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Woe to the Leaders of Ephraim and Judah

28 Woe to the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim,
    whose glorious beauty is a fading flower
which is at the head of the fertile valley
    of those who are overcome with wine!
See, the Lord has a mighty and strong one,
    as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm,
as a flood of mighty overflowing waters,
    He has cast it down to the earth with His hand.
The proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim
    is trodden under foot;
and the fading flower of its glorious beauty,
    which is at the head of the fertile valley,
shall be like a first-ripe fig before the summer,
    which when one sees, while it is yet in his hand,
    he eats it up.

In that day the Lord of Hosts
    shall become a crown of glory
and a diadem of beauty
    to the remnant of His people,
a spirit of justice
    for him who sits in judgment,
and strength
    to those who turn away the battle at the gate.

But they also have erred through wine
    and stagger from strong drink;
the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink,
    they are confused by wine,
they stagger from strong drink;
    they err while having visions,
    they stumble when rendering judgment.
For all the tables are full of vomit
    and filthiness so that there is no clean place.

“To whom shall He teach knowledge,
    and to whom shall He interpret the message?
Those just weaned from the milk
    and drawn from the breasts?
10 For He says,
    ‘Precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
    line upon line, line upon line,
    here a little, there a little.’ ”

11 For with stammering lips and foreign tongue
    He will speak to this people,
12 He who said to them,
    “This is the rest. Give rest to the weary,”
and, “This is repose,”
    yet they would not listen.
13 So the word of the Lord will be to them,
    “Precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
    line upon line, line upon line,
    here a little, there a little,”
that they might go and fall backward,
    be broken, snared, and taken captive.

14 Therefore, hear the word of the Lord, O scoffers,
    who rule this people who are in Jerusalem,
15 because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
    and with hell we are in agreement.
The overflowing scourge shall not come to us
    when it passes through,
for we have made lies our refuge
    and under falsehood we have hid ourselves.”

A Cornerstone in Zion

16 Therefore, thus says the Lord God:

See, I lay in Zion a stone,
    a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, firmly placed;
    he who believes shall not act hastily.
17 I shall make justice the measuring line
    and righteousness the plummet;
then the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies
    and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.
18 Your covenant with death shall be annulled,
    and your agreement with hell shall not stand;
when the overflowing scourge passes through,
    then you shall be trodden down by it.
19 As often as it passes through, it shall seize you;
    for morning by morning it shall pass through,
    anytime by day or night.

It shall be terror only
    to understand the report.
20 The bed is too short to stretch out,
    and the covering is too small to wrap oneself in it.
21 For the Lord shall rise up as at Mount Perazim,
    He shall be wrathful as in the Valley of Gibeon
to do His work, His unusual work,
    and bring to pass His task, His exceptional task.
22 Now therefore, do not continue as mockers,
    lest your bonds be made stronger;
for I have heard from the Lord God of Hosts
    of determined destruction upon the whole earth.

23 Give ear and hear my voice;
    listen and hear my speech.
24 Does the plowman plow all day to sow?
    Does he continually turn and break the clods of his ground?
25 Does he not level its surface
    and sow dill and scatter the cumin
and plant wheat in rows,
    barley in its place
    and the rye within its area?
26 For his God instructs
    and teaches him appropriately.

27 For the dill is not threshed with a threshing instrument,
    nor is a cartwheel driven over the cumin;
but the dill is beaten out with a staff,
    and the cumin with a rod.
28 Grain for bread is crushed;
    so he does not continue to thresh it forever,
nor break it with the wheel of his cart,
    nor crush it with his horsemen.
29 This also comes from the Lord of Hosts,
    who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom.

Woe to the Leaders of Ephraim and Judah

28 Woe(A) to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s(B) drunkards,
    to the fading flower, his glorious beauty,
set on the head of a fertile valley(C)
    to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine!(D)
See, the Lord has one who is powerful(E) and strong.
    Like a hailstorm(F) and a destructive wind,(G)
like a driving rain and a flooding(H) downpour,
    he will throw it forcefully to the ground.
That wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s(I) drunkards,
    will be trampled(J) underfoot.
That fading flower, his glorious beauty,
    set on the head of a fertile valley,(K)
will be like figs(L) ripe before harvest—
    as soon as people see them and take them in hand,
    they swallow them.

