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Isaiah 29 The Message (MSG)

Blind Yourselves So That You See Nothing

29 1-4 Doom, Ariel, Ariel,
    the city where David set camp!
Let the years add up,
    let the festivals run their cycles,
But I’m not letting up on Jerusalem.
    The moaning and groaning will continue.
    Jerusalem to me is an Ariel.
Like David, I’ll set up camp against you.
    I’ll set siege, build towers,
    bring in siege engines, build siege ramps.
Driven into the ground, you’ll speak,
    you’ll mumble words from the dirt—
Your voice from the ground, like the muttering of a ghost.
    Your speech will whisper from the dust.

5-8 But it will be your enemies who are beaten to dust,
    the mob of tyrants who will be blown away like chaff.
Because, surprise, as if out of nowhere,
    a visit from God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
With thunderclaps, earthquakes, and earsplitting noise,
    backed up by hurricanes, tornadoes, and lightning strikes,
And the mob of enemies at war with Ariel,
    all who trouble and hassle and torment her,
    will turn out to be a bad dream, a nightmare.
Like a hungry man dreaming he’s eating steak
    and wakes up hungry as ever,
Like a thirsty woman dreaming she’s drinking iced tea
    and wakes up thirsty as ever,
So that mob of nations at war against Mount Zion
    will wake up and find they haven’t shot an arrow,
    haven’t killed a single soul.

9-10 Drug yourselves so you feel nothing.
    Blind yourselves so you see nothing.
Get drunk, but not on wine.
    Black out, but not from whiskey.
For God has rocked you into a deep, deep sleep,
    put the discerning prophets to sleep,
    put the farsighted seers to sleep.

You Have Everything Backward

11-12 What you’ve been shown here is somewhat like a letter in a sealed envelope. If you give it to someone who can read and tell her, “Read this,” she’ll say, “I can’t. The envelope is sealed.” And if you give it to someone who can’t read and tell him, “Read this,” he’ll say, “I can’t read.”

13-14 The Master said:

“These people make a big show of saying the right thing,
    but their hearts aren’t in it.
Because they act like they’re worshiping me
    but don’t mean it,
I’m going to step in and shock them awake,
    astonish them, stand them on their ears.
The wise ones who had it all figured out
    will be exposed as fools.
The smart people who thought they knew everything
    will turn out to know nothing.”

15-16 Doom to you! You pretend to have the inside track.
    You shut God out and work behind the scenes,
Plotting the future as if you knew everything,
    acting mysterious, never showing your hand.
You have everything backward!
    You treat the potter as a lump of clay.
Does a book say to its author,
    “He didn’t write a word of me”?
Does a meal say to the woman who cooked it,
    “She had nothing to do with this”?

17-21 And then before you know it,
    and without you having anything to do with it,
Wasted Lebanon will be transformed into lush gardens,
    and Mount Carmel reforested.
At that time the deaf will hear
    word-for-word what’s been written.
After a lifetime in the dark,
    the blind will see.
The castoffs of society will be laughing and dancing in God,
    the down-and-outs shouting praise to The Holy of Israel.
For there’ll be no more gangs on the street.
    Cynical scoffers will be an extinct species.
Those who never missed a chance to hurt or demean
    will never be heard of again:
Gone the people who corrupted the courts,
    gone the people who cheated the poor,
    gone the people who victimized the innocent.

22-24 And finally this, God’s Message for the family of Jacob,
    the same God who redeemed Abraham:
“No longer will Jacob hang his head in shame,
    no longer grow gaunt and pale with waiting.
For he’s going to see his children,
    my personal gift to him—lots of children.
And these children will honor me
    by living holy lives.
In holy worship they’ll honor the Holy One of Jacob
    and stand in holy awe of the God of Israel.
Those who got off-track will get back on-track,
    and complainers and whiners learn gratitude.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

Isaiah 29 New International Version (NIV)

Woe to David’s City

29 Woe to you, Ariel, Ariel,
    the city where David settled!
Add year to year
    and let your cycle of festivals go on.
Yet I will besiege Ariel;
    she will mourn and lament,
    she will be to me like an altar hearth.[a]
I will encamp against you on all sides;
    I will encircle you with towers
    and set up my siege works against you.
Brought 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.

But your many enemies will become like fine dust,
    the ruthless hordes like blown chaff.
Suddenly, in an instant,
    the Lord Almighty will come
with thunder and earthquake and great noise,
    with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.
Then 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—
as 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.

Be stunned and amazed,
    blind yourselves and be sightless;
be drunk, but not from wine,
    stagger, but not from beer.
10 The Lord has brought over you a deep sleep:
    He has sealed your eyes (the prophets);
    he has covered your heads (the seers).

11 For 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.” 12 Or 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.”

13 The Lord says:

“These people come near to me with their mouth
    and honor 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.[b]
14 Therefore 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.
15 Woe 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?”
16 You 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”?

17 In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field
    and the fertile field seem like a forest?
18 In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll,
    and out of gloom and darkness
    the eyes of the blind will see.
19 Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord;
    the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
20 The ruthless will vanish,
    the mockers will disappear,
    and all who have an eye for evil will be cut down—
21 those 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.

22 Therefore 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.
23 When 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.
24 Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding;
    those who complain will accept instruction.”

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 29:2 The Hebrew for altar hearth sounds like the Hebrew for Ariel.
  2. Isaiah 29:13 Hebrew; Septuagint They worship me in vain; / their teachings are merely human rules
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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