Woe to David’s City
Woe to you, Ariel, Ariel,
the city where David settled!
Add year to year
and let your cycle of festivals go on.
Yet I will besiege Ariel;
she will mourn and lament,
she will be to me like an altar hearth.[a]
I will encamp against you on all sides;
I will encircle you with towers
and set up my siege works against you.
Brought low, you will speak from the ground;
your speech will mumble out of the dust.
Your voice will come ghostlike from the earth;
out of the dust your speech will whisper.
But your many enemies will become like fine dust,
the ruthless hordes like blown chaff.
Suddenly, in an instant,
the Lord Almighty will come
with thunder and earthquake and great noise,
with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.
Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel,
that attack her and her fortress and besiege her,
will be as it is with a dream,
with a vision in the night—
as when a hungry person dreams of eating,
but awakens hungry still;
as when a thirsty person dreams of drinking,
but awakens faint and thirsty still.
So will it be with the hordes of all the nations
that fight against Mount Zion.
Be stunned and amazed,
blind yourselves and be sightless;
be drunk, but not from wine,
stagger, but not from beer.
The Lord has brought over you a deep sleep:
He has sealed your eyes (the prophets);
he has covered your heads (the seers).
For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I can’t; it is sealed.” Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I don’t know how to read.”
The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is based on merely human rules they have been taught.[b]
Therefore once more I will astound these people
with wonder upon wonder;
the wisdom of the wise will perish,
the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”
Woe to those who go to great depths
to hide their plans from the Lord,
who do their work in darkness and think,
“Who sees us? Who will know?”
You turn things upside down,
as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
“You did not make me”?
Can the pot say to the potter,
“You know nothing”?
In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field
and the fertile field seem like a forest?
In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll,
and out of gloom and darkness
the eyes of the blind will see.
Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord;
the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
The ruthless will vanish,
the mockers will disappear,
and all who have an eye for evil will be cut down—
those who with a word make someone out to be guilty,
who ensnare the defender in court
and with false testimony deprive the innocent of justice.
Therefore this is what the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, says to the descendants of Jacob:
“No longer will Jacob be ashamed;
no longer will their faces grow pale.
When they see among them their children,
the work of my hands,
they will keep my name holy;
they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob,
and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding;
those who complain will accept instruction.”
- Isaiah 29:2 The Hebrew for altar hearth sounds like the Hebrew for Ariel.
- Isaiah 29:13 Hebrew; Septuagint They worship me in vain; / their teachings are merely human rules
Woe to the Obstinate Nation
“Woe to the obstinate children,”
declares the Lord,
“to those who carry out plans that are not mine,
forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit,
heaping sin upon sin;
who go down to Egypt
without consulting me;
who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection,
to Egypt’s shade for refuge.
But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame,
Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace.
Though they have officials in Zoan
and their envoys have arrived in Hanes,
everyone will be put to shame
because of a people useless to them,
who bring neither help nor advantage,
but only shame and disgrace.”
A prophecy concerning the animals of the Negev:
Through a land of hardship and distress,
of lions and lionesses,
of adders and darting snakes,
the envoys carry their riches on donkeys’ backs,
their treasures on the humps of camels,
to that unprofitable nation,
to Egypt, whose help is utterly useless.
Therefore I call her
Rahab the Do-Nothing.
Go now, write it on a tablet for them,
inscribe it on a scroll,
that for the days to come
it may be an everlasting witness.
For these are rebellious people, deceitful children,
children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction.
They say to the seers,
“See no more visions!”
and to the prophets,
“Give us no more visions of what is right!
Tell us pleasant things,
Leave this way,
get off this path,
and stop confronting us
with the Holy One of Israel!”
Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says:
“Because you have rejected this message,
relied on oppression
and depended on deceit,
this sin will become for you
like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
that collapses suddenly, in an instant.
It will break in pieces like pottery,
shattered so mercilessly
that among its pieces not a fragment will be found
for taking coals from a hearth
or scooping water out of a cistern.”
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.
You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’
Therefore you will flee!
You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’
Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
A thousand will flee
at the threat of one;
at the threat of five
you will all flee away,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
like a banner on a hill.”
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!