Woe to David’s city
1Woe to you, Ariel, Ariel,
the city where David settled!
Add year to year
and let your cycle of festivals go on.
2Yet I will besiege Ariel;
she will mourn and lament,
she will be to me like an altar hearth.
3I will encamp against you on all sides;
I will encircle you with towers
and set up my siege works against you.
4Brought low, you will speak from the ground;
your speech will mumble out of the dust.
Your voice will come ghostlike from the earth;
out of the dust your speech will whisper.
5But your many enemies will become like fine dust,
the ruthless hordes like blown chaff.
Suddenly, in an instant,
6the Lord Almighty will come
with thunder and earthquake and great noise,
with whirlwind and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.
7Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel,
that attack her and her fortress and besiege her,
will be as it is with a dream,
with a vision in the night –
8as when a hungry person dreams of eating,
but awakens hungry still;
as when a thirsty person dreams of drinking,
but awakens faint and thirsty still.
So will it be with the hordes of all the nations
that fight against Mount Zion.
9Be stunned and amazed,
blind yourselves and be sightless;
be drunk, but not from wine,
stagger, but not from beer.
10The Lord has brought over you a deep sleep:
he has sealed your eyes (the prophets);
he has covered your heads (the seers).
11For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say, ‘Read this, please,’ they will answer, ‘I can’t; it is sealed.’ 12Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, ‘Read this, please,’ they will answer, ‘I don’t know how to read.’
13The Lord says:
‘These people come near to me with their mouth
and honour me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
14Therefore once more I will astound these people
with wonder upon wonder;
the wisdom of the wise will perish,
the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.’
15Woe to those who go to great depths
to hide their plans from the Lord,
who do their work in darkness and think,
‘Who sees us? Who will know?’
16You turn things upside down,
as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
‘You did not make me’?
Can the pot say to the potter,
‘You know nothing’?
17In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field
and the fertile field seem like a forest?
18In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll,
and out of gloom and darkness
the eyes of the blind will see.
19Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord;
the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
20The ruthless will vanish,
the mockers will disappear,
and all who have an eye for evil will be cut down –
21those who with a word make someone out to be guilty,
who ensnare the defender in court
and with false testimony deprive the innocent of justice.
22Therefore this is what the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, says to the descendants of Jacob:
‘No longer will Jacob be ashamed;
no longer will their faces grow pale.
23When they see among them their children,
the work of my hands,
they will keep my name holy;
they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob,
and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding;
those who complain will accept instruction.’