Notes for Isa 29:1LEB

"Woe [to] Ariel." The meaning of the name "Ariel" is uncertain. The name may mean "altar hearth" (see v. 2) or, if compound, "lion of Yahweh." The name is used here as a title for Mount Zion/Jerusalem (see v. 8).


"the town where David camped." The verb חָנָה (khanah, "camp") probably has the nuance "lay siege to" here. See v. 3. Another option is to take the verb in the sense of "lived, settled."


"Add year to year, let your festivals occur in cycles." This is probably a sarcastic exhortation to the people to keep up their religious rituals, which will not prevent the coming judgment. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:527.


Notes for Isa 29:2LEB

The term אֲרִיאֵל (’ariel, "Ariel") is the word translated "altar hearth" here. The point of the simile is not entirely clear. Perhaps the image likens Jerusalem’s coming crisis to a sacrificial fire.


Notes for Isa 29:3LEB

The Hebrew text has כַדּוּר (khadur, "like a circle"), i.e., "like an encircling wall." Some emend this phrase to כְּדָוִד (kédavid, "like David"), which is supported by the LXX (see v. 1). However, the rendering in the LXX could have arisen from a confusion of the dalet (ד) and resh (ר).


The meaning of מֻצָּב (mutsav) is not certain. Because of the parallelism (note "siege works"), some translate "towers." The noun is derived from נָצַב (natsav, "take one’s stand") and may refer to the troops stationed outside the city to prevent entrance or departure.


Notes for Isa 29:4LEB

"from the ground" (so NIV, NCV).


"and from the dust your word will be low."


"and your voice will be like a ritual pit from the earth." The Hebrew אוֹב (’ov, "ritual pit") refers to a pit used by a magician to conjure up underworld spirits. See the note on "incantations" in 8:19. Here the word is used metonymically for the voice that emerges from such a pit.


"and from the dust your word will chirp." The words "as if muttering an incantation" are supplied in the translation for clarification. See the parallelism and 8:19.


Notes for Isa 29:5LEB

Or "violent men"; cf. NASB "the ruthless ones."


Notes for Isa 29:6LEB

"from Yahweh who commands armies [traditionally, Yahweh of hosts] there will be visitation." The third feminine singular passive verb form תִּפָּקֵד (tippaqed, "she/it will be visited") is used here in an impersonal sense. See GKC 459 §144.b.


Notes for Isa 29:8LEB

Or "that he [or "his appetite"] is unsatisfied."


Or "that he is faint and that he [or "his appetite"] longs [for water]."


Notes for Isa 29:9LEB

The form הִתְמַהְמְהוּ (hitmahméhu) is a Hitpalpel imperative from מָהַהּ (mahah, "hesitate"). If it is retained, one might translate "halt and be amazed." The translation assumes an emendation to הִתַּמְּהוּ (hittamméhu), a Hitpael imperative from תָּמַה (tamah, "be amazed"). In this case, the text, like Hab 1:5LEB, combines the Hitpael and Qal imperatival forms of תָּמַה (tamah). A literal translation might be "Shock yourselves and be shocked!" The repetition of sound draws attention to the statement. The imperatives here have the force of an emphatic assertion. On this use of the imperative in Hebrew, see GKC 324 §110.c and IBHS 572 §34.4c.


"Blind yourselves and be blind!" The Hitpalpel and Qal imperatival forms of שָׁעַע (shaa’, "be blind") are combined to draw attention to the statement. The imperatives have the force of an emphatic assertion.


Some prefer to emend the perfect form of the verb to an imperative (e.g., NAB, NCV, NRSV), since the people are addressed in the immediately preceding and following contexts.


Some prefer to emend the perfect form of the verb to an imperative (e.g., NAB, NCV, NRSV), since the people are addressed in the immediately preceding and following contexts.