In that day(M) the Lord Almighty
    will be a glorious(N) crown,(O)
a beautiful wreath
    for the remnant(P) of his people.
He will be a spirit of justice(Q)
    to the one who sits in judgment,(R)
a source of strength
    to those who turn back the battle(S) at the gate.

And these also stagger(T) from wine(U)
    and reel(V) from beer:
Priests(W) and prophets(X) stagger from beer
    and are befuddled with wine;
they reel from beer,
    they stagger when seeing visions,(Y)
    they stumble when rendering decisions.
All the tables are covered with vomit(Z)
    and there is not a spot without filth.

“Who is it he is trying to teach?(AA)
    To whom is he explaining his message?(AB)
To children weaned(AC) from their milk,(AD)
    to those just taken from the breast?
10 For it is:
    Do this, do that,
    a rule for this, a rule for that[a];
    a little here, a little there.(AE)

11 Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues(AF)
    God will speak to this people,(AG)
12 to whom he said,
    “This is the resting place, let the weary rest”;(AH)
and, “This is the place of repose”—
    but they would not listen.
13 So then, the word of the Lord to them will become:
    Do this, do that,
    a rule for this, a rule for that;
    a little here, a little there(AI)
so that as they go they will fall backward;
    they will be injured(AJ) and snared and captured.(AK)

14 Therefore hear the word of the Lord,(AL) you scoffers(AM)
    who rule this people in Jerusalem.
15 You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death,(AN)
    with the realm of the dead we have made an agreement.
When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by,(AO)
    it cannot touch us,
for we have made a lie(AP) our refuge
    and falsehood[b] our hiding place.(AQ)

16 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,(AR) a tested stone,(AS)
    a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;(AT)
the one who relies on it
    will never be stricken with panic.(AU)
17 I will make justice(AV) the measuring line
    and righteousness the plumb line;(AW)
hail(AX) will sweep away your refuge, the lie,
    and water will overflow(AY) your hiding place.
18 Your covenant with death will be annulled;
    your agreement with the realm of the dead will not stand.(AZ)
When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by,(BA)
    you will be beaten down(BB) by it.
19 As often as it comes it will carry you away;(BC)
    morning after morning,(BD) by day and by night,
    it will sweep through.”

The understanding of this message
    will bring sheer terror.(BE)
20 The bed is too short to stretch out on,
    the blanket too narrow to wrap around you.(BF)
21 The Lord will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim,(BG)
    he will rouse himself as in the Valley of Gibeon(BH)
to do his work,(BI) his strange work,
    and perform his task, his alien task.
22 Now stop your mocking,(BJ)
    or your chains will become heavier;
the Lord, the Lord Almighty, has told me
    of the destruction decreed(BK) against the whole land.(BL)

23 Listen(BM) and hear my voice;
    pay attention and hear what I say.
24 When a farmer plows for planting,(BN) does he plow continually?
    Does he keep on breaking up and working the soil?
25 When he has leveled the surface,
    does he not sow caraway and scatter cumin?(BO)
Does he not plant wheat in its place,[c]
    barley(BP) in its plot,[d]
    and spelt(BQ) in its field?
26 His God instructs him
    and teaches(BR) him the right way.

27 Caraway is not threshed(BS) with a sledge,(BT)
    nor is the wheel of a cart rolled over cumin;
caraway is beaten out with a rod,(BU)
    and cumin with a stick.
28 Grain must be ground to make bread;
    so one does not go on threshing it forever.
The wheels of a threshing cart(BV) may be rolled over it,
    but one does not use horses to grind grain.
29 All this also comes from the Lord Almighty,
    whose plan is wonderful,(BW)
    whose wisdom is magnificent.(BX)

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 28:10 Hebrew / sav lasav sav lasav / kav lakav kav lakav (probably meaningless sounds mimicking the prophet’s words); also in verse 13
  2. Isaiah 28:15 Or false gods
  3. Isaiah 28:25 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  4. Isaiah 28:25 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.

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