Isaiah 29: The deaf shall hear

(24 verses, 4:06 to read)


What I am about to READ

  • God threatens to punish Jerusalem for her unfaithfulness.


  • vv. 1-8 are a prophecy of Jerusalem’s destruction
  • vv. 9-16 are a warning that God will punish Jerusalem’s unfaithfulness by allowing her to go farther into unbelief.
  • vv. 17-24 mark a turning point, where God turns from His wrath.


  • “Ariel” is a translation of the Hebrew word meaning “altar hearth,” a reference to the place of sacrifice. This is clearly a reference to Jerusalem, especially since it is defined further as the city where David encamped.
  • An interesting note here also is that God is the one who executes this punishment (“I will distress Ariel” in v. 2). This reminds us that God can and does operate through the world’s history to accomplish His purposes among us. Even the Jerusalem’s destruction will be at the hands of human armies, it is God operating through them.
  • Jerusalem’s foes are described as being “like small dust,” which might be a mockery of the promise God made to Abraham about his offspring being as many as the sand of the seashore. But even in this, God promises some relief. By also saying that they are “like passing chaff,” this emphasizes the temporary nature of the wrath about to be poured upon them.
  • Part of the curse being visited upon Jerusalem is a famine of the Word. By silencing the prophets and the seers, the people who ignored God’s Word will now live without it completely for a time. This kind of punishment is repeated in starker and clearer language in Romans 1, where St. Paul warns that those who have rejected God’s revelation will be given over to their desires as punishment. This is further compounded by those who cannot even open or read God’s Word in vv. 11-12.
  • God is a God of mercy. Starting in v. 17, there is a change from wrath to consolation. Those who have been broken down by God’s judgement will experience a resurrection. With phrases like “a very little while” and “in that day,” God has us looking forward to the Messianic age, when Christ would come to restore all things. The deaf will hear, the blind shall see, the meek shall obtain fresh joy, and the poor shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. We see Christ performing such miracles and making reference to them in Matthew 11:4-6, for instance. Additionally, Jesus is called “the Holy One of Israel” in Mark 1:24 (by a demon, no less!). This is the basis of the shift in God’s interaction with His people from punishment to mercy, for He has poured out all His wrath over our sin upon Him. Even more so, those who could not previously hear or read God’s Word would hear it with fresh ears and rejoice.
  • This day will also culminate in the final destruction of the Church’s enemies (v. 20ff), and will rest secure in the redemption that God has accomplished for them. Being thus redeemed, God’s people will no longer be sorrowful over their sins but will finally be free to live as God would have them according to the commandments. This, then, is said with an eye toward the final redemption that will happen when Christ returns at the end of all things.


  • Prayer: Heavenly Father, turn us from our sins, we pray, and grant us life forever. Amen.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group:

-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN

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