Today I received this question via Twitter:

I read the text of Isaiah 26 and several points seemed to parallel Romans 8, so I spent a few hours going over both texts, takings notes. I haven’t come across any grand discoveries, but I thought I’d share my observations with readers of this blog. Let me know if anything stands out to you.

Resurrection pericope in Is. 26 (vv. 14-21):

– The wicked: “The dead will not live (מתים בל־יחיו), the departed spirits will not rise (רפאים בל־יקמו)” in v. 14.

– The righteous: “Your dead will live (יחיו מתיך); their corpses will rise

(נבלתי יקומון)” in v. 19a-b.

– The wicked will be destroyed, forever (annihilated? v. 14).

– The land: experiences God’s judgements in order to teach the righteous (v. 9c-d); the unrighteous dealing unjustly in the land (v. 10c); the boarders of the land expanded (v. 15); the land could not be delivered/saved (v. 18); the land will give cause the the departed spirits to fall (v. 19, תפיל, most trans. (see NASB, NRSV, NIV (?), LEB, etc.) see this as metaphorical for birth, cf., v. 18; the ESV is inconsistent trans. v. 18 more literally “fallen,” then metaphorically in v. 19 as “give birth”).


Other observations:

Righteous/Righteousness in Is. 26: vv. 2, 7 (2x), 9d, 10b.

Ruach: vv. 9, 18.

Pregnancy: in vv. 17-18 the people are depicted as a woman who cannot give birth.

Resurrection and Renewal in Rom. 8:

– Those who have the Spirit of Christ will be resurrected (vv. 9-13). Does Paul have Isaiah 26 in view? If so, what does this mean for Paul’s doctrine of resurrection?

– In vv. 18-23 creation (ἡ κτίσις) is waiting to be set free from its current state. Creation waits for the children of God to be revealed, does this echo the confession of Is. 26.18c that the people could not accomplish the deliverance/salvation for the land? Does Paul see the resurrection as the event wherein the people of God are empowered to deliver/save the land?

– Does the “redemption of our body” (which I understand to mean the human body) in v. 23 connect w. Is. 26:19d, where the earth drops (gives birth?) to the departed spirits (רפאים, lit. the ghosts or shades of the people)?


Pneuma: vv. 2, 4, 5 (2x), 6, 9 (3x), 10, 11 (2x), 13, 14, 15 (2x), 16, 23, 26 (2x), 27.

Pregnancy: in v. 22 creation “groans and suffers the pains of childbirth until now (συνωδίνει ἄχρι τοῦ νῦν)” Some understand συνωδίνει as depicting the sort of pain suffered during childbirth (e.g., NASB, ESV, NIV).

Greek Isaiah: 

In Is. 26:17 the analogy of childbirth ἡ ὠδίνουσα and “in the pain of childbirth cries out (καὶ ἐπὶ τῇ ὠδῖνι αὐτῆς ἐκέκραξεν).” Paul writes in Rom. 8:22 that creation συνωδίνει, or suffers together in childbirth. In Is. 26 it is the people groaning. In Rom. 8 the people (children of God) groan with creation.

In 26:18 the Hebrew phrase רוח ישׁועת בל־נעשׂה ארץ is translated as πνεῦμα σωτηρίας σου ἐποιήσαμεν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, “a spirit-wind of your salvation we made upon the earth.” Does the LXX here influence Paul’s thoughts on S/spirit?

In 26:19 “The dead will raise, and those in the tombs will be stood up/woken up, and those who are in the earth will rejoice (ἀναστήσονται οἱ νεκροί, καὶ ἐγερθήσονται οἱ ἐν τοῖς μνημείοις, καὶ εὐφρανθήσονται οἱ ἐν τῇ γῇ),” again, this connect the dead, their resurrection, and the land/earth itself.