הֹוי אֲרִיאֵל אֲרִיאֵל קִרְיַת חָנָה דָוִד סְפוּ שָׁנָה עַל־שָׁנָה חַגִּים יִנְקֹפוּ׃ 29:1
Isai. 29:1 Alas, Ariel!
Ariel, city of encampment of David!
Add year after year;
let feasts cycle through!
וַהֲצִיקֹותִי לַאֲרִיאֵל וְהָיְתָה תַאֲנִיָּה וַאֲנִיָּה וְהָיְתָה לִּי כַּאֲרִיאֵל׃ 29:2
Isai. 29:2 “But I will be an Oppressor of Ariel's,
and there shall be mourning and groaning,
yet it shall be to Me as the lion of God.”
The name Ariel, which Isaiah applies to Jerusalem, means Lion of God. Oddly enough, this name has only the one meaning. Yet bibles seem to translate the last word in this verse differently or not at all, leaving it as Ariel. But it is sometimes translated as Hearth of God, presumably alluding to the temple altar and its fire, which some see as the lion of God. With deep humility and some shame at possibly offending many traditionalists, I question these interpreters and their understanding of this chapter. As I (perhaps naively) meditate on the words of this chapter, as well as those of other of Isaiah’s chapters, I discover an alternating pattern of vehement anger directed toward “his people,” but always with a glimmer of loving hope and reassurance interspersed. I believe this verse follows that pattern, as do others (you might try to recognize them). Isaiah is quoting God as saying He will oppress Jerusalem (Israel), yet He will still regard it as His favorite possession. These two verses, v. 29:1 and 29:2, sum up and introduce the remainder of this chapter.
וְחָנִיתִי כַדּוּר עָלָיִךְ וְצַרְתִּי עָלַיִךְ מֻצָּב וַהֲקִימֹתִי עָלַיִךְ מְצֻרֹת׃ 29:3
Isai. 29:3 “So I will encamp round about against you,
and I will fashion a post against you,
and will raise up ramparts against you.”
וְשָׁפַלְתְּ מֵאֶרֶץ תְּדַבֵּרִי וּמֵעָפָר תִּשַּׁח אִמְרָתֵךְ וְהָיָה כְּאֹוב מֵאֶרֶץ קֹולֵךְ וּמֵעָפָר אִמְרָתֵךְ תְּצַפְצֵף׃ 29:4
Isai. 29:4 And humbled, you shall speak from the ground,
and your speech shall be low from the dust,
so your voice will be like a ghost from the ground,
and your speech will chirp from the dust.
וְהָיָה כְּאָבָק דַּק הֲמֹון זָרָיִךְ וּכְמֹץ עֹבֵר הֲמֹון עָרִיצִים וְהָיָה לְפֶתַע פִּתְאֹם׃ 29:5
Isai. 29:5 Then the tumult of your foes shall be like fine dust,
and the multitude of terrible ones like chaff passing over,
and it shall be suddenly for only a moment.
מֵעִם יְהוָה צְבָאֹות תִּפָּקֵד בְּרַעַם וּבְרַעַשׁ וְקֹול גָּדֹול סוּפָה וּסְעָרָה וְלַהַב אֵשׁ אֹוכֵלָה׃ 29:6
Isai. 29:6 There shall be a visitation
from the Lord of hosts
with thunder and with shaking
and great noise of a tempest
and a whirlwind
and a flash of devouring fire.
וְהָיָה כַּחֲלֹום חֲזֹון לַיְלָה הֲמֹון כָּל־הַגֹּויִם הַצֹּבְאִים עַל־אֲרִיאֵל וְכָל־צֹבֶיהָ וּמְצֹדָתָהּ וְהַמְּצִיקִים לָהּ׃ 29:7
Isai. 29:7 And the multitude of all the nations
assembled against Ariel,
and all fighting it, and its bulwarks,
and the oppressors of it,
shall be like a dream,
a vision of the night.
