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Isaiah 29

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Ariel is Besieged

29:1 Ariel is as good as dead 1 

Ariel, the town David besieged! 2 

Keep observing your annual rituals,

celebrate your festivals on schedule. 3 

29:2 I will threaten Ariel,

and she will mourn intensely

and become like an altar hearth 4  before me.

29:3 I will lay siege to you on all sides; 5 

I will besiege you with troops; 6 

I will raise siege works against you.

29:4 You will fall;

while lying on the ground 7  you will speak;

from the dust where you lie, your words will be heard. 8 

Your voice will sound like a spirit speaking from the underworld; 9 

from the dust you will chirp as if muttering an incantation. 10 

29:5 But the horde of invaders will be like fine dust,

the horde of tyrants 11  like chaff that is blown away.

It will happen suddenly, in a flash.

29:6 Judgment will come from the Lord who commands armies, 12 

accompanied by thunder, earthquake, and a loud noise,

by a strong gale, a windstorm, and a consuming flame of fire.

29:7 It will be like a dream, a night vision.

There will be a horde from all the nations that fight against Ariel,

those who attack her and her stronghold and besiege her.

29:8 It will be like a hungry man dreaming that he is eating,

only to awaken and find that his stomach is empty. 13 

It will be like a thirsty man dreaming that he is drinking,

only to awaken and find that he is still weak and his thirst unquenched. 14 

So it will be for the horde from all the nations

that fight against Mount Zion.

God’s People are Spiritually Insensitive

29:9 You will be shocked and amazed! 15 

You are totally blind! 16 

They are drunk, 17  but not because of wine;

they stagger, 18  but not because of beer.

29:10 For the Lord has poured out on you

a strong urge to sleep deeply. 19 

He has shut your eyes (the prophets),

and covered your heads (the seers).

29:11 To you this entire prophetic revelation 20  is like words in a sealed scroll. When they hand it to one who can read 21  and say, “Read this,” he responds, “I can’t, because it is sealed.” 29:12 Or when they hand the scroll to one who can’t read 22  and say, “Read this,” he says, “I can’t read.” 23 

29:13 The sovereign master 24  says,

“These people say they are loyal to me; 25 

they say wonderful things about me, 26 

but they are not really loyal to me. 27 

Their worship consists of

nothing but man-made ritual. 28 

29:14 Therefore I will again do an amazing thing for these people –

an absolutely extraordinary deed. 29 

Wise men will have nothing to say,

the sages will have no explanations.” 30 

29:15 Those who try to hide their plans from the Lord are as good as dead, 31 

who do their work in secret and boast, 32 

“Who sees us? Who knows what we’re doing?” 33 

29:16 Your thinking is perverse! 34 

Should the potter be regarded as clay? 35 

Should the thing made say 36  about its maker, “He didn’t make me”?

Or should the pottery say about the potter, “He doesn’t understand”?

Changes are Coming

29:17 In just a very short time 37 

Lebanon will turn into an orchard,

and the orchard will be considered a forest. 38 

29:18 At that time 39  the deaf will be able to hear words read from a scroll,

and the eyes of the blind will be able to see through deep darkness. 40 

29:19 The downtrodden will again rejoice in the Lord;

the poor among humankind will take delight 41  in the Holy One of Israel. 42 

29:20 For tyrants will disappear,

those who taunt will vanish,

and all those who love to do wrong will be eliminated 43 

29:21 those who bear false testimony against a person, 44 

who entrap the one who arbitrates at the city gate 45 

and deprive the innocent of justice by making false charges. 46 

29:22 So this is what the Lord, the one who delivered Abraham, says to the family of Jacob: 47 

“Jacob will no longer be ashamed;

their faces will no longer show their embarrassment. 48 

29:23 For when they see their children,

whom I will produce among them, 49 

they will honor 50  my name.

They will honor the Holy One of Jacob; 51 

they will respect 52  the God of Israel.

