa. 24-26 and of its concern with the earth’s deliverance from profanation through the corruption of death suggests that the apokalypsis is the emergence of the righteous from their concealment in the earth (as in Isa. 26:21), the uncovering that is the prelude to the manifestation in glory. Cf. J. Plevnik, “The Taking Up of the Faithful and the Resurrection of the Dead in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18,” CBQ 46 (1984): 274-83.
34. For a recent representative statement see L. R. Bailey, Sr., Biblical Perspectives on Death (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979), p. 53. He insists that, apart from the possible exception of Gen. 2-3, mortality is not associated in the OT with guilt and punishment.
35. Cf. Gen. 4:10-11; Job 16:18; Rev. 6:9-11; 8:3 ff.; 11:18; 19:2.
36. Isa. 27:1 continues the judgment theme of 26:21 (note pqd, “punish,” in both verses). Together the two verses deal with the final judgment of the evil occupants of both earth and heaven. Cf. 24:21-22. “In that day” in 27:1 forms an inclusio with 26:1. (It is a Question whether the same phrase at the beginning of 27:2 introduces the following vineyard song, as is likely, or possibly belongs with 27:1.)
37. Isa. 27:1 closely resembles a passage in a mythological text from Ugarit (UT 67, i 1-3). Such mythological use of the dragon figure is a corruption of the tradition of the serpent-agent of Satan in the fall episode. In biblical texts like Isa. 27:1 the dragon imagery is a demythologized, poetic adaptation.
38. This characterization of the devil is explained by his critical role in the entrance of sin into the world, through which death also found entrance. Moreover a continuing agency of Satan in the infliction of death is suggested in Job 2:6 (and, on one interpretation, in 1 Cor. 5:5).
39. Note the parallelism of death and Belial in Ps. 18:4 (MT 5) and 2 Sam. 22:5. Belial (or Beliar) is used for Satan in 2 Cor. 6:15. This is of special interest for this Isaiah context. If blyy’l is derived from bl’, “swallow,” cf. Isa. 25:7-8. If it is explained as bly plus ‘lh, “none comes up,” cf. 26:14. In Job 7:9 lo’ ya’aleh describes the one who descends into Sheol. Isa. 26:14 uses qwm, not ‘lh, but in Ps. 41:8 (MT 9) qwm with negative stands parallel to blyy’l.
40. Behind this usage is probably the judicial surveillance conducted by Satan with a view to his accusing function, as in Job 1:7 and 2:2.
41. Cf. UT 67, ii 1-3.
42. See e.g. Pss. 10:9; 17:12; 35:17, 25; cf. 5:9 (MT 19); 124:3-6.
43. Cf. e.g. Pss. 31:8 (MT 9); 61:3 (MT 4). For a survey of the evidence in the Psalms adduced by M. Dahood for death as the foe see N. J. Tromp, Primitive Conceptions of Death and the Nether World in the Old Testament (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1969), pp. 110-19.
44. The verb pqd, “punish,” used in the first colon of v. 21 is repeated at the close of v. 22 as an inclusio. Hence the same judgment is in view in each case. “After many days” (v. 22b) is equivalent to “in that day” (v. 21a).
45. “Before his elders will be the Glory” (v. 23). After the introduction (24:1-3) two sections on earth’s desolation (w. 4-13; 16b-22) alternate with two brief sections describing the final epiphany and the response thereto (w. 14-1&7; 23). Verses 14-16a form an intricate chiasm produced by lexical and morphological pairings. In the terminal parts of the chiasm the eschatological theophany is denoted as the Majesty (q’wn) and the Beauty (sby), in the middle parts as the Name (Yahweh). The Glory (kbwd) of v. 23 is the corresponding reference to the Parousia in the second epiphany section. Further on in 24:15 the ‘l-kn is perhaps to be taken as a divine title, lithe Most High, the Upright.” Following a suggestion of L. Vigano, W H. Irwin argues for this in “The Punctuation of Isaiah 24:14-16a and 25:4c-5,” CBQ 46 (1984):215-19. A chiastic structuring is, however, still preferable to Irwin’s overall stichometric analysis.
