Barbarians and God at the gates1
Ariel, Ariel. My oh my.
City where David called home.
You host your religious festivals
Year after year after year.
You’ll cry and you’ll grieve.
I’m going to make you my ariel,
My sacrificial altar where blood will flow.
3 I’m going to attack you
Like David did long ago.
I’ll build portable towers
And push them against your walls.
I’ll attack you on all sides,
In many ways.
4 In the end, any voice you have left
Will come from the grave
As a whispering ghost,
And mumbling dust.
5 Your vast population of arrogant souls
Will become fine dust in the ground.
Your crowd of crooks and tyrants
Will become chaff waste of grain
Blown away in the wind.
The LORD’s entourage6
The LORD of all is coming to visit.
He’s bringing his entourage.
Thunder. Earthquake. Booming noise.
Windstorm. Tornado. Fire.
Come to tear down Ariel’s defenses
It will seem like a rattling nightmare.
8 It’s the dream of a hungry person
Eating his fill
Then waking with an empty stomach.
It’s the dream of a thirsty person
Drinking her fill
Then waking weak from thirst,
with nothing to drink.
Israel numb in the head9
Walk through your festivals in a stupor,
Too blind to see ahead.
Too drunk on confusion to walk without staggering
Though you haven’t had a sip of wine.
He call-blocked your prophets,
So, they can’t see your future.
He’s giving silence to sages,
So they have no advice. 11 This Vision is right here in front of you. But you can’t see it. You’re treating it like a top secret document wrapped in twine and secured with a clay seal you don’t want to break. If we put it in writing for those who can read, you say, “Hey, we can’t break the seal.” 12 And if we give it to those who can’t read, they say, “Why are you giving it to us? We can’t read.”
You don’t know me13
The LORD says:
These people talk like they know me.
They say nice things about me.
But they don’t know me,
And don’t want to know me.
They wrote their own worship rituals.
They memorized them so well
They say them
without thinking or meaning.
I’ll amaze them with the wonders I do for them.
Wisdom of the wise won’t look very smart.
Sages and seers won’t have a clue.
You try to hide from God?15
Too bad for you folks who hide from the LORD
And think he can’t see in the dark.
You say, “Who’s looking?
Who cares what we’re doing?”
Is the potter as dumb as the clay?
Should the mug say to the mug maker,
“I’m not a mug you made”?
Or the jug say to the jug maker,
“You wouldn’t know a jug from a mug.”
There’s a good day coming17
Lebanon’s farmland will recover.
Crops will flourish like trees in a forest.
the deaf will hear it
as someone reads a scroll.
The blind will see it,
as they step out of the darkness.
19 The poorest and humblest of humans
Will celebrate the LORD.
The neediest and most vulnerable
Will cheer Israel’s Holy One.
20 Tyrants will vanish.
Disbelievers will disappear.
Evil people are erased
—just a smudge in the dirt.
21 Goners are people who abuse laws,
Lie in court, bribe judges,
And sideswipe justice. 22 So, people, this is what the LORD who saved Abraham says about the descendants of his grandson Jacob:
“Enough. Jacob’s family won’t be ashamed anymore.
No longer will their faces look gaunt and pale.
They’re going to stand up and cheer my name.
They will honor the Holy One of Jacob’s family.
They’ll stand in awe of what they see the God of Israel do.
24 Those who think they knew better
Will understand when that day comes
how little they understood before.
Those who complain about every little thing
Will learn their lesson as well."
“Ariel” is one of the nicknames for Jerusalem, like “Zion.” It’s unclear what it means here. Apparently, it’s some kind of exclamation. Some scholars say it means “God’s lion.” “Ari” is “lion.” “El” is “God.” Others say it means an earthen altar for a fire, which is a place of worship and of sacrifice.
It’s unclear how to understand this wordplay, and the link to how the writer used it in verse one as a nickname for Jerusalem. Did it mean God was going to turn Jerusalem into a place of slaughter, like at a sacrificial altar? Or maybe the altar was intended as a symbol of devotion and worship. Or did the writer mean that God was going to use this punishment to redirect his people away from sin and toward becoming a nation boldly devoted to God, as “God’s lions”? Pick a guess.
2 Samuel 5.
People used signet rings and engraved stones to stamp a symbol onto a plug of moist clay or melted wax to seal closed a private letter or an official document. They would push the plug of clay into part of a string wrapped around the document. You couldn’t see inside unless you broke the dried plug and took off the string.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.