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Isaiah 29

A sad song about Ariel

1 There will be a very sad day in Ariel. Ariel is the city that David attacked. Continue to have your usual feasts every year.

2 But I will bring trouble to Ariel. And the people in Ariel will not be happy. They will be very sad. And Ariel will be my ariel, (my fire-place).

3 And I will do these things: My army will attack you. They will be in a circle round you. I will put an army against you on every side. I will build things against you to attack you.

4 Then you will become humble and you will speak from the ground. And, from low in the dirt, it will be difficult for us to hear your words. And the sound of your words will come from the ground. It will seem like the sound of the spirit of a dead person. And from the dirt, you will speak very quietly.

5 But your enemies will become like many small bits of dirt. And the crowds of cruel soldiers will be like dead bits of a plant in the wind. That is because, in a moment,

6 the LORD of Many Armies will come to you! It will be like thunder, or when the ground moves. It will be like a very loud noise. It will be like a very strong wind and a great storm. And it will be like a fire that burns up everything.

7 That will happen to all the many countries that attack Ariel. It will happen to everyone who fights against it and against its strongest building. It will happen to all the soldiers who are in a circle round it. They will be like a dream that people see in the night!

8 It will be like a hungry man who dreams. He dreams that he is eating something. But, look! He wakes and he is still hungry! Or it will be like a thirsty man. He dreams that he is drinking. But, look! He wakes and look! He is still weak because he is still thirsty! That will happen to the many soldiers from all the countries that fight against Zion.

9 That will hit you so that you become like fools. And you will not believe it! You will become blind, so that you cannot see anything! You will become drunks, but not from wine! You will fall over, but not because you have drunk beer!

10 No, it will be because the LORD has caused you to go into a deep sleep. He has shut the eyes of your prophets and he has covered the heads of your seers.

11 And all this vision is for you. It is the words in a closed book. Give the book to someone who can read. And say to him, ‘Read this, please.’ But he will answer, ‘I cannot read it, because someone shut it.’ 12 Or, give the book to someone who cannot read. Say, ‘Read it, please.’ But he will answer, ‘I do not know how to read.’

13 The Lord says, ‘These people pray to me with their mouths. And their lips say that I am important. But they are not really thinking about me. And to worship me they use rules that men have made.’

14 ‘So watch it happen! I will surprise these people again. I will surprise them again and again! Some people can rightly use what they know. But they will not be able to. The people with good minds will not be able to use them.’

15 There will be a very sad day for those people who do these things:

· They really try to hide from the LORD what they tell (to the king).

· They work in dark places.

· And they say, ‘Nobody knows us.’

· And they say, ‘Nobody sees us.’

16 You turn things the wrong way up! In your minds, you confuse the clay with the person who makes pots! The thing that somebody made cannot say to its maker, ‘You did not make me!’ The pot cannot say to the person who makes pots, ‘You do not know anything!’

17 In a very short time, (the country called) Lebanon will become a garden of fruit trees. And Carmel will be like a forest.

18 At that time, people who could not hear will hear. They will hear someone who is reading words from a book. And people who could not see will see. And they will not remain in shadows and in the dark.

19 And the LORD will make humble people happy again. And the poor people will sing songs to the Holy God of Israel, because they are so happy.

20 That is because cruel people will go. People who laugh in a bad way at God will not appear anywhere. And the LORD will kill everybody who is preparing to do bad things.

21 Those bad people do these things:

· They say that a man has done something wrong with only a word.

· They make a trap for the judge at the city gate.

· And they do not let a man who has not done anything wrong get a fair result.

22 So this is what the LORD says to the House of Jacob. He is the LORD who saved Abraham. ‘Jacob will not be ashamed again. And his face will never lose colour (because he is afraid).

23 They will see their children, which my hands made, among them. Then they will honour my name. They will honour the Holy God of Jacob. And they will be afraid to make the God of Israel angry.

24 Also, people whose minds are confused will understand things. Some people always say that something is wrong. But then, they will be happy to learn things.’