1 Tragedy is coming to you Ariel, Ariel the city where David lived! Year after year you have your festivals. 2 But I'm going to cause trouble for Ariel; the city will cry and mourn, it will be like an altar hearth* “Altar hearth”: the part where the sacrifice was burned, generally a messy area of animal remains and ash. In Hebrew the word Ariel can mean “altar” ( Ezekiel 43:15-16) or “lion of God.” to me. 3 I will surround you, I will besiege you with towers and build ramps to attack you. 4 You will be brought down, you will speak from where you're lying on the ground, mumbling in the dust. Your words will come like a ghost from the grave; your voice will be a whisper from the dust.
5 But then all your enemies will become like fine dust; all your cruel oppressors like chaff that's blown away. Then suddenly, in no time at all, 6 the Lord Almighty will arrive with thunder, earthquake, and tremendous noise, with whirlwind, storm, and flames of fire that burn everything up. 7 The nations besieging Ariel, attacking its fortifications and tormenting the people, they will all disappear as if it was a dream! 8 It will be like someone hungry dreaming that they're eating but who wakes up still hungry. It will be like someone thirsty dreaming of drinking but who wakes up still weak and thirsty. This is what it will be like for all your enemies, the ones attacking Mount Zion.
9 Be shocked and amazed! Make yourselves blind so you can't see! Get drunk, but not from wine! Stagger around, but not from beer! 10 For the Lord has made you very sleepy, and he has shut the eyes and covered the heads of those who speak for God and see visions.
11 This entire vision is like words in a scroll that is sealed shut. If you give it to someone who knows how to read and say, “Please read it,” they'll say, “I can't read it because it's sealed shut.” 12 If you give it to someone who doesn't know how to read and say, “Please read it,” they'll say, “I don't know how to read.”
13 The Lord says, “These people come and praise me with their words, and honor me with lip service, but their thoughts are miles away. Their worship of me only consists of them following rules people have taught them. 14 So once again I will surprise these people with miracle upon miracle. The wisdom of the wise will die, and the insight of the insightful will disappear.”
15 Tragedy is coming to people who take such trouble to hide their plans from the Lord. They work in the dark and say to themselves, “Nobody can see us, can they? Nobody will know, will they?”
16 How perverse you are! It's as if the clay was thought of as making the potter! Should something made say to its maker, “You didn't make me”? Can the pot tell the potter, “You don't understand anything”?
17 It won't be long and the forests of Lebanon will be turned into a productive field, and a productive field will seem like a forest. 18 At that time the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and the eyes of the blind will see through the gloomy darkness what's written there.† “What's written there”: supplied for clarity. 19 The humble will be even happier in the Lord, and the poor will find their joy in the Holy One of Israel. 20 Cruel people will no longer exist, the scornful will vanish, and those looking to do evil will be destroyed— 21 those who say things to trick others into sin, those who trap people by legal arguments in court, those who lie to mislead the innocent.
22 So this is what the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, says to the descendants of Jacob: “You don't need to be ashamed anymore; your faces won't grow pale with fright any longer. 23 When you see all your children and everything I've done for you, then you will regard my character as holy, and you will respect the Holy One of Jacob. You will have reverence for the God of Israel. 24 Those who've gone astray will understand their mistakes; those who grumble will learn how to receive instruction.”
†29:18 “What's written there”: supplied for clarity.