Judgment and Deliverance of Jerusalem
1Ah! Ariel, Ariel,*
city where David encamped!
Let year follow year,
and feast follow feast,a
2But I will bring distress upon Ariel,
and there will be mourning and moaning.
You shall be to me like Ariel:b
3I will encamp like David against you;
I will circle you with outposts
and set up siege works against you.c
4You shall speak from beneath the earth,
and from the dust below, your words shall come.
Your voice shall be that of a ghost from the earth,
and your words shall whisper from the dust.d
5The horde of your arrogant shall be like fine dust,
a horde of tyrants like flying chaff.e
Then suddenly, in an instant,
6you shall be visited by the LORD of hosts,
With thunder, earthquake, and great noise,
whirlwind, storm, and the flame of consuming fire.f
7* Then like a dream,
a vision of the night,
Shall be the horde of all the nations
who make war against Ariel:
All the outposts, the siege works against it,
all who distress it.
8As when a hungry man dreams he is eating
and awakens with an empty stomach,
Or when a thirsty man dreams he is drinking
and awakens faint, his throat parched,
So shall the horde of all the nations be,
who make war against Mount Zion.
Blindness and Perversity
9* Stupefy yourselves and stay stupid;
blind yourselves and stay blind!
You who are drunk, but not from wine,
who stagger, but not from strong drink!g
10For the LORD has poured out on you
a spirit of deep sleep.
He has shut your eyes (the prophets)
11For you the vision of all this has become like the words of a sealed scroll. When it is handed to one who can read, with the request, “Read this,” the reply is, “I cannot, because it is sealed.” 12When the scroll is handed to one who cannot read, with the request, “Read this,” the reply is, “I cannot read.”
13The Lord said:
Since this people draws near with words only
and honors me with their lips alone,
though their hearts are far from me,
And fear of me has become
mere precept of human teaching,i
14Therefore I will again deal with this people
in surprising and wondrous fashion:
The wisdom of the wise shall perish,
the prudence of the prudent shall vanish.j
15Ah! You who would hide a plan
too deep for the LORD!
Who work in the dark, saying,
“Who sees us, who knows us?”k
16Your perversity is as though the potter
were taken to be the clay:
As though what is made should say of its maker,
“He did not make me!”
Or the vessel should say of the potter,
“He does not understand.”l
17Surely, in a very little while,
Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard,
and the orchard be considered a forest!m
18On that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a scroll;
And out of gloom and darkness,
the eyes of the blind shall see.n
19The lowly shall again find joy in the LORD,
the poorest rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.o
20For the tyrant shall be no more,
the scoffer shall cease to be;
All who are ready for evil shall be cut off,p
21those who condemn with a mere word,
Who ensnare the defender at the gate,
and leave the just with an empty claim.q
22Therefore thus says the LORD,
the God of the house of Jacob,
who redeemed Abraham:*
No longer shall Jacob be ashamed,
no longer shall his face grow pale.r
23For when his children see
the work of my hands in his midst,
They shall sanctify my name;
they shall sanctify the Holy One of Jacob,
be in awe of the God of Israel.s
24Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding,
those who find fault shall receive instruction.
* [29:1–2] Ariel: a poetic name for Jerusalem. It has been variously interpreted to mean “lion of God,” “altar hearth of God” (Ez 43:15–16), “city of God,” or “foundation of God.” In v. 2 the term refers to “altar hearth,” i.e., a place of burning for its people (cf. 30:33; 31:9). God will attack Jerusalem, as David did long ago.
* [29:7–8] Just when the attackers think their capture of Jerusalem is certain, the Lord will snatch victory from their hands and save the city. The sudden shift from the Lord’s attack on the city to its deliverance by him is surprising and unexplained; it may reflect the account related in 37:36.
* [29:9–16] Despite their show of piety, Judah’s leaders refused to accept the prophet’s words of assurance. They rejected prophetic advice (cf. 30:10–11), did not consult the prophetic oracle in forming their political plans (30:1–2; 31:1), and tried to hide their plans even from God’s prophet (v. 15), who, they thought, simply did not understand military and political reality.
* [29:10] Prophets…seers: interpretive glosses.