Isaiah 29:1

Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! add ye year to year; let them kill sacrifices.

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 Ps 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} hnx "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} wpqny Mygx "agni excervicabuntur", Montanus; "excidentur", Vatablus; "jugulentur", Munster.