Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Ariel. This word signifies the lion of God, and here is taken for the strong city of Jerusalem. (Challoner) — It was destroyed by the Chaldeans, (4 Kings xxv.) and still more by the Romans, 40 years after. (Calmet) (Worthington) — Ezechiel (xliii. 15.) styles the altar of holocausts Ariel. — Took. Septuagint. The Hebrew means also “inhabited.” (Haydock) — Sion was called the city of David. (Calmet) — The invasion (Haydock) of Sennacherib is here foretold (Forcr.[Forerius?]) two years before, chap. xxxi. 10.
Ver. 2. Trench. Sennacherib did not besiege the city, chap. xxxvii. 33. But he made preparations for it, and his sentiments are expressed, (Calmet) together with the fatal consequences which he felt, when his army was offered up (Haydock) as a victim on the altar of holocausts, ver. 1.
Ver. 3. Circle. Thus provisions were cut off. (Calmet)
Ver. 4. The Python. The diviner by a spirit. (Challoner) — Jerusalem shall hardly dare to make a noise. (Calmet)
Ver. 5. Away. The numbers, and speedy downfall of the Assyrians, are described. (Haydock)
Ver. 6. Thunder. Psalm lxxv. 7. Tharaca was coming to assist Ezechias, chap. xxxvii. 36. (Calmet)
Ver. 7. It, in their dreams.
Ver. 9. Be, &c. Though God spared the city, for the sake of the good, He will not fail to punish scoffers, in due time, as He now declares. (Haydock) — Drunkenness. You shall suffer for your crimes, (chap. xxviii. 7.) or be affrighted.
Ver. 10. Sleep, or compunction, (Romans xi. 8.; Calmet) denoting their obstinacy. (St. Chrysostom) — Visions. Protestants, “the seers.” (Haydock) — The Jews perceived but very imperfectly the meaning of the prophets, when they spoke of a future Redeemer, God and man. They are now more infatuated, (Calmet) having a veil on their hearts, 1 Corinthians iv. 3. Both learned and ignorant refuse to believe, excusing themselves, ver. 12. (Haydock) — The more they read the Scriptures, the less do they understand. (Calmet)
Ver. 13. Men. Our Saviour applies this to the Jews. The evangelists follow the Septuagint, Matthew xv. 8., and Mark vii. 6. (Calmet) — “This people approacheth to me, (Grabe adds, with its mouth and with) their lips they honour me, but their heart is far from me. Yet in vain do they honour me, teaching the commands of men and doctrines.” (Haydock) — They still continue to corrupt God’s word by their false interpretations.
Ver. 14. Hid. At the approach of Sennacherib, the politicians were confounded. But the obstinate blindness of the Jews in the midst of such a blaze of predictions, which are evidently accomplished in Jesus Christ, excites admiration. That their ancestors should have found them obscure, is not so wonderful. The prophets foretold this event; and the reprobation of the synagogue, which had been so highly favoured, is a proof of the truth of the Christian religion, 1 Corinthians i. 18. (Calmet)
Ver. 16. Not. So it is in vain to think that your hypocrisy or excuses will deceive God, chap. xxviii. 15. (Haydock)
Ver. 17. Charmel. This word signifies a fruitful field. (Challoner) — Shall Carmel be presently a forest or barren mountain? No. But I will work a greater miracle, ver. 18. Jerusalem shall rejoice, and Sennacherib shall be filled with dismay.
Ver. 19. Rejoice. Our Saviour alludes to this text, (Luke vii. 22.) which, under the figure of the deliverance from captivity, points out the vocation of the Gentiles, chap. xxxv. 5., and xlii. 7, 19.
Ver. 20. Prevail. Wicked princes, scoffers, &c., (ver. 10., and chap. xxviii. 7.) shall be exterminated. Ezechias promoted piety with greater zeal after his deliverance.
Ver. 21. Gate. False prophets rose up against those who spoke the truth, and condemned them unjustly. (Calmet) — The just, Christ. (Menochius)
Ver. 23. Israel. They shall serve God with fidelity and gratitude, chap. xxx. 22. (Calmet)
Ver. 24. Murmured. Magicians, (Grotius) or false sages, chap. xxviii. 9. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
God’s heavy judgments upon Jerusalem, for their blind obstinacy: with a prophecy of the conversion of the Gentiles.
1 Woe to Ariel, to Ariel the city which David took: year is added to year: the solemnities are at an end.
2 And I will make a trench about Ariel, and it shall be in sorrow and mourning, and it shall be to me as Ariel.
3 And I will make a circle round about thee, and will cast up a rampart against thee, and raise up bulwarks to besiege thee.
4 Thou shalt be brought down, thou shalt speak out of the earth, and thy speech shall be heard out of the ground: and thy voice shall be from the earth like that of the Python, and out of the ground thy speech shall mutter.
5 And the multitude of them that fan thee, shall be like small dust, and as ashes passing away, the multitude of them that have prevailed against thee.
6 And it shall be at an instant suddenly. A visitation shall come from the Lord of hosts in thunder, and with earthquake, and with a great noise of whirlwind and tempest, and with the flame of devouring fire.
7 And the multitude of all nations that have fought against Ariel, shall be as the dream of a vision by night, and all that have fought, and besieged, and prevailed against it.
8 And as he that is hungry dreameth, and eateth, but when he is awake, his soul is empty: and as he that is thirsty dreameth, and drinketh, and after he is awake, is yet faint with thirst, and his soul is empty: so shall be the multitude of all the Gentiles that have fought against Mount Sion.
9 Be astonished, and wonder, waver, and stagger: be drunk, and not with wine: stagger, and not with drunkenness.
10 For the Lord hath mingled for you the spirit of a deep sleep; he will shut up your eyes; he will cover your prophets and princes, that see visions.
11 And the vision of all shall be unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which when they shall deliver to one that is learned, they shall say: Read this: and he shall answer: I cannot, for it is sealed.
12 And the book shall be given to one that knoweth no letters, and it shall be said to him: Read: and he shall answer: I know no letters.
13 *And the Lord said: Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips glorify me, but their heart is far from me, and they have feared me with the commandment and doctrines of men:
14 Therefore, behold I will proceed to cause an admiration in this people, by a great and wonderful miracle: *for wisdom shall perish from their wise men, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.
15 Woe to you that are deep of heart, to hide your counsel from the Lord: and their works are in the dark, and they say: *Who seeth us, and who knoweth us?
16 This thought of yours is perverse: as if the clay should think against the potter, and the work should say to the maker thereof: Thou madest me not: or the thing framed should say to him that fashioned it: Thou understandest not.
17 Is it not yet a very little while, and Libanus shall be turned into charmel, and charmel shall be esteemed as a forest?
18 And in that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and out of darkness and obscurity the eyes of the blind shall see.
19 And the meek shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor men shall rejoice in the holy One of Israel.
20 For he that did prevail hath failed, the scorner is consumed, and they are all cut off that watched for iniquity:
21 That made men sin by word, and supplanted him that reproved them in the gate, and declined in vain from the just.
22 Therefore, thus saith the Lord to the house of Jacob, he that redeemed Abraham: Jacob shall not now be confounded, neither shall his countenance now be ashamed.
23 But when he shall see his children, the work of my hands, in the midst of him sanctifying my name, and they shall sanctify the holy One of Jacob, and shall glorify the God of Israel:
24 And they that erred in spirit, shall know understanding; and they that murmured, shall learn the law.
13: Matthew xv. 8.; Mark vii. 6.
14: 1 Corinthians i. 19.; Abdias i. 8.
15: Ecclesiasticus xxiii. 26.