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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.


23. Because, when he shall see his children. The particle כי () is here used in its natural and original meaning of for or because. The Prophet assigns the reason why the disgrace of Israel shall be taken away. It is, because he will have children, and those who were thought to have perished will be still alive.

The work of my hands in the midst of him. By giving them this name, he intended, I have no doubt, to describe the astonishing work of redemption; for those whom God adopts to be his children, and receives into fellowship with himself, are made by him, as it were, new men, agreeably to that saying,

“And the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord.” (Psalm 102:18.)

In that passage the Psalmist describes in a similar manner the renewal of the Church; for this description, as we have repeatedly stated on former occasions, does not relate to the general creation which extends to all, but leads us to acknowledge his power, that we may not judge of the salvation of the Church by the present appearances of things. And here we ought to observe various contrasts; first, between the ruinous condition of the Church and her surpassing beauty, between her shame and her glory; secondly, between the people of God and other nations; thirdly, between “the works of God’s hands” and the works of men, (for by God’s hand alone can the Church be restored;) and fourthly, between her flourishing condition and the ruinous and desolate state to which she had formerly been reduced. By the phrase, “in the midst of him,” is meant a perfect restoration, by which the people shall be united and joined together in such a manner as to occupy not only the extremities, but the very heart and the chief places of the country.

They shall hallow my name. Last of all, he points out the end of redemption. We were all created, that the goodness of God might be celebrated among us. But as the greater part of mankind have revolted from their original condition, God hath chosen a Church in which his praises should resound and dwell, as the Psalmist says, “Praise waiteth for thee in Zion.” (Psalm 65:1.) Now, since many even of the flock have degenerated, the Prophet assigns this office to believers, whom God had miraculously preserved.

They shall fear the God of Israel. Because hypocrites, as we have formerly seen, honor God with their lips, but are far removed from him in their heart, after speaking of the ascription of praise, he next mentions fear; thus meaning that our praises are reckoned of no value, unless we honestly and sincerely obey God, and unless our whole life testify that we do not hypocritically utter the name of God.

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