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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.


8. It shall be therefore as when a hungry man dreameth. He compares the Jews to “hungry men,” who are indeed asleep, but whose empty stomach craves for food; for it is natural for men to dream about food and entertainments when they are in want of them. Thus, while the Jews watched, they were like “hungry men.” The Lord continually warned them by his prophets, and invited them to the divine feasts of the word; but they despised those feasts, and chose rather to take refuge wholly in their vices, and to fall asleep in them, than to partake fully of those sacred feasts. Accordingly, while they quieted their consciences, they imagined that they had abundance of all things, and that they were free from every inconvenience. Isaiah declares that they greatly resemble this “dream” and airy “vision;” for, when they have been aroused by a sudden calamity, they shall feel how empty and insubstantial those “dreams and visions” were, and how false and delusive was the opinion which they had formed that they enjoyed abundance. As “hungry men,” who have had such dreams, are rendered more feeble by them, so the people, who had been falsely persuaded that everything was going on well with them, will endure much greater uneasiness than if they had never cherished in their minds such a thought, but, on the contrary, had been aware of their poverty and nakedness.

So shall be the multitude. At first sight, the expression appears to be harsh, when he says, “The multitude of those who fight against Ariel shall be as a dream;” but it ought to be explained in this manner: — “When the Jews, through false hope, shall promise to themselves deliverance, as if the enemies would be driven far away, they shall quickly feel that they had been deceived; in the same manner as a person whom hunger leads to dream that he is feasting luxuriously, as soon as he awakes, feels that his hunger is keener than before.” I see nothing here, therefore, that is fitted to yield consolation, for the Prophet pursues the same subject, and exclaims against the scorn and rebellion of the Jews, on whom the Prophet could make no impression by exhortation or threatenings. 264264    {Bogus footnote}

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