Old Testament

Isaiah 29
Woe to the City of David
291Woe to Ariel![] Ariel, the city where David made his camp.
Add one year to another.
Let your cycle of festivals roll on.
2But then I will bring distress to Ariel,
and there will be mourning and lamentation.
Then she will become an altar hearth[] to me.
3I will encamp against you on all sides,
and I will lay siege against you with towers.[]
I will raise siege works against you.
4You will be brought so low
that you will speak from the ground.
You will murmur from the dust.
Your voice will be like a ghost from a pit in the ground,
and your speech will whisper from the dust.
5But your many foes will become like fine dust,
and the ruthless hordes like blowing chaff.
This will take place suddenly, in an instant.
6You will be visited by the Lord of Armies
with thunder, earthquake, and a loud noise,
with a strong wind and a storm,
and with the flames of a devouring fire.
7The hordes of nations that fight against Ariel,
all who fight against her and her stronghold,
all who besiege her—
all of them will be like a dream,
like a vision in the night.
8They will be like a hungry man who dreams and sees himself eating,
but then he wakes up, and his hunger is not satisfied.
They will be like a thirsty man who dreams and sees himself drinking,
but then he wakes up and, sure enough, he is weak with thirst.
That is how it will be with the hordes of nations that fight against Mount Zion.
9Be stunned! Be amazed!
Blind yourselves and be blind!
They are drunk, but not with wine.
They stagger, but not from beer.[]
10For the Lord has poured out a spirit of deep sleep over you.
He has closed your eyes—the prophets.
He has covered your heads—the seers.
11For you this whole vision has become like the words of a sealed scroll. If you give it to someone who can read, and you say, “Read this, please,” he will say, “I can't. It is sealed.” 12And if you give it to someone who cannot read, and you say, “Read this, please,” he will say, “I can't read.”
13The Lord says:
These people approach me with their words,
and they honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their way of worshipping me is nothing but commandments taught by men.[]
14So watch how I will continue to amaze these people
with amazing, extraordinary things.
The wisdom of the wise will perish,
and the intelligence of the intelligent will be hidden.
Hope for the Future
15Woe to those who try to hide their plans from the Lord.
Their deeds are done in darkness,
and they think that no one sees them
or knows what they are doing.
16You turn things upside down!
Should the potter be treated like clay?
Should the thing that was made say to its maker,
“You didn't make me”?
Should the creation say to the creator,
“You know nothing”?
17Isn't it true that in a very short time
Lebanon will be turned into a fertile field,
and the fertile field will seem like a forest?
18On that day, the deaf will hear the words from a book,
and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.
19The humble will rejoice in the Lord once again,
and the poor will delight in the Holy One of Israel.
20But the ruthless will come to nothing.
Those who mock will be no more,
and all those who plan evil will be cut off—
21all those who slander others with a word,
all those who argue cases at the city gate,
all those who use false testimony to deprive the innocent of justice.
22Therefore this is what the Lord, who redeemed Abraham,
says about the house of Jacob:
Jacob will not be ashamed anymore.
His face will not grow pale.
23But when his children see what I do among them,
they will honor my name.
They will honor the Holy One of Jacob.
They will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24Those who are confused will come to understand,
and those who complain will gladly receive instruction.


  • 29:1 That is, Jerusalem. Ariel means Lion of God, but it also can mean an altar hearth of burning coals, which is what Jerusalem will become.
  • 29:2 Hebrew Ariel
  • 29:3 Or a garrison or an invading army or earthen ramps
  • 29:9 Beer refers to any fermented drink not made from grapes. Distilled alcohol was unknown in biblical times.
  • 29:13 The translation follows the Hebrew. The Greek reads: They worship me in vain. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. See Matthew 15:8-9.