Jerusalem Is Warned
Woe (judgment is coming) to [a]Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David [once] camped!
Add [b]yet another year; let the feasts run their course [but only one year more].
Then I will harass Ariel,
And she will be a city of mourning and lamenting (crying out in grief)
Yet she will be like an [c]Ariel [an altar hearth] to Me.
I will camp against you and encircle you,
And I will hem you in with siege works,
And I will raise fortifications against you.
Then you [Jerusalem] will be brought low,
You will speak from the earth,
And from the dust where you lie face down
Your muffled words will come.
Your voice will also be like that of a spirit from the earth [like one produced by a medium],
And your speech will whisper and squeak from the dust.
But the multitude of your enemies [that assault you] will become like fine dust,
And the multitude of the tyrants like the chaff which [d]blows away;
And it will happen in an instant, suddenly [that your enemy is destroyed].
You will be punished by the Lord of hosts with thunder and earthquake and great noise,
With whirlwind and tempest and the flame of a consuming fire.
And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel (Jerusalem),
Even all who fight against her and her stronghold, and who distress her,
Will be like a dream, a vision of the night.
It will be as when a hungry man dreams
That he is eating,
But when he awakens, his [e]hunger is not satisfied;
Or as when a thirsty man dreams
That he is drinking,
But when he awakens, in fact, he is faint
And his thirst is not quenched.
So will the multitude of all the nations be
Who fight against Mount Zion.
Stop and take some time and wonder [at this prophecy],
Blind yourselves and be blinded [at its fulfillment by your spiritual incompetence].
They are drunk, but not from wine;
They stagger, but not from strong drink.
For the Lord has poured over you a spirit of deep sleep.
He has closed your eyes, [you who are] the prophets;
And He has covered your heads, [you who are] the seers.
The entire vision [of all these things] will be to you like the words of a scroll that is sealed, which they give to one who can read, saying, “Read this, please,” he shall say, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” Then the book will be given to the one who cannot read, saying, “Read this, please.” And he will say, “I cannot read.”
Then the Lord said,
“Because this nation approaches [Me only] with their words
And honors Me [only] with their lip service,
But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their reverence for Me is a tradition that is learned by rote [without any regard for its meaning],
Therefore, listen carefully, I will again do marvelous and amazing things with this people, wonderful and astonishing things;
And the wisdom of their wise men will perish,
And the understanding of their discerning men will be hidden.”
Woe (judgment is coming) to those who [try to] deeply hide their plans from the Lord,
Whose deeds are done in a dark place,
And who say, “Who sees us?” or “Who knows us?”
You turn things upside down [with your perversity]!
Shall the potter be considered equal with the clay,
That the thing that is made would say to its maker, “He did not make me”;
Or the thing that is formed say to him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?
Blessing after Discipline
Is it not yet a very little while
Until Lebanon will be turned into a fertile field,
And the fertile field regarded as a forest?
On that day the deaf will hear the words of a book,
And out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see [the words of the book].
The afflicted also will increase their joy in the Lord,
And the needy of mankind will rejoice and celebrate in the Holy One of Israel.
For the tyrant will come to an end and the scorner will be finished,
Indeed all who are intent on doing evil will be cut off—
Those who cause a person to be condemned with a [false] word,
And lay a trap for him who upholds justice at the [city] gate,
And defraud the one in the right with meaningless arguments.
Therefore, the Lord, who redeemed Abraham [from paganism] says this, concerning the house of Jacob (Israel):
“Jacob will not be ashamed, nor will his face turn pale [with disappointment because of his children’s degenerate behavior];
For when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst,
They will sanctify My Name;
They will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob
And will stand in awe and reverent fear of the God of Israel.
“Those who err in mind will know the truth,
And those who criticize and murmur discontentedly will accept instruction.
- Isaiah 29:1 Hebrew for “Lion of God,” referring to Jerusalem.
- Isaiah 29:1 Lit year to year.
- Isaiah 29:2 “Ariel” and the Hebrew word for “altar hearth” are spelled and pronounced the same.
- Isaiah 29:5 Lit passes.
- Isaiah 29:8 Lit soul is empty.
Judah Warned against Egyptian Alliance
“Woe (judgment is coming) to the rebellious children,” declares the Lord,
“Who carry out a plan, but not Mine,
And make an alliance [by pouring out a libation], but not of My Spirit,
In order to add sin to sin;
Who proceed down to Egypt
Without consulting [a]Me,
To take refuge in the stronghold of Pharaoh
And to take shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
“Therefore the safety and protection of Pharaoh will be your shame
And the refuge in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation and disgrace.
“For his princes are at Zoan
And his ambassadors arrive at Hanes [in Egypt].
“All will be ashamed because of a people (the Egyptians) who cannot benefit them,
Who are not a help or benefit, but a shame and also a disgrace.”
A [mournful, inspired] oracle ([b]a burden to be carried) concerning the beasts of the Negev (the South):
Through a land of trouble and anguish,
From [c]where come lioness and lion, viper and [fiery] flying serpent,
They carry their riches on the shoulders of young donkeys
And their treasures on the humps of camels,
To a people (Egyptians) who cannot benefit them.
For Egypt’s help is worthless and good for nothing.
Therefore, I have called her
“Rahab Who Has Been Exterminated.”
Now, go, write it on a tablet before them
And inscribe it on a scroll,
So that it may serve in the time to come
As a witness [against them] forevermore.
For this is a rebellious people, lying sons,
Sons who refuse to listen to
The law and instruction of the Lord;
Who say to the seers, “You must not see visions from God”;
And to the prophets, “You must not prophesy to us what is right!
Speak to us pleasant things and smooth words,
Prophesy [deceitful] illusions [that we will enjoy].
“Get out of the [true] way, turn aside from the path [of God],
Stop bothering us with the Holy One of Israel.”
Therefore, the Holy One of Israel says this,
“Because you have refused and rejected this word [of Mine]
And have put your trust in oppression and guile, and have relied on them,
Therefore this wickedness [this sin, this injustice, this wrongdoing] will be to you
Like a crack [in a wall] about to fall,
A bulge in a high wall,
Whose collapse comes suddenly in an instant,
“Whose collapse is like the smashing of a potter’s jar,
Crushed so savagely
that there cannot be found among its pieces a potsherd [large enough]
To take [coals of] fire from a fireplace,
Or to scoop water from a cistern.”
For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel has said this,
“In returning [to Me] and rest you shall be saved,
In quietness and confident trust is your strength.”
But you were not willing,
And you said, “No! We will flee on horses!”
Therefore you will flee [from your enemies]!
And [you said], “We will ride on swift horses!”
Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift.
A thousand of you will flee at the threat of one man;
You will flee at the threat of five,
Until you are left like a flag on the top of a mountain,
And like a signal on a hill.
God Is Gracious and Just
Therefore the Lord waits [expectantly] and longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
[d]For the Lord is a God of justice;
Blessed (happy, fortunate) are all those who long for Him [since He will never fail them].
- Isaiah 30:2 Lit My mouth.
- Isaiah 30:6 I.e. an urgent message the prophet is under compulsion to proclaim.
- Isaiah 30:6 Lit them.
- Isaiah 30:18 The ancient rabbis posed the question of why God waits to bring in the kingdom, if both He and Israel desire it. Their answer was that God’s attribute of justice delays it, i.e. that Israel is not yet deserving of it. Nevertheless, they maintained, it is meritorious to look forward to it, and those who do will be blessed (rewarded).