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Isaiah 29 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

God Punishes Jerusalem

29 God says, “Look at Ariel,[a] the city where David camped. Keep on having your festivals, year after year. But I will punish Ariel. The city will be filled with sadness and crying, but it will always be my Ariel.

“I will put armies all around you, Ariel. I will raise war towers against you. You will be pulled to the ground. Your voice will rise from the ground like the voice of a ghost. Your words come like a whisper from the dirt.”

There will be so many foreigners that they will be like dust. Cruel people will be like the chaff blowing in the wind. Then suddenly, the Lord All-Powerful will punish you with earthquakes, thunder, and loud noises. There will be storms, strong winds, and a burning, destructive fire. Many nations will fight against Ariel. It will be a nightmare. Armies will surround Ariel and punish her. But it will also be like a dream to those armies. They will not get what they want. It will be like a hungry man dreaming about food. When the man wakes up, he is still hungry. It will be like a thirsty man dreaming about water. When the man wakes up, he is still thirsty. The same thing is true about all the nations fighting against Zion. Those nations will not get what they want.

Be surprised and amazed!
    You will become drunk, but not from wine.
Look and be amazed!
    You will stumble and fall, but not from beer.
10 The Lord will make you sleepy.
    He will close your eyes. (The prophets are your eyes.)
    He will cover your heads. (The prophets are your heads.)

11 To you my words are like the words in a book that is closed and sealed.[b] You can give the book to someone who can read and tell that person to read it. But that person will say, “I cannot read the book. It is closed and I cannot open it.” 12 Or you can give the book to someone who cannot read and tell that person to read it. That person will say, “I cannot read the book because I don’t know how to read.”

13 The Lord says, “These people come to honor me with words, but I am not really important to them. The worship they give me is nothing but human rules they have memorized. 14 So I will continue to amaze them by doing powerful and amazing things. Their wise men will lose their wisdom. Even the most intelligent among them will not be able to understand.”

15 Look at them! They try to hide things from the Lord. They think he will not understand. They do their evil things in darkness. They tell themselves: “No one can see us. No one will know who we are.”

16 You turn things upside down. You think the clay is equal to the potter. You think that something that is made can tell the one who made it, “You did not make me!” This is like a pot telling its maker, “You know nothing.”

A Better Time Is Coming

17 This is the truth: After a very short time, Lebanon will become rich farmland, and the farmland will be like thick forests. 18 The deaf will hear the words in the book. The blind will see through the darkness and fog. 19 The Lord will make poor people happy. The poorest people will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

20 This will happen when the people who are mean and cruel have come to an end. It will happen when those who enjoy doing bad things are gone. 21 (They lie about good people. They try to trap people in court. They try to destroy innocent people.)

22 So the Lord, who made Abraham free, speaks to Jacob’s family. He says, “Now the people of Jacob will not be embarrassed and ashamed.

23 Yes, when they see all their children,
    the children I myself have made for them,
they will honor[c] my name as holy.
    They will respect the God of Israel.

24 Many of these people did not understand, so they did what was wrong. They complained, but now they will learn their lesson.”


  1. Isaiah 29:1 Ariel A name for the altar at the Temple in Jerusalem. This name means “hearth” or “fireplace” but sounds like the word meaning “Lion of God.” Also in verse 7.
  2. Isaiah 29:11 sealed A piece of clay or wax was put on the closed book to show that the book should not be opened.
  3. Isaiah 29:23 honor Or “treat as holy.”
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

Isaiah 29 New International Version (NIV)

Woe to David’s City

29 Woe to you, Ariel, Ariel,
    the city where David settled!
Add year to year
    and let your cycle of festivals go on.
Yet I will besiege Ariel;
    she will mourn and lament,
    she will be to me like an altar hearth.[a]
I will encamp against you on all sides;
    I will encircle you with towers
    and set up my siege works against you.
Brought low, you will speak from the ground;
    your speech will mumble out of the dust.
Your voice will come ghostlike from the earth;
    out of the dust your speech will whisper.

But your many enemies will become like fine dust,
    the ruthless hordes like blown chaff.
Suddenly, in an instant,
    the Lord Almighty will come
with thunder and earthquake and great noise,
    with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.
Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel,
    that attack her and her fortress and besiege her,
will be as it is with a dream,
    with a vision in the night—
as when a hungry person dreams of eating,
    but awakens hungry still;
as when a thirsty person dreams of drinking,
    but awakens faint and thirsty still.
So will it be with the hordes of all the nations
    that fight against Mount Zion.

Be stunned and amazed,
    blind yourselves and be sightless;
be drunk, but not from wine,
    stagger, but not from beer.
10 The Lord has brought over you a deep sleep:
    He has sealed your eyes (the prophets);
    he has covered your heads (the seers).

11 For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I can’t; it is sealed.” 12 Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I don’t know how to read.”

13 The Lord says:

“These people come near to me with their mouth
    and honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
    is based on merely human rules they have been taught.[b]
14 Therefore once more I will astound these people
    with wonder upon wonder;
the wisdom of the wise will perish,
    the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.
15 Woe to those who go to great depths
    to hide their plans from the Lord,
who do their work in darkness and think,
    “Who sees us? Who will know?”
16 You turn things upside down,
    as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
    “You did not make me”?
Can the pot say to the potter,
    “You know nothing”?

17 In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field
    and the fertile field seem like a forest?
18 In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll,
    and out of gloom and darkness
    the eyes of the blind will see.
19 Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord;
    the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
20 The ruthless will vanish,
    the mockers will disappear,
    and all who have an eye for evil will be cut down—
21 those who with a word make someone out to be guilty,
    who ensnare the defender in court
    and with false testimony deprive the innocent of justice.

22 Therefore this is what the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, says to the descendants of Jacob:

“No longer will Jacob be ashamed;
    no longer will their faces grow pale.
23 When they see among them their children,
    the work of my hands,
they will keep my name holy;
    they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob,
    and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24 Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding;
    those who complain will accept instruction.”


  1. Isaiah 29:2 The Hebrew for altar hearth sounds like the Hebrew for Ariel.
  2. Isaiah 29:13 Hebrew; Septuagint They worship me in vain; / their teachings are merely human rules
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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