46. A question arises as to the relation of the imprisonment in 24:22a and the binding of Satan in Rev. 20:2-3. If that imprisonment is equated with the judicial intervention announced in v. 21 and again in v. 22b, then it will not correspond to the thousand-year confinement of the devil in Rev. 20:2-3 but to his subsequent eternal doom (20:10). If, however, the imprisonment of v. 22a is understood as pluperfect with respect to the judgment of v. 21 (and thus too as preliminary to the same judgment as mentioned again in v. 22b), it would then be equivalent to Rev. 20:2-3, and the “many days” could correspond to the “thousand years.” In this case the subject of the imprisonment might better be viewed as only the demonic host, not the earthly kings. The word bar, “pit,” often used as a synonym of Sheol, also denotes a place of confinement and torment for demons. See Luke 8:31 (cf. Matt. 8:29); Rev. 9:1, 2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3.
47. The Son of God came so that through death He might “render inoperative” him that had the power of death (Heb. 2:14) and death itself (1 Cor. 15:26; 2 Tim. 1:10).
48. It is just after a reference to Satan in terms distinctly reminiscent of 27: 1 that this identification of him as the Accuser is given in Rev. 12:10. The echo of 27:1 is all the clearer if the disputed adjective bariah means “primeval” and thus corresponds to the “ancient” serpent of Rev. 12:9.
49. Cf. Zech. 3.
50. Context must be ignored to take this as a denial of a universal resurrection. See the discussion of 24:1-3 above and n. 78 below.
51. See Matt. 22:32; Mark 12:27; Luke 20:38; cf. John 5:21.
52. For this meaning of hyh see 1 Kings 17:22; 2 Kings 13:21; Job 14:14; Ezek. 37:3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 14.
53. For a recent survey of the evidence for interpreting 26: 19 and context in terms of physical resurrection see F. C. Hasel, “Resurrection in the Theology of Old Testament Appcalyptic,” ZAW92 (1980):271-76.
54. Heb. 10:37-38 connects Isa. 26 and Hab. 2 by (apparently) introducing its citation of Hab. 2:4 with the “yet a very little while” of Isa. 26:20 (LXX). Cf. the echo of Isa. 26:11 in Heb. 10:27. Also note in Hab. 2:5 the reference to the insatiable appetite of death, devourer of all peoples, the central concern and pervasive image of Isa. 24-26. Further, the patient waiting in faith for the eschatological divine intervention encouraged in Hab. 2:3 is a major emphasis in the Isaiah passage (e.g. 25:9; 26:3, 4, 8, 9, 20).
55. Preponderantly the verb ysr is used in the registering of assessments. Such is also the tradition of interpretation reflected in the LXX as quoted in Heb. 10:37.
56. The function of resurrection to life as the rendering of a verdict of justification should be borne in mind in dealing with Paul’s expression “justification of life” (Rom. 5:18) and his statement that Jesus “was raised for our justification” (4:25). On the principle of works in the Mosaic economy see Meredith G. Kline, “Of Works and Grace,” Presbyterion 9 (1983): 85-92.
57. See n. 42 above for the attribution to these human enemies of the same lionlike rapacity that distinguishes the devil and death.
58. What is depicted as a single judgment episode here in 24:21-22 is related twice in the book of Revelation because of the thematic arrangement of its visions: once in Rev. 19 from the perspective of the beast and kings of the earth, and a second time in Rev. 20 from the perspective of the career of Satan.
59. Pretensions to deity by mortals are repeatedly mocked by reminders of mortality. See Gen. 6:3; Isa. 14:9 fr.; Ezek. 28:9; cf. Ps. 82:7.
60. This same idea is again expressed by the verb prs in a similar context in Lam. 1: “The adversary has spread out his hands over all her [Jerusalem’s] desirable things” (v. 10a). Interestingly, the adversary who thus profanes the sanctuary is further defined in v. 10c in terms of the law of Deut. 23:3 (MT 4) forbidding the Moabites and Ammonites to enter the assembly of the Lord. Also note Moab’s involvement in the destruction of Judah (2 Kings 24:2).
61. For this same imagery elsewhere in Isaiah see 10:10, 14: 11:14.
62. In the motif of Mot’s prodigious appetite, his hands figure as scoops (cf. UT 67, i 19-20). By them he also grasps his victims (cf. UT 2059,21-22). For similar biblical references to the hands of Sheol see Ps. 89:48 (MT 49); Hos. 13:14.
