|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
29:1-8 Ariel may signify the altar of burnt-offerings. Let Jerusalem know that outward religious services will not make men free from judgements. Hypocrites never can please God, nor make their peace with him. God had often and long, by a host of angels, encamped round about Jerusalem for protection and deliverance; but now he fought against it. Proud looks and proud language shall be brought down by humbling providences. The destruction of Jerusalem's enemies is foretold. The army of Sennacherib went as a dream; and thus the multitudes, that through successive ages fight against God's altar and worship, shall fall. Speedily will sinners awake from their soothing dreams in the pains of hell.
Verses 1-4. - A WARNING TO JERUSALEM. Expostulation is followed by threats. The prophet is aware that all his preaching to the authorities in Jerusalem (Isaiah 28:14-22) will be of no avail, and that their adoption of measures directly antagonistic to the commands of God will bring on the very evil which they are seeking to avert, and cause Jerusalem to be actually besieged by her enemies. In the present passage he distinctly announces the siege, and declares that it will commence within a year. Verse 1. - Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! "Ariel' is clearly a mystic name for Jerusalem, parallel to "Sheshach" as a name for Babylon (Jeremiah 25:26) and "'Ir-ha-heres" as a name for Heliopolis (Isaiah 19:18). It is generally explained as equivalent to Art-El, "lion of God;" but Delitzsch suggests the meaning of "hearth of God," or "altar of God," a signification which "Ariel" seems to have in Ezekiel 43:15, 16. But there is no evidence that "Ariel" was ever employed in this sense before the time of Ezekiel. Etymologically, "Ariel" can only mean "lion of God," and the name would in this sense be sufficiently descriptive of the Jewish capital, which had always hitherto been a sort of champion of Jehovah - a warrior fighting his battles with a lion's courage and fierceness. Dwelt; literally, pitched his tent - an expression recalling the old tent-life of the Hebrews (comp. 1 Kings 12:16). And ye year to year; rather, a year to a year; i.e. the coming year to the present one. The intention is to date the commencement of the siege. It will fall within the year next ensuing. Let them kill sacrifices. The best modern authorities translate, "Let the feasts run their round" (Kay, Cheyne, Delitzsch); i.e. let there be one more round of the annual festival-times, and then let the enemy march in and commence the siege.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt,.... Many Jewish writers by "Ariel" understand the altar of burnt offerings; and so the Targum,
"woe, altar, altar, which was built in the city where David dwelt;''
and so it is called in Ezekiel 43:15 it signifies "the lion of God"; and the reason why it is so called, the Jews say (i), is, because the fire lay upon it in the form of a lion; but rather the reason is, because it devoured the sacrifices that were laid upon it, as a lion does its prey; though others of them interpret it of the temple, which they say was built like a lion, narrow behind and broad before (k); but it seems better to understand it of the city of Jerusalem, in which David encamped, as the word (l) signifies; or "encamped against", as some; which he besieged, and took from the Jebusites, and fortified, and dwelt in; and which may be so called from its strength and fortifications, natural and artificial, and from its being the chief city of Judah, called a lion, Genesis 49:9 whose standard had a lion on it, and from whence came the Messiah, the Lion of the tribe of Judah; or rather from its cruelty in shedding the blood of the prophets, and was, as the Lord says, as a lion unto him that cried against him, Jeremiah 12:8 and so the words may be considered as of one calling to Jerusalem, and lamenting over it, as Christ did, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets", &c. Matthew 23:37 and the mention of David's name, and of his dwelling in it, is not only to point out what city is meant, and the greatness and glory of it; but to show that this would not secure it from ruin and destruction (m):
add ye year to year; which some understand of two precise years, at the end of which Jerusalem should be besieged by the army of Sennacherib; but that is not here meant. Cocceius thinks that large measure of time is meant, that one year is the length of time from David's dwelling in Jerusalem to the Babylonish captivity; and the other year from the time of Zerubbabel and Nehemiah to the destruction by the Romans, which is more likely; but rather the sense is, go on from year to year in your security and vain confidence; or keep your yearly feasts, and offer your yearly sacrifices; as follows:
let them kill sacrifices; the daily and yearly sacrifices; let the people bring them, and the priests offer them, for the time is coming when an end will be put to them; "the feasts shall be cut off": so the words may be rendered; the festivals shall cease, and be no more observed; and so the Targum,
"the festivities shall cease;''
or, feasts being put for lambs, so in Psalm 118:27 as Ben Melech observes, the sense is, their heads should be cut off (n).
(i) Yoma apud Jarchi in loc. (k) T. Bab. Middot, fol. 37. 1.((l) "castrametatus est", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius; "castra habuit", Piscator. (m) The words are rendered by Noldius, "woe to Ariel, to Ariel: to the city in which David encamped"; and he observes, that some supply the copulative "and; woe to Ariel, and to the city", &c.; So making them distinct, which seems best to agree with the accents, and may respect the destruction both of their ecclesiastic and civil state; the temple being designed by "Ariel", and "Jerusalem" by the city. See Concord. Ebr. Part. p. 183. No. 842. (n) "agni excervicabuntur", Montanus; "excidentur", Vatablus; "jugulentur", Munster.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Isa 29:1-24. Coming Invasion of Jerusalem: Its Failure: Unbelief of the Jews.
This chapter opens the series of prophecies as to the invasion of Judea under Sennacherib, and its deliverance.
1. Ariel—Jerusalem; Ariel means "Lion of God," that is, city rendered by God invincible: the lion is emblem of a mighty hero (2Sa 23:20). Otherwise "Hearth of God," that is, place where the altar-fire continually burns to God (Isa 31:9; Eze 43:15, 16).
add … year to year—ironically; suffer one year after another to glide on in the round of formal, heartless "sacrifices." Rather, "add yet another year" to the one just closed [Maurer]. Let a year elapse and a little more (Isa 32:10, Margin).
let … kill sacrifices—rather, "let the beasts (of another year) go round" [Maurer]; that is, after the completion of a year "I will distress Ariel."
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