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Bible Commentaries

Geneva Study Bible

Isaiah 29

Verse 1

29:1 Woe to {a} Ariel, to Ariel, the city [where] David dwelt! add ye year to year; {b} let them kill sacrifices.

(a) Or Ariel: the Hebrew word Ariel signifies the Lion of God, and signifies the Altar, because the altar seemed to devour the sacrifice that was offered to God, as in Ezekiel 43:16 .

(b) Your vain confidence in your sacrifices will not last long.

Verse 2

29:2 Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: and it shall be to me {c} as Ariel.

(c) Your city will be full of blood as an altar on which they sacrifice.

Verse 4

29:4 And thou shalt be brought down, [and] shalt speak out of the {d} ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, like a medium, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.

(d) Your speech will be no longer be so lofty but abased and low as the very charmers who are in low places and whisper, so that their voice can scarcely by heard.

Verse 5

29:5 Moreover the multitude of thy {e} strangers shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones [shall be] as chaff that passeth away: yea, it shall be at an instant suddenly.

(e) Your hired soldiers in whom you trusted, will be destroyed as dust or chaff in a whirlwind.

Verse 7

29:7 And the {f} multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all that fight against her and her strong hold, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision.

(f) The enemies that I will bring to destroy you, and that which you place your vain trust in will come at unawares even as a dream in the night. Some read as if this was a comfort to the Church for the destruction of their enemies.

Verse 8

29:8 It shall even be as when an hungry [man] dreameth, and, behold, {g} he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, [he is] faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion.

(g) That is, he thinks that he eats.

Verse 9

29:9 {h} Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink.

(h) Muse on this a long as ye like, yet you will find nothing but opportunity to be astonished for your prophets are blind, and therefore cannot direct you.

Verse 11

29:11 And the vision of all is become to you as the words of a book that is sealed, which [men] deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I {i} cannot; for it [is] sealed:

(i) Meaning, that it is all alike, either to read, or not to read, unless God open the heart to understand.

Verse 13

29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people {k} draw near [me] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their {l} fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

(k) Because they are hypocrites and not sincere in heart, as in Matthew 15:7-8 .

(l) That is, their religion was learned by man’s doctrine, and not by my word.

Verse 14

29:14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, [even] an wonderful work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise [men] shall {m} perish, and the understanding of their prudent [men] shall be hid.

(m) Meaning, where God is not worshipped according to his word, both magistrates and ministers are fools and without understanding.

Verse 15

29:15 Woe to them that {n} seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?

(n) This is spoken of them who in heart despised God’s word, and mocked at the admonitions but outwardly bore a good face.

Verse 16

29:16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed {o} as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing formed say of him that formed it, He had no understanding?

(o) For all your craft says the Lord, you are not able to escape my hands any more than the clay that is in the potter’s hands has power to deliver itself.

Verse 17

29:17 [Is] it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be {p} turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest?

(p) Will there not be a change of all things? Carmel is a plentiful place in respect to what it will be then and may be taken for a forest, as in Isaiah 32:15 and thus he speaks to comfort the faithful.

Verse 21

29:21 That make a man an offender for a {q} word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nothing.

(q) They who went about to find fault with the prophets words, and would not abide admonitions, but would entangle them and bring them into danger.

Verse 24

29:24 They also that erred in spirit {r} shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.

(r) Signifying that unless God gives understanding and knowledge, man cannot but still err and murmur against him.

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 29". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". 1599-1645.