63. Like peras earlier in v. 11, ‘orbot is followed by “his hands” and should be understood in a way that brings out this connection. That is achieved if one regards the noun as related to ‘rb, “lie in ambush,” and as denoting plunder or prey-here the treasure that had been seized by Moab’s outstretched hands. This results in a further point of likeness of this agent of the devil to death, for the latter is pictured as ensnaring its prey (cf. e.g. Ps. 18:5 [MT 6]). So too is the devil (2 Tim. 2:26).
64. “Yes, for the way of your judgments we call upon you, Yahweh; our soul’s longing is for (the revelation of) your memorial Name. In my soul I long for you in the night; yes, in my inmost spirit I yearn for you in the morning.” In w. 8, 9b God’s “judgments” are His judicial acts of deliverance. The “Name” (v.8) is the theophanic Presence or Parousia. Note the chiastic structure with the repetitive ta’awat-napes (v. 8b) and napsi ‘iwwitika (v. 9a) in the center and the corresponding ‘ap clauses with their semantically matched verbs in the first and fourth cola (w. &z, 9b).
65. “Only when your judgments are on the earth do the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. If the wicked is shown compassion, he does not learn righteousness; in a land of fair dealings the one who is evil does not see the majesty of Yahweh.” In w. 9d, 10a sedeq refers to God’s acts of judgment. In v. 10b the waw of ubal is emphatic with postposition of the verb. Thus understood, an excellent parallelism obtains between the two cola of v. 10. In v. 9c, W. H. Irwin reads ke’asser “correct, set right,” instead of ki ka’aser; cf. his “Syntax and Style in Isaiah 26,” CBQ 41 (1979): 246.
66. “Let there be a way of justice for the righteous, O Upright One, may you make level the path of the righteous” (v. 7) “Yahweh, let your hand be lifted high; let those who do not see see. Let them be dismayed at the fury of your forces; by the fire of your enmity consume them” (v. 11). Verse 7 is an example of the form in which the b-element is a single word (here, as often, a vocative) serving both a-sections. The first colon contains an interrupted construct chain. Possibly mesarim refers to the concrete mesarum-act. Verse 11 is a further petition for the Parousia (cf. the “hand” of God and the angelic armies). Note again the theme of Yahweh as the true devourer who consumes the hostile would-be devourers.
67. On this see further below.
68. Enhancing the npl wordplay in 26:18 is the use of nebeld, “corpse” (v. 19). As observed above (n. 28) this also recalls the verb nbl in 24:4, another context that is concerned with death and mourning and also contains a case of paronomasia using npl and nbl. Note the use of npl in 24:20 (itself a parallel to 26:14).
69. On ‘orot as “lights, dawn” cf. ‘iirim, «East” (24:15). Dawn fits well with waking from sleep (haqisu). For the association of dew and dawn cf. Ex. 16:13; Judg. 6:38; Ps. 110:3. On resurrection and dawn cf. Hos. 6:2-3. On light and life cf. Job 3:16; 33:28; Ps. 49:19 (MT 20); 56:13 (MT 14). Whether ‘orot is understood as dawn, or herbs, or (Elysian) fields (so Mitchell Dahood, Psalms, AB, 3 vols. [Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1966- 1970], 1:222-23), the idea is that of the enlivening effect of dew.
70. Cf. above (n. 21).
71. Dahood, Psalms, 1:223, takes tpyl from the verb nbl: “But the land of the shades will be parched.” On this basis Irwin (“Syntax,” p. 258) suggests a wordplay with tappil calling to mind tabbil, i.e., the earth gives birth to the shades it had parched. Earlier he took tappil from pll, “moisten”: “It will moisten the land of the shades” (Isaiah 28-33: Translation with Philological Notes, BibOr 30 [Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1977], p. 20).
72. Cf. e.g. Ps. 9:13 (MT 14), which contrasts the gates of death with the gates of Zion (v. 14 [MT 15]), and Isa. 38:10. On Mot’s city cf. UT 51, viii 11.
