1 WOE TO Ariel [Jerusalem], to Ariel, the city where David encamped! Add yet another year; let the feasts run their round [but only one year more].
2 Then will I distress Ariel; and there shall be mourning and lamentation, yet she shall be to Me like an Ariel [an altar hearth, a hearth of burning, the altar of God].
3 And I will encamp against you round about; and I will hem you in with siege works and I will set up fortifications against you.
4 And you shall be laid low [Jerusalem], speaking from beneath the ground, and your speech shall come humbly from the dust. And your voice shall be like that of a ghost [produced by a medium] coming from the earth, and your speech shall whisper and squeak as it chatters from the dust.
5 But the multitude of your [enemy] strangers that assail you shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the ruthless and terrible ones like chaff that blows away. And in an instant, suddenly,
6 You shall be visited and delivered by the Lord of hosts with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest and the flame of a devouring fire.
7 And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel [Jerusalem], even all that fight against her and her stronghold and that distress her, shall be as a dream, a vision of the night.
8 It shall be as when a hungry man dreams that he is eating, but he wakens with his craving not satisfied; or as when a thirsty man dreams that he is drinking, but he wakens and is faint, and his thirst is not quenched. So shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion.
9 Stop and wonder [at this prophecy, if you choose, whether you understand it or not; soon you will witness the actual event] and be confounded [reluctantly]! Blind yourselves [now, if you choose; take your pleasure] and then be blinded [at the actual occurrence]. They are drunk, but not from wine; they stagger, but not from strong drink [but from spiritual stupor].
10 For the Lord has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep. And He has closed your eyes, the prophets; and your heads, the seers, He has covered and muffled.
11 And the vision of all this has become for you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, Read this, I pray you, he says, I cannot, for it is sealed.
12 And when the book is given to him who is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray you, he says, I cannot read.
13 And the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips but remove their hearts and minds far from Me, and their fear and reverence for Me are a commandment of men that is learned by repetition [without any thought as to the meaning],
14 Therefore, behold! I will again do marvelous things with this people, marvelous and astonishing things; and the wisdom of their wise men will perish, and the understanding of their discerning men will vanish or be hidden.
15 Woe to those who [seek to] hide deep from the Lord their counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, Who sees us? Who knows us?
16 [Oh, your perversity!] You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be considered of no more account than the clay? Shall the thing that is made say of its maker, He did not make me; or the thing that is formed say of him who formed it, He has no understanding?
17 Is it not yet a very little while until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field and the fruitful field esteemed as a forest?
18 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and out of obscurity and gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.
19 The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice and exult in the Holy One of Israel.
20 For the terrible one [the Assyrian enemy] shall come to nought, and the scoffer shall cease, and all those who watch for iniquity [as an occasion for accusation] shall be cut off–
21 Those who make a man an offender and bring condemnation upon him with a word, and lay a trap for him who upholds justice at the city gate, and thrust aside the innocent and truly righteous with an empty plea.
22 Therefore thus says the Lord, Who redeemed Abraham [out of Ur and idolatry], concerning the house of Jacob: Jacob shall not then be ashamed; not then shall his face become pale [with fear and disappointment because of his children's degeneracy].
23 For when he sees his children [walking in the way of piety and virtue], the work of My hands in his midst, they will revere My name; they will revere the Holy One of Jacob and reverently fear the God of Israel.
24 Those who err in spirit will come to understanding, and those who murmur [discontentedly] will accept instruction.