1 Ariel is as good as dead –
Ariel, the town David besieged!
Keep observing your annual rituals,
celebrate your festivals on schedule.
2 I will threaten Ariel,
and she will mourn intensely
and become like an altar hearth before me.
3 I will lay siege to you on all sides;
I will besiege you with troops;
I will raise siege works against you.
4 You will fall;
while lying on the ground you will speak;
from the dust where you lie, your words will be heard.
Your voice will sound like a spirit speaking from the underworld;
from the dust you will chirp as if muttering an incantation.
5 But the horde of invaders will be like fine dust,
the horde of tyrants like chaff that is blown away.
It will happen suddenly, in a flash.
6 Judgment will come from the Lord who commands armies,
accompanied by thunder, earthquake, and a loud noise,
by a strong gale, a windstorm, and a consuming flame of fire.
7 It will be like a dream, a night vision.
There will be a horde from all the nations that fight against Ariel,
those who attack her and her stronghold and besiege her.
8 It will be like a hungry man dreaming that he is eating,
only to awaken and find that his stomach is empty.
It will be like a thirsty man dreaming that he is drinking,
only to awaken and find that he is still weak and his thirst unquenched.
So it will be for the horde from all the nations
that fight against Mount Zion.
God’s People are Spiritually Insensitive
9 You will be shocked and amazed!
You are totally blind!
They are drunk, but not because of wine;
they stagger, but not because of beer.
10 For the Lord has poured out on you
a strong urge to sleep deeply.
He has shut your eyes (the prophets),
and covered your heads (the seers).
11 To you this entire prophetic revelation is like words in a sealed scroll. When they hand it to one who can read and say, “Read this,” he responds, “I can’t, because it is sealed.” 12 Or when they hand the scroll to one who can’t read and say, “Read this,” he says, “I can’t read.”
13 The sovereign master says,
“These people say they are loyal to me;
they say wonderful things about me,
but they are not really loyal to me.
Their worship consists of
nothing but man-made ritual.
14 Therefore I will again do an amazing thing for these people –
an absolutely extraordinary deed.
Wise men will have nothing to say,
the sages will have no explanations.”
15 Those who try to hide their plans from the Lord are as good as dead,
who do their work in secret and boast,
“Who sees us? Who knows what we’re doing?”
16 Your thinking is perverse!
Should the potter be regarded as clay?
Should the thing made say about its maker, “He didn’t make me”?
Or should the pottery say about the potter, “He doesn’t understand”?
Changes are Coming
17 In just a very short time
Lebanon will turn into an orchard,
and the orchard will be considered a forest.
18 At that time the deaf will be able to hear words read from a scroll,
and the eyes of the blind will be able to see through deep darkness.
19 The downtrodden will again rejoice in the Lord;
the poor among humankind will take delight in the Holy One of Israel.
20 For tyrants will disappear,
those who taunt will vanish,
and all those who love to do wrong will be eliminated –
21 those who bear false testimony against a person,
who entrap the one who arbitrates at the city gate
and deprive the innocent of justice by making false charges.
22 So this is what the Lord, the one who delivered Abraham, says to the family of Jacob:
“Jacob will no longer be ashamed;
their faces will no longer show their embarrassment.
23 For when they see their children,
whom I will produce among them,
they will honor my name.
They will honor the Holy One of Jacob;
they will respect the God of Israel.
24 Those who stray morally will gain understanding;
those who complain will acquire insight.