Notes for Isa 29:10LEB

"a disposition [or "spirit"] of deep sleep." Through this mixed metaphor (sleep is likened to a liquid which one pours and in turn symbolizes spiritual dullness) the prophet emphasizes that Yahweh himself has given the people over to their spiritual insensitivity as a form of judgment.


Notes for Isa 29:11LEB

"vision" (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).


"one who knows a/the scroll."


Notes for Isa 29:12LEB

"and if the scroll is handed to one who does not know a scroll."


"I do not know a scroll."


Notes for Isa 29:13LEB

The Hebrew term translated "sovereign master" here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonai).


"Because these people draw near to me with their mouth."


"and with their lips they honor me."


"but their heart is far from me." The heart is viewed here as the seat of the will, from which genuine loyalty derives.


"their fear of me is a commandment of men that has been taught."


Notes for Isa 29:14LEB

"Therefore I will again do something amazing with these people, an amazing deed, an amazing thing." This probably refers to the amazing transformation predicted in vv. 17–24, which will follow the purifying judgment implied in vv. 15–16.


"the wisdom of their wise ones will perish, the discernment of their discerning ones will keep hidden."


Notes for Isa 29:15LEB

"Woe [to] those who deeply hide counsel from Yahweh." This probably alludes to political alliances made without seeking Yahweh’s guidance. See 30:1–2 and 31:1.


"and their works are in darkness and they say."


The rhetorical questions suggest the answer, "no one." They are confident that their deeds are hidden from others, including Yahweh.


Notes for Isa 29:16LEB

"your overturning." The predicate is suppressed in this exclamation. The idea is, "O your perversity! How great it is!" See GKC 470 §147.c. The people "overturn" all logic by thinking their authority supersedes Yahweh's.


The expected answer to this rhetorical question is "of course not." On the interrogative use of אִם (’im), see BDB 50 s.v.


"that the thing made should say."


Notes for Isa 29:17LEB

The Hebrew text phrases this as a rhetorical question, "Is it not yet a little, a short [time]?"


The meaning of this verse is debated, but it seems to depict a reversal in fortunes. The mighty forest of Lebanon (symbolic of the proud and powerful, see 2:13; 10:34) will be changed into a common orchard, while the common orchard (symbolic of the oppressed and lowly) will grow into a great forest. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:538.


Notes for Isa 29:18LEB

Or "In that day" (KJV).


"and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see."


Perhaps this depicts the spiritual transformation of the once spiritually insensitive nation (see vv. 10–12, cf. also 6:9–10).


Notes for Isa 29:19LEB

Or "will rejoice" (NIV, NCV, NLT).


See the note on the phrase "the Holy One of Israel" in 1:4.


Notes for Isa 29:20LEB

"and all the watchers of wrong will be cut off."


Notes for Isa 29:21LEB

"the ones who make a man a sinner with a word." The Hiphil of חָטָא (khata’) here has a delocutive sense: "declare a man sinful/guilty."


Legal disputes were resolved at the city gate, where the town elders met. See Amos 5:10.


"and deprive by emptiness the innocent."


Notes for Isa 29:22LEB

"So this is what Yahweh says to the house of Jacob, the one who ransomed Abraham." The relative pronoun must refer back to "Yahweh," not to the immediately preceding "Jacob." It is uncertain to what event in Abraham’s experience this refers. Perhaps the name "Abraham" stands here by metonymy for his descendants through Jacob. If so, the Exodus is in view.


"and his face will no longer be pale."


Notes for Isa 29:23LEB

"for when he sees his children, the work of my hands in his midst."


Or "treat as holy" (also in the following line); NASB, NRSV "will sanctify."


Holy One of Jacob is similar to the phrase "Holy One of Israel" common throughout Isaiah; see Isa 1:4LEB.


Or "fear," in the sense of "stand in awe of."


Notes for Isa 29:24LEB

"and the ones who stray in spirit will know understanding."


"will learn instruction"; cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT "will accept instruction."