וְהָיָה כַּאֲשֶׁר יַחֲלֹם הָרָעֵב וְהִנֵּה אֹוכֵל וְהֵקִיץ וְרֵיקָה נַפְשֹׁו וְכַאֲשֶׁר יַחֲלֹם הַצָּמֵא וְהִנֵּה שֹׁתֶה וְהֵקִיץ 29:8 וְהִנֵּה עָיֵף וְנַפְשֹׁו שֹׁוקֵקָה כֵּן יִהְיֶה הֲמֹון כָּל־הַגֹּויִם הַצֹּבְאִים עַל־הַר צִיֹּון׃
Isai. 29:8 And shall be as dreams of one who is hungry
and behold, he is eating,
and he wakes and his body is empty,
or as dreams of one who is thirsty
and behold, he is drinking,
and he wakes and behold,
he is faint and his soul is longing;
so shall be the multitude of all the nations
assembled against mount Zion.
הִתְמַהְמְהוּ וּתְמָהוּ הִשְׁתַּעַשְׁעוּ וָשֹׁעוּ שָׁכְרוּ וְלֹא־יַיִן נָעוּ וְלֹא שֵׁכָר׃ 29:9
Isai. 29:9 Delay and be astounded!
Blind yourselves and be blinded!
Be drunk, but not of wine!
Stagger, but not of strong drink!
כִּי־נָסַךְ עֲלֵיכֶם יְהוָה רוּחַ תַּרְדֵּמָה וַיְעַצֵּם אֶת־עֵינֵיכֶם אֶת־הַנְּבִיאִים וְאֶת־רָאשֵׁיכֶם הַחֹזִים כִּסָּה׃ 29:10
Isai. 29:10 For the Lord has cast upon you
a spirit of deep sleep
and closed your eyes.
He has covered the prophets
and your heads, the seers.
וַתְּהִי לָכֶם חָזוּת הַכֹּל כְּדִבְרֵי הַסֵּפֶר הֶחָתוּם אֲשֶׁר־יִתְּנוּ אֹתֹו אֶל־יֹודֵעַ (הַסֵּפֶר) [סֵפֶר] לֵאמֹר 29:11
קְרָא נָא־זֶה וְאָמַר לֹא אוּכַל כִּי חָתוּם הוּא׃
Isai. 29:11 So the revelation of everything has become for you like the words of a sealed scroll that they might deliver it to an acquaintance of the book saying, “Read, I pray you, this.” And he would answer, “I am not able, because it is sealed.”
For the life of me, I can’t understand why the word in parentheses is considered misspelled. As written it means the book (or the scroll). Without the heh prefix as in the correction in the brackets, the word translates as a book. I find it difficult to justify this change. I claim there is no error in this verse.
וְנִתַּן הַסֵּפֶר עַל אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יָדַע סֵפֶר לֵאמֹר קְרָא נָא־זֶה וְאָמַר לֹא יָדַעְתִּי סֵפֶר׃ 29:12
Isai. 29:12 Then the scroll might be delivered to one who does not know of scrolls saying, “Read, I pray you, this.” And he would say, “I do not know of scrolls.”
וַיֹּאמֶר אֲדֹנָי יַעַן כִּי נִגַּשׁ הָעָם הַזֶּה בְּפִיו וּבִשְׂפָתָיו כִּבְּדוּנִי וְלִבֹּו רִחַק מִמֶּנִּי וַתְּהִי יִרְאָתָם אֹתִי מִצְוַת 29:13 אֲנָשִׁים מְלֻמָּדָה׃
Isai. 29:13 And the Master has said,
“For the reason that this people approaches with its mouth,
and they honor Me with its lips,
but its heart it has withdrawn from Me,
and their fear of Me is a commandment of men learned by rote,
I believe the last part of this verse, “and their fear of Me is a commandment of men learned by rote,” is a telling phrase. Isaiah is saying that even for those of Israel who fear God, it comes solely from a blind repetition of the commandment. And to this I add that such is the derivation of the term “fear of God,” instead of love and reverence for God.
לָכֵן הִנְנִי יֹוסִף לְהַפְלִיא אֶת־הָעָם־הַזֶּה הַפְלֵא וָפֶלֶא וְאָבְדָה חָכְמַת חֲכָמָיו וּבִינַת נְבֹנָיו תִּסְתַּתָּר׃ 29:14
Isai. 29:14 for this, behold,
I will go on surprising this marvelous and miraculous people,
and the wisdom of its wise ones shall fail,
and the prudence of its understanding ones shall be hidden.”