29:24 Those who stray morally will gain understanding; 53 

those who complain will acquire insight. 54 

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1 tn Heb “Woe [to] Ariel.” The meaning of the name “Ariel” is uncertain. The name may mean “altar hearth” (see v. 2) or, if compound, “lion of God.” The name is used here as a title for Mount Zion/Jerusalem (see v. 8).

2 tn Heb “the town where David camped.” The verb חָנָה (khanah, “camp”) probably has the nuance “lay siege to” here. See v. 3. Another option is to take the verb in the sense of “lived, settled.”

3 tn Heb “Add year to year, let your festivals occur in cycles.” This is probably a sarcastic exhortation to the people to keep up their religious rituals, which will not prevent the coming judgment. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:527.

4 tn The term אֲרִיאֵל (’ariel, “Ariel”) is the word translated “altar hearth” here. The point of the simile is not entirely clear. Perhaps the image likens Jerusalem’s coming crisis to a sacrificial fire.

5 tc The Hebrew text has כַדּוּר (khadur, “like a circle”), i.e., “like an encircling wall.” Some emend this phrase to כְּדָוִד (kÿdavid, “like David”), which is supported by the LXX (see v. 1). However, the rendering in the LXX could have arisen from a confusion of the dalet (ד) and resh (ר).

6 tn The meaning of מֻצָּב (mutsav) is not certain. Because of the parallelism (note “siege works”), some translate “towers.” The noun is derived from נָצַב (natsav, “take one’s stand”) and may refer to the troops stationed outside the city to prevent entrance or departure.

7 tn Heb “from the ground” (so NIV, NCV).

8 tn Heb “and from the dust your word will be low.”

9 tn Heb “and your voice will be like a ritual pit from the earth.” The Hebrew אוֹב (’ov, “ritual pit”) refers to a pit used by a magician to conjure up underworld spirits. See the note on “incantations” in 8:19. Here the word is used metonymically for the voice that emerges from such a pit.

10 tn Heb “and from the dust your word will chirp.” The words “as if muttering an incantation” are supplied in the translation for clarification. See the parallelism and 8:19.

11 tn Or “violent men”; cf. NASB “the ruthless ones.”

12 tn Heb “from the Lord who commands armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts] there will be visitation.” The third feminine singular passive verb form תִּפָּקֵד (tippaqed, “she/it will be visited”) is used here in an impersonal sense. See GKC 459 §144.b.

13 tn Or “that he [or “his appetite”] is unsatisfied.”

14 tn Or “that he is faint and that he [or “his appetite”] longs [for water].”

15 tn The form הִתְמַהְמְהוּ (hitmahmÿhu) is a Hitpalpel imperative from מָהַהּ (mahah, “hesitate”). If it is retained, one might translate “halt and be amazed.” The translation assumes an emendation to הִתַּמְּהוּ (hittammÿhu), a Hitpael imperative from תָּמַה (tamah, “be amazed”). In this case, the text, like Hab 1:5, combines the Hitpael and Qal imperatival forms of תָּמַה (tamah). A literal translation might be “Shock yourselves and be shocked!” The repetition of sound draws attention to the statement. The imperatives here have the force of an emphatic assertion. On this use of the imperative in Hebrew, see GKC 324 §110.c and IBHS 572 §34.4c.

16 tn Heb “Blind yourselves and be blind!” The Hitpalpel and Qal imperatival forms of שָׁעַע (shaa’, “be blind”) are combined to draw attention to the statement. The imperatives have the force of an emphatic assertion.

17 tc Some prefer to emend the perfect form of the verb to an imperative (e.g., NAB, NCV, NRSV), since the people are addressed in the immediately preceding and following contexts.

18 tc Some prefer to emend the perfect form of the verb to an imperative (e.g., NAB, NCV, NRSV), since the people are addressed in the immediately preceding and following contexts.

