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The Siege of Jerusalem


Ah, Ariel, Ariel,

the city where David encamped!

Add year to year;

let the festivals run their round.


Yet I will distress Ariel,

and there shall be moaning and lamentation,

and Jerusalem shall be to me like an Ariel.


And like David I will encamp against you;

I will besiege you with towers

and raise siegeworks against you.


Then deep from the earth you shall speak,

from low in the dust your words shall come;

your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost,

and your speech shall whisper out of the dust.



But the multitude of your foes shall be like small dust,

and the multitude of tyrants like flying chaff.

And in an instant, suddenly,


you will be visited by the L ord of hosts

with thunder and earthquake and great noise,

with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire.


And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel,

all that fight against her and her stronghold, and who distress her,

shall be like a dream, a vision of the night.


Just as when a hungry person dreams of eating

and wakes up still hungry,

or a thirsty person dreams of drinking

and wakes up faint, still thirsty,

so shall the multitude of all the nations be

that fight against Mount Zion.



Stupefy yourselves and be in a stupor,

blind yourselves and be blind!

Be drunk, but not from wine;

stagger, but not from strong drink!


For the L ord has poured out upon you

a spirit of deep sleep;

he has closed your eyes, you prophets,

and covered your heads, you seers.

11 The vision of all this has become for you like the words of a sealed document. If it is given to those who can read, with the command, “Read this,” they say, “We cannot, for it is sealed.” 12And if it is given to those who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” they say, “We cannot read.”



The Lord said:

Because these people draw near with their mouths

and honor me with their lips,

while their hearts are far from me,

and their worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote;


so I will again do

amazing things with this people,

shocking and amazing.

The wisdom of their wise shall perish,

and the discernment of the discerning shall be hidden.



Ha! You who hide a plan too deep for the L ord,

whose deeds are in the dark,

and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”


You turn things upside down!

Shall the potter be regarded as the clay?

Shall the thing made say of its maker,

“He did not make me”;

or the thing formed say of the one who formed it,

“He has no understanding”?


Hope for the Future


Shall not Lebanon in a very little while

become a fruitful field,

and the fruitful field be regarded as a forest?


On that day the deaf shall hear

the words of a scroll,

and out of their gloom and darkness

the eyes of the blind shall see.


The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the L ord,

and the neediest people shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.


For the tyrant shall be no more,

and the scoffer shall cease to be;

all those alert to do evil shall be cut off—


those who cause a person to lose a lawsuit,

who set a trap for the arbiter in the gate,

and without grounds deny justice to the one in the right.


22 Therefore thus says the L ord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:

No longer shall Jacob be ashamed,

no longer shall his face grow pale.


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 of the God of Israel.


And those who err in spirit will come to understanding,

and those who grumble will accept instruction.


18. And in that day shall the deaf hear. He promises that the Church of God, as we have said, shall still be preserved amidst those calamities. Though the world be shaken by innumerable tempests, and tossed up and down, and though heaven and earth shall mingle, yet the Lord will preserve the multitude of the godly, and will raise up his Church, as it were, out of the midst of death. This ought to strengthen in no ordinary manner the faith of the godly; for it is an extraordinary miracle of God that, amidst the numerous and extensive ruins of empires and monarchies, which happen here and there, the seed of the godly is preserved, among whom the same religion, the same worship of God, the same faith, and the same method of salvation, are continued.

And the eyes of the blind shall see. But Isaiah appears here to contradict himself; for formerly he foretold that among the people of God there would be so great stupidity that nobody would understand, and now he says that even “the deaf” shall understand, and “the blind shall see.” He therefore means that the Church must first be chastised and purified, and that not in a common and ordinary way, but in a way so unusual that it will appear to have altogether perished. He therefore says, in that day, that is, after having punished the wicked and purified his Church, not only will he enrich the earth with an abundance of fruits, but, by renewing the face of it, he will at the same time restore “hearing to the deaf” and “sight to the blind,” that they may receive his doctrine. Men have no ears and no eyes, so long as this dreadful punishment lasts; the minds of all are stupefied and confounded, and do not understand anything. When the plagues and distresses shall have come to an end, the Lord will open his eyes, that they may behold and embrace his goodness and compassion.

This is the true method of restoring the Church, when it gives sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, which we see that Christ also did, not only to the bodies but also to the souls. (John 9:7,39.) We too have experienced this in our own time, when we have been brought out of the darkness of ignorance, in which we were enveloped, and have been restored to the true light; and eyes have been restored to see, and ears to hear it, which formerly were shut and closed; for the Lord “pierced them,” (Psalm 40:6,) that he might bring us to obey him. The blessing which he promised in the renovation of the earth was indeed a kind of proof of reconciliation; but far more excellent is that illumination of which he now speaks, without which all God’s benefits not only are lost, but are turned to our destruction. Justly does God claim for himself a work so glorious and excellent; because there is nothing for which there is less ground of hope than that the blind should recover sight, and that the deaf should recover hearing, by their own strength. This is evidently promised, in a peculiar manner, to the elect alone; for the greater part of men always continue in their darkness.

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