הֹוי הַמַּעֲמִיקִים מֵיהוָה לַסְתִּר עֵצָה וְהָיָה בְמַחְשָׁךְ מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם וַיֹּאמְרוּ מִי רֹאֵנוּ וּמִי יֹודְעֵנוּ׃ 29:15
Isai. 29:15 Alas, they who deeply seek to hide counsel from the Lord,
and their work is in a dark place,
and they say, “Who sees us, and who knows us?”
הַפְכְּכֶם אִם־כְּחֹמֶר הַיֹּצֵר יֵחָשֵׁב כִּי־יֹאמַר מַעֲשֶׂה לְעֹשֵׂהוּ לֹא עָשָׂנִי וְיֵצֶר אָמַר לְיֹוצְרֹו לֹא הֵבִין׃ 29:16
Isai. 29:16 O, your perversity!
Shall clay be esteemed as the potter
when the work says about its maker,
“He did not make me,”
or the idea says about its fashioner,
“He has no understanding”?
הֲלֹוא־עֹוד מְעַט מִזְעָר וְשָׁב לְבָנֹון לַכַּרְמֶל וְהַכַּרְמֶל לַיַּעַר יֵחָשֵׁב׃ 29:17
Isai. 29:17 Is it not a very little while
that Lebanon shall be returned to a fruitful place,
and the fruitful place compared to a forest?
וְשָׁמְעוּ בַיֹּום־הַהוּא הַחֵרְשִׁים דִּבְרֵי־סֵפֶר וּמֵאֹפֶל וּמֵחֹשֶׁךְ עֵינֵי עִוְרִים תִּרְאֶינָה׃ 29:18
Isai. 29:18 Then in that day
the deaf shall hear the words of the scroll,
and from obscurity and from darkness
the eyes of the blind shall see,
וְיָסְפוּ עֲנָוִים בַּיהוָה שִׂמְחָה וְאֶבְיֹונֵי אָדָם בִּקְדֹושׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל יָגִילוּ׃ 29:19
Isai. 29:19 and the humble shall have an increase of joy in the Lord,
and the neediest of mankind
shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel,
כִּי־אָפֵס עָרִיץ וְכָלָה לֵץ וְנִכְרְתוּ כָּל־שֹׁקְדֵי אָוֶן׃ 29:20
Isai. 29:20 when the oppressor ceases
and the scoffer is done,
and all the watchers of iniquity shall be cut off,
מַחֲטִיאֵי אָדָם בְּדָבָר וְלַמֹּוכִיחַ בַּשַּׁעַר יְקֹשׁוּן וַיַּטּוּ בַתֹּהוּ צַדִּיק׃ 29:21
Isai. 29:21 who make a man sinful with a word,
and would set a trap for the rebuker at the gate,
and have perverted the righteous one with nothingness.
לָכֵן כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה אֶל־בֵּית יַעֲקֹב אֲשֶׁר פָּדָה אֶת־אַבְרָהָם לֹא־עַתָּה יֵבֹושׁ יַעֲקֹב וְלֹא עַתָּה פָּנָיו 29:22 יֶחֱוָרוּ׃
Isai. 29:22 For this, thus says the Lord
to the house of Jacob, Who redeemed Abraham:
“This time Jacob shall not be ashamed,
and this time his face shall not grow pale,
כִּי בִרְאֹתֹו יְלָדָיו מַעֲשֵׂה יָדַי בְּקִרְבֹּו יַקְדִּישׁוּ שְׁמִי וְהִקְדִּישׁוּ אֶת־קְדֹושׁ יַעֲקֹב וְאֶת־אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל 29:23 יַעֲרִיצוּ׃
Isai. 29:23 when in his sight his children,
the work of My hand,
will sanctify My name in his midst,
and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob,
and regard the God of Israel with awe,
ְיָדְעוּ תֹעֵי־רוּחַ בִּינָה וְרֹוגְנִים יִלְמְדוּ־לֶקַח׃ 29:24
Isai. 29:24 and the erring in spirit will discover understanding,
and the grumblers will learn instruction.”
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