19 tn Heb “a disposition [or “spirit”] of deep sleep.” Through this mixed metaphor (sleep is likened to a liquid which one pours and in turn symbolizes spiritual dullness) the prophet emphasizes that God himself has given the people over to their spiritual insensitivity as a form of judgment.

20 tn Heb “vision” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).

21 tn Heb “one who knows a/the scroll.”

22 tn Heb “and if the scroll is handed to one who does not know a scroll.”

23 tn Heb “I do not know a scroll.”

24 tn The Hebrew term translated “sovereign master” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonai).

25 tn Heb “Because these people draw near to me with their mouth.”

26 tn Heb “and with their lips they honor me.”

27 tn Heb “but their heart is far from me.” The heart is viewed here as the seat of the will, from which genuine loyalty derives.

28 tn Heb “their fear of me is a commandment of men that has been taught.”

29 tn Heb “Therefore I will again do something amazing with these people, an amazing deed, an amazing thing.” This probably refers to the amazing transformation predicted in vv. 17-24, which will follow the purifying judgment implied in vv. 15-16.

30 tn Heb “the wisdom of their wise ones will perish, the discernment of their discerning ones will keep hidden.”

31 tn Heb “Woe [to] those who deeply hide counsel from the Lord.” This probably alludes to political alliances made without seeking the Lord’s guidance. See 30:1-2 and 31:1.

32 tn Heb “and their works are in darkness and they say.”

33 tn The rhetorical questions suggest the answer, “no one.” They are confident that their deeds are hidden from others, including God.

34 tn Heb “your overturning.” The predicate is suppressed in this exclamation. The idea is, “O your perversity! How great it is!” See GKC 470 §147.c. The people “overturn” all logic by thinking their authority supersedes God’s.

35 tn The expected answer to this rhetorical question is “of course not.” On the interrogative use of אִם (’im), see BDB 50 s.v.

36 tn Heb “that the thing made should say.”

37 tn The Hebrew text phrases this as a rhetorical question, “Is it not yet a little, a short [time]?”

38 sn The meaning of this verse is debated, but it seems to depict a reversal in fortunes. The mighty forest of Lebanon (symbolic of the proud and powerful, see 2:13; 10:34) will be changed into a common orchard, while the common orchard (symbolic of the oppressed and lowly) will grow into a great forest. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:538.

39 tn Or “In that day” (KJV).

40 tn Heb “and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.”

sn Perhaps this depicts the spiritual transformation of the once spiritually insensitive nation (see vv. 10-12, cf. also 6:9-10).

41 tn Or “will rejoice” (NIV, NCV, NLT).

42 sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4.

43 tn Heb “and all the watchers of wrong will be cut off.”

44 tn Heb “the ones who make a man a sinner with a word.” The Hiphil of חָטָא (khata’) here has a delocutive sense: “declare a man sinful/guilty.”

45 sn Legal disputes were resolved at the city gate, where the town elders met. See Amos 5:10.

46 tn Heb “and deprive by emptiness the innocent.”

47 tn Heb “So this is what the Lord says to the house of Jacob, the one who ransomed Abraham.” The relative pronoun must refer back to “the Lord,” not to the immediately preceding “Jacob.” It is uncertain to what event in Abraham’s experience this refers. Perhaps the name “Abraham” stands here by metonymy for his descendants through Jacob. If so, the Exodus is in view.

48 tn Heb “and his face will no longer be pale.”

49 tn Heb “for when he sees his children, the work of my hands in his midst.”

50 tn Or “treat as holy” (also in the following line); NASB, NRSV “will sanctify.”

51 sn Holy One of Jacob is similar to the phrase “Holy One of Israel” common throughout Isaiah; see the sn at Isa 1:4.

52 tn Or “fear,” in the sense of “stand in awe of.”

53 tn Heb “and the ones who stray in spirit will know understanding.”

54 tn Heb “will learn instruction”; cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT “will accept instruction.”



TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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