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Samaria Will Be Punished

28 The city of Samaria
above a fertile valley
    is in for trouble!
Its leaders are drunkards,
who stuff themselves
    with food and wine.
But they will be like flowers
    that dry up and wilt.
Only the Lord is strong
    and powerful!
His mighty hand
    will strike them down
with the force of a hailstorm
or a mighty whirlwind
    or an overwhelming flood.

Every drunkard in Ephraim[a]
takes pride in Samaria,
    but it will be crushed.
Samaria above a fertile valley
    will quickly lose its glory.
It will be gobbled down
like the first ripe fig
    at harvest season.

When this time comes,
    the Lord All-Powerful
will be a glorious crown
    for his people who survive.
He will see that justice rules
and that his people
are able
    to defend their cities.

Corrupt Leaders Will Be Punished

Priests and prophets stumble
    because they are drunk.
Their minds are too confused
to receive God’s messages
    or give honest decisions.
Their tables are covered,
completely covered,
    with their stinking vomit.

You drunken leaders
    are like babies!
How can you possibly understand
    or teach the Lord’s message?
10 You don’t even listen—
all you hear is senseless sound
    after senseless sound.[b]

11 So, the Lord will speak
    to his people
in strange sounds
    and foreign languages.[c]
12 He promised you
perfect peace and rest,
    but you refused to listen.
13 Now his message to you
will be senseless sound
    after senseless sound.[d]
Then you will fall backwards,
    injured and trapped.

False Security Is Fatal

14 You rulers of Jerusalem
    do nothing but sneer;
now you must listen
    to what the Lord says.
15 Do you think you have
an agreement with death
    and the world of the dead?
Why do you trust in your lies
to keep you safe from danger
    and the mighty flood?

16 And so the Lord says,
“I’m laying a firm foundation
    for the city of Zion.
It’s a valuable cornerstone
    proven to be trustworthy;
no one who trusts it
    will ever be disappointed.
17 Justice and fairness
will be the measuring lines
    that help me build.”

Hailstones and floods
will destroy and wash away
    your shelter of lies.
18 Your agreement with death
and the world of the dead
    will be broken.
Then angry, roaring waves
    will sweep over you.
19 Morning, noon, and night
an overwhelming flood
    will wash you away.
The terrible things that happen
    will teach you this lesson:
20 Your bed is too short,
    your blanket too skimpy.[e]

21 The Lord will fiercely attack
as he did at Mount Perazim[f]
    and in Gibeon Valley.[g]
But this time the Lord
will do something surprising,
    not what you expect.
22 So you had better stop sneering
or you will be in worse shape
    than ever before.
I heard the Lord All-Powerful
threaten the whole country
    with destruction.

All Wisdom Comes from the Lord

23 Pay close attention
    to what I am saying.
24 Farmers don’t just plow
    and break up the ground.
25 When a field is ready,
they scatter the seeds
    of dill and cumin;
they plant the seeds
of wheat and barley
    in the proper places.
26 They learn this from their God.

27 After dill and cumin
    have been harvested,
the stalks are pounded,
    not run over with a wagon.
28 Wheat and barley are pounded,
    but not beaten to pulp;
they are run over with a wagon,
    but not ground to dust.
29 This wonderful knowledge comes
from the Lord All-Powerful,
    who has such great wisdom.

Footnotes

  1. 28.3 Ephraim: The northern kingdom of Israel; Samaria was its capital.
  2. 28.10 sound: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verses 9,10.
  3. 28.11 in. . . foreign languages: This probably refers to the language of the Assyrians.
  4. 28.13 Now. . . sound: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  5. 28.20 Your bed. . . skimpy: Isaiah quotes a popular saying to teach that the treaty made with Egypt (verse 18) cannot give the nation security from its enemies.
  6. 28.21 Mount Perazim: This may refer to David’s defeat of the Philistines at Baal Perazim (2 Samuel 5.17-21).
  7. 28.21 Gibeon Valley: This refers to Joshua’s victory at Gibeon (Joshua 10.1-11).

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