73. Cf. Ps. 73:18-19; Ezek. 26:20. 74. On the use of “eternity” for the netherworld (including its gates) in the OT and literature of the biblical world see A. Cooper, “Ps. 24:7-10: Mythology and Exegesis,” JBL 102 (1983): 37-60.
75. If MT is followed, the third colon in 25:2 should be translated: “(You have turned) the city into a palace of strangers.” The me’ir of the first and third cola are thus treated identically. The full pattern, “from. . . to,” established in the first colon continues with ellipsis of “from” in the second colon and “to” in the third. For the role of “strangers” as desolators see v. 5 (cf. Isa. 1:7). In the Sumerian composition Lamentation over the Destruction of Ur (p. 289ft’.) the goddess Ningal bewails the fact that a “strange city” and “strange house” have replaced her demolished dwelling. The fall of Jerusalem is bemoaned in almost identical fashion in Lam. 5:2. J. A. Emerton emends the me’ir in Isa. 25:2c to mu’ar, hophal participle of ‘rr, translating “the palace of foreigners is destroyed” (“A Textual Problem in Isaiah 25:2,” ZAW 89 ([1977]: 72). Cf. Isa. 23:13 for ‘rr with ‘arman, “palace,” paralleled moreover by sym and lemappela, as in 25:2ab.
76. Cf. e.g. Gen. 3:19; Job 10:9; 17:16; 21:26; 34:15; Pss. 22:15 (MT 16); 90:3. In the Akkadian myth Descent of Ishtar to the Netherworld, dust and clay are said to be the fare of the netherworld (obv. 8). A fate decreed there is the curse of having the “food of plows” as food (rev. 23-24). Cf. Gen. 3:14.
77. This same ironic reversal becomes a major motif in Ezekiel’s prophecy of Gog (Ezek. 39: 11-16). God aspires to the mount of God but must settle for the immortality of the cemetery city of Hamonah.
78. Their resurrection experience is a passage from Sheol to the second death. They do not return to their historical freedom vis-a-vis the godly. They are not present in God’s eternal cosmic kingdom of life to threaten again the peace of the righteous. cr. above the discussion of the judgment on Leviathan; cf. also nn. 25, 50.
79. Cf. hdry s’wl in 1QH x 34. In Phoenician and Punic hdr means “grave, netherworld.”
80. cf. Tromp, Primitive, pp. 156-59.
81. cf. Meredith G. Kline, Kingdom Prologue II (privately published, 1983), pp. 105-6.
82. As in Isa. 26:20, the verb is bw’.
83. As in Isa. 26:20, the verbal phrase is sgr b’d.
84. Isa. 26:20 also recalls the securing of the Israelites behind their bloodsmeared doors in Egypt while the Lord’s judgment passed through (‘br, Ex. 12:23, as in Isa. 26:20).
85. cf. Job 14:13-15. Job longs for Sheol as a temporary hiding place from wrath until the resurrection.
86. cf. Pss. 36:7-12 (MT 8-13); 57:1 (MT 2).
87. Heb. 10:37, apparently citing Isa. 26:20, identifies the brief time as that still remaining until the second coming of Christ. cf. n. 54 above.
88. As in Isa. 26:20 the imperative is lek.
89. The key to the verse division is this emphatic waw with postposition of the verb.
90. For goral in this sense see Judg. 1:3; Ps. 125:3; cr. Col. 1:12.
91. On qes see also Dan. 12:4, 6, 9, noting especially the correspondence of w. 4 and 13.
92. As in Isa. 57:2 the verb is nwh. cf. Job 3:17.
93. Rev. 14:13; 20:6 are in the form of beatitudes. cf. Dan. 12:12.
94. See Rev. 6:10.
95. Esp. Rev. 6:11; 14:13.
96. Esp. Rev. 6:11; cf. 2:10.
97. See Kline, “The First Resurrection.” cf. Rev. 12:11. There the martyr victims are proclaimed victors. It is in and through their faithfulness unto death that they are overcomers, secured from the second death, assured of the second resurrection (cf. Rev. 2:11).

MEREDlTH G. KLINE (The Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning) is professor of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and at Westminster Theological Seminary in California.

Scanned and Edited by Robert A. Lotzer on July 04, 2006.