The Siege of Jerusalem
1 [a]Woe to Ariel, Ariel,[b]
the city where David encamped.
Year after year will pass,
and the festivals will be celebrated annually.
2 Yet I will inflict distress upon Ariel,
and there will be endless mourning and lamentation
as she becomes like an altar of fire.
3 I will encamp against you like David,
completely surround you with my forces
and erect siege-works against you.
4 Then, as you lie prostrate, you will speak,
and from the dust of the earth
your words will come forth.
Your voice will rise from the ground
like that of a ghost,
and your words will whisper out of the dust.
5 But the vast throng of your enemies
will be like fine dust,
and the horde of your ruthless foes
will be like flying chaff.
Then suddenly, in an instant,
6 you will be visited by the Lord of hosts,
accompanied by thunder and earthquake and intense din,
by whirlwind and tempest
and the flame of devouring fire.
7 Then the horde of all the nations
that fight against Ariel,
all who fight against her,
besieging her and causing her great anguish,
will fade away like a dream,
like a vision in the night.
8 Just as when a hungry man dreams of eating
and then awakens with an empty stomach,
or as when a thirsty man dreams of drinking
and then awakens to find his throat still parched,
so will it be with the horde of all the nations
that make war against Mount Zion.
Hypocrisy and Deception
9 If you stupefy yourselves,
you will remain in a stupor.
If you blind yourselves,
you will remain blind.
Be drunk, but not on wine;
stagger, but not from strong drink.
10 For the Lord has poured out on you
a spirit of deep sleep;
he has closed your eyes, you prophets,
and covered your heads, you seers.
11 The prophetic vision of all this has become like the words of a sealed scroll. If you hand it to someone who is able to read and you say to him, “Please read this,” he will answer, “I cannot, because it is sealed.” 12 And if you hand it to someone who cannot read and say to him, “Please read this,” he will reply, “I cannot read.”
13 [c]Then the Lord said:
Because this people draws near to me
only with their words
and honors me only with their lips
while their hearts are far from me,
and their reverence for me has become
nothing but a human commandment
that has been memorized,
14 therefore, I will continue to deal with this people
in shocking and amazing ways.
The wisdom of their wise men will perish,
and the understanding of their discerning men will cease.
15 Woe to those who go to extreme measures
to conceal their plans from the Lord,
who perpetrate their evil deeds in the dark,
saying, “Who sees us? Who knows where we are?”
16 Such people are truly perverse.
Is the potter no better than the clay?
Can what is made say of its maker,
“He did not make me”?
Can a pot say of the potter,
“He really has no particular skill”?
17 It will be but a very short time
before Lebanon will become a fertile field
and its orchards will be regarded as forests.
18 On that day the deaf will hear
the words of a book being read,
and the eyes of the blind will see,
delivered from gloom and darkness.
19 The lowly will once again rejoice in the Lord,
and those who are poor will exult
in the Holy One of Israel.
20 For the tyrants will be no more
and the arrogant will cease to exist;
all those who revel in evil deeds will be destroyed:
21 those whose lies cause a man to be judged guilty,
those who set traps to capture just arbiters
and thereby deprive the innocent
from being granted justice.
22 Therefore, thus says the Lord,
the deliverer of Abraham,
in regard to the house of Jacob:
No longer will the house of Jacob be ashamed,
nor will their faces grow pale.
23 For when they see in their midst
their children, the work of my hands,
they will acknowledge my name as holy.
They will reverence the Holy One of Jacob
and stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24 Those who err in spirit will gain understanding,
and those who are obstinate will receive instruction.
- Isaiah 29:1 The visitation of God is a dramatic moment because it brings both punishment and salvation. Jerusalem will soon experience it.
- Isaiah 29:1 Ariel: “lion of God,” a symbolic name of Jerusalem.
- Isaiah 29:13 Jesus will remind the Pharisees of this passage of Isaiah (Mt 15:7). “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 7:21).