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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.


9. Tarry and wonder. Isaiah follows out the same subject, and attacks more keenly the gross stupidity of the people. Instead of “tarry,” some render the term, “Be amazed;” but the view which I prefer may be thus expressed: “Though they dwell much and long on this thought, yet it will end in nothing else than that, by long continued thought, their minds shall be amazed.” In short, he means that the judgment of God will so completely overwhelm their minds, that though they torture themselves by thinking and reflecting, still they will be unable to find any outlet or conclusion.

They are drunken, and not with wine. He now assigns the reason why fixed thought does not aid them in conquering their slowness of apprehension. It is, because they resemble drunkards. When, therefore, they neither see nor understand anything in the works of God, he shews that this is owing to their indolence and stupidity. A proof of this is given daily in many persons; for spiritual “drunkenness” engrosses and stupefies all their senses to such a degree, that they are blind to the plainest subjects; and, when God shews the brightest light of justice and equity, they are so completely dazzled, that their dim vision bewilders them more and more. This stupidity is a just punishment which the Lord inflicts on them on account of their unbelief.

In order that we may apply this statement of the Prophet for our own use, it is proper to observe, that these words of the Prophet must not be understood to be commands, as if he enjoined them to stop and think longer; but, on the contrary, he mocks and reproves their stupidity, as we have already said. (Pensez y tant que vous voudrez, vous n’y entendres rien) “Think as much as you please about it, you will not at all understand it.”

They are blinded, and they blind. 265265    {Bogus footnote} He means, that they are destitute of judgment and understanding, and that consequently it is useless for them to contemplate these works of God; for as the brightness of the sun is of no avail to the toad, so a blinded understanding in vain does its utmost to comprehend the majestic works of God. When he says that “they are blinded,” he means that by nature we are created so as to be endued with reason and understanding for contemplating the works of God; that our being “blinded” is, so to speak, an accidental fault, and that the drunkenness does not naturally belong to us, for it is owing to the ingratitude of men, which the Lord justly censures.

They stagger. This “staggering” of the mind is contrasted by him with a calm and quiet exercise of reason; for he means that violence of the passions which agitates the mind, and causes it to waver and reel.

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