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A Cornerstone of Zion

28 Oy, the proud crown of Ephraim’s drunks!
Its glorious beauty is a fading flower,
which is at the head of the fertile valleys
    of those overcome with wine!
Behold, Adonai is strong and mighty,
like a hailstorm, a destructive tempest,
like a downpour of overflowing water,
He hurls it down to earth with His hand.
The proud crown of Ephraim’s drunks
will be trampled underfoot.
The glorious beauty is a fading flower
which is at the head of the fertile valley,
like a first-ripe fig before summer—
whoever sees it, swallows it up while it is still in his palm.

In that day Adonai-Tzva’ot
will be a crown of glory,
a diadem of beauty
to the remnant of His people,
a spirit of judgment for him
    who sits on the judgment seat,
and strength for those
    turning back the battle at the gate.
But these also reel from wine
and stagger from strong drink
—the kohen and the prophet reel from strong drink—
are confused because of wine,
they stagger because of strong drink,
they are muddled in vision,
they stumble in judgment.
Since all the tables are full of the filth of vomit,
no place is left.

To whom will He teach knowledge?
To whom will He explain the message?
Those just weaned from milk?
Those just taken from the breast?
10 For it must be ‘precept upon precept,
precept upon precept,
line upon line, line upon line,
here a little, there a little.’
11 For through stammering lips and a foreign tongue
He will speak to this people,
12 To whom He said,
    “Here is rest, give rest to the weary,
    here is repose”—but they would not listen.
13 So the word of Adonai is to them
‘precept on precept, precept on precept,
line upon line, line upon line,
here a little, there a little.’
So they walk, and fall backward,
and are broken, trapped, and captured.

14 Therefore hear the word of Adonai, you scoffers,
who rule this people who are in Jerusalem:
15 “Because you have said,
‘We cut a covenant with death,
    we made a pact with Sheol,
so when the overflowing scourge passes through,
    it won’t come for us,
for we have made lies our refuge,
    and hid ourselves in falsehood’—
16 Therefore thus says Adonai Elohim:
‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
    a tested stone,
    a costly cornerstone,[a] a firm foundation—
whoever trusts will not flee in haste.[b]
17 But I will make justice the measuring line
    and righteousness the plumb line.
Hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and water will overflow the hiding place.
18 Your covenant with death is annulled,
and your pact with Sheol will not stand.
An overflowing scourge will pass through
    and you will be its trampling place.
19 As often as it passes through, it will seize you—
    morning by morning, by day and by night passing through.
It will be sheer terror
    to understand the message.’”

20 For too short is the bed to stretch on,
too narrow the blanket to wrap up in.

21 For Adonai will rise up as at Mount Perazim,
He will quake with awe as at the valley of Gibeon,
to do His deed, His strange deed,
    and to work His work, His extraordinary work.

22 So now, stop your scoffing,
lest your shackles be strengthened!
For I have heard from Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot
of destruction determined upon the whole land.

23 Give ear and hear my voice!
Pay attention and hear my words.
24 Does a plowman plow all day to sow the seed?
Does he continually break open
    and harrow his ground?
25 No! When he has leveled its surface,
he scatters dill and sows cumin,
plants wheat in rows,
    places barley, and rye on its border.
26 For his God teaches him judgment,
instructing him.
27 For dill is not threshed with a sledge,
nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin.
Rather, dill is beaten out with a staff,
    and cumin with a rod.
28 Bread grain is crushed, but not endlessly.
Rumbling cart wheels and horses over it
    would only crush it to powder.
29 This also comes from Adonai-Tzva’ot:
Wonderful is His counsel, great is His 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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