|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.
Verse 2. - Yet will I distress Ariel; rather, and then will I distress Ariel. The sense runs on from the preceding verse. There shall be heaviness and sorrow. Mr. Cheyne's "moaning and bemoaning" represents the Hebrew play upon words better. The natural consequence of the siege would be a constant cry of woe. And it shall be unto me as Ariel. It would be better to translate, "Yet she shall be unto me as Ariel." The meaning is that, though distressed and straitened, Jerusalem shall still through all be able by God's help to answer to her name of "Ariel" - to behave as a lien when attacked by the hunters.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Yet I will distress Ariel,.... Or "straiten" it, by causing it to be besieged; and this he would do, notwithstanding their yearly sacrifices, and their observance of their solemn feasts, and other ceremonies of the law, in which they placed their confidence, and neglected weightier matters:
and there shall be heaviness and sorrow; on account of the siege; by reason of the devastations of the enemy without, made on all the cities and towns in Judea round about; and because of the famine and bloodshed in the city:
and it shall be unto me as Ariel; the whole city shall be as the altar; as that was covered with the blood and carcasses of slain beasts, so this with the blood and carcasses of men; and so the Targum,
"and I will distress the city where the altar is, and it shall be desolate and empty; and it shall be surrounded before me with the blood of the slain, as the altar is surrounded with the blood of the holy sacrifices on a solemn feast day all around;''
so Jarchi and Kimchi.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. Yet—rather, "Then."
heaviness … sorrow—rather, preserving the Hebrew paronomasia, "groaning" and "moaning."
as Ariel—either, "the city shall be as a lion of God," that is, it shall emerge from its dangers unvanquished; or "it shall be as the altar of burnt offering," consuming with fire the besiegers (Isa 29:6; Isa 30:30; 31:9; Le 10:2); or best, as Isa 29:3 continues the threat, and the promise of deliverance does not come till Isa 29:4, "it shall be like a hearth of burning," that is, a scene of devastation by fire [G. V. Smith]. The prophecy, probably, contemplates ultimately, besides the affliction and deliverance in Sennacherib's time, the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome, the dispersion of the Jews, their restoration, the destruction of the enemies that besiege the city (Zec 14:2), and the final glory of Israel (Isa 29:17-24).
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